Friend or foe?
The questions here are endless. If there is an attack on American soil and it is traced back to Pakistan, would it not also indicate a failure of American security and intelligence circles? - Photo on file Media Gallery
Home for the abandoned ones Home for the abandoned ones It's enough to make one’s heart sink. “The US military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country’s tribal areas, according to senior military officials,” says a report in The Washington Post. The writer is Greg Miller, one of the Post’s best reporters and considered to have matchless sources in American intelligence and national security circles. America is clearly trying to send a message to Pakistan and the subtext is no longer just ‘do more’: it’s ‘do more, or else’.
The questions here are endless. If there is an attack on American soil and it is traced back to Pakistan, would it not also indicate a failure of American security and intelligence circles?
If zero tolerance is the game, should American officials also not be in the firing line, metaphorically speaking of course, in the event that the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, etc., all fail to prevent an attack? With these deliberate leaks to the press, is the American security establishment not flirting with danger domestically? The American public is being primed to demand some action against Pakistan in the event of a terrorist strike. If the trend continues, it will be more difficult for American politicians to resist launching strikes inside Pakistan even if they judge that there is no need — the demands of a public trained to see Pakistan as the problem may be too great at that point.
What are the long-term gains versus the costs of such a strike? Could the US realistically launch strikes inside Pakistan without expecting a severe backlash here, from the security establishment, the public, the politicians and the non-state actors? It would be absurd for America to try and position itself as a friend and well-wisher of Pakistan if it were at the same time launching unilateral strikes inside this country (whatever the official line, the drone strikes are not considered ‘unilateral’ by either side). And what message does this send to other countries? Could India argue it has a similar ‘right’ to launch attacks inside Pakistan? Before continuing down this road, American officials need to pause and think harder about the ramifications.