We did not “walk away” from Pakistan. The government, that is, the military who essentially have always held power in Pakistan, took and took whatever aid they could cajole out of the Americans, and then always came back for more. They took whatever economic aid they could as well, and that economic aid allowed the “failed state” — always on the brink of bankruptcy — of Pakistan to nonetheless not only quietly arrange for stealing nuclear secrets from the West, but pay the enormous costs of the nuclear weapons program that led to the building not of one but of dozens of “Islamic bombs,” as they were proudly called, and not only in Pakistan.
The United States did not “walk away” from Pakistan once the Soviet army had left Afghanistan. The country of Afghanistan was taken over by the Taliban, who were formed by, trained by, supported by, the government of Pakistan. Pakistan also helped the Taliban get back to Afghanistan and seize power once the Soviets had left, and to make that country a hell for its citizens, or for all but those who were the most fanatical Muslims, and to make it a haven for “the Arabs” who arrived, and set up their Al Qaeda camps, and treated the local Afghanis with such contumely. There was no reason at all for the Americans not to “walk away” from Pakistan, for Pakistan completely betrayed the Americans and its own solemn undertakings to them in this case, and then in the case of the long-term betrayal of promise after promise made to the Americans.
Those broken promises led to the Pressler Amendment, and then to renewed outrage from Congress (see the long quotes from Senator Glenn in part two) once it was clear that Pakistan was being allowed, with the State Department’s connivance, to keep fooling the Americans — that is, the American people, though not the group of apologists for Pakistan who continued to reign, as apologists for other Muslim states still reign and call far too many of the shots in the State Department and elsewhere in our government.
Robert Gates has been the Secretary of Defense in both the Bush and the Obama Administrations. And that is telling, because both Administrations have failed to recognize, and thus failed to address the threat, not of a handful of “extremists,” but of the ideology of Islam, and the worldwide manifestations of that ideology. Those manifestations cannot possibly be made to disappear, though the power of Muslim states, especially their military power to inflict damage, can be kept within manageable bounds. That is why preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons should be the main focus of American policy, and such prevention should certainly include military action — not an “invasion” but a series of attacks so damaging that the project will not, for many years, be resumed. And during those years many inside and outside Iran can work to end the malevolent regime in power. Those who argue that such an attack will cause a “rallying around” the Islamic Republic have failed to recognize what effect the events of the past few months have had on Iranians, how enraged are so many against this regime, and enraged enough to now recognize the need, for themselves as well as for others, to prevent this regime, which they no longer confuse with Iran itself, to keep the military dictatorship of the Revolutionary Guards from acquiring nuclear weapons.
That attack should be by the United States. It should certainly not be left up to Israel, not least because the Israelis simply do not have the capability the Americans have, and because Israel is in the neighborhood. As Israel once made a tacit alliance with the secular regime of the Shah, it might yet again make a tacit alliance in the future with whatever secular regime follows upon the Islamic Republic. But that would be difficult if Israel had been the one responsible for destroying the nuclear project, which would cause some in Iran to see it as the cause of national humiliation. Part of the pre-Islamic narrative available to the Iranians include tales about Persian support for the Jews, and while that seems unimportant to us, it is part of a narrative that has to be emphasized if the Iranians are to find a way out of the dead-end of the “gift of the Arabs” that has done so much damage, over the past thirty years especially, to Iranians and to Iran.
When the Bush Administration wasted so many men, so much money, so much materiel, in Iraq, Robert Gates was for much of that time the Secretary of Defense. And now that the Obama Administration has come in, with Obama in Cairo not only seeing but raising Bush’s poker-faced nonsense about Islam as a “religion of peace,” but at least abandoning the messianic sentimentalism of Bush when it came to thinking that the Americans could bring “freedom” to “ordinary moms and dads in the Middle East,” Robert Gates is still there, and he still has not thought it necessary, apparently, to rethink the whole business. He has not started to think about Islam in Western Europe, for example, and not merely to take the same idiotic strategy — winning hearts, winning minds, extending “prosperity” (which means tens of billions of American dollars), and keeping polities “unified” (which means the Americans have to somehow get the various ethnic and sectarian factions to lie down, like so many lions with so many lambs). He is simply moving the whole business from Iraq to Afghanistan, and with help — help! — expected from the meretricious government of Pakistan.
To be continued.