In Human Events this morning I discuss the latest developments in Pakistan’s long-standing double game:
“Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude in Afghanistan” – so says a new report from the London School of Economics, which documents how Pakistani military intelligence is not only aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan, but is actually represented in the Taliban’s governing apparatus.
This is the same Pakistani government that receives billions from the United States in order to fight against the Taliban. The Senate voted last fall to triple the amount of non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion annually — money that was supposed to go to build democracy and aid anti-terror efforts. “We should make clear to the people of Pakistan,” said a naÃ¯ve and befuddled Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), “that our interests are focused on democracy, pluralism, stability, and the fight against terrorism.”
The people of Pakistan undoubtedly know that, but it is not so clear that they’re actually on our side. In September 2008, the New York Times reported that “after the attacks of September 11, President Pervez Musharraf threw his lot in with the United States. Pakistan has helped track down al Qaeda suspects, launched a series of attacks against militants inside the tribal areas — a new offensive got under way just weeks ago — and given many assurances of devotion to the antiterrorist cause. For such efforts, Musharraf and the Pakistani government have been paid handsomely, receiving more than $10 billion in American money since 2001.” However, “the survival of Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders has depended on a double game: assuring the United States that they were vigorously repressing Islamic militants — and in some cases actually doing so — while simultaneously tolerating and assisting the same militants.”
What has changed since then? Only the regimes in both Islamabad and Washington, but neither the double game nor the false assumptions that continue to allow it to be played.
One fundamental assumption that all too many Pakistani officials hold is that when something goes wrong with society, it is because the people have faltered in their fidelity to Islam and only renewed religious fervor can solve the problem and restore prosperity to the nation and health to the society. This assumption militates against the idea that any amount of American aid will significantly alter the situation in Pakistan, or lessen popular support for the Islamic jihad of the Taliban and allied groups. For the Americans will always be infidels, no matter how much money they lavish upon the Islamic Republic of Pakistan….