I think the headline “U.S. Presses Visiting Pakistani Leader on Taliban Threat” pretty much sums up what’s gone wrong in the US-Pakistan relationship. The Pakistani Taliban are waging a war whose aim is to overthrow the government of Pakistan. And yet somewhere we’re the ones pressing the Pakistanis about the need to focus on the threat? It’s weird:
The Obama administration sought Wednesday to ratchet up pressure on the Pakistani government to crack down on the Taliban in the western part of the country, as congressional leaders and administration officials expressed increased concern over the deteriorating situation in Pakistan, where insurgents have taken over territory just 60 miles from the capital.
This is backwards. Or upside-down. It should be that the Pakistan government is very concerned about the Taliban and asking us for aid and support in fighting them. In order to persuade us to do that, Pakistani officials should be explaining that the threat to Pakistan is also a threat to the United States. The current dynamic is perverse. I don’t know exactly what the issue is, but it doesn’t make sense for the American government to be acting as if this is a bigger deal for us than it is for the Pakistanis.