Monday, October 17, 2011

The Pakistan Illusion, The friend of our enemies is not our friend

FOR-US-0165-StockDuring his four-year tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen embodied the quiet professionalism of the American officer corps. He had been chief of naval operations, yet became the steward of two difficult and draining counter-insurgency campaigns, freeing generals in the field​—​David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno in Iraq, then Stanley McChrystal and Petraeus in Afghanistan​—​from Washington worries.The tragedy of American policy is its failure to see that Pakistan has been on a very long downward slope​—​arguably since 1947, when independent Pakistan and India separated from the British Raj. Indeed, Husain Haqqani, currently Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, has described his country as “in some ways a state project gone wrong.”
Pakistan has had a confused and troubled identity. The original idea of Pakistan, as Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution has written, was of an “extraordinary” state, “a homeland for Indian Muslims and an ideological and political leader of the Islamic world.” At the same time, the ideology of the Pakistan founding was opaque and contradictory, with the contradictions seemingly captured in the figure of its leader, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Karachi-born but trained as a lawyer in England and retaining a lifelong affinity for fine English tailoring. Though a partner of Gandhi and Nehru in the India Congress, Jinnah was suspicious of their all-India approach, and as British imperial power on the subcontinent began to wane in the early 20th century, the compact between India’s Hindus and Muslims weakened.

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