It wasn’t that long ago. Remember when Obama mentioned on the campaign trail that he would attack terrorists in Pakistan if he had actionable intelligence, and everyone on the right went ape shit about how that would be a violation of Pakistani sovereignty?
… McCain stated that “political change in Pakistan is occurring that might effect our relationship with a nuclear armed nation that is indispensable to our success in combating al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere.” A vote for Obama, said McCain, can push into office “the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally Pakistan.”
Over a week ago, President Bush made a similar attack on Obama, stating, “The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was he’s going to attack Pakistan and embrace Ahmedinejad.”
Well, times have changed boys and girls. After Mumbai, Pakistani sovereignty is apparently now off the table. At least that’s what Neocon Robert Kagan is urging “the world” to do, and the sooner the better, apparently:
Have the international community declare that parts of Pakistan have become ungovernable and a menace to international security. Establish an international force to work with the Pakistanis to root out terrorist camps in Kashmir as well as in the tribal areas. This would have the advantage of preventing a direct military confrontation between India and Pakistan. It might also save face for the Pakistani government, since the international community would be helping the central government reestablish its authority in areas where it has lost it. But whether or not Islamabad is happy, don’t the international community and the United States, at the end of the day, have some obligation to demonstrate to the Indian people that we take attacks on them as seriously as we take attacks on ourselves?
Would such an action violate Pakistan’s sovereignty? Yes, but nations should not be able to claim sovereign rights when they cannot control territory from which terrorist attacks are launched. If there is such a thing as a “responsibility to protect,” which justifies international intervention to prevent humanitarian catastrophe either caused or allowed by a nation’s government, there must also be a responsibility to protect one’s neighbors from attacks from one’s own territory, even when the attacks are carried out by “non-state actors.”
Funny how when Bush was still the leader of the free world Pakistan was our ally and conservatives urged us to ignore the Pakistani government’s many failures to root out fanatical extremists in their midst, and to respect Pakistan’s sovereign authority over its own territory, if only out of respect for their nuclear weapons capability. Yet now everything has changed. Now with King George essentially having abdicated the throne, and with Iraq and the US committed to a complete withdrawal of US military forces under the recently approved Status of Forces Agreement, neocons like Kagan feel free to unleash their inner warmonger against Pakistan, this former stalwart ally in the War on Terror.
There are a million reasons why this scheme of Kagan’s wouldn’t work, starting with the fact that the only country willing to sign on to this new international coalition with America is India, Pakistan’s chief adversary, and ending with the fact that no government in Pakistan could survive an agreement to allow an international force to takeover jurisdiction of its territory. Indeed, any move in this direction would be more likely to spark a nuclear confrontation in the region than avoid one.
Indeed, such idiotic proposals as the one suggested by Kagan arguably provide aid to the extremist factions in Pakistan’s military and Intelligence Services who must be hoping against hope for just such a response from the “international community.” Fear of invasion by foreigners always helps the most radical elements in any society attain political power because it allows them to play the patriotism card. Something tells me we don’t want to undermine the fragile return to democratic government in Pakistan, nor do we want to see the most fanatical religious elements of Pakistan’s military obtain control over its nuclear arsenal. Yet that is what Kagan’s approach to the crisis between India and Pakistan would invariably lead to.
Hopefully, Obama’s foreign policy team includes no one stupid enough to listen to neoconservative fantasists such as Kagan whose only solution to terrorism has always been an unending stream of gun, bombs, missiles and American soldiers occupying foreign countries. Hopefully.