View Full Version : How Pakistan (and Afghanistan) can fix itself

05-06-2009, 02:18 PM
Interesting article in Foreign Affairs. The authors discuss the issue that Pakistan is a failed/failing state and provide recommendations on how to fix it. Most notable is the statistics on children NOT in school/employed and the correlation to suicide bombers and extremism. If they are correct, then Greg Mortenson's work is simply a drop in the bucket. They recommend Pakistan allow Nato-led PRTs.



How Pakistan can fix itself (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4909)
By Ayesha Khanna, Parag Khanna

Giving millions of mainstream Pakistanis a stake in the economy is the only way for the country to avert a deeper failure. A country in existential crisis does not have the luxury of separate education and labor policies. Twenty million children ages 10 to 17 are not in school, and of the almost 25 million Pakistanis ages 18 to 24, more than half have either not completed school or graduated but remain underemployed. Many in these poor and disenfranchised classes are listless young men; most suicide bombers are the 18- or 19-year-olds who come from their ranks.

The textbook approaches to supporting secondary education don't make sense unless the economy is geared toward employing the educated. So much international research and commentary on Pakistani education has focused on madrasa reform, ignoring the older portion of the population that most needs to be engaged. Vocational schools must get immediate funding to recruit and train able-bodied youth in basic engineering and construction work, and university students should be dispatched to participate in PRTs as well as "Teach for Pakistan" programs. There are many shura councils in the FATA, including even in North Waziristan, that have expressed a desire to receive outside assistance provided it works with them rather than around them.

Additionally, the Daily show had an interesting discussion last night as well.

Jon Stewart and Fareed Zakaria on Pakistan (http://www.thedailyshow.com/)

05-06-2009, 02:56 PM
This whole situation seems more urgent than allowing the luxary of foresight. I bear in mind General P.'s recent warning about the potential collapse of Pakistan and now Obama is distancing himself from Karzi:


""On all fronts," said a senior U.S. official, "Hamid Karzai has plateaued as a leader."

The administration will also seek to bypass Karzai by working more closely with other members of his cabinet and by funneling more money to local governors.

The administration rebuffed Karzai's request for a bilateral visit to Washington this spring, telling him he could come only as part of this week's tripartite summit with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, according to U.S. government officials. Karzai's meeting with Obama today is scheduled for 20 minutes, as is Zardari's. "

I just don't think it is wise to splinter Karzi's power base and give blank checks to Governors. There is a wide analogy here to Pres. Diem of Viet Nam. Karzi is projected to be elected again and he is going to get 20 minutes to be put on hind teat and have his base of political powere splintered. Blank checks to Governors, a splintered central Government and Taliban capability of destabalizing Pakistan and forcing total, northern logistical ingress into Afghanistan, WITH an additional 20K troops to sustain. What a nightmare! What a window of opporunity for the Taliban - pull off the border completely, focus on Pakistan totally, destabalize and cut the NATO supply routes then back to the border with their fighters to exploit a major logistical vacum.

05-06-2009, 03:33 PM
Thousands of panicked civilians began fleeing the conflict-ridden Swat Valley region Tuesday, fearing a full-fledged confrontation between government forces and Taliban fighters after the insurgents declared an end to their peace accord with the government. --Washington Post

If Taliban/AQ is indeed securing SWAT, then this may present a good military opportunity for US/Pakistan. The problem with moving to Mao's Phase III is that you expose yourself. This situation is similar to when AQI established the ISI in Iraq. It made finding the enemy much easier.

I'd recommend evacuating as many civilians as possible and then crushing the SWAT area, but, it must be followed up with substantial SSTR or we'll be facing this again in 20 years.



05-06-2009, 04:31 PM
NATO PRT in Pakistan, surely not (on re-reading the article they do not call for NATO to have a role, but use the concept of the PRT). What a stupid idea. Would NATO provide such educational PRTs? No. Are educational PRTs what is needed? No, only as a small part of fixing Pakistan's governance. Would a proud, maybe failing Pakistan, politically and publically, accept such help? No.

The final sentence of the article says: (referring to being 'the most dangerous country') 'Its citizens must now decide if that is the case'.

Pakistan must be left to decide what it wants to do. Yes, that means the Pakistani Army first and then the politicians. The West and other friends (I exclude PRC & Saudi) can help when asked. I refer to the massive gains, in public opinion across Pakistan and locally with the people affected, made in the Kashmir earthquake assistance missions, which alas I suspect now mainly lost by drones etc. Didn't a Washington "big wig" refer to that lesson recently?

Sadly the Pakistani nation-state offers very little to its people, although that was changing until the economy and Taliban had their effect.


Ken White
05-06-2009, 08:19 PM
This quote from the link provided by Goesh:
"On all fronts," said a senior U.S. official, "Hamid Karzai has plateaued as a leader." is typical of the abysmal stupidity and oversized mouths of way too many in the Political class. Not to mention their inability to accept that such comments are not helpful -- even if you plan on withholding support.

Moving right along...

Pakistan has a major problem and that is the US -- and comments similar to that I quoted. If they knew the US was going to stick around and not let the Taliban again rule Afghanistan, they'd be a lot more cooperative. OTOH, given our abysmal track record of abandoning others to unkind fates (Viet Nam, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Kurds and more) they are rightly concerned that we may get tired or bored and just leave -- then they'd have a Talib ruled state on their North flank.

We can't trust Pakistan to do what we want because they don't trust us to do what they want...

And idiots like that blabbermouthed Pol don't help...

08-05-2009, 03:47 PM
...here's an article from the Spring '09 Canadian Army Journal by a Pakistani Brigadier laying out his perspective on the impact of failed states: State Failure in Afghanistan and Security Challenges for Pakistan (http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/caj/documents/vol_12/iss_1/CAJ_Vol12.1_05_e.pdf)

....State failure in Afghanistan, characterized by weak governance, rampant corruption, lawlessness, ineffective counterinsurgency effort, uncontrolled organized crime/drug trafficking, and failure to deliver basic services, presents a clear and present danger to Pakistan’s security and stability Pakistan’s geographically contiguous provinces with Afghanistan, like the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan, are beset with serious security challenges like insurgency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)/Swat, socioeconomic instability, drug proliferation, influx of refugees, and a most virulent strain of religiously inspired terrorism. Pakistan can counter these challenges through an astute combination of politico-economic and military strategy, supported by a national political consensus in sync with international counter terrorism/insurgency efforts.

The identification and analysis of the reasons for state failure in Afghanistan are deemed essential to understand the extent of state failure and its fallout on Pakistan. Areas that need to be focused are the reasons of weak governance, effete counterinsurgency response, corruption in state institutions (police, judiciary and civil services), uncontrolled organized crime/drug trafficking, and ineffective reconstruction/development efforts The impact on Pakistan and her consequent response needs to be highlighted by focusing on the political, social, economic, and military dimensions of the security challenges with a view to offer sustainable and comprehensive solutions. Before undertaking an analysis of the factors contributing towards state failure and their impact upon security situation in Pakistan, a historical tour d’ horizon of the Afghan situation is deemed pertinent.....