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What To Do About Pakistan

Top U.S. officials say Pakistan is behind attacks on American forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s a U.S. ally. What now?

Supporters of Pakistani religious party Sunni Tehreek rally against the U.S. in Hyderabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Sept 27, 2011. Pakistan lashed out at the U.S. for accusing the country's most powerful intelligence agency of supporting extremist attacks against American targets in Afghanistan - the most serious allegations against Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war. (AP)

Supporters of Pakistani religious party Sunni Tehreek rally against the U.S. in Hyderabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Sept 27, 2011. Pakistan lashed out at the U.S. for accusing the country's most powerful intelligence agency of supporting extremist attacks against American targets in Afghanistan - the most serious allegations against Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war. (AP)

How bad are ties now between the United States and Pakistan? So bad that the U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has charged that gunmen attacking Americans in Afghanistan are straight up proxies for Pakistan. A “veritable arm” of Pakistani intelligence.

Raining fire down this month on the U.S. embassy in the heart of Kabul while reportedly on the phone to Pakistani intelligence. These are hot charges against an angry ally in the middle of a war zone.

This hour On Point: the dramatic US blow-up with Pakistan. Are we at war with an ally?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Alexander Evans, a counselor in the British diplomatic service currently on sabbatical as the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in International Relations and Foreign Policy at the Library of Congress. He previously worked at the Department of State as a senior advisor, first to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and then to Ambassador Marc Grossman, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Alissa Rubin, the New York Times bureau chief in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Shuja Nawaz a native of Pakistan, is a political and strategic analyst and  writes for leading newspapers and The Huffington Post, and speaks on current topics before civic groups, at think tanks, and on radio and television. He is also the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within.

Highlights

U.S.-Pakistan relations are at their lowest ebb in recent memory, with outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen telling Congress last week that the militant Haqqani network is a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence service.

“This is an incredibly troubled time for the U.S. Pakistan relationship,” said Alexander Evans, a veteran senior diplomat who worked for Ambassadors Richard Holbrooke and Marc Grossman, and is now affiliated with the Library of Congress.

“The allegations made by Admiral. Mullen are very serious and they have been refuted by Pakistan,” said Evans. “But this is a time of great urgency for the relationship, because Pakistan and the United States need to find a way forward. Is it going to be constructive engagement or is it going to be a severe deterioration of the relationship.”

Pakistan has long walked a fine line, experts say, between support militant groups that could be used in a future conflict with India, while trying to remain close enough to Washington to continue receiving large military and civilian aid packages. In Afghanistan, said Shuja Nawaz, head of the Asia program at the Atlantic Council, the Pakistanis want U.S. troops to leave but not in a way that would lead to chaos. “They don’t want U.S. troops, but not out in a rush,” Nawaz told On Point.

But there are many problems bedeviling the government in Kabul and the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, including a domestic insurgency that has little to do with Pakistan.

And Pakistan isn’t the only problem. “There have been a number of very disturbing attacks over the past few years in Afghanistan,” said Alissa Rubin, New York Times bureau chief in Kabul. Some of those attacks, she said, “undoubtedly involved some direction perhaps from, at least Afghans, living on the other side of the border, if not from Pakistanis or ISI or whoever.”

But, Rubin cautioned that things may not have changed all that much in one of the world’s most dangerous and unsettled regions. It may be that things have changed, or it may be that Admiral Mullen is leaving his post at the Pentagon, which might allows him to be more candid in his frustrated assessments of the situation.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker “Four weeks earlier, American commandos had flown, undetected, into Abbottabad, a military town northwest of Islamabad, and killed Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani Army, which for more than sixty years has portrayed itself as the country’s guardian and guide, was deeply embarrassed: either it had helped to hide bin Laden or it had failed to realize that he was there. Certainly it hadn’t known that the Americans were coming.”

RUSI Journal “After the fall of the Taliban, Pakistan’s policy of strategic depth in Afghanistan had to adapt. ‘Brand Pakistan’ has suffered over the last ten years, portrayed in the media as an obstacle to peace. Pakistan is willing to support an Afghan political process – but on the basis that any agreement is credible and reflects Pakistan’s critical role in the region. Ultimately, India, not Afghanistan, is at the heart of Pakistani strategic foreign policy, and this will continue to define the region into the future. An effective US-Pakistan bilateral relationship needs to be built on more than transactionalism.”

The Atlantic “Abdul Raziq and his men have received millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. training and equipment to help in the fight against the Taliban. But is our ally—long alleged to be involved in corruption and drug smuggling—also guilty of mass murder?”

CBS News “The unraveling is a slow and fascinating descent. The truth lies somewhere at the bottom of a very black pool thick with the blood of American soldiers.”

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  • JustSayin

    “Pakistan’s a U.S. ally.” Really?  No one believes this Orwellian New-speak, even the people who write it. Just saying something often and ever louder, when challenged by reality does not make it true.

    Lets start with with a statement of observable reality: Pakistan isn’t a US ally. Now with a statement fitting the political and emotional reality…

    Pakistan is well on its way to becoming the real “Iraq” with nukes. The highly predictable reaction to US spying, gunboat diplomacy and bribery, all done in the name of US hegemony… AKA (War on terrorism).

    Of course ALL of this mid-east involvement wouldn’t be necessary if the oil was somewhere else, or the US had a more rational energy policy that was focused on energy independence and not oil field protection.

    • Cory

      You are just right on the mark this mornin’.  Must have had your coffee early!

      The only thing I might add is a re-examination of the very term “ally”.  It isn’t now, and never really has been interchangeable with ideas like “friend” or “loyalty”.  It is a mere relationship of convenience whose lifespan precisely matches the alignment of needs and urges.

      Alliances also are a matter of degree.  Your family is your greatest ally, followed by your good friends, your neighbors, and your community.  Your state, your country, and more distant alliances are quite a bit lower down the totem pole.

      So what the hell am I getting at?  Two things, I suppose.  First is the acknowledgement that political alliances are fleeting at best and should be viewed merely as relationships of opportunity.  Political “one night stands” if you will.  Real alliances are forged with the people around you in your real life.  THESE are the alliances that will benefit you most when times are tough. 

      • Anonymous

        Hat tip to both JustSayin and Cory, and thanks for the sanity.

        (Small exception, Cory: Not all families are their members’ greatest allies!)

        • Anonymous

          Thanks for pointing that out. I’ll bet (statisically speaking) every family has at least one sociopath, and they take up way more than their share of energy, resources, and good will. Very much like dealing with bad actors in other arenas.  (and no, that is not the role I play in my family, I was thinking of somebody else. But then, everybody says they are the “good guy” don’t they?)

    • Anonymous

      They tell us that they are getting so darn good with these drones, they aren’t killing 4 “good guys” for every “bad guy” (It bothers me that all our national leadership, police, media and most of my peers now seem to think we are in a comic book), now we’re only killing 1 good guy for every 19 bad guys we kill.  Hey, thanks for lying to my face, experts!  As if these “bad guys” don’t have friends, families, colleagues, social networks that won’t be radicalized by their deaths, even if the numbers were true.  Unfortunately, if we were completely energy independent, it wouldn’t matter. the rest of the world still uses oil, and the US still will want to control the distribution.  If we use the filthy stuff domestically, it gives cover for that foreign policy objective, but they are rapidly coming to completely disregard citizens opinions about anything.

  • Joe

    What to do with Pakistan?  The U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan and stop sending in drone attack planes to hit targets in Pakistan.  Let these people settle their own problems, we have enough of our own.

    • Cory

      Yeah, the drone attacks…  Anyone looking at this from a neutral position has to acknowledge that this makes us look awful.  Imagine a drone dropping a bomb on your wedding because one of your guests is on someone’s list.  Dozens of your relatives and friends needlessly killed by some foreign government and their “robot”.  Think that might cultivate some hatred?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Pakistan has the best route out of Afghanistan, down to the Indian Ocean by land.  To air lift our gear and personnel out without that route, as I understand, through the republics to the north, almost traps us.  Could we exit through Iran?  
        But in terms of enmity with Pakistan, there seem to be a lot of Pakistanis who are struggling with the identity and administration of their country.  We struggle, they struggle.  To me, they seem farther from a Western outlook because somehow they seem to have less inheritance from British administration such as it was.  
        Where during the Cold War, we’d evaluate their orientation according to that of their government, pro or con, now we know to look at the people.  What I see is that lots of Pakistanis come here with their dreams.  They come to live.

  • Anonymous

    With Bin Laden dead and al Qaeda marginalized, the real reason we are still in Afghanistan is to try to prevent Pakistan’s nukes from falling into the hands of the Taliban or other extremists or terrorists.

    I would suggest your panel address this question:

    “Does our continued presence in Afghanistan make it more or less likely that Pakistan’s nukes will pose a threat to us?”

    • Cory

      Russia…  North Korea…  Pakistan…  India…  Israel…

      We really can’t control what all these entities do with their nuclear weapons, and some even less than others.  We also can’t really contol who develops them as technology advances around the world.  We can try to influence all these countries, but control is impossible.  Sooner or later we’ll have to build relationships in a world where we don’t have nuclear hegemony.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    The DRONE has become the infamous iconic image of America.  It has replaced freedom or Coca cola. 

    And the Western media continues to call the Taliban, suicide bombers, insurgents, and anyone else that attacks the US as “cowards”.  In truth, the usage of DRONE killings are the epitome of cowardly attacks. And sooner than later, simple weapons will surface, that will shoot them out of the sky like clay pigeons.

    It amazes me that anyone would assume that Pakistanis are allies of the US.  The same goes for Iraqis, Afghanis, Egyptians, Yemens, Bahrainis and Turks.

    • Ellen Dibble

      What have you, as an American, done to befriend and assist the World lately, aside from oppose drone usage?  What would you suggest I or we do?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        If I were an American,  I certainly would not be making a living off some lucrative govt agency or contract that feeds off these corrupt wars.  Would you suggest, hypocritically working for some compromised NGO in some Afghani village, feigning to help children while the USA is destroying and exploiting their country and culture???

        • Ellen Dibble

          So you would not be a Peace Corps worker, nor a builder of American bombers.  Something like that.
          What then?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Why dont you tell me your solution Ellen?

          • Ellen Dibble

            I’m listening to this show in hopes of some enlightenment.  In short, I think our foreign policy is in transition.  Or I hope so.  

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Dont hold your breath Ellen… NPR is a corporate gatekeeper.  They’ll let some steam out then muffle the debate.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Don’t  worry, Paolo.  We can take the steam and move it elsewhere.

          • Anonymous

            OK, but where? a huge number of people were incredibly irate that NPR decided that the wall street action wasn’t being covered (check out the ombudsman’s page) – then they gave 3.5 minutes of coverage to the issue, making the protesters look like naive fools, giving the final word to Bloomberg, and people thanked them!  We really need to have our own place where we can plan, strategize, debate, keep each other honest and inspired… it’s hard, these democratic party astroturf groups (like Van Jones’ project) come along and syphon off our energy.  Those darn Huffington Post bloggers were more interested in bashing Huffington that setting up something new, something worker owned, I argued for it until it was obvious I was getting no traction. I am worried, and will be until I know the details of where we’re going to move it, and how it’s going to work.  mattlove1@gmai.com

        • Anonymous

          Paolo — I think you might enjoy a book by Peter Van Buren, just out, about his experiences as a State Department “drone” in Iraq.  An interview with him — awful and funny — can be found here:

          http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&prgDate=09-26-2011

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Not read the book yet, but listened intently to his interview.  A very honorable man.  And its amazing that any American would continue to pay US income taxes after listening to his story.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Play it out, though, and if no American paid income taxes because of vast, vast numbers of things that we do ourselves and to others, then you have a situation.  A Situation.   A sort of American Spring, in which probably the usual suspects would get back in the driver’s seat.  The solutions have more to do with strategy, understandings on a broad scale, that sort of thing.  Probably the same with Pakistan.

          • Anonymous

            Taxes are the least of it.  As individuals, we pour money daily — through the most common purchases, from cable TV to one or another brandof toilet paper, into the corporations backing “permanent war” precisely because it is so lucrative.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Sad to say, I agree with you.  What is the prescription, per Prairie-W?

          • Anonymous

             Well organized, selective, and massive economic boycotts.  Yes, even now. Sooner, better.

          • Revelz

            Boycott what? We have been a little too self-involved, what with Irene and the fires to notice that after last year’s massive flooding took out what little proper water management they had, this year the monsoon has wiped out most of the cotton crop. The best anti-terrorist move we could make would be to send in the Army Corps of Engineers to help them get those dams and levees put back up before the next monsoon does even worse. Given the seismic instability of the Himalayas, this is a genuine case where developed world engineering and investment are needed.

            Here in Vermont, the Flood of 1927 completely undid generations of solid small business Republican ideology. After a few years of trying to pay our own way out, we had to join the New Deal.

  • Bill

    Pakistan is just backing the same side in Afghanistan they always have, the same side the US itself was backing during the Soviet occupation.

    • Anonymous

      @9122a12728175202254c76917aebfab0:disqus  This appears to be the confluence of two parts of Pakistani culture: view of India as their existential enemy (and thus the need for great influence in Afghanistan to keep Indian influence out) and radical Islamic elements (allowed into the military by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq) to gain the support of Islamist parties after his coup and executing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1978.

      Pakistan has basically two governments: the nominal civilian one and the military, which has its own budget with no civilian control. And then within the military there is the main army and an intelligence “division,” the ISI (Inter-Srevices Intelligence) which may or may not have rogue elements or be the expression of the military leaders.

      • Cory

        The view from a Trekkie…  The Pakistan you describe sounds just like the Cardassians.  Paranoid and obsessed with enemies real and imagined.  A weak civilian government drug along by the military with a highly autonomous and powerful intelligence arm (The Obsidian Order). 

        Sorry everyone.  I am an unapologetic nerd!

        • Guest

          Great one. Who would be play the part of Gul Dukat or Elim Garak? 

        • Anonymous

          So was that what they were trying to communicate?  I always thought that the Cardassians were meant to represent Israel, and the Bajorans  represent Palestinians, but I guess that would be attributing a lot of intelligence, courage, and thoughtfullness to people that work for an entertainment franchise.

  • Charlie mc

        There have been two great evils throughout the history of mankind which seem to have no end in sight. One is the delusion that power is the path to world peace. Military “preparedness” and the expense of seeking to be the world’s policeman have driven all great civilizations into the ground. Our belief that with a highly developed military-industrial economy we could maximize our own profits while simultaneously obtaining a Pax-Americana throughout the world, has done little but accelerate hostility throughout the world. It may be too late to undo the permanent damage done under the aegis of such a policy.
         The second great “evil” has been the proliferation of religion throughout history of the sorts which proclaimed, “There is no salvation outside of our religion”. The alternative to this would have been to better understand the spirituality of the founders of these divers traditions. For if these were better understood, then men like Jesus, Gandhi, Mohammed, Moses and Buddha would be seen to be repeating the same insights and would help to unite all mankind instead of dividing
    us into warring camps.
         The history of Pakistan tells this same sad story. Hindu extremists in colonial India persecuted Muslims. Muhammed Ali Jinnah sought partition into two separate countries, one Hindu, one Muslim. Gandhi pleaded for unification of Muslims and Hindus with non-violent spirituality, but this was rejected by his fellow Hindus and by the wounded and revered Jinnah; and thus the bloodbath commenced.
         So, profitable wars fought for “religious” ideologies, must become known for what they are, catastrophic.

    • Indian in USA.

       Hindu extremists in colonial India persecuted Muslims. Read the history properly. Before the british conquered India, India was ruled by muslim emperors. Those muslims came from out side of India. Long before hindus destroyed any mosque it was the Islamic invaders who destroyed and plundered hindu temples. It was the Islam which spread it’s rule from Medina to africa, to spain to India. Even during Partition Jinnah called for action (against hindus) to show his relevance because he felt sidelined after sweeping victory by congress. It is true that hindu followers of Gandhi rejected the idea that Jinnah will be the prime minister of unified India and Gandhi accepted which goes against his principle of non discrimination based on religion. Jinnah also was adamant to stick to his demand to be the prime minister of unified India. India had two muslim presidents, several muslim ministers and muslim chiefs of its defence force. How many non muslims hold any office in any Islamic country? So analyze carefully and don’t come to conclusion based om half baked knowledge of history and over confidence in your hypothesis.

      • guest

        This is true. It was the Muslim rulers under the Moghul Empire first and then under local Nawabs and Nizams which held political authority in India for the longest time. They (Muslims) are responsible for countless atrocities and injustice against the Hindu population in the Indian subcontinent. Fortunately the power of Muslim rulers was greatly curbed during the British occupation. Unfortunately that power was replaced by said occupiers who were no better.

        Later on during the road to independance, the Islamic elite were afraid of being treated the same way they had treated the Hindu majority, thus through their leader Jinah they pushed for partition and created the state of Pakistan.

    • Anonymous

      @3aa65616d54c79225464a11782727521:disqus  I agree with a lot of what you say but I really disagree with the statement that hostility has been accelerated throughout the world. First, and though I have trouble with a couple of his “points,” Stephen Pinker gave a TED lecture where he showed the decreasing violence in the world across the time from the Renaissance to today. It certainly is not uniform: there are many ups and downs but more and/or bigger downs than ups. Certainly the Renaissance gave license to the push for more secularism in the ordering of societies and is at least partially causal to the decline of violence.

      One strong aspect of “PAX Americana” is that it has NOT meant American colonialism as in the 17th to 20th Centuries (admittedly with some dabbling — Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.) and the way the Bush administration ran roughshod over Iraq (and didn’t) is not to be admired. But globalization of economies has needed it to grow and for all the iniquities in that growth, it is benefitting people in ways that build the middle class and that gives people something to lose, thus driving down the level of violence.

      The “Arab Spring” is a result of the realization by the poor and middle classes (such as they are) in the Arab world that their leaders were stifling their progress relative to other “freer” countries that were outstripping their growth through greater freedom. That kind of “fighting” is not from hostility to Americans or other foreigners, but to the kind of government they had.

      Once the level of violence drops, people can start interacting with less fear, thus actually seeing the opposition as human instead of some “devil.” To get the best performance from their soldiers, all military leaders have always demonized the enemy. That is why the religious threads that have given up on the Golden Rule try their best to find enemies to demonize (e,g., homosexuals, fornicators, other religions) so as to take their members’ attention away from their own clay feet.

      The human race can only hope that this type of hatred which is not necessarily more today, though it is more open in some societies, will not prevail, as its future depends on overcoming this. Global Warming mitigation is just one area where scientific knowledge is being attacked for political power purposes and not acknowledging its truth will have severe consequences for all of mankind.

      • Anonymous

        “One strong aspect of “PAX Americana” is that it has NOT meant American colonialism as in the 17th to 20th Centuries.”  You’re quite right, the Europeans felt some obligation to the people they colonized, however patronizing and racist they might have been. The US brand of colonialism, which they have dabbled in everywhere within their sphere of influence (outside the Soviet bloc, and mainland China), involves setting up local strongmen who simply open the pipeline of blood and treasure to their American masters.  Massacres and rivers of blood in Central and South America?  Mere dabbling!  Assassation and overthrow and tyranny and oppression in the Middle East and Africa?  A trifle, hardly worth mentioning! Tampering with elections in Australia and Europe, carpet bombing in Southeast Asia?  Where do I get these crazy ideas, anyway?  Maybe one reason the Roman Empire and the British Empire lasted so long is because they invested in their colonies. US colonialism isn’t like that. It’s more like Somali piracy.

  • Anonymous

    We should have helped the Soviets. 

    • Tony

      Pakistan and Afghanistan are basket cases. It beggars believe that India and Pakistan gained their independence at the same. While India is looking at pulling its people out of poverty, Pakistan pours scare resources at improving its military, funding terror, and spreading hate through its state funded religious schools (Madrasahs). Islam a peaceful religion, what a joke.

      • Revelz

        Tony, I flagged you even though I thought you were doing great until you got to that bash on Islam. It has just as much internal diversity as any other faith community, and there are countless Muslims working hard to counter the damage done by the extremists. As we all get tired of saying, Don’t judge all us Christians by Timothy McVeigh.

        • Anonymous

          The Christians (I’m not fan of them either) haven’t killed people for opposing blasphemy laws lately.  They haven’t had riots over cartoons.  They haven’t issued death threats to Sir Salman Rushdie.

          • Anonymous

            Timothy McVeigh was an amateur.  The big time Bible yhumping Christians don’t bother with retail terrorism, they go for wholesale terrorism. Bush destroyed entire countries, and Obama is apparently eager to do more of the same if it will get him re-elected. They don’t issue death threats, they issue death warrents. 

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    It’s called “Quid Pro Quo” Tom.

  • Jays

    Why are we discounting the saudi influnce in this mess up? Why saudi connection is tabu for us and pakistan?

    • Cory

      I was going to answer your question when I noticed I have all this damned oil all over my hands!  I have to go try to wash it off.  I’ll be right back…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Is it really just about Pakistan, their nukes, Haqqanis, oil, resources, China or Israel ??

    Or is it about the bloated debt laden American standard of living and
    obscene corporate and banking profits, that prosper on a currency
    created from thin air, whose value is only assured through comprehensive
    military hegemony ??

    Let’s get to the real source of the problem.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Bingo.  But I think that’s another program, or series of programs.

    • Cory

      Don’t worry Paolo.  Globalism is steadily taking care of our post WWII hegemony and bloat.  Pax America is in it’s winter.  Just be careful not to paint us all with one big brush.  I’m confident your culture and government have some warts of its own.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Warts yes,  but not parasitic malignant tumors.

        • Anonymous

          @facebook-1778940602:disqus  That is mostly in the eye of the beholder and the location from which it is viewed.

          • Anonymous

            As a patriotic American, and a defender of the Republic, I agree with Paulo. I hope that the American empire collapses soon, I think only then will the American Republic have a shadow of a hope of a chance.

    • Revelz

      Not even close, Paolo, although not completely wrong. Yes, there is a Military-Industrial complex that is sucking our country dry, but getting out of Afghanistan and Pakistan won’t make a damn bit of difference. They are spying on us now, and taking is whoever suits their current definition of suspicious.

      My grandfathers went through this in their day, and my parents tried hard to keep their noses clean in every way so they wouldn’t have the same problem. No use. This is an organism that will invent its own enemies just because it needs so much to eat.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Not close???   How many govt or govt contract retirees that you know, who’ve produced relatively little or nothing their whole life, then retire at 55 at 80% of their pay, living large, driving the SUV, big house, lots of toys, fridge full of food and taking vacations. Look all the acronymed agencies of the federal govt.

        What do you think maintains such a undeserved standard of living in a largely service economy where wealth is made through smoke and mirrors and derivative casinos??   It a fiat money backed by the end of big guns.

        You need to read up on the workings of the Federal Reserve, the IMF and the world bank and you’ll understand why NATO is bombing Libya, and why the US is in Pakistan.

        • Charles

          Almost every currency today is a fiat currency. Our Military might has little to do with the value of our currency, when it comes to matters like that the Fed has much much more control than the pentagon does. Now that the gold-standard is gone and impossible to bring back, currency is only worth what people will trade for it. 

          I agree with you on many americans having undeserved standards of living, this is one of the main problems with our economy today. I believe it was Thomas Friedman who said that if americans expect to continue to receive many times what their counterparts in China do for preforming the same jobs, that we need to keep being many times more productive.

          While I agree with your point that our country is infested with fat cat traders who create large fortunes for themselves whilst creating little to no value; you unfairly demonize an America that still has a large manufacturing sector that produces an enormous amount of goods.

          We just need to get back to out producing everyone like we did in the post WW2 era. This will require a tremendous amount of innovation and new thinking. But until then jobs will continue to ship overseas.

          • Charles

            realized that this is terribly off topic… sorry

  • Indian in USA.

    The main factor is competition with China for oil. Discuss the contrast in treatment with China. Pakistan vowed that any terrorist acting against China will be destroyed. The issue is this. If Afghanistan gets a government that is friendly to USA then USA will have easy access to the oil reserves of central asia. So, china is prodding Pakistan so that Afghanistan remains under the influence of Pakistan and Pakistan will remain under the influence of China. Also this way China also contains India by allowing Pakistan having total control of Afghanistan affairs. In 2001 Pakistan acted like a pet of USA for war against Alqueda and Taliban and now when US economy is weak it is even attacking US troops brazenly.

    Simple solution for USA is to pull out troops and SELL India as much weapons as possible and make the most Armed country among China, Pakistan and India. Also, USA should make it clear that under no circumstances nukes can be used else whole western world will nuke China and Pakistan. This way USA saves the expenses in Afghanistan and also improves the economy by selling (not aiding) weapons to India. Let the situation take its own course. Pakistan will definitely make a terrorist attack on India withing next two years and India can retaliate and the whole problem will be solved in just 2 to 3 years.

    • Anonymous

      @99096082dfec06641e420c051b185037:disqus  @3aa65616d54c79225464a11782727521:disqus  This confirms at least part of the history of the India-Pakistan separation from England and then its split. There are Pakistanis, even, who regret the split as it allowed the hatred between Hindus and Muslims to have outward expression which continues to feed the religious disturbances within India and the outright obsession with India in Pakistan. And the recent problems in India from homegrown sources link back to the Hindu attacks on a Mosque which was razed to build a Hindu temple. Here again the politicians used a religious party to help gain political power resulting in the detriment of the people of the country.

      It seems everywhere that religion is used for political purposes, not for its useful aid in people living a communal life, it gets distorted into hateful intentions more reflective of base human desires than the religious celebration of how best to live together on earth. Every religion has at its core some form of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But when used for political purposes that core is thrown away (“under the bus” in today’s parlance).

      Anyone not wrapped up in “their side” can see how that is playing out here in the U.S. today.

  • Indian in USA.

    The terrorism in Pakistan is because Pakistan is appearing hypocrite in trying to help USA in front of its own creation.

  • Barbara Phinney

    Dear Tom:
    Thank you for your program today.  I am curious, in light of all the recent increased bombings in Kabul and accusations about Pakistan’s involvement, why we have not heard from Ahmad Rahsheed in quite some time.  I have always found his comments to be very helpful in trying to understand what is happening. I always appreciate your efforts in having all voices heard.  

    A close relative works in Kabul.

    Thank you, Barb Phinney, Milton, MA
    long time listenener

     

    • Anonymous

      His “Descent into Chaos” tells the story and makes it clear that the very things now being pointed out by Admiral Mullen and causing such an uproar have been a problem for a long time.  And have been ignored or lied about for that whole period. 

      We loved and facilitated the chaos when it was unleashed on the Soviets, but now our “Frankenstein” is coming back to haunt and harm us, as well as a lot of others.

  • Revelz

    Please quit talking about “Pakistan” as if there were a single functional entity of this name. It is a failed state at war within itself. What we are seeing reminds me of the intra-mujahiddin terrorism that appeared as the Soviet invasion collapsed in the Reagan years. The most socially conservative forces in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, the ones who rely on subjugated clans for their own enrichment, on women imprisoned at home to avoid criticism on issues of public welfare, who define religion in the most narrow terms of unquestioning rote learning and obedience to inherited authorities — these folks increased their terrorism against those who hoped for Western support in broadening social avenues for deserving individuals, in carefully distributed aid for social uplift.

    Western isolationism played into the hands of those terrorists as surely as we armed those who issued commands. Our withdrawal of interest and oversight allowed those who won the last round to entrench themselves for this round. We gave them a good fight, but as we prepare to leave, they are gearing up to make sure they win the next one.

    This battle has nothing to do with the United States and everything to do with driving out those who oppose generational corruption and subjugation. There are two Pakistans: one which wants us to fail and leave, one which wants us to stay and fight. We are on the first side.

  • Revelz

    Political alliances might be fleeting, but it’s cultural alliances these folks are fighting off. I can’t help a partisan aside that they might soon find serious allies in the United States, pushing the same general approach to getting rich by keeping the majority down. But that does no justice to the quandary felt by many US voters as we wonder if there are enough clothespins in the country to get us into those voting booths next year… followed by a fleeting fear that maybe it won’t even matter because we couldn’t find out what went on behind the scenes.

    Choose your allies carefully: they can infect you deeply. We are more and more like today’s Pakistan than they are like the US they so desperately feared in 1980.

  • Dave Ransom

    good discussion on Pakistan, but i believe it misses the point. Realpolitik was discussed, corporate control of governments who cooperate in securing profits and security. Until moral choice creeps back into corporate board rooms and the welfare of the people, the needs of the people, are sought, there will only be billions more spent on such as the 3 warships being made in America right now for near 8 billion, providing jobs through the all-pervasive military-industrial complex which fears local economies. Look at Pakistan’s history, conquered, poverty, resilience of the people, riches taken by government leaders and conquerors. It requires moral choices to stop this flow. The mid-east revolutions are being absorbed by big corporates as we speak. Moral choice for the development of local control and the needs of the people is now a necessity for protecting the security of the earth!

  • John Randolph Hardison Cain

     I
    thought Alissa Rubin gave the most concise and accurate assessment of
    this development among these so-called “experts”. Her appearance came
    about 20 minutes into this broadcast.

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  • Caleb Keller

    Your “contact us” page said the best way to do so was through these comments, so here goes.

    I want to suggest Nicholas Kulish’s NY Times article “As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around the Globe.”  It is a frightening glimpse into a broad swath of people–from Indian to Spain to Great Britain–who no longer believe in the ability of democracy to meet their needs.  Scary stuff.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/world/as-scorn-for-vote-grows-protests-surge-around-globe.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.mc_id=WO-SM-E-FB-SM-LIN-ASF-092811-NYT-NA&WT.mc_ev=click

  • Anonymous

    People should really disregard anything they hear from the government, or on governmental propaganda radio, if they are concerned about the truth.  The US government is making a mess out of things in the region, they are doing nothing but making enemies, so they point fingers. The US is killing civilians in Pakistan with drones. The US mounted a full scale invasion to murder Bin Laden. An American CIA agent under diplomatic cover murdered two Pakistani nationals on the street in broad daylight, and then his partner in crime ran over and killed a bystander in their getaway. To cover up their crimes, they want to start new wars. Obama is no different than Nixon. Unsurprising, but still depressing.

  • Zahid Iqbal

    I just heard your evening segment on NPR radio in my car. I tell after listening to your comments and some of your callers comments toward Pakistan and now I am sick to stomach. We as an American should not for get that how Pakistan helped us against Soviet Union during 1980′s and 1990′s. But after the Fall of Soviet Union American not only turn their back on Pakistan even hit them with sanction. 
    Other hand Pakistan always promoted mutual friendship with U S. Pakistan has lost so many its own people (civil and army)in war on terror. 
    Let me remind you that CIA was then one which sold the idea of Iraq weapon of mass distraction. (complete lie) Now Mr. Mullen is getting retired very soon and unfortunately he will be remember as a failed General who’s strategies just didn’t work in Afghanistan and he knows himself about this and all he is just doing trying to play blame game now. 
    One thing we also know as an American that this Haqqani group was created by CIA against Soviet Union and CIA used to call them “Blue Eyes” You can even see Mr.Haqqani picture in White House with President Reagan. So understanding is very clear that all these terrorist were created by CIA (American.)
    As us being an American we need to stop being arrogant and need to think more logically and we need to stand with our friends (Pakistan) and the last thing “MONEY CAN’T BUY EVERYTHING”

    • JustSayin

      “MONEY CAN’T BUY EVERYTHING” – That’s just wishful thinking. How long have you been in the US…

      All we need for understanding the interaction between nations is: Politics are as fluid as commerce. If you graph the two they will match exactly. The war on terrorism is actually the war to protect commerce.

  • G.B.A

    …Just a comment on a comment made by a Muslim gentleman living in Canada, who blamed/said America is attacking another Muslim country. This mindset is what I think the problem is, blaming everyone in this case America, for massive problems facing the Muslim world – 99% of which is created by the Muslim world. As soon as things happened in Tunisia, Egypt, the Sudan, Syria, etc.. Who do the people beg to help, support them…America. Antagonist claim that it is America that appointed/put these people in power, which pure rubbish. America does not order Egyptians to treat other Egyptians like garbage, or Lybians to treat  fellow Lybians like garbage. These are Muslim people, treating Muslim people like crap, and looking to blame some foreign entity for their misery. Its easier that way for them. That is, to blame other countries because they cannot fathom that people claiming to part of a “religion of peace” treat each other like human garbage. We do not treat Muslims like that in America – It is Muslims who make their countries some of the worst war zones/misery centers on the planet, because of their lip service to “peace being upon you”, pseudo piety and basic lack of respect for human rights, dignity and fairness. Any delusion by any Muslim that cannot honestly see this, and own up to it, ensures that the misery, rampant ignorance, and mass misinformation being criminally forced upon Muslims for generations will unfortunately continue.

  • Hidan

    Maybe the Pakistani’s will have more sympathy for the U.S. when they stop justify killing civilians cause they think the kill ratio is worth it.

    Anyone catch the news on Bahrain today? There doing nearly the same thing as  libya, even going further by attacking doctors going to villages and opening firing on homes to force protester to return to them. The difference of course is Bahrain is a ally.

    The truth is the world sees what the U.S. is doing and it’s getting harder to hide it.

    • Slipstream

      And what is the US government doing?

  • AnotherExampleOf

    Dictators, Fascists, Intelligence Agencies, Secret Police, Military Juntas, Gangsters, Banksters and Political Elite all conspire under cloaks of religion, secret organizations and party affiliations to suppress people of all nations and pillage the resources of their lands and labors.

  • Slipstream

    For me the most interesting thing in this show, apart from the news of Mullen’s broadside, was the statement by Ms. Rubin that Pakistan is scared that the Taliban could cut a deal with the Afghan government, and that this might allow India to gain more influence in Afghanistan.  Huh??  Does this mean that Pakistan wants the civil conflicts in Afghanistan to go on indefinitely, and that this is what they have covertly been trying to do, while simultaneously publicly supporting American efforts to stabilize the region?  

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