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  •  And our presence alleviates those problems how? (0+ / 0-)

    by further destablizing Pakistani government?

    •  As I said, that's debatable. (0+ / 0-)

      When we arrived in Afghanistan, the Pakistani government was a military dictatorship established only two years before in a coup d'etat, and it had no effective control over border regions (Afghanistan or India). It had just become an open nuclear power within the last decade, during a tense standoff with India.  Its nuclear technology was being illicitly exported around the world, including to hostile regimes in Iran and North Korea (which has since become a nuclear power).  Radical anti-Hindu elements were ascendant, and nuclear war with India looked distinctly possible.  The first judicial crisis emerged when Musharraf decimated the justice system.  It wasn't exactly the model of stability.

      Of course, it isn't particularly stable today, either.  Our presence in Afghanistan led to the formation of the Pakistani Taliban during Bush's first term, and that group continues to pose a risk to Pakistani stability (as Benazir Bhutto, for example, can attest).  But it is slightly more democratic than before, the judiciary seems to have stabilized after the Lawyers' uprising, and our Afghanistan-based military and intelligence forces are being used to help the Pakistani government fight the Taliban (whereas they'd otherwise likely have to negotiate to allow them into government and grant them a large degree of formal regional autonomy).  It appears that Pakistan is no longer an immediate nuclear threat to India, is no longer exporting nuclear technology, and is no longer interested in allowing the Taliban to legally govern.  That can all be said to be progress at least partially related to our occupation in Afghanistan.  (And though it's certainly no longer relevant to the discussion, our forces in Afghanistan made it possible to rush aid to Kashmir after the devastating 2005 quake that killed about 80,000 and led to some tense standoffs with India--our presence does affect that relationship's balance, probably for the better.)

      The point is, if long-term nuclear security is the goal (and given Obama's focus on the issue since taking federal office, there's no reason to doubt that this is playing some role in his thinking), then our presence in Afghanistan is more helpful than not.  If anything else is the goal--Afghan democracy, Afghan centralization and stability, the eradication of extremist violence in the Af-Pak border regions, etc.--then we're probably barking up the wrong tree.

      "Speaking for me only." -Armando

      by JR on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 07:14:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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