US Needs Wake-Up Call on Pakistan

Patchwork approach has failed—time for a more holistic view
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Dec 8, 2008 1:28 PM CST
Demonstrators burn Indian and US flags during a demonstration in Multan, Pakistan, on Dec. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
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(Newser) – Pacifying Pakistan could prove more difficult than democratizing Iraq, a hard reality that may be eased somewhat by a US special envoy, George Packer writes in the New Yorker. Packer, who backs the appointment of Richard Holbrooke, cautions that anything other than a holistic approach could spell trouble. “Years of US efforts in Pakistan—military aid, air strikes, Special Forces operations, bilateral diplomacy, coaxings, warnings—have been patchwork, and they have failed.”

Packer criticizes a recent bipartisan report on world terrorist threats that includes a chapter titled "Pakistan." This seems to suggest, he notes, "that the nation itself is a kind of WMD." “Some commentators have simply demanded that Pakistan rid itself of the virus of extremism that threatens its own security as well as its neighbors’. The core problem is that Pakistan is no longer really a country, if it ever was,” he continues, quoting an expert: “Our Pakistan strategy is hopelessly at odds with reality.”