Remember, when Obama gives military aid to Pakistan, it’s empire. When Obama withholds that military aid, it’s still empire. From the AP, via Stars and Stripes:
“If you still need the relationship, which clearly the United States does, then it really doesn’t make sense to take action at this time because it leaves the United States with less, not more, influence with the Pakistani military,” said Maleeha Lodhi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. “Cooperation cannot be coerced by punitive actions.”
“I think it hurts Washington more than it hurts Islamabad,” said Lodhi, the former ambassador. “Assistance is influence, and when you withhold it or suspend it, you deprive yourself of influence.”
Gee, sorta like how events continue to unfold with minimal violence in Egypt because of American influence over Egypt’s army? Whodathunkit. Moral purists will be glad to know that Obama is being perfectly consistent so far, ordering the withdrawal of about a third of American forces from Afghanistan while withholding about a third of America’s military aid to Pakistan.
There are risks. Pakistan is not the most stable of countries on a good day — the sick man of South Asia. But the fight in Pakistan starts with American convoys into Afghanistan, so the fewer American troops remain in-country the less our logistical supply line will feed the conflict. It may take several presidents to work out the peaceful collapse of the country Muhammad Ali Jinnah built, but that process starts with leaving.