Pakistan's Mumbai? Time to Let Pakistan Go the Way of East Prussia

By now you've probably heard that Islamists stormed a Pakistani police training station, killing 11 before they themselves were killed. I'll direct you to Ed Morrissey's post on the matter for the details.

As for me, things look grim in Pakistan. Very very grim. The former chief of the ISI claims that the U.S. is destined to fail in Afghanistan and that Obama's new strategy is doomed from the start (thanks to Steve Schippert). Unfortunately, he may be right.

Pakistan is a failed state. I fear that nothing short of a full civil war of genocidal proportions (think millions dead) will bring those sympathetic to the Taliban to heel. Not only is the Pakistani state incapable of such an effort, but even if it were to engage in such a campaign I believe the West would decry it and would do everything in its power to stop it.

One of the greatest fallacies of the post-WWII era has been the general emphasis on reducing conflicts. While that sounds nice inasmuch as fewer people are killed in the short term, not allowing a conflict to fully develop and then be settled may increase deaths over the long term.

Ever hear of East Prussia? Probably not. When the Russians beat the Germans in WWII, they wiped it off the map. It's a brutal lesson, but a lesson nonetheless. When one side in a conflict wins decisively, the chances of repeating the same war over and over again is decreased enormously.

So, in the name of peace now some conflicts continue indefinitely. Wars are not won, instead they are managed.

Conflict management may be nice when there is no moral or national interest (ours) staked in the outcome, but sometimes we need a side to win. In the case of Pakistan, we need secularists to defeat Islamist extremists. Our national security is at stake here.

But would we allow secularists in Pakistan the victory they (and we) deserve? I doubt it. I just don't think we have the stomach for it.

A second best option might then be to allow Pakistan to completely fall into anarchy, and then begin to recognize separate ethnically based states. A Punjab state -- which is really the only basis for centralized power today. A Bollochi state. And a Pashtun state.

We could then ally ourselves with the Punjabis and Bollochis. The results of which would be no more spurious claims from the present Punjabi dominated government of "violations of national sovereignty" by cross border raids.

In other words, the end of "Pakistan" would also denote the end of our present policy of no ground troops in the ethnically Pashtun areas where the Taliban are strongest.

It's a thought. Perhaps others can think of a better way to win the war in Afghanistan. But increasing aid to the Pakistanis seems like a gigantic waste of money. Our new strategy on the Afghan side of the border will only be a winning one when Pakistan does its part. And for the foreseeable future, that looks like it's just not going to happen.

Posted by: Rusty at 11:06 AM

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