The President and Pakistan

As I write this, government forces in Pakistan are moving against entrenched Taliban fighters up and down the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

After years of what seemed like mild coddling of the Taliban by the Pakistani government, the tables are now turned. Just this morning, more progress was reported. While the task of sniffing out and destroying these terrorist havens will be long and arduous, it’s nice to see Pakistan’s new (though embattled) leadership assuming a more aggressive role in helping the U.S. root out terror.

I have to give credit here to the Obama administration. Last week, the president brought Afghan leader Hamid Karzai and Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari to the table to discuss options on how they can improve relations and, more specifically, security along the border. The very next day, Pakistan made several moves with its military and set in place this long campaign. I believe that sort of action required a gentle nudge from the United States, and the world will benefit from it as a result.

What remains to be seen, however, is how India plays into this new relationship. Can the U.S. do its part to ease relations between India and Pakistan long enough for Pakistan to get its house in order with respect to Afghanistan? Karzai can and should be playing a larger role to assist Zardari, and I think he got the message in his private sessions with the president.

It’s nice to see some international diplomacy and muscle flexed to exact some positive dividends on behalf of Americans. Granted, Pakistan relies on millions of dollars in American foreign aid, and I’m sure that had something to do with Zardari’s actions. But his government is struggling now itself — fighting to keep civil unrest at bay, along with the independent-minded tribal leaders throughout the region. His own government has something to prove with this campaign, and if the U.S. can encourage those moves and enable them through Obama’s very visible involvement, then I applaud that.


Visit www.armstrongwilliams.com .