Pakistan Untethered Even More Dangerous


For those following the evolving challenges in US-Pakistan post-bin Laden relationship, I share a slice of a thought in this clip with Jim Sciutto on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer.

My basic point is that Pakistan is a nation we can’t extract ourselves from without high costs. I suggest that “untethered”, Pakistan could easily rank as the most dangerous nation in the entire world.

— Steve Clemons


16 comments on “Pakistan Untethered Even More Dangerous

  1. bob h says:

    The Pakistanis will fine tune the mixture of terrorist support and nuclear weapons control to keep us and our funding engaged. We can’t quit each other.
    But until we succeed in defunding their military and “intelligence” service, civil society in Pakistan can never strengthen.


  2. Chumanist says:

    The apprehensions- courted by Paul Nurheim in his note regarding the new war bill proposed by the US Congress -seems positively warranted.


  3. Tank Man says:

    Agree with all, but as Paul stated Pakistan as a pariah very dangerous, but China and Russia are ready and willing to fill the void.
    Certainly we have legitimate complaints, but we rail endlessly against Pakistan and even Karzai who I despise, but both have legitimate objectons to US policy and actions as well. We simply aren’t known around the world for working well with others and respecting the culture and advice of locals. Instead we predictably throw violence (& money) at every problem, disregard local concerns, interests and allegiances and wonder why we can’t move the needle.


  4. questions says:;_ylt=Ah8efV6GLn_txCcV0garxoas0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNsNXZqa2xwBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNTExL21sX3NhdWRpX2FsX3FhaWRhBGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDNQRwb3MDMgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX2hlYWRsaW5lX2xpc3QEc2xrA3NhdWRpcG9saWNlMw–
    All of that to say that:
    “Saudi Arabia says three al-Qaida members have returned from abroad and turned themselves in.”
    Very interesting. Wonder what comes next….
    (h/t kos)


  5. questions says:

    O/T, but shows how complicated it is to create villains sometimes:
    “But Mr. Wiesenfeld indicated Tuesday that he had no intention of resigning, and a number of others questioned the wisdom of trying to force him to do so.


  6. Paul Norheim says:

    I sent an e-mail to Steve this morning regarding a new defense authorization bill related to the Global War On Terrorism
    that in my view is an alarming turn of events. I’ll copy it here in extenso, since this is an important and urgent public
    Dear Steve,
    I know you’re busy, but I assume that you’re aware of the content expressed in the following quote from a New York Times
    article published yesterday (Tuesday):
    “In Congress, a debate is getting under way over the underlying authority used by two successive administrations to wage
    the post-Sept. 11 fight against terrorist organizations and their supporters. The House Armed Services Committee is
    expected to take up a defense authorization bill on Wednesday that includes a new authorization for the government to use
    military force in the war on terrorism. The provision has set off an argument over whether it is a mere update


  7. rc says:

    Meanwhile, just across the road, the $10billion (per month) question:
    Options …
    (a) be controlled by Washington with a small footprint?; or
    (b) be controlled by washington with a large footprint?
    Assuming economic rationality, a bit of a $120billion p.a. no-brainer imo.
    A lot of potential ‘health care’ in that package!
    Sure, it’s only $4,000 p.a. per Afghan – assuming 30 million population (if my math is correct). GDP per capita 2008 was $800 and average income of male workers was around $426 p.a. in 2010. So in relative terms its ten-times the value in local economic terms — i.e. the equivalent of $40,000 p.a. per American ‘Afghan’.
    And sure, it’s only paper-money in reserve currency that costs no one except a few finger strokes on a magic keyboard, but imagine if that quantum went into dropping medical and healthcare packages on them instead of bombs!
    Drop the costs from $4,000 p.a. per head to $400 p.a. per head and give each Afghan a free annual $400 to health-care stipend if they sit down and go to school. Looks like a win-win scenario!


  8. John Waring says:

    Tethered or not, the current relationship is unsustainable.


  9. Paul Norheim says:

    Note to Questions: some of your comments would actually
    have been less off topic if you cared about where you posted
    them. Like if you had posted the US-Pakistan comment on
    one of the many threads dedicated to such issues – like THIS
    thread – instead of dumping it on the Krugman thread.
    And why post something about billionairs like Koch on a
    thread dedicated to Pakistani issues when there is a money-
    related thread nearby – the Krugman thread!?


  10. rc says:

    Bahrain exists so that the US 5th Fleet is not technically within Saudi Arabia. But if there is an uprising in Saudi Arabia then US/Nato forces would be difficult to deploy — any such ‘invasion’ by the infidels (even the ‘frenemy’ overlords) would spark an Islamic reaction around the world. Including Egypt I suspect.
    Syria’s Sunni majority are revolting against their minority Shia government, and the Shia majority in oil provinces of Saudi Arabia are revolting against repression by the Sunni ‘government’.
    The US attack on Pakistan to ‘kill’ Osama bin Laden has set off a rethink and recalibration in Pakistan which has two options if/when/where the US does not cooperate — Saudi Arabia and China.
    It is in the Saudi regime’s interests to have a nuclear ‘friendly’ on the other side of Iran. It is in Pakistan’s interests to have an oil supply well protected by their military.
    The US’s infantile obsession with the wild-west myth of ‘getting their man’ Osama bin Laden, combined with domestic Presidential election politics, has led to the beginning of a new ME regional configuration emerging. It is hard to see how this actually progresses US interests.
    Check out the RealNews segment for the Pakistan-Saudi developments —


  11. questions says:

    OT, but worth noting:
    The URL gives a pretty good idea of what’s up.
    I’d recommend that a few lefty billionaires buy up some other econ departments or we’re going to end up with a whole new generation of libertarian economists. If you have concerns about the current state of the field, just you wait…..


  12. jon says:

    If the US is not allied with Pakistan, then Pakistan will become a
    close ally of China. Is that in the best future interest of the US?
    Beneath the surface noise, there is a close working relationship
    between the US and Pakistan which seems to be unaffected. What
    the US might want to focus on is the continued liaison between
    portions of the ISI and Pakistani military with al Qaeda and the


  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    How very fortunate for the NRC, the EPA, the nuclear energy sector and this Administration that this flap with Pakistan, (and the charade of the vicious firefight that Obama’s heroic political leadership instituted, resulting in the triumphant insertion of another crock-of-shit bit of trumped up American history into the minds of the masses) has occurred while the situation in Fukushima deteriorates.
    More fires. Contaminated groundwater, sewage as far away as 65 kilometers, radioactive. Massive releases of radiation into the Pacific. Strontium and plutonium being detected. Greenpeace denied permission to come close to test aquatic life. Reactor temps rising.
    All over the world we see many nations taking prudent and common-sensical actions. Shutting down aged reactors. Halting plans for new plants. Re-examining the wisdom of proceeding with planned nuclear energy projects.
    But how does OUR government, and the whores that run it, react to this unfolding global calamity playing out at Fukushima??? The same way they react to ALL situations. By hiding the truth from us, whoring themselves out to corporate power, and sacrificing the health and security of those they are sworn to serve.


  14. questions says:

    General ME news:
    The URL gives it away…. Ugly.
    And because this is better placed here, I’m reposting the link, but not my comment, from where I stuck it in an older thread:
    h/t nakedcapitalism for both.


  15. paul lukasiak says:

    Steve — when you say “untethered” are you referring to Pakistan’s relationship with the US, or a Pakistan that is a pariah state? I would agree that a Pakistan that was politically and diplomatically isolated would be extremely dangerous, but IMHO China (or Russia) could easily replace the US as Pakistan’s “tether”.


  16. Don Bacon says:

    Pakistan probably doesn’t see itself as really tethered to the U.S. but rather in a temporary marriage of convenience, much as the U.S. sees Pakistan.
    Pakistan truly hearts its neighbor China.
    news report:
    Pak-China relations based on depth and vitality
    ISLAMABAD, May 9 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari Monday termed Pakistan


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