Onparkstreet, a.k.a. Dr. Madhu has a post I rather liked on Pakistan’s maniacal quest for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan, over at Chicago Boyz:
Pakistan’s beliefs in the value of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan were influenced by two factors. The support it received from the U.S. in waging an armed response against the Soviet occupation triggered the belief. The success of that endeavour with no apparent costs to itself, gave Islamabad the illusion of being able to play a major role in the geo-politics of Central Asia. This more than anything else led to the belief that Afghanistan provided the strategic leverage Pakistan had long been seeking. The energy-rich Muslim states of Central Asia beckoned both Pakistan and the energy-seeking multi-nationals. Iran’s standing up to western pressures was proving an obstacle to long-term plans for energy extraction from the region. Afghanistan offered both shorter energy routing and political control through Pakistan.
Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, “wants a reliable proxy that has territorial control of the P2K area,” Mr. Dressler adds. This desire is the result of Pakistan’s historic conflict with India. “If India comes across the border, Pakistan can fall back into Afghanistan and drive them out. It’s about strategic depth vis-à-vis India. As long as that continues to be a driving concern, Pakistan’s support for the Haqqani network will continue.”
A highly plausible future scenario indeed (regarding the second quoted item). In the event that the Indians decide on a massive ground invasion into Pakistan and march sturdily through the landscape of jihadi-networks and scattering Pakistani troops – with nary a nuke in sight and the US sitting idly by – it sounds like a winner of strategy. The supply lines to the Indians will, of course, be Bollywood unicorns pooping ammunition and some sort of MREs.
On the other hand, serious people seem to take Pakistani strategic depth worries seriously. The Indians are forever being told that they must take Pakistani fears of regional encroachment into account so that the United States (ISAF) may have a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan that is stable. Although….
Read the rest here.
The key to understanding Pakistan is that it does not really function like a state in the Westphalian sense, nor do it’s rulers want it to do so, the state merely being a vehicle for their own personal and class aggrandizement. Nor are the official borders of Pakistan the same as the borders that exist in elite Pakistani imaginations. Nor is Pakistan an ally of the United States in any sense that most normal people would use the term “alliance”, as allies are rarely the epicenter of one’s enemies in a shooting war. It is as if in 1944, as we jointly prepared for Operation Overlord, the British were raising volunteer Scottish Waffen SS divisions to kill American troops on the beaches of Normandy.
Strategy works within the confines of reality, strategy does not confine reality. We give Pakistan billions of dollars in military aid annually, and they use some of it to fund and train Taliban who have killed Americans, every year, for the last ten years, and continue to do so while their leadership is safely ensconced in Peshwar, Quetta and Rawalpindi.
Think about that as you sign your 1040.
we our leaders can’t recognize admit in public who America’s enemies really are, how can we win a war?
Our relationship with Pakistan is strategically toxic.