Obama Advisors Disagree On Pakistan

Obama advisor Susan Rice says:

Obama feels that democracy and human rights in the context of Pakistan are essential to our security

But Obama advisor Zbigniew Brzeznski says:

I think the United States should not get involved in Pakistani politics. I deplore the absence of democracy in Pakistan, but I think admonitions from outside, injecting exile politicians into Pakistan, telling the Pakistan president what he should or should not wear, that he should take off his uniform, I don't really think this is America's business and I don't think it helps to consolidate stability in Pakistan

My view is that the statements from Rice and Brzezinski are both awfully simplistic. There are no easy answers for foreign policy questions and especially no easy answers for the Pakistan question. That is not a popular thing to say but I think it is true.

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    The disingenuous Brzezinski (none / 0) (#1)
    by dannyinla on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 12:22:25 PM EST
    He doesn't think the US should get involved in Pakistani politics?!?

    I guess he felt differently when he pushed for such involvement in the past:

    Brzezinski, known for his hardline policies on the Soviet Union, initiated a campaign supporting mujaheddin in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which were run by Pakistani security services with financial support from the CIA and Britain's MI6.


    Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm Islamic mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, 1979 to 1989. The Program relied heavily on using the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as an intermediary for funds distribution. Along with funding from similar programs from Britain's MI6 and SAS, Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China, the ISI armed and trained over 100,000 insurgents between 1978 and 1992. Somewhere between $3-$20 billion in US funds were funneled into the country to train and equip troops with weapons, including Stinger man-portable air-defense systems.

    from wikipedia

    Perhaps Brzezinski has selective memory.

    Or Perhaps (none / 0) (#2)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 12:45:38 PM EST
    He learned from his mistakes?

    I honestly don't know, but I do tend to think Pakistan is more complicated than any sound bite can do justice.  Although I admit that I'm more sympathetic to Brzezinski than Susan Rice's if only because Susan Rice sounds an awful lot like the other Rice and that foreign policy hasn't been good for anyone (except, perhaps, al Qaeda).


    Perhaps he has learned from his mistakes (none / 0) (#5)
    by dannyinla on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 11:02:47 PM EST
    And, if so, I'd love to see him articulate that (if he hasn't already).

    If there are no simple answers... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 01:11:17 PM EST
    ...Then the complex ones are also beyond us.  Our entire foreign policy around the world is based on fear.  Fear of other people running their own affairs.  That is a recipe for disaster, and it has proven so.  What, the Chinese or the Russians are going to take our place and send their troops all over the globe in our absence?  Please, they are all having a grand time watching us bankrupt ourselves, they have a much longer history than we do and seemed to have learned more than we have.  We are the only nation engaged in the folly of global military adventure.  If we don't stop, it will destroy us completely.  And soon.  And if we think we can't because break our addiction to hegemony, that others can't run their lives without us, well, we are even more sociopathic than I thought.  

    Pakistan's choices, reduced to bad and worse (none / 0) (#4)
    by Aaron on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 02:06:14 PM EST
    Since a respectable interval has passed, 24 hours, since Benazir Bhutto was murdered by an assassin's bullet, I can now voice some of my political opinions and concerns in the wake of this violent assassination of a leader who put her life on the line when she could have been lavishing in the good life in New York City.  Yet she chose to return to her homeland to try an institute change, in a country that was seized by a dictator, a dictator who has seen fit to do away with any semblance of representative government, the independent judiciary and the Free Press in recent months.  

    I have little doubt the General Musharraf is delighted to have Mrs. Bhutto, who was highly popular and the only real political threat to his power liquidated, leaving him the unopposed leader of a country in which the people have no representation, and no uncensored voice to speak on their behalf.  Benazir Bhutto may have been a flawed opposing candidate, but at least she represented choice for the Pakistani people, and a voice that was pushing for governmental reform and a return to some form of democracy, a remote possibility that has now been entirely extinguished.

    The day before yesterday, the people of Pakistan had at least three viable options, Mrs. Bhutto, Musharraf or the radical Islamists.  Today their options have been reduced by one.  Now it seems to be a choice between Musharraf and the radical Islamists, and that seems to be exactly the choice that radicals and Musharraf want to force the people to make.  

    It can be argued that with the radical Islamists the people have at least some hope of having a say within their own government, though real support for the radical jihadists political faction is very small in Pakistan, something like 10%, but with no other hope for any kind of reform or change I imagine many more will begin to move in that direction.  And as we now all know Musharraf is entirely unwilling to give his people any real voice in their own government.  So what the Pakistani people are left with two really horrific choices.