Friday, December 5, 2008

stop Robert Kagan's idea before it gets somebody killed

Scary to see an editorial in the Times of India echoing Robert Kagan's alarming, counterproductive and pie-in-the-sky idea to have an international force troll Pakistan's more lawless regions for evildoers. Worse, that qualifies as a moderate proposal in India's current political climate, where more and more people seem to be calling for military action.

The article's point (to the extent that it has one) is that, because elements of the Pakistani army and ISI, it appears, backed the Mumbai attack, and because the civilian Zardari government is powerless to stop it, a US-led international force should go into Pakistan to hunt down the bad guys. As I've argued previously (see "Robert Kagan goes completely fucking bananas" from Wednesday) this would be a horrendous idea for a handful of reasons, including:
- the US and friends lack the troops to do it
- the UN Security Council never authorize such a force
- the mission itself, given the size and scope of Pakistan, the ethnogeographic makeup of the country, and its lack of any functioning institutions besides the army, would be completely impossible
- and most importantly, the force would violate sovereignty in a country that is terrified of being taken over. Attempting to quash a Kashmir liberation force by invading Pakistan is pretty much guaranteed to wildly escalate the situation, while not solving a damn thing.

Unless this proposal is supposed to be used as leverage to goad the Pakistani government into taking measurable action against extremists, it can only bring about chaos. Fortunately, since there is no mechanism or logistic capacity for such a force, it'll never happen. And there you have it: the only defense against Robert Kagan is reality.

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