Point/Counterpoint: The Case for US Intervention in Pakistan
by Marshall Sloane on Friday, November 22nd, 2013
(The counterpoint to this article can be seen here.)
The Middle East is arguably the most volatile, inconsistent, and rapidly changing region on the planet. With persistent Islamist extremism and systemic government instabilities, the world strives to create tranquility in this region. Because the United States is the most diplomatically powerful nation on Earth, other countries entrust the job of stability to our government. Over the past few years, the U.S. has been unable to ally with many Middle Eastern presidents and governments; therefore, in order to accomplish any positive evolution, the U.S. should thaw the presently stressed diplomatic ties to Pakistan to build a brighter future. Pakistan is a nation in desperate need of foreign aid. They need to fund educational reforms, grow a coherent military to fight the Taliban, and give humanitarian aid to an impoverished populace. With the U.S. in need of diplomatic allies in the Middle East and Pakistan in need of aid, a new diplomatic relationship could be formed off of mutual need and reliance.
The attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, a young schoolgirl in central Pakistan, injected new life into the Pakistani debate about the scope of the Taliban: the need to have equal rights, and the lack of a functioning education system. The Pakistani government has begun negotiations with the Taliban once again. Nevertheless, the murder of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud by a drone strike has resulted in newly invigorated Taliban violence. Unable to fend off the growingly volatile Taliban front, the Pakistani military is understaffed, under-trained, and hopelessly corrupt. The U.S. can aid the Pakistani government in fighting off the growing Taliban threat. Any money or help provided has the potential to turn the tide in the Pakistani government’s fight for some level of national tranquility.
Not only does Pakistan need to fend off of the Taliban, it also needs to improve its seriously deficient educational infrastructure and defend the rights of its citizens. According to UNESCO, only 46% of Pakistanis are literate, while only 26% of women are literate. The Pakistani populace is impoverished. If extremist sentiment continues to fester in these pits, they will add to the Taliban’s recruiting capacity. The Los Angeles Times’ Malcolm Potts suggested that in order to fight terrorism, governments should promote women’s education in impoverished regions – that is to say, military action is often rendered useless without the application of post-war social pressure. If Pakistan enhanced its humanitarian aid and educational system with U.S. help, a more intelligent workforce and more economically sound people would arise, not only improving the plight of the average Pakistani but also helping forces of good to triumph in the fight against terror. Without such U.S. aid, Pakistan will likely continue to foster the same extremist thought that pushed the Taliban to attempt to murder Malala simply for attending school.
Just as Pakistan desperately needs aid, the United States needs an ally in the Middle East. The U.S. and Pakistan have had fluctuating levels of mutual respect. With controversial drone strikes and a fundamental distrust between both, the two nations in no way have a perfect relationship. If the U.S. improved the structure of aid to Pakistan and strengthened diplomatic ties, Pakistan could sanction drone strikes in its nation for the U.S. and give the U.S. a representative in a region typical anti-American sentiments.
When addressing any diplomatic issue, pragmatism must always trump idealism. U.S. aid to Pakistan might enhance diplomatic ties for the U.S., strengthen Pakistan’s fight against the Taliban front, and improve Pakistan’s humanitarian and educational programs. U.S. aid to Pakistan might benefit the international effort against terror and humanitarian crisis.
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