… and placating the leaders of the ones we should go after.
The sarcastic, albeit true, party line for why Pakistan was not taken to task by the Americans is that it has no oil. In that case, why didn’t we go after Saudi Arabia, the other lead exporter of Islamic extremism? Incidents like Bhutto’s assassination and the recent attacks in Algeria scare the living daylights out of me. My brain, without much prompting, begins to visualize the next subway bombing or 9/11 in the western world.
Alarmist thinking? Check out the results of this latest poll of American popularity abroad.
… According to surveys conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, between 2002 and 2007 favorable views of the United States fell from 60 to 30 percent in Germany, from 61 to 29 in Indonesia and from 30 to 9 in Turkey (though in Pakistan the figure rose from 10 percent to 15).
Despite a 5% approval increase on the part of the Pakistanis, the article also mentions that a whopping 72% of Pakistan’s citizens dislike America.
Add to this the following outcome of Bertelsmann Foundation’s international opinion poll: China and Russia have risen in stature, while America’s star wanes [full report].
Regardless of the error bars or personal biases within these polls, perception is nine-tenths of the problem. Therefore, I ask: At what cost do we “fight terrorism?” Making more terrorists. Oil at what cost? American lives. The abuse of our treasury and international status to what end? Shame, ridicule and the poorhouse. Whatever happened to properly-applied diplomacy?
The current solution of the anti-terror governments of this planet (mostly us) does not work. Meanwhile, our nation and its status falters abroad. It’s way past time to rethink our methods of dealing with not only Islamic extremism but also the newly-fomented overall Arab hatred of us. Aptly-placed diplomacy, for starters. To those of you who think diplomacy is for treehuggers and peaceniks, what I mean is not hugs all around. Diplomacy is negotiating peaceful solutions and offering economic (minus arms and tanks), social and educational initiatives to subdue and provide constructive alternatives to belligerent elements, while tightening the grip on the family jewels of nations like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan. Education, jobs, choices — these are the things that build bridges, understanding and amity and take people away from lives of terror-mongering.
Let them know we care but also mean business, instead of farting around in Iraq, killing Iraqis and Americans and watching as more wasps emerge from their invisible nests.
On first hearing of Bhutto’s death this morning, I thought, “Oh great, another martyr for the cause of the Troop Surge in the name of continuing to fight terror. Except that this time they’ll send more troops to Afghanistan or Antartica while making kissy-kissy with the Pakistani government as that nation goes to hell in a handbasket.”
Look, Time already says I’m partly right.
“She was let down by those in Washington who think that sucking up to bad governments around the world is their best policy option” … There will be many tense days ahead for the Musharraf government as it deals with this political crisis. And that’s good news for terrorism.
I’m really sorry, Pakistan, and hope you make it out of this turbulent time. I hope we make it in the long run, too.