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Brahma Chellaney on Obama’s AfPak policy.

Brahma Chellaney writes about the strategy of the American president to counter the AfPak problem. I agree to his views and is a good read. Below are a few excerpts. The article can be found here.

Brahma Chellaney says that India is indeed ‘the sponge that protects us all’ from terrorism emanating from Pakistan. The new President’s strategy is compounding the Af-Pak problem

After all, the brunt of escalating terrorism from Pakistan will be borne by India, which already has become, in the words of ex-US official Ashley Tellis, ‘the sponge that protects us all’.


The Af-Pak problem won’t go away without a fundamental break from the American policies that helped create this terrifying muddle. The US military can never win in Afghanistan, or even secure a ticket out of that country as Obama wants, without first dismantling the Pakistani military’s sanctuaries and sustenance infrastructure for the Taleban and other state-reared terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (the group who carried out the Mumbai atrocities) and Jaish-e-Muhammad. As Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley pointed out just before leaving office in January, ‘You can’t really solve Afghanistan without solving Pakistan.’

Yet to mend a broken policy on Pakistan, Obama is doing more of what helped to create the failure — dispensing rewards upfront. He has set out to make Islamabad the biggest recipient of US aid in the world without having first defined benchmarks for judging progress. It was under his predecessor, however, that Pakistan began raking in a terrorist windfall.


The scourge of transnational terrorism cannot be stemmed if attempts are made to draw distinctions between good and bad terrorists, and between those who threaten others’ security and those who threaten ours. But, unfortunately, that is what the Obama administration is doing, first by drawing a specious distinction between al-Qa’eda and the Taleban, and then seeking to split the Taleban into the Afghan Taleban and Pakistani Taleban.


Unwittingly, Obama’s strategy may end up repeating the very mistakes of American policy over the past three decades that have come to haunt US security and that of the rest of the free world. In seeking narrow, tactical gains, the Obama team risks falling prey to a long-standing US policy weakness: the pursuit of short-term objectives without much regard for the security of friends. It must abandon its plan regionally to contain rather than defeat terrorism, or else an Islamist takeover of Pakistan is inevitable.

April 30, 2009 - Posted by | Current Affairs | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This whole AfPak circus is a nightmare for all. I’m not sure what it really means. Is it Af-Pak or Pak-Af or more like Fak-Ap?? I think its really the last one.

    Comment by Bhavananda | May 3, 2009

  2. Fak-Ap!!! LOL
    The Problem is that, all said and done America is a necessary evil there. Without its arm twisting and bullying tactics , Taliban would have captured pakistan by now. They made pakistan act against Taliban while India is still complacent about the danger. Compared to our useless politicians I think America is better off at the moment.
    What do you think?

    Comment by borneveryday | May 4, 2009

  3. I wouldn’t blame it all on our politicians, though they have their share of it. Its just that the Americans have what it takes to defend them, and that includes political will as well as resources (they think they have!) to spend. We just don’t have either. As for political will, its shaped by public opinion. We take out marches for a Jessica Lal but no one realizes the dangers of what will happen when Islamabad falls. Keeping aside the fears for nukes for a moment, it will be total sekoolarism in entire region.

    Comment by Bhavananda | May 5, 2009

  4. I just posted a comment but don’t see it. I hope its in queue or something …

    Comment by Bhavananda | May 5, 2009

  5. Bhavananda, your comment(#3) went into the spam folder. From when have you started spamming? 🙂 . Well thats what wordpress thinks. :-\

    I agree with your view, but then do you really believe that we can take protest marches about what is happening in another country? whats happening right now has to be handled politicaly because it involves more of external affairs than internal strong public opinion. Just a thought , would like to know your view.

    Comment by borneveryday | May 5, 2009

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