The trouble with Pakistan

How worried should we be about Pakistan’s Taliban insurgency?

President Obama met with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan Wednesday, said Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress, and it seems “upside down,” even “perverse,” that Obama had to try to convince Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari of the dangers posed by Taliban in his country. The Taliban is waging a deadly war to overthrow Zardari’s government—shouldn’t he be asking us for help?

What’s perverse, said Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune, is the U.S. government’s “questionable assumption” that it knows “better than a democratically elected Islamabad government how to ensure its survival.” Pakistan’s army, with some justification, sees the Taliban as a “manageable nuisance,” rather than a harbinger of “Armageddon.”

The Taliban “may not be at the gates of Islamabad yet,” said Alex Alexiev in National Review Online, but the “radical Islamization” of the population—and, worse, the military—is pushing Pakistan toward the “tipping point.” Zardari needs to put the military and its “jihadist outreach” intelligence branch under civilian control—and Obama shouldn’t give him “even one more penny in aid” until he does.

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