Today the New York Times had an article describing American actions within Pakistan. What stands out about these actions is that they are occurring within Pakistan's borders, but American officials have found no need to get permission from any Pakistani authority before acting on Al Qaeda militants in the nation's tribal areas. What used to be a relationship in which Pakistan let America do whatever it wanted to a point (which seems to have come to an end with Musharaff's resignation) has now turned into America saying, "You won't give us explicit permission to do whatever we want to on your land? Too bad, we're doing it anyway." Bravado at its most dangerous.
To begin with, the Bush Administration's actions in the country of one of our only Middle Eastern allies in the "War on Terror," shows that it has yet to come to grips with the fact that America is a country that is one of many on the global scene. Certainly there is a lack of respect for Pakistani authority on its own land. While the government hides behind the accusation of "The ISI is corrupt and working with the enemy," no one is questioning how the ISI came into its modern form. During Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's reign in Pakistan, he diminished the ISI to almost nothing. When General Zia ul-Haq took power in the late 1970s he re-invigorated the ISI and took it to new levels with the help of the CIA during the Afghan-Soviet War in the 80s. The ISI is what it is today thanks to the American taxpayer, so to blame the ISI for being corrupt is like blaming the dog you raised for pissing in the house; it's your responsibility.
Let's not confuse things. Pakistan is not dragging its heels when it comes to American action within its sovereign borders. They have told the CIA that they prefer that our intelligence agency use the unmanned Predator drones to attack Al Qaeda in Pakistan, which we have done before. Apparently now, however, that is not enough for the military and the Bush Administration and ground forces must go onto Pakistani soil to complete their missions. While American officials will give limited information to Pakistan before the actions are taken, it is being reported that they do not seek any type of approval. I cannot imagine that if the tables were turned and Pakistan wanted to conduct some armed forces missions on American soil that the Bush Administration would tolerate it.
It's interesting that Bush signed these orders in June, a month before President Musharraf resigned from his post as Pakistan's leader. It makes one wonder, was Musharraf beginning to push back a little on American demands? Was he pressured to resign because his American lap dog status was beginning to change? The timing of everything is suspicious.
With the Bush Administration undermining Pakistani sovereignty by conducting military operations on their own soil, America is heading down a dangerous (though not unprecedented) past. It was less than 30 years ago when a radical Middle Eastern individual named Khomeini rallied the citizens of Pakistan's eastern neighbor when it was discovered that America had been undermining the citizens of Iran by supporting the Shah's SAVAK. We all know how that one turned out. Now we are undermining an entire country by spurning their government and performing any military action we want without answering to anyone.
As a justification for why America is doing what it is in Pakistan, an anonymous official said, "The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable. We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued." We have to understand that as a nation in a world of nations, just because something is not going the way that we want it to in another country, we cannot just go and do whatever we want with little to no regard for that country's sovereignty. Again, if another country were to do this to us, saying that things in America were "intolerable" and they were going to take matters into their own hands, we would be up in arms. In fact, people have done this in the past such as at the World Trade Center in 1993, Oklahoma City in 1995, and seven years ago to the date again in Lower Manhattan. Working with a country in pursuit of American interest is one thing, telling a country to, essentially, piss off while you do whatever you want within its borders is another thing completely. Peace.
Photos - George W. Bush, the man who signed the orders (en.wikipedia.org), Map of Pakistan (www.lonelyplanet.com)