Friday, September 23, 2011

Sicilians and the Pakistan Problem

I have already blogged about the latest news on the US and Pakistan, but I had a good conversation with one of my colleagues (Jason F) about it that made me think a bit more.  I realized that this situation is much like this battle of wits:

Or in poker, when one has to figure out if the other guy thinks that I think that she thinks that I think that she has a strong hand.

Here is the Pakistan situation.  After the Bin Laden mission, Pakistan was upset that the US did not inform them of the raid.  So, over the following weeks, the US informed Pakistan of suspected insurgent gatherings and then watched to see what happened.  And?  The insurgents in Pakistan seemed to have been tipped off.  So, the US had proof that Pakistan was leaking intel to the bad guys.  But there is more to it: the folks doing the leaking must have had a good idea that passing along the information would cause the insurgents to flee and thus informing the US that there would be a leak.  That is, the folks doing the leaking did not care that they their leaks would be observed.  The key actors in Pakistan not only did not care that the US would get upset but perhaps even wanted to antagonize the US.  Meanwhile, the US knowing that the info would probably be leaked was creating a situation where Pakistan would unambiguously signal how thoroughly unreliable it was.  Again, the Pakistanis almost certainly understood this.

So, what are the Pakistani folks involved thinking?  As a non-expert, I can only speculate, but my guess is either they think that the US has no choice since it must ship stuff through Pakistan to the Afghanistan mission OR the US is leaving anyway, so screw 'em.

The funny thing is that the US would have more leverage of the Pakistan military was more corrupt since the foreign aid would be something that they sought to pocket.  So, I am confused.  But I do expect that US aid will slow, that the US will continue to step up lines of communication (LOC's) that go around Pakistan, and that the relationship will worsen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am not aware of how many tips they passed along, but could this not simply be an instance of bureaucratic politics or lack of control by Pakistani ruling elites over select intelligence agents? it obviously doesn't help the situation much more if the government has lost control but is there concrete evidence that suggests their intentions are as malicious as you make them to be?