Thursday, May 14, 2009

The world is on fire -- but Pakistan's civil war is our problem

Did you know, mes amis, that Pakistan is now officially in the throes of a civil war? Out of the Swat Valley, where Pakistan's government had tried to compromise with the ascendant Taliban, now flow some 1.3 million refugees who flee a full-scale war between the two forces.

Why should you care? First off, many Pakistanis believe that the government's offensive in Swat was taken at the behest of the U.S. Given the toll on the civilian population, that can't be a helpful perception.

Then, of course, there's the matter of Pakistan, a nuclear power, flirting with chaos.

Next up -- Afghanistan. In truth, these are not separate problems. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the same problem for the U.S., and in many ways, problems of out government's making. Even if you only care about domestic politics, you had best turn your attention to this volatile region, for this mess really could ruin everything for Obama (and the rest of us).

Your blogstress has a new essay at The Guardian that addresses the apparent lack of interest in our nation's fate abroad vis-a-vis this troubling turn of events. Here's a snip:

David Miliband Meets the Bloggers

It was billed as a newfangled sort of event: a news conference between US bloggers and Britain's blogging foreign secretary at the New America Foundation, a Washington DC think tank.

There was plenty for David Miliband to talk about on Tuesday, especially given the fierce escalation of tensions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the UK has a close alliance with the US, in a week that saw a White House meeting with the presidents of those smouldering south Asian nations, which share a border drawn a century ago by a British mapmaker.

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