We have all heard about the most recent Obama failures – he can’t make a decision on Afghanistan, he was scorned when he made hosting the Olympics a potential jewel for his crown and so on. We’ve also seen that when he fails, he did so because everyone (else) was a racist, or George W. Bush caused him to stumble. It’s tired rhetoric and I’m waiting to see who he blames this time.
The military has ruled Pakistan directly — or indirectly dominated during brief periods of civilian rule — throughout its 62-year history. The current democratic arrangement is in its infancy, with disparate forces competing within civilian institutions: The presidency, parliament and judiciary all have been wracked by internal conflict. The need to rein in an assortment of jihadist non-state actors threatening national security is putting the nascent civilian state under even more pressure. In short, though weakened, the military remains the Pakistani institution best positioned to meet the first requirement of any nation-state: keeping the country together.
The U.S. move will exacerbate civilian-military tensions. This is already evident, as the Pakistani central command moves to counter the Kerry-Lugar Bill. It is extremely unlikely that it will go so far as to mount a coup — and face a domestic and international backlash — but the military has no intention of yielding without a struggle, which almost surely will result in increased instability.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government is trying to follow the model of the ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party in Turkey, which over the last few years has successfully reined in the Turkish military establishment. The PPP Government believes (sorta) that a few billion dollars from the US will allow them to establish greater civilian rule over time, but PPP, unlike the Turkish AK party, is not popular with the people. We will make PPP government officials fabulously rich so that they can retire to Switzerland or the US when the whole thing collapses and live on their personal fortunes, courtesy of US National Debt.
Back to Stratfor’s analysis:
Pakistan is no longer a place where the military can simply dismiss civilian governments, let alone take over. At the same time, the country is also far from the point where civilians can exercise greater control over the military. Therefore, any radical move to alter the nature of the state could have serious repercussions for both the country and U.S. interests in the region — a serious matter, given that Washington already is struggling to craft a policy for Afghanistan.
I admit that I don’t have much faith in the Obama Administration or the Democratic Congress in the US. They have been actors without a real script to follow so they’re trying to find success by doing what they do best – throwing (taxpayer) money at a problem, hoping that it will stick. They are doing this again with Pakistan. Sit back, watch the fireworks, watch your multi-billion dollar aid package squandered – again.