Whatever else he has done, Pres. Barack Obama has introduced new forms of warfare.
In Cairo, in what is likely to be the most forgotten seminal speech in history, he waged propaganda warfare against any concept that the world’s problem was a bigoted, backward and reactionary Islamic world.
Then we got Libya, where a tinpot dictator, tottering after 30 years of the most idiosyncratic regime in history, was falling of its own weight. But rather than offer a helping hand to our European allies — who for whatever reason — thought Muammar Khadaffi had to go, Obama decided to “lead from behind”. He almost got his what’s-it in a ringer when it turned out that as everyone else knew, the Europeans did not have the wherewithal to do the job. So we led, shall we say, “from the left side”?
Now we are faced with an even more dangerous and difficult job.
Our on and off — the switch in Washington used as much as in Islamabad — alliance with the Pakistanis is in deep do-do. The army, which we helped usher out of power in order to restore “democracy”, apparently cannot control some of its echelons.
Someone, perhaps not the senior officials, knew Osama was there. Shamed not only by our successful raid to grab him, but by an almost hilarious — had it not been so bloody — virtually simultaneous invasion of its principal naval base in its largest city through a whore house operating on the premises, the army is fraught.
And there isn’t much to Pakistan institutions except the military, as corrupt and inefficient as it may be.
The Obama Administration has decided in this instance to wage war from the pages of The Washington Post. Given its past record of service to the cause of stable government and its current seediness, somehow that doesn’t seem the way to solve the problem for this observer.
Ultimata are usually delivered through diplomatic echelons — that’s so, that when you or the other party has to back down, it can be done with a certain amount, of shall we say, finesse? Delivering ultimata on the front page of The Washington Post is a little like undressing in Macy’s windows — seduction it is not, more like exhibitionism.
Pakistan, with its more than half billion people, most living in ignorance and on the verge of constant disaster, are being run by a government lost somewhere in the pages of Kipling and Somalian anarchy. At any moment, the army may have to step in as it has always done to save drowning politicians.
Excoriation on the pages of The Washington Post wont make it easier.
But what can be done there and is being done there is to further diminish the prestige, the stature and the power of any Pakistan government — leading not only to anarchy but to the further radicalization of Pakistani Muslims ready to believe any cock and bull story about the Americans.
It could be helping to set up a factory for turning out jihadists with unlimited resources in manpower and with enormous resources among its diaspora communities in the West. And there are always the nuclear arms lying around for the pickup.
It may well be as several spokesmen, loud and clear, have enunciated that the attacks on the US embassy in Kabul are coming from the Haqani network, egged on by elements in the army’s ISI, the notorious and probably vastly overvalued intelligence organization.
But rooting out the Haqani won’t be done on the pages of The Washington Post. Either the US will have to satisfy itself that this is the case and go after the culprits in some of the most difficult terrain in the world, or reach a compromise with the Pakistani army for information which would defang them.
Either way, the Obama Administration can not lead this war from the pages of The Washington Post in a critical and perhaps the most dangerous situation facing the world today.