The PJ Tatler

Are we in for a cold war with Pakistan?

Pakistan outed the US CIA station chief in Islamabad in December 2010, in the form of a lawsuit against him for ordering drone strikes on al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Osama bin Laden is found living in a slummish villa a short jog from Pakistan’s military academy, where he had been living for several years. And now Pakistan has outed a second US CIA station chief in country.

This is starting to look like some of the tit for tat stuff we used to see between the US and USSR during the Cold War. While I don’t have access to the ghost of James Jesus Angleton, I’m curious how he and other spooks of the time might read the goings on between the US and Pakistan. We’ve had the case of the jailed diplomat, and the Pakistanis getting increasingly fidgety over drone strikes in their territory, plus the rest, all in the past six months or so. If the US truly did not tip the Pakistanis to the OBL raid, the relationship is all but dead and the Pakistanis, at least in public, are doing nothing to restore any trust. The US-Pakistan relationship is looking very frosty.

If we are in for a cold war with Pakistan (or already in one), what happens? That region of the world becomes even more dicey than it already is. The first casualty would be US aid to Pakistan, which probably gets replaced in short order by aid to Pakistan from China. Afghanistan becomes more and more violent, as the Pakistani ISI uses the increased US-Pakistani hostility as a pretext to boost its support for the Taliban and wage a proxy war against US forces. While US-India ties strengthen, Pakistan could become to China what Syria is to Iran: A client state fostering terrorists against a common enemy. Afghanistan plays the role of Lebanon.

It goes without saying that the fact that a nuclear-armed Pakistan with a history of its scientists proliferating that technology to our enemies, plus the massive US indebtedness to China, puts the forces of freedom very much behind the non-magic 8-ball.