Monday, June 08, 2009

The EU hearts Pakistan

The tactics that are being used by the Pakistan army against the Taliban in Swat and other areas have been directly imposed by Washington. Holbrooke just finished a visit to the areas, tossing out dollars like a prince riding through the throng on an elephant, smiling with a benevolent eye upon the death and destruction.

Three million new refugees are only a part of the toll up to now, and it doesn't seem that the army is in any hurry to allow them to return to their homes. When a curfew is lifted, it is to allow more people to escape and become refugees, not to allow refugees to return home. Despite the pronouncements of victory, there seems to be no timetable for a return to normalcy, whatever that may be.

For Holbrooke, and, according to the Asia Times' Syed Saleem Shahzad, for the EU, this is all to the good. The EU is scheduled to have a big meeting in Brussels with Pakistan on June 16-17, where we can expect further 'counter-terrorism' efforts by Pakistan to be rewarded with Euros.

Since Pakistan's main tactic in fighting the Taliban causes widespread death, destruction and population upheaval, it's hard to see how that will help stop terrorism. Europe's rather clownish efforts to be a slightly softer version of the US big brother will probably end up causing more terrorism rather than less.

Despite Obama's lip service to diplomacy, there is still no movement for regional diplomacy to help bring peace to Pakistan or Afghanistan. The EU's effort would be much more productive if they would move in that direction, rather than trying to direct Pakistan's rulers with more money. But since the EU's foreign policy doesn't move unless Washington says jump, that remains off the table, as the situation becomes ever more dire.


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