THE PLANK OCTOBER 15, 2009
This speaks volumes about the challenges of steering Pakistan to a stable, pro-American, and anti-radical future:
The report follows previous ones that say the U.S. is bringing in 3,000 Marines to the expanding U.S. embassy in Islamabad, a report that Special Rep Richard Holbrooke has repeatedly tried to put to rest, seemingly to little avail. Holbrooke even invited the Pakistani press in to look at the architectural plans for the embassy to try to put to rest paranoid speculation about why the US was expanding it, he recently told an audience at an event hosted by RFE/RL.
But the constant stream of Pakistani press speculation about a hidden, allegedly sinister U.S. intent raises the question of whether a central Holbrooke assumption is correct -- that considerably expanding the U.S. government presence, embassy and personnel on the ground there will be a reassuring sign of long-term U.S. commitment to Pakistanis, rather than have the opposite effect, and play more into the hands of anti American constituencies there.
When it comes to Pakistan, we just can't win. When we're not accused of treating the country like "a condom, used and then thrown away," to invoke Bruce Reidel's memorable phrase, we're being accused of sinister infiltration.
[Via Laura Rozen]