Idly Following Pakistan. . .

“Oh billions of dollars, is there any problem you can’t not solve?” Again, John Stewart’s humor comes back to me. The day after Secretary of State Rice announced that the U.S. would continue offering billions of dollars of military aid to assist Pakistan’s “fight” (if you could call it that) against anti-Western Islamic militants within its borders, despite repeated human rights violations, we receive delightful images: Pakistani riot police battling and beating lawyers in the streets.

The lawyers are protesting the declaration of martial law in Pakistan. Oh, did I say “martial law”? I’m sorry, it’s not martial law, it’s “a state of emergency,” at least according to Musharraf’s administration.

I’m not going to turn right around and say that this proves we’re wrong to offer military aid to Pakistan. But it certainly does make that aid a lot more difficult to justify, doesn’t it? Especially considering that Pakistani forces don’t seem to be making much of an effort against the Taliban to begin with.

There’s no easy conclusion here. Imagine yourself in a position of leadership in this situation: suspend military aid and risk agitating a deeply Islamic, nuclear-armed nation, or keep up military aid and feel like chumps while at the same time feeling like we’re betraying our own ideals. Agh.

If only we could afford, in the 21st century, to take George Washington’s advice and at all costs avoid “foreign entanglements.”

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