One could argue that Pyongyang represents the most pressing challenge to global ‘order’. Or some people named Jon and Kate. Or Bibi’s belief he met Kennedy in Vienna and found a young, weak American president. We submit Pakistan’s continued collapse into chaos and extremism ranks up there.
It’s a blinding glimpse of the obvious to observe (usually with sanctimony reserved for the News Hour or brown bag lunches around Dupont Circle) that there is no military solution here, as well. The Pakistani military continues its fiction that its ‘offensive’ to retake Swat is almost a complete success.
This suggests otherwise:
The campaign has displaced about three million people, and refugees coming out of Swat during the lifting of a curfew on Sunday said that many people remained stuck in the valley without food, water and electricity . . .The mass migration of residents out of Swat is Pakistan’s largest since the country was partitioned from India more than 60 years ago, and it has added to concerns over security and the government’s capacity to provide immediate relief to the displaced.
Muhamed Amin, a 60-year-old taxi driver from Kanju, an area just outside Mingora, said it took around 12 hours to reach Peshawar, the regional capital, now brimming with refugees less than 100 miles away. He and 11 members of his family walked part of the way, a march of misery, during which helicopters were firing into the area.
Air dropping Holbrooke and retinue in for another ‘on the ground’ assessment doesn’t point to progress, either. It needs to be said – aside from potential geographical dispersion and impinging on Indian geostrategic sensibilities, there is only one real reason to be concerned. And does anyone doubt that we know where *they* are? Perhaps in the Bekaa Valley? Or have the skill even to pull it off?