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Wednesday, June 24

It's a shame Ashraf Ghani didn't also spend five years in Pakistan

Installed in 2014 to Afghanistan's presidency through an exercise in democracy that would have been recognized by America's old-time ward heelers (keep sending them back to the ballot box until the vote comes out right), Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's long career at the World Bank included "five years each in China, India, and Russia managing large-scale development and institutional transformation projects that made what is today's economy in China," according to Wikipedia 's article about him.

It is President Ghani's pride in his accomplishments in China that might actually be more troublesome for Afghans than his naivete about how things work in Pakistan. But moving away from that unkind speculation, it's extremely important for Ghani to realize that when it comes to Pakistan he can't buy the London Bridge from the British government because it's already been sold.  

Ghani also needs to grasp what the British government figured out long ago: Pakistan's rulers can't be satisfied with merely having influence in Afghanistan; they want to run the country. 

Unfortunately Whitehall never got around to sharing that fact with the American defense and diplomatic establishments, perhaps out of concern the revelation would be traumatizing to them.

Instead, the British told the Americans that the only way to keep the unrest in Afghanistan to a dull roar was by arranging it so Pakistan's government had influence in the country.  

The result, as Hard News reported (Afghanistan: An MoU for chaos):
... since Ghani took charge as president after a controversial election rife with allegations of fraud, there has been a visible shift in Afghanistan’s policy towards Pakistan. Ghani has been more hands-on in his approach and seems to believe that for an effective reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan, getting Pakistan on board is essential.
This view is also shared by the Americans and the British, who despite saying that a solution to the Afghanistan crisis needs to be Afghan-led, have always maintained that Pakistan is the key to solving the problems in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan is a key player,” says a British diplomat who works on Afghanistan. “Karzai’s views were well-known. He was openly anti-Pakistan. President Ghani doesn’t carry that baggage.”
Actually Karzai wasn't anti-Pakistan -- although he probably is today -- and he made sincere and energetic attempts during his presidency to work with the country's government; it's just that he's knowledgeable about Pakistan and his attempts were in vain.

See also June 19, 2015 US report again highlights Pakistan’s two-timing on terrorismTNN via The Times of India:
WASHINGTON: An annual US report on terrorism once again called out Pakistan's two-timing on terrorism, detailing the country's patronage of terror groups, but stopped short of citing the government or the army use of terrorism as state policy, or calling for punitive action. [...]
And a Golden Oldie from November 2014, Pakistan using terror proxies against India, US says, which ends with this howler:
But the Pentagon report held out an optimistic prediction for better ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan under the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani.

It said: "Suspicion has surrounded the relationship between Kabul and Islamabad, inhibiting bilateral cooperation on border security protocols. It is possible that the new Afghan President, Dr Ghani, will seek to change this dynamic, which Pakistan is likely to welcome. Although stability in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan, Pakistan also seeks sufficient Pashtun representation in the Afghan government to prevent Pashtun discontent along the Afghan-Pakistan border and limit India's influence."
I wonder if the Pentagon would be interested in purchasing the Tower of London. 

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