Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Pakistan against itself

Author and journalist Ahmed Rashid has a good essay in the new issue of the CTC Sentinel  (published by West Point and consistently interesting) about Pakistan’s failure to pursue a counterinsurgency strategy against the Taliban and al Qaeda. His conclusion is that Pakistan is a house divided against itself: Until the Pakistan Army is able ...

587657_090318_83429123_Rez2.jpg
587657_090318_83429123_Rez2.jpg

Author and journalist Ahmed Rashid has a good essay in the new issue of the CTC Sentinel  (published by West Point and consistently interesting) about Pakistan's failure to pursue a counterinsurgency strategy against the Taliban and al Qaeda. His conclusion is that Pakistan is a house divided against itself:

Until the Pakistan Army is able to re-determine its strategic priorities and its interpretation of the country's security, it will not be able to practice counterinsurgency successfully. The army's current national security doctrine is entirely focused on India. In sharp contrast, the civilian national security doctrine is focused on building the state in terms of improving relations with neighbors, increasing trade, advancing the economy, and providing mass education and development. The contrast between the two in how civilians and the military see the future of Pakistan has remained the principle contradiction that has bedeviled the country since its inception and has constantly pitted the army against civilian political forces.

Author and journalist Ahmed Rashid has a good essay in the new issue of the CTC Sentinel  (published by West Point and consistently interesting) about Pakistan’s failure to pursue a counterinsurgency strategy against the Taliban and al Qaeda. His conclusion is that Pakistan is a house divided against itself:

Until the Pakistan Army is able to re-determine its strategic priorities and its interpretation of the country’s security, it will not be able to practice counterinsurgency successfully. The army’s current national security doctrine is entirely focused on India. In sharp contrast, the civilian national security doctrine is focused on building the state in terms of improving relations with neighbors, increasing trade, advancing the economy, and providing mass education and development. The contrast between the two in how civilians and the military see the future of Pakistan has remained the principle contradiction that has bedeviled the country since its inception and has constantly pitted the army against civilian political forces.

Practicing successful counterinsurgency relies upon outlining proper strategic priorities and on making national security doctrine relevant to the needs of the population, rather than on the needs or desires of the army. Pakistan’s biggest threat today comes from the Pakistani Taliban and their al-Qa`ida and Afghan Taliban allies. It does not come from India.”

EMILIO MORENATTI/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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