Plumb Lines

April 24, 2009

Paying Attention to Pakistan, part II

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Schaengold @ 1:41 pm

I’m glad to see that Yglesias is taking up the Pakistan question, as if responding to my plea that this is probably the most important thing worthy of public comment going on in the world right now but you’d never know it from the papers. He penned a really clever title, too. That said, I have no idea what he means by his concluding paragraph:

Realistically, the potential collapse of the Pakistani state is a bigger problem for Pakistanis than it is for Americans. We can’t make Pakistani institutions more effective than the people running them want to be. And in candor, when you talk to Americans with experience in the region, you never hear them say that the Pakistan security services are run by really competent, honest, trustworthy, well-intentioned people who deserve our help. You hear scare stories about how bad things might get if things go totally south there. But I’m a lot more comfortable with policies grounded in plausible stories about how we’re going to succeed than with policies grounded in plausible stories about how failure would be undesirable.

David Schaengold

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4 Comments »

  1. What’s not to get? He’s saying “We have to do something or else!” is a less satisfactory rallying cry that “This is what we should do and this is how it will work.”

    Comment by Bill — April 24, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  2. ^than

    Comment by Bill — April 24, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  3. Oh, and get a new font.

    Comment by Bill — April 24, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  4. We’re working on changing the font. Maybe even a redesign this weekend.

    Yes, I agree that this is what he means by the last sentence, but it’s not clear what that has to do with the rest of the post, or even the paragraph. The Holbrooke-Lew plan that he cites earlier in the post is an example of “this is what we should do and this is how it will work.” They just happen to be wrong.

    Comment by David Schaengold — April 24, 2009 @ 1:54 pm


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