What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pakistanalysis, text and videos

First of all, I'd point out this good piece over at the Small Wars Journal, by Vikram Singh and Nathaniel Fick. One quote from it to highlight, plus, as always, to encourage moving there to read the rest.

"... for Pakistan in particular, the incentives are perverse. As one U.S. official explained to us, “Pakistan gets over a billion dollars per year for poor cooperation and is quite certain that improved cooperation or any success against Al Qaeda would result in less, not more, U.S. support.” "

Meanwhile, check out this video of the infamous June 10, 2008 incident at the Guardian. That was when a US airstrike against insurgents, who were taking rocket-propelled potshots against Objective Bastogne, in Kunar province, has left 11 Pakistani Frontier Corps soldiers dead. Were they acting under perverse incentives? Or were they just simply highly motivated to attack US troops?
Anyway, ISI has a new chief now, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, a Pashtun, who earlier belonged to the Frontier Corps. As something like a job requirement, he is "well respected at the Pentagon." And he is taking a position that otherwise could have gone to Major-General Asif Akhtar, head of ISI's external wing. He has his job cut out for him. Christian over at GoA notes, having pointed out this video and what you find in it, that "the Pakistani trainer sure wasn’t shy about his (comparatively) clean-shaven face being shown on TV." Ahmed Shuja Pasha is taking control of an organisation that doesn't really have, as its mandate, to look out for Afghanistan's security, and is therefore not really the best suited to look after clean-shaven citizens going over the border to provide paramilitary training here and there.
Instant update - Talking about perverse incentives, David Betz is just asking:
"Let’s raise the bounty on Osama to $700 billion to be split evenly between Afghanistan and Pakistan on the development of their societies. If, as seems to be the case, the only way to stop the bonfire of the banks is to hose them down with money big time why not double down on the War on Teror while we’re at it? Probably a net gain for everyone in the end."
I am frustrated when casino players are rewarded for betting irresponsibly, too. This sort of phenomenon appears systemic, though.

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