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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Making secrets public when senior officials wish so

So is the media neutral? Is the media neutral AND speaking truth to power, letting people hear of facts and views that power wouldn't want us to hear of? Is the media neutral OR speaking truth to power? I don't even know which one is the right question on certain occasions, let alone what's the right answer. Here's an example of when there's much of a reason to be perplexed, since our narrow-sighted presumptions about the media's role in domestic politics may not help a bit when it comes to the subtleties of foreign politics.
"The Washington Post newspaper reported early this week that the US and Pakistani governments have reached a tacit agreement on drone strikes within Pakistani territory, under which Islamabad allows them while continuing to complain about them and Washington never acknowledges them."
Instead, the Washington Post did.
Its sources were "senior officials in both countries." So senior officials in both countries wanted this secret to be public. Perplexing, isn't it?
Anyway, for some Pakistanalysis, here's another excerpt from the same AFP source quoted above.
" "If we do not stop them, tomorrow they can attack Islamabad or Kahuta," MP Ahsan Iqbal said, referring to the country's main nuclear facility outside the capital. "
That's an argument that is going to give some people worries in Pakistan. The drone strike concerned was the first one known to have taken place in the Northwestern Frontier Province (in Bannu district, which happens to be adjacent to the Waziristans).
A drone is a drone, and Pakistan certainly shouldn't fear its nuclear capability from Hellfire missiles flying around. But we know well enough that it takes more than rational arguments to influence a discourse.
Anyway, just when I'm finishing this post, I feel some breeze picking up. The wind of change? A breeze of change, maybe. There'll be no wind in this complicated setting.
"NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan fired 20 artillery rounds at insurgents inside Pakistan after coordinating with Islamabad, officials said Tuesday. (...) The Pakistani military confirmed the two sides coordinated in an attack on insurgents in Pakistan but provided no other details."

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