December 6, 2008al-qaedacounter-terrorismForeign AffairsIndiainternational relationsjihadismilitaryMumbaiPakistanSecurityUnited States

The Kagan Proposal

If the Pakistani government cannot control the military-jihadi complex in its territory, the international community should step in

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Many pundits have spoken. Most of them explained just how difficult and dangerous the situation in Pakistan is. But only a few had some good ideas on how exactly Pakistan’s military-jihadi complex—the nucleus of a terrorist threat to many countries—could be contained, if not completely dismantled. One of those few is Robert Kagan. Mr Kagan’s proposal deserves to be taken seriously in the capitals of any country, not least because what happened in Mumbai could happen in any of the world’s cities.

One can feel sympathy for Zardari’s plight. He and his new civilian government did not train or assist the Pakistani terrorist organizations that probably carried out last week’s attacks in Mumbai…So if the world is indeed not to be held hostage by non-state actors operating from Pakistan, what can be done?

…Rather than simply begging the Indians to show restraint, a better option could be to internationalize the response. Have the international community declare that parts of Pakistan have become ungovernable and a menace to international security. Establish an international force to work with the Pakistanis to root out terrorist camps in Kashmir as well as in the tribal areas. This would have the advantage of preventing a direct military confrontation between India and Pakistan. It might also save face for the Pakistani government, since the international community would be helping the central government reestablish its authority in areas where it has lost it. But whether or not Islamabad is happy, don’t the international community and the United States, at the end of the day, have some obligation to demonstrate to the Indian people that we take attacks on them as seriously as we take attacks on ourselves?

Would such an action violate Pakistan’s sovereignty? Yes, but nations should not be able to claim sovereign rights when they cannot control territory from which terrorist attacks are launched. If there is such a thing as a responsibility to protect,” which justifies international intervention to prevent humanitarian catastrophe either caused or allowed by a nation’s government, there must also be a responsibility to protect one’s neighbors from attacks from one’s own territory, even when the attacks are carried out by non-state actors.” [WP]



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