Back in May, I wrote about my distrust of Asif Zardari, the President of Pakistan, who at the time was complaining that Americans let Osama bin Laden get away. While I have criticized the Bush administration for their ham-fisted handling of Afghanistan, I found Zardari arrogant, bitter, ungrateful and no friend of the United States.
With that as a backdrop, I was thrilled to see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tell the Pakistanis what’s what this week. Referring to high level Al Qaeda, such as Bin Laden, she said:
“I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to”
Then in an exchange with Pakistani students, Ms. Clinton added that the government has a choice on whether to be aggressive against terrorists or be apathetic:
“If you want to see your territory shrink, that’s your choice”
When criticized for the terms of money transfers from the US to Pakistan, Clinton told her audience they don’t have to accept our money.
During the campaign I was quite critical of Clinton based on what I felt were some underhanded moves on her part, but I must say I love Secretary of State Hillary ten times more than I loved candidate Hillary. As we send young men and women to die in Afghanistan, it is partly to keep the crazies from getting hold of Pakistani nukes. Pakistan better have some real skin in the game real fast and figure out who their friends are.
I doubt, from what I’ve seen of Zardari that we can trust Pakistan any further than we can throw them. It complicates our mission in Afghanistan greatly and makes the President’s imminent decision about our strategy there the most difficult one he has faced in his first year, and perhaps the most difficult one he will face in his first term.