Pakistani Drone Strikes! Now, with 10% More Enemies!

A few weeks ago, I noted a Pew poll that showed the rest of the world doesn’t like our drone strikes (and that there’s a big gender gap between men and women over drone strikes). I noted that Pew was holding off their results from Pakistan.

Maybe that’s because the results are fairly troubling.

Since Obama became President (and since the drone campaign accelerated in Pakistan), the number of Pakistanis who regard us as an enemy has gone up 10%, 5% in just the last year, to 74%.

More dangerous still, Pakistanis don’t want our help fighting extremists, nor do they want to use the Pakistani army to fight extremists in their own country.


Additionally, over the last few years, Pakistanis have become less willing to work with the U.S. on efforts to combat extremist groups. While 50% still want the U.S. to provide financial and humanitarian aid to areas where extremists operate, this is down from 72% in 2009. Similarly, fewer Pakistanis now want intelligence and logistical support from the U.S. than they did three years ago. And only 17% back American drone strikes against leaders of extremist groups, even if they are conducted in conjunction with the Pakistani government.

Since 2009, the Pakistani public has also become less willing to use its own military to combat extremist groups. Three years ago, 53% favored using the army to fight extremists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but today just 32% hold this view.

If Pakistan were a nice stable country, we might be able to blow off these results and just keep droning on.

But the instability in the country and the widespread opposition to the US is a recipe for disaster.

16 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    The US money spigot is but a drip away from dry. The US comity spigot is but a drip away from dry.

    And no one can say we’ve left Pakistan better than when we found it (sometime right after 9/11) again.

    When will our foreign policy leadership understand that a few hundred tactical drone “successes” are nothing compared to several dozen nation-state strategic “failures”?

    Never is a long time, but that’s what the odds are.

  2. greengiant says:

    The tilt accelerated by the Wahabi Madrassas etc started long before the drone attacks. I recall the broadcasts of high school students ready to volunteer to join the Taliban after 9/11.
    Disaster is already there.

  3. Dirty Masquerade says:

    @greengiant: #2 and the usa can thank its erstwhile ally, Saudia Arabia, for those very well funded Wahabi madrassas, as the Saudias exported extremism to other countries via those very well funded Wahabi madrassas in an attempt to keep that extremism from spreading in the Holy Land. the usa can also thank Saudi Arabia for Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. and oh yes, the usa can thank Saudi Arabia for all that lovely, lovely Oil. donchaknow.

  4. Arbusto says:

    My guess is this Administration could care less about blowback. There are no legal or political ramifications. All they have to do is increase the number of drones and increase the attacks and that keeps Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin et al happy as clams. The never-ending story of never-ending war. Drones for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. What country is next?

  5. MadDog says:

    @jo6pac: Interesting article. Written by a career Indian diplomat.

    I can’t say whether he’s right or wrong, only to note that nothing in that region ever seems to go the way the participants plan. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip as the saying goes.

    Stable relationships in that region seem to me to be rather short-lived and ever-changing. Mostly to me it looks like a flock of vultures picking over vulnerable carcasses.

    I would also note, as one who majored in Russian Studies decades ago, that Russia these days has little success to show for a great many of its tactics, and even less success to show for its strategies.

    Putin is understandably angry and embarrassed by Russia’s fall from “great power” status, and the corresponding dismissive treatment from the West.

    He is also embarrassed by China’s ascent to “great power” status in place of what used to be Russia’s seat at the big table. Couple that with the ever-present Russian fear and animus in regard to China, and you still have an unpredictable relationship between the two no matter how many “letters of understanding” they sign.

    Just as I believe that the US is not a master of relationships in that region, so too do I believe that the other vultures are little better.

    Yes, they all will fight over the carcasses, but predicting outcomes there is an illusion that only the foolish practice.

  6. MadDog says:

    Pakistani Worldwide Drone Strikes! Now, with 10% More Enemies Customers!

    Let’s sell more drones overseas! That’s the rallying cry from US drone makers. Via the Los Angeles Times:

    Drone makers urge U.S. to let them sell more overseas

    “Despite concerns about U.S.-made drones ending up in enemy hands, American military contractors are lobbying the government to loosen export restrictions and open up foreign markets to the unmanned aircraft that have reshaped modern warfare.

    Companies such as Northrop Grumman Corp. and other arms makers are eager to tap a growing foreign appetite for high-tech — and relatively cheap — drones, already being sold on the world market by countries such as Israel and China.

    “Export restrictions are hurting this industry in America without making us any safer,” Wesley G. Bush, Northrop’s chief executive, said at a defense conference this year…”

    Only in America could cheerleading for death, destruction and instability be somehow equated with business success.

  7. MadDog says:

    And in case you missed it, from MSNBC:

    Maddow exclusive: Never-before-seen footage of US drone strike damage in Pakistan

    “On Friday’s TRMS, Rachel Maddow spoke to NBC News Islamabad Bureau Chief Amna Nawaz about a growing controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s counter-terrorism program – its drone strikes in Pakistan.

    “For nine years the US has been killing people using remote-piloted aircraft in the nuclear-armed, fairly unstable, rabidly anti-American nation of Pakistan. President Bush started this policy but President Obama has tripled down on it. The Obama administration did finally admit to the fact that we are doing this in year nine of the policy, just last month,” said Maddow.

    The US has staged 300 strikes in Pakistan since 2004, and questions surrounding the casualty tally are racking up…

  8. joanneleon says:

    Off topic

    U.S. Indicts Man Accused of Aiding Al Qaeda in Yemen

    A man being held in Britain has been indicted in Manhattan on charges that he helped to develop online propaganda for Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, federal prosecutors said Friday. He is expected to be sent soon to New York. The defendant, Minh Quang Pham, 29, traveled to Yemen and took an oath of allegiance to the affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, received training from the group and provided it with expert advice and assistance in photography and graphic design, an indictment says. It also says that in April 2011, he worked with an American citizen in Yemen on the propaganda effort, and met with another American as well. The indictment does not identify the Americans, but their descriptions suggest they might be Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric, and Samir Khan, who helped to produce Inspire, an English-language online magazine published by the group in Yemen. Both men were killed in a drone strike last September.

    Emphasis added.

  9. joanneleon says:

    More off topic:

    Pentagon Asks Congress to Shift Billions in Funding
    The Pentagon also asked approval to provide $20 million to reflect the “rapid increase” in costs related to the military trial of accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four co-defendants. The money would go to the Defense Legal Services Agency, which is already getting $104.6 million in the current year.

  10. sona says:

    interminable military coups were the first signs of a failing nation state – musharraf’s was only the last of them so far
    the cold war and cia’s nurturing of the isi simply speeded up the process

Comments are closed.