Saturday, May 08, 2010

God cop/bad cop in Pakistan, cont.

Based on a released excerpt, it's unclear exactly whom Hillary Clinton is threatening here:
We've made it very clear that if, heaven-forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences," Clinton tells Pelley....

Clinton says Pakistan's attitude toward fighting Islamic terrorists has changed remarkably. "We've gotten more cooperation and it's been a real sea change in the commitment we've seen from the Pakistan Government. [But] We want more. We expect more," says Clinton. 
Who suffers the consequences of such an attack -- the Pakistani Taliban or the government? Or does the government "suffer" by means of U.S. action against the Taliban unconstrained by current ground rules? 

Meanwhile, in a good cop role that he's been playing for years, Robert Gates strikes a far more conciliatory tone:

US defense secretary Robert Gates said on Friday the United States was prepared to provide more assistance to Pakistan if it wanted it in the wake of the attempted Times Square bombing.

Gates said that Pakistan recently stepped up efforts to root out extremist militants.

"The Pakistanis have been doing so much more than 18 months or two years ago any of us would have expected," Gates told reporters at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He referred to Pakistani army offensives, dating to spring 2009, against Taliban extremists in areas near the Afghan border, including in south Waziristan.

Gates said the Obama administration is sticking to its policy of offering to do as much training and other military activity inside Pakistan as the Pakistan government is willing to accept.

"It's their country," Gates said. "They remain in the driver's seat, and they have their foot on the accelerator."

As I noted in detail some months ago, Gates has repeatedly gone to extraordinary lengths to express appreciation, trust, empathy for the Pakistani government's (or governments' -- the pattern extends back into the Musharraf era) halting antiterror efforts. Along with pointed offers of all the aid aid they can eat in any aggressive action they're willing to take.

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