In a world full of national security challenges, none demands more urgent focus than the conundrum that is Pakistan. For at least a decade, Pakistan has consistently been one of the top three national security worries for the United States with issues ranging from being a center of nuclear proliferation to its inability to prevent its territory from serving as a sanctuary for the Taliban/Al Qaeda alliance launching attacks against US troops in Afghanistan.
The recent killing of Osama Bin Ladin revealed at best, a Pakistani regime either unwilling or unable to be an effective ally in our ongoing battle against Al Qaeda. Troubling questions need to be answered. What did Pakistani officials know about Bin Ladin’s presence and when did they know it? How effectively have Pakistani national security officials used $20 Billion in US aid to combat Al Qaeda and the Taliban? Why is the main debate in Pakistan today focusing on the US “violation” of their sovereignty in attacking Bin Ladin instead of on their own failure to find him? Is Pakistan worthy of the designation of major non-NATO ally and the steady stream of financial assistance provided by the American people?
To answer these questions and fashion a long term and sustainable approach to relations with Pakistan, Congress should authorize and the President should support the creation of a “Commission on US-Pakistan Relations”. Precedents are available for quickly moving forward with just such an effort. (more…)