Click here to Read the First Part: Reconciling CIA Drones in Pakistan Part 1
Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with officials in Islamabad to reiterate the importance of drone attacks, despite escalating reservations of their use amongst Pakistani’s. It’s been a polarizing issue from the onset because while it’s convenient to fly unmanned CIA predator aircraft over potential terrorist havens, they result in significant civilian casualties, and displaced persons. So it’s no surprise that over a year later, reconciling their use in Pakistan is still on the agenda.
For this reason, Secretary Gates announced a possibility of America providing “Pakistan with 12 unarmed Shadow aircraft”. Meaning the planes would not have a capacity to strike, but offer enhanced “surveillance capabilities under U.S. supervision”. It’s a fair decision and something I’ve suggested previously.
Supplying drones to close allies who aid in our War Efforts absolves us of sole liability for collateral damage wreaked by these machines that are always controversial, and increasingly protested internationally.
Gates also stressed the importance of militarily addressing all extremist groups because:
“It’s dangerous to single out any one of these groups and say, ‘If we could beat that group that would solve the problem,’ because they are in effect a syndicate of terrorist operators”
And almost simultaneously, Secretary Clinton unveiled The Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy which sends an increase of 20-30% in civilian experts to both countries and “outlines plans to rebuild the Afghan farm sector, improve governance, and reintegrate extremists into society”. But this strategy of “reintegrating extremists” runs in contradiction to Secretary Gates’ aforementioned remarks.
Gates ruled out any possibility of reintegration calling for a consolidated attack on extremists suggesting that they work in “syndication”, while Cinton’s plan attempts to bring extremists back into the fold of moderate society.
It’s a stark inconsistency in our foreign policy. Because while I think Secretary Clinton’s idea notion of reintegration is more in tune with ground realities, and therefore viable, I figure Secretary Gates was being staunch in talks because finally relinguishing partial drone technology provided him with that margin of hawkishness. Either way though, one thing is certain, despite skepticism on both ends of the U.S. Pakistan relationship, cooperation is ever deepening.