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PAKISTAN’S AMBIGUOUSNESS

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In June 2007 USA, UK and NATO expressed concern, especially in Washington, about President Musharraf’s ability to control the remote tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, in which, according to USA officials, Osama Bin Laden is probably located and Al Qaeda is rebuilding its organization in a “safe haven”.

It is a fact that most of senior Al Qaeda operatives, now detained in Guantanamo, were captured not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan with the full cooperation of the Pakistani authority. At the same time it also a fact that Pakistan is enabling the “safe haven” in the tribes regions on the border with Afghanistan. That ambiguousness is typical not only to Pakistan but to many of the Islamic states allied to USA.

USA has the perception of the “Good Guys” and the “Bad Guys” and if something is wrong it should be fixed. The world is sharply divided between black and white with little room for variety of grey shades. In the Eastern politics it is all about the right shade of grey and there is a point that not all the problems can be solved and it is much better to learn how to live, in delicate balance, with some of the problems rather then to solve them all at once.

All the Muslim countries in the world are facing a growing radicalization of Islam. Often that radicalization is inflamed by the too close relations that their regimes have with USA.

In a country like Pakistan to meet the Western Powers demands means a full scale civil war with the doubt if soldiers will be, really, loyal to their own pro-American regime. There is no reason to believe that Pakistan will do better then NATO in Afghanistan or USA in Iraq.

Therefore most of the Muslim countries prefer to contain the threat rather then to solve it. They prefer to define the rules and to cut unwritten deals with Islamic radical Shaiks and Imams then to confront them and their own populations. 

The West is seeking a clear cut solution where the “Good Guys” are overcoming the “Bad Guys” and the white is beating the black. The East is looking only for the right tuning of the shade of grey with coexistence with its population and where the threat from radical Islam is only contained – not overcome.

The only useful approach for the Western Democracies toward the Islamic nations, especially the nuclear Pakistan, is not to push too hard. Those countries have their own methods.

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