For all my criticism of our recent conduct in abandoning critical interests, I feel that the real loser in this week’s outrages in Pakistan is of course, Pakistan. Pakistan is both a friend and an enemy, and to solve the problem in Afghanistan requires a solution to Pakistan. The Army, much of the government, and much of the population are friendly to the US, NATO, and western influence in limited but welcome ways. The intelligence and security services, parts of the military, and a well-connected (internally and externally) religious segment of the population are angling for their place in a post-American middle east, banking on our failure and departure, in no particular order, while working to achieve both.
I suspect that the recent border incident in which we killed several people in Pakistan was the result of a provocation from the Pakistan side, by as few as two or three hardcore bad guys embedded with a nominally good guy group. Afghan military folks now claim that the Pakistani group fired on them first, leading to an engagement in which the Pakistan force was mauled with many fatalities. No matter how you slice it, this sort of thing benefits the bad guys. If they win, they claim a victory on their own behalf. If they lose, they shed crocodile tears for the good guys. Either way, it increases pressure on the good guys governing Pakistan, Afghanistan, and NATO to pull out.
Watch for more of this coming quickly. Obama is not complicit–but he is causing it. Weakness is a provocation.