Two years ago newly elected Barack Obama had choices to make regarding US policy in Afghanistan, and he decided to select the path of war that was initiated by his predecessor. At the core of any policy in Afghanistan was the importance of gaining support of Pakistan whose secret intelligence service, the ISI had initially created the Taliban in the 1990s. Wikileaks documents reveal that former Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, was pessimistic as to whether it was possible to persuade that nation to cooperate in achieving peace in the region. “There is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance levels in any field as sufficient compensation for abandoning support for these groups, (Taliban) which it sees as am important part of the national security apparatus against India.” Reality is that Pakistan, upon whom we have lavished billions in aid has over the past decades developed strong ties to militant groups and it will not readily abandon them in order to help the USA.
The important question is why didn’t Barack Obama have any grasp of the reality confronting America with Pakistan. Surely, everyone who has studied the region knew exactly what Ambassador Patterson was describing. The only conclusion making sense is that Barack Obama thought he could do what others had not been able to do-bring peace to the region.