Pakistan is now Obama’s conundrum. The country is an essential ally vital to U.S. success in Afghanistan, but is facing serious internal problems. Washington’s insistence that Pakistan dislodge the Taliban from the Wild Wild Northwest region puts even greater strain on an already weak state.The power of the radical Islamists is evidenced by Islamabad's attempts to negotiate with the fundamentalists. As it stands the government controls a little more than one-third of the region.But turning the whole Pakistan-Afghan border into a warzone may create unintended obstacles for success and require a longer U.S. commitment in the region than anticipated. As Washington—at Obama's request—escalates America's presence in the region, let's hope the new president can avoid the mistakes of one of his predecessors—Lyndon Johnson.
Adam Case, a former In These Times editorial intern, is a San Diego-based I.W.W. organizer and freelance writer. He has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, encountering guerrillas, intellectuals and change-makers. But most of the time he tries to indulge his passions, which include surfing, social justice and a good Philly Cheesesteak.