Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pakistan and India Sharing Intelligence

It would be a step forward if Pakistan and India start sharing intelligence on violent militant groups. But I'm puzzled by this story which doesn't seem to have reached the main news outlets. I'm not a fan of The Wall Street Journal but here's the story:
Pakistan and India have begun sharing intelligence on Islamic extremists, with the prodding of the U.S., in an arrangement that represents unprecedented cooperation between the two nuclear-armed South Asian nations.

Washington hopes the cooperation will get a lift from last week's Indian elections, in which the incumbent Congress Party won by a wide margin over a Hindu nationalist party traditionally more hostile to Pakistan.
The story has been picked up by several sites interested in international news and national security. Potentially, it is good news. But why release the story to The Wall Street Journal? Fence mending, perhaps, by the Obama Administration?

I'm not going to draw too much from the story, except to keep watching developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. But here's something to keep in mind: an all-out war between India and Pakistan would not only be devastating for both countries but would probably send the worldwide economic situation into a deeper tailspin. By the way, the first quarter of 2009 was worse than many people thought. The U.S. economy shrank by 6.3% but that's not the worst economic news. Via Kevin Drum, here's another story from The Wall Street Journal (at least this is more up their alley):
On Wednesday, Mexico became the latest country to report a plunge in output. The country's gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 21.5% in the first quarter, the worst performance since the 1995 peso crisis led to an International Monetary Fund and U.S. Treasury financial rescue. This time, Mexico has insulated itself somewhat by arranging a $47 billion IMF credit line in advance.

Mexico's decline followed by a day Japan's report that its economy contracted in the first quarter at a 15.2% clip, its worst performance since 1955. Last week, Germany said its first quarter decline in GDP, an annualized 14.4%, was the worst since 1970.

None of this is good for the U.S. economy or for the world economy. Dick Cheney, who talks too much, dragged us into a war in Iraq. This led to putting Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on the backburner. The damage that Cheney and George W. Bush did to America simply keeps mounting.

I worry sometimes that Obama isn't thinking big enough in terms of facing our problems. On the other hand, given the problems out there, it may be a smart thing to isolate Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh while building a little broader consensus to deal with our problems. But doing things the way we have been doing them for thirty years and expecting results simply by building more consensus and being more efficient is not the answer.

Obama and his advisers are going to need big ideas to deal with big problems.

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Anonymous S.W. anderson said...

Big ideas and bold moves are definitely needed. At some point, Obama is going to have to put the hammer down and tell Republicans too much is at stake to continue playing pattycake with them, hoping they will at long last buy into cooperation. He's going to have to tell them:

We're going to do this* with you or in spite of you. You're in no position to lead and you will not follow, so you leave the rest of us no alternative but to roll over you. In time, people are going to see their situation improving, longstanding problems affecting their daily lives and future being dealt with competently and effectively. Do you really want to forgo any share of the credit for that?(* meaning health care, financial industry reforms, labor law reforms, Social Security reform, etc.)

10:31 PM  

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