A Difficult Country: Pakistan and the Case for Developmental Realism

There are no textbook solutions for the problems of a country like Pakistan--but a creative approach can go a long way.

Issue: Spring 2006

ON JANUARY 13, a U.S. missile strike on the Pakistani village of Damadola, intended to kill Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, missed its target but killed at least 17 other people, probably including Al-Qaeda members but certainly including local women and children. If it had succeeded, this would have been a notable coup in the struggle against Al-Qaeda. Instead, this violation of Pakistani territory has humiliated the administration of President Pervez Musharraf and compromised his government's assistance to the United States.

The Damadola incident illustrates a central dilemma in the War on Terror. It seems not only necessary but also just that the United States should retain the right to strike against acknowledged terrorists in those areas of the world where states cannot or will not take action.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!