Do No Harm

Sometimes our procedures do more harm than good. Pakistan may heal best on its own.

Issue: Mar-Apr 2008

IF YOU don't know what to do, better to do nothing-and the United States does not really know what to do in Pakistan. Moreover, things there are not nearly as bad as the Western media and some excitable politicians present. The situation is deteriorating, but the country is not yet close to failing. Although it is a flawed state, menaced by terrorists and insurgents, it is still a largely effective one.

By pushing for particular political outcomes, the United States does more harm than good to its own interests-because, to put it mildly, the United States is not popular in Pakistan today. And if it keeps meddling, America will strengthen Islamist radicalism and could even help push Pakistan toward disintegration.

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