I want to first state that this is entirely speculative but I was struck by something in this distressing article in the New York Times about growing collaboration between Pashtun and Taliban militants in Pakistan:
As American drone attacks disrupt strongholds of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, the insurgents are striking deeper into Pakistan — both in retaliation and in search of new havens.
At first, I was sort of baffled by the sentence construction. That is, it seems more accurate to paint the relationship between the growing insurgency in Pakistan’s inner territories and drone attacks on the frontier regions as more directly causal, which would point to an unintended consequence of the Obama Administration’s escalation of drone attacks in Pakistan. But — and here’s where it’s entirely speculative part — what if this part of the long term strategy? What if the strategy is forcing the Pakistani government — traditionally a cagey and intractible ally in this regard — to deal with the insurgent threat by helping deliver it on the government’s doorstep? It would seem to be a pretty risky gambit, and probably too clever, but it would help create a political situation more congenial with the U.S. ultimate aim in the region.
Anyway, I sort of doubt this is the strategy, and is basically a long way of saying it seems like we ought to reconsider the efficacy of these drone attacks.