I have watched the sad news about the suffering caused by the recent flooding in Pakistan, and my heart goes out to those people who are trapped in this huge mess. There is much that one could say about the heroism of people in this situation, and I have been pleased to see some stories about that. I would love to see more. But there is another potential story here that I hope to see unfold soon.
Pakistan is a key strategic partner for the west in its struggle against groups that are committed to using terrorist tactics. Yet the west suffers from low credibility in the eyes of the Pakistani people. Whether this is justified or not, this lack of credibility may be the single weakest point in US strategy to cope with terrorism.
So — doesn’t the flooding offer the west a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate its good intentions to the Pakistani people? To make a commitment to them to help get beyond this disaster and then sticking to it. To make friends. To show the Pakistani people that we are good people. That we care about them. That we want to help.
Strange that this message has not yet been broadcast loudly. You might think about it as you read this NYT article on how the flood has wiped out a huge chunk of Pakistani infrastructure. Here is the link. And here is a quote from the article
… (the flood has) ruined just about every physical strand that knit(s) (Pakistan) together — roads, bridges, schools, health clinics, electricity and communications.