That’s the optimistic take from the WSJ on the latest deadly clash on Pakistan’s border:
The investigation may clear up what happened but it won’t address the root of the problem. Pakistan continues to play both sides in this conflict. The military accepts billions of dollars in U.S. aid and fights some terror groups.Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, however, Afghan insurgents have moved across the border and found safe haven in tribal regions and Pakistani cities like Quetta and Karachi. Elements of the Pakistani military arm, fund and provide intelligence to the Haqqani network of insurgent fighters and the Taliban. U.S. officials aren’t sure if the Pakistanis also command the terrorists. Yet either way, Pakistan is complicit in the deaths of American and allied soldiers fighting in Afghanistan…
The Pakistanis should think harder about what a break with America would mean. Washington would cut off aid and possibly place it on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The U.S. would have no choice but to build even closer ties with India, including a larger role for Delhi in Kabul. America has a national survival interest in denying terrorists a sanctuary, and ensuring that weapons of mass destruction don’t fall in their hands. That includes Pakistan’s weapons. It’s lonely in the region if China is your only friend.
The article goes on to state that the relationship between Pakistan and the US is like a troubled marriage, one that just needs more work. That perhaps we’ve hit bottom, and can now bounce back.
But this “troubled marriage” has an end-date associated with it: By the end of 2014, NATO combat troops will be largely gone from Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s cooperation in the war against terrorism can be more meaningfully analyzed based on its own merits.
There may just come a reckoning.