“You could say, I think, that Waziristan is extending itself across the entire world”

by Joshua Foust on 12/29/2007

That and other pearls of wisdom, courtesy neocon extraordinaire (and apparent Pashtun expert) Mark Steyn. His reasoning?

a lot of us regard the creation of Pakistan as one of the worst decisions of British imperial policy ever. Lord Mountbatten in 1947 should never have agreed to it. Pakistan’s founder, Jinnah, would have been dead within the year, and who knows then how much momentum there would have been. But in a sense, it developed as the complete opposite of India. India is pluralist, secular, progressive, modern, and Pakistan, instead, has regressed with each generation to the point now where as Stanley [Kurtz] points out, what were hitherto relatively modern cities, are now taking on the characteristics of the sort of tribal cave lands, as it were, in their political character. And this is a problem not just for Pakistan, but for where those jihadists export their populations to, which is places like Scandinavia and Britain and Canada.

There is merit to this, so he doesn’t deserve placement alongside Charles Krauthammer and David Ignatius. However, Steyn falls prey not just to the tendency of both political stripes of needlessly stereotype and generalize from the Pashtuns, but also to demonize the State Department while not decrying its consistent defunding and defanging under the last three administrations.

Perhaps a good dollop of self-awareness is in order for our pundit class. Because the vast majority of them, even those who are traditionally of high quality, lack it.

In fact, this makes for a good contrast with Péter Marton’s excellent look at political factionalism in Pakistan, and “Primary Red” contention that Ms. Bhuttos brutal murder might not mean anything at all. I don’t know if that would be more or less tragic. Regardless, both essays are much more worth reading.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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