Extra! Extra! Make bad decisions; get paid for them.
The Taliban are cutting through Pakistan like a knife through butter; the Pakistani government has responded by ceding parts of the country to the terrorists and ignoring the extensive Talibanization of its intelligence service, military, and bureaucracy. David Kilcullen, former adviser General David Petraeus, recently said that Pakistan could collapse within six months; and February report from a task force chaired by no less than former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry said: “We are running out of time to help Pakistan change its present course toward increasing economic and political instability, and even ultimate failure.”
So, what is the Obama administration’s response? Throw US taxpayer money down the rat’s hole. Or in the words of one mainstream Indian journalist regarding US policy: “Terrorism pays!” Obama’s policies are alienating South Asian allies who are laying down their lives fighting the same Islamist enemy we face. They are enabling a Pakistani government that is using our tax dollars to fight our Indian friends; a government that is content to see its country thoroughly Talibanized and to come down on the wrong side of every international conflict, helping the people they are supposed to be fighting; a government that again has agreed to cede parts of the country to the Taliban and let Sharia become the law of those lands. And Obama’s actions tell the Islamists that they can continue “cleansing” Pakistan and Bangladesh of their Hindus, and we will not say a word.
The same philosophy underlies Obama’s foreign policy and domestic blunders. Pakistan’s difficulty is the product of bad and self-seeking decisions. For years, radical Islam has been making serious inroads throughout Pakistani society, but its leaders deliberately chose to ignore it. They did so partly out of fear—fear that radicals might assassinate them; fear that they might alienate a bloc of voters; fear that the radicals would successfully use their opposition to paint them as Zionists or pro-American. And they did so out of greed—greed for the graft that would continue flowing from the minions that were taking direction from the radicals; graft from the billions in petrodollars that were funding radical activities. They did so out of wishful thinking that the radicals would either fade away or join the ranks of other civil servants, more concerned with personal enrichment than any philosophy or social goal. And they did so in some cases because they agreed with the radicals’ short term goals. Now Obama is paying them for a promise (to undo the damage their bad decisions have wrought.
America’s crisis, like Pakistan’s, has an ideological component. The ultra-liberal Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to loan money to people who did not qualify for them with draconian consequences for any bank that dared stay with traditional mortgage criteria even if the applicant was a minority. There was also a greed component in the cushy roles and extensive contributions by lenders to Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) to ignore warnings about the system and use their positions to rubber stamp rather than oversee. But most importantly, our problems stem from bad decisions: bad decisions by the auto makers which turned once gold standard businesses into train wrecks; bad decisions by lenders to continue making bad loans; and bad decisions by home buyers to borrow more than they could repay and pretend that their incomes supported the lifestyles they demanded. And how has Obama “taught them a lesson”? By paying them for it.
Rewarding bad behavior—whether in Pakistan or the United States—will do only one thing and that is encourage more bad behavior. Obama did not tell the Pakistanis, “You knew Islamists were taking over your society but chose not to oppose them. Now, in order to get the aid we can offer and become a true ally, you have to change.” Nor did he tell those Americans who made bad business, lending, or borrowing decisions, “The one thing we will not do is enable your bad behavior with the money of Americans who made good decisions.” Instead, he has committed the United States to a policy that seeks to make the untenable viable; that promises not to force people to take responsibility for their bad decisions; that insures bad behavior will continue with regular rewards compliments of US taxpayers.