Pres. Ali Asif Zardari of Pakistan yesterday, in an interview with NBC News, made it clear that U.S. border raids into his country are not welcome. If you’ll remember, we discussed this issue on Saturday when I wondered what issues are getting lost with the incessant coverage of the campaign and the financial crisis. I’m glad to see that NBC put the spotlight on the issue in a half hour interview with President Zardari, who is in New York for the 63rd General Assembly meeting of the UN.
While making sure that Pres. Bush understands that Pakistan does want U.S. money to boost its economy and support its infrastructure, Zardari laid down the law on border incursions:
Our orders are they (Pakistani forces) are not to allow any intrusion of anybody in Pakistan. If the American troops are coming in without letting us know, without Pakistani permission, they are violating the United Nations charter.
Translation: Pakistani Army, you have my permission to shoot ’em. In fact, you are under orders to do so. Unless, of course, they have a big economic stimulus package in their pockets. (OK, I extemporized that last bit.)
Let’s be clear: this is Pakistan’s right. We, the U.S., have no right whatsoever to intrude into another nation’s sovereign territory, without their permission, to conduct a military raid. I don’t care what Bush says. We simply cannot do it.
Zardari needed not only to make the point to the U.S., but needed to show his people that he is taking this stand with the Bush Administration.
If you do the incursion, then … the constituency that I am trying to appease (i.e. the terrorists) — they take it … as a foreign-incursion war. They take it as a foreign war, and then they unite. If they consider it a foreign inflow, then they might all unite.
We should listen to him. This is his country, not our playground.