The Nation fails to do homework for latest editorial

Jan 7th, 2010 | By | Category: The Nation


Stratfor research does not support The Nation's claims

Stratfor research does not support The Nation's claims


Only two days after their failed attempt to blame the government for problems at the Oil & Gas Development Company (OGDCL), The Nation’s editorial writers published a new hyper-dramatic editorial declaring that the US is targeting Pakistan. After reviewing the evidence used by The Nation as well as actually reading the news this morning, it has become obvious that The Nation failed once again to do their homework before they published a sensational – and misinformed – editorial.

The Nation’s editorial, “US targets Pakistan,” is based on a new article by the American think tank “Stratfor” titled “Annual Forecast 2010” and is available for free by email. We were unsurprised to read the article and learn that it does not support the claims made by The Nation’s editorialists. Additionally, news reports today include new information from the American White House and American military chief Admiral Mike Mullen that directly contradict The Nation’s claims. Once again, The Nation has failed to do its homework.

To begin with, the think tank Stratfor is not part of the American government. Rather, according to their “About Us” page on their website, Stratfor is a private company that “provides an audience of decision-makers and sophisticated news consumers in the U.S. and around the world with unique insights into political, economic, and military developments.”

So, what does the US government and military say about plans to target Pakistan? Today’s Dawn reports that the Americans plan no direct military intervention in Pakistan.

The White House and the US military chief indicated on Wednesday that there would be no direct military intervention in countries like Pakistan or Yemen where Al Qaeda seemed to have established its bases.

“I’ve been to Pakistan one time before I took this job over, and I just made my 14th trip over the last couple of years just to give you an indication of the need to understand, the need to be there, the need to try to see challenges through other people’s eyes and not just take the American view from here in Washington,” he said.

This hardly sounds like the words of a military commander on the brink of invasion. Before The Nation decided that the Americans were knocking at Pakistan’s door, perhaps they should have rung them up to ask.

The original source of The Nation’s claims, however, is the Stratfor article titled, “Annual Forecast 2010.” We are publishing at the bottom of this piece the relevant portion in its entirety so that you may read and decide for yourself, but readers can also get the full paper for free by clicking here.

First, the Stratfor article does not say that the US is targeting Pakistan or that there will be a ground invasion of US troops into Pakistan, which The Nation’s editorial implies. What is says is that the military efforts being carried out in cooperation by US and Pakistani militaries may increase as more jihadis try to invade Pakistan while fleeing from Afghanistan, and that this would present some difficulties since the military efforts are unpopular already. In fact, the entire scenario is based on the US targeting Afghanistan with the Obama plan, not Pakistan.

Even The Nation says that this is the case in their own editorial:

“Officials in Pakistan also continue to express concern over the US troop surge in Afghanistan which they feel will not serve any meaningful purpose but will push more militants into Pakistan, thereby expanding the war further across the border into Pakistan’s FATA area.”

Which is it? Is the US secretly planning to target Pakistan? Or is the Obama plan going to increase the number of jihadis in FATA? The Nation’s logic makes no sense, and appears to be based on a predetermined political message rather than actual facts. The Nation says that “it now appears that the US intends to shift the centre of gravity of the war from Afghanistan to Pakistan,” but the Stratfor article that they provide as evidence says no such thing. The Nation’s editorialists have simply made this up.

Second, The Nation mischaracterizes the story as coming ‘in the wake of news that Americans in Pakistan are effectively operating outside of the law…’ This is simply not true. The article by Stratfor is clearly referring to the difficulty of anti-militant operations in Pakistan because both the US and the jihadis are unpopular: “U.S. efforts in Afghanistan (to say nothing of Pakistan) are already deeply unpopular.”

Third, The Nation also mischaracterizes what the Stratfor article says about relations with India. Unlike The Nation’s claim that Stratfor believes Pakistan’s assumed dependency on the US compels us to give in to American demands, the article actually clearly states that the US and Pakistan have their own interests and they both need to work in cooperation to find a way to engage with each other on fair terms. The Nation suggests that the US plan is to try to manipulate Pakistan, but the article they use as evidence says the exact opposite.

Fourth, The Nation says that “the US is aggravating the imbalance between Pakistan and India and actively encouraging the Indian leadership to up the hostile ante against Pakistan.” Their evidence for this is the recent statements by Indian military chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor. Perhaps The Nation staff does not know that Gen. Kapoor is not the American military chief and does not work for the Americans. In fact, The Nation’s allegation that Gen. Kapoor’s statements have any relation to America are simply conjured from thin air as there is no evidence of this at all. At this point, The Nation appears to be simply making things up for no reason.

The Nation concludes with the misleading assertion that “US aggressive designs towards Pakistan are becoming increasingly covert.” Nothing in the Stratfor article referenced by The Nation supports this claim. Actually, quite the opposite. The article quoted by The Nation calls for greater cooperation between US and Pakistani militaries.

Whatever your opinion about the current military and security situation in Pakistan, the fact is that The Nation’s editorial is once again not supported by the facts. Rather, it is simply a hodge-podge of unsupported conspiracy theories and make believe. Paranoid delusions might be entertaining, but they are not facts.

Perhaps The Nation thought that they could get away with this trickery because nobody would actually check their facts. They were wrong. A newspaper that claims to be “the most respected publication in English, with firm and constructive views, and excellent news coverage” should do a better job of getting their facts correct before they post alarmist and sensationalist editorials.

UPDATE: We received a request from Stratfor to remove the article that we had posted here as this is only supposed to be available to their membership. Actually, I think you can still get the full paper for free by clicking here. We recommend that you retrieve the paper directly from the Stratfor website so that you can read and judge for yourself.

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