American Council For World Jewry


In Pakistan, Good Intentions Go Awry

Monday, 15 March 2010

The Obama administration is treating the situation in Pakistan with a growing sense of urgency that is entirely appropriate. Pakistan today is an unstable nuclear-armed state threatened by Islamic militancy, a combination that could make it the most dangerous country in the world. As head of an American Jewish organization, I have observed this gathering danger firsthand during several visits to the country and through meetings with its top leaders over a number of years.

I have watched with dismay as Pakistan’s crisis has escalated over the past 18 months, when the very efforts the United States has made to induce reform of the political system have instead followed the law of unintended consequences. In November 2007, the Bush administration pressured Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to step down as army chief of staff, a step to move the country out from under military rule. Washington sent a subtle but clear message that it was time for Musharraf to go, to make room for a popular opposition figure heading a secular party, Benazir Bhutto.

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Pyongyang Diary, with "Winter 2009-10"

Monday, 08 March 2010

The great threat casting a shadow over Israel is a nuclear attack from a militant regime like Iran or Syria, or a terrorist movement.

Recently, I had the opportunity to lead the Council’s second delegation to North Korea, a significant supplier of missiles and advanced technology to Iran, and to Syria where in 2007 Israeli warplanes reportedly destroyed a North Korean-supplied nuclear facility.


A series of discussions with the North Koreans had led to our first invitation, which we accepted with the intention of broadening the conversation beyond nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and establishing relationships in case North Korea normalizes in the future.

Our visits and conversations have given us better insight into the regime’s motivations and at least go on record with them about our own priorities. We are hardly in a position to broker a nuclear agreement with North Korea, but the Council’s outreach has sensitized North Korean officials to U.S. and Jewish concerns over exporting matériel and technology to third countries.

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