Tidsskriftet Foreign Policy mener USAs spesialutsending Richard Holbrooke burde holde seg unna AfPak og heller jobbe i det skjulte:
For a number of reasons, the Taliban’s popularity has fallen in recent months, which has made fighting and owning the war against the Taliban easier. Pakistanis are more likely to consider the Taliban a real threat and one worthy of tackling than ever before. But the charge of «America’s war» is still one that resonates for many, and just because Pakistanis now rightly see the Taliban as an enemy does not mean that they see the U.S. as a friend.
This is why it is important for Richard Holbrooke to maintain as low a profile as possible. During the Bush years, it became a running joke – think of it as the Muslim equivalent of a drinking game – to predict when Richard Boucher would make his next trip to Pakistan. Holbrooke is poised to break all of Boucher’s records; this weekend represented his fifth trip to Pakistan since his appointment as special envoy in January.
Every Holbrooke visit, and every follow-up press conference featuring a Pakistani diplomat telling the assembled media that Pakistan will do all it can to eradicate the terrorist threat, makes it easier to paint Pakistan’s leaders as marching to the tune of American drummers. If this is Pakistan’s war — and it is — then Pakistanis and Americans must act like it. As things stand, the monthly visits from American officials look too much like acts of lecturing and prodding rather than the symbols of close cooperation they are designed to be.
Given that Holbrooke can conduct his business over secure telephone lines or video conferencing (I don’t recommend Skype; the connection is often suspect), it behooves him and his office to consider doing more of it behind closed doors. Out-of-sight out-of-mind diplomacy promises the same benefits as the status-quo arrangement, without the appreciable P.R. costs of the latter. It is an option Holbrooke would do well to keep in mind.