The war on terrorism: Pakistan 1, U.S 0

Here’s an irony for you.

For the last year, the Bush administration has sneered at the UN and most of Europe, pretty much ignored its otherwise slavishly devoted allies Mexico and Canada, and actively alienated everyone in the Mideast other than Israel. Bush assumes, quite obviously, that in most matters the U.S. can go it alone. The Bush people feel that everyone is either 1) sufficiently in love with the U.S., 2) sufficiently terrified of it, or 3) already a sworn enemy trying to destroy us with terrorism, so who needs to please ‘em? Yes, we do have all the answers. We don’t need to preserve alliances with other countries, because we can do everything ourselves.

Yet when the time comes to finally capture a major Al Qaeda figure, whoops — it happens in Pakistan. By Pakistani police. Granted, the CIA and U.S. military intelligence no doubt were key to finding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. But the fact of the matter remains, if we want to nab the terrorists who oppose us, we need strong alliances with other countries — because that’s where they’ll be hiding. We can’t act alone. We never have.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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