So much for that "sophisticated and supple blend of soft and hard power" thing
(as Bareback Andy wrote in his deservedly famous Atlantic article, a gift that just will not stop giving).
Just go read Juan Cole on Bill Moyers:
JUAN COLE: The Pakistani military is a tank, you know, traditional, almost central European kind of military. It was formed to fight India and most of the tanks and the troops are down on the border between India and Pakistan. And they're not trained to do counterinsurgency or counterterrorism.
So their idea of putting down the Taliban is to invade the Swat Valley. And if you've got 15,000 troops with artillery, helicopter gunships, fighter jets, operating a military operation in a valley with a million people in it, is going to produce massive displacement.
They're not sending in SWAT teams against these 4 thousand fighters, which I think is what they should have been doing. So when the US caused this. They pressured Pakistan's army to launch a conventional military attack on this small group of guerillas. And is going to inconvenience, you know, probably half a million people in a very dire way. And is that really going to settle the Pashtuns down? ..
[W]hat I'm saying is that let's just have a sense of proportion here.
The North-West Frontier Province is 10 percent of the Pakistan population. That's where this stuff is happening. And most of it is actually happening not in the Province itself, but in the Federally Administrated Tribal Regions. Which are kind of like our Indian reservations. Only 3.5 million people live there. It's the size of, like, New Hampshire. Pakistan is a country as big as California, Oregon and Washington rolled up in one, with a population of 165 million. So to take this threat, which is a threat locally, to the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, to parts of the North-West Frontier Province, and to magnify it and to say, "Whoa, the Pakistani government is six months from falling, the Taliban is going to get their hands on nuclear weapons." The kinds of things that are being said in Washington, are just fantastical and some kind of science fiction film. How would these guys, with the Kalashnikov machine guns, take over a country that has an army of 550 thousand? Which has tanks and artillery and fighter jets? How would they even know here the nuclear weapons are?
NOTE As for the whole, "Yeah, what about Hillary"? thing. First, that's not knowable. I'm dealing with the President we have, and I'm not posting in the genre of alternative history. Second, does anyone imagine that "progressives" would be giving Hillary a free pass on a whole new fucking war because she was a woman? Somehow, I doubt it.