The Compass

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The Football

Last summer, I met with a special ops officer who compared America’s relationship with Pakistan to the recurring “Peanuts” gag in which Lucy offers to hold a football so that Charlie Brown can kick it. “Every time Charlie Brown thinks she’s going to hold the football still, and each and every time, she pulls it away just as he’s about to kick,” he said. Shaking his head incredulously, he added: “And then he just lines up to try and kick it again and again.” That some observers, including myself, had begun to believe that Pakistan had reformed its behavior in early 2010 now seems preposterous. - Nicholas Schmidle
The U.S. military has stopped lobbying Pakistan to help root out one of the biggest militant threats to coalition forces in Afghanistan, U.S. officials say, acknowledging that the failure to win better help from Islamabad threatens to damage a linchpin of their Afghan strategy.

Until recently, the U.S. had been pressing Islamabad to launch major operations against the Haqqani network, a militant group connected to al Qaeda that controls a key border region where U.S. defense and intelligence officials believe Osama bin Laden has hidden.

The group has been implicated in the Dec. 30 bombing of a CIA base in Khost, a January assault on Afghan government ministries and a luxury hotel in Kabul, and in the killing of five United Nations staffers in last year's raid on a U.N. guesthouse.

But military officials have decided that pressing Pakistan for help against the group—as much as it is needed—is counterproductive. - Barnes, Gorman & Wright

On the bright side, when you stop trying to kick the football, you won't look the fool.