Prof: Pakistan in middle of regional conflicts

By Courtney Lacy

Pakistan is the center of not one storm but two, said UK professor John Stempel.

The country is overwhelmed by conflict in the Middle East while at the same time experiencing trouble with India, Stempel said during a speech at the Student Center last night titled “Pakistan — At the Center of the Storm.”

To prevent war among Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries or India, foreign intervention is necessary, said Stempel, a professor in the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. However, he said, America is already in a serious bind.

“America didn’t pay enough attention after 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan,” Stempel said. “We were chasing rabbits and found ourselves being trampled by elephants.”

Last night, Stempel discussed policy options to prevent terrorist breakouts, including making America’s military aid depend more on developing effective strategies for tribal areas and authorizing American Special Forces to seize or kill al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in a “snatch and grab” operation.

Stempel also described “doomsday scenarios” that would result in mass attacks in the Middle East.

“We are paying a big price now,” Stempel said, “and we will soon be paying an even bigger price if the right actions are not taken.”

Students Taking Action Globally and the Bluegrass Chapter of the United Nations Association sponsored the speech.

Richard Mitchell, a member of the Bluegrass Chapter of the United Nations Association and professor in the College of Dentistry, described the speech as sobering.

“It’s a very complex situation, and we as Americans know too little,” Mitchell said. “In my life I have seen America make huge mistakes because we put our foot in the wrong places.”

While Americans have many other distractions, Mitchell said, citizens should take the opportunity to expand their knowledge on issues that could affect the rest of their lives.

STAG member Morgan Culver said she believes it is important for students to be educated on such issues.

“STAG wants to educate people and students so that they can make a decision to take more action if they choose to do so,” she said.