You know, I like Sun Tzu as well as the next guy, but exactly how many thousands of years does it take people to realize that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is at best a temporary tactical ploy, and that when used as operational strategy, it almost invariably results in blowback? During the Cold War, that blowback most directly affected the peons of the countries that had been diddled by the humps at the CIA -- Congo, Nicaragua, Iran, etc. The hostage crisis in Iran was about the only instance of blowback that had directly affected Americans, and that was resolved on the most fortuitous and coincidental of timelines.
But as many of us already knew (though it is good to have some specifics now available), the Pakistan-Taliban relationship that began brewing in the late '90s always had potential of bubbling over. Here are some specifics:
Supposedly Barack Obama, he of blessed little experience in the cynical sausage-making of Washington, committed a major gaffe a couple weeks ago by not only refusing to rule out the possibility of military strikes in Pakistan territory, but actually endorsing it if the response from Pakistan's government was seen as ineffectual or diffident, which is not exactly an impossibility.
Let's be even more blunt about it -- we know that bin Laden is likely still alive, and likely still hiding out in the tribal provinces of Pakistan. We know from reports released in late spring/early summer by our own intel services that the operational capabilities of Taliban and al Qaeda have returned to 2001 levels; indeed, these have rightly been used as rhetorical cudgels against Cheney administration tough-guy dogma.
Since we take those facts as a given at this point, it is not unrealistic to suppose that another terrorist attack occurs, and the supply/finance chain is quickly traced back to some cave in Fundamentalist Hillbillystan. What then? Do we even want to bargain with them, or is Obama absolutely correct in saying what he said, that if God forbid something happens, and Pakistan's government doesn't satisfactorily handle it, we will? There has to be some accountability on that issue, and the moral preparation to respond appropriately, and Obama was correct in both the political and moral senses.
And these documents clearly reiterate that sad fact. Considering, however, that both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are receiving heaps of military aid from us, the notion that we have created and continue to create a golem (or, even scarier, multiple golems) in the region, we still clearly have the wrong end of the stick on this. Probably unless we are willing to involve China and perhaps a resurgent (if temporarily) Russia in some sphere-of-influence-sharing discussions regarding the region, something will eventually blow along one of the many fault lines.
At the very least, we should be clear and realistic about who our friends are, and what our options are. And as long as we continue to engage even in the kabuki of chasing shadows of past mistakes, nothing gets done in the area whence most of the big trouble originates. Selling the Saudis and the Pakistanis more F-16s only complicates the scenario, to our eventual disadvantage.