Check out Christopher Hitchens's interesting piece on the challenge of Pakistan and its relevance in the campaign to pacify Afghanistan and the war against jihadi terrorists. It lends more credence, I think, to my belief that our imperialist/colonialist/interventionist/humanitarian (or whatever terminology you prefer) further strains the ability of a democratic populace, like that of the United States, to have a meaningful understanding of the actions of its government and military.
Hitchens's piece talks briefly about the oddity that is Pakistan, about the strange hodgepodge of ethnic and religious alliances that were behind its creation, and how the nation is the result of political necessity and negotiation rather than through organic means. (I would argue that no nation-state is genuinely an "organic" body, but that's an argument for another time.) As I've said before, I think that this demonstrates an overlooked consequence of our imperial adventures. The principle of democracy is that the people lead. If the people are to lead (either directly as in Athens or through surrogates as in America), they need to have a workable understanding of the issues that confront them. The price of democracy isn't just vigilance, but education. Leaders need to educate themselves about the issues confronting their nation. When the people lead, the people face a responsibility to educate themselves to one degree or another about what, exactly, is going on in these issues.
This is hard enough when the questions are about domestic issues like the environment, taxes, energy policy, transportation and infrastructure, and other day-to-day aspects of governance. When you broaden this responsibility to include the many intricate layers of the internal policies and conflicts of foreign countries, you are ensuring that the populace of the United States does not have the possibility of even a rudimentary level of understanding necessary to accurately judge the country's foreign policy. I'm a political and foreign policy junkie. I read tons of blogs, newspapers and magazines, with a particular eye to our entaglements in the Middle East. But I don't have anything resembling a complete picture of what's going on around the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. Foreign policy adventurism and aggression ensures that the people don't have a firm grasp of the nuance and complications involved in our military entanglements.