The slowdown in the drone war has gone largely unnoticed, but U.S. officials say there have been several changes: First, so many al-Qaida leaders have been killed that there are fewer high-level targets; second, the CIA is conducting fewer so-called “signature attacks” on lower-level fighters, with correspondingly less risk of civilian casualties; and third, there is a broader process of interagency review in Washington before strikes are conducted.
A measure of calm
The likely resolution is that the Pakistanis will open the land routes but charge the U.S. more to use them. Exacting this toll will salve national pride while providing a lucrative new source of cash.
Recent months have offered something that is rare indeed in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which is a measure of calm. Neither side is showing much love, but there's less anger, as well — which perhaps can keep this tempestuous couple together a good while longer.