The United States first established diplomatic relations with Pakistan on 20 October 1947.
The relationship since then has been based primarily on US economic and military assistance to Pakistan which Pakistan never seems to get enough of.
Pakistan is a major non-Nato ally of the United States, even though, for some odd reason, it keeps pretending that it is one of the biggest anti-US, super-duper power in the world.
The United States is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to Pakistan and largest economic aid contributor but Pakistanis refuse to acknowledge this and insist that the equipment and the aid actually come from Saudi Arabia via Dubai on flying camels.
In 1955 Pakistan became a member of the US-run Central Treaty Organisation (also known as Central Free Treats Organisation). The promise of economic aid from the US was instrumental in creating the agreement. Getting the enigmatic Coca-Cola formula was also a motivation.
During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the US did not provide Pakistan with military support as pledged. This generated a widespread feeling in Pakistan that the United States was no longer a reliable ally.
According to the US it cut off weapons supplies because Pakistan military had started the war with India by using its soldiers disguised as Kashmiri Mujahideen.
However, the Americans did consider nominating these Pakistani soldiers for the Oscars in the Best Character Actor category. They lost due to the obvious Christian-Jew bias in Hollywood.
In 1971 Pakistanis were angry at the US again for not bailing them out from yet another war they started against India.
Just why Pakistanis kept testing their friendship with the US by starting hopeless wars with India is anybody’s guess, but some experts believe Pakistanis found bullets and bombs better tasting than the Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies the US send instead for the Pakistani war effort.
In April 1979, the United States suspended most economic assistance to Pakistan over concerns about Pakistan's nuclear program under the Foreign Assistance Act.
The Pakistan government, then under the benevolent dictatorship of General Ziaul Ghaznavi, retaliated by banning the sale of Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies and publicly flogging over 200 young men just for the heck of it.
However, since God works in mysterious ways and (according to the Pakistan Ideology) is more akin to listening to the prayers of pious military generals, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan forced the US to rethink about its Pakistan policy.
The Russian invasion of Afghanistan (inspired more by smuggled John Wayne movies than Karl Marx), highlighted the common interest of Pakistan and the United States in opposing the evil Soviet Union.
In 1981, Pakistan and the United States agreed on a $3.2 billion military and economic assistance program aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the heightened threat to security in the region and its economic development needs. The deal was code named ‘LOL!’
The poised, pious, powerful Zia regime distributed the military aid among the Pakistan military, Afghan mujahideen, enterprising gunrunners, drug barons, university students and wedding planners; whereas the economic aid was used to develop Pakistan’s economic infrastructure by building madrassas, madrassas, madrassas and mosques.
Pakistan with US, Saudi and divine assistance armed and supplied anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan, eventually defeating the Soviets, who withdrew in 1988 but left behind a number of bored Arab, Afghan and Pakistani fighters.
These fighters wanted to recreate Afghanistan not like what it was just before the Soviet invasion but what Afghanistan was like on the eve of the first Bronze Age.
After the Cold War
Prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were key supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban were a large group of herdsmen who were convinced that goats were more valuable than women and sheep had more feelings than human beings.
By 1996 they were ruling Afghanistan.
The Pakistan-Saudi support to these unkempt herdsmen was an integral part of the Pakistan military’s "strategic depth" objective vis-a-vis India, Iran, Russia and the Vatican City.
After some reckless piloting by some Arabian camel jockeys who went on joyrides on planes, eventually ramming them into New York’s World Trade Centre, Pakistan, led by General Puppu Musharraf, reversed course and dumped the herdsmen after he was put under pressure by the US.
US president, George W. Wuss, had threatened Musharraf, growling that the US would bomb Pakistan back into Stone Age if he didn’t dump the herdsmen. What Wuss didn’t realise was that a back-to-Stone Age scenario was exactly what the herdsmen and their supporters in Pakistan were working for. Hee Hee.
Nevertheless, imagining an age when the military was made up of club carrying half-naked ape men, and when macho men and petite women didn’t have a uniform fetish, and when Coca-Cola was yet to be invented, Musharraf joined the US in its "Error on Terror" as an ally.
Having failed to convince the Taliban to hand over Osama Bin There Done That and other members of al-Calendar, Pakistan provided the US a number of military bases for its attack on Afghanistan, along with other logistical support such as double-talk, half-baked cakes, diarrhea pills and a pair of poodles.
Since 2001, Pakistan has arrested over 500 al-Calendar herdsmen and handed them over to the US, but they have kept the more muscular and pious looking ones for themselves, lodging them on the mountains of Pakistan’s rugged rock ‘n’ rolling tribal areas to tend to the military’s strategically depth sheep.
In return for its support, Pakistan had sanctions lifted and has received about $10 billion in US aid since 2001, primarily military, whereas rest of the aid is used in growing juicy grass which a majority of Pakistanis eat so that their military can keep eating cake.
In June 2004, President George W. Wuss designated Pakistan as a major non-Nato ally, making it eligible, among other things, to purchase advanced American military technology and Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies with extra icing.
Pakistan has lost thousands of lives since joining the US Error on Terror. Most were killed by the irritated Taliban herdsmen (approximately 35,000) and some by American drone attacks (approximately 9000). But many Pakistanis believe most were killed by the drones (approximately 2 million) while the rest by innocent men with an abnormal combustion condition in which normal, peace loving and pious men suddenly combust in and outside mosques, shrines and markets.
This condition is blamed on the tempered polio drops these poor souls were given in childhood by Zionist agents masquerading as NGO workers.
Ruing its strategic mistakes in the area, new US president, Barack Obamarama, conceded that the US had made the mistake of "putting all its eggs in one basket" in the form of General Pappu Musharraf.
In Pakistan, Musharraf was eventually forced out of office under the threat of impeachment, after years of political protests by lazy lawyers, confused civilians, overexcited politicians and bored mullahs.
With Obamarama coming into office, the US promised to triple non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion per year over 10 years, and to tie military aid to progress in the fight against militants. This has rubbed the military in the wrong way which, along with its allies in the shape of fat pious men, has claimed that such non-military progress in Pakistan is against the Pakistan Ideology.
The military might have a point here because some extremely brilliant media men such as the scholarly and judicious Sangsar Abbasi (author of the acclaimed books, ‘Jews Must Die’ and ‘The Wonders of Flogging Women in Public on the Pretext of the Shariah Wah, Wah, Wah’) have warned that non-military progress in Pakistan can lead to moral corruption and obscenity in the society and all that juicy grass that most Pakistanis eat will go to waste.
The purpose of the new aid is to help strengthen the democratic government led by President Asif Ali Bhutto Zardari Bhutto and to help strengthen civil institutions and the general economy in Pakistan, and to put in place an aid program that is broader in scope than just supporting Pakistan's military. BLASPHAMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!
Sorry about that. Present US-Pakistan relations are a case study on the difficulties of diplomacy and policy making in a multi-polar world (especially by men with assorted bipolar disorders).
The geopolitical significance of Pakistan in world affairs attracts attention from both India and China (and for some odd reason, from Surinam as well), making unilateral action almost impossible from the US. This was explained in an article titled ‘Grrrr…’ by an American policy expert.
In February 2011, the US administration suspended high-level contacts with Pakistan after ‘The Everybody Loves to Hate Raymond Davis’ incident occurred.
Raymond Rambo Davis, an alleged private security contractor and Sushi expert, was on an American diplomatic mission in Pakistan when he shot dead two Pakistani locals and claimed that it was in self-defense after the two attempted to rob him.
Pakistan acted tough on Davis despite US demands for him to be freed because he enjoyed diplomatic immunity. However, the Pakistanis eventually let the bugger go when the US promised to increase its supplies of Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies, but this time according to the dictates of Islamic law. That’s why Betty Crocker cookies now have the word ‘Halal’ inscribed on them.
On May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 am the head of al-Calendar, Osama Bin There Done That was killed by a United States special forces unit led by an army of T-1000 Terminators, in the Pakistani city of Abburstabad.
The operation, codenamed Operation Neptune Spear and Other Phallic Symbols, was ordered by the United States President Barack Obamarama.
Numerous allegations were made that the military of Pakistan had shielded Osama Bin There Done That. Critics cited the very close proximity of Bin There’s heavily fortified compound to the Pakistan Militancy Academy, I mean, Pakistan Military Academy.
US government files, leaked by Trikileaks, disclosed that American diplomats had been told that Pakistani security services were tipping off Osama Bin There Done That.
Most Pakistanis were scandalised. They were sure that the American accusations were part of a huge international Reptilian conspiracy funded by western multinationals, Jewish bankers and Congo bongo players against the Pakistan military and its fat pious allies.
Al-Calendar threatened to kidnap Betty Crocker and subject her to the torture of listening to Ali Azmat talk about the political, social, cultural, scientific, spiritual and psychological Zionist plot behind Einstein’s E=MC2 followed by hours and hours of taped Deepak Chopra lectures.
Nevertheless, Pakistan remains to be a major non-Nato ally as part of the US Error on Terror. A leading recipient of US military assistance, Pakistan expects to receive approximately $20 billion, slurp.
Perhaps, if the US simply reduced this aid to a couple of stacks of West Virginian grass for Pakistanis to eat?
However, in the aftermath of the Osama incident, Pakistan Army cancelled a $500 million training program and sent all 135 US trainers home, but not the hundreds of Uzbek, Chechen, Afghan and Arab trainers training Pakistani herdsmen in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
But who’s counting.
Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.
Officials and voters in the United States often cite a "trust deficit" to explain the perennially tumultuous, frequently tortured, and always tenuous relationship between the United States and Pakistan over the last ten years. Many are wont to point out how the United States "failed Pakistan" throughout its history beginning in 1962 when it armed Pakistan’s nemesis India during the latter’s war with China. This narrative of Washington routinely disappointing Pakistan moves through its failure to support Pakistan in its wars with India in 1965 and 1971, and crescendos with the final straw of perceived perfidy: the American decision to invoke the Pressler Amendment sanctions in 1990 as a result of Pakistani efforts to develop nuclear weapons. This move notoriously deprived Pakistan of a fleet of F-16s for which they had already paid. However, this history is at best misleading, often wrong, and does little to forge a better understanding of Pakistan and the limits of engaging the country’s political and military leadership.
While it is true that the United States supported India in 1962 and did little to support Pakistan in its 1965 or 1971 wars with India despite being allied to Pakistan through the Central Treaty Organization and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, Pakistan began both wars. Do treaty partners have an obligation to assist a member state which commences hostilities? Second, despite being a treaty partner of the United States, Pakistan did not go to Vietnam or Korea. In fact, the Pakistanis demurred from declaring China to be an aggressor in the former conflict. And with respect to the F-16 canard, Pakistan helped forge the Pressler Amendment, because this instrument allowed the United States to arm Pakistan during the anti-Soviet jihad while Pakistan continued developing nuclear weapons.
Few U.S. policymakers or analysts seem remotely aware that Washington first sanctioned Pakistan in April of 1979, under the Symington amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, or that Pakistan viewed the passage of the Pressler Amendment as an important victory for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because the legislation provided a simple way to manage two competing interests: Pakistan’s desire to continue developing nuclear weapons on the one hand, and American requirements to provide security assistance to a known proliferator in contravention of U.S. law on the other. From April of 1979 until the 1985 passage of Pressler, military assistance to Pakistan was enabled by a presidential waiver by which the American president attested that providing security assistance to Pakistan is in U.S. national interest even though Pakistan remained noncompliant with U.S. requirements for such assistance. The Pressler Amendment essentially moved the red lines of sanctionable nuclear proliferation under the Foreign Assistance Act to a simple certification by the U.S. president that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear bomb.
In the end, Pakistan made a strategic calculation, and chose nuclear capabilities over F-16s. Pakistan knew full well that the time would come when Pakistan would no longer remain indispensible to U.S. interests and that the president would refuse to certify Pakistan as nuclear weapons-free, and thus bring into force the sanctions that resembled the sanctions that were imposed more than decade before in 1979.
Thus, what bedevils U.S.-Pakistan relations is not a pervasive distrust of the other; rather, the two states want fundamentally different things for South Asia, and their strategic interests have only minor — and quickly vanishing — overlap. The two countries’ intelligence agenciesoperate against each other as much if not more than they cooperate with each other. Pakistan fights its Islamist militant foes while helping those that target U.S. troops even while America redoubles its resolve to kill Islamabad’s proxies. All of this activity plays out across a backdrop of some $20 billion dollars, paid overtly to Pakistan, ostensibly to support the war on terrorism rather than undermine the same.
Pakistan’s strategic elite are right to opine that the Americans were astonishingly ignorant of the region and have a simplistic view of Pakistan’s security perceptions vis-à-vis Afghanistan and India. In quick succession, Washington broke three critical promises made to President Pervez Musharraf in September 2001, and likely did not understand the importance of these early missteps.
First, Washington promised that the Northern Alliance would not take Kabul. By December 2001 the Northern Alliance did precisely that. Washington failed to understand that the Northern Alliance had been nurtured and aided by India. From Rawalpindi’s perspective, the United States had handed the keys of Kabul to the Indians. To compound matters, the interim Afghan government was dominated by the Northern Alliance. It took the 2005 elections to alter this significantly — but not completely.
Second, the United States assured President Musharraf that it would take a more active role in resolving the conflict over the disputed province of Kashmir. While such promises were likely absurd in the first instance, the United States quickly drew back from that commitment as well. Over the years, the United States has taken little public interest in India’s continued mishandling of Kashmiri Muslims’ grievances or of the vast challenges its Muslim populations face.
Third, the United States assured Pakistan that its "strategic assets" (its nuclear program) would remain intact. While technically this pledge was honored, it was eviscerated by the 2005 U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal and concomitant guarantee that the United States would help India become a global power. The nuclear deal was all the more problematic because-despite its name-it was designed to assist India’s development of nuclear weapons directly and indirectly as a part of U.S. grand strategy to manage China’s regional influence with a growing Indian counterweight. American declarations of such support to India no doubt rankled Pakistan. By 2005, Pakistan’s substantial facilitation of the U.S. war in Afghanistan had galvanized a sanguineous insurgency that spread from the tribal areas throughout Pakistan. Admittedly, though, this insurgency was fueled by erstwhile proxies who turned their guns against the state, exposing the fragility of Pakistan’s continued reliance on militants as part of its strategy to secure its interests in India as well as Afghanistan.
While Pakistan was doing a U-turn on its U-turn against the Taliban and while the Afghan Taliban were gearing up for a reinvigorated insurgent campaign, the United States and NATO blithely assumed that major combat operations were complete in Afghanistan. Historians will decide, however, if Pakistan had ever made a genuine change with regards to the Taliban in the first instance, and whether that ostensible shift was intended to be permanent.
The United States, meanwhile, remained insouciant about the developments in Pakistan. Even as it became increasingly clear that Pakistan continued supporting the Afghan Taliban and the notorious Haqqani network, the United States depended ever more upon Pakistan for its logistical support through ground and air lines of communication to supply the war. Moreover, Washington needed Pakistan to help it continue to capture al-Qaeda operatives. Washington simply did not want to badger Pakistan about the Taliban. And Washington did not admonish Pakistan for supporting groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which were killing Americans in Afghanistan since 2004. It took the 2008 Mumbai carnage to convince Washington that such groups are not simply "India’s problem."
As the Americans grasped the problem of the Taliban, it shifted its focus from al-Qaeda — long vanquished from Afghanistan — and made the Afghan Taliban its enemy to defeat in Afghanistan. However, despite efforts to bolster a northern distribution route through Central Asia, the surge that the United States inserted into Afghanistan in 2009 only increased Washington’s dependence upon Pakistan even while Pakistan was becoming ever more acutely the source of the Taliban’s strength.
As this farce unfolded, Pakistan concluded that the current situation in Afghanistan was deeply dystopian. For one thing, not only had the Americans embraced Pakistan’s enemy as its key South Asian ally, India had taken advantage of the American security umbrella to re-establish its presence in Afghanistan, to Pakistan’s deepest vexation. While Pakistan had concluded that America’s allies were its enemies (e.g. India), America’s enemies were increasingly becoming those very groups that Pakistan embraced as its own allies — the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and savage terrorist groups like LeT.
Washington was slow to understand the changing currents. President Bush remained enamored of President Musharraf and his purported commitment to turning back the tide of Islamist extremism, even while his government was busy forging peace deals with a variety of murderous militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas and reinvigorating ties with the Afghan Taliban. The United States remained committed to the belief that through military and financial allurements Pakistan’s fundamental strategic calculus could be changed: that it could become a partner for peace in Afghanistan and that it could reconcile its vast differences with India and accept India’s obvious and inevitable hegemony over the region. The United States and its officials simply could not grasp that to do so would be tantamount to defeat for Pakistan generally and the army in particular, which above all else seeks to retard India’s rise and its presumed desire to render Pakistan little more than a nuclear-armed Bangladesh. Worse, by patronizing Pakistan’s military, Pakistan’s citizenry and political systems became ever more disempowered.
After a full decade of the global war on terror, the United States has finallyconcluded what the Pakistanis had long known: our interests and allies are incompatible. As the American endgame in Afghanistan looms, the American government and polity alike are increasingly unwilling to tolerate Pakistan’s support of the very organizations killing American troops and attacking its embassy.
Pakistan, for its part, is tired of participating in a war effort with the United States — albeit on highly selective terms — that is fomenting increased domestic tension, while the United States seems deaf or indifferent to its security concerns including those centered on India’s defense modernization and the U.S. role facilitating it; the impact of the U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal for Pakistan’s own nuclear program; the nature of India’s presence in Afghanistan and Pakistani beliefs that India is supporting subversive elements in Pakistan from Afghanistan, among other related issues
The next decade of U.S.-Pakistan relations
While Pakistan’s leaders issue statements full of bravado that it no longer needs the United States because China will step into the breach, astute Pakistanis know that this is manna pedaled to appease a wary population burdened with economic hardship, an uncertain future, and ceaseless violence — all of which are deferred or ignored by an indifferent political class. China never helped Pakistan during any war with India (1947, 1965, 1971, 1999) and shares international concerns about terrorist groups operating from or on Pakistani soil. In contrast to American grant-based aid, China’s assistance is generally loan-based. Moreover, while Pakistan has correctly assessed that it does not need American aid, it is loathe to concede that it still needs America’s support at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is perennially allowing Pakistan to abscond from its own commitments to fiscal reform-including expanding its tax net. Pakistan has correctly concluded that the world sees Pakistan as too dangerous to fail and will not encourage the IMF or other multilateral institutions to cut off Pakistan’s economic life support. However, these policies have miserably failed Pakistanis, the vast majority of whom are hard-working, reject violence, and deserve a better future. Pakistan’s recent brinkmanship with the IMF will no doubt be leveraged for even greater concessions, because of Pakistan’s confidence that the world will not let Pakistan fail. Apparently limping along in a financially comatose state satisfies Pakistan’s leaders, who are insulated from the fiscal woes of ordinary Pakistan.
But Washington also still needs Pakistan. While in principle Pakistan could offer opportunities as partner for peace and stability in the region, such naive optimism cannot be justified amidst the accumulating evidence to the contrary. However, the most pressing U.S. national security interests are resident in Pakistan — not Afghanistan or in Iran: nuclear weapons, a raft of terrorist and insurgent groups with varying degrees of official support, the specter of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, and evolving fears about Islamist militants infiltrating the ranks and officer corps of Pakistan’s armed forces.
The United States and Pakistan need to forge a more sustainable relationship based upon a cold assessment of reality. Washington’s khaki addiction has undermined U.S. interests, and has undermined prospects for Pakistani ownership of its own war on terror, as the army is seen as a collaborator with the United States — if not a rental army. This perception has no doubt arisen in part because of the way in which the army handled its internal operations. President Musharraf was famous in the early years of the war for saying that Pakistan was fighting America’s war on America’s behest. The only way forward is to think smaller, and focus on outcomes of democratization and human development rather than strategic shifts. A lower profile is critical, as the United States could hardly be more despised in Pakistan. The Soviet Union may offer a model of engagement: contain the threat, invest in opportunities for change, while preparing for the worst at home and abroad.
The worst outcome is a Pakistan that has no investment in the West and consequently nothing to lose. Such a Pakistan — backed into a corner — may be much more dangerous than it is now. The United States must work with its allies and Pakistan’s allies to ensure that Pakistan does not become a North Korea that is increasingly dangerous, unpredictable and opaque to all. This will require fortitude in Washington. The U.S. Congress will have to resist its strongest impulse to simply cut off Pakistan. There is simply too much to lose by choosing any path other than engagement, however difficult and maddening such a path may be.
C. Christine Fair is an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is the author The Madrassah Challenge in Pakistan (2008), co-editor of Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh (2010) and Treading on Hallowed Ground: Counterinsurgency Operations in Sacred Spaces.
NEXT: Derek Reveron, Afghanistan and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy
C. Christine Fair is a provost’s distinguished associate professor at Georgetown University’s security studies program within the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is the author of Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War and the forthcoming book In Their Own Words: Understanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
Tags: Afghanistan, AfPak, AfPak Channel, al Qaeda, India, Pakistan, Security, Taliban, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign Policy
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