Saturday, February 06, 2016

Commentary: Pakistan, Continued Achilles Heel of American Foreign Policy

I would not say it is all Sec. John Kerry's fault, but he has been one of the most sympathetic backers of Pakistan in USA. When he was in Congress as a member of Senate Foreign Policy Committee and now as the Sec. of State, Kerry symbolizes America's Pro-Pakistan policy tilt all along. This NYT article spells out consequences of such a blind eye to Pakistan.

One can speculate what things might be at work here:

- When USA is dramatically tarnished in Middle-East for not keeping with 'past friends' (that is the heart burn of Saudi's most as well as the feeling that Obama abandoned Syrian rebels so that Assad on the back of Russia can run over Aleppo); it is understandable that Foggy Bottoms would not want one more disgruntled friend created in extended Middle East. In other words, Pakistan is still earning 'dividend' of helping Mujaheddin in its war against Soviet Union during Reagan era. (WSJ and hawks - that is your policy at works!)

- Pakistan has nukes, so it is in a different class by itself; obviously needing the 'kid glove treatment'. It is not just Pakistani Army, but the danger of these nukes landing in hands of militants is real too.

- There is that Trump argument too: Messers Kerry, Obama and Susan Rice are simply 'gullible and bad negotiators'. In Trump words, they are simply 'dumb'; not up-to the job of conducting offensive negotiations i.e. putting pressure on Pakistan to relent here.

- Pakistani Army is doing a great job of deploying 'lobbyist' who buy good chunk of American Congress Members. That is a job well done for Pakistan. Knowing how 'corrupt our Congress is', clearly there is a room for Narendra Modi to deploy counter-lobbying efforts. There are no visible signs that Modi is succeeding in that. Some zany public meetings at Madison Square or 'man ki bat' with Silicon Valley power brokers do not translate in substantive policy influences; it is better that Modi Sarkar learns it fast.

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