The US is Losing Pakistan
Image Credit: US Navy

The US is Losing Pakistan


The US and Pakistani governments seem to be heading for a divorce full of recriminations. So great are the divergent objectives and lack of trust between them that Pakistan seems to be contemplating moving out of the United States’ orbit altogether and into China’s embrace.

The US decision, without it seems informing Pakistan nor seeking its help, to send a hit team deep inside Pakistani territory to kill Osama Bin Laden may have proved to be the last straw. Pakistan’s leaders are furious. Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, for example, declared that any future action violating Pakistan’s sovereignty would lead to a complete review of military and intelligence co-operation with the United States.

Added to this, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed fulsome praise for China on a visit to Beijing late last month. China, he said, was a source of inspiration for the Pakistani people, while Chinese premier Wen Jiabao declared that China and Pakistan will remain forever good neighbours, good friends, good partners and good brothers.

As well as co-operating in the military, banking, civil nuclear and other fields, Pakistan wants China to build a naval base and maintain a regular naval presence at the port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, something that has alarmed the United States, India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Worried at Pakistan’s drift away from Washington, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton hurried to Pakistan for a few hours on May 27 in an attempt to patch things up, but apparently with little success. Why? Because the row over the killing of bin Laden is only the latest chapter in a long narrative of mutual misperceptions.

CIA missile attacks by unmanned drones against alleged terrorist targets inside Pakistan invariably end up killing civilians, and arousing furious anti-American sentiment. The Pakistani Parliament has denounced these strikes as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and demanded a permanent halt to them. Some parliamentary members warned that Pakistan could cut supply lines to US forces in Afghanistan if drone attacks continued.

The extent of hostility towards the United States was already evident following an incident on January 27, when Raymond A Davis, a covert CIA officer, shot and killed two Pakistanis in a crowded street in Lahore. Pakistani popular opinion wanted him hanged, and it was only with great difficulty that the United States managed to secure his release.

But by then the idea was already taking root in Pakistan that the United States was deploying a secret army against Islamic militants in the country. The Pakistani Army has demanded that the number of US military personnel in the country be reduced. Relations between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence directorate (ISI), headed by Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, are said to be tense.

At the heart of the US-Pakistani estrangement lies a profound disagreement about everything to do with Afghanistan, especially how to deal with radical factions, such as the Taliban. Not content with having eliminated bin Laden, the United States wants to hunt down and destroy any remnants of al-Qaeda and other militant groups, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and even in places further afield like Yemen. Obsessed with the danger of terrorist violence, the United States has been unwilling to recognise that Arab and Muslim hostility toward it springs mainly from its own catastrophic wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan itself, with their heavy toll of civilian casualties, and from its blind support for Israel.

Suspecting Pakistan of complicity with Muslim radicals, the United States insists that it should join in with the US anti-terrorist campaigns. It would like Pakistan to break relations with Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Afghan Taliban; with the Jalaluddin Haqqani network (now run by Jalaluddin’s sons, Sirajuddin and Badruddin); and with the Lashkar-e-Taiba — a militant group considered responsible for the devastating Mumbai attack of 2008.

Long live India
July 21, 2011 at 16:40

Don’t u think your Article is too much optimistic… Come out the fantasy of Pakistan being the Asian Tiger or Regional power concentration. I agree that Pakistan has geo – political advantage for International Players but u all know how Pakistan retains its economy

July 6, 2011 at 23:36

Sorry, in the 3rd line from the bottom, I mean “Pakistan did NOT work with the international community”. You know this makes more sense!

July 6, 2011 at 23:34

John Chan – arguing that there was no India before 1947 makes me think you are living in a fantasy land. Fact is, Pakistan was carved out of India – India has always been there even if it was only “legalised” in 1947. But then, India had been united previously, about 2,500 years ago. I’m sure you think that’s so long ago that it doesn’t matter. Please drop this fiction that India does not have a right to call itself the natural heir to Ancient India, because it does. Pakistan considers itself part of Islamic heritage, which leaves India to its ancient Indian heritage. End of story.

As for plebiscite, isn’t it true that allegations have surfaced that there was large scale fraud in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir’s elections? Actually, isn’t this true of all elections in POK? Atleast India’s side of Kashmir has proper elections. I think they’d rather live this way in India than across the border, in the Asian version of Somalia.

Also, please stop pointing out that Kashmir’s King was Hindu…don’t forget, several Kings down South in India were Muslim. And the votes fell a certain way. Accept it. Accept that the “Hindu” King only chose India because Pakistan used (as it would continue to use) violence to invade Kashmir at a time that it had chosen to stay neutral. As usual, Pakistan did work with the international community, it used violence, used tribal people to carry out murder in the way it is now finally world famous for.

Mohamed Saeed's Brain
June 19, 2011 at 04:57

How ironic that you accuse someone of being a prisoner to theories & then advance one conspiarcy theory after another. Maybe if you joined the real world instead of the islamofascist fantasyland in your mind, you would see that Pakistan is reaping what it is sowing. Some of you arguments don’t even make sense from a basic english comprehension point of view (I pass that off to a possible madrassa level of education) – to wit: “Uncle Sam can’t bail out Pakistan becasue they need Pakistan to save their aas in Afghanistan.” So if US needs Pakistan to save their asses, why won’t they bail it out?

Harpy Drone
June 19, 2011 at 04:45

What an arrogant article by this fossil of British colonial heritage. There would be no Pakistan if it were not for compliant British colonials. The very idea that the US or the UK or any other Western power can put pressure on a nuclear-armed & economically rising India on an existential issue like Kashmir is pure fantasy and extremely facile – that ship has sailed!!!

The Idea that the US or the West ever “had” Pakistan in order to “lose” it is ridiculous – Pakistan has always been a rogue state that has played the West for its own purposes. If the US did not “lose” Pakistan when it sold nuclear technology to its enemies or sponsored terrorist attacks on its soil through the ISI, then what makes the killing of OBL the tipping point?…because it exposed Pakistani complicity in international terror to a degree not previously obvious or visible?

In addition to repeating previously heard apologists for Pakistani aggresion, the author also advances justifications for the Pakistani colonization of Afghanistan. I guess becoming a second rate power has not quenched the British appetite for interfering in other people’s business.

get real
June 14, 2011 at 12:38

Yes, but how do you plan to get permission from the Israeli government, the pro-Israel lobby in the US, the military industrial complex, the big oil, and Wall Street bosses?

Obama and Congress have no real power.

June 13, 2011 at 02:37

there is no diffrence between your thinking and that of Muslim guys wear thick Goggle of prejudice, and any body who differs with your world view is devil incarnate and need to be eliminated from the face of world, nothing less will satisfy you both.
Your talk of “Natural super Power” and a trade corridor remind me of Hitler, who wanted Danzig corridor through poland and started the second world war.I dearly hope that some kind of virus arises and destroy zealots like you, who are bent on destroying a part of humanity, so their selfish , ignorant, biased and hateful reasons

Jaisingh Thakur
June 12, 2011 at 11:00

The question of Jammu & Kashmir,has remained in its present unsettled state largey due to the machinations of a petty bureaucrat called Mountbatten and his comrade-in-arms Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who, for all his Western education and progressive ideas, could not get out of his bureaucratic mentality, due to years of his British training. Be that as it may, it is a fact that the Maharaja of J&K, signed the instrument of accession acceding to India and that the Indian Army, on its part, succeeded in driving out the tribal marauders from J & k and,, given the political will, could have succeeded in ensuring total Indian sway over the entire state itself in 1947 ! Then there would have been no “Kashmir problem ” for pundits to ponder over and contemplate, no subject left for highly partisan writers like Alastair Lamb to display their “scholarship”, no handle in the hands of anti-India elements to beat India with. Those relishing in baiting us day in and day out with the mention of Kashmir would do well to remember that the state is being ruled democratically as opposed to POK and that in every sense of the word, there is freedom and tolerance in the Kashmir valley today largely because of Indian control.The only issue in Kashmir, is the one that has been caused by Pakistan that has illegally occupied one-third of the state and ceded a sizeable portion to China. The portion under China’s illegal occupation is an issue as well and in any discussion on the topic of Kashmir, this must also be brought to the negotiating table !

June 8, 2011 at 07:06

In the short term, the U.S. may require assistance form Pakistan to track al-Qaeda members. But in the long term, the current relationship is rotten for both Pakistan the U.S. More at FPIF:

John Chan
June 7, 2011 at 22:50

It seems lawrece fitton has not been following USA public opinion closely. The holes the US dug in Afghanistan and Pakistan seems only the starter for the US macho involvement in Asia. Most Americans feel they have let China off the US’ long reach wrath too long. As typical opinion expressed by the bloggers like Observer, Leonard R, Johnny, and Robert Kaplan, who promote it is time to wring China in since the US has finished off Osama Bin Laden with death squad. They all say Pacific is the US’ to stay like Hillary Clinton, the US is not going to lose the West Pacific. To Observer and Co. it seems China does not fully understand the US’ ownership of the Pacific yet.

It seems lawrece fitton better be prepared to tighten his belt and pay more taxes as well as mortgages his decedents future to support people like Observer’s macho ego trip for the endeavour to show dominance in Asia.

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