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.
The United States and Pakistan had the sixth round of their strategic dialogue in Washington recently. The U.S. Pakistan Strategic Dialogue Joint Statement issued after the talks details extensive ongoing cooperation in the fields of energy, trade, investment, education, and science and technology, and reiterates the commitment to continue it. It also speaks of close cooperation in counterterrorism, especially action against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)/Da’esh. But on regional security issues, strategic stability, and non-proliferation, there were largely hints of policy differences glossed over by generalities, with Afghanistan being the exception where the need as well as desire for cooperation was obvious.
Overall, the statement, though strong on rhetoric was mixed on substance. It was essentially an aspirational statement. And given the complexities of the U.S.-Pakistan relations and their recent history, one would say much work needs to be done by both sides to realize its objectives.
Regardless of whether one labels the U.S.-Pakistan relationship strategic or transactional, it has served the interests of the two countries over the last six decades. Yet it has not been a normal bilateral relationship. More often than not, the two countries have been allies on one issue while being antagonists on another. The United States lived with or tolerated the differences when there were overriding strategic interests. But when these interests had been served, it resorted to sanctions, and Pakistan responded with its own devices. It is not just Pakistan that took advantage of the United States; Washington did too in equal measure. In sum, they lost as much as they gained from the relationship.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Over time, both the U.S. and Pakistan governments accepted the losses grudgingly and gains ungratefully and still found each other relevant in times of need. But times have changed. Since the September 11 attacks, the relationship has gotten entangled with the ongoing war in Afghanistan. It is never easy to handle a war-related relationship, especially when that war has not been going well. This is even more so when there are multiple issues and stakeholders with competing interests and priorities. Also impacting the relationship is Washington’s growing ties with India, along with a whole set of new security issues which have agitated public concerns, fueled by a 24-hour news cycle and an activist think tank community.
This has affected public opinion as well as politics, preventing a coherent and workable policy towards the war in Afghanistan as well as U.S.-Pakistan relations more generally. As a consequence, Pakistan is seen as having undermined the war effort and the stabilization of Afghanistan. Though Islamabad has been a good partner in the war on terrorism, it is being defined not by what it has done but by what it has failed to do. A whole new industry of writings on Pakistan representing different interests has emerged in what often seems like a competition for negativity. This has caused recurring tensions and irritants in the relationship. The U.S. Congress keeps talking about cutting off aid, while the White House keeps harping on the Haqqani network. And among the chattering classes, the common refrain is that U.S. aid to Pakistan has been a dead loss.
The fact is the bulk of the aid, the so called Coalition Support Fund, is not aid. It was essentially reimbursement for Pakistan’s cost in deploying about 170,000 troops in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province for years and for providing road communications for the logistics support to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in Afghanistan. Deployment of forces for combat costs money, as Washington knows from its own experience in Afghanistan and Iraq. Should Pakistan expect no compensation for its work?
Pakistan has a lot to answer for, but not so much for the ‘failure’ of the Afghanistan war. Even if one accepts that it has been a ‘failure,’ there were many causes for this. The military campaign in Afghanistan lacked a political strategy. Furthermore, in the rush to war, there was little effort at comprehending the nature of the threat or the enemy. Even at the outset, it was clear to close observers of the region that the Taliban were not going to fight; they were going to run away to Pakistan where they had a support. Was it difficult to understand? The lack of strategic context of the war, incoherent war aims, insufficient resources and poor execution soon undermined the war effort, especially as attention and resources shifted to the Iraq war. And thereafter, the strategy would change every year, much like it continues to change even now.
The United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan have all made mistakes. Afghans have to realize that despite the fact that Washington has contributed a great deal to create a new Afghanistan, they themselves have not played their role well. The national unity government clearly is not working, and the so-called Kerry plan has not been implemented. And regardless of whether policymakers want to admit it or not, the ethnicity issue also continues to remain a major factor. Afghans are a great people, and theirs is a great country. But they need to face the reality of its internal fissures, the role of the regional strong men and power brokers, and the corruption which is hindering their efforts at stabilization. Groups like the Taliban or Haqqani network are the resulting consequences, not the root causes of Afghanistan’s troubles. Afghans cannot keep shifting the onus of their failures to Pakistan. The Taliban are in Pakistan because no one is defeating them in Afghanistan.
Taliban are not invincible. They have to be defeated politically within Afghanistan and that can only be done with good governance, rule of law, ethnic unity and by taming the regional centers of power. As Ioannis Koskinas pointed out in a two-part article in Foreign PolicyMagazine last month, though the fracturing of Afghanistan’s body politic looms, it can be stopped. “Ultimately, many Afghans believe that the country’s security woes have more to do with poor Afghan government choices than Taliban battlefield brilliance. At their core, the greatest performance failures of 2015 were political, rather than military,” Koskinas wrote. “The fall of Kunduz City to the Taliban in late September 2015 was emblematic of such grand deficiencies”.
As for Washington, it has to realize that strategic issues cannot be dealt with through a merely transactional relationship with Islamabad. The United States and Pakistan need a strategic relationship. Forging this is not easy; both countries need to contribute. Pakistan does have legitimate security concerns that need to be acknowledged. The United States also has to recognize that Pakistan does have a strategic importance as it affects American interests in India one hand and Afghanistan on the other. Now that the United States is leaving Afghanistan, it needs Pakistan’s help even more to stabilize Afghanistan. Besides, as others have rightly observed, the region’s significance has been enhanced considerably as a consequence of China’s growing involvement there as well.
Pakistan, for its part, must understand that if it wants a strategic relationship, it will have to earn it. While national interests may diverge in some cases, where Pakistan has a shared interest with the United States, Islamabad needs to bring its policies closer to those of Washington, especially when it comes to addressing America’s core security concerns. Jihadists have to be dealt with without distinction not only for America’s sake but also Pakistan’s as well. It is crucial that Pakistan explain its position and policy responses on this issue unambiguously and effectively from high echelons of the civil-military leadership. Silence conveys complicity, a lack of commitment, or, at best, ambivalence. This is not good for establishing mutual trust with which Pakistan has already taken one chance too many in the past.
Both countries also have to get rid of old assumptions. Pakistan should shed its belief that the United States cannot walk away from the bilateral relationship; the United States should abandon the notion that Pakistan cannot survive without U.S. help or that cutting off aid will beat Pakistan into submission. The fact is that Pakistan would rather forgo aid than do something against its national interest. Lastly while de-hyphening the relations with India and Pakistan may be fine, the United States must recognize that it cannot advance its broader interests in South Asia without a South Asia strategy.
Has Pakistan been a good partner thus far for the United States? I think so. But if the United States thinks otherwise, it should keep in mind that only good policies make good partners. Then Washington doesn’t have to worry about issuing blank checks.
Touqir Hussain, a former Ambassador and Diplomatic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, is Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and SAIS Johns Hopkins University, where he is also Senior Pakistan Visiting Fellow. He writes on South Asian security issues, Iran, and Afghanistan.