America and Pakistan: A Love Story
The Boston Globe picks up on a massive new influx of US cash into Pakistan, a story which the New York Times and Washington Post considered beneath their purview. All told, an extra $7.5 Billion will be bestowed upon that poor desert.
While the bill promises that:
The aid would seek to strengthen Pakistan’s legislative and judicial systems; its public education system, emphasising access for women and girls; its healthcare system; and its human rights practices with particular attention to women as well as ethnic and religious minorities,
it also authorizes “such sums as are necessary” for military purposes, provided they use them to “combat terrorism”. A veritable blank check.
This new influx of aid comes on the heels of a previous $10 Billion to the disgraced Musharraf government, and seeks the reduction of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. But if that be the case, our strategy planners might have done well to check this opinion poll by the International Republican Institute.
In it, one finds an overwhelming rejection on the part of Pakistan’s citizens, not only to US bombing of their country, but of the US as an ally against terrorism.
Fully 80% answered “No” to the question: “Do you think that Pakistan should cooperate with the United States on its war against terror?”, whereas 76% said “No” to the question: “Should Pakistan partner with the United States in conducting drone attacks against extremists”? 50% of those responding thought religion should play a “dominant role” in politics.
Amid such dismal approval ratings, it is easy to see why our policy planners should wish to buy off the Pakistanis off. But that we should force military aid and assistance against a people who so manifestly do not want it is still rather puzzling. As best as one can tell this aid influx appears a half-hearted apology for our continued attacks on Pakistani villages (close to 15 villagers per week die by our Predator Drones), and would likely serve to insure further cooperation, should ground troops prove necessary.