Friday, September 22, 2023
May 6

Written by: Diana West
Friday, May 06, 2011 2:58 AM 

Pakistani "ally" driving US stealth helicopter secrets to China?


This week's syndicated column:

Stirrings of life on Capitol Hill: Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, has introduced a bill to stop distribution of $3 billion in aid that Congress appropriated for Pakistan this year until the State Department certifies that Pakistan was not harboring Osama bin Laden.

Unless it were to serve as a rubber stamp, such a bill could be a step toward long overdue accountability on Pakistan. It at least offers a way to call out the pathological inertia that drives the U.S.-Pakistani relationship not forward, but in circles, causing dizzy policy-making. Even after Pakistan appears to have been caught in flagrante delicto with Public Enemy No. 1, House Speaker John Boehner, for example, was still prattling on about Pakistan being "critical to breaking the back of al-Qaida." Like the battered spouse who can't see what's wrong with another shiner, Boehner insisted: "This is not a time to back away from Pakistan. We need more engagement, not less." He also said: "We both benefit from having a strong bilateral relationship."

He's half right. With $20 billion in U.S. aid filling Pakistani coffers since 9/11, I see how Pakistan benefits. But I don't see how the U.S. benefits -- unless "partnering" with Pakistan while it supports four militant jihad networks in and around Afghanistan, or paying Pakistan billions while it more than doubles its nuclear arsenal, are things that count as benefits. If they do, the attacks on 9/11 were a brilliant stroke of luck.

This week, I heard an expert panel hosted by The National Interest magazine discuss aspects of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, so far the sleeper topic in this post-bin-Laden era. I got the same sense of inertia, that U.S.-Pakistani relations are our permanent ball and chain, coming from speakers and some audience members alike. You can't just turn your back on Pakistan's 200 million people and 100 nuclear weapons, a war college professor told me, just as though the USA were a mouse locked in a death-gaze with a boa constrictor. Why not? We certainly turned on a dime when it came to breaking with Egypt and Libya, both of which yielded jihad intelligence, peace with Israel in Egypt's case, and a cache of nuclear weaponry from Libya now in Oak Ridge, Tenn. -- greater benefits than anything coming out of Pakistan.

But like hostages self-handcuffed to Pakistan's nukes, we remain locked in a dysfunctional relationship. There is a great irony in this given that Pakistan remaining nuclear-free was once the criterion for U.S. aid in the first place. This was the crux of the 1985 Pressler Amendment (named for Sen. Larry Pressler, R-S.D.) that required the president to certify annually that Pakistan did not have an explosive nuclear device as a condition of .U.S aid, and which halted the flow of U.S. government aid to Pakistan from 1990 to 1994.

This law should have regulated all related nuclear anti-proliferation policy, but it was not to be. Both the Bush (the father) and the Clinton administrations chafed at it, seeking ways around it, undermining the carrot-stick order the law set until finally the Clinton administration was able to end sanctions on Pakistan in 1995. As the New York Times noted at the time, the Clinton White House "argued that it is more important to improve relations with a country that it calls a large, moderate Islamic democracy in a troubled region than to punish Pakistan for building a weapons arsenal that it is not about to dismantle."

In other words, thanks largely to the first Bush and Clinton White Houses, the United States lost this battle of wills and set out to "improve relations" by paying tribute to the victor. This, of course, didn't translate into leverage, either. After-the-nuclear-fact sanctions went back into effect in 1998 when India and Pakistan both tested nuclear bombs, but after 9/11, George W. Bush had the bright idea that Pakistan, despite ties to the Taliban organization then sheltering al-Qaida, was the perfect ally for the "war on terror."

Billions of dollars later, we know how that story came out, but is it written in stone? That's the question Rep. Poe's Pakistan Accountability Act at least gives us pause to consider, whether we really have to remain in (and pay for) a sham alliance with a failed nuclear state on the Other Side -- forever.

<September 2023>
September, 2023
August, 2023
July, 2023
June, 2023
May, 2023
April, 2023
March, 2023
February, 2023
January, 2023
December, 2022
November, 2022
October, 2022
September, 2022
August, 2022
July, 2022
June, 2022
May, 2022
April, 2022
March, 2022
February, 2022
January, 2022
December, 2021
November, 2021
October, 2021
September, 2021
August, 2021
July, 2021
June, 2021
May, 2021
April, 2021
March, 2021
February, 2021
January, 2021
December, 2020
November, 2020
October, 2020
September, 2020
August, 2020
July, 2020
June, 2020
May, 2020
April, 2020
March, 2020
February, 2020
January, 2020
December, 2019
November, 2019
October, 2019
September, 2019
August, 2019
July, 2019
June, 2019
May, 2019
April, 2019
March, 2019
February, 2019
January, 2019
December, 2018
November, 2018
October, 2018
September, 2018
August, 2018
July, 2018
June, 2018
May, 2018
April, 2018
March, 2018
February, 2018
January, 2018
December, 2017
November, 2017
October, 2017
September, 2017
August, 2017
July, 2017
June, 2017
May, 2017
April, 2017
March, 2017
February, 2017
January, 2017
December, 2016
November, 2016
October, 2016
September, 2016
August, 2016
July, 2016
June, 2016
May, 2016
April, 2016
March, 2016
February, 2016
January, 2016
December, 2015
November, 2015
October, 2015
September, 2015
August, 2015
July, 2015
June, 2015
May, 2015
April, 2015
March, 2015
February, 2015
January, 2015
December, 2014
November, 2014
October, 2014
September, 2014
August, 2014
July, 2014
June, 2014
May, 2014
April, 2014
March, 2014
February, 2014
January, 2014
December, 2013
November, 2013
October, 2013
September, 2013
August, 2013
July, 2013
June, 2013
May, 2013
April, 2013
March, 2013
February, 2013
January, 2013
December, 2012
November, 2012
October, 2012
September, 2012
August, 2012
July, 2012
June, 2012
May, 2012
April, 2012
March, 2012
February, 2012
January, 2012
December, 2011
November, 2011
October, 2011
September, 2011
August, 2011
July, 2011
June, 2011
May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011
December, 2010
November, 2010
October, 2010
September, 2010
August, 2010
July, 2010
June, 2010
May, 2010
April, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010
December, 2009
November, 2009
October, 2009
September, 2009
August, 2009
July, 2009
June, 2009
May, 2009
April, 2009
March, 2009
February, 2009
January, 2009
December, 2008
November, 2008
October, 2008
September, 2008
August, 2008
July, 2008
June, 2008
May, 2008
April, 2008
March, 2008
February, 2008
January, 2008
December, 2007
November, 2007
October, 2007
September, 2007
August, 2007
Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2012 by Diana West