United States & Pakistan:

A Messy Strategic Relationship

Peeling off the layers of rhetorical flourishers that dominate the United States –Pakistan relationship, what stares one in the face is that this relationship is no longer a vibrant relationship of two strategic partners but a messy relationship confounding both the United States and Pakistan. The relationship can now be described as one of an unhappy marriage headed towards a messy divorce but with both partners at a loss as to how to implement the breakup. Pakistan is smug as it is conscious that its promiscuous strategic relationship with China provides it with another strategic suitor. The United States on the other hand is still smitten like an elderly lover reluctant to let go of its unfaithful partner by presenting her with lavish presents.

Those of us in the business of strategic analysis of United States strategic formulations and policies in South Asia have for nearly a decade been consistently pointing out that Pakistan ever since 9/11 has been double-timing the United States in its so called Global War on Terror. While providing the United States with interrupted access to Afghanistan to liquidate the Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Pakistan concurrently was providing safe havens for these terrorist groups in Pakistan and providing them the wherewithal to sneak into Afghanistan and launch operations against US &NATO Forces. Pakistan never sealed the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders to prevent such terrorist incursions as demanded by the United States, but on the other hand deliberately maintained porous borders.

The moot question that arises is as to whether the United States was unaware of Pakistan’s duplicity or whether it deliberately looked away from Pakistan Army transgressions as was its wont all through the last six decades.

On the first point, the recent Wikileaks make it abundantly clear that the United States was fully aware all along that Pakistan was not being faithful to United States strategic requirements and on the contrary was consistently undermining the efforts of US Commanders charged with a difficult task in Afghanistan.

In rare strategic irony, the United States was punishing the brightest of its Generals for lack of military success when all along the brilliancy of their war efforts was being stymied and impeded by the treachery of the Pakistan Army and its notorious intelligence outfit, the ISI.

Stranger still is this strategic irony that nobody in the United States policy establishment, the lawmakers on Capitol Hill, or the normally vigilant US media ever questioned as to why outstanding United States Generals seconded to command US Forces in Afghanistan were being unceremoniously replaced frequently for lack of operational success when it was the Pakistan Army which was the culprit in impeding the United States war effort.

This brings me to the second point as to why the United States despite all severely damaging evidence against Pakistan Army’s treacherous acts against the United States Forces in Afghanistan never summoned the courage to discipline Pakistan Army and call for its accountability for its treachery?

The common answer advanced all these years has been that the United States was dependant on Pakistan for logistics routes of access to Afghanistan and had to wink away Pakistan Army’s treachery. Fine, one can only partly accept this argument to a point. But yet a larger question still looms large over the United States not holding the Pakistan Army accountable and mending its ways especially when billions of dollars of United States taxpayers’ money was thrown away in aid to a worthless American so-called ally? 

All along the United States enjoyed significant and crippling leverages over Pakistan and the Pakistan Army to both coerce it to ensure uninterrupted logistic routes to Afghanistan and also concurrently force the Pakistan Army to deny safe havens to Al Qaeda and the Taliban and also to hermitically seal the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The United States political leaders, its policy establishment and the law-makers on Capitol Hill need to provide convincing answers to the American tax-payers as why billions of US dollars were paid to Pakistan without making the Pakistan Army deliver on its pledges. 

The United States Army never failed in Afghanistan nor did US Generals. It was the US policy establishment in Washington that failed in Afghanistan for inventing subterfuges to mollycoddle a worthless US ally in the form of the Pakistan Army.  


More by :  Dr. Subhash Kapila

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