Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clinton's Visit to Pakistan: Same Wolf, New Shalwar Kameez

This morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Her visit was primarily to, as she put it, "turn the page" on what has been, in the past few years, "primarily a security-anti-terrorist agenda." Her visit came after the rising anger in Pakistan over Pakistan's role in fighting Taliban in the South Waziristan and the recently enacted Kerry-Lugar foreign aid bill.

Pakistan has been a key U.S. ally for many reasons for a long time. Pakistan worked with the U.S. during the Cold War and played a key role in expelling the Soviets from Afghanistan. Also, as one of the largest Muslim countries by population, and the only Muslim country to have nuclear arms, it is very important that the U.S. keep good relations with Pakistan.

However, the U.S.'s strategy in Pakistan can only be described as "wham, bam, thank you ma'am." The U.S. has a history of engaging with Pakistan only enough to get what it wants, and then leaving, without providing any real aid to Pakistan. For example, after the Cold War, Pakistan was left to clean up the mess in Afghanistan and deal with the scores of refugees flooding in from Afghanistan to Pakistan. The worst part, is that the U.S. geuinely thinks Pakistanis are stupid enough to believe them. Clinton said today, "it is unfortunate that there are those who question our motives, who perhaps are skeptical that we are going to commit to a long-term relationship, and I want to try to clear the air up on that while I am in the country."

Today's visit is no different than anything seen before, however. The Kerry-Lugar bill, purports to give Pakistan billions in aid, but actually sends most of the money to make a new embassy and consulate within Pakstan. It also sets parameters for obtaining and keeping that money which are overly vague and violate the sovereignty of Pakistan.

In all fairness, however, Clinton does have many Pakistani friends, and enjoys wearing shalwar kameez!

To see an interesting take on the bombing that occured, please see this video.

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