‘US and Pakistani interests do not align’

An American scholar said that the Obama Administration appeared to be ready to declare this "troubled union" defunct.

Updated: Jun 19, 2012, 14:22 PM IST

Washington: Observing that the US and Pakistani interests do not align, a leading American scholar on Tuesday said that the Obama Administration appeared to be ready to declare this "troubled union" defunct.

"Seldom has a marriage of convenience produced greater inconvenience and consternation for the parties involved. Simply put, US and Pakistani interests do not align," Andrew J Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at the Boston University, wrote in The Los Angeles Times.

The US, he said, had stayed in this unhappy marriage for the last decade in large part because Pakistan provided the transit route for supplies sustaining NATO`s ongoing war in landlocked Afghanistan.

But he declared "No more", saying that a recently negotiated agreement with several former-Soviet Central Asian republics was creating alternatives for Washington and removing Pakistan`s grip on NATO`s logistical windpipe.

"The Obama administration now seems ready to declare this troubled union defunct. With Pakistan no longer quite so crucial in an Afghan context, and still unable to explain how Osama bin Laden found sanctuary on Pakistani soil, evidence that this erstwhile US ally remains in cahoots with various and sundry terrorist organizations has become intolerable," Bacevich said.

As with most divorces, the proceedings promise to be ugly, he noted, adding that already the US is escalating its campaign of drone attacks against "militants" in Pakistan.

US officials dismiss complaints that this infringes on Pakistan`s national sovereignty.

"This is about our sovereignty as well," Panetta has explained, thereby redefining the term to grant the US the prerogative of doing whatever it wants and can get away with, he wrote.

"Yet there is a back story to the crumbling relationship that goes beyond US frustration with Pakistani double-dealing (and Pakistani anger over American highhandedness). A larger reorientation of US policy is underway. Occurring in two spheres - the Greater Middle East and East Asia - that reorientation reduces Pakistan in Washington`s eyes to the status of strategic afterthought," he said.

"Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world," Bacevich wrote.
Mired in poverty, burdened with a dysfunctional government and weak institutions, dominated by deeply fearful military and intelligence establishments that have little regard for civilian control or democratic practice, it possesses one trump card: a formidable nuclear arsenal, he said.

"A potential willingness to use that arsenal is what ultimately makes Pakistan so dangerous ? and should give US policymakers pause before they give that country the back of their hand, as the United States has done so many times before," Bacevich said.