Washington: Departure of Robert Gates as
the US Defence Secretary, after more than four and half years
of leading the Pentagon, is bad news for Pakistan, a top US
counter-terror analyst has said.
"The departure of Gates and the arrival of Panetta
who's going to bring with him the new CIA view I think is bad
news for Pakistan," Bruce Riedel of the prestigious Brookings
Institute, said last week participating in a discussion at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies, a
Washington-based think tank.
Riedel added that this will leave the State Department
as the principle defender of engagement with Pakistan and the
state department, because it is the State Department, argues
in favour of engagement with everybody. "That's what diplomats
are supposed to do. Its track record of winning those debates
not just in this administration but in every administration is
pretty slim," he said.
"It may have engagement but its engagement often with
nothing inside of it. So my reading of the tea leaves is that
not only does events on the ground argue that this
relationship's going to get worse, bureaucratic changes and
personnel changes in Washington probably will add to that
tendency towards getting worse," Riedel said giving his
impression of the things to come.
Riedel said that the highest levels of this
administration never had illusions about Pakistan but they
also understand that Pakistan is an important place. "Getting
angry with it (Pakistan), getting frustrated with it feels
good. But that's not a policy. Anger is not a solution to this
problem. The solutions are not very good but anger is the
least effective of them," Riedel said, who in 2009 had shaped
the Af-Pak policy of the Obama Administration.
First Published: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 15:01