The Contrarian: Diplomacy Drama

Pakistan has been receiving money and military provisions from the United States since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947, the year that Pakistan (and India) gained independence as sovereign nation separate from the British Commonwealth. It makes sense that we could jump on that; the U.S. once gained their independence from the same grip and with our help, Pakistan would reciprocate politically by mobilizing those resources for our common interests, creating an American foothold on the other side of the world in a volatile area where it was “needed” the most. For the good of the people and for humanity… That was a long time ago.

You ever have a friend that you knew was bad news but hadn’t wronged you, and in fact had helped you? That you have maintained a relationship with for so long that it is hard to remember what you saw in them in the first place? Good times have been had, support administered and intimate sentiments exchanged, providing adequate rationale for why you are friends. But not necessarily why you continue to be friends.

Moving forward, it is difficult to ignore the fact that relationships change. Interests change. History continues. The benefits of keeping this person as a friend gradually becomes more practical than sentimental, and new relationships become reference points to an increasingly confusing situation where you have to look inside yourself and decide what really matters. That is, until something happens.

By Saturday morning, at least 25 Pakistani soldiers were killed at two military posts by what Pakistani officials claim were NATO aircrafts (purported to be helicopters as well as fighter jets) performing “unprovoked acts of aggression.” The soldiers stationed at these posts are said to have been there for the purpose of warding off Afghani militants and the Taliban, the latest of reasons for supplying U.S. resources to Pakistan. The United States dived into incredulous investigation to get at the bottom of the matter, as the implications of such an attack inevitably places more strain on this already declining relationship.

A negative precedent for this type of violence was cemented in the air raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in May of this year; a great victory for the United States and for the reestablishment of our good faith in the U.S./Pakistan relationship, Pakistan was incensed at this (and other examples of) infringement of the country’s sovereignty.

However, the United States has held the purse strings in many relationships of this nature, and Pakistan is the pinnacle of these. The United States considers Pakistan a major non-NATO ally (as designated in 2004 by President George W. Bush, this status, among other perks, allows Pakistan to purchase and own various advanced American military technologies), and one could assume that this is largely due to its proximity to several countries of interest, mainly Afghanistan, located at Pakistan’s Northwest border. The U.S. “freedom agenda” has made Pakistan a highly valued asset in deterring the opium trade and militant insurgencies along its porous borders, and the value of this asset shows in the investments.

Of all the countries in the world, the United States is the largest economic aid contributor to Pakistan, and only second to China as the largest supplier of military resources, which includes funding, training, equipment, etc.

Thing is, we have been pumping money into Pakistan ever since the 9/11 attacks, and immediate results have not made up for the lack of evidence that this alliance is beneficial to the United States. In a conference in October of this year, President Obama expressed his concern with the manner in which Pakistan was handling the situation in Afghanistan, and within its own borders. Mainly, Obama expressed the existence of intelligence pointing to ties between anti-American militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s own intelligence service.

Boom! Roasted. Interestingly (to me, anyway), prior to this equivalent of calling out a friend on their bullshit in public, the President had taken a trip to India, Pakistan’s greatest enemy and neighbor to the East, to reestablish the two nation’s ties as “natural allies,” an alliance birthed of true interests and without requirement of official, internationally recognized treaties. Both countries have some form of a Democratic government and recognize that stability in Pakistan, and stability incurred by Pakistan in surrounding territories, is integral to their own security. However, one has to wonder if there would be a possibility that Pakistan would misuse the resources provided to them by the United States against India in their more-than-half-a-century-old feud, which India understandably has.

Not to mention that prior to 9/11, Pakistan was a key supporter of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as part of the agenda against India, Iran and Russia. It was pressure from the United States that convinced them to offer any sort of foothold, offering the United States use of their facilities and other logistical material to gain more direct access to the point(s) of interest. In return, besides monetary and military support, the U.S. lifted sanctions and, of course, opened the door for them to stock up on our toys.

When it comes to Pakistan’s accusations of an unprovoked attack on its soldier by NATO, I speculate that it is possible that it is one of those “reject you before you reject me” instances in a friendship where the toxic party sabotages the relationship so that they look like the victim in a poisonous relationship.

That, or the U.S. is actually taking those matters into their own hands.