“Sixth, the U.S. should engage religious leaders constructively. Many are moderates who believe that the Taliban is distorting Islam to further its objectives. The power and communications network of the approximately 20,000 madrassas should be used, rather than feared.
“Seventh, India needs to offer a positive and public signal to Pakistan. It must recognize that if Pakistan disintegrates, it will have a failed nuclear-armed territory on its frontiers with a likely hostile and unpredictable orientation. . . . The words India uses matter. Even more helpful would be an initial and modest pullback initiated by India from the Line of Control in Kashmir, then reciprocated by Pakistan. These actions would be largely symbolic, but symbolism matters.
“¦.the reliance of the Karzai government in Afghanistan on the U.S. for its existence and the new partnership with India give the U.S. historically unprecedented influence”¦
“Eighth, Pakistan should be encouraged to reciprocate Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India as envisioned by GATT, which was superseded by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. . . . Advice from India on economic reforms and lessons learned, if offered without looking patronizing, would be useful.
“Ninth, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India must be brought to the table together to formulate a long-term strategy formulated to share intelligence, to use the network of madrassas, and to leverage the strengths of each country for the benefit of the others. . . .
“Tenth, fear of the Taliban is evident in Tehran, even if the Iranians are now convulsed by their own internal struggles. This could offer both the U.S. and Iran some common ground for constructive engagement. As moderates, youth, women, intellectuals, the middle class and other voices of reform rise to be heard in Iran, the desire to sever ties to clerics and theocracy will be stronger. By extension, the brand of extremism offered by the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda cohorts will have less appeal in a modernizing Iran.”
Schell et al. also add that “the reliance of the Karzai government in Afghanistan on the U.S. for its existence and the new partnership with India give the U.S. historically unprecedented influence with all three countries. China and Russia are not seen as constructive influences and there is limited affinity for those two states in either Pakistan or India.”
Anti-Americanism in Pakistan
There is also a growing concern among U.S. policymakers about the increased anti-Americanism among ordinary Pakistanis in recent years. A poll by the Pew Research Center last July showed that about 6 in 10 Pakistanis (59%) consider the U.S. the enemy of their country and are concerned that the U.S. could turn into a military threat to them. Just 11% consider the U.S. their partner. Although there were earlier reports of burning of the American flag and general spouting of anti-America venom by Pakistanis, these poll results came as a surprise to Washington—mainly because the general understanding among U.S. policymakers is that Pakistan has been financially well-rewarded by the United States in the post-9/11 period.
Pakistan transfers captured detainees to the Americans, but there is no clear understanding of the criteria on which these people are arrested and why they are extradited.
Some analysts have now begun to discuss the necessity of turning around this anti-American outlook. According to Moeed Yusuf of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), this can be attained only when the official relationship between the two nations becomes more transparent, when the frequency of visits by U.S. officials to Pakistan is reduced, and when “image-correcting aid”—such as building power-generating stations to help meet the massive short supply of electrical power—is provided in addition to the long-term assistance.
What Yusuf refers to in his study as nontransparency in the relationship has to do with policies that seem arbitrary to the average Pakistani. For instance, the U.S. transfers coalition support funds (CSF) to Pakistan, but it is not clear where this money goes or how is it spent. Similarly, Pakistan transfers captured detainees to the Americans, but there is no clear understanding of the criteria on which these people are arrested and why they are extradited. Clarity also seems to be missing when it comes to American drone attacks inside Pakistan and the use of Pakistani air bases by the Americans. The agreements and arrangements by which Islamabad has permitted this American activity and access have never been explained to the Pakistani citizens.
“¦the Americans are the real policymakers in terms of what occurs within Pakistan, and the military brass and Pakistani political leaders just take orders from them
Frequent visits by high-level American officials to Pakistan, meeting all the top Pakistani officials, have also been a subject of discontent. People wonder, and now they are asking openly, why the Americans come so often. Many Pakistanis have come to the conclusion, and they are angry about it, that the Americans are the real policymakers in terms of what occurs within Pakistan, and the military brass and Pakistani political leaders just take orders from them. Says Yusuf: “. . . The most common conclusion is that American officials dictate actions to their Pakistani counterparts, who in turn act as surrogates to their senior partners in the deal.”
American Economic Aid to Pakistan
The Bush administration’s post-9/11 policy towards Pakistan was most obvious in economic areas. During this period, Pakistan has ranked among the top five recipients of U.S. civilian and military aid, in a group with Israel, Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq. In June 2003, President George W. Bush vowed to work with Congress in establishing a five-year, $3 billion aid package for Pakistan. Annual instalments of $600 million, split evenly between military and economic aid, began in fiscal year 2005.
The United States provided $11.2 billion between FY 2001 and FY 2008 (see Table 1), the bulk of which has gone to security assistance either through military aid or reimbursements. Security-related assistance, including reimbursements, arms sales and internal security assistance, ran to $8.1 billion. The remaining $3.1 billion was invested in development programs. Pakistan has balked at U.S. requests for information about how CSFs have been spent, citing Pakistani sovereignty over the funds. Pakistan’s unwillingness to give an accounting of how these funds have been spent has contributed to criticism of both Islamabad and these programs (Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State? Rand Corporation, 2010).