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Clinton’s colossal credibility problem in Pakistan

Clinton’s colossal credibility problem in Pakistan

While the State Department is using hyperbolic cliches like “most critical country” and “massive” aid projects, the arrival of the US Secretary of State has drawn a big yawn from the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis are well read and tune to Voice of America, the BBC, CNN, and read the New York Times, Washington Post, and also rags like the Huffington Post. Pakistanis know the innate hatred from Pakistan in the US media. Pakistanis also keep track of the happenings in the US Congress and watch Bharati (aka Indian) media to keep them abreast of the neighborhood and the intentions of Delhi viz a viz Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister recently claimed that Pakistan has lost $43 billion because of the US war in Afghanistan. Estimates from the US department of defense were more relaistic. The DOD claimed that Pakistan was losing $20 billion per year. US truck rumble through highways that were built for Pakistanis, and were not created for NATO and US war efforts. The US and NATO has not lifted a finger to repair, expand or fix the Pakistani freeways, which are the envy of South Asia–some better than US freeways. The US uses several Pakistan bases, and American mercenaries run roughshod through Pakistani immigration, and flaunt Pakistani laws in the cities.

The drones are linked to the suicide bombings. The cycle of violence continues while the US tries to force Pakistan into expanding the war–while at the same time talking to the same elements. The US has signed a Civilian Nuclear deal with a country that for fifty of the past sixty years has opposed US policies in the world. Mrs. Clinton is part of an administration that sanction Nuclear Technology on a Major Non-NATO ally, while allowing access to nukes a Soviet client state.

While there is much hoopla about the $500 million check that Mrs. Clinton in bringing to Islamabad, Pakistan could earn 20 times that number if the US allowed it fair access to American markets. Pakistan pays more tariffs on textiles than Sweden does no Volvos. Something is not right with this picture, and the US is unable or unwilling to conform the WTO free trade injunctions. Pakistan doesn’t need aid, it needs trade.

The US media keeps harping on the so called Haqqani Network which his supposedly based in Northern Waziristan. The Afghan National Resistance controls 90% of Afghanistan. Why would they need a safe haven. Before asking Pakistan to expand the war on its citizens, the US needs to recover the lands it has lost to the Afghan National Resistance movement.

While CNN highlights Richar Holbrookes’ statements that the US should change its policies about Pakistan, the drones continue to target the innocent women and children in Wazirisitan.

The region is among Washington’s “highest priorities,” Holbrooke said, but to make progress, “we need to change the core of the relationship” between the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In typical US hyperbole, CNN states that Clinton will announce “massive” projects. She is playing with $500 million. How massive could the project be. Compare to the $20 billion train line that Turkey, Iran and Pakistan are stitching together from Islamabad to Istanbul. Compare to the billions of Dollars being spent on two massive dams that are being constructed by the Chinese. Compare to the massive Civilian Nuclear plants being set up Chasma. Compare to the Trans Karakorum rial line from Kashghar to Gwader being built jointly by Pakistan and China. The US projects will look puny to most Pakistanis. For the past six decades the US cannot point to a single monumental project in Pakistan–while China can point to several dozen–and the Chinese don’t crassly advertise their projects every chance they get. The Chinese do it with class, and work with the Pakistanis in a slow methodical manner.

See what CNN says.

Clinton will announce a “massive” list of aid projects for Pakistan on Monday, according to a senior U.S. official who did not want to be named talking about the announcements before they are made.

“No country in the world is getting as much attention by the United States or more support because no country is more important,” the official said.

Clinton is expected to talk about U.S. plans to spend billions of dollars on social, economic and infrastructure development, especially in Pakistan’s tribal region. She is also likely to discuss U.S. plans to help with Pakistan’s energy and water shortage.

Clinton will travel next to an international conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, and stop in South Korea and Vietnam before coming home.

During the Pakistan leg of her trip, she will meet with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari.

Clinton, who landed in Islamabad, will highlight the need for a closer relationship with Pakistan.

To CNN reporters the money being spent by Hillary Clinton may be massive, but in actual fact it is very little. Half the money spent by US Aid has to be spent on American Companies, 25% is lost in administrative expenses. The 25% that finally makes it to Pakistan goes to the Ambassador’s favorite NGO to be deposited back in Swiss bank accounts. The Dollars don’t cut the mustard, because their quantity is so little.

In the end and in actual fact, like in in all matters of life, Dollars matter very little. Threats by US politicians, sanctions on export of Nuclear Technology to Pakistan, constant ribbing about duplicity, and the do more mantra actually do more to destroy any chance of a good relationship between Pakistan and the US.

Holbrooke and others recognize that the past decade has destroyed the Pakistani-American relationship which used to be the most vibrant and close in the world. In the 60s, and 80s Pakistan was the most “allied of allies”. The US was the most popular country in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Today this is not true.

Anti-American sentiment is widespread in Pakistan, and the United States hopes to build more trust between the two countries.

“There was a huge trust gap,” said Vali Nasr, a senior adviser to Holbrooke.

Nasr noted changing the relationship will take time.

“We are not going to be able to change their foreign policy on a dime,” Nasr said.

In the past year, the United States has started engaging Pakistan more, according to Nasr.

The process included Clinton’s visit to the nation last October. Her trip was followed by various high-level visits, which have made Pakistan more aware of U.S. intentions, Nasr said.

Helping Pakistan address its water issues has enabled the United States to work with provincial officials and broaden its engagement across the Pakistani government, said Maria Otero, undersecretary for global affairs.

The reports in America ignore the fact that American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatened Pakistan in the aftermath of the Times Square drama. The threat came right after the strategic dialogue had ended. Islamabad was taken aback. Most Pakistanis were livid.  “What kind of strategic dialogue is so fragile that a single incident could destroy it” many asked. Clinton was given the proper protocol by the Government of Pakistan but faced a sea of hostility by ordinary citizens when she visited Islamabad last time. She did not visit Karachi. She should. This time around Clinton is wearing the threat around her collar–and there is no erase button.

Whatever Dollars she brings is too little too late and her mouth has already destroyed her credibility in Pakistan.

Israel’s Dastardly Act of War

The world has witnessed atrocities committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians many times. Many renowned individuals from different countries have raised their voices in response, but no serious action has ever been taken. Recently, Israel proved it’s brazen nature again when it became obvious that its intelligence agency was behind the assassination of a Hammas leader in Dubai. There was much hue and cry, but after a short while the issue died down. This time, however, Israel really seems to have gone too far by attacking aid workers in international waters.

Why on earth would Israeli Special Forces be instructed to attack unarmed aid workers? The answer to this is simple: the Israeli’s are quite used to bullying other countries and getting away with it because they enjoy America’s backing. This time, America has delayed making any statements, which leaves many already with the feeling that the U.S. condones this dastardly act of war as one of self defence – That’s the usual American stance! While the world waits to hear what America has to say, more and more political figures and the world at large intensifies their condemnation.

What next?

Protests are the usual way we show our disappointment. However, this time everything seems to be a whole lot more serious. Pakistan has already called for emergency sessions at the UN and OIC, which is a positive sign. In the absence of a diplomatic channel, Pakistan still has to communicate with Israel for the sake of its citizens being held hostage. In order to do so, countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel have been approached, and Pakistan now has indirect communication with their citizens being held by Israel.

Israel ought to realize that abducting Pakistani citizens or any other country’s citizens and taking them hostage in international waters is an act of war. Graver than this act itself is the slaughter of at least 20 innocent aid workers on their way to deliver food and other aid to Palestine. Given that Israel has committed blatant violation of human rights and has conducted state terrorism, there are apparently two ways to punish them.

Punitive Action for Israel

Diplomatic isolation is one way to go about penalizing Israel. An alternative measure is to treat them the same way other supposed terrorist states have been treated by America and its allied forces; Israel should be attacked and invaded. However, should we really go for the latter, and act the way America has? Or are we more humane? At the same time, it is worth asking if it is really humane to just accept the massacre of innocent aid workers aboard the Flotilla? Is it really humane to witness innocent men, women and children being slaughtered in Palestine and do nothing about it? Is it humane to go to bed every night with your stomach full, knowing that on average an individual in Palestine lives on only 4 Kgs of food per week?

We need Immediate Action

The international community will take its own sweet time to make decisions about Israel’s state terror in international waters. However, we should not refrain from putting pressure on them to make sure the maximum is achieved. Apart from that effort, we as Muslim nations have a duty to those being victimized in Palestine as well as those massacred in international waters. How we should act is not just left up to our political and military leaders; it is we as individuals who must make sure we put immense pressure on our leaders to act immediately. We Must Act Now!

Our Holy Prophet [S.A.W.W.] said: “When you see an evil act you have to stop it with your hand. If you can’t, then at least speak out against it with your tongue. If not, you have to at least hate it with all your heart. And this is the weakest form of faith.” –Sahih Muslim, Book of faith.