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Old 19-05-2011, 08:08 PM
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Cool US stuck with Pakistan because "it's complicated"


WASHINGTON: Any expectation that the United States will bear down on Pakistan's pursuit of terrorism as a policy instrument aimed at undermining India is receding quickly with the Obama administration easing into the familiar course of not pushing its dodgy ally too hard because of fears that it will collapse.
A recent Hollywood movie titled "It's Complicated" has become the stock phrase to express Washington's difficult relationship with Islamabad, even though there is across the board agreement in US policy circles that Pakistan has become a toxic mess of home-grown terrorism based on false grievances and groundless fear of India and the west.


A State Department spokesman gave voice to the emerging view in the administration that Pakistan needs to be coddled when he was asked on Wednesday about Congressional moves to curtail aid to Pakistan because of the shifty nature of its alliance.
"They are legitimate concerns, given the circumstances of where bin Ladin was found," intoned Mark Toner about the Congressional anger, while implicitly rejecting demands for cutting assistance to Pakistan. "But we believe...that our counterterrorism cooperation and our assistance to Pakistan is in the long-term national security interests of the US as well as in the interest of building a stronger, more prosperous, and more democratic Pakistan."
The fact that Pakistan's civilian government itself is backing away from this expressed goal by kow-towing to a rapacious military (articulated in Prime Minister Gilani's speech to Parliament in which he described the terrorist-designated outfit ISI as a "national asset") hasn't been missed in Washington, but US mandarins and policy mavens shrug helplessly and point to Washington's exigencies in maintaining a supply route to Afghanistan and fears of a nuclear Pakistan collapsing.
Senator John Kerry is the principal proponent of the "let's-not-push-Pakistan-too-hard" line of thinking despite the growing recognition that Islamabad is not meeting any of the metrics laid out in his bill that ladles out $ 7.5 billion of US taxpayer money to Pakistan. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton on March 18 certified that Islamabad was meeting conditions for aid despite her own charges a few weeks before Pakistan was protecting terrorists.
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