Monday, December 02, 2013

PAKISTAN - Reality-Based U.S. Relationship

Very insightful, especially the U.S. "see the world as divided between allies and enemies."

"Can U.S., Pakistan move forward in building a 'reality-based relationship'?" PBS Newshour 11/29/2013


HARI SREENIVASAN (Newshour):  Now to one of the United States' most complicated partnerships on the world stage: its rocky alliance with Pakistan.

Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner sat down with Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's former ambassador to Washington, to discuss that relationship.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  The Pakistani people and the American people have suffered terribly from terrorism in the past.

MARGARET WARNER (Newshour):  It's a critical relationship for the United States these days, key to Washington's fight against terrorism and its plans to leave Afghanistan next year.

But relations with Pakistan have been rocky ever since that country's birth in 1947.  They united against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but fell out over Pakistan's secret development of a nuclear weapon in the 90s.

Since 9/11, while nominally cooperating against terrorists, they have been at odds over Taliban and al-Qaida-linked fighters sheltering in Pakistani territory, and over U.S. drone strikes against those militants.

The low point?  The 2011 U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden hiding out in a city near Pakistan's capital.

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. from 2008 to 2011, examines the roots of this fractious partnership in a new book, "Magnificent Delusions:  Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding."
MARGARET WARNER:  Do you think this dysfunction that you describe is also rooted in the national characters of each people, of each country?

HUSAIN HAQQANI:  Well, Americans have a tendency to not take other people's history very seriously.

In America, when you say, that's history, it actually means that's irrelevant.  Pakistan, on the other hand, has spent a lot of time and energy trying to create a narrative of history that justifies its existence, because its existence is often questioned by other nations.

MARGARET WARNER:  Do you think that Pakistanis are suspicious of the rest of the world?

HUSAIN HAQQANI:  I think Pakistanis are suspicious of the rest of the world.

In fact, in recent years, I have complained that my compatriots are becoming rather xenophobic. Conspiracy theories are rampant in Pakistan.  And that comes from a sense of insecurity.
HUSAIN HAQQANI:  I think that neither Pakistan nor the United States should look upon each other as allies.  That would be the first step towards a reality-based relationship.

Both should understand that we do not have a shared enemy and we do not have a shared interest.  Pakistan needs to educate its children who don't go to school.  Pakistan needs to get away from a religion-based nationalism to a nationalism of shared interests of the population.

The United States can't see the world as divided between allies and enemies.  Actually, there are many countries that are neither, and Pakistan is one of them.

No comments: