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pakistan
safe havens
strained relationship
terrorism in the world
al quaeda
obama
Are US Relations With Pakistan Crucial?
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US relations with Pakistan are crucial despite our history of crises. The current relations are strained after the US unilaterally conducted secretive operations in Pakistan and this has easily become the most difficult crisis since 9/11. It is speculated that the current relationship between the US and Pakistan will be strained further as intelligence that was removed from the bin Laden compound is analyzed.

This strained relationship between the US and Pakistan can be summed up as "keep your enemies close and your friends closer". This is not to say that this situation is a re-enactment of Godfather II and Michael Corleone. Although at times art does imitate life.

The stakes involved are much larger than the fight for consolidation and control of criminal interests; this fight has geo-political ramifications for the South Asia region as well as other nations throughout the world.

The US Pakistani relationship has not evolved as a strategic alliance but has developed more as a need based arrangement. Pakistan is alleged to be the center of terrorism in the world. Al Qaeda has targeted Pakistan and a stong partnership with Pakistan is critical to breaking the back of Al Quaeda.

The US cannot succeed in Afghanistan unless terrorist safe havens in Pakistan are shut down.

The US needs the Pakistani supply routes for logistical support for our troops landlocked in Afghanistan. This will mean dismantling of several terrorist networks in the North Warziristan region. Also, this will ensure that President's Obama's planned withdrawal from Afghanistan will be successful once the borders are secured and terrorist networks are removed in this tribal area.

The US Pakistani relationship is further clouded because the Pakistani military has ties with the Haqqani network and presents a threat to US-Afghan strategic interests. This network is composed of several groups, the Haqqani, Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, and LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba). The Pakistani military considers the Haqqani network a valuable asset and is reluctant to move against them.

This need based association presents several concerns for the Pakistan government especially highlighted by US secretive intelligence operations conducted by private contractors in Pakistan. The government is still smarting from the bin Laden incident and the CIA contractor operative that was jailed for killing two Pakistani's.

Pakistan is not willing to permit the US or its forces a free hand in determining the geo-political agenda in the South Asia region; particularly, with the alleged US leaning towards India and their increasing influence in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis feel that the US is following a policy to neutralize Pakistan's influence in Afghanistan.

Finally, another seed of distrust centers on the foreign aid package, (Kerry-Lugar-Berman law of 2009) promised $1.5 billion for 2010 while Pakistan has only received $179.5 million. This foreign aid was designed to assist in improving the economic infrastructure and helping to change the dire economic conditions experienced throughout Pakistan.

US relations with Pakistan are crucial to our national security and interests. Pakistan's national security interests are equally important for this region and our global neighbors. It is important to keep our friends close diplomatically with investment in its people and civilian organizations to foster economic growth and development. It is important for the US to continue to be viewed as an ally and an enabler of democracy with like minded governments to disrupt the growth of seeds of discord. We have to re-establish trust based on a set of common objectives to meet our mutual interests and national security or we can continue to sit behind a large bargaining table with handcuffs "keeping our enemies close and our friends closer".


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