Post-Osama bin Laden, U.S.-Pakistan Relationship Status? – “It’s Complicated”
For many, there has never been a better time to question our relationship with Pakistan than now. The U.S. operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden has sparked a number of questions surrounding Pakistan’s role in the operation, their knowledge of bin Laden’s whereabouts, and their overall loyalty and commitment to the so-called war on terror.
Quite simply, the ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) played an Oscar-worthy Inspector Clouseau for the past several years while sharing a zip code with this nefarious neighbor. The bottom line is that bin Laden lived in one of the most protected areas in all of Pakistan. From whom did he need protection?
The Pakistani government made out like bandits here. During the past decade, Islamabad received billions in military and humanitarian aid from the U.S. government in return for their “cooperation” as the United States searched or bombed every rock in the pursuit of bin Laden. What motive would Pakistan have to hand over this harried treasure?
Osama bin Laden’s proximity to the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad sounds eerily similar to the fortified bullion residing next to Fort Knox. The notion that the ISI hadn’t a clue is both risible and ludicrous. Even the Pakistani authorities are not that incompetent, as much as they’d like you to believe otherwise. As they cashed in their chips, Pakistan also managed to quell possible uprisings from the restless natives who have grown increasingly frustrated with the government over U.S. drone attacks.
But where’s the big surprise in all of this? Why are pundits and out-of-the-loop congressmen throwing such a hissy fit over Pakistan’s loyalties?
U.S.-Pakistan relations have a battered history of distrust and dependency like an emotionally dysfunctional marriage of convenience.
As long as we play the sugar-daddy, our bilateral partnership with Pakistan isn’t going anywhere, except maybe to the neighbor’s house to cheat on us while we look the other way. There’s no need for the Pakistani government to weasel its way out of this one any more than there was for their continued involvement in training the Taliban. Even the White House has downplayed any notion of wrongdoing on the Pakistanis’ part by giving them diluted credit where credit is undue. We can’t afford to implicate Pakistani leadership as an accomplice to bin Laden or champion them as deeply committed to U.S. military operations.
Perhaps the more heinous crime here is not the state of Pakistan’s loyalty to us, but rather its loyalty to its own people. The dissemination of lies and outright deceit over this debacle is characteristic of a corrupt government of this magnitude.
“Until and unless Islamabad comes clean with its countrymen, this currently train-wreck of a nation will never have a chance.”
At the same time, the people of Pakistan need to stop blaming all of their problems on the United States and India, and take example from the wave of revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The “Pakistan can do no wrong” mentality is sadly misguided and delusional. This fractured state barely shows any loyalty to its own civilians. Why should we expect any different?
Pakistan is still of great value to the United States, at least for the time being. Osama bin Laden’s death hardly means an end to anything. Al-Qaeda continues to run rampant in the region, and there are plenty of natural resources in them thar Afghani hills. So while our country continues to whine and moan about Pakistan, it will be business as usual between the two nations: You keep on prostituting yourself when you could be leading a better life, and we’ll continue to pay you with our children’s college funds.