April 18, 2011Af-PakAfghanistanForeign AffairsKayanimilitary-jihadi complexPakistanSecurityUnited States

Hanging by its kerry

The US-Pakistan relationship is fraying but not yet broken

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

So the New York Times reports that it is increasingly apparent that (the United States and Pakistan) have differing, even irreconcilable, aims in Afghanistan.”

With the Afghan endgame looming, suspicion is overwhelming faint cooperation between the United States and Pakistan, as each side seeks to secure its interests, increase its leverage to obtain them, and even cut out the other if need be, American and Pakistani officials say.

No one in Pakistan or in Washington now speaks of returning to the strategic alliance made by President George W. Bush and Gen. Pervez Musharraf immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, when the primary goal was to operate joint intelligence efforts to capture operatives of Al Qaeda. Military officials from both sides say that arrangement was never bound to be a longstanding affair.

There was never a level of trust,” said a former American military official who served in a senior position in Pakistan. I’m convinced now they don’t want our help.” [NYT]

We have long been of the view that this is bound to happen.

Sooner or later, the Obama administration will come to realise that it has no way to make the Pakistani military establishment seriously fight and defeat the jihadi groups, which includes the Taliban, al-Qaeda and outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba. When that moment comes, Barack Obama will need to choose between direct confrontation with the Pakistani military-jihadi complex and colossal strategic defeat…[Mint/The Acorn]

We had argued that it was in India’s interests to force such a reckoning sooner rather than later. In the event, India acted neither to accelerate nor decelerate this process, things took their course, and the moment of truth is now much closer than it was when the Obama administration took office. Yet, the United States has an enormous interest in ensuring that the breakup doesn’t happen, and if it does, happens without violence or an emotional breakdown. The military-jihadi complex in Pakistan has created a public atmosphere in Pakistan where General Kayani will be feted if a breakdown were to occur. Washington too is aware of this.

All is is part of a broader negotiating game. If the Pakistanis take you to the edge of a cliff its because they are relatively more comfortable bargaining from there.

Tailpiece: A kerry, according to the Meaning of Liff, is the small twist of skin that separates two sausages.

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