The latest news on US-Pakistan relations shouldn’t surprise anyone. According to the Associated Press, former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf used billions of dollars in US military aid for everything but the paymasters’ intended purpose: fighting Taliban militias.
None of this news, however, is likely to generate much Pakistani sympathy for American taxpayers. What American officials refer to as “anti-American sentiment” is actually a deep resentment of U.S. government involvement in internal Pakistani politics. It is worth noting that U.S. funding for Musharraf marked the third time we have supported Pakistani dictatorship in the country’s 60 years of history.
It is precisely this past that has come to haunt both Pakistanis and Americans today. The intersection of dictatorship and dollars has resulted in a Pakistani military that does not answer to the country’s civilian leadership. Every time American taxpayers financed an alliance with a Pakistani military dictator, we also forced Pakistani reformers to take a backseat.
Associated Press (AP): Relatives of victims killed by a suicide bomber in a mosque, react in a hospital in Chakwal city in Punjab province, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, April 5, 2009.
A repost of my comment at Sepia Mutiny and Chapati Mystery:
On the intersection of U.S. policy and Pakistani politics, I was particularly surprised to read this link off a Pakistani news twitter feed:
Obama calls Zardari, discusses mutual cooperation
Pakistan News.Net / Friday 27th March, 2009 (ANI)
Islamabad, Mar. 27 : US President Barack Obama telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday to discuss mutual cooperation and the situation in the South Asian region. Obama and Zardari spoke about the “Friends of Democratic Pakistan” forum initiative, aimed at promoting and strengthening democracy in Pakistan, The Nation reports…
…Zardari, who launched the initiative of ‘Friends of Democratic Pakistan’ (FODP) in New York in September 2008, will chair the Friends’ Ministerial meeting being held in Tokyo on April 17. The forum consists of 25 countries and multilateral institutions…
What is the “Friends of Democratic Pakistan” forum, and why is Zardari chairing it?