Is Humiliating Pakistan Good Policy?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

From Politico:

(White House Chief of Staff) Bill Daley said the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is "difficult" and must be made "to work over time."

But Daley told ABC's "This Week" that until "we get through that difficulty, we'll hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers are committed to give" the U.S. ally, according to an Associated Press report.

Look at the contradiction in the paragraph above. Bill Daley hopes to "get through" the current difficulty with Pakistan. The way he wants to do this is to publicly embarrass the Pakistanis. It is not the money -- $800 million in withheld aid -- that is crucial here. The Pakistani military will survive perfectly well without access to this relatively modest sum. What is important is that the Obama Administration believes that public embarrassment of an on-again, off-again ally in the fight against Islamist terrorism will bring that ally to heel. This does not seem like a path to success. The Pakistanis want the respect of the U.S., or at least some recognition that, despite the Bin Laden calamity, they have also suffered at the hand of extremists, and that thousands of Pakistanis have died fighting extremism. It seems that it would be more in the American self-interest to speak quietly to Pakistan at moments like this, rather than to deliver a public spanking. I will make a bold prediction: Six months or a year from now, we will look back on the withholding of aid as a failure of policy.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/07/is-humiliating-pakistan-good-policy/241680/