The White House has asked Congress for and seems likely to receive $736 million to build a new U.S. embassy in Islamabad, along with permanent housing for U.S. government civilians and new office space in the Pakistani capital. The scale of the projects rivals the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million.
Walt furrows his brow:
I'm all for providing U.S. officials with adequate facilities, but this idea merely underscores the inherent contradictions in the current U.S. approach.
One of America's main problems in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is the widespread popular belief that it is now addicted to interfering in these societies, usually in a heavy-handed and counter-productive way. ... And oh yes, we also drop bombs and fire missiles into their territory, which we would regard as an act of war if anyone did it to us. Even when well-intentioned, these activities inevitably lend themselves to various conspiracy theories about America's "real" motives, and reinforce negative impressions of the United States. As of last year, only 19 percent of Pakistan’s population had a favorable view of the United States.
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