The departure of Amb. Husain Haqqani could mark the start of a new era of U.S.-Pakistan cold war
Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani Ambassador to the United States / AP
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Husain Haqqani was at once the benign face of Pakistan's U.S.-friendly civilian government and one of his country's most trenchant critics when it came to the enduring power of the Pakistani military. Now he has been forced to resign as ambassador to the U.S., the victim of allegations at home that he sought to enlist Washington's help in forestalling a Pakistani military coup.
Haqqani's departure marks yet another sharp downturn in the badly deteriorating alliance between Washington and Islamabad, as well as the latest severe blow to the tottering government of Haqqani's patron, the deeply unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari. But more than that, his resignation could signal the beginning of a new and far more distant relationship between two countries whose interests now only occasionally overlap, a relationship that resembles a kind of cold war.
This may happen, ironically enough, through forced elections rather than a military coup, says Christine Fair of Georgetown University. Army Chief of Staff Ashfaq Kayani is not eager to follow the path of his predecessor, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who took power in a controversial coup in 1999 and ran the country for more than eight tumultuous years. "But now they have someone waiting in the shadows to run: Imran Khan," Fair said.