A decade on, little has changed in Pakistan. The country's military continues to shelter the Afghan Taliban, hundreds of American and Afghan soldiers have
died in cross-border attacks from Taliban safe havens in Pakistan, and the Pakistani army remains by far the most powerful institution in the country.
Yes, the government of outgoing Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari performed poorly and mismanaged the country's economy. And it's wrong to assume -- or
argue -- that an effective, efficient civilian government would emerge if Pakistan's army would give up its decades-old domination of the country.
But what did the United States get for its $11 billion? One goal of providing U.S. military aid was to get the Pakistani military to crack down on the
thousands of Afghan Taliban who have lived, trained and planned operations from inside Pakistan since 2001. But so far that has not happened. Republicans
and Democrats poured money into the coffers of the Pakistani military but it did not change the Pakistani military's long-running view that Afghan Taliban
and other militants are useful proxies against Pakistan's arch-rival India.
American officials say the $11 billion did allow Washington to get what it most wanted: drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas that weakened al Qaeda and
may have thwarted terrorist attacks in the United States. Pakistan's nuclear weapons also remain under government control. The drone strikes fuel bitter
anti-Americanism in Pakistan, but the cold political calculus for any American president, officials argue, is preventing terrorist attacks on the homeland.
So far, the Obama administration appears intent on following the same aid-for-leverage approach in Egypt. The White House delayed the delivery of four new
F-16 fighters to Egypt this week. But the fact that the Egyptian military has already killed 140 protesters -- twice as many as Iran did in its 2009
crushing of the Green Movement -- apparently gives administration officials little pause.
In a visit to Pakistan this week, Secretary of State John Kerry gave the administration's most full-throated defense of the Egyptian military yet. "In
effect, they were restoring democracy," Kerry said in a
Pakistani television interview. "The military did not take over, to the best of our judgment -- so far, so far -- to run the country. There's a civilian
Most importantly, the White House announced that the Obama administration would flout an American law requiring the U.S. government to cut off American aid
to any government the carries out a coup. How? By ignoring it.
"The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a
determination," a White House official
told the New York Times. "We will not say it was a coup, we will not say it was not a coup, we will just not say."