Pakistan Is No Friend of the United States
Granted, the US-Pakistan relationship has seen some signs of a cooldown in recent months. This most notably manifested itself in President Trump’s call for India’s help in Afghanistan, in addition to Mr Trump’s true claim of Pakistan harboring terrorists. Thus, there is some sentiment of mistrust between the United States and Pakistan, with Pakistan’s government feeling it is acting only as a scapegoat for the United States.
However, in terms of an actual alliance, the US-Pakistan relationship remains strong. In 2015, the United States sold a billion dollars worth in missiles and helicopters to Pakistan. Overall, since the war on terror begun, Pakistan has received around 33 billion dollars in aid from the US, mostly in the form of military hardware. The US has also reimbursed Pakistan for its role in the war on terror, to the tune of 3.1 billion dollars. US forces have also cooperated with Pakistani forces in Afghanistan. While the rhetoric coming from both the US and Pakistan indicates otherwise, the reality of US-Pakistan arms dealing and cooperation means that both countries still maintain an alliance with each other, despite the fundamental geopolitical realities that state otherwise.
There are many examples of Pakistan aiding and supporting terrorism, by both harboring terrorists and funding militants in other countries such as Afghanistan. The most wanted terrorist in the world, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by US Navy Seals in a compound less than a mile away from an elite Pakistani military academy. In fact, a former Pakistani army chief confirmed that Pakistani leadership knew of Bin Laden’s presence. This does not just apply to Bin Laden, however. It has been shown that Pakistan’s ISI (Intelligence agency) has supported the Taliban, allowing the Islamic militant group to flourish within both Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to receive more military aid from the US. This is due to the overarching reality of Pakistani foreign policy. Pakistan views India, not Islamist terrorists, as its largest foreign policy concern, and acts accordingly. More military aid from the United States means greater protection in the event of an India-Pakistan war. Pakistan’s hatred of India was shown in 2008, when Lashkar-e-Taiba militants based in Pakistan attacked a Mumbai hotel, killing 166 people. There is much evidence to suggest that Pakistan’s ISI helped to carry out the attack, with an arrested operative claiming that he and ISI officers gave the Mumbai gunmen orders from a control room in Karachi.
Pakistan has also contributed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, most notably in North Korea. Pakistan and North Korea colluded on the development of nuclear weapons, with the backing of China. Again, the anti-India motive was present here. By covertly giving nuclear technology to the North Koreans, Pakistan managed to secure an ally in China, which has manifested itself in arms deals as well as pressure on the India-China border. Pakistan also helped Iran with its nuclear program, selling Iran nuclear technology in the 1980s.
Evidently, Pakistani interests and US interests do not line up. With the US pursuing strong, anti-China alliance with India, Pakistan is fundamentally incompatible with the overall strategic goal of the United States in Asia. This can also be seen in Pakistan gradually increasing arms imports from China, signifying an overall shift in Asian geopolitics as Pakistan moves into China’s orbit. With all of this, one thing is clear. The US-Pakistan relationship is a relic of the past. It makes no geopolitical or moral sense, and only complicates already complex situations in Afghanistan. It is time to get rid of the rusted, archaic mess of the US-Pakistan alliance.