Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

U.S.-Pakistan Bipolar Relations

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

U.S.-Pakistan Bipolar Relations

Article excerpt

Rife with controversy and mistrust, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been the source of much discussion in Washington, DC. Two recent events analyzed various dynamics of the two nations' bipolar relationship.

At an April 10 talk at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Zahid Hussain, a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London, described U.S.-Pakistan relations as currently "on freeze" and in need of being "reestablished" and "rehabilitated." Hussain pointed out that 2011 was an extremely strenuous year for the relationship, as a series of events led "to a complete breakdown" in relations.

According to Hussain, the U.S. operation to kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 was a particularly strong "source of humiliation for the Pakistani military." In the aftermath of Bin Laden's death, he noted, "anti-American sentiments went very high," and U.S.-Pakistan military relations became greatly strained.

While the ramifications of America's war on terror are the source of current U.S.-Pakistan friction, Hussain argued that the tension between the two nations predates 2001. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship faces "the burden of history," he said, explaining that many Pakistanis still resent the U.S. for having previously "walked out of the relationship when the last Soviet soldiers leftAfghanistan." Indeed, Hussain noted, following the end of the Cold War Washington largely abandoned Pakistan as an ally, only to re-establish a relationship with Islamabad out of strategic necessity following 9/11. …

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