Kerry and Lugar call for new Pakistan policy

Kerry and Lugar call for new Pakistan policy
Boston Globe, May 4, 2009

Senators John F. Kerry and Richard Lugar introduced legislation today to put into effect key elements of President Obama's new strategy in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The bill would triple US aid to Pakistan's government to $1.5 billion a year -- and decouple it from military aid, which would be determined each year based on cooperation with the United States on fighting Al Qadea and the Taliban.

The legislation would also require the president to submit a detailed strategy for assistance to Pakistan.

Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lugar, a senior Republican on the panel, say that there needs to be an overhaul of the US-Pakistan relationship.

"The status quo is not working: the United States believes it is paying too much and getting too little—and most Pakistanis believe exactly the opposite," they say in a summary of the bill.

"The Kerry-Lugar approach towards Pakistan emphasizes a long-term relationship built on mutual trust and cooperation: only then will the people of Pakistan see the United States as an ally with shared interests and goals, such as defeating militant extremists that threaten the national security of both countries."

The full bill summary is below:

Summary of the Kerry-Lugar “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009”

Purpose of the Kerry-Lugar Bill on Pakistan

In introducing this bill, Senators Kerry and Lugar aim to help transform the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan: instead of a transactional, tactically-driven set of short-term exercises in crisis-management, Kerry and Lugar aim to build a deeper, broader, long-term strategic engagement with the people (and not just the leaders) of this vitally important nation. The Kerry-Lugar approach towards Pakistan emphasizes a long-term relationship built on mutual trust and cooperation: only then will the people of Pakistan see the United States as an ally with shared interests and goals, such as defeating militant extremists that threaten the national security of both countries.

Over the years, U.S. assistance to Pakistan has fluctuated with political events, sending mixed messages and leading most Pakistanis to question both our intentions and our staying power. Today, most Pakistanis believe the United States will cut and run when it serves our purpose, a belief which undermines our long-term efforts to defeat extremists, foster democratic change, and support transparent and accountable institutions that promote security and stability in Pakistan.

The status quo is not working: the United States believes it is paying too much and getting too little—and most Pakistanis believe exactly the opposite. Without changing this baseline, there is little likelihood of drying up popular tolerance for anti-U.S. terrorist groups or persuading Pakistani leaders to devote the political capital necessary to deny such groups sanctuary and covert material support.

A premise underlying the Kerry-Lugar approach is a simple thought-exercise. Following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the United States devoted nearly $1 billion to relief efforts and reaped a greater reward in popular support than any amount of public diplomacy could generate. The sight of American servicemen and women saving the lives of Pakistani citizens was worth ten times the cost of operating the Chinook helicopters. For a brief period, America was challenging the terrorists in a true battle of hearts and minds—and winning. Senators Kerry and Lugar believe that through this legislation, we can recreate these conditions: We can materially and powerfully demonstrate the true friendship of the American people for the Pakistani people, without waiting for a natural (or man-made) disaster.

The dangers of inaction are rising almost by the day. Since President Obama called on Congress to pass the Kerry-Lugar bill in late March, the situation on the ground in Pakistan has deteriorated precipitously. Taliban fighters have imposed their brutal rule far outside the border areas, and made inroads within 60 miles of the capitol. It will be Pakistanis, not Americans, who must ultimately decide their nation’s future. But we can help empower those Pakistanis who are fighting to turn their country towards a path of moderation, stability, and regional cooperation. That’s the foundation of the Kerry-Lugar bill.

Key Provisions of the Kerry-Lugar Bill on Pakistan

Ø Triples foreign assistance to $1.5 billion per year—as a long-term pledge to the people of Pakistan. Authorizes $7.5 billion over the next 5 years ($1.5 billion annually for FY 2009 –2013) that is intended to emphasize economic growth and development, and advocates an additional $7.5 billion over the subsequent 5 years.

Ø De-links military from non-military aid. In the past, security assistance has dwarfed development assistance: the Pakistani military could bypass civilian authorities to focus policy on its institutional interests. Under Kerry-Lugar, economic assistance is no longer the poor cousin to military aid. Rather than locking in a level of such aid which might not be in line with rapidly-changing Pakistani capabilities and commitment, the bill leaves the level of security aid to be determined on a year-by-year basis.

Ø Conditions military assistance on certification that the Pakistani security forces are:
o Making concerted efforts to prevent al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups from operating in the territory of Pakistan;
o Making concerted efforts to prevent the Taliban from using the territory of Pakistan as a sanctuary from which to launch attacks within Afghanistan; and
o Are not materially interfering in the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.

Ø Detailed Pakistan Assistance Strategy Required. Requires the President to submit to Congress a detailed report outlining United States policy and a strategic plan with respect to assistance to Pakistan, including:
o principal objectives of the United States;
o the roles of Pakistan local, regional and national institutions;
o amounts allocated to specific projects and programs as well as criteria to measure their effectiveness.

Ø The non-security assistance is intended to be used for projects that benefit the people of Pakistan:
o Just and democratic governance, including police reform, equipping and training ; independent judicial systems; political pluralism and rule of law; respect for human rights and promotion of independent media; transparency and accountability of government; anticorruption efforts; and countering the drug trade.
o Economic freedom, including sustainable economic growth and sustainable use of natural resources; investments in energy and water; employment generation; and worker rights.
o Investment in people, particularly women and children, including broad-based public primary and secondary education and vocational training; food security and agricultural development; quality public health; and higher education.

Ø Requires benchmarks for measuring the effectiveness of U.S. assistance, including a systematic, qualitative basis for assessing whether desired outcomes are achieved.

Ø Requires the President to submit a semi-annual report to Congress that describes in detail the assistance provided to Pakistan under this Act and assesses the effectiveness of U.S. assistance thus far, including any incidents of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Ø Requires the Secretary of State, after consulting with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, to submit to Congress an annual report on the progress of the Pakistani security forces.

Ø Authorizes new money for administrative expenses, up to $20 million for auditing expenses, and up to $5 million for the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan to provide critical need development or humanitarian assistance.

Ø Urges accountability and transparent reporting of Coalition Support Funds to further clarify purposes and impact.

Ø Directs the Secretary of State (in consultation with DoD and DNI) to submit to Congress a comprehensive cross-border strategy for the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas.

Also See:
U.S. Options in Pakistan Limited - Washington Post
Zardari to meet Obama, buoyed by sea-change in Pakistan - Reuters
Gates Wants Saudi Help in Pakistan - VOA
U.S. Offers Mixed Assessment of Pakistan’s Security - New York Times

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