U.S. Officials Get a Taste of Pakistanis’ Anger at America
By HELENE COOPER, New York Times, August 19, 2009
KARACHI, Pakistan — Judith A. McHale was expecting a contentious session with Ansar Abbasi, a Pakistani journalist known for his harsh criticism of American foreign policy, when she sat down for a one-on-one meeting with him in a hotel conference room in Islamabad on Monday. She got that, and a little bit more.
After Ms. McHale, the Obama administration’s new under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, gave her initial polite presentation about building bridges between America and the Muslim world, Mr. Abbasi thanked her politely for meeting with him. Then he told her that he hated her.
“ ‘You should know that we hate all Americans,’ ” Ms. McHale said Mr. Abbasi told her. “ ‘From the bottom of our souls, we hate you.’ ”
Beyond the continuation of the battle against militants along the Pakistani-Afghan border, a big part of President Obama’s strategy for the region involves trying to broaden America’s involvement in the country to include nonmilitary areas like infrastructure development, trade, energy, schools and jobs — all aimed at convincing the Pakistani people that the United States is their friend. But as Ms. McHale and other American officials discovered this week, during a visit by Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, making that case was not going to be easy.
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To read Ansar Abbasi's Response in The News, click here