U.S. Aid to Pakistan: Is it producing desired results?
By Jane Harman and and Robert M. Hathaway,
Pakistan will soon have the fifth-largest population in the world. It already has the seventh-largest army and is close to overtaking Britain as the fifth-largest nuclear power. The country’s location, demographic heft, military might, nuclear weapons capability and links to Islamist terrorists ensure that it will remain central to U.S. interests even after NATO forces depart Afghanistan.
In other words, as much as some might like it to be otherwise, writing Pakistan out of the U.S. foreign policy script is not an option. This is true even in the aftermath of last weekend’s NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, triggering yet another crisis in the tortured U.S.-Pakistan relationship.
Two years ago, when one of us served in Congress, there was robust debate over the nature of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan — the need for more civilian control, especially over the nuclear arsenal, and Islamabad’s failure to crack down on corruption and domestic extremists. The debate culminated in President Obama signing the Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB) Act, committing the United States to provide $1.5 billion in annual economic assistance for the next five years.
Fierce opposition from the supercharged Pakistani media over questions of sovereignty threatened to derail the bill, which sought to reorient a predominantly military relationship into a long-term civilian-based partnership. In passing KLB, Congress wagered that, by investing in Pakistan’s political and economic development, the United States could play a small but meaningful role in creating a prosperous, tolerant and inclusive nation that would be a force for peace and stability throughout South Asia.
Today, the United States still struggles to fashion an effective program of civilian aid. Many Pakistanis claim they see no evidence of U.S. economic assistance. Others contend that the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad has poorly managed the program, imposing “Made in America” solutions on Pakistani problems. Some question whether KLB reflects Pakistani priorities or an U.S. agenda that may be harmful to Pakistani interests.
For complete article, click here
For Woodrow Wilson Centre's New Report: AIDING WITHOUT ABETTING, click here