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Is not Pak-US dialogue strategic?... By Eschmall

11 February, 2014

Christine Fair's February 9 article, Ten Fictions that Pakistani Defense Officials Love to Peddle, seems to be a response to Stephen M Walt's February 3 Foreign Policy magazine article, The Top 10 Mistakes made in Afghanistan, which is part of the growing anti-war criticism against the Obama administration.

According to Walt, the US is trying to go it alone: blowing it at Tora Bora; helping introduce the Afghan constitution; the detour into Iraq; the 2009 surge; setting a time limit; downgrading diplomacy; losing public support; failure to manage unruly allies and strategic contradictions are the top ten reasons of the US Afghan war failure. Ms Fair has tried to justify these acts by the US in her recent article. Her Ten Fictions are meant to serve US interests while ridiculing Pakistan's sincere efforts as well as unparalleled contributions in the US-led war against terrorism. Ms Fair's long stay in Pakistan, especially her teaching engagements in Lahore were a great learning experience for her that provided her a rare chance to meet the top Afghan war observers, including the author of Descent into Chaos Ahmed Rashid. These interactions helped her in writing a compelling book, Fighting to the End: the Pakistan Army's Way of War.

In her article Ms Fair has argued that the just resumed 'strategic dialogue' has never been strategic. Well, thanks to the carrot and stick policy and the do more mantra of her governments that have been dictating terms in the name of strategic partnership, natural allies, friendship and strategic dialogue. It also reminds one of the call that the former Assistant Secretary of State Armitage made to Musharraf and the demands or the so called 11 points that Colin Powell dictated to Pakistan's president.

Though Pakistan has suffered the most at the hands of terrorism, there is no respite from allegations and accusations against the intentions of Pakistan. Ms Fair thinks that $ 27 billion in aid could compensate for the loss. Should it not be called small thinking by big brains controlling the world through their prowess in technology, science and military might? Ms Fair has acceded though that the US policymakers never fully appreciated that the Afghan war could not have been won without Pakistan's cooperation. She goes on to say that the problem was not lack of understanding about Pakistan's importance: the problem was, by and large, a na´ve belief in Pakistan's desire to cooperate and a miscalculation about how Pakistan perceives its national interests.

Eschmall Sardar

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