The Obama administration has refused for the first time to declare that Pakistan is making progress toward ending alleged military support for Islamic militant groups or preventing al Qaida, the Afghan Taliban or other extremists from staging attacks in Afghanistan.
Even so, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has quietly informed Congress that she’s waived the legal restrictions that would have blocked some $2 billion in U.S. economic and military aid to Pakistan. Disbursing the funds, she said in an official notice, is “important to the national security interests of the United States.”
Clinton’s decision illustrates how far the administration apparently has determined that it must go, after a near-breakdown in relations, to ensure Pakistan’s cooperation in the uphill U.S. effort to prevent Afghanistan collapsing into all-out civil war when American-led international combat forces complete a withdraw by the end of 2014.
Some experts, however, warned that the move might backfire. The waivers could encourage a belief among Pakistani commanders that their cooperation is so crucial that Washington will continue overlooking the Pakistani military’s refusal to end what U.S. officials charge is its support for Afghan insurgent groups or to shutter militant sanctuaries, they said.
“The army is going to think that no matter how angry the Americans are at them, they are utterly indispensable and they can violate in any way, shape or form U.S. law and the United States will massage its law to accommodate them,” said assistant professor Christine Fair, an expert at Georgetown University. “That’s how they are going to read this.”
Yep. Just like the Muslim world views the arrest of the so-called Muhammad film maker as Obama enforcing Islamic blasphemy laws.