musings

Fire and Fury

Unlike Americans, we do delve into history, but like them we also don’t learn any lessons. It’s our fault we trust them so much.

By: Humayun Gauhar
Published: February 14, 2018
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President Trump greeted Pakistan with a New Year tweet that even though the US had ‘foolishly’ ‘given’ $33 billion in its ‘War on Terror’, Pakistan had repaid it with ‘lies and deceit’. “No more,” he ended.

Thank God. Now we have a chance of getting free of America’s talons. It won’t be easy to break away and fly free; it will be painful. But finally the falcon will be able to soar high and live on the barren cliffs of freedom and self-respect.

It’s not the first time that the US has unleashed verbal attacks on Pakistan – and applied economic and military sanctions too – in total disregard for our unparalleled role helping her win the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

This tweet was the payback from a loser to its ally for the massive support in an armed conflict in which Pakistan sacrificed much more (in human lives and economic, physical and societal infrastructure) than the US did; much more than any money or material we got back from it in return.

Unlike Americans, we do delve into history, but like them we also don’t learn any lessons. It’s our fault we trust them so much.

As you can see from the Trump tweet, it’s just another one in the barrage of American accusations that come invariably laced with lies, exaggeration and deceit. What trigger them off are their own strategic policy failures.

We are fools to expect recognition – leave alone gratitude – for our support. Such things should not be expected in relations between states. States deal with each other for self-interest, not praise and appreciation.  (I can hear our rulers say: “What did you say? Self-interest? What’s that? Never heard the phrase.”)

   Direct US Aid Appropriations for and Military
Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2018
Prepared by the Congressional Research Service, November 28, 2017

 

To get a clear perspective, let’s see what the Americans have been spending their money on. First, the US statistics as compiled by their very own Congress:

  •     This funding is “requirements-based;” there are no pre-allocation data.
  •     Includes $312 million “global train and equip” funds from FY2006-FY2009 as authorized by Section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2006, within which $100 million in FY2008 and FY2009 funds went to train and equip Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps.
  •     Congress authorized Pakistan to use the FY2003 and FY2004 ESF allocations to cancel a total of $1.5 billion in debt to the U.S. government. Also includes $17 million in Human Rights and Democracy Funds from FY2002-FY2007.
  •     P.L.480 Title I (loans), P.L.480 Title II (grants), and Section 416(b) of the Agricultural Act of 1949, as amended (surplus agricultural commodity donations). Food aid totals do not include freight costs.
  •     Includes $286 million in Development Assistance appropriated from FY2002-FY2008.
  •     CSF is Defense Department funding to reimburse Pakistan for logistical and operational support of U.S-led military operations; it is technically not foreign assistance. Figures in the CSF row reflect actual payments by appropriation year and not appropriations themselves.
  •     The FY2013 NDAA disallowed reimbursements to Pakistan for the period of FY2012 during which the U.S. military’s ground and air lines of communication across and over Pakistan to Afghanistan were closed by the Pakistani government (November 2011-July 2012).
  •     The FY2015 NDAA authorized up to $1 billion in additional CSF to Pakistan, $300 million of which was subject to Haqqani Network-related certification requirements that cannot be waived by the Administration. The FY2016 NDAA authorizes another $900 million, with $350 million ineligible for waiver. The FY2017 NDAA authorizes a further $900 million, with $400 million ineligible for waiver. The FY2018 NDAA authorizes another $700 million, with $350 million ineligible for waiver. The Administration did not issue certifications for FY2015 or FY2016. A decision on FY2017 certification is pending.

 

Contacts: K. Alan Kronstadt, Specialist in South Asian Affairs, 7-5415; Susan Epstein, Specialist in Foreign Policy, 7-667

 

   Now let us see our side of the picture as shared with me by Ambassador Hussain Haroon, our former permanent representative to the United Nations. In this letter to the US legislators, he says:

What should our riposte be? Stop the US transit routes to Afghanistan until all our dues are cleared. Send back the over three million refugees to Afghanistan.

For starters, I am confident this would be enough to bring the Americans back to the negotiating table with alacrity. Thereafter, let’s see how it pans out.

About the Author
Humayun Gauhar
The writer has been a journalist and columnist since 1980. He writes for various national and international newspapers.