Most Recent Column, Opinion, World — October 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Breaking Up with Pakistan

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Dear Pakistan,

It’s not you, it’s me.  I just can’t live with this situation anymore.  I know we’ve had our ups and downs in the past (our roller coaster relations used to be so thrilling,) but I don’t think I can do this anymore.  We can no longer pretend to be real allies.

After the attacks in 2001, I know that I asked a lot of you.  In retrospect, my conduct may not have been quite fair. I was simply using you to get to Afghanistan, but that is what I needed at the time;  you knew that and obliged.  I manipulated you, and I invaded your personal space for my own agenda.  I understand why you are angry. And, yes, I get that the Afghanistan mess that we created next door is now in your backyard. Trust me when I say, I wish it didn’t have to be that way.

However, you need to also understand where I am coming from. You lied to my face. I know all about your connections with the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.  And you had Osama bin Laden hiding in the basement this whole time. We both know what these people do, and that makes it all the more inexcusable.  That these terrorist organizations have ties to the upper echelons of your military and intelligence services is even more frustrating.  I’m never sure exactly what secrets you are going to give my enemies, and I never know for certain what you are saying behind my back (I assume it’s no good).  And that’s not even the end of it, Pakistan.

You are so unstable. If it’s not Balochistan or the terrorist-controlled tribal regions, it’s catastrophic flooding or Kashmir.  And with your arsenal of nuclear weapons, it seems like only a matter of time before your instability will become my problem as well.  If one of your friends in Lashkar-e-Taiba got a hold of just one bomb, the results would be catastrophic.  I tell you this because I care.  We can work together to make sure the wrong people don’t get  hold of your nuclear secrets (and I will be the bigger person and not even mention your sharing of nuclear technology with North Korea).

In addition, you are going to have to understand that I want to be closer friends with India by the end of this century. There’s a chance India and Afghanistan might become good friends themselves, too. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be your friends, or that we are trying to threaten your security.  Given your chosen compatriots, however, we are starting to feel the need to defend ourselves.

I used to have such high hopes for us, Pakistan, but I guess it was not meant to be.  What you want and what I want are fundamentally incompatible.  Right now, the mere idea that we could be any more than temporary strategic partners is laughable.

Pakistan, please don’t take this too hard.  Just because I am moving on — doesn’t mean I want you out of my life entirely. You are still very strategically important to me.  And I will certainly keep in touch.

Your friend (though not really your ally),

The United States of America

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