08 May 2011

US funding of Pakistan: the double game

The latest online edition of The New Yorker, datelined 16 May, contains an analysis of American funding of Pakistan since it began in 1954, and its unintended consequences – see The Double Game: The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan by Lawrence Wright, who has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992, and whose previous work includes The Man Behind Bin Laden,  about Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Wright observes that in the 1950s the United States made a strategic choice – India having “tilted” toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Pakistan became America’s protégé – its ally in the fight against Commmunism. He continues that fifty years after the start of this social experiment:

India has become the state that we tried to create in Pakistan. It is a rising economic star, militarily powerful and democratic, and it shares American interests. Pakistan, however, is one of the most anti-American countries in the world, and a covert sponsor of terrorism. Politically and economically, it verges on being a failed state. And, despite Pakistani avowals to the contrary, America’s worst enemy, Osama bin Laden, had been hiding there for years—in strikingly comfortable circumstances—before U.S. commandos finally tracked him down and killed him, on May 2nd.

American aid is hardly the only factor that led these two countries to such disparate outcomes. But, at this pivotal moment, it would be a mistake not to examine the degree to which U.S. dollars have undermined our strategic relationship with Pakistan—and created monstrous contradictions within Pakistan itself.

The article is worth reading in full; access it here.

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