Secondly, the sympathy lobby for Pakistan is fast losing ground to an increasingly hostile and skeptical Congress, largely dominated by the Republicans and lobbyists for the American military industrial complex and the security establishment. Most of the soft vote within the Congress and the Obama administration – represented by Hilary Clinton, who is still trying to urge an engagement with Pakistan -- has diminished and given way to the hawks who action against Pakistan if it refuses to crackdown on the Haqqani Network and its affiliates. What drives this determination are the perceptions that the Haqqani Network is deeply entrenched within the bigger enemy Al-Qaeda – both promoting and benefiting from criminal activities in a war economy. That is why the Network needs to be physically eliminated, so runs the argument. And if both Washington and Islamabad fail to reach a future course of action against the Haqqanis, the designation of the Network as a terrorist outfit would invariably bring more pressure, and possibly limited sanctions on Pakistan (withholding of the CSF or other security and economic assistance, for example).
Thirdly, mistrust continues to accompany the volatile need-based relationship.
During a recent lecture, former ambassador Husain Haqqani also highlighted these divergences to urge both countries to find the middle ground for a healthy partnership. Haqqani drew on a recent PEW Research Center Poll, according to which only 12 percent of Pakistanis have a favorable view of the U.S, while only 15 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Pakistan, compared with 81 percent who do not.
“The disapproval of the United States among some segments of the Pakistanis is more deeply rooted than some of my countrymen would want you to understand, believe or realize,” Haqqani said.
He advised both Pakistan and the U.S to stop viewing each other as allies because “deviating national interests” run contrary to the basics of an alliance. The focus, he said, should be more on trade, engagement among civil society groups and politicians.
“What you have to do is find the room in between where you can bring your government at a meeting point with the other government, where both of you can actually do business for the mutual benefit of both of the countries,” Haqqani said,
But finding the middle ground is a tough proposition. It requires Pakistan to introspect and redefine its national security interests. Being a smaller, crisis-ridden country, a victim of its own follies and failures, Pakistan must shun the cold-war era policies, and get into a proactive, economy-oriented policy framework if they want to prevent the country from becoming
another Afghanistan, Sudan or Somalia.
Expecting the United States to realign its global geo-political interests with those of Pakistan is extremely delusional. Nor will the US-allies change for the sake of Pakistan. This change has to come from within – if the leadership in Islamabad and Rawalpindi wants to be treated with dignity.