Pakistan’s “American Dream”

November 4, 2008

Pakistan cropped up with uncomfortable regularity during the U.S. presidential campaign, but listening to Barack Obama and John McCain it was difficult to discern how different their approach would be in dealing with one of America’s most complicated and conflicted allies.

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari met leaders of both the Democrat and Republican camps just weeks after his own election in September, but unfortunately the controversy stirred by his unguarded compliment for Sarah Palin earned more comment than the substance of those meetings.


During his campaign, Obama stated his readiness to order U.S. forces to undertake operations on Pakistani territory to eliminate al Qaeda or terrorist threats if Pakistan was unprepared or unable to act.

McCain admonished Obama for saying such things out loud as it created diplomatic problems for an allied government, yet there was little to suggest that McCain would behave differently in terms of military strategy.
Most Pakistanis are left to conclude that whoever wins today’s election, there will be more American troops in Afghanistan, more unrest in the ethnic Pashtun belt either side of the Afghan-Pakistani border, more U.S. missile strikes, and the constant threat that U.S. ground troops will be let off the leash in Pakistani tribal lands.

An Obama victory is widely expected, though the chances of McCain springing a surprise haven’t been written off.

In an opinion piece in The News on the day of the U.S. election, columnist Mosharraf Zaidi , clearly a fan of  Obama, argued why ordinary Pakistanis, if not necessarily the government, should welcome a Democrat victory regardless of his clear intention to hunt down al Qaeda and Taliban even if it meant crossing the border.

In his article titled Ready for Change,  Zaidi expressed hope that Obama would represent a return to ideals which  the United States was at least once admired for . 

More than McCain, Zaidi argues, Obama has the intellect and multicultural background to grasp the consequences of Pakistan’s troubled upbringing since the Partition of India in 1947 when he looks at geo-strategic relationships in South Asia. He sees Obama backing Pakistani democracy and Pakistani people rather than engaging the elite.

Even if Obama can deliver promised change in the United States, hoping it will translate to Washington’s dealings with Pakistan could require a leap of faith given the hardening of U.S. security compulsions over the past seven years.

But after the depressing times Pakistan has suffered, and is still going through, perhaps Zaidi is right to suspend cynicism and hope American influence in his country will become a more positive force.

Are others in Pakistan also letting hope conquer cynicism?


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I can only speak from experience.I live with my family in the UK.We were,untill recently,in the unfortunate position of being homeless.We were placed in a predominately Pakistani inhabited area.During our 4 years there,as white Christians,we were subjected to all manner of abuse,the types of which,at this stage I will not go into.What we did come to learn in our time there is the FACT that the hate of anything Christian and indeed American,is a very real and widespread thing.We discovered these facts from Pakistani Christians and in fact the celebrations from the vast majority of these people at the time of 9/11.I believe nothing more needs to be said.!.

Posted by paul | Report as abusive

Agreed. The US will continue excursions/missle attacks regardless of who wins – however, if US policy towards Pakistan includes considerable financial aid that ensures the money goes to agreed upon programs and not given to the ISI or similar channels, then it would be a dream. I’m talking simple things – repairing/creating new infrastructure that allows 24/7 electricity for everybody, clean drinking water from the public works, a working/efficient bureaucracy not plagued by corruption, and most importantly public education that actually works. If the rupee’s value can be made stronger again, the stock market will rally back and hopefully be less volatile. It can happen!

Posted by John W | Report as abusive

the neocons will dismantle pakistan if israeli americans continue to dominate american media and politics.

pakistan has nukes, and pakistan is friends with china, pakistan is on the pipeline route from the persian gulf to china, and china is israeli americas biggest competitor for the remaining energy. ta_b.jpeg

google searches: en&q=%22ralph+peters%22+%22new+map%22+%2 2middle+east%22 ralph+peters%22+neocon

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

Remember US can kill, kill and kill and the more you kill the more enemies we create. It is time to start talking, diplomatic talk.

It’s time that we let:
1. Pakistan bring Taliban into main political stream themselves and become a political party, let people decide if they accept them as a democratic force or not.
2. Let Saudi Arabia negotiate to get Taliban into mainstream in Afghanistan. Again let Afghanistan public decide if they accept them as political force or not.
3. Al-Qaida, is a movement, let all countries declare amnesty for all Al-Qaida fighters.

Doing this the “war on terror”, can reach a cooling point. Lets not forget USSR disintegrated from a financial collapse, and we have seen similar effects in USA after spending 10B/month in Iraq ($700B thus far).

Next, US has to become a non-partician negotiator between Israel-Palestine, and India and Pakistan. Unless these issues are resolved, the world cannot relax. It’s time that Israel is roped to the reality that US is not their state and can be the leader without undivided support for them. Since Israel’s creation the Arab world has been in fire. So lets not add fuel to the fire.

The hold of neocons on US politics can be seen even in the elections 2008. It is strange that Republicans as a organized party fanned and created organized hatred against the muslim world through their actions. By the way 1/3rd of the world is Muslim religion. Over last 8 years we created the patriot act that infringed on the basic constitutional rights of every American, including Muslim Americans who were shafted the most. What kind of message are we sending to the world.

It’s strange that to undermine Osama, Republicans tried to say that Osama was a muslim. Does that mean if you are a muslim, you are a enemy of USA. We don’t call American-Jews, or American Hindu’s or American- Buddist’s as enemies. It is a shame, a sham and our hidden fears that we behave like this.

It;s time we undo the failures of Bush-era. It has already costed us economically and politically. We have more people disliking us because of our blazing guns and cowboy mentality (Bush…)

We have to stop being in total support of Isreal, and find a solution that Britian and US created in Middle-East. Give Israel and Palestine a border.

We have to solve the Kashmir problem, that British created when they left Indo-Pak, and solve the Durand line with Afghanistan so Pakistan has defined, undisputed borders.

This is the time, the new President can change the world peacefully and not by sending another fleet out. We have seen time and again that wars cannot be won, so lets avoid saber-rattling politics of GOP.
Lets turn a new leaf….

Posted by Tariq J Qureshi | Report as abusive

Hmm, I think Pakistanis are in for a shock. The truth is that President Bush was as good as it gets for Pakistan. And any return to higher standards would be very bad news.

Would Obama have been happy to bury the ISI links to 9/11? Would Obama have been happy to put Pakistan’s nuclear proliferations down to one rogue freelancer? Would Obama have been happy to put every exposure of ISI support for terrorists down to “rogue elements” within the organisation? Would Obama have been happy to keep calling Pakistan an ally in the ‘war on terror’ when all the evidence suggests otherwise? And ditto for McCain.

Posted by C Jackson | Report as abusive

China, Iran, Pakistan, India four nuclear powers governed by corrupt politicians and Afghanistan an uncontrolled area for centuries. This part of the world is seeing nuclear race and religious extremisim. Taliban have shown no respect for humanity and even for muslims by killing people on bus stops and markets.

Its time to curb an other emerging threat to minimize the threat of nuclear war in region and that is hindu extremism, events like Chiristians been murdered and muslims been slaughtered by those holding government in few indian states may cost a bigger threat to the coming generations

Posted by Ubaid Hassan | Report as abusive

“Would Obama have been happy to keep calling Pakistan an ally in the ‘war on terror’ when all the evidence suggests otherwise?”

is this another chickenhawk joke?

…because if you dug around a little bit, you’d find out that exxon is allied with the people —those people being the radical israeli americans of AEI/PNAC— who wanted “a new pearl harbor” to kickstart their oil acquisition project.

that project is known as The Project for the New American Century— aka PNAC, and in september of 2000, they noted in their “rebuilding america’s defenses” document that their project would be slow to materialize “absent a catastrophic and catalyzing event… like a new pearl harbor”.

it should come as no surprise to learn that a few months later, these very same people, people like cheney, rumsfeld, wolfowitz, and libby were installed into positions from which they could make their “new pearl harbor” happen, and they were installed in those positions due to a recount of the vote in florida, which just happened to be governed at that time by the brother of the president-elect and PNAC member, jeb bush.

now then, i spose you would have to admit that people who want something to happen —for instance, a “new pearl harbor”— might have motive to make it happen.

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

if you’re wondering why israel is so bent on starting a war with iran, the following map should make it clear. nacplan15004jun08je9.jpg

hormuz will have to be closed to stimulate pipeline construction from the persian gulf to israel.

pakistan will have to be dismembered to block pipeline routes to china, and thwart chinese development of gwadar into a major port for shipping energy from the persian gulf to china.

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

Ubaid Hassan
‘hindu extremism’??? sometime i think after all these false allegations the Hindu’s must resort to the ‘Islamic’ & ‘Inquitionist’ ways – after centuries atleast for once they will standup against the demonic forces & not leave this satanic legacy for their future generations.

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

Tariq J Qureshi
‘Remember US can kill, kill and kill and the more you kill the more enemies— the more dead they remain…

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

you might ask yourself, mr indian, whose interest is being served by terror attacks on indians, who remain dead in service of israeli/indian dreams of taking pakistan apart.

you might ask yourself about israel’s long tradition of false flag terror attacks.

you might even ask yourself about the presence of tens of thousands of ex-israeli military people living in india, some of whom are probably willing to do whatever it takes to secure israel.

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

whoever comes in power in USA, they will continue to kill muslims. The bitter truth is that America is the biggest terrorist in the world. What the world is going through nowadays from economic crises to bloodshed, USA is the sole responsible.

Posted by Hasnain | Report as abusive

“you might ask yourself, mr indian, whose interest is being served by terror attacks on indians, who remain dead in service of israeli/indian dreams of taking pakistan apart.”

lol.. india has no dreams/need to take pakistan apart.
that hotpot of fundamentalism is going to blow itself to kingdom-come courtesy of some of it’s own disgruntled citizens. The marriott bombing case in point.

Let pakistan stew in it’s own juice, and if those “intellects” in kashmir would rather be part of a cash-strapped extremist-ridden nation going around begging for money, let them :/

Posted by Sylar | Report as abusive

“you might even ask yourself about the presence of tens of thousands of ex-israeli military people living in india, some of whom are probably willing to do whatever it takes to secure israel”

I laughed at this, most of the Israeli’s i have met in India, and i have met a lot, have come there to avoid military service or right after their military service to get away from the violence that plagues their homeland.
Most of these folks are living in India(especially in Manali, Himachal Pradesh and Pune, Bombay, Maharashtra and Goa) are living as hippies smoking cheap dope getting laid and attending raves.
All of the Israelie’s i have spoken to like the freedom India offers and are pretty negative of Israel.

Posted by meditation | Report as abusive

It is clear from your posts wadosy that you have an anti-Israel bias, it is clear that your perception is clouded and your statements a reflection of that perception.

Posted by meditation | Report as abusive

One of the main findings of Maoz’s research is that Israeli society has an interest in sending its young people to India. “Israeli society understands that after long, hard and frustrating military service and before integrating into society, Israeli youngsters need avenues to let off steam and to challenge accepted norms. Instead of having them do this it in Israel, they are sent to India.”

The Indian consulate in Tel Aviv issues some 30,000 visas a year to Israeli backpackers and Maoz estimates that a further 20,000 take out visas at the Indian consulates in Thailand and Nepal.

haaretz .jhtml?itemNo=412551&contrassID=1&subCon trassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

sylar says, “The marriott bombing case in point.”


the marriott bombing could have been an israeli false flag, just as the indian parliament could have been.

i notice you dont want to address israel’s history of false flag attacks on supposed allies… not to mention israel’s founding in terrorism, or shamir’s statement that “Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat”

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

and then there’s the the US Army School of Advanced Military Studies report that said the israelis were capable of attacks on americans and blaming those attacks on arabs.

unhappily, a write-up of that report appeared in the washington times on september 10, 2001. S+mossad+wildcard&aq=f&oq=

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

to answer the question that the article has put forward…the Pakistani people are not at the stage where cynisicm can be neglected.the on going civil war as well as the american attacks happening in the different parts of taliban occupied areas in Pakistan does not leave any of the citizens of this country to think of anything positively. whether its Obama or McCain, i do not think the situation of Pakistan would have been any worse than it is now. in either situation the country has and will suffer war from inside and outside forces. Obama’s win has effectd the POLITICS of the world but the question is, has it effected the lives of thousands of people suffering everyday at the hands of the army, the taliban and the constant air bombings of the u.s govt. Will his win really work on improving the lives of the citizens of Pakistan? Pakistan is approaching to the point where people do not want to take a second glance and leave thier lives and their homes for safety. will obama’s DIPLOMACY really help improve our situation or will his weopans eliminate be the solution and eliminate the place of the problem from its roots?

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