SOS Hillary Clinton is Wheels Down in…Pakistan *updated*
Maybe I missed this but I didn’t know she was heading to Pakistan as part of the trip:
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton started a South Asia tour on Sunday aimed at refining the goals of the nearly 9-year-old war in Afghanistan and pushing neighboring nations to work together in the fight against al-Qaida and Taliban extremists. Clinton landed in Islamabad where she will underscore the need for Afghan-Pakistani cooperation in winning the war
but also announce plans to beef up US development assistance to Pakistan, which is rife with anti-American sentiment.
After a day of talks in Pakistan, she will attend an international conference on Afghanistan in Kabul.
Her visit to the region comes as American lawmakers and voters are increasingly questioning the course of the drawn-out war with rising death tolls among US and international troops and growing questions about corruption.
On the first leg of her trip, Clinton is seeking to convince the Pakistanis and their leaders that the US is committed to the country’s long-term development needs and not just short-term security gains. This, officials say, will lead to greater Pakistani cooperation on key US policy goals.
Still, they concede mistrust of the US runs deep, particularly over unmanned drone strikes which are aimed at militants but have also killed or maimed many civilians, including women and children.
Vali Nasr, a deputy to US special envoy Richard Holbrooke, told reporters traveling with Clinton that overcoming the suspicion remains a work in progress.
“We’re beginning to see movement but this is not going to happen overnight,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to get them aligned over a one-year time period on every single issue and change 30 years of foreign policy of Pakistan on a dime.”
Some photos from today:
CNN has a front page story, which is good. What is interesting is that according to CNN, she is going to discuss how the U.S. is going to spend billions of dollars on Pakistani infrastructure development?!? In other words, we’re essentially expanding military/diplomatic operations (COIN) in Pakistan, not just Afghanistan. The military aspect isn’t as overt in Pakistan but it’s clearly there. Are we actually fighting an undeclared war in Afghanistan? Is that legal? Where are all these billions of dollars coming from? We can’t extend unemployment benefits but we can spend trillions in Afghanistan and billions in Pakistan? Interesting.
UPDATE: Shameless self-promotion Sunday– check out my news round-up over at Taylor Marsh.