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SOS Hillary Clinton is Wheels Down in…Pakistan *updated*

July 18, 2010

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:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is greeted by Pakistani Chief of Protocol Mr. Ghalib as she arrives at PAF Base Chakala in Islamabad for meetings with leaders and officials on July 18, 2010.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is greeted by US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson as she arrives at PAF Base Chakala in Islamabad

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.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. filipino-american4HRC permalink
    July 18, 2010 11:10 am

    Hi, Stacey! Felt the need to de-lurk to respond to your question re Pakistan aid. Remember the Kerry-Lugar bill that pledged US$1.5 billion a year to Pakistan for three years? I think this was approved last year and there was some controversy as Pakistani officials felt that the US aid was conditioned on things that the Pakistanis felt were encroaching on their sovereignty? Then when Hillary visited Pakistan, she was bombarded by local media over these conditionalities to the point that she told them that Pakistan did not need to avail of the assistance if they didn’t want it. I surmise that the billions discussed by CNN are those from the Kerry-Lugar initiative.

    • July 18, 2010 11:18 am

      Hey FA4HRC- I think you are right.

      Interesting that they feel US aid has conditions infringing on their sovereignty because as you point out, they aren’t being forced to take it. That said, I still think we can’t afford the outrageous costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and now it appears as though we are trying to nation-build in Pakistan to a certain extent, while engaging in drone attacks in Pakistan along the Afghan border. I don’t know, it just seems like we are acting like it’s 1950 and that we are still the world’s premier economic power. I just don’t think it’s plausible to engage in this sort of nation-building long-term and we are definitely at the long-term point. China is essentially funding our wars given our deficit and as I said above, it’s interesting that we can’t extend unemployment benefits in the aftermath of the global financial crisis but we can toss billions at corrupt governments.

      It seems like at a certain point we are going to just go completely under water. Ridiculous defense spending while being nickled and dimed over education, health care and infrastructure spending in the US.

      And then of course we’re going to give Israel 30 billion over 10 years, adjusted for inflation- their economy was largely spared the effects of the financial crisis and THEY have a socialized health care system for all their citizens (except of course Arab Israelis- don’t get me started) but yet we have to write them a check every year for 3 billion years not including all the defense systems we give them at a price tag of hundreds of millions?

      This kind of stuff could turn me into a foreign policy libertarian!

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