Tag Archives: Kerry-Lugar

US needs to take a new approach to aid

USAID Pakistan

As Congress continues looking for ways to trim spending, officials in the Obama administration are worried that some lawmakers may be considering shrinking civilian aid to Pakistan. They are right to worry as this would be a mistake.

Experts on both Pakistan and international aid and development agree – attempts to ‘buy’ Pakistan’s cooperation will always fail. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, using civilian aid as a ‘carrot’ by tying disbursement to unrelated security conditions is deeply humiliating. The underlying change mechanism requires that a sovereign government be, in essence, for sale. Even if one can find such a pliable partner, their shelf life will invariably be limited.

Another reason that aid is not a realistic tool of leverage is that the amounts in question are simply not large enough to buy anyone off. As we noted last month,

The Kerry-Lugar-Burman bill (KLB) provides for $1.5 billion in economic aid annually for five years. While this aid is valuable, it represents about 0.3 percent of the nation’s GDP. Moreover, in the first year of KLB, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that only $179.5 million was actually disbursed. Even if it were possible to buy Pakistan’s cooperation, this amount of foreign aid is simply insufficient to do so.

But the most convincing reason is found in empirical evidence – what are the outcomes we have seen from US aid? Since the US pledged billions of dollars in civilian aid to Pakistan – all tied to security-related conditions – military-to-military relations between the US and Pakistan have actually soured. If aid is tool of leverage, it’s a very bad one. But that doesn’t mean that civilian aid has not had a positive impact.

Though delivery mechanisms still need improvement, as the Washington Post reporter found, using aid as an investment in improving the lives of ordinary Pakistanis does pay long term dividends.

Last summer, USAID used $500 million to help Pakistan cope with ruinous floods. More than $60 million went toward seed and fertilizer for farmers whose crops were flooded out in villages such as Jangi, in the northwest, where anger pulsates over CIA drone strikes in the nearby tribal belt.

On a recent day, farmers in the village said they had expected to lose this spring’s wheat harvest. Instead, there was a bumper crop, and they attributed the success to U.S.-funded seeds and canals.

“Earlier, it was our perception that the United States was only for destruction,” said Noor Nabi, a community leader in the village. “But in that critical time, it helped us.”

Civilian aid can result in outcomes that benefit both Pakistani and American interests. In order for this to happen, though, the US needs to reconsider the goals of civilian aid. The goal should not be to ‘buy’ Pakistani cooperation, but to strengthen civilian institutions and civil society so that America’s natural allies in Pakistan – the Pakistani people – have the ability to determine Pakistan’s future.

Sadanand Dhume, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that “democracy, however messy, is the only alternative to the military-jihadist complex that has stunted Pakistan’s economy and tarnished its international reputation.”

A sensible Pakistan policy, as outlined by [Bruce Riedel], would make strengthening its fragile civilian institutions the underlying goal of all U.S. engagement. The U.S. needs strong intelligence and military-to-military ties with its Pakistani counterparts, but unlike in the past these should not come at the cost of stunting Pakistani democracy.

Using aid as a means of leverage in military-to-military relations weakens US influence and delays democratic reforms that will move Pakistan away from destructive, anti-democratic policies rooted in a Cold War mindset. By continuing to use aid as a ‘carrot’ to lure Pakistan into taking actions that provide short-term security gains, the US is actually setting back its own long-term objectives for the region. It’s time for a new approach.

News Reports on Aid to Pakistan Don’t Match Reality

Bill Daley on This Week

When I saw the headline hit Twitter on Saturday, U.S. Is Deferring Millions in Pakistani Military Aid, I immediately thought the worst. But after reading the Times report in full, my fears were allayed. Despite the calls from some to cut aid to Pakistan, this was not happening. The government was merely pausing the delivery of some aid because the trainings and other deliverables the aid was intended to pay for were also being put on hold. Over the next two days, however, the story seems to have taken on a life of its own, and much of the following reporting and commentary does not match reality.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg describes the latest news as a policy of “humiliating Pakistan.” Goldberg appears to be basing his read on a single Politico article. What else could explain this paragraph:

What is important is that the Obama Administration believes that public embarrassment of an on-again, off-again ally in the fight against Islamist terrorism will bring that ally to heel. This does not seem like a path to success. The Pakistanis want the respect of the U.S., or at least some recognition that, despite the Bin Laden calamity, they have also suffered at the hand of extremists, and that thousands of Pakistanis have died fighting extremism.

Here’s what Bill Daley actually said:

“Obviously they have been an important ally in the fight on terrorism. They’ve been the victim of enormous amounts of terrorism,” Daley said. “But right now they have taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid which we were giving to their military, and we’re trying to work through that.”

Unlike Jeffrey Goldberg’s assertion, the Obama administration has and continues to recognize Pakistan’s suffering at the hands of extremists and the great sacrifice their military has made in the fight against militant extremists, and continues to be an ally to Pakistan in our mutual struggle against terrorism.

Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for Indian, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, at least realizes that cutting aid to Pakistan is not a viable means of changing Pakistan’s strategic calculus, but he too continues the narrative that deferring this military aid is in some way punitive.

The Obama administration is putting the screws to Pakistan, cutting roughly 40 percent of U.S. military assistance (NYT) and publicly challenging the activities of Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI). The question is: Will these coercive efforts pay dividends, or will they contribute to a downward spiral in U.S.-Pakistan relations?

But is this really “putting the screws to Pakistan?” Let’s take a moment to revisit the original New York Times report.

Altogether, about $800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than $2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected, three senior United States officials said.

This aid includes about $300 million to reimburse Pakistan for some of the costs of deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along the Afghan border to combat terrorism, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in training assistance and military hardware, according to half a dozen Congressional, Pentagon and other administration officials who were granted anonymity to discuss the politically delicate matter.

Some of the curtailed aid is equipment that the United States wants to send but Pakistan now refuses to accept, like rifles, ammunition, body armor and bomb-disposal gear that were withdrawn or held up after Pakistan ordered more than 100 Army Special Forces trainers to leave the country in recent weeks.

Some is equipment, such as radios, night-vision goggles and helicopter spare parts, which cannot be set up, certified or used for training because Pakistan has denied visas to the American personnel needed to operate the equipment, two senior Pentagon officials said.

And some is assistance like the reimbursements for troop costs, which is being reviewed in light of questions about Pakistan’s commitment to carry out counterterrorism operations. For example, the United States recently provided Pakistan with information about suspected bomb-making factories, only to have the insurgents vanish before Pakistani security forces arrived a few days later.

As is clear from the Times report, much of the aid is being held up because it’s earmarked for trainings and operations that aren’t happening, or it’s assistance that “Pakistan now refuses to accept.” This sounds more like basic accounting than “putting the screws to Pakistan.”

And that’s not all. The headline on the original Times report used the term “deferring”. The reporters spoke of the administration “suspending and, in some cases, canceling”. When speaking with ABC, White House Chief of Staff Daley said, “hold back.” The only people talking about “cutting aid” are journalists and analysts.

I mention Jeffrey Goldberg and Daniel Markey specifically because these two gentlemen both have a history of writing fair and accurate analyses of US-Pakistan relations. And, yet, they both fall for the chicken little narrative that sees every development as a sign of the end of US-Pakistan relations.

According to government officials, the US is holding back aid that is earmarked for specific deliverables that are also being put on hold. If Pakistan chooses to resume these trainings and other operations, the funds will be delivered. There has been no “cut” to the amount of aid approved for Pakistan.

[Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan] emphasized the delayed aid is a hold, not a halt, and the funds may be delivered if the two nations can resolve certain issues.

The US and Pakistan continue to cooperate in the fight against militant extremists, including Pakistani military offensives against Taliban fighters along the border with Afghanistan. Over a billion dollars in military aid for mutually agreed upon operations continues to flow to Pakistan, as does the billions of dollars in civilian aid set aside by the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill. Reality may be less exciting, but it is the way things are.

Thomas Friedman’s Woeful Misunderstanding of Pakistani Politics

Thomas FriedmanThomas Friedman on Sunday compared Pakistan’s ISI to Egypt’s Amn al Dowla, the security agency responsible for propping up Hosni Mubarak’s police state, and asks why the US continues to provide billions of dollars in assistance to Pakistan while we cheer the fall of autocratic regimes in the Arab world. Friedman troublingly mischaracterizes the relationship between the ISI and Pakistan’s civilian government, and his conclusion – that the US should cut aid to Pakistan – is ultimately misguided.

According to Friedman, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence “dominates Pakistani politics” and is “the twin of Hosni Mubarak’s security service.” This is fundamentally incorrect. While it’s true that Pakistan’s ISI plays a heavy hand in Pakistan’s domestic politics, unlike Mubarak’s use of Amn al Dowla to intimidate and oppress political opposition, Pakistan’s ISI operates largely outside the control of the civilian government.

Egypt under Hosni Mubarak would be better compared to Pakistan under Gen. Musharraf – an autocratic regime that used the looming threat of extremism and regional instability to extort support for its security services and the personal fortunes of its officers – not present day Pakistan. Democratic elections in 2008 brought to power a civilian government, but Pakistan’s military establishment was less sidelined than removed from the spotlight.

Unlike Egypt, Pakistan has a popularly-elected civilian government that is struggling to build power in a country dominated by a military-intelligence apparatus that operates outside of its control. Following a meeting between Pakistani cabinet officials and the head of ISI, one Pakistani newspaper reported that, one attendee “dared not be arbitrarily fired.” Pakistani columnist Cyril Almeida described the power dynamic more bluntly:

By now the cat is out of the bag. When the interior minister, the ex-foreign minister and the all-powerful spy chief met to decide the fate of Raymond Davis, two of those gents were of the opinion that Davis doesn’t enjoy ‘full immunity’.

One of those two has now been fired by Zardari. The other, well, if Zardari tried to fire him, the president might find himself out of a job first.

Thomas Friedman falsely equates the ISI with Pakistan’s government, but it is a well-known fact in Pakistan that the two are presently in competition for control of the nation. And the two sides in this competition are not equally resourced.

As described by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa in her book, Military Inc., Pakistan’s military dominates not only the nation’s security, but it’s economy as well, controlling much of the private sector and extensive land holdings. Pakistan’s parliament ostensibly controls the purse strings, but it is another accepted fact that the military sets its own budget. The military’s resources also include a massive patronage network, an established recruitment and command infrastructure, and the Inter-Services Public Relations agency – the intelligence agency’s propaganda wing.

Diverting aid from Pakistan will not weaken anti-democratic forces in the nation’s military establishment. It will, if anything, make it stronger and less pliable to pro-democracy influence. Nations such as China and Iran would quickly fill any military assistance void left by a diversion of US aid, and the civilian government would find itself without the leverage it needs to strengthen its hand in opposition to military influence over the nation’s foreign and domestic policy.

Even cuts that specifically target military aid would be counterproductive at this time. While it’s true that much of Pakistan’s military still sees India as the most pressing security issue, threats to cut military assistance are unlikely to change this perspective which has deep ideological and historical roots. Moreover, there are signs that the military’s strategic focus is beginning to change. Threats to cut aid are more likely to abort rather than encourage any reorientation and will be used to justify continued support for jihadi militant groups as irregular defense forces. This would be devastating.

As Pakistan’s President Zardari noted in The Washington Post,

Our nation is pressed by overlapping threats. We have lost more soldiers in the war against terrorism than all of NATO combined. We have lost 10 times the number of civilians who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Two thousand police officers have been killed. Our economic growth was stifled by the priorities of past dictatorial regimes that unfortunately were supported by the West. The worst floods in our history put millions out of their homes. The religious fanaticism behind our assassinations is a tinderbox poised to explode across Pakistan. The embers are fanned by the opportunism of those who seek advantages in domestic politics by violently polarizing society.

Pakistan today looks like what we may increasingly see emerge in countries like Egypt and Tunisia – military and intelligence establishments that, decoupled from civilian control, operate with their own agendas. They are states within states, operating without oversight or accountability. Mr. Friedman is correct that Egyptians and Tunisians will have to develop their own democracies, and this is exactly what the people of Pakistan are doing right now. We should not abandon them as they struggle to uproot the “deep state” and replace it with effective civilian democratic institutions.

Where Friedman is correct is in his recognition of the importance of investment that strengthens civilian governance and institutions. This is exactly what the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill passed in 2009 represents – a change in focus from supporting Pakistan’s military establishment to strengthening civilian institutions. Unfortunately, this aid is not being dispersed quickly enough to meet the nation’s needs.

According to a GAO report released earlier this year, only $179.5 million of $1.51 billion in US civilian aid to Pakistan was actually dispersed in 2010. The US should concentrate on finding ways to get this funding to projects that will make lasting improvements in the lives of Pakistanis and strengthen civilian governance in Pakistan.

Support for emerging democracies should not be played as a zero-sum game in which the latest entrant to the democratic community receives support at the expense of those that came before. Pakistan represents not the autocratic regimes of the past, but the delicate stage in democratic development during which nascent civilian governments attempt to supplant entrenched military and intelligence institutions.

Abandoning new allies as they struggle to secure civilian control will set back democratic progress for generations. Cutting aid to Pakistan would not weaken the nation’s “deep state” and promote democratic reform. More likely, it would be a catalyst for Pakistan to revert to a military state buttressed by a fundamentally anti-democratic ideology. If any outcome is “totally out of proportion…with our interests and out of all sync with our values”, it is this.

President Zardari Asks for Help, Patience in Fighting Extremism

President Obama speaking with President Zardari

In Sunday’s Washington Post, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari asks for help and patience as his government fights extremists.

We in Pakistan know our challenges and seek the trust and confidence of our international allies, who sometimes lose patience and pile pressure on those of us who are already on the front lines of what is undeniably a long war. Our concern that we avoid steps that inadvertently help the fanatics is misinterpreted abroad as inaction or even cowardice. Instead of understanding the perilous situation in which we find ourselves, some well-meaning critics tend to forget the distinction between courage and foolhardiness. We are fighting terrorists for the soul of Pakistan and have paid a heavy price. Our desire to confront and deal with the menace in a manner that is effective in our context should not become the basis for questioning our commitment or ignoring our sacrifices.

Additionally, the Pakistani president asks that American officials not make counterproductive threats to cut aid and support for civilian development – threats that feed into extremist narratives about American duplicity.

Similarly counterproductive are threats to apply sanctions to Pakistan over the Davis affair by cutting off Kerry-Lugar development funds that were designed to build infrastructure, strengthen education and create jobs. It is a threat, written out of the playbook of America’s enemies, whose only result will be to undermine U.S. strategic interests in South and Central Asia. In an incendiary environment, hot rhetoric and dysfunctional warnings can start fires that will be difficult to extinguish.

Right-wing pundits in Pakistan have been pointing to threats to cut aid as evidence that “Washington is not interested in any long-term relations with Pakistan.” President Zardai insists that the democratic civilian government “will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat.” He points to the fact that Pakistan has “lost more soldiers in the war against terrorism than all of NATO combined” as proof of this resolve.

While the US evaluates the most effective way to support people fighting for democratic reform in the Arab world, we should not forget those who have already won a their freedom. No doubt the community of dictators and would-be tyrants throughout the world are watching Pakistan to see if American resolve in supporting emerging democracies matches its words, or if ours is a fickle relationship with people yearning to be free.

The Pakistani people have made a tremendous sacrifice in the fight against intolerance and extremism. As they fight on the front lines against the forces of terror and militancy, they are asking for our help and patience. We owe them this much not as a client or proxy state, but as a fellow member of the brotherhood of free nations.

Do Not Cut Aid Over Raymond Davis

Questions about the fate of Raymond Davis continue to complicate US-Pakistan relations. Today, President Obama called on Pakistan to release the American pursuant to the Vienna Conventions. The Pakistani government continues to call on the question of Davis’s immunity to be decided by Pakistan’s courts. While Tuesday did see some potential progress on the issue, it remains to be seen how the situation will ultimately play out.

Bradley Klapper’s report for The Sydney Morning Herald makes an important observation:

[Raymond Davis’s] detention has become a point of honour for both nations, and a rallying point for anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.

According to Klapper, the US government is considering several options in response to Pakistan’s refusal to return Davis, some of which center on isolating the South Asian nuclear power.

US officials hinted broadly that they may cancel or postpone an invitation to Pakistan’s foreign minister to visit Washington this month.

The Obama administration also is reportedly considering a slowdown in visa processing for Pakistanis seeking to come to the US. That would be hugely unpopular in Pakistan, where grievance already runs high over the perception that the US discriminates or holds back in granting visas to Pakistanis.

The US is also considering suspending or cutting back on military and educational training programs with the Pakistani armed forces and suspending or cutting back on civilian educational, scientific, cultural and local and state government exchanges, one official said.

Cutting aid and attempting to isolate Pakistan would not only be a huge mistake, it would result in a policy failure of immense proportions due to two important realities: Pakistan’s geography and demographics.

Pakistan is on the verge of a demographic explosion.

If current demographic trends continue the country’s population is projected to reach 238 million in 2030 and 335 million in 2050. Of the current population of 172 million, 66 per cent is below 30 years. 39 million are between the ages of 15-24.

Simply put, a nation of 300 million people cannot be contained. Past attempts to influence Pakistan by cutting aid reinforced the narratives of Islamist militants and resulted in nuclear proliferation. The US is going to have to engage Pakistan, and engage them as peers, not as patrons.

Pakistan is also bordered by two nations that would be more than happy to step in and fill any space left by an American withdrawal of engagement: Iran and China. As China passes Japan as the second largest economy in the world, it is also moving to expand its influence in Asia. At the end of 2010, China signed $30 billion in trade deals with Pakistan, and announced plans to build a fifth nuclear reactor in the country.

While less able to provide Pakistan with economic and military assistance than China, Iran poses potential difficulties of its own. Its own isolation at the hands of US policy would create an opportunity for the two nations to overcome sectarian differences to help each other through the construction and control of regional energy infrastructure as well providing leverage for Iran to influence Pakistan to trade in nuclear technology as a means of securing much-needed state revenue.

Thankfully, calls for cutting aid to Pakistan appear to be going unrecognized by the White House. President Barack Obama this week proposed over $3 Billion for Pakistan in the 2012 budget. This investment includes $1.5 billion in funds allocated under Kerry-Lugar-Berman, $350 million in military financing, and $1.1 billion in counterinsurgency funding. It is imperative to building trust between the US and Pakistan that the US to make good on its promises to provide economic, civilian, and military assistance. This funding should not be made conditional on the release of Raymond Davis.

Diplomatic problems require diplomatic solutions – not diplomatic freezes. Sen. John Kerry’s apology to the people of Pakistan was an important first step in overcoming confusion about Raymond Davis’s diplomatic status and American respect for Pakistani lives. Making good on obligations to invest in Pakistan’s national security and economic growth are another important part of the solution.

It's the Economy…

Textiles

Bill Clinton knew it. Hu Jintao certainly knows it. Barack Obama is learning it the hard way. And if we really want to ensure democracy and justice in Pakistan, Congress needs to figure this out, too: It’s the economy, stupid.

Pakistan’s democratic government continues to suffer incredible attacks from militant extremists. Just last week, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi – a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan – attacked a security compound in Karachi killing at least 18 and wounding over 100. And this was only the latest in a wave of deadly attacks that have plagued the city in recent months.

Karachi is financial heart of Pakistan. That may be one reason terrorist militants are so keen to destroy it. Undermining stability in Karachi has a direct impact on foreign investment in Pakistan; undermining the nation’s economy undermines support for the democratic government. It creates a feeling of hopelessness and frustration that militants use to recruit new foot soldiers.

Discussing the nation’s education system, Pakistani analyst Mosharraf Zaidi told PBS Frontline that a lack of economic opportunity can have dire consequences.

“You look at the consequences of these kids not going to school — and let’s set aside the fearmongering and the scare-mongering of saying, you know, ‘What if all these kids become terrorists?’ Setting that aside, the real problem is that, if you aren’t capable of participating in the global economy, you will be very, very poor. And desperate and extreme poverty has some diabolical consequences for societies and for individuals.”

Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, writes that one of the keys to creating peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan is economic stimulus for the region through trade liberalization.

Struggling economically, Pakistan needs such a shot in the arm, and a trade deal could arguably do even more than aid at this point.

Over the weekend, the US and Pakistan agreed to cooperate on a new $375 million wind farm near Karachi to provide 150 megawatts of power. This is a good start. Projects of this nature go beyond mere aid and create sustainable infrastructure that can reduce Pakistan’s dependence on foreign energy supplies while also providing a much needed boost to employment.

This is a good start, but the US needs to do more if we’re going to continue to have a strong relationship with the South Asian power. Pakistan’s president Zardari is no American puppet, and he has been making successful overtures to Chinese investors keen to profit from Pakistan’s unrealized potential.

The President said that there existed a great potential between Pakistan and China to further expand their bilateral trade and Pakistan was keen to welcome greater Chinese investment in the country.

He said that Pakistan and China have established a Joint Investment Company (JIC) with the help of China Development Bank to assist joint ventures and signed the Free Trade Agreement on goods and services, which were helping integration of Pakistani and Chinese economies.

The President said that the Government has put in place policies directed towards rapid economic growth, employment generation, poverty alleviation and encouragement of the private sector.

And it’s not only the cash-flush Chinese who are looking – the UK is also beginning to see the potential of investment in Pakistan.

[British Deputy High Commissioner] Robert Gibson pointed out that British entrepreneurs working in Pakistan were having continued interest to work and safeguard their businesses and were looking forward to opportunities to further increase their operations by expanding existing projects and explore new avenues for investment.

The US can begin its program of economic investment by liberalizing trade, specifically through granting preferential market status to Pakistani textiles, a policy encouraged in a new report by the Council on Foreign Relations.

“To reinforce US-Pakistan ties and contribute to Pakistan’s economic stability in the aftermath of an overwhelming natural disaster, the Obama administration should prioritize and the Congress should enact agreement that would grant preferential market access to Pakistani textiles,” former deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and former national security adviser Samuel R. Berger, stress in the report.

This agreement would help revive the Pakistani industry and all of the associated sectors of the economy, including Pakistan-grown cotton, the report adds.

Additionally, Congress should revisit legislation establishing Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ), a bill first introduced by President Bush and passed by House Democrats in 2009.

Conventional wisdom says that American policy towards Pakistan should involve ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks.’ This thinking is misguided. Targeted aid packages like Kerry-Lugar and flood assistance are necessary, but not sufficient if the goal is to develop a strong and lasting partnership. Pakistan has demonstrated that it will not be a client state, nor should any such outcome be at the heart of American foreign policy. Only by developing economic partnerships that benefit both countries will lasting trust be established. Investment in Pakistan may involve certain risks at this time, but ignoring this opportunity poses greater risks still.

Benefits of a Civilian Nuclear Power Deal

Civilian nuclear energy

One of the more interesting recommendations of the recent RAND report, Counterinsurgency in Pakistan, is the development of a civilian nuclear power program for Pakistan. Pursuing a civilian nuclear power program for Pakistan makes sense, and could provide significant improvement in regional security, civilian infrastructure and perceptions of American intent.

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Bipartisan Letter from Democratic Rep. Jackson-Lee and Republican Rep. Burton Supporting Democratic Government in Pakistan

Letter Cites Op-Eds Warning of ‘Judicial Coup’ and Other Politically-Motivated Efforts to Destabilize Pakistan Government

The bipartisan Co-Chairs of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus circulated a letter Monday to their colleagues in the House of Representatives raising concerns about pressures on the democratically elected government and the role and recent actions of the judiciary in Pakistan, adding to those political pressures.

Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX, 18th Dist.) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN, 5th Dist.), the two signatories, stated, “Pakistan is a critical partner of the United States on the frontlines of the war on terrorist extremists. Only with a strong and stable democratic government and civilian authority can Pakistan remain so.”

The letter cited two recent articles, “Judicial Coup in Pakistan,” published in the Asia and European editions of the Wall Street Journal on February 15, 2010, and “Our Security Depends on Aiding Pakistan,” published in The Hill newspaper on February 2, 2010. The articles examine recent actions taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan that could threaten the separation of powers and create political instability in that country.

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Our security depends on aiding Pakistan

On Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s recent trip to Pakistan, he was reportedly asked by one Pakistani military official, “Are you with us or against us?” to which the defense secretary replied, “Of course, we’re with you.” But who precisely did the secretary mean by “you”? For both the U.S. and Pakistan’s interests, the “you” must mean the people who support the three principles of democracy, the rule of law, and civilian control in Pakistan — and, specifically, not those who would undermine them.

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