On Monday I wrote that the answer to whether or not the US can trust Pakistan can be found in the answer to a related question: Can Pakistan trust the US? Like an iterated prisoner’s dilemma, each side is searching for an equilibrium of cooperation despite a past of defections. The Tuesday New York Times article speculating that the US wants to expand raids over the Pakistani border didn’t help matters, instead seeming to confirm Pakistani fears of American duplicity. While the US immediately rejected the Times report, the US needs to give more than verbal assurances to our Pakistani allies. We need to give helicopters.
Following the release of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review last week, and then a New York Times article suggesting ISI involvement in the outing of the CIA station chief in Pakistan, some are wondering if Pakistan is a trustworthy ally in the fight against al Qaeda and other extremist militants. While many evaluate this question based on discreet metrics such as the number of Pakistani military offensives, a better way to find the answer is to ask whether the Pakistanis believe they can trust us.