Skip to comments.Holbrooke knew Pakistani Generals were lying on India ['Cutting US aid would increase distrust.']
Posted on 04/22/2013 11:27:40 AM PDT by James C. Bennett
Late Richard Holbrooke, the first US special Af-Pak envoy, was fully aware that the Pakistani generals were lying to him on their support to the Islamic extremist groups against India, but he was against cutting off military aid to Islamabad, a new book has said.
In his latest book "Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East", the two-time Pulitzer winner David Rhode said Holbrooke wanted massive aid for Pakistan and launch some signature big projects there, in the absence of which he increasingly became frustrated with the USAID.
"While publicly praising the Pakistanis, he was tough- minded in Pakistan. Holbrooke was fully aware that the Pakistani military was still supporting the Afghan Taliban as proxies against India and that some Pakistani generals were lying to his face," Rhodes said.
"In a conversation with Holbrooke in 2010, I asked him why the United States did not cut its USD 1 billion a year in military aid to the Pakistan army. He said cutting aid was 'off the table' because it would only increase distrust of the United States. 'This cannot be a transactional relationship'," he told me.
In his book, Rhodes writes that many people in the US Government were against Holbrooke's style of functioning.
"USAID officials and some American diplomats complained that Holbrooke repeatedly shifted the focus of the American assistance in Pakistan," he wrote.
In his book, which hit the stands this week, Rhodes gives an insight into the working of Holbrook, his tensed relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the public engagement and focus on Pakistan and the manner in which he was sidelined by the White House.
In January 2009, Holbrooke was appointed as President Barack Obama's special adviser on Pakistan and Afghanistan, a frustrating assignment which was said to have caused his health to deteriorate.
He served until he died from complications of an aortic dissection on December 13, 2010 at the age of 69.
Rhodes, who spent eight years in Afghanistan and Pakistan where he was held captive for seven months by the Taliban, argues the case for easing the India-Pakistan tension, which he says is important to stabilize the broader Islamic world.
He argues the Obama Administration in its second term should stop providing aid to the Pakistan Army, alleging that it suppresses democracy.
The book has been listed by the Foreign Policy magazine as 25 top "Books to Read" in 2013.
“In a conversation with Holbrooke in 2010, I asked him why the United States did not cut its USD 1 billion a year in military aid to the Pakistan army. He said cutting aid was ‘off the table’ because it would only increase distrust of the United States. ‘This cannot be a transactional relationship’,” he told me.
Stupid stupid stupid
But I imagine increasing aid would increase trust. ...
So lets throw alot more money at them, so that they'll trust us a lot more.
Better yet, instead of money, lets exchange the money for nuclear warheads, and send them some nuclear warheads instead....
Then we won't have to worry about things like trust.
So Pakistan was using U.S. money to launch terrorist attacks. It was reported that funding for the 9/11 attacks came from/through Pakistan. Pakistan is likely still funding terror with U.S. taxpayer dollars.
Hollebrook was a stupid, arrogant, man. He did major damage to our country.
The bottom line for Pakistan is that it is a cancerous tumor, yet one we have no choice but to deal with. This is why:
1) They are not a unified country, but a collection of enclaves dominated by factions. The government, whoever it is, is just the largest minority organization that wants political power. In no way does it have real control over most of the country.
2) Their population is approaching 200 million and they have nuclear weapons.
3) The vast majority of Sunni Muslim clergy in the world are trained in radical Wahhabi madrassas (schools) in Pakistan, then they disperse all over the world. Much or even most of the funding for these schools comes from Saudi Arabia. No matter how moderate the mosque, they will likely get a radical Imam as the only game in town.
4) When the military tried to run Pakistan, the US saw it as an opportunity to unify the place and put it under a far more orderly central government, under Musharraf. To his credit, he went about as far and as fast as he could go to achieve these ends. He purged the military and the secret police, the ISI, of a *lot*, if not all, of the insiders who were actively helping the al-Qaeda and Taliban fight the US.
However, he finally reached the point where he could do no more, but by staying president, he would make things worse, so he very wisely left office and the country.
5) The US did “carrot and stick” Pakistan a lot, but today, US aid is little more than chemotherapy to help keep Pakistan from metastasizing, because if it does, it will cost us far more treasure and blood to get it tamped down again.
Great analysis. You did however leave out another dimension to the Pakistan conundrum: its visceral ties with China, which leverages Pakistan as part of China’s rivalries with India and Russia.