The Pakistan-US relations and the current tensions have tipped the balance of the Asian region to unimaginable heights and have created a lot of places and issues that need to be addressed.
The Former US Ambassador Dennis Kux could only define the Pakistan-United States Relationships as a ‘bad marriage without the option of divorce’; and while he meant that ‘divorce is impossible’ and the relation will ‘rock along’, he still saw only the American side of the story, whereas the Pakistani perspective interpreted the matter in a totally different mindset. It was this deviation of thought that made matters worse for the two, causing them to distrust each other and find means and ways to bypass each other in order to fulfill their desired goals. A lot of such activities resulted in the expansion of differences amongst the two states, making a deadlock for co-operation. The Americans, with their complexes, sought ways to render Pakistan impotent of dictating policies, by looking at other avenues of opportunity for supporting their goals in the Afghanistan sector; while the Pakistanis, through their conduct, made the Americans realize that they were the only avenue left for them.
Even more recently was the visit of the Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, to Pakistan and his announcement that this withdrawal from Afghanistan should not be taken as a complete abandonment, rather a gradual reduction of only the US troops, which still leaves behind a considerable number of allied forces plus a notable military contingent of the American forces dedicated to tasks assigned to them. This signals the fact that even though Pakistan would be assisting the withdrawal aka the ‘gradual reduction’ of American presence in Afghanistan, the US still does not hold Pakistan credible enough, and it required the new American Secretary of State to make a visit a year before and reaffirm that they are here to stay no matter what the situation.
From links of the Pakistani Intelligence Agencies with the Haqqani network to the continuous use of drone strikes, the American coercive diplomacy made matters worse, and the already limited options available seemed to end between the two. Then the Osama-bin-Laden incident made matters even worse, where Pakistan’s credibility and sincerity to the “War on Terror” came under question, and the American physical intervention, allegedly without the prior consent of Pakistan, and the subsequent violation of her territorial sovereignty escalated the tension amongst the two to newer heights. The global perspective regarding this matter was extremely negative and all the options in this regard seemed to end. Pakistan was at the defensive position considering the controversy that surrounded their credibility, and this defensive stance was all but fruitful for the Americans. However, it still paved some way for the Americans to issue directives compelling Pakistan to give way for their conditions.
All this seemed tense enough when the Salala Check-post incident took place, where NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked a Pakistani military check-post, which resulted in 26 casualties for the Pakistan Army, dealing a blow to the integrity of the institution. Popular sentiment demanded immediate action and the top brass too was infuriated, causing the blockade of all NATO supply coming from Pakistan which contributes 48% of the total. This was a response to the NATO intervention, for which the major blame was again attributed to the Americans and their authority over the NATO troops stationed at Afghanistan. The main issue was of an apology by the NATO and the United States, which never came. Pakistan and the United States are literally at their ‘wits’ ends’ with each other, as the air of insecurity and the element of mistrust is all too well corroborated with the existence of doubts regarding each other. The current stringency existing among the two has strategic and regional implications that are rapidly expanding its sphere to global levels.
From the Raymond Davis episode to the infamous ‘memo’ scandal to the drone strikes, all the issues have had a fair share in the existence of negativity and a trust deficit between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and Pakistan’s refusal to attend the Bonn Conference to Discuss the Future of Afghanistan in the Post-2014 Exit Strategy of the United States conveyed to the world over that viable and practical options are slowly dying out. Keeping all this into perspective, the main issue that comes to mind is that while the United States wants to maintain a grip over the Asian region without letting the regional players either manipulate the weaknesses or exploit the gaps that exist at status quo, what future does Pakistan have in an environment where India and Afghanistan are all but on the same page? Pakistan feels threatened by the fact that the Indo-US nuclear deal was a regional upset to the balance maintained by the two, and the post-US Afghanistan seems all but friendly, making the South Asian region an unsafe place to offer assistance.
The United States, in the absence of Pakistan with respect to the future of this region, carries an altogether different meaning and raises the following, rather inconspicuous, contentions.