Courtesy Reuters

Doubling Down on Civilian Engagement in Pakistan

How to Help The Country Help Itself

For a decade, the United States sought to allure -- and increasing cajole -- Pakistan into better military and intelligence cooperation. The United States believed that it needed Pakistan to secure Afghanistan, fight terrorism, and control nuclear proliferation. It also believed that Pakistan needed American support, even though the country often argues that China could easily fill the United States' shoes. All the while, U.S. policymakers simply resisted countenancing the simple reality that, security-wise, Pakistan and the United States hold fundamentally divergent priorities.

In the wake of frequent revelations this spring about Pakistan's extensive support of militant groups in Afghanistan and elsewhere, however, U.S. citizens and policymakers became increasingly wary of continuing to provide Pakistan military and financial assistance. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen's recent testimony that the Jalaluddin Haqqani network -- which has attacked the Indian and American embassies, as well as a number of other high-profile targets -- is a "virtual arm of the ISI" exacerbated congressional and public outrage towards Pakistan. Some members of the U.S. Congress, such as Senators Lindsey Graham and Carl Levin, are increasingly hesitant to continue writing checks to the country.

For its part, Pakistan has also been cooling to the United States. After the notorious January 2011 Raymond Davis affair, in which Davis, a CIA contractor, shot two men whom the ISI had hired to menace him, Pakistan slowed intelligence and counterterrorism partnership with the United States. Pakistan even ousted U.S. military trainers who were helping its Frontier Corps develop basic combat and survival skills. Then, following the unilateral May 2011 U.S. operation to kill Osama bin Laden, Pakistan called off cooperation indefinitely and arrested Pakistani citizens who had helped the CIA in the bin Laden operation. Americans were dismayed to learn that the ISI was more interested in ferreting out "traitors" than discerning how bin Laden could find sanctuary in a cantonment town near Pakistan's prestigious military academy at Kakul.

Oddly enough, all this

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