Pakistani officials may be pleased with the promise of technology for unarmed surveillance drones provided by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, but this was tempered by growing wariness over the strings attached to closer ties to the US.
Pakistan’s military made its position very clear last week, insisting that absolutely no new military offensives would be launched on America’s behalf for at least 6-12 months, a declaration which irked the US but also came as some 200,000 troops are fighting wars demanded by the US across northern Pakistan.
But this wariness extends into the civilian government and more importantly the Pakistani populace in general, who are seeing Obama Administration courting as thinly veiled attempts to buy Pakistani loyalty so as to use their troops as cannon fodder in Waziristan.
There is also concern, as US ties with Pakistan’s longstanding rival India continue to strengthen, that the alliance will not last at any rate, and that the US will drop Pakistan the moment they are no longer needed.
US admissions that Blackwater is operating on the ground in Pakistan has also spurred mistrust, since US officials have been not only denying this for years, but accusing those who report it of engaging in conspiracy theories.
Pakistan was already struggling before the US invasion of Afghanistan, but now violence is tearing the nation apart and US-demanded wars are driving it to bankruptcy, and even as the Obama Administration pledges more aid to bail them out, it has become painfully obvious that aid is coming with the assumption that Pakistan will commit more resources it doesn’t have to more wars it doesn’t want.