Obama Administration officials are making much of the stepped up humanitarian aid being sent to victims of deadly flooding in Pakistan’s northwest, and expressing hope that the aid will temporarily stall massive Pakistani opposition to America’s military occupation of neighboring Afghanistan.
Officials say they are hoping to replicate the success of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, during which emergency aid was said to have temporarily reduced opposition to the US war. Though the bump was only temporary, it appears to have provided some nice short-term photo ops for the administration.
But while the US pumps money and supplies into Pakistan’s government to cope with the situation, Islamist factions vehemently opposed to the US war are already on the ground in the region, providing most of the aid without the red tape that has come from official sources.
Though the US sends billions of dollars to the Zardari government annually, their popularity has continued to plummet as the disastrous war to the north has floundered, with six in 10 Pakistanis identifying the US as “the enemy” in a recent poll and only 8% believing that Prsident Obama can be counted on to make good decisions. While the flood aid may manage to boost those numbers slightly, it seems unlikely that anything will solve the opposition to 100,000 US troops along their northern border, short of removing those troops.