Large-scale military aid has been seen by a number of US Administrations as the sure-fire, one-size-fits-all solution for buying allies, and seeing value in cozying up to Pakistan during the occupation of Afghanistan, the US started throwing billions upon billions at Pakistan’s military.
It bought limited support, as US drone strikes and other regional policies were fueling anti-US sentiment at least as fast as the government to sign checks to try to keep the government placated. In recent years, the US is backing away from even trying.
China, however, sees Pakistan as a potentially valuable economic partner, and in the course of setting up massive economic deals is also offering substantial support for Pakistan’s infrastructure. Unlike the US military aid, which was always seen as cynical attempts to buy politicians, China’s aid seems to be embraced more broadly, with hopes that Pakistan’s struggling economy can get a rub from China’s massive growth.
In a nation with a long history of military coups, the US may have miscalculated in thinking they could buy Pakistan’s support with military aid, and China may go farther with efforts aimed primarily at helping state-run Chinese companies operating in Pakistan than that aid ever did.