Here is a valuable snapshot of reality, something important about the world that many Americans do not know. It’s too simple to require analysis. A few comments at the end say all that needs to be said, brief but vital insights.
- The voice of an ally – “U.S. Officials Get a Taste of Pakistanis’ Anger at America“
- The people speak – poll shows that “Pakistanis see US as biggest threat“,
- A better way (update)
- Afterword, and for more information
(1) The voice of an ally
“U.S. Officials Get a Taste of Pakistanis’ Anger at America“, New York Times, 20 August 2009 — Excerpt:
Judith A. McHale was expecting a contentious session with Ansar Abbasi, a Pakistani journalist known for his harsh criticism of American foreign policy, when she sat down for a one-on-one meeting with him in a hotel conference room in Islamabad on Monday. She got that, and a little bit more.
After Ms. McHale, the Obama administration’s new under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, gave her initial polite presentation about building bridges between America and the Muslim world, Mr. Abbasi thanked her politely for meeting with him. Then he told her that he hated her.
“ ‘You should know that we hate all Americans,’ ” Ms. McHale said Mr. Abbasi told her. “ ‘From the bottom of our souls, we hate you.’ ”
Beyond the continuation of the battle against militants along the Pakistani-Afghan border, a big part of President Obama’s strategy for the region involves trying to broaden America’s involvement in the country to include nonmilitary areas like infrastructure development, trade, energy, schools and jobs — all aimed at convincing the Pakistani people that the United States is their friend. But as Ms. McHale and other American officials discovered this week, during a visit by Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, making that case was not going to be easy.
… But Mr. Abbasi’s reaction — a response that, Ms. McHale acknowledged, apparently reflects the feelings of about 25% of the population, according to a recent poll— demonstrated just how tough the job is. For all of the administration’s efforts to call attention to the nonmilitary ties that would bind the two countries, America is still being judged by many Pakistanis as an uncaring behemoth whose sole concern is finding Osama bin Laden, no matter the cost in civilian Pakistani lives.
“He told me that we were no longer human beings because our goal was to eliminate other humans,” Ms. McHale said Wednesday, recounting the conversation with Mr. Abbasi. “He spoke English very well, and he said that thousands of innocent people have been killed because we are trying to find Osama bin Laden.”
(2) The people speak
“Pakistanis see US as biggest threat“, Al Jazeera, 13 August 2009 — Excerpt:
A survey commissioned by Al Jazeera in Pakistan has revealed a widespread disenchantment with the United States for interfering with what most people consider internal Pakistani affairs.
The polling was conducted by Gallup Pakistan, an affiliate of the Gallup International polling group, and more than 2,600 people took part. Interviews were conducted across the political spectrum in all four of the country’s provinces, and represented men and women of every economic and ethnic background.
When respondents were asked what they consider to be the biggest threat to the nation of Pakistan, 11% of the population identified the Taliban fighters, who have been blamed for scores of deadly bomb attacks across the country in recent years.
Another 18% said that they believe that the greatest threat came from neighbouring India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan since partition in 1947.
But an overwhelming number, 59% of respondents, said the greatest threat to Pakistan right now is, in fact, the US, a donor of considerable amounts of military and development aid.
Gallup Pakistan is not related to Gallup Inc, headquartered in Washington D.C. It is a member of the Gallup International Association.
Gallup International was formally founded in May 1947 with 11 original members and Dr. George H Gallup as its first President, until his death in 1984. Currently the Gallup International Association is registered in Zurich Switzerland, with almost 60 members and research capabilities in almost 100 countries around the world. A Code of Statutes agreed by all the members, governs the Association and the Gallup International Quality Standard, the first of its kind in the world, ensures work of the highest level by member companies.
(3) Some insights
Comments from the readers of Matthew Yglesias’ post about this article.
That’s what you get for supporting, without any consideration for the welfare of the people of Pakistan, the twenty families and the Army that have controlled everything in Pakistan since 08/14/1947.
So meddling in the affairs of countries that don’t want us to causes them to not like us? Interesting. I wouldn’t have thought that.
Steve LaBonne replies to Jonathan:
Snark aside, the amazing thing is that this genuinely DOESN’T ever occur to the “serious” foreign policy establishment even after many decades’ worth of examples.
abb1 replies to Steve LaBonne”
I’m sure it does occur to them from time to time, it’s just that it’s not a part of what foreign policy is all about, it’s irrelevant. You eat steak, but how often are you thinking about cows, whether they love you or hate you?
(4) A better way
We get ourselves into these situations because we don’t have a grand strategy, guiding and coordinating our government’s relations with other nations. For a better way, see the late American strategist Col. John Boyd (USAF) recommendation. He said that a grand strategy focused our nation’s actions — political, economic, and military — so as to:
- Increase our solidarity, our internal cohesion.
- Weaken our opponents’ resolve and internal cohesion.
- Strengthen our allies’ relationships to us.
- Attract uncommitted states to our cause.
- End conflicts on favorable terms, without sowing the seeds for future conflicts.
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(5b) For more information from the FM site
For other articles about these things, see these FM reference pages (which appear on the right side menu bar):
- About America’s national defence strategy and machinery
- About Military and strategic theory
- About Iraq & Sub-continent Wars – my articles
- About Iraq & Sub-continent Wars – studies & reports
Posts about our wars in Pakistan:
- Is Pakistan’s Musharraf like the Shah of Iran? (if so, bad news for us), 8 November 2007
- Stratfor says that our war in Pakistan grows hotter; Palin seems OK with that, 12 September 2008
- NPR tells us more about America’s newest war, in Pakistan, 14 September 2008
- Pakistan warns America about their borders, and their sovereignty, 14 September 2008
- Weekend reading about … foreign affairs, 19 October 2008
- To good a story to die: eliminate legitimate grievances to eliminate terrorism, 9 December 2008
- About the 4GW between India and Pakistan, 6 January 2009
- Is America a destabilizing force in the world?, 23 January 2009
- The US tells Pakistan to pick a side. Or else…, 4 May 2009
- Why are we fighting in Pakistan?, 14 May 2009