Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can't walk away?

Correction (added 7-28): The amount in the Kerry-Lugar bill is $7.5 billion, not $750 billion.

"The U.S.-Pak[istan] relationship is vexing, complex, and dangerous, but nobody can just walk away from it,"
Prof. Joshua Goldstein writes. Hard to disagree with this as a general statement. However, as I've had occasion to mention before (echoing Lawrence Wright), there is a case -- not an airtight one, perhaps, but a serious case -- to be made for reducing the current level of U.S. military aid to Pakistan, given that at least some of it is being diverted into non-military purposes and/or used in ways that do not help the U.S. Despite the enactment of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, which gives Pakistan $750 $7.5 billion in U.S. non-military aid over five years (most of which I believe has not yet been spent partly due to disputes about oversight and conditions with Pakistan's government), the relationship continues to be dominated by military and intelligence issues. And continuing to support the Pakistani military with very large amounts of aid may not be the most sensible thing for the U.S. to be doing.

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