Strategic Dialogue. Sustained partnership. Long-term commitment.
If I hear those terms used in three consecutive sentences again, I may have an aneurysm.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that we have all been over-saturated with news of Wednesday’s high-level talks between the United States and Pakistan. Prior to the dialogue, Islamabad presented a 56-page “wish list” to Washington, detailing their priorities and demands – including a desire for a civilian nuclear deal, drone strike technology, and aid for development issues like education, agriculture, as well as $647 million for dams.
Following the talks on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly spoke of having a partnership that stands “the test of time,” while foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he was “a happy man.”
According to the Washington Post, the Pakistani delegation said it was satisfied with U.S. pledges on aid delivery, after Clinton announced $125 million to help Pakistan overcome its power crisis. The Post added,
Most of the agreements announced after the one-day meeting had been decided earlier, including disbursement of a new $7.5-billion, five-year U.S. aid package for Pakistan’s energy, water, agricultural and education sectors. Long-standing Pakistani complaints about nearly $1 billion in promised but unpaid U.S. reimbursements for Pakistan’s counterinsurgency operations had been largely resolved, with the remaining money to be paid by the end of June.
So yes, as expected, a diplomatic “We’re Just Not That Into You” move on the civilian nuclear deal and drone strike technology, but a thumbs up on the substantial topics, i.e. development. That is certainly a plus, depending on how well it’s implemented and allocated.
With the imagined strains of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” in the background, it seems the media is as excited to depict this wonderous state of affairs as the delegations are. Please observe:
Personally, I’m far more interested to be a fly on the wall during COAS Gen. Ashfaq Kayani‘s closed door sessions with the U.S. military brass, especially given Pakistan’s strategic interests in Afghanistan vis-a-vis India. See if the below photo offers any clues for how well it’s going so far:
Disclaimer: Please excuse the snarkiness.