One can only watch in horror as relations between the United States and Pakistan continue to deteriorate, for there will be no chaos-free exit from Afghanistan without Pakistan. We have become accustomed, now, to the loud accusations of perfidy leveled at Islamabad -playing a double game, Americans say, protecting terrorists who are attacking our troops in Afghanistan. But to make an enemy out of Pakistan is to lose sight of the fact that Pakistan is far more important to US interests than Afghanistan ever was. Republican contenders for Barak Obama’s job fall over each other suggesting ways to be tough on Pakistan. But it was John Huntsman who put his finger on the problem. ”I would recognize exactly what the US -Pakistani relationship has become, which is merely a transactional relationship,” Huntsman said. American aid should be contingent on Pakistan’s keeping up the fight on terrorism and on keeping American supply lines to Afghanistan open. It is said that Pakistan has a weak civilian government and that its military and intelligence services are running the show. But can something similar be said of the United States? The US military out- maneuvered an inexperienced president into a deeper Afghanistan commitment than even the Bush administration was willing to make. Is the military-intelligence complex striving to keep the United States involved in Afghanistan longer than it might otherwise be, and getting into heedless and unnecessary confrontations with Pakistan?
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