Guest Post by Katherine Tiedemann: Pakistan’s Aid Conundrum

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pak children.jpg
(Photo Credit: BBC)
Katherine Tiedemann is a Program Associate at the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program.
Ahmed Rashid, a venerable Pakistani journalist, has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post in which he argues that the United States should remove its conditions from the 5 year, $7.5 billion aid package we have proposed giving to Pakistan. The clumsily named “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act” put forth by Senators Kerry and Lugar would triple current levels of non-military aid to the country, with an emphasis on economic growth and development. A new version was introduced yesterday.
President Obama called for the Senate to pass this bill, previous iterations of which have been floating around Congress since last year, during the March roll-out of his Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy review.
What is not debatable is that the security situation in Pakistan is deteriorating, as the Taliban advances in Buner and hundreds of thousands of refugees flee their homes in Swat valley and nearby areas. Ahmed Rashid argues that because the situation on the ground is so ghastly and the political consequences in Pakistan would be too severe, the United States should offer the Kerry-Lugar aid without conditions, at least for the first year.
While it is true that it would be difficult for Pakistan’s military to accept some of the proposed conditions, what Rashid doesn’t address is the fact that the United States can’t even politically offer the aid without conditions.
The United States has given nearly eleven billion dollars in military aid to Pakistan since 2001, and the security situation in Pakistan during that time frame has only gone from bad to worse. The Bush administration did not demand accounting for the funds, and it’s been an open joke in Washington that US investment in Pakistan has not paid off.
Since 2001, Pakistan has served as a re-basing point for al Qaeda, which merged ideologically and tactically with the Taliban. Suicide attacks and insurgent attacks in Pakistan have risen drastically, and views of the US — never very high to begin with — are now down in the teens. Almost all, if not all, of the major terrorist attacks against the West in the last seven years have some connection to the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Anthony Cordesman highlights troubling security trends in Pakistan here.
Some of the conditions in the previous incarnations of the Kerry-Lugar bill – that Pakistan certify there is no activity taking place against India, for example – have already been eased out of the bill, long before the aid is ever distributed. Shuja Nawaz, a longtime Pakistan analyst, dourly pointed out that even if Pakistan checked the India box, “does it actually have enough control to prevent another Mumbai type of attacks?”
Most of the remaining conditions are very sensible – to certify that the security forces of Pakistan are true partners in the fights against al Qaeda and the Taliban, for instance, should be a reasonable promise to make.
And so, with this week’s DC trilateral summit between Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, and President Obama upon us, hopefully the presidents will be able to agree upon at least a few conditions acceptable to both the US and Pakistan. It would be a mistake to continue Bush’s policy of asking for no accountability from Pakistan–but it would also be a mistake to attach so many strings such that Pakistan’s leaders, too tangled in domestic politics, cannot accept the aid they need. We need to reach a solution quickly.
After all, the lives and livelihoods of more than half a million Pakistani civilians in the Swat Valley–plus millions more across Pakistan–hang in the balance.
— Katherine Tiedemann

Comments

15 comments on “Guest Post by Katherine Tiedemann: Pakistan’s Aid Conundrum

  1. MediaMentions says:

    I think ironically, the real scope of suffering is felt through looking at smaller cases such as this one (http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=6QX0FM5FJUZ7&preview=article&linkid=810337dc-5d81-45ec-b4a0-c291f568a5fd&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d). Either way, that’s what’s going on in Pakistan right now.
    MediaMentions

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  2. aghadilbar says:

    Subject: Peace and Prosperity
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    The Great Leader of the World
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    Dear President Barrack Obama considers, from 9/11 till today, America has conducted many war operations in connection with War on Terror, resulting the circle of war has spread hundred times. Millions innocent persons have died. Many More have been rendered homeless. One Lak (10000) war affected youth joined the army of Al-Qaida and Talban by the help of anti American countries have begun gorilla war in a horrible manner. It is the result of wrong war strategy. I Agha Dilbar desire to solve all above mentioned problems in a meeting with President Barrack Obama by adopting new revolutionary planning by bringing an end to present gorilla war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the result the World can enter in a peaceful, advanced and progressive world, May it be so.
    I Agha Dilbar have a new War Strategy to achieve success through Table Talk between Talban, Pakistan and American Government 90% of Talban that are fighting against Pak Army belongs from Swat and Tribal Areas of NWFP. I can provide America all realistic facts in such manner that their implementation could convert these Talban into Patriotic Citizens of Pakistan. In this War Strategy Pakistan Gov will never send his Heavy Artillery, Tanks, Cannons and Air craft in war. In this way 5-million persons will never Displaced. In the end Talban by their will handover, their Weapons to Pakistan Gov, they will come to Table Talk and Suicide Bombing will come to an end in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Through this War Strategy Pakistani and American Government can save expenses on war. Through this planning American and Pakistani Government can utilize their saving on war budgets for development of Schools, Hospitals, Colonies, Markets, Roads, Bridges, Dams, Canals and Industries of Swat and Tribal Areas of NWFP that are war affected. On account of present war strategy, Billion Dollars are being wasted yearly.
    This war can cause Fall of America instead of continuation of war; my best suggestion for America must keep his Supper Power on the World and should conquer the World instead of war, but by his No-1 scientific technology spending on agriculture, Industry, trade, education, scientific development and tourism, all round the World. Making an end to Economic Crisis in America.
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    . May it be so?
    To make successful American Foreign Policy on Global Level the following planning is put before:
    a) America will have to provide free scholar ships at least to ten top master students (in each country) of medical and science in underdeveloped and poor countries of the world
    b) Highly educated and well trained one hundred cultural groups (each group contains 100 persons) will have to arrange one hundred cultural shows for three months in big cities of underdeveloped and poor countries.
    c) America will have to arrange exhibitions through his Embassies for his latest products, in the underdeveloped and poor countries .All these mentioned above industrial exhibitions will be arranged continuously for two months. In the above mentioned exhibitions present products will be sold except export order booking. In mentioned above exhibitions, American Cultural Programs will have to arrange and American Traditional Dishes will be kept for sale. In these exhibitions American Tourism Stalls will also be set of.
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    a) Among metric, fsc, bsc, (engineering).mbbs, llb, ca and diploma holders in all institutions, all those receiving degrees at the state level, top ten each from girls and boys by cash prizes will be announced on behalf of the gov during invitation on lunch.
    b) For above mentioned top ten intelligent students boys and girls each, tours for different historical and healthy sites will be arranged free of cast.
    c) Support Talent schools of international level will be set up over the country at the district level, in which students of extra-ordinary sports talent taught from class one to fsc level.
    d) American states gov will announce free transport, free medical facilities and free lunch during education to all school, college and university students.
    Minimize the aforesaid differences, which I will deliver to president
    the increasing distress and hatred between the Muslim world and America is the major cause of week relationship on public and government level. As a sincere friend I have practical suggestions to Barack Obama in my official visit to America.
    I request the government of America to allow me to describe (first of all my briefing with president’s advisors). My one thousand plans & ideas for changing the world before one to one meeting with the president Barac obama.thanks
    I Agha Dilbar have sent Ten Million research Peace Letters to International Community from 9/11 incident till today. This letter is my Great Peace Mission plan which is continued. Present Global Economic Crisis is the result of War on Terror. This Crisis if further accelerates could initiate a 111-World War. Please hear my Voice of Truth; I can save the World, for my Great Peace Mission, with the help of President Barrack Obama, Peace and Prosperity.
    The Government of America will announce to provide free home facility to employees after 20 year of service as per following rules and regulations.
    1. For providing free home facility to their employees after retirement the government will deduct 2 ½% amounts for their monthly salaries.
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    Mr. Barack Obama you are not only the Leader of America, you are Great Leader of the World. In this connection I am waiting for your Email response, dated 2.10.2009.
    Please Confirm.
    Thank you, God blesses you and God bless America.
    Agha Dilbar (founder)
    International Revolution Movement
    64-neelum block ait Lahore (Pakistan)
    Phone: 0092427830084,
    Cell 03224628349
    Email aghadilbar4@gmail.com
    This Open Letter has been sent Two Lak (200000) to International Community for the welfare of Humanity till today. I Agha Dilbar authorize Newspapers, Magazines, Internet, to Publish and Radio, T.V. Channels to broadcast this letter all round the World
    It has been extraordinary to read and hear some of the things—I did my decisions alone by the voice of God, who called me in my heart.

    Reply

  3. xinyun says:

    thanks!The Grate Leader of the World ,my friend, my brother, Provide an opportunity to Aghadilbar to pay an official.

    Reply

  4. MediaMentions says:

    Well, with all this going on (http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=AA2TERPEGHS4&preview=article&linkid=e5eb4d5e-0be5-4895-b367-2b5d163b9a06&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d), it’s about time Pakistan got some help. Honestly, I can’t believe that this has been going on for so long, but maybe that’s just me.
    Best regards,
    MediaMentions

    Reply

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  7. Katherine says:

    Erichwwk– Here is the text of the legislation. Best, Katherine
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-962

    Reply

  8. Arun says:

    But, but, but! America, India and the Jews are funding the Taliban. Tell them to stop!
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/do-we-know-the-enemy-059
    Quote:
    “WAITING in line to drive through an army checkpoint on the leafy Shami Road of Lahore garrison, my driver hesitatingly utters: “Sir, can I ask you a question?” “Yes sure,” I tell him. “This is all a game isn’t it…. Ultimately they want to take away our nuclear weapons … don’t they sir?”
    With military operations under way in Dir, Buner and Swat and the question coming from a retired infantry soldier who is now employed as my driver I assume the “they” means the Taliban, the troublemakers, the Islamists, the militants, the rebels or some such. Still, to be sure I ask: who wants to take them away? “Why, the Americans, the Jews, the Indians of course. After all they are the ones funding the Taliban!” he exclaims.
    I stare out of the windscreen and let my mind wander … to Islamabad, Constitution Avenue, to the information ministry. Do the folks there know how ordinary Pakistanis are thinking?”

    Reply

  9. Dr HIJAJI says:

    Only the royal saudi family can solve the proplems in Afghanstan and pakistan,this family is responsible for foundation of Taliban and Alqauida in Bishawer mountains in 80s,saudi family can guide us to the key points to solve all proplem in the world ,saudi family has the drug against the terrorism seeds that they seeds in the earth,if the world is one hand hand against the terror saudi family we will be in secure and no more ntrouble in our world
    hijazi1111@hotmail.com

    Reply

  10. erichwwk says:

    Katherine-
    It’s not YOU that needs to be sorry, it’s our CONGRESS. Apologies if my poor writing suggested otherwise.
    There is simply NO CASE that can be made for making the link you referred to [Federal News Service] private. Hopefully making this information public ASAP will be high on the Obama announced policy of making government open and transparent. Perhaps in the meantime you could help make Obama keep his campaign promise of “open and transparent” by pushing the envelope of what is considered “fair use” of the copyrighted material, by giving us some snippets of what changed in the current bill.
    One of the major factors inhibiting US economic growth [in a real, rather than phantom] sense, is our dogmatic and ideological adherence to private property (especially intellectual/copyright property rights) which the Chinese correctly perceive is a public good. Unless we can overcome our obsession with dogma, and reintroduce science in the decision making process (what i assert is the problem with our military policy)we will lag further and further behind societies that do not have a meaningless aversion to “socialism”, but like Deng Xiaoping “seek truth from facts” and ” “… don’t care if it’s a white cat or a black cat. It’s a good cat so long as it catches mice.”
    The marginal cost for MY reading the current version of the Kerry-Lugar Bill is essentially zero, and MY reading that in no way takes anything away from anyone else. To privatize public goods reduces GDP senselessly, out of spite and dogma. Nowhere is inefficiency this more evident that in our military and health care delivery.
    The FNS web site IS a pure public good. see eg Wikipedia on “public goods”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good
    the best e

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  11. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Having evaluated the argument offered by Katherine Tiedmann vis-a-vis Ahmed Rashid, there appears ample justification to conclude that both have defended the argument of being utilitarian and strategist who ardently believe in soliciting national expediencies. These arguments aside,the core fact is that the aid package the US government is offering to the Pakistani government is not based on fair-friendship in so far as the package seems to have fulfilled the US_ Indo strategic partnership and hence the reservations- shown by Islamabad over the conditions/capitulations drafted in the package- are correctly justified.
    Washington needs to realise the fact that there emerges paramount exigencies regarding the economic aid and at this critical juncture, the US government is expected to deal with Islamabad by keeping aside its strategic designs in the region.

    Reply

  12. Martin says:

    It’s a bit ridiculous the US is planning on contributing more aid at all. $11 billion since 2001 has gotten Pakistan nowhere, why is there this belief that more money will solve the problem? Evidence of giving aid in these types of situations shows that destabalization will occur. Which is what we are seeing now.

    Reply

  13. Katherine says:

    Ericwwk–I’m sorry about the paid link, but transcriptions aren’t usually available for a few weeks after the hearings (the link was to Kerry’s hearing). I’ll keep an eye out and try to post a link for you when it becomes free and public.
    Thanks for reading,
    Katherine

    Reply

  14. erichwwk says:

    Violence begets violence. It seems that the only people that don’t understand that are those at the helm of violent enterprises, lacking patience and compassion, and unable to recognize that they are either not smart enough or too addicted to power to see other solutions.
    Edwin Knoll, who lived while many of his relatives died in the Holocaust of WWII wrote:
    “But of all the ways to stop Hitler or to keep him from getting started, war was the worst–the way that inflicted the most pain, the most suffering, the most damage on everyone– especially on Hitler’s victims…there’s no such thing as a just war. Never was. Never will be.”
    PS I find it reprehensible that the link you provide to the latest version of the Lugar-Kerry bill is a private, paid source. Democracy for those that cut deals with incumbent powers, pay to play for the rest? Until we get our own house in order, why interfere overseas?
    Why mandate “quality public health” as a condition for aid to the Pakistani’s when we not only don’t mandate it here, but actually don’t even although the concept to be discussed?
    Sen. Baucus not only disallows even a single representatives of public health – those representing a single payer system – from engaging in health reform discussions, but has those of the public that do speak up arrested?
    http://tiny.cc/4VtSv

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  15. Don Bacon says:

    Why is requiring Pakistan to fight the Taliban “a reasonable promise to make?”
    Pakistan supported the Taliban politically and militarily (as the US did) in the 90’s, and now that the US military has taken on the Taliban in Pakistan, killing hundreds of Pakistanis, it has caused widespread dissatisfaction amongst Pakistanis.
    A country acting as a Great Empire of course must dictate to its foreign minions, but that doesn’t mean that they have to like it. The problem is not that the Taliban is in South Asia but that the US is — just ask the Pakistanis.

    Reply

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