My column in Human Events this morning:
Barack Obama’s unrelenting pressure on Israel and appeasement of the Palestinian jihadists is not unique: There are signs this week that he is about to start behaving the same way toward Pakistan and India.
The Wall Street Journal revealed Monday that Obama penned a secret directive last December, stating that India had to work harder to resolve its issues with Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan is growing more demanding that the United States intervene in its disputes with India, and both American and Indian officials have acknowledged that the Pentagon wants the U.S. to put more pressure upon India.
All this comes in the context of a new $7.5 billion aid package to Pakistan and a solicitude toward the Pakistanis from the Obama Administration that borders on obsequiousness. Pakistani officials recently visiting the U.S. were enraged when they were subjected to extra airport scrutiny, in line with a new program that mandated additional screening for entrants into the U.S. from 13 jihadist-heavy Muslim countries (including Pakistan), as well as Cuba. They cut short their visit and returned to Pakistan, where they were widely hailed as heroes.
In response, Obama did not point to the high level of jihadist activity in Pakistan, or to the Pakistani connections of the July 7, 2005, London bombers or the New York bomb plotters who were arrested several months ago. Instead, when Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi flew into Manchester, England, on his way to the United States, the American Ambassador to Great Britain, Louis B. Susman, hurried from London to Manchester (a four-hour drive) to make sure that American airline security personnel didn’t subject Qureshi to extra screening before he boarded his flight to the U.S.
According to the Washington Post, Susman hastened to Manchester in order to “avoid any unpleasantness-including the possibility that British-based U.S. airline security might insist on body-scanning Qureshi that might start the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue in Washington off on the wrong foot.”
In general, the Obama Administration is working hard to overcome what it calls a “trust deficit” with Pakistan–meaning that the United States needs to rebuild Pakistan’s trust in it. And what has the U.S. done to shake Pakistan’s trust in the first place? Why, ask that the Pakistanis honor their repeated commitments to fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda. The Post reported that Obama was courting Pakistan so assiduously in the hope of gaining “Pakistan’s cooperation in shutting down Taliban and al Qaeda havens in that country.”
We have been down this road before. In late February 2009, Qureshi declared that “Pakistan is willing to work with the American administration to fight extremism and terrorism. We are determined to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.” This came five months after Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, declared: “I will work to defeat the domestic Taliban insurgency and to ensure that Pakistani territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on our neighbors or on NATO forces in Afghanistan.”
None of that was new, either. In August 2005, then-Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz thundered against terrorism: “We will fight a war against this danger to protect our independence and we will defeat it at every level.” In August 2004, then-President Parvez Musharraf vowed that he would not let jihadists from Pakistan cross into Afghanistan and attempt to disrupt the elections there-a vow that Western officials met with extreme skepticism, given the sympathy for the jihad that was manifest even then at high levels in Pakistan.
Asked if the Taliban’s days were numbered, Musharraf said, “It appears so,” on Oct. 1, 2001. And now eight years later, Obama is making concessions to the Pakistanis and pressuring India in order to induce Pakistan to fight against the Taliban.
The Pakistani government has proven itself again and again to be an untrustworthy ally, full of sympathizers of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and unable or unwilling or both to do anything effective to counter their power. Instead of pressuring India, Obama should be strengthening our alliance with India and pressuring Pakistan. How many more American billions is the State Department going to spend for Pakistan’s deception and broken promises?