Kerry gets the post

Published Dec 23, 2012 10:06pm

THE nomination of Sen John Kerry as the next US Secretary of State is a welcome move from the Pakistani perspective. Sen Kerry has demonstrated two key understandings in his dealings with this country: one, that continued engagement and patient diplomacy are essential if fundamental divergences are ever to be narrowed; and two, the civilian political leadership needs the consistent and serious support of the US, which in the past has too quickly and too fully relied on the Pakistan Army as its principal ally. With elections in Pakistan on the horizon, the drawdown in Afghanistan coming closer and a post-war-in-Afghanistan focus on Pakistan likely to grow, Sen Kerry will steer his country’s diplomatic approach to Pakistan at yet another critical juncture in this country’s domestic political evolution and regional security environment. The more pragmatic approach to Pak-US relations over the last year — gone is talk of a strategic relationship and the like — should help Sen Kerry keep his goals narrow and focused, though that still leaves much to do. Take just the aid under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman law that has not flowed in the quantity originally conceived nor has it really had the kind of impact that its sponsors would have hoped for. On the political front, with elections on the horizon in Pakistan, the further away the US stays from ill-conceived ideas like the abortive Musharraf-Benazir alliance of 2007 and just opts to support relatively free and fair elections with the chips falling where they may, the better off Pakistan’s democratic transition will be.

Even in the pared-back relationship, the challenges will be mighty, though. Complicating the scenario for Sen Kerry, and Pakistan, is the reality that under President Obama, foreign policy has been crafted by a small core of presidential advisers inside the White House. Secretary Clinton’s relatively innocuous term, at least with regard to policy, may be the template for Secretary-nominee Kerry, who enters the job as an avowed Obama loyalist. So it is to the White House and changes in the national-security positions there that attention must also turn to understand how the Pakistan policy may be tweaked in the months and years ahead.

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Comments (3) (Closed)


M. S. Alvi
Dec 24, 2012 12:46am
Kerry is going to take care of American interests and not going to do his job for his personal friendships. It is so naive on the part of Pakistanis to think that way.
abbastoronto
Dec 24, 2012 04:35pm
Sen. Kerry, first a Viet-Nam war hero and then an ardent critic, is well versed in geo-politics. He knows that American influence in on the wane, and he realizes that Pakistan is the key player in stopping and then reversing that decline. Pakistan to the Islamic world is what America is to the Western, the Free World – the de-facto leader, the trend-setter. One does not have to be the richest to lead, but have the courage to tread where no won has gone before. Both America and Pakistan have never shied from doing that. No two people on earth are closer in psyche than the Americans and Pakistanis. Not US/Canada, not US/UK, not India/Pakistan. Here are the traits that bind these two “Birds of the Same Feather”. 1. Same National Symbol - Eagle soaring free above the clouds: Individualists, freedom-loving government-hating 2. Newest nations in respective blocks – founded as Republics, against Democracy 3. Manifest Destiny – Global vision. Extra-Territoriality 4. Born Free Enterprising, positive public attitude to business US #1, Pakistan #2. Efficient market, cheapest living in their blocks. 5. Drugs, armaments, guns; Violent regime changes 6. Very similar practical sense of humor 7. Profoundly religious; unique musicality – Jazz, hip-hop / Qawwali 8. Extremely mobile 9. Mixed language, Widest gene pool, Fastest Growth, Largest family size, Largest population., Net population influx; Hospitable, Generous, Charitable, Poor-friendly 10. Can survive without trade - feed population with borders shut. Dr. Cameron Munter, the past US Ambassador to Pakistan candidly noted that Pakistanis were blunt and straight shooters, just like say people in Iowa. Forthrightness makes dialogue easy. Pakistan is going through a Civil War of transition from the rural/agrarian to urban/industrial one. These wars are neither short-lived nor bloodless, but the good guys always triumph in the end. America went through the Civil War that reduced even Lincoln to malnutrition, but soon America rose to lead the world. Pakistan will do the same. Our American friends like Kerry can and will help speed up the resolution of the Pakistani Civil War transition so that we both can stand shoulder to shoulder in quest for world peace. USA and Pakistan have achieved much together – the demise of godless Soviet Empire for one, and go on to achieve even greater goals.
Rajesh
Dec 25, 2012 03:51am
Wait till he gets a briefing on collaborators of terror activities - his views will change.