The history of mutual perceptions between Pakistan and the United States has been from the very beginning defined by misunderstanding and mistrust. So far, every US engagement with Pakistan has been issue specific and of a tactical nature. Bilateral engagements have rarely been based on any shared perspectives and divergence of interest has mainly headlined the partnership.
says “The Diplomat’s” February issue
The most worrying development for Pakistan's security establishment at the moment is USA's detachment with Pakistan which can have heavy economic and political fallout for the country.
Policy of Appeasement:
Over the past half century, with no other alternative to resort to, Pakistan’s policy had been to appease USA and maintain cordial relations with the great power, of course, to preserve its national and international interests. And these efforts have saved the nation from total economic and political disaster and international isolation. During the later half of the 20th century Pakistan was heavily dependent on USA for economic and military assistance which came albeit on certain conditions particularly the one restraining Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons. That was an issue that Pakistan was never prepared to compromise on and eventually became a nuclear state in 1998 in defiance of the international norms set by the superpower.
US’s Abandonment of Pakistan is not something new
Pakistan’s diplomatic and security establishment had always been cognisant of the fact that USA was never interested in a long term relationship with Pakistan. Divergence of interests brought the two nations together momentarily but such instances of intimacy never lasted long which to some extent can be attributed to USA’s search for more powerful allies in the East to counter the influence of Russia and China. Interactions between the two, whether Cultural or political, had never been great. Despite Pakistan being the United States closest ally in Asia during the Cold War era, US has never reciprocated with equal warmth of friendship due to a host of regional, global and security interests. There remains an element of mistrust in Pakistani public and political leadership’s mind due to the instances when Pakistan needed its ally but was abandoned. There is a deeply rooted skepticism about US’ respect for Pakistan’s interests. US has never been willing to expand its relationship with Pakistan beyond its security needs and has always disregarded Pakistan’s interests in the region. Below is the reference of former US Defence secretary John McCain’s article titled “US ignores Pakistan at its own peril” and stresses the need for US to expand it ties with Pakistan beyond the scope of fighting terrorism.
Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Shift towards East
On January 1st, 2017 Pakistan’s leading newspaper surmised the political events of 2016 and made a statement about Pakistan’s foreign policy change;
2016 has been the year when Pakistan mad its most concrete move yet towards the East.
Pakistan’s leadership rightly realises the need to hedge against a political risk of international isolation by India and USA the countries which see Pakistan as the sponsor of terror in the region. It is also noteworthy that USA is increasingly becoming less interested in Afghanistan and will eventually in a few years time, as political pundits predict, leave Afghanistan in the hands of Pro-India Afghan government making Pakistan even more insecure in the region.
Internationally, with Trumps as the President of US many political observers are concerned about US retrenchment and abandonment of its allies. They see the political winds blowing in favour of East.