Pakistan's weakness strategy

Brahma Chellany:

Pakistan has long proven adept at diplomatically levering its weakness into strength. Now it is using the threat of its possible implosion to rake in record-level bilateral and multilateral aid.

Bountiful aid has been pouring in without any requirement that Pakistan address the root cause of its emergence as the epicenter of global terrorism — a jihad culture and military-created terrorist outfits and militias. Even though the scourge of Pakistani terrorism emanates not so much from the Islamist mullahs as from generals who reared the forces of jihad, rewards are being showered on the procreators of terrorism.

The Mumbai terrorist attacks, far from putting Islamabad in the international doghouse, have paradoxically helped open the floodgates of international aid, even if involuntarily. Between 1952 and 2008, Islamabad received over $73 billion as foreign aid, according to Pakistan's Economic Survey.

But in the period since the November 2008 Mumbai strikes, the amount of aid pledged or delivered to Pakistan has totaled a staggering $23.3 billion. This figure excludes China's unpublicized contributions but includes the International Monetary Fund's $7.6-billion bailout package, for whose approval the head of U.S. military's Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, unusually interceded with the IMF brass.

Just last week, Islamabad secured more than $5 billion in new aid at a donors conference — the first of its kind for Pakistan. At that conference, host Japan and America pledged $1 billion each, while the European Union promised $640 million, Saudi Arabia $700 million, and Iran and the United Arab Emirates $300 million each.

Add to this picture the largest-ever U.S. aid flow for Pakistan that has been unveiled by the Obama administration — $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years ($1 billion of which was pledged in down payment at the donors conference in Tokyo), some $3 billion in direct military assistance, plus countless millions of dollars in reimbursements to the Pakistani military for battling jihadists, including those it still nurtures and shields.

Despite the glib talk that the new aid would not be open-ended but result-oriented, the Obama administration first announced major new rewards for Pakistan upfront, and then persuaded other bilateral donors to make large contributions, without defining any specific conditions to help create a more moderate Pakistan not wedded to terrorism.

The talk of "no blank checks" and "an audit trail" has proven little more than spin....

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They are using the strategy because it works. The Palestinians are also masters of the weakness strategy and they pile on victimhood on top of weakness.

Businesses have also been using the weakness strategy to get help from government, but so far, the Obama team has been much tougher on them in the "no blank check" department.

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