I had been working on another article for some days now. Its still taking shape as I mull over things – but this just cropped up and it is so patently absurd that I’m going to write and post it right away. If it sounds impulsive, its because it is.
I came across this article on the New York Times detailing the various heart-aches that regular Pakistanis are having about being told that there are conditions tied to the extraordinary aid (7.5 Billion dollars over 5 years) being doled out to them by the Kerry-Lugar bill. Apparently they feel entitled to an NSA (no-strings-attached) relationship worth $7.5B. They don’t just want your money. They want your love baby!
Now let’s see what their positions might be :
Is it “We don’t want your stinkin money”? No. Its more like “Actually we want – nay need – the money desperately to prop up the creaking infrastructure of our country which is crumbling under the weight of our own social, political, economic, military and religious ineptitude. But we want it to be wrapped in velvet and sprinkled with rose-water and left deferentially at the doorstep. And don’t forget to thank us for being gracious for having accepted your infidel dollars”.
The NYT article goes on to quote Anwar Baig (an ex Pakistani Senator) who opines that Pakistan and US need to “rebuild lost trust” and the best way to rebuild trust is ….. drum roll here …. With money! Lots of it!! And without expecting anything in return. Baig goes on to say that “There is an impression that America is micro-managing everything”. And that is soooo not fair… plus it hurts our feelings.
I ask you….. what sort of a world do we live in where a hopelessly destitute pauper of a state gathers the temerity to set the terms for accepting alms?
The article then wafts over to two youths, a book-seller and an ex-police big-daddy. Their insightful comments / laments are:
Nobody likes America because “Friends don’t bomb friends”. America should learn the principles of friendship from Pakistan which has a stellar record in treating its citizens of East Pakistan with love and care. (Too bad that they still preferred to split and become Bangladesh). Pakistan has shown true friendship when it continues to harbor and nurture the Taliban and its ideological kin despite their sworn intent to bring harm to the US AND TO PAKISTAN!!
The US does not “respect Pakistan’s sovereignty”. As you know, Pakistan respects India’s sovereignty when they provide sustenance to cross-border terrorists and Jihadis. After all, its only spiritual aid. Pakistan’s writ over all of its sovereign territory is legendary – just check in the North-west Frontier for evidence. The US should not conduct air-raids and disrupt the tea-parties of the holy-beards while they are deeply engrossed in plotting ways to topple the Pakistani establishment and eventually bring harm to the US.
The suicide-bombs that regularly kill and maim innocent Pakistanis are NOT Taliban driven. All that is hogwash (er.. sorry camel wash). The suicide-bombers are US-inspired and orchestrated. (That is the claim of a bookseller. With his sharp intellect and he should be writing books. I’m still waiting for a jewish conspiracy to show up. Its never the same without a Jewish machination thrown in for good measure).
Mr. Fazl-e-Haq – the former inspector general of the Pakistan prophesies that a revolution in Pakistan will occur by end of 2010 that would topple the current dispensation. This uprising is in response to endemic poverty and dispossession caused by the Pakistani establishment with its penchant for good governance. He does not comment on whether the revolution will resolve the issue of endemic poverty and starvation but the great sage goes on to proclaim that the “the US is breathing its last“. And all this is *before* we hand over the money.
Is’nt this *exactly* the reason to have strict conditions and monitoring associated with any aid that is offered to Pakistan? Pakistan is notoriously corrupt and hopelessly untrustworthy. However, it sits at a geopolitical crossroad that is fast becoming cancerous (some would say that it is already a malignant tumor). It is inevitable that monies will need to be invested to ensure that it does not fall into an abyss. However, the very essence of “investment” lies in the fact that a return is to be expected.
The Pakistani street seems to presume that aid is an “entitlement”. Perhaps they need to be told that international diplomacy is not “love”. The money will be placed on the dresser. And don’t expect to be respected in the morning.
P.S. Just in case you think I am being condescending and scornful, let me clarify. I am! There are times when contempt is the only reasonable response. This is one of them.