Sense in Washington

…but outside the corridors of power

Ashley J Tellis’s testimony before the US House of Representatives subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia is one of the most clear-headed assessments in Washington.

The only lasting solution to this danger is to press Pakistan to target groups such as LeT conclusively. Many in the United States imagine that the fix actually lies in pressing India to make peace with Pakistan; such an outcome would eliminate the Pakistani military’s incentives to support a sub- conventional conflict against New Delhi—or so the theory goes. There is no doubt that a lasting reconciliation between India and Pakistan would be fundamentally in the interests of both countries— and of the United States. To that degree, Washington should certainly use its influence with both India and Pakistan to encourage the dialogue that leads to a resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the vexed problem of Kashmir. But, unfortunately for those who advocate pressing India, the impediments to a lasting peace in South Asia do not emanate from New Delhi. Rather, they are incubated in Islamabad, or to be more precise, in Rawalpindi.

So long as the Pakistani Army and the security establishment more generally conclude that their private interests (and their conception of the national interest) are undermined by a permanent reconciliation between India and Pakistan, they will not rid themselves of the terrorist groups they have begotten and which serve their purposes—irrespective of what New Delhi or Kabul or Washington may desire. This fact ought to be understood clearly by the Obama administration. Once it is, it may push the United States to either compel Pakistan to initiate action against LeT or hold Pakistan responsible for the actions of its proxies. If these efforts do not bear fruit, the United States will have to contemplate unilateral actions (or cooperative actions with other allies) to neutralize the most dangerous of the terrorist groups now resident in Pakistan. Doing so may be increasingly necessary not simply to prevent a future Indo-Pakistani crisis, but more importantly to protect the United States, its citizens, its interests, and its allies. [Tellis/US House of Representatives (pdf)]

Another sound assessment comes from Fareed Zakaria:

Pakistan’s military retains its obsession with India — how else to justify a vast budget in a poor nation? It has still not acted seriously against any of the major militant groups active against Afghanistan, India or the United States. The Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani group, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Lashkar-e-Taiba and many smaller groups operate with impunity in Pakistan. But the Pakistani military is doing more than it has before, and that counts as success in the world of foreign policy.

Such success will endure only if the Obama administration keeps at it. Some believe that Pakistan has changed its basic strategy and now understands that it should cut ties to these groups altogether. Strangely, this naive view is held by the U.S. military, whose top brass have spent so many hours with their counterparts in Islamabad that they’ve gone native. It’s up to Obama and his team to remind the generals that pressing Pakistan is a lot like running on a treadmill. If you stop, you move backward — and most likely fall down. [WP]

32 thoughts on “Sense in Washington”

  1. Nitin, what do u mean “outside corridors of power”?

    House committee is pretty influential (agreed maybe not as influential as Senate). But this is how ideas slowly diffuse and become policies in the US systems. After all policies are not made in vaccum or jus by the White House (as is done by PMO sometimes in India!).

    You should have included the testimony by Rep Gary Ackerman. In it he finally says (paraphrasing)

    “These savages (LeT) must be quashed. Now. But we are not doing it. And we are going to regret it. Regret it bitterly.”

    Chilling words!

  2. Finally some sense in Washington. Now if only that could spread to Delhi and promoters of amman ki aasha or whatever

  3. Marvin Weinbaum,Ashley Tellis, Gary Ackerman …. and many more point out the obvious.. and yet, the dynamics of AfPak remain the same.. now, why is that ?

    Frankly, it is the US military/Pentagon – no one has been more patient/bigger fans of the Pakis than the big guys at the US military establishment ( Admiral Mullen, CENTCOM Chief Petraeus et al). It is not all that hard to see why. They have been tasked by Obama with getting out of this mess ASAP .. and all of them have wisely concluded that this would need help from the Pak military who would be more than glad to see them go.

    Besides who wants to take on the Paki military-jihadi complex ? Let’s assume that suddenly Obama wakes up to the dangers of the LeT … what exactly does he do ?

    As long as Pakistani territory is a safe haven for terrorists, nothing significant can be done unless Pakistan is invaded and its military is crushed. This is a very large and a complex project that is fraught with danger (most definitely to India and to the US/allies as well)

    I am not sure that even a Marshall plan can save LandOfPure at this point – i dont know if any of you got see a photo of a crowd of crazed jihadists in Lahore attending a Hafiz Saeed speech – this is from the Hindu,last week. This is Lahore ,we are talking about – not some remote region in NWFP. This is how Talibanized and jihadist Paki civil society has become.

  4. “Marvin Weinbaum,Ashley Tellis, Gary Ackerman …. and many more point out the obvious.. and yet, the dynamics of AfPak remain the same.. now, why is that ?”

    You need to understand how foreign policy is formulated in the US. Typically it Comes from academia and think tanks. And for that ur idea has to “win” and gain acceptance in a marketplace of ideas. This cannot happen
    overnite and will take time UNLESS huge national security issues are involved.

    “Besides who wants to take on the Paki military-jihadi complex”

    Sooner or later US (maybe in conjunction with India) has to. Otherwise LeT or some other jehadi group from Pak is going to start targeting first Britain and Europe. And later continental US!
    LeT’s ambitions are much more grandiose these days. Ackerman says of 320 potential targets only 20 were within India!

    “This is Lahore ,we are talking about – not some remote region in NWFP.”

    I’m surprised u seem so surprised! You know their HQ is in Muridke near Lahore, right?

  5. @Arvi,
    You need to understand how foreign policy is formulated in the US. Typically it Comes from academia and think tanks. And for that ur idea has to “win” and gain acceptance in a marketplace of ideas. This cannot happen overnite and will take time UNLESS huge national security issues are involved.
    I concur – but only to a certain degree – i was there until recently and followed US politics pretty closely ( some times way too closely :=)).

    My point is this – the idea that Pakistan itself is a danger to US security was highlighted by 9/11 – the main mastermind was a Pakistani, the territory used was in a Paki client state… Even now i am remember the speech Musharaff gave on national TV post 9/11 justifying his decision to ally with the US and “fight” the Taliban – he was MADE to give that speech given the circumstances.

    But here were almost 9 years later with things no better and in many ways worse…the US is huffing and puffing its way out of its responsibilities in the region. Basically they have backed out on taking the MJC since they realize that it is a huge and complex task.

    Sooner or later US (maybe in conjunction with India) has to. Otherwise LeT or some other jehadi group from Pak is going to start targeting first Britain and Europe. And later continental US!

    Quite frankly,i dont see these guys having the gumption to do that. After the Iraq war and the Afghan debacle, the US has been made to eat humble pie. IF another attack happens in the homeland, the US would have no other option but to destroy its enemies … how ever if 9/11 didnt make them do it, I dont know what will.

    I am afraid that some thing more deadlier than 9/11 is what is going to make the US do what what it knows it needs to do. India seems to prefer the status quo of one major terrorist attack on an Indian city per year

    “This is Lahore ,we are talking about – not some remote region in NWFP.”

    I’m surprised u seem so surprised! You know their HQ is in Muridke near Lahore, right?
    Thanks for pointing that out – just another reminder of how Lahore for all its similarities with Delhi is strikingly different in one ominous aspect – it is home to the biggest terror organization in the world right now.

  6. Nope 20 outside India…300 inside India…
    so right now its still a “Kashmiri group” in eyes of US which badly need resolution of “disputes*”..

    *[Pakistan Army hold the rights to define disputes and description from time to time..and will be subject to change & notification will be through our spokesperson such a AQ,Zaid Hamid or our infotainment website dailymail.com.pk ]

  7. Even within DOD, there are contrasting views.

    The army think Afpak is a goldmine. Low intensity conflict that pad the budget for years. The key is to keep fataltities down and show success.

    The navy still has dreams of getting India involved in some sort of Anti-Chinese cordon –because the navy needs to justify big ship construction budgets.

    AF and associated contractors are just waking up to the reality than India will never be a big market for US jets.

    Tellis is just articulating the Indian view, and doesn’t explain why that benefits the US. Zakaria does a better job of linking Pakistani support for irregular action with terrorism.

    Had lunch with a senior state department official who still thinks a “grand bargain” would involve India giving up Kashmir, rather than what Mush proposed. That middle layer is where more education is needed.

  8. @Krishna
    Tellis is just articulating the Indian view, and doesn’t explain why that benefits the US.
    Actually he does – he tries to tie it to US security interests itself – some thing that Gary Ackerman has done as well. i.e. if we dont destroy LeT today, they could very easily plan attacks on US homeland in the future. He tries to paint the LeT as having global aspirations – i dont know if you read the entire testimony..

    Ackerman has done the exact same thing – he has gone so far as to say that the US could come to “deeply regret” if it does not crush the LeT – those are pretty harsh words coming from a US Congressman.

    My view is that there are much bigger concerns for the US right now – EVEN if they take Tellis’ recommendations, what concrete steps can the US take today ? especially at a time when it desperately wants Pakistan’s help to leave AfPak as quickly as possible.

    Had lunch with a senior state department official who still thinks a “grand bargain” would involve India giving up Kashmir, rather than what Mush proposed. That middle layer is where more education is needed.

    I would not blame the official for entertaining such views – Manmohan Singh is clearly trying to create a “legacy” as far as India-Pakistan conflict goes – he is sincere but seriously misguided – he wants to continue talking to Pakistan inspite of every thing that has happened.

    Who is to say where these talks could take us to ? May be they could lay the foundations to a “grand bargain” – Allowing plebiscite in Indian Kashmir ??
    I am not saying that such notions would gain backing in India, but with Manmohan Singh at the helm, I would not be surprised or shocked if a “grand bargain” is talked about.

  9. Krishna wrote:
    ” a “grand bargain” would involve India giving up Kashmir, rather than what Mush proposed. That middle layer is where more education is needed.”

    Note how this insistence of the US state dept. to involve “Kashmir” in the picture when it is none of their damn business. Combine this with the US’s decision to leave the (supposedly) Kashmir-oriented-terrorists, i.e., the LeT, in play, while taking down other groups that weaken the hold of the Pakistani army over its terrorist groups in Pakistan, and it is pretty clear that the US’s public insistence that it is not touching “Kashmir” stands in contrast with its actions and it behaviour, where it is explicitly funding Pakistan’s “take Kashmir from India” project. If the US State Dept.’s excuse for supporting Anti-India terrorists is “it is in their best interests” — two can play that game and India can return the favour in spades. If that is the game the US wants to play with Indian lives, so be it.

  10. @ Krishna

    “AF and associated contractors are just waking up to the reality than India will never be a big market for US jets.”

    No F18 for MRCA? Are u sure abt that? Last time I checked Kit Bond was in India and Boeing was pretty confident. So what gives?

  11. @ Nagarajan; I don’t find Ackerman’s argument helpful in this case. What would be helpful is to hear whether India wants the US to stay in Afghanistan, or in what capacity. I’d also like to hear what US officals think of India’s involvement there, as the unofficial feedback I get is they don’t that effort very seriously. Ackerman is just trying to make headlines and rouse up some campaign contributions.

    Your analysis of the Kashmir issue and the PM’s view of it is interesting; the people I am speaking too may be several paygrades below those discussions and just reflect dated thinking.

    @ Arvi; you might find this an interesting read:

    http://www.richardaboulafia.com/shownote.asp?id=311

  12. Krishna wrote:
    “What would be helpful is to hear whether India wants the US to stay in Afghanistan, or in what capacity. ”

    @krishna, It does not matter what capacity the US wants to say in Af-Pak as long as the India-specific terrorist groups are not taken down by the Pakistani Army and Establishment — such a likelyhood is very much possible since the US and Pak. Army are tied together at the hip as long as US troops depend on the goodwill of the Pakistani Army to have US supplies pass through Pakistan.

    If the LeT and others continue to operate in Pakistan and the USA can do nothing about it because it lack leverage with Pakistan, it matters little whether US stays or leaves Af-Pak…..because it already means that India’s interests have diverged from that of the USA and India is on its own with respect to fighting terror emanating from Pakistan.

  13. @ Krishna

    So what gives? How does that guy’s article pertain to MRCA? And why should I take an unknown aerospace engineer’s view of Asian geopolitics seriously? Over opinions of experts in the field like Time, Newsweek and Economist not to mention think tanks like CFR.

  14. @Arvi; Richard Aboulafia is one of the better regarded aerospace analysts out there; when you read Time, Newsweek and The Economist you usually find him quoted either as a source or on background. Not exactly on point, but he makes an excellent argument that “Asian” powers may not need exactly what the US is selling.

  15. @Krishna,
    Thanks for the feedback – and as for Ackerman doing all this to get some campaign contributions.. its entirely possible that this is a strong incentive for him.. but thats ok, as long as he can carry some weight on these issues and there is a potential for govt officials to listen to his warnings/recommendations.

    I’d rather have some one bat for India’s security interests than having no one to bring this issue up – although i will admit, I dont see any prospects of the US military command doing anything different because of Ackerman.

  16. Such success will endure only if the Obama administration keeps at it. Some believe that Pakistan has changed its basic strategy and now understands that it should cut ties to these groups altogether. Strangely, this naive view is held by the U.S. military, whose top brass have spent so many hours with their counterparts in Islamabad that they’ve gone native.

    This is where i disagree with Zakaria – its not so much as the US military is naive as much as the fact that it has a very very limited task when it comes to AfPak – a task that was given to them by none other than Obama. Namely, get the hell out as fast as possible with as less damages(in the short term) to the US as possible.

    There is no more “nation building” in Afghanistan… Obama moved fast to squelch such talk after he was sworn in. Even when he announced the surge, he threw the 2011 “beginning of withdrawal” bone.. At first I thought that this was to placate his leftist base.. but this was more or less a signal to Karzai, Pakistan and every other player in the region.

    Pakistan’s increased “co-operation” has to be seen in this light. Even though there are more jihadi attacks against Pakistan it is not like they are going to collapse because of it. The Paki generals are now operating with increased confidence that the US pressure on them is temporary and means absolutely nothing in the long run. So they are humoring them with the “arrests” of Taliban leaders whom they then refuse to hand over to the US !!

    Its really tiring to watch these cynical rat b*****ds playing this game.

  17. The boys from Mumbai get it (Ashley and Fareed)! Fareed is dead right that the US military’s gone native. Won’t be long before Mullen changes his name to Mullahn. Same thing happened to Anthony Zinni. Guess it’s a twisted version of the Stockholm syndrome.

  18. @ Krishna

    Still what gives? The article if I am not wrong does not have a word about MRCA. Or India for that matter.

    Will MRCA then be awarded to EF or Rafale? Or worse yet MiG? Or is 125 F18s not a “big enough” order these days?

    @ NS

    One way to change the behavior of US military is thru the mil-industrial complex. Through companies like Boeing and LM. Since Indian defense market is big u can see the magic of money work it’s way.

  19. “I’d rather have some one bat for India’s security interests than having no one to bring this issue up – although i will admit, I dont see any prospects of the US military command doing anything different because of Ackerman.”

    Well said. And I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say he did it for jus money. Or worse yet for Headlines! Why would he need that when he is jus a House member who has lil chances or ambitions for “high office”.

    I jus saw in Wiki that he was given Padma Bhushan during 2003! Good job by the then GoI.

  20. Slowly I feel more and more Americans are seeing India’s POV.

    Here’s former Senator Larry Pressler (yep author of that famous Pressler Ammendment against Paks) in a bit dated article

    “We are creating a big problem for India”

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/we-the-us-are-creating-a-big-problem-for/575094/

    When he says that he has been disappointed with
    India not raising it’s voice against what US is doing, it’s jus too good. What an amazing and awesome guy. Will India ever ever get ppl like him in the Parliament? No wonder US is a superpower. Sorry 4 the whine!

    I personally think Republicans tend to like India much more than Dems many of whom still harbor a “Third World” if not downright r**ist view of India.

  21. Ok, so one Congressman and One Senator see what is going on — that still leaves the rest of them on the unhelpful side and pumping money and weapons to Pakistan, while allowing Pakistan to retain its LeT/affiliates as “asymmetric strategic assets” a.k.a. the MJC. I suppose alleged paragons of journalistic excellence like Time, Economist, and Newsweek will have to speak against US’s interests before Indians will believe it as the gospel truth and suck it all up with a fat straw.

  22. http://tinyurl.com/ye74j4q

    “Holbrooke announced that an agreement had been reached with Kyrgyzstan on extending the use of Manas as a transit point for U.S. troops heading into and out of Afghanistan. The government of Krgyzstan, which always keeps it eyes pinned on Moscow, begged to differ.”

    If the USA insists on arming countries in Central Asia, they are not going find Moscow a partner in this Af-Pak war, but there is no sign of the US easing up on its games with Russia, so the USA has no chance of a central asian supply route as long as it does not change its strategy.

  23. Karzai is repeatedly very angry with the “arrest” of Baradar – it now makes more sense why the ISI suddenly “arrested” this guy. They did not like him directly negotiating with Karzai – what would their utility be ?

    From what i can understand, both the US Govt and Paki military are working against Karzai – Ahmedinejad’s visit now makes even more sense. Karzai is trying to get support against the US-Pak axis.

    It is just plain awful to see India being such a passive observer here.

  24. @Arvi; Richard Abolulifa is a very well regarded aerospace analyst, not some random engineer. If you read the Economist, when it comes to aerospace you’ll see him quoted frequently as an expert.

    Also, you’re absolutely right that Americans view India favorably (see pew poll). However, Pressler has been (and will continue to be) a fool. Nobody like him, and nobody pays any attention to an out-an-office senator.

  25. I doubt if even a 100 other similar testimonies will make any sense to policy makers in Washington. As long as their priority remains a deadline to exit the region, they will continue to fool themselves and look elsewhere for possible causes and solutions.

    That settlement of Kashmir (meaning of course that it be given on a platter to Pakistan) is an essential to solving the muddle in Afghan is just one of them. The other, I have recently read in an article by Myra MacDonald on the Reuters blog, is that Mullah Omar has given an undertaking that henceforth the Taliban will not allow Afghanistan to be used to launch attacks on other countries. Now, if such statements by this worthy are taken seriously, even after all that has happened, it merely underlines the fact that Washington is really bereft of ideas and refuses the see unpalatable facts that stare them in the face.

    Pakistan is not to blame for planning to take advantage of the vacuum that the US, in its hurry to cut and run,will create in this region. In the mean while our Foreign Office boffins will, I am sure, continue to monitor and assess the situation! Navel gazing as always.

  26. It is not clear what. if anything, this means.

    The US has long had some experts who think we’ll have to fight LeT eventually and it would be to our advantage to start soon. Ashley Tellis is actually Indian, if I recall correctly, and has held this view for a while.

    If I were a Congressman, I would want Ashley Tellis to testify, if only because I wouldn’t be rushing to antagonize Indian Americans. They’re not AIPAC, but they’re got enough power to be real enemies if antagonized. It is not obvious that I would listen to him, however.

    US policy on Afghanistan seems to be made mostly by General Petraeus, not Congress. After all, President Obama has a ton of domestic issues to deal with, and it’s not clear that spending political capital on Afghanistan is worth much to him. Staying in Afghanistan looked expensive to President Obama, so he wanted to pull out. The advocates of hanging on are now pushing back hard. There’s an excellent chance that President Obama will decide that the US might as well stay in Afghanistan while he fights his other battles.

    As an American, all I can tell you is that things are still confused. That said, very few people have gone broke by betting on the short sightedness of the US elite.

    Ray,

  27. @ NS

    “They did not like him directly negotiating with Karzai – what would their utility be ?”

    Of course. This is pretty old news. I am not a conspiracy theorist but given their history, with ISI, nothing should come as a surprise! That’s why even with some of the attacks inside Pak they mite have been “inside jobs”. For instance the hit on one of the ISI offices. On a Friday when most of the officers were on holiday!

    But the ISI is tactically brilliant but strategically abysmal. Like when BD was liberated. In any case I do think that things have crossed a tipping point in Pak with jehadists now using the radical ideology not only against India but going global as is the case with LeT. Pak can and will probably use these guys as chips and leverage against the West (with plausible deniability of course) to get “blood money”. Interesting times ahead.

    And it’s always funny to read in the media of “rogue elements” in the directorate. It is a MILITARY INTEL agency with a chain of command! The only “rogues” are at GHQ in Pindi.

  28. @Ray
    If I were a Congressman, I would want Ashley Tellis to testify, if only because I wouldn’t be rushing to antagonize Indian Americans.
    Wrong – you would be doing it to protect yourself i.e. Americans from the LeT -not from “the wrath” of the Indian American community – the last time i checked they were all predominantly Democrats and are not antangonized by anything other than fewer H1-Bs and longer wait periods for the Green Card.

    You may want to read Gary Ackerman’s had to say the other day about the LeT again – this is not just about India, Pakistan any longer

    They’re not AIPAC, but they’re got enough power to be real enemies if antagonized. It is not obvious that I would listen to him, however.
    I dont know why you wouldnt listen to Ashley Tellis unless you think his Indian origin makes him biased against Pakistan and he is hyping up the threat from LeT – you are more than welcome to pore over his testimony, fact check him, and try to get opinions from a variety of people who actually know about the LeT.

    Also, I dont view the AIPAC to be any different from any other lobby in the US today – they have become a rather convenient pinyata to beat up on when it comes to America’s failure in its efforts to impose peace on the Palestine-Israel issue.

    US policy on Afghanistan seems to be made mostly by General Petraeus, not Congress. After all, President Obama has a ton of domestic issues to deal with, and it’s not clear that spending political capital on Afghanistan is worth much to him.
    Right On, Ray.. here i 10000% agree with you

    Staying in Afghanistan looked expensive to President Obama, so he wanted to pull out. The advocates of hanging on are now pushing back hard. There’s an excellent chance that President Obama will decide that the US might as well stay in Afghanistan while he fights his other battles.
    You just contradicted yourself – Obama STILL has a ton of domestic issues – health care “reform” ( i call it the last step to single payer) has not passed the House yet – and when it does Republicans in the Senate are going to fight it tooth and nail with all kinds of amendments and delay tactics.

    And if miraculously, health care reform does not go into May, he still has to deal with double digit unemployment, the impending “Cap and ..cough. cough.. Tax.. cough Trade” agreement.

    Afghanistan right now has pretty much been outsourced to Petraeus and CENTCOM- Kiyani has managed to get the General on his side when it comes to AfPak -and Obama seems to have no problems with this approach – which may actually antagonize Indians more than Indian Americans.

    very few people have gone broke by betting on the short sightedness of the US elite.
    Amen to that.

  29. @Nagarajan Sivakumar

    The reason that if I were a Congressman I probably wouldn’t listen to Ashley Tellis is that there are only so many battles a Congressman can fight. As a Congressman, I would be very aware that most of my potential supporters are interested in jobs and health care, not South Asia. The voters mostly, rightly or wrongly, think that the military know what they are doing, and tend to support General Petreaus. There are a few who are war-weary or antiwar (like me), but these are not a natural base of support from greater involvement in Afghanistan. So even if I were to listen to Ashley Tellis, what could I do? My best move is to work on issues that more of my constituents care about and where in the long run I expect to make more of a difference.

    Obama’s current policy is in fact spending the minimum amount of political capital on Afghanistan that he can. He has promised the military brass what it wants today, and the anti-war faction of his constituency what it wants in 2011. He then moved on to the health care fight … he’s probably hoping that nothing else comes up in foreign policy till health care passes.

    What Indian advocates of a strong US effort in Afghanistan have not made clear is how and when they expect the US to “win”. If the Taliban continue to fight, and the US cannot figure out how to suppress them, war-weariness will eventually become widespread in the US and the US will pull out. I figure the US government will actually stay in in 2011, contrary to what Obaman now promises, but who knows about 2013? Another issue is the US tendency to tilt toware Pakistan is arguably a response to the US need to please China. If China were to be convinced that the US is acting against it and its ally Pakistan, they might start selling dollars (hey might anyway, as a matter of straight commerical calculation). this would hurt the Chinese, but it would hurt the US more. India has a lot to offer, and openly backing india might be worth it, but it could cause a lot of problems in the short term. Right now, the US does not need more problems in the short term.

    In the long run, Afghanistan AQ and LeT are likely to prove fairly minor irritants to the US. Oddly, I think the biggest problem will be increasing the rate of development in the US to stay ahead of China and India. True, right now, China and India are “developing” counries and the US is a “developed” one. But if a developing coutry continues developing and a developed country stands still, eventually the developing country will overtake the developed one. This is not a problem for the Indian readers of the The Acorn, obviously, but as an American I’m more worried about it than I am about AQ and LeT. If I were an American Congressman, this would probably be what I would focus on.

    Ray,

  30. I think Raymond Turney got it right. People of Acorn will be better of taking note of it.

    Agreed that Acorn will be worried about how they would increase the leverage for India in USA. To a certain extent it is a legitimate expectation and more so because USA is still a super power TODAY.

    As everyone knows the whole meaning of Obama Presidency and for that matter any Presidency today in USA is whether it can regain and retain the Super Power edge for USA. Obviously the deck is stacked against USA today and hence they are bound to think in ‘minimalist / short term tunnel view’.

    All that means, same story – certain ‘cross’ India will have to carry on its own and cannot look at USA to solve it’s problems. One thing at least Indians cannot complain today is America’s actions are causing it more problem. It is not the situation like Zia times when America pumped money and weapons in order to fight Soviets which Pakistan also used to Sabre rattle with India. Things are much more sane today – whatever Obama has ordered American blood and borrowed money, generally it is not against India at all. So least what Americans can expect is at least Indians do not harp about American engagement in South Asia.

    In that sense government of Manmohan Singh is wise and it is generally appreciative of American actions initiated in South Asia. I think that is where the matter should stop. To read beyond that and to hope Americans would understand Indian POV more is asking too much. There is no such clear case made to American Congress and leave aside to American Public.

    Few things Indians may find some comfort into are:
    – President Obama and his Administration has most regard to Indian PM Singh and they regard him as the visionary leader who would not hesitate in bringing a game changer in IndoPak relations. As some have already noted, indeed he is deeply interested in leaving behind a peaceful legacy. All that a common Indian American like me can say – ‘God bless Dr. Singh in bringing this peace, make him the brave leader to bring this peace’.
    – We are not at AIPAC level (though we have seen how blinded they can be in promoting Israeli interests at the cost of American interests in the recent USA-Israeli spat); but Indian American can exert some pressure. We need to do more is the case, but I believe there are so many capable Indians in America who will want to contribute to this project of forbidding USA to undertake any policy which is detrimental to India. Today we do not see any such need with Obama’s AfPak policy, but we will be vigilant and need to be vigilant no doubt.

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