From Friends to Foes?

U.S.-Pak relations are worsening at a time of election uncertainties.

by Mahendra Ved

As the American presidential election nears, the Obama administration is doing its utmost with Pakistan to ensure the smooth movement of supplies for an estimated 130,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan — essential for winding down military operations there by 2014.

Public opinion polls in the U.S. and Pakistan have shown that these longtime allies regard each other as enemies. With the clock ticking for the Obama administration, however, the U.S. is employing all means possible with Pakistan to maintain its Afghan promise. The carrot-and-stick analogy is inescapable; what remains uncertain is its impact on operations in the Af-Pak region and on U.S.-Pak relations as a whole.

Pakistan’s domestic situation has long been both an influence on and influenced by the current state of U.S.-Pak relations — now at their worst in nearly half-a-century of huge economic and military ties.

The contradiction is thus: the U.S. needs its …

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