A decade ago, Pakistan was touted to be the ally that the United States needed to intervene in Afghanistan to dismantle al-Qaeda in response to the 9/11 attacks. Now, all joint operations between the ISI and the CIA are on hold.
The ISI, as the de facto rulers of Pakistan, must have been none to please to hear about CIA contractors in their own backyard. But its a little naive to assume that this is a surprise. US-Pakistan relations have been fraying a for awhile now, compounded by the fact that while the Americans have been trying to salt the ground in Afghanistan in terms of terrorist threats, Pakistan has been allowing these influences to flourish. Pakistan’s democratic-autocratic cycles has given root to anti-democratic, hyper-Islamist factions that not only threaten Pakistan’s own national security (without which Pakistan can’t really cultivate economic growth or steady foreign investment- both necessary to integrate the country into the international political economy). With not being able to berate or convince using force, Pakistan and the US remains at a stalemate.
It must be incredibly frustrating to continue supporting an entity that uses the cover of an alliance (Karzai, anyone?), especially when its costing the Americans about $1.5B in economic assistance to Pakistan to barely tolerate each other. When the government came as close to a shutdown as it did this week, the first thing that gets cut is foreign aid. It is hard to justify why the US should keep doing the same thing when there is no real improvement to be discerned. After all, that’s what Einstein defined as insanity.