Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has once again pleaded with her Pakistani counterparts to get tough on militant havens within its’ borders. How many times have we watched this movie before?
U.S.-Pakistan relations have the tendency to remind me of a bad cable channel that airs the same movie twenty times in a month. The United States will ask Pakistani leaders to clean up terrorism in Pakistan, Pakistan’s leaders will enact largely cosmetic efforts to appease the Americans, and then return to the status quo out of fear of being displaced by the military establishment.
For a civilian leader in Pakistan, this is hell. While you may want to do the right thing and crack down on extremist elements within Pakistan, being too aggressive may lead to your imprisonment and/or death. Not doing anything, angers the United States, whose favor your desperate for.
The real question is: What is going to stop this from becoming another U.S.-Pakistan dance where both sides offer rhetoric, but little action. Just once, I wish the United States would take meaningful action instead of issuing sternly worded statements for media consumption then backing off when Pakistan plays the strategic ally/nuclear card.