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New American embassy in Pakistan 29, May 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, The Sub Continent.
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Stephen Walt over at the excellent Foreign Policy blog briefly discusses American plans to build a new behemoth embassy complex in Pakistan as well as a buying a hotel in Peshwar to act as a consulate. Such initiatives are signs of the increasing importance that the US is putting on Pakistan as well as, it could be argued, a sign of their increasing long-term commitment. Walt eloquently sums up the other side of this particular argument as well as offering a few home-truths about the US’ involvement more generally.

One of America’s main problems in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is the widespread popular belief that it is now addicted to interfering in these societies, usually in a heavy-handed and counter-productive way. In their eyes, Washington is constantly telling them which leaders to choose, which leaders should step down, which extremists to go after and how they should reorder their own societies to make them more compatible with our values. And oh yes, we also drop bombs and fire missiles into their territory, which we would regard as an act of war if anyone did it to us. Even when well-intentioned, these activities inevitably lend themselves to various conspiracy theories about America’s “real” motives, and reinforce negative impressions of the United States.

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