“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

US To Pay Tribute to Pakistan. Only $7 Billion.

“Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.”
- Congressman Robert Goodloe Harper of South Carolina in 1789

You will be happy to hear that we have a new policy for Pakistan. We will borrow lots and lots of money and bribe them. They will hate us more and do less than they have in the past.

US offers Pakistan government $7bn in non-military aid to fight terrorism
  • Civilian cabinet told drone air strikes will be curbed
  • New strategy marks break with Musharraf and army
Julian Borger in Islamabad

The Guardian
Thursday April 17 2008

The US has promised to curb air strikes by drones against suspected militants in Pakistan, as part of a joint counter-terrorism strategy agreed with the new civilian government in Islamabad, the Guardian has learned. That strategy will be supported by an aid package potentially worth more than $7bn (£3.55bn), which is due to go before Congress for approval in the next few months.

The package would triple the amount of American non-military aid to Pakistan, and is aimed at "redefining" the bilateral relationship, US officials say.

Pakistan will also be given a "democracy dividend" of up to $1bn, a reward for holding peaceful elections and forming a coalition government. Of that, $200m could be approved in the next few days.

The aid package, being put together by the Democratic senator Joseph Biden, will mark a decisive break in US policy on Pakistan, which for much of the past nine years focused on President Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani military as Washington's primary partners in the "war on terror". Officials in Washington said yesterday that the shift had already been made.

"Senator Biden wants to show the relationship is much broader than a military one, and that we are willing to sustain it over time," one of the senator's senior aides said yesterday.

A US administration official said: "Each day Musharraf's influence becomes less and less. Civilians are in control. People aren't meeting with Musharraf any more ... we are very pleased with the new civilian government."

Pakistani officials say much of the new counter-terrorism aid will be spent on civilian law enforcement institutions, such as the interior ministry, the intelligence bureau and the federal investigation agency, rather than being channelled almost exclusively through the army and the military-run Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organisation.

The new government says it has also won American support for its policy of opening a dialogue with Pashtun tribes along the Afghan border, led by an ethnic Pashtun group, the Awami National party, that is part of the government coalition.

The new understanding on air strikes by US Predator drones is seen in Islamabad as a critical benchmark for the new relationship.

In January senior US intelligence officials flew to Islamabad and struck an agreement with Musharraf to give the American military a freer hand in the use of Predators against targets in Pakistan's tribal areas, which have become havens for al-Qaida and other foreign jihadists as well as Taliban forces fighting Nato forces and the government in Afghanistan.

The subsequent increase in Predator strikes - estimates of the number range up to eight - caused outrage in Pakistan. Britain also broke with Washington over the reliance on air strikes often guided by uncertain intelligence.

Pakistani officials say they have been given assurances by Washington that there will be close consultation with the civilian government, not with Musharraf, before any future strikes.

However, the use of Predators is held as a closely guarded secret and US intelligence is reluctant to share information about targets, and there is some scepticism in Islamabad over whether the deal will stick.

"We'll have to take them at their word, won't we," said the new information minister, Sherry Rahman, in an interview in Islamabad. She added that Washington's previous emphasis on ties to Musharraf and the Pakistani military "hasn't provided the results that were supposed to happen on the ground".

The US has given Pakistan about $10bn in military aid during the past seven years, but it has not diminished the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, while Pakistani extremism is also on the rise. Some officials in Washington believe most of the money has been used to build up Pakistan's conventional forces for use in a possible future conflict with India, rather than spent on counter-insurgency.

Furthermore, much of the money being used for counter-terrorism is being misspent, both Pakistan and US government officials say. As an example they say that Musharraf distributed the $25m reward money for capturing or killing "high value" al-Qaida targets in the form of an "inverted pyramid".

"A few thousand would go to the police constable on the ground who actually spotted the guy, but the millions go to the generals up the chain," a Pakistani official said. No wonder, he added, that the tip-offs stopped coming in and the number of high-profile arrests dropped.


  1. Par for the course that Team43 plays

  2. The only thing that doesn't go up is our wages. The balance of life is slowly disappearing.

    The working class is struggling; the back bone of America. Where is the hope?

    The hope is not what great things we do as a people, or what great people we put in office. The hope is in people working for the betterment of mankind, and for the future of our children.

    American Dream?

  3. No crocs in the south, Bob. Only in the north. Between Port Hedland and Townsville.

  4. In the north--where it's warmer, though it seems backwards.

  5. This Canadian fellow, who is legit, says we may be going into a mini/mini cold period, but not to worry, the next ice age isn't due for 16 thousands years, based on past experience. Global warming is a crock, but we should use much more nuclear power, and create incentives not punishments to conserve fuel, which makes a lot of sense. Says gas tax is a percentage, so taxes received go up when the fuel price does. Does government want the price to go down, therefore, he asks. There are more oil supplies than most people think, but not unlimited. Corn ethanol is not the solution we should be following.

  6. Says NAFTA between Canada and the USA was mostly about water, as there was 80% free trade anyway, more free trade between US and Canada than between some Canadian provinces. Have no idea if this is right.

  7. Says in Canada, nobody owns any water, which belongs to everyone, and everyone has a responsibility to it. This may make some sense. Water comes from the clouds, after all.

  8. Says we need some way to store large amounts of electricity. This makes sense. Pump water uphill I quess. If you got the water, and a nice handy reservoir with a generating dam, like Dworshak. Pump it up there when you got wind power, then you got it stored for when you need it. There's got to be some fatal flaw in this idea.

  9. Ten years before we see relief at the pump from that one, Bobal.

  10. Hey! You! Get off of my cloud.

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  12. Aid should be going to India, not Pakiland, if you ask me. Israel is selling AWAC Phalcons to India.

  13. Russia #143

    Bringing up the rear, Somalia.