Should Pakistan take America’s money?

If someone offered me $1.5 billion a year for the next five years (that’s a lot of World Have Your Say shifts!), I’d probably bite their hand off. But in international politics, things are a bit more complicated.

The US Congress has approved a bill to grant that amount to help Pakistan develop and it’s now awaiting the Presidential signature in the Oval Office. But there is controversy in Pakistan itself about the strings attached.

general kayaniThe strings? Stuff about dismantling nuclear weapons and controls over the army – the Times Of India’s take on it has more detail (and if you really want to plough through the whole bill, the Pakistan Desk blog has posted it here).

The army (through General Ashfaq Kayani in the pic) says the country’s sovereignty will be compromised. Protesters have been jumping over blazing tyres to highlight the same thing.

Pakistan’s foreign minister says it’s a sign of America’s long-term commitment to the nation – but he still wants more than what is being offered. Bloggers are talking about it too: try here and here.

So, you are Pakistan – what do you do? Take the cash? Insist on a change in conditions? Or tell America to spend its dollars elsewhere?

28 Responses to “Should Pakistan take America’s money?”

  1. 1 Nigel
    October 8, 2009 at 12:14

    It seems that these days there are three types of diplomacy at work
    1. Bribery with money
    2. Threat of military action
    3. Threat of sanction

    All taking advantage of the other’s weakness and not sustainable. Money will not make Pakistan safe but will help the Whitehouse to fool itself in to believing that the US is safer as a result.

    • October 11, 2009 at 19:57

      Pakistan should realise that there is nothing in this world that comes free. They should not expect to get free money with no string attached. ‘ A blow that is profitable does not hurt the neck.’

  2. 3 VictorK
    October 8, 2009 at 12:41

    No. It should maintain its sovereignty and govern itself as it sees fit.

    What part of the US constitution authorises transfers of taxpayers’ money to foreign nations or says the US government should ‘commit’ itself in anyway to them?

    And don’t we all know what will happen to that cash? Isn’t the same Western irrationalism at work here as in Iraq & Afghanistan: acting on delusional views about how non-Westerners behave?

  3. 4 Colin Sundaram
    October 8, 2009 at 12:54

    08. 10. 09

    Do they have any other alternative other than taking dole? In the first instance why America has to pay Pakistan for fighting Taleban? Taleban is not only America’s enemy but every ones though America helped it to gain tremendous military strength by providing it with money and ammunition in the name of arresting the Russian hegemony. Let Pakistan collect whatever they get in the name of fighting Taleban and fund another terrorist faction to create nuisance for India.

  4. 5 patti in cape coral
    October 8, 2009 at 13:39

    Should Pakistan take America’s money?

    It depends on what Pakistan wants. I’m sure that they are savy enough to know that you don’t get something for nothing, so they just need to decide if it’s worth the price.

  5. 6 gary
    October 8, 2009 at 13:57

    No, Pakistan shouldn’t take the money, nor should it have been offered. While arguably it should do, the world does not run on morality. If it did, then most clearly the threatening of neighbors with atomic weapons is no more or less moral than being bribed to not threaten them. All arguments, misconceptions, and miscommunications about it aside, an objective reality does exist in Pakistan. Even casual examination of this reality discloses the principal actors’ inability to agree and organize even the simplest of federal functions; the modest security of their own borders. A bribe that works might have at least the appeal of lessening nuclear dangers in the area. However, all evidence suggests a bribe would be no more effective than any of the other failed remedies applied in this region.

  6. 7 scmehta
    October 8, 2009 at 14:17

    What matters is how much it takes to cook, and cook what; peace or war?

  7. 8 JanB
    October 8, 2009 at 14:40

    The Unites States shouldn’t be offering the money in the first place since the Pakistani’s keep double-crossing the US and its ally, India, time and again.

  8. 9 saad, Pakistan
    October 8, 2009 at 14:49

    USA should not give money to Pakistan at all. This money won’t be used properly. Pakistan is using this money against India and against its own masses. Pakistan is not reliable country, The billion of the rupees previously given to Pakistan have been used inappropriately.

  9. 10 seealaska
    October 8, 2009 at 15:04

    There was a great leader called Musharraf
    In the name of democracy, President Bush called a woman who was well known for squandering millions from her ‘beloved country’ Pakistan.
    She was actually having her daily shopping spree in Harrods when US offered 30 billions to fight terrorism. Immediately she called hubby in Dubai for 2nd takings.

    Unfortunately , she was killed . In Pakistan it is easy to put the blame on Pre. Musharraf. … and staged a show. Scotland Yard’s finding was not favorable so they insist on a UN investigation .Young son’s name was changed to Bhutto. .Teached him how to pray with palms up (actually some friends I knew says he , like his dad , have no problems with women and drink like a fish) . Is a 19 year old boy good enough to be the president???

    Then we saw jumping lawyers on the streets and the best man to rule Pakistan was removed in a democratic process. Really???
    95% of Pakistani live below poverty level… You think they can spend a few rupees to take a bus to the polling stations ? For countries like Pakistan and Indonesia, elect a man with a big stick. When Pre. Suharto ruled Indonesia for 30 years, the religious fanatics run for their lives and the hoodlums in Jakarta run to the police seeking protection.

  10. 11 T
    October 8, 2009 at 15:36

    No it shouldn’t. Obama should sack Bernanke, Geithner. And concentrate on economic accountability at home.

  11. 12 Shirvan
    October 8, 2009 at 15:43

    Every time The USA wants to help others out it always comes with a hidden price. We jsut have ot wait until it reveals itself……..which it inevitably will.

  12. 13 saad, Pakistan
    October 8, 2009 at 15:58

    Pakistan says its fighting its own war, then what is point in getting assistances from outside if it is its own war? America should not give money to Pakistan at all.

  13. 14 Nate, Portland OR
    October 8, 2009 at 16:10

    though America helped it to gain tremendous military strength by providing it with money and ammunition in the name of arresting the Russian hegemony

    The Taliban came into existence long after America had left the region (mid ’90s vs. late 80s). The notion that America is responsible for the Taliban or the sorry state of Afghanistan because it supplied anti-Soviet insurgents is grossly overstated. Its the Pakistani ISI’s attempt to make Afghanistan its proxy in Pakistan’s paranoia driven aggression towards India that contributed most to the creation of the Taliban.

    Should Pakistan take the money? Sure, why not? Free money! We may have a list of demands, but how are we going to enforce them? They’ve already proven their nature with the money we already gave them: money to fight insurgents has gone for weapons to fight India. Until Swat woke them up Pakistan was sending poorly armed peasants to fight the Pakistani Taliban. When those peasants were killed Pakistanis would cry about how many casualties they’d suffered on our behalf.

    Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. I’d love for Pakistan to reject the money, but they’d be fools to do so since there are no meaningful strings attached.

  14. 15 Tom K in Mpls
    October 8, 2009 at 16:15

    This is a clear case of buying the Pakistani government. If I were Pakistan, I would be insulted and make it well known. The US government is very corrupt. It is so natural to them, they think that other countries will respond in the same way.

    If it was offered to them without conditions in the belief that Pakistan would use it to make the world safer for all, that would be good. But then again, would you make a long term agreement with someone dangerously deep in debt with no clear way out? Pakistan would be foolish to do this.

  15. 16 Bert
    October 8, 2009 at 17:03

    Forget what Pakistan wants. The US should not be shelling out money left and right, especially not in that part of the world. Not only do today’s supposed “friends” have a nasty way of becoming tomorrow’s fanatical enemies, but we have a way of being taken for fools.

    Enough with the handouts. Money should only be exchanged for goods and services. And we need to police our borders better, keeping out those who don’t provide added value to our society. And feel free to profile to your heart’s content.

  16. 17 Shaikh
    October 8, 2009 at 17:48

    Only if this money will be used to:
    Establish free education up to high school. Provide a state run public transportation; (For starters, let it show a blue print of such infrastructure); Make it illegal for landowners to contest for parliamentary seats; Implement tax collections with strong forceable penalties for failures.

    The model that could evolve such, will root out the might of the landowners & subsequently the Armed forces.

    Pakistan is blowing sand in world’s eyes. Compared to the rest of the world, what does it have to show for past 62 years?

  17. 18 nora
    October 8, 2009 at 18:01

    Give the money to the farmers that are killing themselves in India and Pakistan and ask them to make peace in the area.

    • 19 Tom K in Mpls
      October 8, 2009 at 18:44

      Now explain this to me. How can farmers do their work and freely bring their crops to market when armed people will take the crops. Assuming they are allowed to grow them at all. Actually the Taliban want them to grow poppies. Maybe you like these pretty flowers.

  18. 20 John in Salem
    October 8, 2009 at 18:26

    I don’t have a problem with giving aid or with specifying how some of it is used – that’s how the game is played – but the implied accusation in this package is that the Pakistani government provides support to groups that are slaughtering it’s citizens with suicide bombings and accepting the money means they are agreeing with that judgement. It was rude and, given how critical having Pakistan as an ally is going to be, very shortsighted.

  19. October 8, 2009 at 20:20

    Pakistan has no options, nor can it dictate terms-beggars can not be choosers, so also a failed State.

  20. 22 Bert
    October 9, 2009 at 01:26

    And by the way, I’m more than a little shocked at how interventionist and unabashedly meddling the Obama administration is turning out to be. The idea of having a steady stream of US officials in Islamabad making internal decisions for Pakistan, while handing out our tax dollars as charity/bribe (take your pick), is downright alarming.

    If someone wants to become a one-term president, he can remain on this tack.

  21. 23 Tan Boon Tee
    October 9, 2009 at 10:11

    Poor Pakistan needs the money. The US needs to eliminate the militants.

    The US has all the money to offer, Pakistan has all the army to strike the militants.

    Isn’t that a win-win game?

  22. 24 moshezve
    October 9, 2009 at 16:10

    If Pakistan can be on the side which helps bring peace into this dangerous world
    it is money well spent. The alternative does not bare thinking

  23. 25 Kannan
    October 10, 2009 at 04:03

    Most of it will anyway go towards building weapons against India. Can not USA find a better way of supporting Pakistan to fight against terror, where by they can ensure that no money is siphoned out for personal wealth or used against India?

  24. October 10, 2009 at 09:16

    The whole world knows what Pakistan is doing with this money. If the US decides to look the other way, it will have to suffer in the end.

  25. 27 Claude in Ohio
    October 11, 2009 at 08:05

    Sure they should. And after they’ve cashed the check, they should tell the US to take a hike. It’s the American way.

  26. October 11, 2009 at 17:16

    Pakistan should reject this bill as its equal to selling democratic rights of Pakistanis to American Govt , Pakistan’s Economy is improving with impressive rate in past year our foreign reserves jumped up with 50% addition

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