My friend Eli Lake has a conceptual framework that, I think, explains the U.S.-Pakistan relationship rather well. While its formal institutions -- the presidency, the top generals, etc. -- cooperate with Washington when it suits their interests, the "deep state" of the security apparatus is at war with the U.S., sponsoring some terrorist groups and tolerating others.
Now, it turns out, it's even worse than that. My colleagues and I in the Pentagon press corps drew out Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who runs the day to day war in Afghanistan, into explaining just what the relationship with the Pakistani military involves:
Frontline Pakistani troops aid and abet lethal insurgent attacks on American forces across the Afghan border, according to the day-to-day commander of the NATO war effort. It’s a big reason why rocket and mortar attacks have quadrupled since 2010.
“You’ll see what just appears to us to be a collaboration or was a collaboration or, at a minimum, looking the other way when insurgents conducted rocket or mortar fire in what we believe to be visual sight of one of their posts,” Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti told Pentagon reporters on Thursday morning.
I don't enjoy coming to this conclusion. But it is very difficult to see how non-punitive measures have aided the U.S. in dealing with Pakistan. Massively generous economic assistance, military relief assistance during floods and earthquakes, literally bags full of cash to the military, nuclear-capable fighter jets -- and this is what we get.
Pakistan has a disinterest in stopping terrorism because it knows the aid spigot will subsequently twist shut. So it helps kill Americans. And its sotto-voce argument for why the relationship must continue this way is essentially a threat: You never know what loose-nuke chaos would result...
Fuck that. No more. It's time for the U.S. to stop issuing idle threats about how Pakistan must take on the Haqqanis OR ELSE. Cut off all aid until the Pakistanis stop helping any insurgent networks and shut the safe havens down. Pull the drones from Shamsi to Jalalabad and fucking bombs-away. Let the Chinese move into Khyber-Pakhtunkwa and announce a brand new relationship with the subcontinent's real superpower, India. Watch that shit concentrate the Pakistani imagination.
Part of American leadership is not allowing client states to dick us around. If this is how Pakistan wants it, then it should get a commensurate response.