Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hillary Clinton’s rude language

It came as no surprise to Rupee News that Clinton has been trolling the internet to try to figure out what Pakistan and Pakistanis are saying about her. If she has been visiting obsequious and complaint sites recommended to her by Mr. Hussain Haqqani then it is no surprise that Secretary Clinton landed herself in the soup that she finds herself in.

If she genuinely read Pakistani sites like The Nation (Editor Shireen Mazari), Pakistani Ka Khuda Hafiz, and Rupee News, then she have actually gotten some real feedback. Some of her post-trip statements were a bit subdued and she did try to clarify some of her most controversial statements.

If Ms. Clinton continues to use the clichés that Pakistanis hate then she will actually be be expediting the downward slide in US-Pakistani relations. Mrs Clinton should know better. Her state department should tell her that clichés like “Al-Qaeda has Safe havens” (should be hide outs), “lose territory” (is taken as a US threat to Pakistan), “nuclear weapons in danger” (fuels theories about real US intentions in Pakistan), “Al-Qaeda is in FATA” (supports Pakistani opinion that this is a US war not Pakistan’s war), “Existential threat to Pakistan” (taken as a direct threat from the us to Pakistan), “Pakistan paranoia about India is unfounded” (Pakistanis do not want lectures on who the enemy is), “India is not Pakistan’s enemy” (Pakistanis do not accept that India is not an enemy), “Pakistan must do more” (Pakistanis retort—the US must do more) really turn off Pakistanis. If Mrs Hillary Clinton

Describing the response to her candid engagement with the Pakistani civil society as “overwhelmingly positive,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the U.S. is building a strong base for ties between the two nations. She also made a subtle contrast of her frank discussions on mutual security concerns in Pakistan with the one-sided tone of the former U.S. Administration, that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks sought to pursue relations on “with us or against us” basis. “The reaction that I got in Pakistan was overwhelmingly positive and I’ve been reading a lot of the blogging and the reaction on the press in part because they’re not used to anyone from the United States Government coming and opening herself to their concerns,” Clinton told National Public Radio traveling in Cairo.

“They (the Pakistanis)’re just used to saying to having somebody say, take it or leave it, with us or against us, go forward or not. And so I think we’re building a stronger base for our relationship,” she noted recounting her talks in Pakistan, which was the first stop of her ambitious nine-day trip to the broader Middle Eastern region. Hillary Clinton also argued that her remarks on Pakistanis not being able to know about al-Qaeda leaders whereabouts were not meant to cast a doubt on the Pakistani government’s anti-terror commitment but were part of an open conversation she was trying to have with the Pakistani people about each other’s concerns.

“No, not at all, no. I mean, as you saw, the whole purpose of my trip was to try to clear the air with the Pakistani people and government, to reassert our support for Pakistan, particularly in this very difficult conflict they’re engaged in with the Taliban, and to listen and absorb all the criticisms they have. “They had this sort of pent-up frustration with the United States. And as you know and as you saw, I listened and understand and tried to convey understanding of all of their questions about our policy, going back years.

Secretary of State Clinton still has some equity left in Pakistan. She should park the bad jargon which she uses for domestic consumption. She forget that most Pakistanis are also watching CNN, Fox and NBC. The Pakistani Diaspora is tuned in to every word she says. The free Pakistani press reports on each and every word said about Pakistan. Pakistan has more news channels than entertainment channels. Pakistanis are news junkies—nothing goes past them. They have elephant memories. the events of 47,71,80 and 2001 are very fresh in the minds of all Pakistanis. Pakistan remembers the Pressler and Symington amendments. If Mrs Clinton wants a fresh page, she should learn some manners and take a course in diplomacy

“But at the same time, I wanted to stress that we’re looking for a partnership, and they have to listen to our concerns as well as we listen to their concerns.”
“I feel strongly that as we move forward in these very complex areas that pose real concerns to our national security, concerns to partners like Pakistan’s security, that it is important to make clear to the people not just the leaders that we have to speak openly with each other.”

At one point Ms Clinton jokingly said that she has a Pakistani roommate. Of course like many of Clinton’s statements, this was also a half truth.  Huma a half-Pakistan has been feeding her some of the feedback. However the problem with Huma is that she is totally divorced from the Pakistani mainstream and lives in a cocoon—trying to create a message of harmony based on “gora worship” rather than the harsh reality of the Pakistani Diaspora and the Pakistani people.

If Mrs Clinton genuinely wants to improve relations with Pakistan, she has to retrain her entire administration in learning a new vocabulary and dumping the old “Ugly American” jargon. If Mrs Clinton wants Pakistanis as partners in peace, she has to respect the wishes of the Pakistanis. The entire world condemns the drone attacks. If she continues to work with a compliant leadership in Islamabad and continues her failed policies, she cannot hope to win the hearts and minds of Pakistan. If Mrs. Clinton is seen closely allied with a corrupt president, a treacherous ambassador, and an obsequious Pakistani cabinet then she has no chance of improving relations with Pakistanis. Without the support of the Pakistani people, the US cannot win the war in Afghanistan and it cannot be on top on the Global War on Terror (GWOT)—which is seen as the Global War on Islam (GWOI).

If Mrs Clinton wants peace in the region, she has to accept the long standing Pakistani advice of working with the moderate members of the Taliban, reducing Indian influence in Afghanistan, solving Kashmir, rapid construction of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ), immediate sanctioning of an FTA with Pakistan—and a massive Marshall plan for Pakistan. The US should build 5000 schools and 1000 hospitals. The US image will dramatically change if the US build 20 American Universities in Pakistan (like the ones in Beirut). The US image will dramatically transform, if American sent some real aid to Pakistan (ten times of what was sent to Afghanistan). The US would make some real inroads into Pakistan if the US Ambassador to Pakistan was a Muslim American (who is not a Neocon progeny of Hussain Haqqani vintage). Secretary of State Clinton could improve relations with Pakistan if she dropped deprecating Pakistani ideas and nationhood.

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