Husain Haqqani and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross said the person who “solves” the Middle East situation would be very rich, but both men did their best to simply relate the troubling circumstances of the world hotspot to the Chautauqua audience.
Pakistan and the United States have clashing narratives about their alliance.
From the Pakistanis’ perspective, the U.S. and Pakistan have been allies for 60 years, but the U.S. has walked away several times and cannot dictate Pakistan’s foreign policy.
From the Americans’ perspective, Pakistan is not a true ally. Pakistani public opinion remains anti-American despite the amount of aid the country receives, Husain Haqqani said. And Americans question Pakistan’s involvement with terrorists and its ability to fulfill promises.
Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., spoke about U.S.-Pakistan relations, how that alliance was damaged and Pakistan’s national interest at Wednesday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater for Week Five, themed “Pakistan: Straddling the Boundary between Asia and the Middle East.”
A year ago, Husain Haqqani was a darling of society and political pages in Washington, D.C. As ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, he was credited with keeping U.S.-Pakistan relations on a relatively even keel in the wake of the assassination of Osama bin Laden inside a Pakistani army garrison town. Pundits called him “silver-tongued.” Talking heads gushed about his diplomatic skills.
Things are different now. Haqqani, the 10:45 a.m. morning lecturer in the middle of Week Five’s examination of Pakistan, has had quite a year.
He has been on front pages worldwide several times. He has been defended in some of the world’s most influential op-ed pages. He has been compelled to resign his diplomatic position. He has been placed under virtual house arrest in the residence of the civilian head of Pakistan’s government. His country’s supreme court clearly feels he is guilty of gross dereliction of duty and disloyalty, maybe even treason.
Relatively young but a nuclear power, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has a short history defined by political instability and tumultuous relationships with Afghanistan and India. With the world’s second-largest Muslim population, Pakistan occupies a strategic geopolitical position between Asia and the Middle East. Beginning on Monday, expert lecturers discuss Pakistan’s history, development into a semi-industrial nation and constant struggle of defining itself as a nation, created for Muslims, that isn’t a religious state.