According to Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post, Vice-President Joseph Biden will be traveling this week to Pakistan and will be carrying with him new offers of financial aid in an attempt to convince the Pakistani military to attack border sanctuaries, including those in North Waziristan. This financial aid will be in the form of a rishwat رشوت (Urdu for “bribe”).
The goal of the visit is to improve U.S. / Pakistani ties, yet perhaps the best tactic for improving those ties is for the United States to associate itself with legitimate Pakistani grievances, including those of its citizens residing across the 1947 Line of Control in Indian-Administered Kashmir. The Obama Administration, which pretends to value Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, especially when Iran is in violation, displays a curious lack of interest when friendly nations ignore Security Council Resolutions. Regarding Kashmir, the Security Council (with no dissenting votes) adopted Resolution 122 which demanded that India permit a free and impartial plebiscite in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, to coincide with the same in what is now Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad (free) Jammu Kashmir. The Vice-President will apparently not be carrying any new proposal to address the crisis in Kashmir, which the U.S. Government continues to ignore.
Last year American diplomats expressed public outrage that the Iranian Government had sent suitcases of money to support the Afghan Government, yet those same diplomats are conspicuously silent at the prospect that Vice-President Biden will be carrying far larger suitcases with him to Pakistan.
Whether substantial “rishwat” will convince the Government of Pakistan to alter its internal security policy remains to be seen. The more likely outcome will be that the United States will continue to pretend that it supports Pakistan, and Pakistan, in return, will continue to pretend that it is acting against Afghan rebel groups.
The French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus once wrote about friendship. His words should be considered by Vice-President Biden:
“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead
Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
True friendship cannot be purchased.