Pricey Lifelines to Pakistan

War and Peace

"The United States pledged an additional $110 million in aid to Pakistan on Tuesday, reflecting both the deepening humanitarian crisis in the Swat Valley and what the administration says is its growing confidence in Pakistan's efforts to combat the Taliban."

My emphasis added. When I see that the Administration is sending another $110 million dollars to Pakistan the first thing that comes to my mind is not confidence but rather restrained panic. Considering that most of the aid will be going to international organizations like the UN because the Pakistani government can't be trusted to use the funds wisely, this is good spin by the Obama administration and Sec. of State Clinton. A quick calculation of the figures in the NYT article reveals that this $110 million comes on top of another $460 million the Obama administration has already shelled out in assistance to the flailing state.

This news arrived in my inbox nearly the same time another article on Pakistani aid did, the other being from ISN Security Watch contributor Shaun Waterman. Well, it's less an article and more of a compilation of various articles on Pakistan, its economy, and terrorism/counter-insurgency written by others. Quoting one study, his basic idea gets across: "Giving millions of mainstream Pakistanis a stake in the economy is the only way for the country to avert a deeper failure," they conclude.

Touching on a World Bank report, Waterman notes:"If economics are an important vector for success in Pakistan's campaign against the Taliban, the prospects look even gloomier than they may otherwise.

"Pakistan suffers from a dearth of infrastructure in the water, irrigation, power, and transport sectors," noted the World Bank in 2007, "infrastructure which is essential for sustained growth and competitiveness."

And finally, Waterman concludes with a quote from an Ayesha Khanna and Parag Khanna co-authored article: "The authors conclude by noting that US agencies, including the State Department, Congress and the Pentagon 'are presently at odds over how to certify or validate that Pakistan is spending U.S. assistance on the right purposes.'"

Lets see if Obama's redirection of aid to international organizations has noticeable effects in calming the percolating storm in Pakistan.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Humanitarian Aid, Pakistan, World Bank