Looming large!

John Kerry plays ‘good cop’ towards Pakistan at confirmation hearing

Senator John Kerry along with VP Joseph Biden knows Pakistan well. They know that he can get nowhere with the Pakistanis with the threats and bluster. Senator Kerry also knows that Pakistanis keenly watch US TV and Senate confirmation hearings. After the Hillary Clinton ‘Outrage,’ It’s On To Kerry’s Confirmation Hearing. The Hillery Instinct, Kerry’s confirmation Hearing will set the stage for a nuanced shift in US policy. IN reality the difference will be in tactics not strategy. Kerry will do the same old, but do it in a more subtle manner.

Senator John Kerry, is married to Heinz heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry. He is 69, the son of a US diplomat and has served as Obama’s unofficial envoy, to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He bailed out the US spy Raymond, who was arrested for the murder of three Pakistanis. Kerry told the Pakistanis that he would be tried on his return to Colorado, but the man was never tried for murdering two Pakistanis with a block gun.

Mr. Kerry was nominated by President Obama to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, who gave testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is pertinent to note that it was then presidential candidate John Kerry who allowed Senator Obama to speak during his convention–and an unknown Obama was born as a star. Is the nomination payback for the support to Obama in becoming president?

This was Kerry’s second major testimony to the Senate Committe. The old one was when he came back from Vietnam and testified against the war.

Kerry alluded to his controversial moment 42 years ago, “when the decorated Vietnam veteran testified about his opposition to the war, and famously asked”, ‘How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’

“Today I can’t help but recognize that the world itself then was in many ways simpler, divided as it was along bi-polar, Cold War antagonisms,” the Vietnam war veteran  said. “Today’s world is more complicated than anything we have experienced – from the emergence of China to the Arab Awakening: inextricably linked economic, health, environmental and demographic issues” as well as issues such as proliferation.

Kerry on Iran–’Will Do What We Must’!

“The president has made it definitive – we will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.


  Gwadar - An Emerging City

“I would add that I’m particularly aware that in many ways the greatest challenge to America’s foreign policy will be in your hands, not mine,” he said. “Because while it’s often said that we can’t be strong at home if we’re not strong in the world, in these days of fiscal crisis, and as a recovering member of the supercommittee, I am especially cognizant of the fact that we can’t be strong in the world unless we are strong at home – and the first priority of business which will affect my credibility as a diplomat working to help other countries create order, is whether America at last puts its own fiscal house in order.”

Expecting a tirade from Pakistaniphobic Senators, Senator Kerry pre-empted the criticism, and sugar coated US foreign policy. In his opening statement the Obama confidante said that the US foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone but also by Washington’s economic development partnership and humanitarian missions around the world.

Of course Kerry supported the continuation of aid of Pakistan. After all the program is named the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Senator Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is President Barack Obama’s pick for next Secretary of State. Kerry knows that the way into Pakistan is keeping the aid to Pakistan  alive, so that his government can keep lining he pockets of corrupt Pakistani politicians and continue buy NGO support and media anchors.

Acting tough he explained the US campaign against al-Qaeda, saying that “the US has decimated the core al-Qaeda leaders and could further weaken the core of the terrorist outfit in the next months.” He gave credit to Pakistan for reducing the potency of of al-Qaeda. Sating that “drones alone will not be able to wipe out al-Qaeda threat..but it takes a focused effort, it takes perseverance, doesn’t happen overnight.

He however stated the real policy–US would continue the drone strikes.

Clearly recognizing the power of the media, US Aid and funding now supports several newspapers (Herald Tribune which is owned by the New York Times, Dawn, Jang-Geo Group, and the Daily Times) in Pakistan and buy the loyalty of several journalists and like Mr. Paracha of Dawn of Hamid Mir of Geo News.

Clearly playing to the gallery, it seemed like Mr. Kerry was answering planted questions at the Senate hearing!

One cue Kerry dismissed a proposal by Republican Senator Rand Paul –that US stop aid to Pakistan until Islamabad complied with Washington’s demands. Mr Kerry  played apologetic for Pakistan– clarifying that  such a ‘sledgehammer approach’ was not the way to deal with issues.“Rather than cut aid, which is a pretty dramatic, draconian, sledgehammer approach to a relationship that really has a lot of interests … we have our ground lines of communication – roads – that go to Afghanistan and that route is critical to our supply to our troops … we have in addition to that intelligence cooperation.”

Later Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is holding his confirmation hearing that the US could not blackmail Pakistan, or end to aid to Pakistan until Dr Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani physician involved in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was released.

“We need to build our relationship with the Pakistanis, not to diminish it,” he added.

He said it without stating it–that Pakistan had assisted the US in nabbing Osama Bin Laden. We have always suspected that Kayani was complicit and he found it expedient to make his organization look like idiots–saying that Pakistan knew nothing about the US attack. Noune of the terrorists bought the Kayani version of events.

The confirmation of John Kerry as Secretary of State, who has wide support in the US Congress, is expected to sail through the committee without any problems. So Kerry found it prudent to bolster his credentials in Pakistan.

Analysts watched the precise language used by Mr. John Kerry the attorney. Kerry said that the initial Pakistani help was important to US in ultimately eliminating the al-Qaeda chief. He said Pakistan does not get enough credit for its counter-terrorism role.

Is all this euphemism for secrets that will be revealed 25 years later, or secrets that will be revealed in his book at the end of his stint in the current administration?

Kerry also backed away from tying US aid to the release of the CIA agent Dr. Afridi. Like Jonathan Pollard, Dr. Afrid got caught up in the spying business and will probably end up spending the rest of his life in jail. Kerry however did placate his detractors, informing them said he raised the issue of Dr Afridi’s imprisonment with the Pakistani leadership. Kerry made some low level noises like he “found Dr Afridi’s being jailed incomprehensible as the doctor had helped find Osama bin Laden”. Kerry then explained that “Pakistanis say Dr Afridi did not know who he was specifically targeting and whatever he did was just by way of business.He reminded the Senate panel that Pakistan has lost in the last year 6000 people in their efforts to go after terrorists”.

Kerry did explain that the Pakistanis had “lost about 30,000 people over the last several years… there are things that Pakistanis have done…

Kerry further said.“As complicated as the relationship has been, now I think, I intend to raise the issue of Dr Afridi with them. But I am not going to recommend, nor do I think it is wise for American policy, to just cut our assistance. We need to build our relationship with the Pakistanis, not to diminish it.”

“Our folks were able to cooperate on the ground in Pakistan. That is one of the ways we were able to get Osama bin Laden. I don’t think the Pakistanis have got credit sufficiently for the fact that they were helpful. It was their permissiveness in allowing our people to be there that helped us to be able to tie the knots that focused on that, to some degree, not exclusively obviously, but to some degree.

Kerry supported Senator Barbara Boxer’s proposition about an education program for girls “following the “courageous struggle” of Pakistani girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who is now lives in the UK.

Time will tell if Senator Boxer will follow-up with an action plan on education in Pakistan. The probability is that nothing will happen except rhetoric.

Explaining the cut and run, and retreat in Pakistan ”it is a two-fold mission – to turn over security responsibility to Afghan forces and continue the counter-terrorism mission.“Our troops in the near term, at some point this year, would not be in the lead,” and will no longer lead the offensive activities, he said. He said the counter-terrorism mission (drones, spies and fighting terror with violence) would continue. Of course this could also mean that support for groups like the TTP and the BLA would continue.

Courtesy Rupee News