Call for US, Pakistan to maintain cautious relationship – Newspaper

WASHINGTON: Their common interests demand that the United States and Pakistan maintain a cautious relationship with modest expectations, argues former US defense secretary James Mattis.

In his autobiography Call Sign Chaos, President Trump's first head of defense points out that Pakistan's complicated relations with India force Islamabad to seek a friendly government in Kabul.

Mattis, a very accomplished General of the Marine Corps, was included in Trump's cabinet with high expectations, but resigned in January 2019 after differences with the president over Afghanistan and other matters.

The general, who has served in Afghanistan and led the United States Central Command, opposes a rapid withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan. His book arrived in the stands on Tuesday afternoon.

The former secretary of defense says that both sides must have modest expectations of each other

"Ultimately, it is in our common interest that we maintain a prudent and attentive relationship, with modest expectations of collaboration," Mattis wrote while reviewing US relations with Pakistan.

“We could handle our problems with Pakistan, but our divisions were too deep and they trusted too superficial to solve them. And that is the state of our relationship to this day. "

On Tuesday, General Mattis also participated in a group discussion at the US Foreign Relations Council, Washington, where the moderator asked him why he described Pakistan as "the most dangerous country" in his book.

“The radicalization of their society. By the way, that is also the opinion of the members of the Pakistan army, "he said." They realize what they are going through there. They recognize it. " He said the relationship between the United States and Pakistan was "very twisted."

"When you take the radicalization of a society and add the fastest growing nuclear arsenal, I think in the world, you see why … we need to focus now on arms control and non-proliferation efforts," he said. "I think this is a much worse problem than anyone writing today."

In several places in the book, General Mattis highlighted the old ties between the US and Pakistani armies, but expressed very little opinion about the country's political leadership.

"Pakistan was a country born without affection for itself, and there was an active self-destructive streak in its political culture," he wrote. "They have no leaders who care about their future."

General Mattis said that Pakistan "sees the whole geopolitics through the prism of its hostility towards India" and that has also shaped its policy on Afghanistan since Islamabad "wanted a friendly government in Kabul that was resistant to Indian influence" .

The former head of defense also noted that Pakistan's army had lost more of its troops fighting terrorists on its side of the border than the NATO coalition in Afghanistan.

“However, they thought they could or at least manipulate the terrorists. But, once planted, terrorism grew in a way that no one, not even Pakistan's secret service could predict or control, "he said.

Posted on Dawn, September 5, 2019



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