At a recent event with David Gregory of Meet the Press, expert Michael O’Hanlon discussed the future of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death. Given the concerns about Pakistan’s knowledge of Bin Laden’s whereabouts prior to last week’s raid, O’Hanlon argues that the U.S. is beginning to question how truthful Pakistani officials are being, threatening the efforts the two countries have made at establishing a relationship and communication channels based on trust.
This suspension [of U.S. military aid] will no doubt put pressure on Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves, but I am skeptical that cutting a few hundred million dollars in assistance will induce Pakistan to make significant changes to its security policy. Today’s announcement sends a signal about the U.S. administration’s intent to hold Pakistan to account in the public domain. Whether it accomplishes more than that is yet to be seen.
The suspension [of military aid to Pakistan] is arguably more significant as a signal of Washington’s discontent than as an act of financial deprivation. The Trump administration has likely sketched out an escalation strategy, and would be wise to pause after Thursday’s announcement to give Pakistan the opportunity to quietly address U.S. concerns.