But we shouldn’t need a well-known foreign policy expert to tell us that. The policy of rewarding enemies and punishing friends should make no sense to anyone with a modicum of common sense. It is a strategy which positively reinforces bad behavior, and negatively reinforces good behavior. For this reason, in the world of foreign affairs, Pakistan is learning that they are better off treating the U.S. as poorly as possible, so that they can gain more material rewards from us. And so, they aid our al-Qaeda enemies, fire on our troops, grab our contractors for ransom, etc. In return they receive billions a year in U.S. foreign aid, and, when appropriate, plenty of apologies and praise.
Perhaps a more useful strategy might have been for us to finally start punishing our enemies for their insults and injuries towards the U.S.
In Pakistan, the most obvious thing we could do would be to completely stop funding them, which I have previously advocated, to cut some funding to them, or to condition our future funding on certain positive actions. There are other possible punishments as well. Luckily, the U.S. House is prepared to lead the way, with its vote for an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) to cut U.S. aid to Pakistan by $650 billion, about half of its entire U.S. aid package. And the Senate may follow that lead, with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) claiming he has enough votes in the Senate to end all aid to Pakistan.
The Congress seems intent on providing President Obama with a “stick” with which to address the continuing problem of Pakistan. He should make use of it, and end his current, flawed and dangerous approach. And best yet, for his purposes, he could even continue to call Pakistan our ally.
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Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.