Anne W. Patterson rode in a horse-drawn carriage to the sound of a fanfare played on trumpets and inspected an honor guard yesterday before she presented her diplomatic credentials as the new U.S. ambassador to Pakistan.
She handed her documents to President Pervez Musharraf and said that "it is a great honor to serve in Pakistan."
"I look forward to working with Pakistanis to continue building our strong and important partnership," she said.
After the pomp and circumstance, Mrs. Patterson will face the tense reality of U.S.-Pakistani relations.
The Bush administration is impatient with Gen. Musharraf's failure to control the lawless northern border areas that have become safe havens for al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, who mount raids into Afghanistan.
U.S. officials are considering retaliatory strikes into Pakistan, and Congress has passed legislation that will link U.S. aid to Pakistan's actions against terrorism. The United States has granted Pakistan more than $10 billion in aid since 2001.
Pakistan has reacted to the pressure by proclaiming that any U.S. incursion will be a violation of the country's sovereignty.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz this week told Parliament, "Pakistan will not allow any foreign forces to conduct activities inside its territory."
Meanwhile, Gen. Musharraf is locked in a domestic conflict with Islamic extremists, who are mounting attacks against his government. Last month troops killed more than 100 terrorists who seized a mosque in the capital, Islamabad. Extremists retaliated by killing more than 200 people in suicide bombings.
None of that is likely to deter Mrs. Patterson, a veteran diplomat with tough experience in difficult assignments.
From 2000 to 2003, she was ambassador to Colombia, where she dealt with supporting a government campaign against narco-terrorist groups. Her previous duty was as assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law-enforcement affairs.
The House of Representatives ignored a warning from Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato and passed a resolution this week demanding that Japan issue another apology for forcing thousands of women into sexual slavery during World War II.
Mr. Kato in June urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, to block the resolution sponsored by Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat, who was among the thousands of Japanese-Americans confined to U.S. internment camps during the war.
The ambassador warned that the resolution could have widespread consequences in Japan and could cause Tokyo to reconsider its support for the reconstruction of Iraq.
The resolution "will almost certainly have lasting and harmful effects on the deep friendship, close trust and wide-ranging cooperation our two nations now enjoy," Mr. Kato said.
In Japan yesterday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the resolution shows that Japan must "continue explaining" its position on the "comfort women."
Mr. Abe, shaken from Sunday's defeat of his ruling Liberal Democrats in parliamentary elections, prompted the resolution after he appeared to back away from a government apology. In March, Mr. Abe claimed that the Japanese army did not coerce the women into brothels established for soldiers.
The resolution called on Japan to "formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility" for the "coercion of young women into sexual slavery."
It also urged Mr. Abe to issue an apology "in his official capacity."
"Today the House will make history," Mr. Honda said when the House adopted the nonbinding resolution Monday.
He recognized one of the "comfort women," Yong-soo Lee, a Korean who helped build support for the measure and was watching the vote from the visitors gallery.
Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.