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Report: Anti-Americanism handicaps U.S. aid in Pakistan

- The Washington Times - Monday, July 30, 2012

High levels of anti-Americanism in Pakistan have "handicapped" U.S. efforts to support development in the South Asian nation, according to a new study.

The Center for Global Development, in a report released Monday, urged the United States to work with the World Bank and other international aid agencies with programs in Pakistan.

Recent polls have found high levels of anti-Americanism among Pakistanis, fueled in part by U.S. drone strikes on terrorist suspects in the tribal border region with Afghanistan.

A survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project earlier this year found roughly three-in-four Pakistanis consider the United States an enemy.

Milan Vaishnav, a co-author of the report, said, "Because security concerns dominate U.S. policy towards Pakistan, there is no consensus across government agencies on the U.S. development strategy."

Yet Pakistan is far too important for the United States to walk away from, the report said, recommending continued engagement and realistic expectations.

"We recommend a more clear and explicit commitment on the part of the administration and the Congress to strengthening the dialogue with Pakistani civilian counterparts on that country's tremendous economic, social, and natural resource policy challenges," Nancy Birdsall, the center president, said in the report.

The report recommends extending by five years U.S. non-military aid to Pakistan authorized by a law sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democratic, Sen. Richard Lugar, Indiana Republican, and Rep. Howard Berman, California Democrat. The bill authorized $1.5 billion a year over five years.

Since the passage of the legislation in October 2009, the U.S. government has disbursed $2.8 billion in civilian assistance, including roughly $1 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance to Pakistan, according to the State Department.

"The problem is not just the tumultuous environment in Pakistan," the report said.

"It is also a matter of self-inflicted wounds: unrealistic expectations associated with new money (more money, in retrospect, brought on more not fewer problems); the system-wide shortcomings of U.S. aid programs throughout the world; and the political difficulty of dealing with a reluctant Congress on new trade and private sector support programs for developing countries."

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