- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Embassy Row: Bad marriage?
The former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, who resigned abruptly last year, is calling for Washington and Islamabad to break the “tyranny of negative narratives” and wage a stronger fight against terrorism and corruption in the strategic but unstable South Asian nation.
Cameron Munter, a career diplomat, says the two countries must continue “reasonable, clear-eyed cooperation” on counterterrorism and “encourage” broad-based reform of Pakistani institutions to promote “truly democratic Pakistani leadership.”
“The next step would be to break away from the tyranny of negative narratives that limit bilateral ties and reinforce the idea that we have a bad marriage or co-dependent relationship,” he wrote in an article for the Washington-based Asia Society.
The United States and Pakistan are caught in a cycle of blame and recrimination.
Washington complains that Islamabad fails to uproot terrorist bases in its lawless region next to Afghanistan where Taliban militants mount cross-border attacks against U.S.-led NATO troops.
Pakistan accuses the United States of violating its sovereignty and killing civilians in frequent drone strikes against terrorist targets.
In Washington last week, Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman denounced the drone strikes as a “clear violation of our sovereignty and a violation of international law.” She insisted that the Pakistani government has never approved of the strikes, not even with a private “wink and nod.”
Mr. Munter, ambassador in Pakistan from October 2010 to July 2012, reportedly resigned over a disagreement with the drone policy. He later told the Daily Beast website that he supported strikes against terrorist targets but also wanted a more selective use of the air raids and more cooperation with the Pakistan government.
Pakistan also was angered by the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was living in a villa in a Pakistani garrison town.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Washington has given Pakistan nearly $20 billion in assistance, with more than half going to the military. Some analysts believe that nearly 70 percent of the military aid has been misspent and sometimes is diverted to cover government budget deficits.
“There is plenty of blame to go around,” Mr. Munter said, “but it is crucial that the Pakistani leadership step up and admit its failings rather than simply accuse the Americans of inefficiency or bad faith.”
Ambassadors rarely make news by saying nothing, and many prefer it that way.
Daniel Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, displayed that diplomatic talent but made news despite himself when he met with Jewish-American leaders in Jerusalem this week.
The ambassador refused to comment on the growing pressure for the United States to release Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for passing U.S. military secrets to Israel nearly 30 years ago.
“He broke the law and was convicted,” Mr. Shapiro told leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“I understand that it bothers Israelis and Americans, and I do not want to talk about his release,” he said in remarks that made news on JewishPress.com.
Mr. Shapiro also told the visiting American Jews that President Obama will underscore the “strong and unbreakable bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel” during his upcoming visit to Israel, his first since taking office in 2009.
Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Embassy Row: India 'shocked,' 'appalled' by consular officer's arrest
- Embassy Row: Wife of Christian held in Iran feels abandoned by Obama
- Wife of jailed U.S. Christian in Iran calls for White House help
- Most Americans want no Iranian uranium enrichment: poll
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- Former Blue Angels commander relieved of duty for alleged misconduct
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.