US must not repeat past mistakes in Pakistan relationship: Rumsfeld
WASHINGTON, May 21 (APP): The United States should not rush to judgement on Pakistan and resort to short-sighted measures like aid reduction that may imperil the important relationship, former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld argued in an interview.“We ought to take a deep breath and recognize it would make us feel good for about five minutes if we cut off aid to Pakistan,” he warned in an appearance on FOX News channel.His comments came amid suggestions by some American lawmakers to cut assistance for the key regional country in reaction to discovery of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
Rumsfeld said he has heard of no evidence that may indicate the Pakistani government’s complicity at any leveal in bin Laden’s being able to hide in the country.
The U.S. relationship with Pakistan, though complex, is important, he said,urging a “measured and mature” approach to ties with the country. The U.S. should “not react and say cut off all the money.”
“I remember we did cut off all of our military to military relation in the 80s, 90s. They exploded a nuclear weapon we said that is terrible and let’s not talk to them. That doesn’t get us far. We ended up with a generation of military people that didn’t have generations with U.S. military and Pakistani military. It seems we have to be mature, measured and recognize we live in a world where other countries aren’t like us,they are not. And we weren’t even like us 50, 100 years ago. We are different.
They are different.”
He also noted that Pakistan has been “enormously helpful in some respects and not helpful in others.”
“We ought to keep working that relationship and try to improve it.The question isn’t, are they good or bad? It is mixed. The question is what is the trajectory? Which way are they going? Are we improving our relationship in a way that it is more beneficial to the United States?
Washington has political, economic and security interests in Pakistan, he said, adding that on balance the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been useful.
He advised a realistic approach, when the channel asked the former defense secretary if he trusted Pakistan as a partner.
“There again, what countries do you trust? I trust most of the countries to act in their self-interests, as we do. It is our self- interests to act in our interest.”
On the question of Osama bin Laden’s having lived undetected in Abbottabad,Rumsfeld said the militant leader must have depended on very small number of people.
“I’ve heard no evidence that anyone in any level of the Pakistan government,the military or the intelligence had information as to where Usama bin Laden was located.”
“ You can go across the Potomac drive up the road, look at those gated estates, we don’t know what is going on there it is a mile or two from the Pentagon. It is perfectly possible to hide in plain sight. It is a judge to judgment to say they must have known.
“If I were bin Laden I would not want anyone in or out of the Pakistan government to know where I was. If one other person knows, somebody else is going to know, and then somebody else. My guess is he had a very tight support network of a very limited number of people, one or two maybe outside, who managed the support for him. And he was successful in staying hidden for a very long time.”
“But if you start telling people in the Pakistani government where you are—he didn’t need their help, he has money, supporters. The judgment they must have known because it is close to a military base, is just not right.”