Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,
Republican Congressman Andy Biggs just put forth House Resolution 73 seeking to remove Pakistan’s designation as a “major non-NATO ally”, which would eliminate its privileged military cooperation with the US that’s already been put under strain over the past year since Trump decided to suspend various sorts of aid to the country and decried it for supposedly not doing enough to fight terrorism. Biggs wants to make any reclassification of Pakistan as a “major non-NATO ally” contingent on the President proving to Congress that the country is fighting the so-called “Haqqani Network” that’s bedeviled the US for years, suggesting that this initiative might have something to do with once again scapegoating Pakistan for the latest setback to the incipient US-Taliban peace process.
In addition, the move itself is highly symbolic because it comes over two years after the US designated Pakistan’s rival India as its first-ever “Major Defense Partner” after entering into a military-strategic partnership with the country to tacitly “contain” China. It’s very likely that the US might be toying with the idea of replacing Pakistan with India as its newest “major non-NATO ally”, though that would provocatively push Pakistan even closer to the US’ Russian and Chinese rivals, something that could have serious implications for Afghanistan if Islamabad refuses to broker any more talks between Washington and the Taliban, for example. Altogether, however, the suggestion to strip Pakistan of its “major non-NATO ally” designation is predicable because the US was never Pakistan’s “ally” to begin with.
It never mattered how much Pakistan assisted the US with its War on Terror, nor how many tens of thousands of Pakistanis died as the country’s military fought its own version of this conflict on its home soil, the US always condescendingly treated Pakistan as a “junior partner” and criticized it to “do more”. Over the past couple of years, Pakistan finally decided to say “no more” and began pursuing an independent foreign policy that strives to achieve a “balance” between the world’s Great Powers instead of indefinitely perpetuating its erstwhile strategic dependence on a single one like the US, which has actually revolutionized regional and global affairs by virtue of the geostrategic importance of the CPEC megaproject.
NATO trucks crossing Pakistan’s border
For as much as some in the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (or “deep state”) might want to “punish” Pakistan for this through various means such as symbolically stripping away its “major non-NATO ally” status, others also understand that many Pakistanis would be happy to see their faux “alliance” with the US finally end and know that their country could potentially make matters difficult for the US in Afghanistan, which is why it remains to be seen whether this measure will pass into law. Even so, it nevertheless sends a very strong signal to Islamabad that some in Washington harbor very hostile intentions against their country and don’t appreciate its many sacrifices that were made on their behalf in the War on Terror.