The Acorn explains why the US paid big money to Pakistan following a report in the NY Times that “Billions in Aid to Pakistan Was Wasted, Officials Assert” which begins:
After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. The strategy to improve the Pakistani military, they said, needs to be completely revamped.
In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs.
The Acorn responds:
Yet none of this is the least bit surprising. The US government knew before and during the entire period that the Pakistani establishment would behave exactly as it is behaving. The lessons of the anti-Soviet jihad of the 1980s in Afghanistan point to that. Musharraf’s contemporary shopping list—F-16 fighter aircraft, P3-C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and anti-ship missiles—was not exactly secret either. The smart people in Washington won’t be unaware of the principle of fungibility of money, as also the fungibility (to a large extent) of military hardware and training. The European diplomat is either being charitable or being naive. The US government is not a victim of the Pakistani military establishment: it is a willing accomplice.
Stripped of all the details, the Pakistani army is a mercenary force paid by the US to do its bidding. My belief is that the Pakistani army does deliver on what it is bought and paid for. The core function is–keep India occupied and distracted. It is the great instrument. Yes, there is that useful fiction that the US is supporting its ally Pakistan fight “insurgents” or “terrorists” or whatever. But no one in power is so deluded as to actually believe their own lies.
Not to put too fine a point on it but Pakistan is a mercenary state. Its army gets paid for services to the US. Read that NY Times report. It reports most matter-of-fact-ly that Pakistan invoices the US, just like your plumber sends an invoice after fixing your bathroom. Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states pay Pakistan to run their terrorist training centers on Pakistani territory.
It is all part and parcel of that globalization thing we keep hearing about. Globalization and that outsourcing thing. India’s comparative advantage with its millions of English-speaking college graduates is in the business process outsourcing and call center business. Pakistan’s comparative advantage lies in its millions of mullahs and the military. China’s comparative advantage is cheap labor and its committed leadership.