June 15th, 2011
05:49 PM ET

Bergen: U.S.-Pakistan relationship rockiest since 1990

Pakistan's intelligence agency has detained several people who gave information to the United States before it killed Osama bin Laden, officials in Pakistan said Wednesday.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux spoke with CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen about the state of the U.S-Pakistan relationship and what either side could do to get over the impasse. Watch the interview or read an edited Q&A below.

Q: What do you think this says about the U.S. and Pakistan relationship now?

A: Well, I don't think it has been worse. I think this is the worse point that it has been since, arguably, 1990, when the United States put sanctions on Pakistan because of its nuclear program, and it's bad. It's very bad.

This is just one of a series of incidents on both sides of the equation which have really brought these relationships to kind of this point. The biggest incident, of course, before the arrests of bin Laden in Pakistan was the CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who shot two Pakistani men in Lahore in late January, which was a huge story in Pakistan.

It didn't get that much attention in the United States, partly because of the very dramatic events of the Arab Spring were happening simultaneously. But it was the story in Pakistan for weeks.

Q: The bin Laden raid and more recent attacks by militants in Pakistan have been a big blow to Pakistan's military, which is highly regarded in Pakistan. Is this a way for them to re-assert their power, to save face in a way?

A: That might well be a motivation. As you say, they were humiliated by the unilateral American action to seize bin Laden, and the helicopters not being picked up on Pakistani radar. That was humiliating for the Pakistanis.

Then, shortly thereafter, there was what appears to have been an attack on a Pakistani naval station in Karachi, which seems to have been something of an inside job given the way the attack took place. Again, demonstrating that sensitive military installations in Pakistan might have been compromised by either the Taliban or related groups.

So it has been a very bad month for the military. In fact, [for] General Kayani, the chief of army staff - I think it has been one of the worst times that he has had.

Q: Is there anything that needs to be done now to kind of break this impasse, turn things around, anything the United States could do regarding Pakistan to change their behavior?

A:  I think one thing the United States can do is sort of one thing the Pakistanis very much want, is fewer drone strikes. Last year, there were 118 drone strikes, a record.

Not all of these are really getting senior al Qaeda leaders by any stretch. I think a more calibrated drone program that wasn't so consistent would go some way to repairing the breach between these two countries.

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. sbast18

    Screw Pakistan. Close the checkbook and let them find another free meal to chew on.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  2. Tom Deaver

    Time to stop giving Pakistan money and pull out of the country. They are not our friend. They live in an anti-American and anti-Israeli cloud of hysteria. Let them live their craziness. Time to support India instead. At least India is trying to modernize and shares some of our values. India would be a good counter to the Muslim world and China.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • deathoflove

      America is at the Path of Destruction,Already U.S has borrow Billions of Dollars from China and it is on Verge of Bank Corroupt,Many People in U.S are Loosing there homes and jobs due to this War,1 U.S soldier Expenditure Per day is 1 thousand Dollars,Look what happen To Russia when there Economy Collapes It was Broken into many Countries, same is going to happen with America If this war Continues.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:38 am | Reply
  3. lance

    keep american tax money in the united states !

    June 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  4. electric

    Regarding the last question "Is there anything that can be done to break this impasse", a part of the solution is a televised address by President Obama similar to what he tried with Arabs and Iranians. The message would include "we know you guys thrive on anti-US conspiracy theories, that you blame US/Israel/India for everything including bad weather, we know many of you think jihadis are studs. Here is your reality check. America bailed you out of bankruptcy many times, we rescued you from getting into wars with your old enemy India, if it weren't for us you'd be the battleground between Saudi Arabia & Iran like in the 90s. Without us your Khyber region will break off and joinPakhtoons in Afghanistan. And don't blame us for getting you started on jihadis; you've been playing the jihadi games in Kashmir for many decades".

    June 17, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Reply
    • sbast18

      Trouble is that Obama is weak. Pure and simple. He's in way over his head and has no worldly idea what he's doing. The USA has been a stabilizing factor all over the world for many decades – until the past few Presidents. Carter was terrible, Reagan restored our respect then...Bush and the final blow? Obama, who is by far the most indecisive, and the poorest shot of a President we've ever known. We're hosed. 4 more years of him and we're destroyed.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  5. aamir

    i think americans are just playing on pakistan soil. pakistan army and ISI is biggest hurdle for them to achieve there desires. and america sould keep this thing in mind that ISI is quite professional and can handle american game easliy and if ISI desire he can make afghanistan hell for all NATO and espcially america with just minor support . so let us live our life and you bettere remain in your borders. we dont require your aid.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • djse

      WoW the great ISI. So great that they fail at stopping the terror attacks in Pakistan. They are of course very adept at making hell out of ordinary places, because they are a bunch of terrorists.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Reply
    • hn

      Amir,

      I think you got your argument on its head.

      Actually Pakistan army and ISI are the biggest assets US has because they are the ones vying for the startegic depth that comes with US being on their side. The real hurdle is the elected government. Remember how Mush and ISI let US in after sept 11 with just one phone call. US could not do that when an elected person is in charge. That is why historically US loved dictators.

      June 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Reply
    • take the aid back

      amir, I would love for my country not to give yours aid. I would love for us not to have to deal with your crappy country, religion or people and leave you alone. The fact of the matter is that your country is strategically important to our military for now. Your government can not or will not take care of the threats to America that lie within your country, so we really have no choice but to take care of them ourselves. We will leave eventually and let you return your everlasting muslim hate back to India.

      June 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • Galoot

      Yes. Let us leave this pig pen. Let the Paki pigs wallow in their filth.

      If anything, let's support India. India knows the reality of the Paki scum.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      You do require our aid aamir. And American tax payers don't want to give it to you. You are all liars. Your country has received 3 billion a year for the past 3 or 4 years while Pakistan was hiding Osama Bin Laden. We build schools in Pakistan and provide aid to poor communities. Do you really believe that your government works to make a better world? You are snakes and liars. Your disgusting country and culture is despised by us all because you are a bunch of lying unappreciative dogs.

      You should be upset at your country for letting Osama Bin Laden have a safe place to live. But if you intend on defending your country then I can understand. What you need to know is that the young European and American generations are watching what is happening right now. Do you think anyone will help you in the future? Do you think anyone will trust you in the future? You will have nothing but the ability to hide criminals and killers and then we will erase Pakistan from the map. Pakistan will be the deepest lake in the middle east! hahahaa.

      June 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  6. HN

    Pakistan is where it is because of their own doing which they are exacerbating by not acknowledging it.
    They talk about US making their land its play ground. How did it come about? Blame your love for strongman dictators against civilian elected establishment.
    Reagan dealt with Zia because he could and Zia let him.
    Bush dealt with Mushraff because he let him; just in one phone call – no consultation with any one else necessary.
    The only reason that Obama is not able to penetrate the Pakistani decision making is because now it is chaotic, thanks to a week but elected government. Once even remotely people are involved, country is a lot more sovereign. This is also the reason Kayani is not doing a coup.

    Why do Pakistani people love their dictators? Two reasons. 1. Cultural/religious distrust of people in favor of a system of a strong man in command. This prepares the population for the next reason. 2. Strongmen do not need to have diplomatic relations with India. They can use military and ISI in ways politicians cannot use. So they do so against India and secure more acceptance from people. In reality their strategies have back fired and that is why the country is in such a condition. But the reasons 1 and 2 will prevent reactionary Pakistani people like Yakobi et al here in this forum, from learning and evolving and improving the country.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Reply
    • Pakcop

      How come Pakistan relations with India were at its best when Mushraff was in charge for those 8 years?
      You do not know what you are talking about 🙂

      June 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
      • HN

        False,

        Pakistan and India came to nuclear war brink during Mushraff's time following Kargil. You know that he is the architect of Kargil war. He tiptoes American line and talked peace to India. He was actively undermining his words through his actions.

        Actually I know a lot about Pakistan. That is why I bring up these.

        June 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  7. Jal

    Pakistan is angry because Pakistan was unwillingly made to participate in Osama bin Laden hoax killing. Besides, USA presence in Pakistan is not welcome by the citizens. They have been shouting out their sentiments in the streets: "Yankee, go home!" I believe Pakistan is being very honest whereas USA is not. Why does USA want to overstay its welcome in that area of the world where it is not wanted?

    June 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Reply
    • sbast18

      Even Al Quada acknowledged that Bin is is the dust bin. All of this "hoax" rhetoric that people are spouting about is nothing short of naive. I mean, there's always a conspiracy in some peoples minds, isn't there? As for the Pakistani's no longer welcoming our presence, well....ok. We should leave that region anyhow. Afghanistan wants to control how we fight and our own people whine about the weapons we use. We're clearly worried about the Pakistani nukes but nukes exist in other places and technology has rendered nukes in equally dangerous places. Time to rein in our borders AND our checkbook then pay attention to issues here at home. A welcome return to isolationism is hopefully not far behind.

      June 17, 2011 at 9:28 am | Reply
    • JoeKool

      Pakistan is angry because Pakistan was unwillingly made to participate in Osama bin Laden hoax killing. Besides, USA presence in Pakistan is not welcome by the citizens. They have been shouting out their sentiments in the streets: "Yankee, go home!" I believe Pakistan is being very honest whereas USA is not. Why does USA want to overstay its welcome in that area of the world where it is not wanted?

      Guess what? USA presence in Pakistan is not welcome by our citizens either. We have been shouting our sentiments all over "Fvck Pakistan! Get out of Pakistan! Keep our money home!" USA is not being honest with Pakistan because we can't be honest with Pakistan. We do things on our own, and we kill Bin Laden. We 'be honest' with Pakistan, and we get empty bomb factories. We do not want to stay in your country, but we have to and that sucks for both of us. We can't leave because your government keeps providing aid to our enemies. Don't want the USA in your neck of the woods? Then get on your gov. to stop aiding AQ & the Taliban. We go where AQ is, and that's the way of it.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:30 am | Reply
  8. tron777

    Yakobi, does your husband know you are playing on his computer again instead of cleaning his house?

    June 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  9. fu9l

    simple solution take our aid off the table and allow india to take control of kashmire if they dont comply and submit that simple....

    June 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  10. Shotgun

    When will the US wake up and smell the coffee??? Pakistan is not your friend!!! How much proof do you need? They have been harboring OBL for years! Everyone knows that they knew where he was, right under their nose! The US should get out of the middle east and fix their own country economically! They could police the whole entire area from international water and destroy anything that threatens the western world from there. They would never lose a life that way and the terrorist could not touch them!!! Why do they insist on helping people in those countries, that would rather have you dead because you are an infidel? They have billions of dollars in those countries in OIL!!! Let them take care of their own problems!! We have enough of our own problems to solve here without looking to fix problems of people that would rather see you dead or take over our country!!!
    WAKE UP US, NO FRIEND IN PAKISTAN!!!
    THE PROOF IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!!!
    Look at the recent riots in most of the middle east countries lately!!! This is the kind peaceful people you are accepting into north America.

    June 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Reply
    • Pakistani version of shotgun

      When will Pakistan wake up and smell the coffee? USA is not your friend!!! How much proof do you need? They have been fighting a war in Afghanistan for almost a decade. Everyone knows why they are here. For oil and power control. They need to leave this region alone and go back and solve their own problems. We never asked them to come here and solve' our problems. They bomb our civilian population and destroy our countries. They control our corrupt regimes and control our countries through those corrupt rulers. They use our sea ports to send their arms and ammunition to Afghanistan and yet they are so untrustworthy, they would make secret raids in your country to kill people. If they knew OBL was hiding here, why are they bombing our civilian populations in Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas? How can they trust you when they think you are nothing but terrorists and that is why they are holding Muslim hearings in their congress. And who is conducting those hearings? Peter King the IRA terrorist. Duh.....
      WAKE UP Pakistanis NO FRIENDS IN USA
      Seen the latest up rise in Middle Eastern countries? They don't want USA's puppet rulers. They all want freedom and democracy like any civilised society in the world. Are these people you want to control our oil and other natural resources?

      June 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
      • HN

        Pakistan is where it is because of their own doing which they are exacerbating by not acknowledging it.
        They talk about US making their land its play ground. How did it come about? Blame your love for strongman dictators against civilian elected establishment.
        Reagan dealt with Zia because he could and Zia let him.
        Bush dealt with Mushraff because he let him; just in one phone call – no consultation with any one else necessary.
        The only reason that Obama is not able to penetrate the Pakistani decision making is because now it is chaotic, thanks to a week but elected government. Once even remotely people are involved, country is a lot more sovereign. This is also the reason Kayani is not doing a coup.

        Why do Pakistani people love their dictators? Two reasons. 1. Cultural/religious distrust of people in favor of a system of a strong man in command. This prepares the population for the next reason. 2. Strongmen do not need to have diplomatic relations with India. They can use military and ISI in ways politicians cannot use. So they do so against India and secure more acceptance from people. In reality their strategies have back fired and that is why the country is in such a condition. But the reasons 1 and 2 will prevent reactionary Pakistani people like Yakobi et al here in this forum, from learning and evolving and improving the country.

        June 16, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
      • sbast18

        Your claim that we went to the region for oil makes no sense because Afghanistan's ability to extract it remains undeveloped. That's what the pipeline was about. Developing the resource at our expense may be a good idea, as it provides a partnership for Afghanistan that would provide a massive economic boost. If we were to benefit from such a venture...well....know anyone who works for free? I don't. Secondly, war produces little more than a very large cemetary, and there will always be unavoidable, non-militant casualties. I mean, we're not talking about a friendly game of checkers, here. At any rate, many of us in the US feel that it's time to pull back from the region because Afghanistan seems to have reversed its thinking in favor of a return to its past. We say "OK". And, if that's truly what they want, we should see no further need to dump billions of dollars into the country. You can't have it both ways. Finally, Pakistan is a separate issue. We each have reasons to consider that our relationship must be redefined. Hiding Bin Laden was not a good idea. Entering Pakistan to take him out is also questionable to some folks. If neither of us can trust the other, then it must be time to sever ties both militarily and economically. Personally? I'm all in favor of a return to isolationism but, at this point, the best most of us in the USA can hope for is a speedy end to Obama's Presidency. Hopefully, things will be better for us all then, as his weaknesses have clearly impacted nearly every country around the globe.

        June 17, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Yakobi

      Pakistan is not Americas play ground, nor are people of Pakistan gentile of any power, respect to earn respect, or it is time for America to get out of the region for good before America is kicked out with US "AIDS". Who needs an enemy if some has a so called friend called America

      June 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Reply
      • HN

        Pakistan is where it is because of their own doing which they are exacerbating by not acknowledging it.
        They talk about US making their land its play ground. How did it come about? Blame your love for strongman dictators against civilian elected establishment.
        Reagan dealt with Zia because he could and Zia let him.
        Bush dealt with Mushraff because he let him; just in one phone call – no consultation with any one else necessary.
        The only reason that Obama is not able to penetrate the Pakistani decision making is because now it is chaotic, thanks to a week but elected government. Once even remotely people are involved, country is a lot more sovereign. This is also the reason Kayani is not doing a coup.

        Why do Pakistani people love their dictators? Two reasons. 1. Cultural/religious distrust of people in favor of a system of a strong man in command. This prepares the population for the next reason. 2. Strongmen do not need to have diplomatic relations with India. They can use military and ISI in ways politicians cannot use. So they do so against India and secure more acceptance from people. In reality their strategies have back fired and that is why the country is in such a condition. But the reasons 1 and 2 will prevent reactionary Pakistani people like Pakistani shotgun et al here in this forum, from learning and evolving and improving the country.

        June 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  11. cacbar

    Why don't they convert to Christianity and we'll call it even.

    June 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • Yakobi

      No Thanks, Christianity (hinduism) is for the hindus, who wants illegality in thie life, no one but hindus, even though they may label themselves as follower of Jesus in trinity (deception).

      June 15, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Reply
      • HN

        Whatever Yakobi,

        Christians and Hindu's seem to be doing a lot better than you (Pakistan vs India vs US). So may be take up Christianity if you don't like hindusim.

        Disclaimer: Religions only mess up your ability to see things as they are. Believe only in peer reviewed science for real actionable information. What you have been fed as knowledge is some man's idea from the medieval period. There is no such thing as religious philosophy, they are mutually exclusive.

        June 17, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  12. pua

    Pakistan got caught with their hand in the two faced cookie jar. They know darn well that they knew where OBL was and they were in the protection business to keep him safe. They have been complicite, and involved with both taking the aid from the US and supporting the US' enemies and being one, to keep the aid coming.

    These militaries are good for one thing, keeping their own people in line and have long lost the ability to actually protect their nation, and they show recalcitrance born of religious ideology and hatred toward their nieghbor who is their real boogie man, India. They know that we will not help in any way in any event against India. They have learned what is in their interest and what is not.

    June 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Reply

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