Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube/Diller distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. His bi-weekly column appears regularly in newspapers around the globe. His website, DanielPipes.org, is one of the most accessed internet sources of specialized information on the Middle East and Islam.
This sudden crisis in relations may be unexpected but it culminates a process that has developed over decades. Pakistan is one of several Muslim-majority countries (Yemen is another; Turkey is becoming a third) where the U.S. government basically lacks any friends.
Although such a situation severely limits American options, here is a realistic policy recommendation that serves American interests:
Give up on the pretence that the two governments are allies and treat Pakistan – with its many madrassahs, its Islamist military leadership, and rogue intelligence service – as a danger zone. Adopt a policy of containment vis-à-vis the Islamism coming out of it, rewarding cooperation and punishing hostile acts. This approach permits Washington flexibly to collaborate or confront as circumstances warrant and needs change. (May 4, 2011)