Obama wants to Increase Money to Pakistan

February 14, 2012

President Obama is proposing to increase U.S assistance to Pakistan, despite the country’s continued support for terrorism and violence against American interests.

Obama’s recently unveiled 2013 budget proposal seeks to boost aid to Pakistan to $2.4 billion, a sizable increase from the $1.9 billion the country received in 2011.

The money would aim to "strengthen democratic and civil institutions that provide a bulwark against extremism," according to the State Department’s breakdown of the budget. A significant portion of the aid would also fund the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, as well as the Pakistani military.

But U.S. relations with Pakistan have spiraled downward over the past year, leaving some observers to question the administration’s funding strategy.

Giving Pakistan taxpayer funds to bolster U.S. security interests is like "giving Syria money to teach non-violence or giving Iran money to teach nuclear abstinence – it’s just insane," said Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who studies rogue regimes.

The Pakistani government’s strategy is "to extract as much as they can from the U.S. before we leave Afghanistan," Rubin added, citing conversations he’s had with the former head of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. "It seems the Obama administration is intent on validating the Pakistani strategy."

GOP sources say that Congress – which must sign-off on Obama’s budget proposal – is fed up with Pakistan’s increasingly hostile actions.

"The Congress is no longer going to tolerate a blank check to Pakistan unless the government takes decisive action to root out the Haqqani terror network," said a senior GOP aide who tracks the issue. "As the military stands on the verge of carrying out a silent coup against the Pakistani democratically elected civilian government, this is not the time to increase aid to Pakistan."

In 2011, the Obama administration allotted $1.9 billion to a handful of democracy building and security initiatives in Pakistan. But the past year has been filled with mostly dim news.

In May, the world learned that Pakistan – a nuclear armed country -- was harboring the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Then, in September, the ISI was tied to a deadly attack by Afghani terrorists on the American embassy in Kabul.

"We must ask ourselves if Pakistan’s help [in the region] costs more than it’s worth," said AEI’s Rubin. "There’s hundreds of dead American servicemen who have made the ultimate sacrifice because of Pakistan’s double game."