Losing Pakistan: An Insider’s Look at How the U.S. Deals With Its Ally


One evening in June 2009, Richard Holbrooke paid a visit to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidential palace in Islamabad. It was one of his first visits to the region as the Obama Administration’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In that role, Holbrooke — who died in December 2010 — wanted to broaden and deepen engagement with the country many had come to see as the most dangerous place in the world. And Zardari had his own ideas about how Washington could help.

“Pakistan is like AIG,” Zardari told Holbrooke, comparing his country to the U.S. insurance giant that was bailed out in 2008. “Too big to fail.” Washington, Zardari keenly recalled, had given AIG “$100 billion. You should give Pakistan the same,” Zardari said. Holbrooke smiled throughout the meeting.

(MORE: Putting Pakistan’s Politicians to a Piety Test: Are You Muslim Enough?)

Sitting with Holbrooke…

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Thatchers dead & so are basic ethics


I’m not a British citizen and I did not live through the Thatcher era. In whatever many ways it has impacted British society it has never directly affected me or my loved ones. Despite that, I come from a country where I understand what it’s like to hate leaders that have destroyed your country. I come from a country where I personally know generations before mine that celebrated the death of Zia-ul-Haq, a radical military dictator. I come from a country where Salman Taseer’s murderer was showered with rose petals, which coincidentally meant his death was celebrated.  So yes, I understand when people say they hated Margaret Thatcher because she had some terrible policies. I understand how resentful a large proportion of British society is due to Thatcher’s individualistic policies that widened the gap between the rich and the poor. I recognize that she had some horrendous policies such as…

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