Rubbing elbows: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama pose with visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City in 2009.
In his latest, scathingly critical essay for Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens makes it eminently clear that he isn’t buying any of the stories the U.S. and Pakistani governments are selling about their increasingly complicated (and, in Hitchens’ view, hypocritical) relationship, and it’s also evident that he doesn’t think much of Pakistan in general. The recent killing of Osama bin Laden only further exposed these unsavory truths, according to his analysis.
Judging by his characterization exercise in the piece, personifying Pakistan’s national character, Hitchens isn’t going to make many friends over there with this one. —KA
Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair:
If the Pakistani authorities had admitted what they were doing, and claimed the right to offer safe haven to al-Qaeda and the Taliban on their own soil, then the boast of “sovereignty” might at least have had some grotesque validity to it. But they were too cowardly and duplicitous for that. And they also wanted to be paid, lavishly and regularly, for pretending to fight against those very forces. Has any state ever been, in the strict sense of the term, more shameless? Over the years, I have written many pages about the sick relationship between the United States and various Third World client regimes. ... But our blatant manipulation by Pakistan is the most diseased and rotten thing in which the United States has ever involved itself.