Money and Mangoes: Clinton Buys ‘The Love’ in Pakistan

She came, she made the appropriate noises about partnerships, she even praised the local mangoes, which was well received by the local press. The independent Geo TV happily reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had “bought and savored” Pakistani mangoes during her recent visit and proclaimed them “delicious”.

What does it take for a US Secretary of State to be favorably covered by the alarmingly anti-American Pakistani media? It’s money, not mangoes. And Clinton came in offering billions of it.

Under the Kerry Lugar Bill, named after US Senators John Kerry (Democrat) and Richard Lugar (Republican), which was passed by Congress last year, Washington has committed to $7.5 billion economic and development aid to Pakistan over the next five years.

While she was in town, Clinton signed off on an initial $500 million for infrastructure – notably in the energy and water sectors – for the impoverished South Asian nation.

US officials have been keen to note that the aid provided under the Kerry Lugar Bill is destined for civilian development purposes and it does not constitute military aid.

Remember ‘Kerry Looter’ or was it ‘Carry Looter’?

The Kerry Lugar Bill -- popularly called “KLB” by the local media and ordinary Pakistanis -- was not that popular in Pakistan.

As respected Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid noted, the Pakistani military was incensed by Washington’s efforts to ensure that Americans’ tax dollars did the job by including conditions, in the bill, that Pakistan remain a democracy and that the civilian government maintains control over the military.


The mighty Pakistani military, according to Rashid, contacted pliant local news orgs in a massive PR campaign to whip up opposition to the bill. The Pakistani media duly complied, dubbing it the “Kerry Looter Bill” or the “Carry Looter Bill”.

Paying for defense, debts and development - in that order

But those were the bad old days of heightened anti-US sentiments in Pakistan - or so we’re told.

Debt and poverty-riddled Pakistan needs development aid. Of its $38 billion annual budget for 2010-2011, a whopping $7.9 billion – or 21% - goes into defense spending. If you think this bad, think again. At least we have the figure these days. For decades, the army refused to allow any Pakistani government to disclose the nation’s military budget.

Another 28% of the annual budget goes toward servicing Pakistan’s nearly $55 billion debt.

That leaves development, of course, to the internationals.

International pledges were made at last year’s Tokyo aid conference, but few European countries have coughed up the cash. European concerns about Pakistan’s lack of progress in fighting militancy and concerns that Islamabad will funnel aid money to build its defenses against arch foe India rather than the Afghan Taliban, means there’s little showing on that front.

Which leaves the US to, once again, bankroll Pakistan. Like they have over the past 60-odd years. As in the past, Washington may not get bang for its buck – except probably the odd suicide attack bang.

But that hardly matters because amazingly, when it comes to US-Pakistan relations, the donor nation will always be scrambling to throw more cash, buy more love. The aid recipients, on the other hand, will feel cheated, jilted, used, misused and abused. And so, the US will have to cough up more cash-for-love, its top diplomats will be put through the ignominy of soothing irate Pakistanis at town hall meetings and the circus will carry on.

The “war on terror” dance too will roll on. Washington will demand that Islamabad do more to control militancy. Islamabad will argue it’s doing all it can. This will go on until US and international troops in neighboring Afghanistan are ready to pack up and go. We might then see a new chapter open in the region.

But until then, expect more of the same. Don’t look for grand headlines from tomorrow’s major donor conference in Kabul either. There’s no shortage of international aid in these parts. What we lack is a plan on how this aid gets used. But that’s another story, another blog…

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Dear All, Well, you would like to eat Mangoes from Pakistan afresh this year, you may very well know that USDA (APHIS) have uplifted the prohibition/ban on import of Fresh Pakistani Mangos to USA for this coming summer of mango season. If you really like to eat Pakistani Mangos then happy news is that our tasty mango will reach USA markets to Chicago Port via Air Cargo in commercial consignments for USA buyers. We are exporter/supplier of White Chaunsa, Langra, Sindhri mangos to USA this year as well. Any one of you can contact me directly through my e-mail for orders and if you find some buyers/stockists/shops/fruit market and can have arrangement to buy in bulk plz do not hesitate to contact me here ( We will provide/supply 4KG box containing 6 fruits per box with Phyto-sanitary certification from Pakistani authorities as well as USDA/APHID at the port of entry in Chicago Port. Our final price FOB basis will be discussed on the demand order or settled after obtaining such demand from buyers. Kind regards, International Fruit Company (IFC) Islamabad-Pakistan
Americans largely don't understand how the rest of the world views them. They get upset and think other countries are ungrateful. Pakistan will take the money, because they're desperate. But they take it with resentment. The United States has contributed to the unstability of their society, and often dominated their country. Either dangling a carrot or threatening them at gun point, the Americans have treated them as they do many other countries as sub-human. After awhile even the humblest get tired of being kicked and treated like a dog. People tried to warn America during the 1990's of the consequences. They warned of Blowback and revenge. It was not heeded, lessons were not learned after 11Sept01, and the United States will have hard days ahead. In the end the empire will break as have all self-worshipping entities. Sadly, like the break-up of the British Empire, it will be ugly. John A.
People in Pakistan are not very healthy so I think they should be taught how to lose weight by Clinton. She could give them guides.
We don't need Hillary Clinton to tell us our mangoes are delicious. Neither do we need her to come help us. We have a beggar government and a puppet of the US.

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