You Get What You Give

The treatment of our military delegation by flight staff and American law enforcement last week was an insult to the sacrifices made by our soldiers and the respect due to a sovereign nation. It made me sick to hear the news. Yet, I could not help but think – why are some complaining? Isn’t this the diplomacy they preach?

But look at the way that American diplomats are treated here.

The Nation in particular revels in any opportunity to accuse American delegations of all manner of conspiracies. In fact, it was not too long ago that American diplomats were complaining of harrassment by Pakistani military and intelligence. In fact, tensions had become so high that,

The public distrust toward American officials has led many American diplomats to keep a low profile, and adopt a bunker mentality, American diplomats acknowledge. Americans are rarely seen in restaurants or shopping areas, and are in fact warned by security advisers to steer clear of such places.

So I can’t help but laugh heartily when I read in The Nation:

AFTER being abused willingly by the US on many occasions post-9/11 on the pretext of security, like so many other segments of the Pakistani state and its leadership, the Pakistan military finally chose to refuse such treatment anymore – and high time too. That is why one welcomes the stance the Pakistan military delegation took when it was subjected to inappropriate behaviour by US security officials at Dulles International Airport – merely because some passenger found their conversation “suspicious”. The delegation simply cancelled its meeting with CENTCOM and returned home. Of course, the usual apologies were offered by the US Defence Department, but what use are these once the Pakistanis have been insulted?

After all, this is the same newspaper that only a few months ago wrote of the Americans,

Additionally, it has now claimed that all law-breaking Americans in Pakistan are US diplomats – despite facts to the contrary on the ground – and Pakistanis, by enforcing their laws are “harassing” them! One has not heard such ludicrous defence of law breakers before but then the US is subtly hinting at blackmail here – allow our citizens unfettered access and total immunity from the law of the land or else aid will get slowed or curtailed. This is surely one of the many costs of being a US ally and “front line” state in a US-led erroneous war. But at the end of the day it is the Pakistani leadership, both political and military, that is to blame. It has failed to protect Pakistan and its people against the machinations of the US and its representatives in Pakistan; it has in fact shown an unwillingness or inability to prevent the Americans from running amok in Pakistan – breaking the laws of the land as they will.

The Nation doesn’t actually mention any of these “crimes” being carried out by Americans (diplomats or not). Instead, The Nation has built an entire industry of accusing people of being “suspicious” and then publishes their addresses or accuses them of being spies.

So how can anyone have a reaction other than laughter when The Nation now complains that our military delegation was questioned “merely because some passenger found their conversation ‘suspicious’.” Is The Nation jealous that someone is stealing their game?

It was beyond the pale for the American airline to treat our military delegation with such disrespect. I cannot help but notice that the American government immediately apologized for this act, and I cannot imagine that someone has not lost their job because of it. I do wish the officers would have gone ahead with their scheduled trip, though, instead of coming home in protest. Certainly it was a reasonable option, but I wonder if we would not have looked like the bigger, more mature nation in the eyes of the world if we had not let such petty foolishness affect us. Either way, I have noticed that the American media seems to be

There is an old saying that “You get what you give”. Perhaps its something we should think about the next time we decide to go around accusing every Tom, Dick, and Harry of being a ‘spy’ or ‘suspicious’ just because he is carrying a foreign or diplomatic passport. Hopefully, the Americans have learned their lesson. Have we learned ours?

 

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