Obama administration officials and top congressional Democrats are getting tougher on Pakistan in an ongoing series of accusations and strong language. Senator Carl Levin, echoing similar comments by Secretary Clinton, threatened the Pakistani leadership that if it did not publicly declare the Haqqani network a terrorist organization, the US would abandon its partnership with Islamabad. As Levin said in a speech at the CFR:
What has been apparent for years is that Pakistan military intelligence, the ISI, maintains ties with the Haqqani network and provides support to this group, even as these extremists engage in cross-border attacks against our forces…It is unacceptable for the United States to spend its blood and treasure so that Afghanistan does not once again become a breeding ground for militant extremists while Pakistan protects terrorists who cross the border to attack us. Pakistan cannot evade its responsibility for its role in allowing and supporting these attacks.
The hole in the heart of American strategy in Afghanistan has long been the assumption that Pakistan was or could be induced to become a reliable ally. The signs are that the administration increasingly believes that we have come to the end of the road. As I’ve been arguing here at Via Meadia since my last trip to Pakistan a little more than a year ago, the only chance the US has to save this relationship is to threaten to walk away completely — and to be ready to carry out that threat if need be. The Obama administration has moved steadily in that direction; big changes in both our relationship with Pakistan and our plans in Afghanistan could soon start to appear.