Obama and the United States–Pakistan Marriage of Convenience
Despite lofty expectations, United States–Pakistan relations worsened during the Obama administration. This souring of the relationship was brought about principally by Pakistan’s position as a frontline state in the US Global War on Terrorism. While that status helped Pakistan obtain substantial US aid during the Obama administration, it also came with frequent US violations of Pakistani sovereignty. The critical year of 2011 saw the near rupture in United States–Pakistan ties. While both Washington and Islamabad ultimately needed one another, considerable distrust continued for the remainder of the Obama administration. That distrust was amplified by the continued improvement in United States–India relations. And an effort to improve United States–Pakistan relations through a large multiyear commitment of US foreign aid failed to overcome elite disagreements as well as popular disapproval in Pakistan. Ultimately, US efforts to cultivate a positive image in Pakistan were insufficient to overcome a long history of mutual mistrust.