Opposing the sale of F-16s by the United States to Pakistan, former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill on Tuesday said his country’s policy towards Pakistan is a “dramatic example of the failure of American foreign policy”.
Blackwill’s comments assume significance in the wake of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s ongoing visit to India, even as Washington is going ahead with the sale of F-16s to Pakistan despite New Delhi’s objections. Carter has justified the sale of the F-16 aircraft, saying they are being supplied to Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations.
Known for his sharp words, Blackwill said: “I am against the sale of F-16s by the US to Pakistan… I am bewildered by the US policy towards Pakistan. (Albert) Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (The) US has been doing the same mistakes again and again, and expecting different results, in Pakistan.”
In a limited interaction organised by Carnegie India, Blackwill, now a Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy, said: “Every time a new administration in Washingtom comes to office, they get worried about Pakistan, which has a stockpile of nuclear weapons. The US Secretary of State then visits Pakistan and meets the top leadership. He is systematically lied to by Pakistan’s leadership, and this goes on for about two years. In the third year, he tells his colleagues at the (US) State Department that Pakistan’s leaders have been lying to him.
Then they think about how to deal with the situation, and the elections come in and a new administration takes charge. The same thing is (then) repeated.”
Speaking at an event organised to discuss his new book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft, Blackwill said India faces “serious geoeconomic challenge” from China. “China’s policy towards India has been to preoccupy India in the region. China’s relationship with Pakistan is aimed at keeping India sufficiently preoccupied in the region, so that it doesn’t challenge China at the global stage,” he said.
However, Blackwill said, India is a much more successful economic player in geoeconomics — even ahead of the US, but behind China and Russia.