NELSON INSTITUTE SCHOLAR DISCUSSES PAKISTAN’S “UGLY FACTS ON THE GROUND”

July 28, 2008

HARRISONBURG—In the current issue of the international affairs journal American Foreign Policy Interests, Walter C. Rodgers, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at James Madison University’s Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs, discusses the violence and contradictions which he characterizes to be the “ugly facts on the ground” concerning Pakistan.

According to Mr. Rodgers, who spent most of 2007 teaching journalists in Pakistan, the country is “in a revolutionary or at least prerevolutionary state” with at least two of its four provinces “semi-autonomous or at least barely in the control of the Islamabad government.” Reviewing the country’s history and geopolitical significance as well as reporting his first-hand observations over the last two decades, he concludes:

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, when the rest of the world commiserated with Americans, I was in Islamabad and recall Pakistani newspapers oozing bile and heaping hatred on the United States. American visitors, especially VIPs, may be welcomed graciously in Pakistan, but it is hard to be sanguine about a country warped by its anti-American hatred. During the funeral of Benazir Bhutto, angry Pakistanis were raging and shouting virulent anti-American slogans, despite the fact she was clearly Washington’s favorite for prime minister. When Benazir died, the Pakistani street blamed the Americans rather than Al Qaeda. Amid this poisonous hatred of the United States, which financially props up both Pakistan’s army and its economy, it is difficult for a rational person to find all that much hope. Pakistan remains its own worst enemy.

Mr. Rodgers has been associated with the Nelson Institute since 2006. During his nearly four-decade career as a journalist, he covered everything from the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to the invasion of Iraq. His foreign postings have included tours ABC News bureau chief in Moscow and CNN bureau chief in Jerusalem. In addition to his broadcast journalism, Rodgers has written extensively for the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Washingtonian magazine, and the Christian Science Monitor.

American Foreign Policy Interests is a bimonthly journal published by Taylor & Francis for the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a research organization founded in 1974 by the late Dr. Hans J. Morgenthau and dedicated to identifying, articulating, and helping to advance the national interests of the United States from a nonpartisan perspective within the framework of political realism. Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute, has served as a member of the National Committee’s Board of Advisors since January 2006.

For the full text of the article by Mr. Rodgers, “ Pakistan: Reality’s Collision with Hope,” click here.