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Clinton in Pakistan: Halloween Edition

October 30, 2009

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the Badshahi mosque in Lahore yesterday


You know, Hillary Clinton hasn’t had it easy. Her eight-year build-up to what was assumed to be a shoe-in presidency was overshadowed by an even more sensational minor-it-eh figure. As Secretary of State, she’s had to gormlessly deal with international journalists who can’t see her as anything other than Mrs. Bill Clinton (anyone remember her ‘My Husband is Not Secretary of State, I am‘ tantrum back in August?), and deal with a world that is not too happy with America.

Most recently, in Pakistan, she has had to dodge a large group of protestors as well as some angry questions from students over US policy, particularly The Kerry-Lugar Aid Bill, which if anything only proves just how colonial US-Pakistan relations are.

While she spoke of ‘equal partnerships’, the mutual interets of both Pakistan and the US, and the desire to move away from the past eight years of US policy, the results of her visit are eeringly reminiscint of the Bush era, as evidenced by the headlines that followed:

Hillary Clinton: Pakistan Must Crack Down on Terrorist ‘Safe Havens’

Clinton: Pakistan in Danger

Clinton: Pakistan Blew it on al-Qaeda

Clinton: Pakistan Provides al-Qaeda Safe Haven

Clinton: Pakistan ‘Mortal Threat’ to the World

Clinton: Pakistan Abdicates to Taliban, Extremists

Clinton: ‘Hard to Believe’ Pakistan on al-Qaeda

So while Clinton tries to dress it up in fancy costumes about ‘partnerships’ and ‘mutual threats’, the meta-narrative on Pakistan remains heavily focused on the same old themes. Of course criticising US policy on Pakistan is similar to criticising French policy on Algeria circa early 20th century, but still, let’s call it like it is Hillary.

Oh btw Hillary, the costume is fooling no one.


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