Kerry Returns From Pakistan

                                           Senator John Kerry (D-MA) visits Pakistan              

The Senate Foreign relations Committee met this morning in Washington to discuss how to move forward with Pakistan after recent developments in the past few weeks have strained the relationship between the two countries. The discovery and death of Osama bin Laden, who had been living and hiding in Pakistan for at least five years has Americans, Congress and the Administration questioning what is the U.S. role in Pakistan means and what the U.S. has gained from billions of dollars in aid to the country over the last decade. The committee questioned whether those funds have been and are being used to support American interests. Gen. James L. Jones, who most recently served as National Security Advisor to President Obama was the only witness at today’s hearing and offered a tremendous amount of insight into how the U.S. might move forward with Pakistan. General Jones made it clear that "we all lose if it doesn't work out" and that "trying to defeat the Taliban while they have safe havens across the border precludes the success of the U.S. mission in Pakistan.” General Jones also explained to the committee that the future of both countries relies on which way Pakistan pivots and stability in the region, overall, is directly tied to this. "Everybody knows what needs to be done; both sides know what needs to be done, but no one will take the first step," General Jones told the committee.

Whether Pakistan favors a stable Afghanistan at all is something Congress and the Administration has begun to seriously question. A destabilized Afghanistan allows Pakistan to dominate the region and eases fears that Afghanistan may become an ally to India. Senator Corker (R-TN) suggested that Pakistan has worked to "degrade Afghanistan," and until Pakistan develops a “national policy that rejects terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy and is willing to root out terrorist organizations in its own country, it will be difficult to get taxpayer support for a country that can’t get its act together," and "doesn't even like us." Corker explained

Chinas’ relationship with Pakistan came under fire as well. Senator Webb (D-VA), joined the committee late and made note of the fact that he had just seen footage of Pakistan’s Prime Minister on his China visit calling Chin, Pakistan's "best friend." "Why do we borrow forty cents on the dollar from China to lend to Pakistan only to have the Pakistani Prime Minister go to China and call China their best friend?" Sen. Kerry asked.

Sen. Kerry (D-MA) also answered questions from reporters outside the hearing regarding the return of the helicopter tail left behind at the raid two weeks ago. The Pentagon has made it clear that the helicopter tail must be returned to the U.S and could not under any circumstances fall into the hands of the Chinese. Sen. Kerry, confirmed that the tail would be returned today and was careful not to reveal too much information to the press concerning his two day visit to Pakistan but did say that he does believe, as does Tom Donalan, and the administration, “that there is no indication that senior Pakistani officials knew that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan" and that Pakistan is engaged in their own probe. However, officials in Pakistan do admit "things went wrong."