I was on Russia Today (RT) television live yesterday evening discussing how effective I think Obama’s recent $50 million dollar pledge to “reverse anti-American sentiments inside Pakistan” through Pakistani media will be.

As a Bangladeshi, I know firsthand about the hundreds and hundreds of amazing programs USAID has not just in South Asia, but around the world. From population and health to democracy and governance, USAID programs play an instrumental and critical role in the lives of the people they serve. Many Bangladeshis depend directly on some of these programs for their livelihood, or have been lifted out of poverty as a result.

But how effective do we think this $50 million is going to be in changing or influencing US-Pakistan relations? I argue that while USAID and the general good works the US does in Pakistan and around the world definitely deserve exposure, at the end of the day actions speak louder than words.

What do you think?

3 comments

  1. Agreed.

    What is problematic about a campaign to reduce “anti-American sentiments” is that it reduces complex, historically and structurally laden relations of power to just that: individual sentiments.

    Pakistanis are not simply spiteful people with bad attitudes that can be calmed by rhetoric while the US government and military continue to conduct business as usual. Simply put, the most effective way to reduce anti-American sentiment would be to identify the legitimate concerns of dissenting Pakistani civilians and change the conditions that brought about those concerns.
    If you’re upset because a tree has fallen on your house, getting a new car with the help of a friend is only a stopgap measure for improving how you feel about your living situation. Sooner or later you need to deal with the thing that is crushing your roof.

  2. Actions speak much louder than words!

    If the US have any hope in making room in people’s heart I think the paid promotion must be last thing they must go for.

    If on one side these campaigns are going on and on other side the drown attacks without any collaboration with local government than there must be no hope for Obama.

    Also if US wants to change anything in this regard they will then have to fully recognize the role Pakistan have played in this war.

    Also they will have to rethink ways if they really want to help.
    e.g. Instead of commencing the drone attacks, transfer the drone technology, work with Pakistani forces closely to assist and let the local forces handle things on their soil.

    Without changing the stuff on ground I truly doubt this promotion plan working.

  3. Its my 1st time that I’ve come to know Miss Anushay, and her Point of course, and I appreciate the way you’ve tackled and explained situation, although, I might say that, for America to invest 50Million US dollars on Pro-America-sentiment building, US must rather concentrate on winning Pakistani’s Heart by showing more concern towards public. Such an investment in creating a Hype through media might appear another attack on the integrity of Pakistanies.
    Inspite of US and its subsidiary network Active for decades in developing Pakistan and Her abilities, the common man has least profited, the Direct profits which have now surfaced after USAID etc involvements on ground at Earthquake and Flood hit areas and its Support to rehabilitate people has created positive attitude on ground-level towards America, but, the point is, you can’t “buy” peoples’ emotions, and thats what US has been doing, “Purchasing” Pakistani Sentiment,

    Us has to come out of this folly, and be more sympathetic than acting being buyer, and demanding “do more”, which appears more of a barter than sympathetic notion. US can just go on bombing Pakistani soil and people, refraining our government to have dialogues with Militants while Herself taking the opportunity to have dialogues with Mullah Umer in Afghanistan, Us must stop violating boarders and conducting raids into Pakistan,

    There are International laws as well as Social and Moral responsibilities a country or a nation must abide within, which not only builds its positive image but its reliability as well. Pakistanis have found America violating both, and lying not only to their countrymen but with International community too, I do not think any “Sane Nation” would believe a country which such history to be loyal or friends.

    US needs to change its strategy, from buying politicians and assuming a Nation’s sentiments to be ‘purchasable’, and shift to a more doable, acceptable, justifiable and legitimate strategy of confidence building by classifying Its demands, Its intents, and by putting an stop to lying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s