Clinton hopes to win Pakistani hearts and minds with aid projects — Good luck!

In Islamabad today, Secretary Clinton announced a whole slew of development projects for Pakistan: hydroelectric dams, refurbishment of municipal water-supply systems, hospital renovations, agricultural projects, etc. In the photo above, she points to a map marking the location of many projects, while Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi looks on. The projects are being funded ...

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

In Islamabad today, Secretary Clinton announced a whole slew of development projects for Pakistan: hydroelectric dams, refurbishment of municipal water-supply systems, hospital renovations, agricultural projects, etc. In the photo above, she points to a map marking the location of many projects, while Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi looks on.

The projects are being funded through the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation passed in the United States last year that provides $7.5 billion over five years to fix Pakistan's infrastructure and promote its economic develpment. The U.S. government is trying to dispel the distrust that many Pakistanis have toward the United States, and Clinton was trying to make it clear that the development aid is for helping Pakistan itself and is not just for advancing U.S. security interests. At the news conference with Qureshi, as seen in the photo above, Clinton said:

"There's a legacy of suspicion that we inherited.… It's not going to be eliminated overnight. But it's our goal to slowly but surely demonstrate that the U.S. is concerned about Pakistan for the long term, and that the partnership goes far beyond security against our common enemies."

In Islamabad today, Secretary Clinton announced a whole slew of development projects for Pakistan: hydroelectric dams, refurbishment of municipal water-supply systems, hospital renovations, agricultural projects, etc. In the photo above, she points to a map marking the location of many projects, while Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi looks on.

The projects are being funded through the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation passed in the United States last year that provides $7.5 billion over five years to fix Pakistan’s infrastructure and promote its economic develpment. The U.S. government is trying to dispel the distrust that many Pakistanis have toward the United States, and Clinton was trying to make it clear that the development aid is for helping Pakistan itself and is not just for advancing U.S. security interests. At the news conference with Qureshi, as seen in the photo above, Clinton said:

"There’s a legacy of suspicion that we inherited.… It’s not going to be eliminated overnight. But it’s our goal to slowly but surely demonstrate that the U.S. is concerned about Pakistan for the long term, and that the partnership goes far beyond security against our common enemies."

She also said:

"We are committed to building a partnership with Pakistan that of course strengthens security and protects the people of Pakistan, but goes far beyond security."

It seems pretty naive to think this aid package isn’t primarily about security. Regardless of intent, however, will it win Pakistani hearts and minds? Methinks not. As of last October, when President Obama signed the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation, only 15 percent of Pakistanis surveyed supported it. Many think the aid money comes with too many strings attached and compromises Pakistan’s sovereignty.

I wish Clinton good luck, though. With her star power, you never know.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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