Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Three terms that wouldn’t occur to me in describing the U.S.-Pakistan relationship

"We are trying to have an open, transparent, and mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. based on our national interest," the Pakistani prime minister told officers at that country’s Command and Staff college. Well, that is good news! But then I read more of his comments and I realized Prime Minister Gilani probably was engaging in ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

"We are trying to have an open, transparent, and mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. based on our national interest," the Pakistani prime minister told officers at that country's Command and Staff college. Well, that is good news!

But then I read more of his comments and I realized Prime Minister Gilani probably was engaging in what one of my sisters used to call "grandma talk," to signify when my mother would say the opposite of what she actually meant (e.g., "You look thin!"). For example, the Pak PM said, "we want to play our role in the stability and peace in Afghanistan." And he said he believes that "our children and the generations to follow will lead a peaceful and productive life." Just use the Grandma interpreter, and you will understand what he is saying.

"We are trying to have an open, transparent, and mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. based on our national interest," the Pakistani prime minister told officers at that country’s Command and Staff college. Well, that is good news!

But then I read more of his comments and I realized Prime Minister Gilani probably was engaging in what one of my sisters used to call "grandma talk," to signify when my mother would say the opposite of what she actually meant (e.g., "You look thin!"). For example, the Pak PM said, "we want to play our role in the stability and peace in Afghanistan." And he said he believes that "our children and the generations to follow will lead a peaceful and productive life." Just use the Grandma interpreter, and you will understand what he is saying.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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