Along with Sen. Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana, Senator Kerry is a key supporter of the expected new legislation on Pakistan. It mirrors a plan that Vice President Joe Biden proposed last year when he was still a senator. Then, as now, it is a thinly veiled criticism of the Bush administration's Pakistan policy, which focused aid and relations on ousted military leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
Pentagon on board
Last week, Pentagon officials emerged from a meeting in Washington with Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani to say they supported a more "comprehensive" strategy for US relations with Pakistan – albeit one that encompassed smarter and more effective military assistance. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sounded a similar note when she met with Pakistani and Afghan officials last week.
She announced that trilateral US-Afghanistan-Pakistan talks will become a regular feature of the Obama administration's plan for region. It further points to the Obama administration's desire to look beyond the military alone for solutions to the conflict spanning the Afghan-Pakistan border – an area he and others consider the epicenter of global terrorism.