16 May, 2021

Clinton Begs, Sharif Differs

Pakistan's seven tests undermine the US administration's clout

Clinton Begs, Sharif Differs

THE Pakistan nuclear tests on May 28 and May 30 delivered a double whammy to US foreign policy objectives. Not only did President Bill Clinton lose face, the blasts also put paid to another of his cherished goals—to get the Senate to ratify the CTBT.

In the last two weeks Washington had brought all its considerable diplomatic clout to bear on Pakistan to dissuade it from nuclear testing. But it didn't work. What does that say for US foreign policy initiatives? Clinton made several impassioned pleas to Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif and a high-powered American delegation led by deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott visited Islamabad. To no avail. Although the White House is trying to gloss over the apparent failure of American diplomacy and Clinton's personal intervention, several analysts have remarked on how far the US administration stuck its neck out when it was clear that there was not going to be much chance of success.

A former state department official said that when Sharif "summarily rejected"...

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