Tipping point for US-Pakistan relations?

With Pakistan keeping the supply routes to Afghanistan shut the US is facing growing pressure to resolve its disputes with its troubled ally. Journalist Gareth Porter believes Pakistan may soon start opposing the US and should prepare to live on its own.

Porter told RT that relations between the US and Pakistan are at a “potential tipping point” and Islamabad may start openly opposing the majority of US policies in the region.

The supply routes to Afghanistan are a fundamental source of leverage Pakistan has on NATO and the United States as they cannot continue the war in Afghanistan for very long with the routes closed, he explained.

He believes “the United States would be forced to make concessions to Pakistan to try to make amends in the end in order to save its policy in Afghanistan.”

Porter also thinks that Pakistan should expect to live with a lower level of economic assistance in the future than it had in the past should it become independent of US foreign policy.

Pakistan is reportedly considering imposing a tax on US and NATO supplies going to Afghanistan via its territory.

The route was shut down three weeks ago after a NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, bringing relations between Washington and Islamabad to a new low.

However Richard Weitz, from the Center for Political-Military Analysis says that given the context of the worsening relations between Pakistan and the US the possibility of the tax being imposed is not that bad for the United States.

What they’ve done this time as opposed to previous occasions is shut down both supply corridors and, keeping them closed, they boycotted the Bonn conference on the recovery of Afghanistan. They’ve announced a review of relations with NATO and the US.”

The worst scenario is that those supply lines don’t open at all,” Weitz argues.

Porter says that the threat is quite credible. “Given the degree to which the popular mood is so angry at the United States, there is very strong pressure from below to maintain that policy.”