Theoretically, foreign policy goals of any country primarily safeguard its national interests. At the same time, it is important to have cordial relations with all countries of the world; focusing on commonality of interests and relegating the divergences to the secondary position. Unfortunately, our foreign policy has been susceptible to manipulations because of political and economic instability brought about by flawed policies of successive governments that depended on the US; and it was due to the dependency syndrome that Pakistan had to accept the US’s dictates. Over time, Pak-US relations have suffered serious setbacks due to misperceptions and distrust. Pakistan is often accused of selective military operations and taking action only against those terrorists who pose a threat to Pakistan. Pakistan, however, claims to have conducted operations against all militant groups. In first week of July 2017, a US congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain had visited Pakistan.Members of the delegation included fellow senators Lindsey Graham, Elizabeth Warren, David Perdue and Sheldon Whitehouse, who were flown to South Waziristan by the Pakistan military. They had called on both Islamabad and Washington to continue working closely to combat regional terrorism, and to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. The visit had come a month before the Trump administration was to unveil a new Afghan strategy. Before traveling to Waziristan, the senators had met in Islamabad with the-then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and top military officials. The Pakistani Prime Minister had reaffirmed his country’s commitment to supporting all efforts aimed at restoring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Nawaz Sharif said that concerted efforts were needed for a politically negotiated settlement under an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process.Successive US administrations and Pentagon generals often said that Pakistan must be sensitive to US security interests. The question is: what has Pakistan been doing since the US invasion of Afghanistan, if not exactly that?The visiting US lawmakers were all praise for Pakistan and admitted that Pakistani troops made progress in dismantling terrorist infrastructure and restoring peace to South Waziristan. “My colleagues from the United States Senate and I have had a very informative and important visit, understanding the challenges, the successes and remaining challenges that require close coordination and assistance from us and with us,” Senator McCain said. After their visit, McCain and the rest of the delegation flew to Afghanistan, where they spent time with US troops for the US Independence Day holiday on July 4, and met with Afghan leaders. On his return to the US, Senator McCain said the group has been only partly satisfied with its visit to Pakistan, which also included a military tour of North Waziristan where the army drove out Islamist militants in 2014 and 2015.Pakistan indeed carried out operations in both Waziristans without any discrimination; perhaps it did not wish to obscure the chances of peace by going after Taliban leaders as the US did in case of Mullah Mansour. The US neither ‘droned’ him when he was in Iran, nor arrested him when he made frequent trips to Dubai. Obviously, the objective was to put Pakistan on the mat. The problem is that Taliban leaders are already unhappy with Pakistan for having given transit facilities to NATO forces; if they are suspicious of Pakistan’s support in eliminating Taliban leaders, how can Pakistan help when the US and Afghanistan demand Pakistan to bring Taliban leaders to negotiating table? Last year, a delegation headed by Senator John McCain had visited Pakistan, and reportedly the purpose of the visit was to address Pakistan’s concerns.Pakistan was unhappy when in May 2016 the US Congress blocked Pakistan’s purchase of subsidised F-16 fighter aircraft for its fight against insurgents. The administration had earlier committed to pay $430 million in subsidies – through the U.S. foreign military’s financing budget – for the fighter jets valued at nearly $700 dollars, and Pakistan was to pay $270 million. Senator McCain had said Pakistan Army’s achievements in counter-terrorism operations were phenomenal and reflected Pakistan’s determination to eliminate terrorism. It is true that America has been generous in granting aid and grants in the 1960s, and then in 1980s during Afghan jihad/war. However, Pakistan on its part had honoured its commitments during the Cold War. Yet, the US administration and Pentagon generals often said that Pakistan must be sensitive to US security interests. The question is: what has Pakistan been doing since the US invasion of Afghanistan, if not exactly that? In fact, since the 1950s, Pakistan has been looking after American interests after it joined military pacts with the West. When a US spy plane U-2 took off from Badaber airbase near Peshawar and was shot down by Soviet Union in 1960, whose interest Pakistan had served if not the US? Yet Pakistan’s ally – the US – became ‘non-aligned’ during 1965 war between India and Pakistan. Once again, Pakistan became the frontline state after Soviet forces entered Afghanistan on the request of Afghan government in late 1970s, which was indeed done to serve interest of the US and the West but was detrimental to national interest. It was Pakistan that was making all the sacrifices yet drawing flak for their failures and foibles in Afghanistan. And ironically, all the favours were bestowed on India. At least for once, the movers and shakers of the United States should be honest; they should confess their blunders and failures in Afghanistan, and acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices squarely. The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, September 17th 2017.