The bilateral diplomacy between Pakistan and the United States (US) has always been tortuous. Any Pakistani can produce a plethora of genuine grievances involving our sinuous relations with US. The two countries established diplomatic relations in October 1947 and the newly independent Pakistan found a valuable ally in the White House. At that time, a friend in high places was needful of both moral and financial support as our eastern neighbour and rival was much more powerful than us. We had suspicions that India might levy a war on Pakistan with an intent to annex the new dominion as was obvious from their threats and taunts. A letter sent by Quaid-e-Azam to United States (US) via his representative for military and financial aid was answered though neither unconditionally nor thoroughly yet enough to strengthen our institutional capacity albeit temporarily. Soon Pakistan joined the anti-communist organisations of SEATO and CENTO (originally named the Baghdad Pact) in 1954 and 1955 respectively, which were formulated by the USA. But affinity between the two countries was not long lasting.The rise of China as a communist power and its 1962 war with India turned the favourable attitude of the superpower across the Atlantic nonchalant towards Pakistan. In an endeavour to contain China, the United States focused on empowering our arch rival India. In 1974, a nuclear test by New Delhi was termed as a fait accompli by the US along with other World Powers while Pakistan was slapped with sanctions in the 1990’s for its pursuit of the same weapons. In 1974, a nuclear test by New Delhi was termed as a fait accompli by the US along with other world powers, while Pakistan was slapped with sanctions in the 1990’s for its pursuit of the same weaponsIn the 1980s, once again the two countries were drawn closer for the sake of mutual interest. Although Pakistan itself felt a wave of apprehensions about the Red Army’s manoeuvre and the Soviet Union’s quest for warm water, it is universally conceived that we waged a proxy war for the United States (US) against its chief rival. In return, we have billions of dollars and heaps of weaponry and ammunition. An American made Jihad was fought predominantly with American armaments in Afghanistan, primarily by Pakhtuns. When the dissolution of the USSR was imminent and the US had got its job done, not only were we left in the lurch regarding situation in Afghanistan but the provisions of Pressler Amendment were also activated which banned military assistance to Pakistan.After the conduction of nuclear tests by both India and Pakistan in May 1998, strategic dialogues between the two South Asian neighbours and the United States were initiated. It was agreed upon that both New Delhi and Islamabad would be treated on the same footing in the future. But subsequent to 9/11, we found Pakistan and Afghanistan hyphenated in US foreign policy. Had we looked deep into the history of the US vis-à-vis the extent to which it keeps its words and conforms to International law, our approach in establishing a relationship with Washington DC might have been different.The US, which was not yet independent and was in the middle of its war of independence entered into a treaty of alliance with France in 1778. The pact promised mutual military support in case of war against Great Britain. As a result, France championed the American revolutionary war. But in 1793 when France made a demand for support in the war against Spain and Great Britain, it was turned down by Washington, violating the Franco-American treaty. Later under the garb of the Monroe Doctrine, the US meddled in the internal affairs of many states, especially those in Americas. In gross violation of international law, it intervened in Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Haiti in 1905, 1913, and 1915 respectively. The US relinquished the right of intervention at the Buenos Aires Conference of American States in 1936 and renewed this pledge in the charter of Organization of American States in 1948. But these oaths were dishonoured when the US financed and directed the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and opted for another intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965.When the US came to know that any resolution on the invasion of Iraq would be blocked by Russia and France, it opted to bypass the UNSC. In September 2004, the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan termed the Iraq war illegal, and against the UN charter.While sitting on the table with the US, all these facts should be taken into consideration. The US is not a country which should be trusted blindly and expected to follow through with its promises and pledges. We ought to adopt a very cautious approach in this regard. Notwithstanding, replacing the US for powers in the neighbourhood would be an act of sheer folly in our diplomatic history. Rather, relations with one country must never cost us our ties with another, and these should only serve our national interests. Bonds with Russia and China must be strengthened, but reliance on one or a few countries must be avoided as it already proved embarrassing for us in the FATF meeting this year.We have to come up with a clear stance and convince the US about our well founded fears from eastern and western neighbours. There is neither room for substitution nor for tractability. Making new friends is good, but increasing the number of enemies, especially in high places is tantamount to idiocy. Particularly in current circumstances when, Mike Pompeo, a person known for his anti-Pakistan stances has been appointed as Secretary of State and John Bolton, a well-known hawk, is chosen as a new National Security Advisor, Islamabad needs to play its cards gingerly and wittily.The writer can be reached at SirajShawa@gmail.com and Tweets at @SrjShawaPublished in Daily Times, April 5th 2018.