Washington's continued insensitivity to the popular sentiment in Pakistan only reinforces the global perception that the US was not a "steadfast and reliable" friend and that over the decades, the US neglect and "self-serving" exploitation of its friends had been contributing to most of the current problems in the world. There is no consistency between America's values and ideals and its actual practices. In fact, it follows two sets of values, one for itself and the other for the rest of the world. The US treatment of Pakistan over the decades after its independence as "an errand boy" and now its ceaseless efforts to undermine the democratic process in this country with a unifocal blind commitment to sustaining its "one man" rule give rise to many questions on the credibility of the "strategic" relationship that both sides have always claimed to enjoy as friends and "close allies." No doubt, we have been friends and allies for nearly sixty years now. It is an old relationship that has seen alternating periods of "good and bad" equation depending on the convergence and divergence of our respective goals and policies. As a consequence, it is a relationship that, for much of its history, has lacked continuity, a larger conceptual framework, and a shared vision beyond the "narrowly based and vaguely defined" priorities. For Pakistan, issues of security and survival in a turbulent and hostile regional environment and its problems with India have been the main policy goals in its relations with the US. Washington's policy interests in Pakistan, on the other hand, have involved a wide range of issues, including regional terrorism, nuclear weapons and missile proliferation, India-Pakistan hostility, democracy and human rights, economic reform and market opening, and narcotics trafficking. Historically, it has been our experience, however, that as soon as the US achieved its objectives vis--vis Pakistan it would lose interest in cooperating with us. Pakistan was either consigned to benign neglect or hit with a succession of punitive sanctions that left in their trail resentment and a sense of betrayal. This sequence of "highs and lows" turned into a love-hate relationship between the two countries. Every US "engagement" with Pakistan was issue-specific and not based on any shared perspectives. The spells of close ties between the two countries have been, and may continue to be, single-issue engagements of limited or uncertain duration. The first of the three major U.S. "engagements" with Pakistan occurred during the height of the Cold War, from the mid-1950s to mid-1960s; the second was during the Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union in the 1980s again lasting about a decade; and the third engagement dates to September 11, 2001 focusing on the US war on terror. Interestingly, during each engagement or "honeymoon" period, we in Pakistan had either a military or military-controlled government, whereas in Washington, the policy direction on Pakistan was in the hands of a Republican White House with Pentagon and the CIA playing a central role And ironically, most of the "estrangement" phases of the US-Pakistan relationship happened when they had a Democrat Administration and we had a civilian elected government. Pakistan has stood with the US through thick and thin despite having been repeatedly left alone in the face of endemic threats to it security and survival from its neighborhood and the disastrous consequences of the Afghan War. We have suffered and continue to suffer the disastrous consequences of our direct role in the Afghan War in the form of massive refugee influx and a culture of drugs and guns, commonly known as the "Kalashnikov" culture. In the aftermath of 9/11, we are once again a pivotal "front-line" state fighting terrorism as a key US ally and partner. The sum total of Pakistan's post-9/11 foreign policy has been its new identity on the global radar screen as the hotbed of religious extremism and terrorism, and a country afflicted with an incorrigible culture of violence and sectarianism. Pakistan is also the only country in the world today to be fighting a full-scale military war against its own people. Our problems have been further complicated by the complex regional configuration with Americans sitting in Afghanistan, a growing Indo-US nexus, India's strategic ascendancy in the region and its unprecedented influence in Afghanistan with serious nuisance potential vis--vis Pakistan. The US in recent months has escalated unilateral military strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas to pressurize the new civilian government to continue to follow General Musharraf's approach in the "war on terror." There is also a growing perception of Washington seeking to interfere with Pakistan's post-election process of political transformation and obstructing the implementation of the February 18 election verdict which was not only a referendum against General Musharraf's one-man rule but also a clear mandate to the country's two main stream political parties to put the country back on the path of democracy and rule of law. No wonder, there is a growing anti-Americanism in Pakistan as a result of America's continued Musharraf-specific focus. The people of Pakistan have been struggling for the rule of law and independence of judiciary since March last year and have spoken loud and clear for a change in their country. They want General Musharraf to go and would not accept anyone helping him to remain in power. This amounts to joining the war of "one against all." This popular mood in Pakistan was amply demonstrated by a young student at a Harvard University scholarship award ceremony in Islamabad this week when he stunningly bypassed the US ambassador without shaking her hand and receiving the award  in protest against Washington's military attacks in Pakistan and its blatant support for a dictator whom the people have democratically rejected as an illegitimately "re-elected" president. This is just one example of growing anti-Americanism in general reaction to US self-righteousness, its international conduct including the blatant use of force in Iraq and elsewhere, its intrusions on national sovereignty, its unabashed use of military power, its contempt for moral and multilateral imperatives and its role in the growth of anti-Islam sentiment in the West. It is clear that no other nation has done greater damage to its own global prestige and credibility because of its misdirected policies and misplaced priorities. In some cases, it lost not only its face but also its soul. Ironically, most of these policies have given no relief to the world in terms of peace and development, nor have they brought any political or economic dividends to the US itself. The US has never practiced in an international context what it preaches globally, and what it claims to practice at home, i.e. democratic values. Internationally, it conducts itself as an omniscient sage observing what the famous historian and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Arthur Schlesinger described "two sets of values, one for its internal policies and the other used in foreign affairs." Its record of keeping authoritarian regimes and military dictatorships in power in many countries is too well-known to be recounted here. With growing anti-Americanism all over the world, there is equally growing concern in the US today (not necessarily in the neo-con fueled White House) over the challenges that this universal phenomenon poses to US global interests and policy objectives. There is a need for "self-reappraisal" in Washington to identify the real causes, motivations, attitudes and criticisms that have over the decades contributed to anti-Americanism. The US must also review its flawed policies on Pakistan, which are leading to its total alienation from 160 million people of this country just as it alienated itself from the people of Iran in the late 70s. A people's trust once lost can never be regained. One historic lesson that the US must not "unlearn" is that its excessive reliance on authoritarian regimes and military dictators will not serve its long-term interests nor promote regional and global stability. US engagement with Pakistan must go beyond the question of terrorism. It must reach out to democratic and liberal forces and the business community in our country, and also the younger generation in Pakistan, which may resent US power but not its ideals. And in their success alone lies the very future of Pakistan as a strong and stable democratic country with a moderate and progressive outlook and as a factor of regional and global stability. What both sides now need is to set a better bilateral perspective for this relationship to make it a mutually beneficial, normal and functional relationship with a policy focus on the people of Pakistan rather than on one man. US-Pakistan relations will stand or fall depending on whether they benefit the people of Pakistan or any particular regime or ruler.