Analysis

Pakistan, China, and the secret helicopter: Can U.S.-Pakistan relations recover?

U.S. intelligence officials believe their counterparts in Islamabad let China study the classified American helicopter lost in the bin Laden raid. Now what?

In the latest sign of fraying relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, Islamabad allegedly allowed China to examine the top-secret stealth helicopter that was downed in the U.S. Navy SEALs' mission to kill Osama bin Laden, the Financial Times reports. U.S. intelligence officials even believe Chinese military engineers took home samples of the modified Black Hawk's radar-evading skin. Is this a sign the alliance between the U.S. and Pakistan is damaged beyond repair?

Yes. It is over between us: "Despite brave words on both sides, the US-Pakistan alliance is dying a slow and painful death," says Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest. Too many Pakistani military and intelligence officials have written us off as enemies. It's time for the Obama administration to "develop a policy for south and central Asia which assumes Pakistani hostility to most of our key objectives.""Pakistan gives China look at downed U.S. helicopter"

Washington will repair the relationship: It's in America's interest to patch things up, says Mark Mazzetti in The New York Times. So high-ranking Obama administration officials are trying to "dial back tensions before they do permanent damage to the shaky alliance." The "mutual distrust and competing agendas" make relations with Pakistan a huge headache, but "the prospect of Washington permanently severing ties with a nuclear-armed country as volatile as Pakistan would be far more dangerous.""U.S. aides believe China examined stealth copter"

It is getting harder to see the point in this: Congress has been debating cutting off aid to Pakistan all year, says Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, and it's a dilemma: If we do cut off the cash, we might just drive Pakistan "further into the arms of China." But "when so much of the money we send them seems to wind up being poured directly into corruption and decay, it begins to look like we're actually fueling the problem and paying off the bad guys to act slightly less badly.""Super! Pakistan lets China see downed U.S. stealth helicopter"

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