Tina K. Russell

August 27, 2008

Rogue diplomacy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 8:17 pm

U.N. Envoy’s Ties to Pakistani Are Questioned – NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is facing angry questions from other senior Bush administration officials over what they describe as unauthorized contacts with Asif Ali Zardari, a contender to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan.o main parties, announced in Islamabad that his party was leaving the coalition.

Mr. Khalilzad had spoken by telephone with Mr. Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, several times a week for the past month until he was confronted about the unauthorized contacts, a senior United States official said. Other officials said Mr. Khalilzad had planned to meet with Mr. Zardari privately next Tuesday while on vacation in Dubai, in a session that was canceled only after Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, learned from Mr. Zardari himself that the ambassador was providing “advice and help.”

“Can I ask what sort of ‘advice and help’ you are providing?” Mr. Boucher wrote in an angry e-mail message to Mr. Khalilzad. “What sort of channel is this? Governmental, private, personnel?” Copies of the message were sent to others at the highest levels of the State Department; the message was provided to The New York Times by an administration official who had received a copy.

Da haa haa haaa! Doesn’t Mr. Khalilzad know that the #1 rule of the Bush administration’s dealings with Pakistan is never to talk to anyone who actually has power?

It really does sound like Khalilzad crossed a line and needs to be reined in. Pakistan’s political scene is volatile enough without more reasons for Pakistan’s people to accuse us (part rightly, part not) of being “meddlers.” It’s just funny that he’s basically tested the US policy of hanging on to weak, unpopular leaders to the very end by going against it, and now, he could lose his career.

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