'Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.' If ever there was a poetic affirmation of philosopher George Santayana's time-worn aphorism, it is the saga of United States policy toward Pakistan -- from its inception over 60 years ago until the death of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, says Harold A Gould.
It is a judgment that cuts both ways. Neither Pakistan nor the US ever learned from their past mistakes and the consequences are there for all to see; history has repeated itself -- not once, but several times.
Reggie Sinha has recently summed it all up in a single crisp sentence: 'When will the American leadership,' he declared, 'realise the true cost of (Pakistan's) double game?'
But the plea can equally be made in the opposite direction: When will the American leadership face the fact that it was US policies that put Pakistan in the position to play its double game?
The events which led up to Abbottabad did not happen yesterday or a decade ago or even two decades ago. They have their roots and their origins in the American decision following World War II to bring the emerging Cold War to South Asia.
Harold A Gould is a veteran South Asia expert