"Hateful to me as are the gates of hell, Is he who, hiding one thing in his heart, Utters another." Homer For the first time in Pakistans history, a decision has been made keeping in view its supreme national interest. Otherwise, several incidents can be mentioned in which it has been compromised to make way for USAs strategic goals in South Asia. One of the basic reasons for this decision is because the civilian-military leadership is determined to protect Pakistans integrity. Thus, despite President Barack Obamas call to President Asif Zardari to condole the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers at the Salalah check post, the government remained firm and refused to reverse its decision to boycott the Bonn Conference. Against this backdrop, the USA has already decided to suspend the much needed military aid to Pakistan to combat terrorism. Additionally, the administration in Washington has cut its non-security assistance under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, besides influencing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to further strike financial deals with Islamabad. It is also encouraging New Delhi to play a disproportionately large role in Afghanistan and has provided it with the tools that would enable the Indian army to train up to 30,000 Afghan troops. This, in turn, will increase the Indian clout in the war-torn country. It seems that all these measures are being taken to exert pressure on Pakistan, so that the US could pressurise it to act according to American diktat. Failing in their notorious designs, however, the Americans have now decided to back-paddle. In the coming days and weeks, it is expected that the tensions, which flared up between USA and Pakistan after the Salalah tragedy, might calm down, to some extent. However, it was not surprising to know that Senator John McCain, a leading Republican and member of the Congress, has accused Pakistan and its intelligence agency, the ISI, of supporting militant groups; according to him, they are responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan. He blamed them for firing across the border and providing roadside bombs to the extremists against Nato troops. Nevertheless, these accusations came at a time when Obama was offering his condolences to Zardari on the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers. In the past, USA has tried to pursue a flawed policy and, thus, failed to achieve any of its objectives in the region. Therefore, the recipe provided by Senator McCain, who wants to attach further conditions on the level of cooperation that would come from Pakistani forces, is bound to fail. Hence, the Americans need to pursue a clearheaded policy, in case they are serious to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014. Indeed, America has two faces. Due to this, there are widespread anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. If Washington continues to pursue its agenda to pressurise Islamabad to follow its dictates, even at the cost of the countrys national interest, then the Americans are living in a fools paradise. Both USA and Pakistan need to improve their bilateral relations. Surely, if America looks after our interests, there is no reason why Pakistan will not reciprocate. But if it continues its policy of unilateralism, without caring much for what is in our national interest, the present breakdown in relations will remain the way they are with very little hope of being repaired in the near future. The least it could have done was to offer an unqualified apology and compensate for those who lost their lives in the unprovoked attack, besides punishing those responsible for the deliberate act of aggression. The Americans and the Afghans have been talking about the outcome of Pakistan's restrictions on the Nato supply routes. The fact of the matter is that while the US may have alternative routes available through some of the Central Asian States, it would be choked at the advent of winter, making it difficult for the US/Nato forces to continue the Afghan war. So, it needs to pursue a policy that caters to Pakistans interests. Also, the Obama administration should contain Indias growing influence in Afghanistan, which has been nurtured by some of its short-sighted policymakers. It would be equally productive, if it forces the Indians for an equitable resolution to the Kashmir dispute. Currently, the ball is USAs court. Instead of further indulging in bluster, it would be appropriate if the State rectifies the wrong it did to Pakistan. Pakistan is well aware of the difficulties faced by the Obama administration because of the upcoming presidential elections, but this does not mean that the country should surrender its legitimate rights to anyone. The US must restore Pakistan's military assistance, release the Coalition Support Funds and advice its high-ranking officials to refrain from attacking or accusing the country on issues that are not its creation. As for the US reservation about the Haqqani Network, this is an issue that requires skilful diplomacy and cannot be resolved by the high-sounding rhetoric coming from Washington. One hopes that wisdom will prevail in America and Pakistan, especially the US, and concerted efforts will be put in place, so that whatever has been lost or damaged can be repaired and built again. The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist. At present, he hosts a political programme on Pakistan Television. Email: zarnatta@hotmail.com