Pakistan’s relations with the US have swung from one extreme to the other i.e. from close relations to mistrust and angry reactions, sometimes bordering on hostility. These must be brought to an even level. Undoubtedly, the fundamental conditions for trust and mutual benefit exist. We became members of the Cento and Seato for the defence of our country. Surely, the main objective was to ensure Pakistan’s integrity and security through the acquisition of economic, financial and defence resources against the Indian aggression. It would be deceptive to assume that we joined the two pacts for the security of the US or any other country. Against this backdrop, the Pakistani Parliament in its resolution called upon to promote relations with Russia. Pursuit of diplomacy tells us that we should try to improve relations with all the countries including those whom we regard as our enemies. Indeed, Russia is a very important country with growing economic and financial strength, and can become a good trading and economic partner. Thus, multifaceted relations can be developed for mutual advantage of both the countries. However, we can never expect Russia to ditch India and support Pakistan - not even on the political plane.Many hold Liaquat Ali Khan responsible for spoiling Pakistan’s relations with the then Soviet Union, It is said that he should have gone to Moscow, instead of Washington DC. The assumption that this could have resulted in close relations with Russia is fallacious. Especially because relations with states are based on self-interest and geopolitical considerations.India because of its size, potential and the possibility that it could counter China was given due weight by the Soviet leadership and Pakistan could never achieve the same status. Thus, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali’s decision to go to Washington was correct; it surely was in the nation’s interest.After the Tashkent Agreement, the Soviet Union continued to support India as it had always been doing. Pakistan had entered into an agreement with the Soviet Union for the acquisition of tanks, but they were never delivered. General Gul Hassan Khan, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff in 1972, told this scribe in Vienna that while on a visit to the Soviet Union, he was presented with a model of tanks that it had agreed to sell to Pakistan. However, he was not told when the tanks would be delivered to Pakistan. Reportedly, Moscow strongly supported New Delhi in 1971, as the Soviet aircraft equipped with electronic devices jammed electronic systems of Pakistan Air Force planes, thereby crippling their ability to fight the Indian Air Force. Though the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly supported the resolution for the withdrawal of Indian forces from East Pakistan, the Soviet Union vetoed all efforts of the UN Security Council for withdrawal of Indian troops. The Soviet-Polish resolution called for the withdrawal of troops, but the retreat of Pakistani troops would have meant the separation of East Pakistan.Despite the current difficult situation, the basis for a better and long lasting relation between Pakistan and the USA does exist. In the pursuit of foreign policy, there is no room for emotionalism. In the aftermath of 9/11, there was no need for Pakistan to get involved in the Afghan war so deeply. It is said that even the US at that time wanted only half of what we agreed to do. But General Pervez Musharraf pushed Pakistan deeper and deeper into the conflict. He was also responsible for pushing Pakistan into the lap of extremists. Keeping this in view, it is wrong to accuse Ziaul Haq of bringing the Kalashnikov culture to Pakistan. His era was among the most peaceful eras in Pakistan’s history. Junejo initiated the process of giving Kalashnikov licences. The regimes that followed continued to do so. Also, it is wrong to place the Afghan mujahideen on the same pedestal as the Taliban. The mujahideen stood up against the Soviet invasion of their country. They were an indigenous product. The objective of Zia’s decision to support them was to ensure Pakistan’s security and integrity. The Soviets, in their design to reach the warm waters through greater Balochistan or directly through Pakistan, had moved into Afghanistan. In addition, it is incorrect to say that Pakistan got involved in Afghanistan at the behest of US or Western powers. The US/West remained silent spectators for almost three years. They only joined the forces when they realised that the bleeding in Afghanistan would culminate in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.The Talibans were not indigenous Afghan product. They came to surface during the second Benazir Bhutto government. I was surprised at this phenomenon and asked General Naseerullah Babar, the then Minister of Interior, as to who the Talibans were. His reply was that instead of dealing with 26 parties, Pakistan would have to deal with one party only.Anyway, the fundamentals of Pakistan-US relations remain positive and enduring. There are over a million Pakistanis residing and working in America; they can be formed into a strong Pakistan lobby. The USA is the leading partner of Pakistan in trade, investment, education and a vast number of other fields. There are several profitable areas of our collaboration. In our relations and our diplomacy, we must behave as honest, reliable and truthful. In the long range, it is only the ‘economic strength’ of Pakistan that will give it the means of providing resources or acquiring respectability in the comity of nations.Further, terrorism is eating us. Peace for us is as much essential as for any other country. Our policy should focus on eliminating terrorism, which should help establish security, peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan. The withdrawal of US troops and initiation of an era of peace and development rests on how quickly we can rid our country of the extremists, who have destroyed our peace and economy.The writer is a graduate from Harvard University (USA), retired ambassador and ex-chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.