Luckily, not all are blind, there are those who can see, and there are those who understand (as did the Bard) that the past is but a prologue. Dr Ijaz Ahsan, writing on the opposite page on April 24 rightly said that the time has come for Pakistanis to decide whether they want Muhammad Ali Jinnah's Pakistan or that of the rampaging Taliban. He rightly reminded us that the creator of the nation had clearly stated that citizens of Pakistan are "free to go to their mosques, to your temples, or any other place of worship," that they "may belong to any religion or caste or creed" as this "has nothing to do with the business of the state." The Taliban, and the many like-minded brainwashed in our midst, have it otherwise. Undoubtedly, one major blind spot has for years been the issue of just 'what is' and 'what is not' the business of the state, and that, with the blinkered national mindset, is a hard nut to crack. Another blind spot that has a great bearing upon the present and the future is the state of denial in which a large segment of the population exists when it comes to Pakistan's relationship with the USA, to which it has for most of its life held out a begging bowl that has been topped up. On the one hand, we pester the Americans for aid and succour, and on the other pour out venom against them - or at least against their governments. Most Pakistanis neither know nor wish to know how US policy-making functions. We live in our own world, with only our particular narrative. That narrative is now clashing increasingly with the US view. The Americans do not agree with us on India and Afghanistan, they believe we are up to no good in our region, they think we are unwilling to look upon terrorism and Talibanisation as real threats while at the same time coveting their money. Most of our complaints sound hollow to the Americans. For example, we say we cannot be your partner if you keep on running media campaigns against our national security institutions. The Americans turn around and say: "Oh really We'll talk to our free media to cut the ISI some slack the day your official media stops abusing the CIA." We cite our inability to keep our promises on the basis of the views of our own people. They shrug their shoulders and wonder aloud if we know what Americans think of Pakistan. We say: "Our people hate you for Iraq and Afghanistan." They say: "What did they hate us for in 1979 when they burned down our embassy in Islamabad - the only US embassy in the world ever to be burned down by a mob." We say: "You let us down when you left us in the lurch after the Soviet withdrawal." They say: "We also saved you in 1971. In any case, you broke your promises when you accepted aid on condition that you will not complete your nuclear programme and then went on to keep both the aid and the nuclear programme." The divergence is vast, as is our constant shifting of stories. For example, now we say we only keep contacts with certain Afghan groups disliked by the Americans for intelligence purposes. Until recently, we denied having the contacts in the first place. In short, our nationalist rhetoric is being bought less and less in Washington DC where visiting Pakistani firemen, and those who plead our case from within the States, are increasingly becoming hapless salespeople. Some in our national security apparatus still think we are in the 1990s and can work around the Americans. The difference is that the US now has a significant military presence in our backyard (troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, bases in Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain) and the India-US relationship has become qualitatively different. Moreover, our assumption that the US needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the US may not always remain so. American forces are prepared to use the longer and more expensive Central Asian route to supply their forces in Afghanistan. Our claim that we can shoot down drones does not include any calculus about what happens the day after. Until now, the Americans have viewed us as an unreliable ally. What happens when they start seeing us as the enemy? It seems that we have finally arrived at crunch time. We are now in a state of civil war. Pakistan has to choose if it can (or if so wishes) to be, say, like Syria (a completely valid foreign policy alternative if we so choose) or do we really want to develop a partnership. If we want the partnership, we have to work on changing our national narrative in relation to the United States of America. We also have to fully realise that the war now being waged in the north is very much 'our war' regardless of the historical rights or wrongs. The writer is a freelance columnist