S Tariq A Pakistani Armed Forces Delegation led by a two-star general officer was recently offloaded from their aircraft, detained at Dulles Airport in Washington and subjected to insulting behaviour, while on their way to the CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa. The incident took place because the leader of the delegation fatigued from flying had innocently passed a remark to one of the cabin crew that he hoped this was his last flight. Consequently in protest, the delegation cancelled their US itinerary and decided to immediately return home. While reports say that the US authorities tendered an apology over the incident, their spokesman talking to newsp-ersons on television, merely regretted the affair and tried to justify it as a result of the peculiar threat environment that the US nation is facing today. Well Mr Spokesman, your regrets are not enough and your remarks about the state of the US nation are grossly understated. What you should have said was that you were sorry that the incident occurred because the US nation is suffering from Paranoia, Phobia, Delusions of Grandeur and Psychosis. As such the action at Dulles Airport may be forgotten and attributed as the outcome of sick minds. It was good that the delegation decided that enough was enough and returned home, but I think that in a gesture of magnanimity the armed forces of Pakistan should have offered to send a team of psychiatrists to treat and cure a sick 'ally. In a more serious vein, this incident should not be taken lightly by our leadership, who in the best traditions of their ancestors must act with pride and honour. We should send a clear and unambiguous message, much like the one sent by the delegation itself, that it was not a group of Pakistani armed forces officers, but the State of Pakistan that was insulted by the 'sickos at Washington Airport. The US must be told in unambiguous terms that alliances are held together by mutual respect and reciprocity, not by the type of incidents like the one that was perpetrated at Dulles Airport. There are no doubts in anybodys minds that the US or NATO cannot win the war against terror without Pakistans help and this help will be more effective if it has the backing of the people of Pakistan. If a notion to the contrary exists, then it is the result of a reasoning process that is both nave and flawed. What the Americans must realise is that an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis dislike the US and consider it to be more dangerous than their traditional enemy - India. The US policymakers must understand that arrogance or dollars will get them nowhere with the Pakistani man in the street, who is the fountain head of national power. It would be through winning his heart and mind that the US will fill the chasm that exists between the two peoples. This chasm will not be filled through acts of arrogance, but through respect for what Pakistan and its people stand for in terms of religion, beliefs and tradition. It must flow from the acknowledgment that the armed forces and the people of Pakistan have given untold sacrifices in their war against terror. If American behaviour stems from an arrogance born of its superpower status, then let this be understood that unipolarity is fast becoming history and the world is on a fast track towards becoming multipolar. China has already established itself as a power bloc and the Russian bear is once again stretching itself. In Europe, the European Union has already challenged and perhaps nullified the US authority in the region. In military terms, Iraq and Afghanistan, like Vietnam and Cambodia, are proving to be bones that the Americans are finding difficult to swallow. It would be well for Washington to read the writing on the wall and do a rethink on how it should treat its friends. The writer is a freelance columnist.