THE USA has said Pakistan is its highest foreign policy priority at the same time as it said that it did not intend to play any role in the Kashmir dispute, which for Pakistan has the highest priority. This assurance came at the same time as US presidential envoy was in Pakistan to press for an offensive in South Waziristan, as a follow-up to the killing of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mahsud, while Defence Secretary Robert Gates also said that the USA would not abandon Pakistan as it had done before. Admittedly, Secretary Gates' statement was a response to a survey which showed that only nine percent of Pakistanis saw the USA as a partner for the future. Secretary Gates must be made to understand that Pakistanis do not see the USA as a long-term partner not just because it supports the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and its own of Iraq and Afghanistan, but also India's of Kashmir. The American refusal to intervene in the dispute, restated by US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake in terms which were meant to please New Delhi, shows that all talk of Pakistan being the highest US foreign policy priority is just so much talk, and contingent upon Pakistan continuing to obey US dictates in the War on Terror. Mr Blake, or rather the State Department establishment, also believes that 'whatever security and economic assistance' that Pakistan needs is not just a sufficient price for obedience, but also does not include the core issue of Kashmir. While giving India a central place in its foreign policy, the US wishes to pursue a policy of using it to contain China. However, it cannot ignore all the baggage that comes with India, particularly involvement in the many disputes that it has with its neighbours. Pakistan, for the USA, is in a key position. First as a Cold-War ally, then with respect to the War on Terror, and then because it is not just a neighbour to India, but also to China, with which it enjoys good relations. However, all of this was also true before previous abandonments, so Pakistanis cannot resist the feeling of dj vu that American assurances give.