US "Pakistan Policy" is one of the top and most complex priorities on Obama's political agenda. Indeed next US initiatives in the region are critical not only for Pakistan but for the success or failure of War On Terror and ultimately effectiveness of Obama's presidency. Whatever needs to be done must not only be done but seen to be manifestly done in the next few months of Obama's presidency or else his administration will be bracketed with that of Bush. If this were to happen, any subsequent measures will be ineffective. What advice would then one give to Obama and his appointed special envoy to the region, Richard Holbrooke. Not long ago majority of people in Pakistan and around the world had respect for ideals of democracy and human rights with which US was thought to be associated. Today unfortunately the tide has turned and many across the globe are harbouring anti-American feelings. In order to bring about a positive change, US should understand why, from being a leader, and in spite of being sole world superpower, it has come to be universally criticised and largely despised. The answer to this question of course should determine the course of events to follow. From end of World War II and throughout Cold War till USSR's disintegration, US world policy was dictated by its fear of and conflict with USSR. US Intelligence Services too were trained for dealing with this enemy alone. It was in the Cold War environment that US could successfully afford to live with contradictions at one hand championing causes of democracy and human rights, while on the other supporting dictators, carrying out sponsored revolutions, overthrowing regimes, supporting civil strife's and even engaging in armed conflicts (like Vietnam). With USSR's disintegration the world totally changed. Firstly US started believing that it was all powerful and could act arbitrarily. In Pakistan there is a saying: "A village remains peaceful and villagers are able to have their grievances redressed if there are two chieftains competing for influence - they keep each other in check and balance. It is when one dies that the other becomes dictatorial and cruel." Unfortunately for our global village, after USSR's demise, US decided to rule the world and do as it thought fit. In words of Brzezinski, one of the most respected figures in American policy and a former National Security advisor, US fell into a "posture of self-indulgence and then of extreme arrogance... arrogance was the thought that we could now define the rules of the game in an international system... that these rules would permit us to decide when to start wars, how to start wars, how to preempt wars..." Exhibition of arrogance does not go well with anyone, and the Muslim World is no exception. This is where US started on the wrong path. Instead of using its powers to help others, it got into the habit of ordering. Secondly, although US did become the sole superpower, it did not prepare itself to play the role of leading the world. According to Scowcroft, another reputed former National Security advisor, although US had the power "we were not used to exercising it on behalf of world community...we were still mired in thinking of Cold War, and all our institutions were designed for Cold War...we looked around and...we were the only superpower. Not since Roman Empire had anyone had this much...power." Post 9/11 things went from bad to worse with US beginning simultaneous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, threatening Iran and dismissing protests from all other countries on the alter of "either you are with us or against us." According to Brzezinski: "Our reactions, sad to say, had made 9/11 into atleast a tactical triumph for Osama Bin Laden - which it won't have been but for our reactions....I think that the way we then reacted pushed us into actions that has embroiled us on a very wide front in (Muslim World)....Our legitimacy and credibility had been badly damaged....I think that was dramatic, tragic and avoidable turning point in our history..." Pakistanis, who believed that they were instrumental in free world's triumph against communism, soon found themselves abandoned, and this coupled with sanctions, no support for its Kashmir case and finally killings of its civilians as collateral damage through drone attacks proved to be the last straw. Pakistan, an ally in War On Terror, is today terrorism's most serious victim and instead of boosting its economy and self-confidence, US pushed Pakistan to more military operations. This policy of "hitting to subjugate" has failed. There is no denying that Iraq and Afghanistan wars only created ready recruits for organisations like Al-Qaeda and resultantly War On Terror is being lost as Talibanisation is on the rise. What US needs to realise is that the use of military as a first option cannot succeed. The reason is well-explained by Brzezinski who says: "All of humanity is politically active....You cannot pursue a successful imperial policy (when) masses of the world are politically activated....Today you are dealing with aroused populations which resist...That's what Israel had discovered in Lebanon, that's what we are discovering, painfully, in Iraq. That's what I fear we may end up discovering elsewhere." This is the policy of power plus arrogance plus unipolarism which Obama has inherited. The good thing is that the new president brings with him hope that he is different, well meaning and honourable. Facts that he is half-Kenyan and not from rich and famous families of US and understands different cultures having a Muslim paternal family, all go in his favour. But currently there is only a very small window of opportunity for him to start redressing the wrongs. US leadership in the region is necessary but US has to change the entire mindset after the Cold War. Brzezinski in his frank conversation on the future of American policy agrees: "American leadership is necessary - if by leadership we mean, first of all, not dictation, but inspiration...an enlightened insight into meaning of history and our time...a leadership that understands what is truly new about the twenty-first century. What is (its) potential and new global perils...that kind of American leadership can be a catalyst. Not for actions directed by the United States, but for actions that the global community...maybe we can call them stakeholders in the global system...is prepared collectively to embrace. That kind of leadership is needed. But for that kind of leadership to emerge in America, we not only need very special people as leaders...and they do come up occasionally...but we need a far more enlightened society than we have." In the context of Pakistan this formula will work wonders. Majority of Pakistanis want to see US playing a role of a friend and not of a master. Dictation has not worked and will not work. As a Pakistani my suggestion to the US is to accept the new politically active world, and if we all want to win the War On Terror, then US should concentrate on two things: stability and the economic recovery of Pakistan and let the leadership and people of the country tackle its political and internal issues themselves. US needs to implement Marshal Plans for infrastructure, industry and education. Of course, the language of addressing both the Muslim community at large and Pakistani Taliban have to change. Treating the nation on equal level with dignity will go a long way. While US must share intelligence with Pakistan on terrorism and equip its security forces with latest gadgets, the drone attacks must stop and relying on the present civil government and the professional army of Pakistan will yield much better results. Brzezinski also sees the need to tread carefully. According to him: "US should not make it more difficult for the Pakistani government. Direct action by US is sure to increase public emotions and even the army may be resentful and then the consequences are unpredictable...(we need to) stop lecturing Pakistanis on democracy and be sensitive to their historical geopolitical interests." US must be seen to be helping them "rather than insisting that Pakistani army do (a), (b) and (c)." For US the one stabilising force in Pakistan is the army. According to Brzezinski: "There is a saying in Pakistan that the country exists thanks to three As, Allah, America and the Army. Allah is far away. The America is far away and arrogant. And the Army is on the spot. And therefore the army will remain the centre factor in Pakistani politics." Both believe that US has to be very "careful not to inject ourselves in a fashion which risks splitting (Pak Army)." The way forward for the new president is therefore to visibly shed the cloak of arrogance, understand and respect people and concentrate on helping Pakistanis tackle the situation, but leaving it to them to move forward in the right direction. Direct and visible help is needed on the economic front because the best way to tackle terrorism is to give people a stake in life. Majority of Pakistanis are good Muslims and against the so-called Talibanised version of Islam and are imbued with love for democracy and freedom. (US had one 9/11 incident and gave up many fundamental rights; Pakistan has had three military takeovers and suffered a break-up of the country's territory but have bounced back each time). At the same time Pakistanis believe in equality so US actions need to be even handed and just. It is vital that US is now seen to play a more positive and balanced role in solving the Kashmir issue. (I was dismayed when Mr Holbrooke announced that Kashmir issue is not part of his mandate). Obama can make a big difference in the world if he can help two nuclear states, Pakistan and India resolve this matter in the best interests of Kashmiris. Lastly I hope that US is able to bring peace in Israel-Palestine dispute, as this too will go a long way in helping Pakistan to project US as a friend of Muslims and being on the side of justice. I am sure Obama is aware that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan E-mail: ali@mandviwallaandzafar.com