The Pak-US strategic cooperation termed by President George Bush as an alliance to fight back terrorism has always remained in trouble. It reached the breaking point in the second week of May with various organs of the US government displaying bitter, almost hostile, reaction against Pakistan as the story of Faisal Shahzad broke out. The newspaper reading public of Pakistan, which went to bed in peace and quiet on May 09, 2010, must have awakened in a state of shock and anguish next morning after reading the threat of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of very severe consequences. The top US diplomat led the warning against Pakistan in an interview with a major television channel, CBS, in its programme 60 minutes. She said: We have made it very clear (to Pakistan) that - if heaven-forbid - an attack like this that we can source back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very serious consequences. The US secretary of states threat was directed not just against a few or a group of Pakistanis, but the whole nation of 170 million people. Considering that despite all the possible security arrangements, terrorist have been able to strike at the heart of major Pakistani cities such as Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, some of these fanatics could also hit an American interest in Pakistan. The question is, will in that case the US attack the whole state of Pakistan? Further, whom should Pakistan attack when the terrorist run over the Pakistani population centres? Not America, Ms Clinton would say, even though civilian victims of the drone attacks run into thousands and political leaders have been pointing an accusing finger at the United States for violence in Balochistan. Indeed, Secretary Clinton needs to be reminded that it was the Bush administration, and not Pakistan, which initially sought an 'anti-terrorist alliance. Now, if someone the kind of Faisal Shahzad commits an act of violence in the US should we call off the alliance and go to war, as Ms Clinton would like us to do. Besides this, the fact remains that Ms Clintons statement is somewhat contradictory. Soon after the warning that serious consequences would be waiting for us if there is repeat of the Times Square attempt, the US secretary of state went on record to praise Pakistans role in fighting terrorism. Weve gotten more cooperation and its been a real sea change in the commitment weve seen from the Pakistan government.We want more. We expect more, said Ms Clinton. She also pointed out that Pakistan is no more playing the double game that it did with the Bush administration. Similarly, Pakistan was also praised by US Secretary Defence Robert Gates, who offered as much military assistance as the Pakistanis want. Gates specifically noted Pakistans performance in South Waziristan and other areas. One watches this ball game with surprise; one secretary threatening to attack Pakistan and the other offering it military assistance. There were reports in the American media that after the unsuccessful Times Square attempt, US pressure on Pakistan increased manifolds to launch operation against North Waziristan. Some Pakistani analysts endorsed it; however, adding that Faisal Shahzad was nothing but a frame-up intended to increase pressure on Pakistan to move against the Taliban in North Waziristan. Nevertheless, General Stanley McChrystal, US commander in Afghanistan, denied the story leaving enough room for speculations about the connection between the Times Square plot and the pressure game. For instance, according to Washington Post, US General McChrystal met General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani immediately after New Yorks Times Square failed attempt and urged Pakistan army to do more. Our experience of the past shows that the alliance between unequal powers does not work to the satisfaction of the smaller nations. Normally, superpowers have self-interests that they would pursue unhindered, over the interest of other - perhaps weaker- nations. Former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Dr Henry Kissinger said: At any given time therewhere the superpower could be involved in the areas of security or economics, and its smaller partner might have no interest in it. In that state if the superpower chooses to go to war, the junior partner would be dragged into it against its will and interests. That was exactly the situation when General (retd) Pervez Mushararaf entered into the anti-Taliban alliance with Bush. Pakistan had no reason to join hands with the US against a country it had enjoyed good relations with. On the hindsight, most of the Pakistanis do not accept that the American war against terrorism in Afghanistan is our war. Two more examples of unequal alliances non-workability are the Indo-Pak and the Indo-US relations. The dispute over Kashmir and its resolution is of vital interest to Pakistan, whereas friendship with India is of vital interest to the US. Thus the US, as a superpower, cannot possibly come under Pakistans influence in a crisis situation; whereas it would be difficult for Pakistan to resist the US pressure in a similar situation. Hence, it would be safe to say that alliance between unequal powers would work, if it works at all, to the interest of the bigger partner. The Pak-US ties are running into the same kind of trouble which is illustrated by the 'Shahzad story. The writer is a freelance columnist.