THE top US military commander, Admiral Michael Mullen, fails to read Pakistan's present predicament fully when he tells the Senate Committee on Armed Services that it faces threat from two fronts, one from the Indian side and the other from the militants. In one respect, though, this evaluation could be regarded as an improvement on the previous American stand that was literally blind to the threat that India posed and felt that the militants were the only dangerous lot Islamabad should be worried about. Yet, the Admiral conveniently overlooks a still more potent threat that though long suspected is now emerging in a concrete form and that as a military strategist, he should be well aware of: the threat from the United States, which is pregnant with serious implications for the country and beyond the region, involving Central Asia and other global powers with genuine interests there. The construction of a mammoth embassy complex at Islamabad, the revelations of objectionable activities of the spy agency, Blackwater, whose hands are red with blood, the overbearing attitude of certain embassy personnel in dealing with government functionaries and Pakistani citizens, the pressure on the government to abandon a hotel construction project on grounds of security that should actually be the concern of Pakistan - all these are ominous indications that simply cannot be brushed aside as mere hallucination. In the US designs also lies the danger of the souring of Pakistan's relations with China, an indisputably sincere and long-standing friend, as well as another world power, Russia. The developing scenario ought not to be taken lightly. Pakistan must put its foot down to avert the threat to its sovereignty and not become a plaything in the hands of the US that would affect our freedom to conduct foreign relations as it suits the national interest. Admiral Mullen talks of the perception of "the Pakistani military" when he refers to the threat from India. Clearly, the idea is to avoid ruffling its feathers. And it seems that he grudgingly accepts that the US strategy would have to accommodate these perceptions, including the pace at which Pakistan is tackling the militant phenomenon. His words of praise at the success of the military operation in Malakand Division in a matter of months only reflect the reality on the ground. One would expect that that should serve as a lesson to the huge US and NATO force that has been operating in Afghanistan for nearly eight year against an enemy that shows no signs of wilting. No doubt, the use of firepower has its merits and demerits, as it almost inevitably entails the loss of innocent lives, but excessive concern, to the point of cowardliness, about the safety of the life of soldiers cannot win wars.