The descent of Pakistan from the status of Major non-NATO Ally (MNNA) of USA in 2004 to a target for crossborder raids and ground as well as air launched attacks is a major come down for it. Pakistan has had the dubious honour of having been associated with the USA in various defence treaties like the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) of 1955 and Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO), also known as the Baghdad Pact, adopted in 1955; yet they have been to Pakistan's detriment. During the cold-war era, Pakistan had permitted USA the use of its bases to operate high altitude U-2 reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union. On May 1, 1960 a U-2 flown by Gary Powers, while over-flying the highly sensitive Soviet Chelyabinsk-65 Plutonium production facility was shot down, causing an international scandal bringing the wrath of the Soviet Union on Pakistan for permitting the use of its soil for operating such clandestine missions. Despite such close cooperation, when Pakistan solicited US support during its wars with India in 1965 and 1971, it was spurned and instead sanctions were imposed on both India and Pakistan by USA. India remained unaffected by the sanctions since its major arms supplier was the USSR. Pakistan also bent backwards to organise the secret visit of Henry Kissinger to Beijing, which led to the establishment of US-China relations. Yet Pakistan remained in the doldrums. The 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union brought Pakistan and USA together again. Pakistan became a front-line ally in the war to liberate Afghanistan, and more importantly prevent USSR from progressing towards the fulfilment of Peter the Great's age-old dream of reaching the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, no sooner was the war over; USA ditched its erstwhile ally and to rub salt in the wound, in October 1990, economic and military sanctions were imposed on Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, a country-specific law that singles out only Pakistan on the nuclear issue. One consequence of the Pressler sanctions was the US decision to withhold Pakistan military equipment contracted prior to 1990, worth about $1.2 billion, even though Pakistan had paid for this. In 1998, when Pakistan was forced to cross the nuclear threshold, in response to India's nuclear tests and sabre-rattling, USA slapped even more stringent sanctions against Pakistan. 9/11 brought the USA again at Pakistan's doorstep, when it requested for support in launching attacks against the Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan obliged yet again and has been so actively engrossed in the Global War On Terror that it has itself become a victim of massive terrorist attacks. In the bargain it has apprehended over 600 terrorists, sacrificed over 1100 armed forces personnel, including a Lieutenant General and hundreds of civilians including political leaders, the most important being Pakistan's dynamic leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The US has been supporting Pakistan monetarily, and with weapons and technology for its responsibilities in combating terrorism. However, when the US-led coalition started going awry in the face of a resurgent Taliban and Al-Qaeda, it was Pakistan that bore the brunt of criticism. Deep suspicion that rogue elements in the ISI and Pakistani armed forces were secretly aiding the terrorists became discernible amidst demands to do more. Pressure on Pakistan has been mounted at times through fear of its nuclear assets falling in the hands of the terrorists, Dr Khan's nuclear proliferation episode and attempts to interfere in Pakistan's domestic politics and bring about a regime change have all been escalating massive stress. The pressure tactics took a more dangerous form when US forces decided to take matters in their own hands and cross into Pakistani territory to launch attacks against suspected terrorists. Despite reassurances by US officials, the attacks have continued. The decline of Pakistan from a favoured ally into becoming the target of US attacks exposes the myopic vision of subsequent Pakistani leadership in the past five decades. Time and again USA has used Pakistan and then discarded it, yet Pakistan falls prey to the same designs. The disclosure of a July-2008 presidential order authorising attacks by US forces into Pakistan without the approval of Pakistan is yet another betrayal. Is it Shakespearean tragedy: "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves if we are underlings?" Perhaps yes We have never been pragmatic in our relationship with the US, nor secured our interests; it is high time we took cognisance of the situation and learn from past mistakes. The writer is a political and defence analyst