HAMID ALVI The first half of the current decade witnessed the United States wage bloody wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. In both the cases the United States picked up enemies from among the Muslims states. It based the justification for going to war on threat to its national security. However, nine years on, the reasons given for waging war remain unconvincing. It is a crying shame that in case of Iraq no nuclear device could be found. No wonder, large number of Americans and most of the world lost trust in President Bush. These wars have done to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan what the wars are supposed to do. The basic infrastructure including homes, schools, public buildings, roads, electric supply system has been destroyed. Tens of thousands of civilians have died in the name of the collateral damage. So far as Pakistan is concerned, the harm done to its economy as a result of US adventurism in the tribal areas runs into tens of billions of dollars. But it is rather sad that the United States is totally insensitive to our dilemma. Pakistan is gradually losing hope of receiving the aid that has been promised. First of all, it appears from the congressional mood that the amount of aid would not sufficiently compensate us. Those dreaming about the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones in the tribal areas to turn into a reality are likely to be disappointed. Secondly it is worth noting that in a conflict situation, the assistance from the donor to the recipient is military oriented. Thus far the economic assistance given to Pakistan has no positive effect on the Pak economy. In hindsight, it would be safe to assume that Pakistani policy makers made a serious mistake in joining what President Bush used to call Alliance against Terror. Alliance implies that two or more members of the group will deal with each other as close friends, assist each other in military undertakings, and support each other in the economic sphere. Pakistans hopes and expectations in all these areas have remained unfulfilled. Now after many year of alliance, with the military taking heavy casualties in the fight against militancy, Pakistan has finally mustered up the courage and is asking the US to do more. The Pak-US alliance has failed to have any positive impact on mutual military cooperation, economic development and on civil-nuclear agreement. The reason is that the US keeps treating Pakistan as an errand boy, a role we have failed to question. The Pakistani Diaspora in the US has been is regularly discriminated against. Failure to completely eliminate Taliban as President Bush had desired, has now forced the US to find a negotiated settlement of the conflict. Feelers thrown out have received positive response from various quarters. Even some of the Taliban group such as the one led by Hikmatyar welcomed the possibility of peace talks. However, publicly all such developments were and still being denied. But evidently the main stakeholders are shifting positions from war to peace. However, there appear to be some obstruction on the way. The United States which considers itself as the principal stakeholder would like to have a government of its liking in the post war era. To have such a government it wants assurance that the Taliban hostile to it are not included in it. However, the US should give up the old theory of good cops and bad cops. Next comes the Indians who seem to be buying their way to the conference table. The Americans favor the Indians but Pakistan is opposed to the proposal. New Delhi has been using Afghanistan as a base to create unrest in Pakistan, and so it must be kept out of the Afghan equation. Finally, the road to peace depends heavily on the US position in the Muslim word. At present, it has no Muslim neutral friend and would like to cut its way through thorny bushes. Will it succeed? Maybe, maybe not. The writer is a freelance columnist.