Foreign Policy Blogs

Let there be light?

An article in today’s New York Times describes the electricity woes of Pakistanis, who are becoming increasingly frustrated with frequent power outages and restrictive new energy-saving measures.

Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has assured Pakistan that the United States “will continue to [put more emphasis on energy issues] up to absolute limits of what Congress will fund.” He has also pointed to the six new energy projects announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her last visit to Pakistan.

The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Kerry-Lugar Bill, allocates up to $1.5 billion per year in non-military assistance to Pakistan through 2014. Authors of the bill mention “investments in energy and water, including energy generation” in particular as deserving of some of these funds. I am not certain of the level of U.S. funding that has gone to dealing with electricity shortages specifically, but perhaps now is the time for the United States to increase it, making visible (pun intended) our commitment to solving the energy crisis.



Alexandra Raphel

Alexandra Raphel recently returned from the hot and sandy Gulf State of Qatar, where she worked for the Brookings Doha Center, a project of the Brookings Institution. Prior to moving to Doha, she interned for the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings in Washington. Alexandra has also worked for the Iraq Study Group, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She survived four winters at the University of Chicago, where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science. She now works for a global international development firm based in Washington, D.C. and enjoys football (watching, not playing), perusing art museums, and learning to ride her bike.