Every president and Secretary of State and Defense has said this for the last decade. "We're getting close...Lookout! We're going to do something really, really serious - like dash off an angry letter or something."
Secretary Panetta is no different.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday the United States was reaching the limits of its patience with Pakistan because of the safe havens the country offered to insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan.
It was some of the strongest language used by a top U.S. official to describe the strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.
"It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan," said Panetta, speaking in the Afghan capital Kabul where he held talks with military leaders amid rising violence in the war against the Taliban and a spate of deadly attacks, including a NATO air strike said to have killed 18 villagers.
"It is very important for Pakistan to take steps. It is an increasing concern, the issue of safe haven, and we are reaching the limits of our patience," he told reporters.
The United States has long pushed Pakistan to do more to help in the war against militancy, but the relationship has received a series of blows, not least by a unilateral U.S. raid into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden last year that humiliated Islamabad.
Panetta warned we would exert the dreaded "diplomatic pressure" in order to get Pakistan to attack the murderous thugs in the Haqqani network. Ooooh! Be still my heart! What's next, Leon? The comfy chair?
Pfffle. We're sending these two faced Januses $7 billion in tax dollars over the next few years. Let's try cutting that to the bone and see what happens. With the Pakistani military unable to play with their shiny new toys courtesy of the US government, maybe that will get them off the mark and get them to help us deal with the terrorists.
It certainly beats the "angry letter" and "diplomatic pressure" gambits.