What’s cooking? A New U.S. Approach to Pakistan

By: | Muhammad Ali Azlan |



Husain Haqqani & Lisa Curtis jointly authored a policy paper at the Hudson institute, following are the highlights, the complete paper could be read online on their official website.

‘The new Trump Administration must review its policies toward Pakistan in order to more effectively contain, and eventually eliminate, the terrorist threats that continue to emanate from the country. The activities and operations of diverse terror groups on and from Pakistani soil, and the government’s failure to rein them in, threaten vital U.S. national security interests in the region. These include stabilizing Afghanistan, keeping the country from again turning into a global terrorist safe haven, and preventing the outbreak of an India-Pakistan military conflict that could potentially go nuclear’.

Obama administration officials came into office eight years ago with the idea that they could coax Pakistan into changing key policies by elevating the U.S.-Pakistan partnership. To these ends, Washington instituted a strategic dialogue and increased both economic and military aid levels.

Pakistani military leaders continue to support terrorist groups that attack India in an effort to keep it off balance and to draw international mediation into the dispute with India over Kashmir. Pakistan’s seemingly unconstrained expansion of its nuclear arsenal, particularly the development of tactical nuclear weapons and extended–range missile systems, also remains a cause for concern, especially with regard to India.

To accomplish U.S. counter terrorism objectives in the region and to reverse extremist trends in Pakistani society, Pakistani authorities – specifically the country’s military leaders, who control its foreign and security policies – need to take a comprehensive approach to shutting down all Islamist militant groups.

Pakistan’s tolerance for terror groups also undermines the country itself, corroding its stability and civilian governance and damaging its investment climate, as well as inflicting death and injury on thousands of its own innocent citizens.

(Pretty Noble thus far eh?)…

The objective of the Trump administration’s policy towards Pakistan must be to make it more and more costly for Pakistani leaders to employ a strategy of supporting terrorist proxies to achieve regional strategic goals. There should be no ambiguity that the U.S. considers Pakistan’s strategy of supporting terrorist proxies to achieve regional strategic advantage as a threat to U.S. interests. U.S. policy must also pay attention to non-proliferation goals while dealing with Pakistan.

At the same time, the Trump Administration should be clear in all forums that the U.S. issue is not with the Pakistani people or the Pakistani nation. Rather, Washington takes strong exception to specific policy choices by parts of the Pakistan Government – chiefly, the military and intelligence apparatus centered in Rawalpindi, adjacent to the capital, Islamabad – that support the existence and activities of terrorist proxies.

Accordingly, the Trump administration should both publicly and privately maintain avenues for Pakistan to become a U.S. ally, as well as trade and investment partner, in the future, should its leaders embrace the conduct and policies of an ally.

Moving forward, the Trump administration must link U.S. policies toward Pakistan directly to U.S. objectives, especially in Afghanistan. The U.S. must find ways to limit Pakistan’s ability to frustrate U.S. goals in Afghanistan. Likewise, the U.S. must refuse to get involved in the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir and instead focus on ‘diplomatically isolating Pakistan’ over its continued support to terrorist groups that attack India and have connections to international terrorism. The U.S. should encourage both ‘India and Pakistan to exercise restraint’ and pursue measures normalizing their relationship.






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