FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Minus-Pakistan formula?
Updated:Aug 24, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
An uncharacteristically stern response by the National Security Committee to US President Donald Trump’s so-called South Asia strategy is a worrying indication of the strategic chasm between Pakistan and the US.
 
With words and phrases such as “outrightly rejected”, “scapegoat”, “grave challenge”, “Afghan war cannot be fought in Pakistan” and “India cannot be a net provider of security” sprinkled across the statement, the NSC has conveyed its unhappiness, perhaps even alarm, at the Trump strategy.
 
Nominally headed by the prime minister, the overwhelming military presence at yesterday’s meeting suggests that the statement is a true reflection of the national security apparatus’s grave concerns. Pakistan’s concerns over the Trump strategy are unsurprising; the strategy has almost universally been declared to be unrealistic and flawed.
 
From the NSC response, two key concerns of Pakistan can be gleaned. First, the Trump strategy appears to be an endorsement of perpetual war in Afghanistan, when it has long been clear that only “a politically negotiated outcome”, in the NSC’s words, can work.
 
Second, the so-called South Asia strategy puts the onus on Pakistan to act without offering to address any of this country’s regional security concerns. Specifically, the Trump administration’s silence on anti-Pakistan militant sanctuaries in eastern Afghanistan and its encouragement of India to play a greater role in Afghanistan amount to a puzzling disregard of Pakistan’s concerns. Why is Pakistan expected to act first to advance other powers’ interests and only then its own?
 
Merely labelling something a South Asia strategy does not automatically make it so. Indeed, it is Pakistan that appears to be seeking a true regional solution with its articulation of specific concerns, while the US approach amounts to something akin to a minus-Pakistan formula for peace. Because the US approach is wildly unrealistic, it is also dangerous.
 
Nevertheless, Pakistan must strive to avoid a strategic collision with the world’s only superpower. The US president’s obvious discomfort with a U-turn from his campaign pledge to extricate the US from Afghanistan presents an opportunity. A true regional approach to the Afghan question necessarily includes Iran, China and Russia, countries that Mr Trump all but ignored in his strategy.
 
 
For Pakistan, the challenge will be to pull together the diplomatic heft of those countries to cobble together a reasonable alternative to America’s latest approach. Regional ought to mean regional — a path to peace that allows Afghanistan peace and stability and balances the interests of outside powers in the immediate vicinity.
 
Surely, helping develop a regional consensus and encouraging the US to reconsider its own flawed approach is a better alternative than the dismal possibility of endless war in Afghanistan and the severing of even a transactional relationship between Pakistan and the US.
 
Dawn News, August 25, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
The 15th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China concluded in New Delhi on Monday with many nuanced takeaways embedded in the joint statement of 46 paragraphs. Reiterating that the forum “is not directed against any other country”, the statement underlined the importance of the establishment o
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699