U.S.-Pakistan Relations in Decline

May 7, 2011, 9:01 pm


by Daniel Pipes*

Although the execution of Osama bin Laden was mainly a symbolic and psychological act of counterterrorism, its most immediate consequence, ironically, affects U.S.-Pakistan relations.

This sudden crisis in relations may be unexpected but it culminates a process that has developed over decades. Pakistan is one of several Muslim-majority countries (Yemen is another; Turkey is becoming a third) where the U.S. government basically lacks any friends.

Obama and Zardari – allies no more?

Although such a situation severely limits American options, here is a realistic policy recommendation that serves American interests:

Give up on the pretense that the two governments are allies and treat Pakistan — with its many madrassahs, its Islamist military leadership, and rogue intelligence service — as a danger zone. Adopt a policy of containment vis-à-vis the Islamism coming out of it, rewarding cooperation and punishing hostile acts. This approach permits Washington flexibly to collaborate or confront as circumstances warrant and needs change.

*National Review Online
May 4, 2011
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Cross-posted with permission

Related: Counterterrorism, Extremists, Foreign Policy, Islam, Obama, Pakistan

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