Before we take another strategic U-turn on Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Policymakers must read this:
- Pakistan is conceptualized as a theater of war in American operational plans as the term Af-Pak suggests so strategic dialog under the presence of such perception is nothing more than an illusion
- One option for Pakistan is to work on isolating the extra-regional powers [countries not bordering Afghanistan] and then pitch the extra-regional powers against one another by manipulating the rifts between major EU countries (which are already wary of prolonged Afghan mission) and the U.S.
- This strategic dialog is an important component of an overall military strategy led by Gen. Petraeus in which enhancing U.S image and closing the trust deficit both in COIN operations at tactical level in Afghanistan and at strategic level in Pakistan.
- The idea of offering Pakistan the carrot of a prolonged negotiations for a civilian nuclear deal was floated as far back as April 2009 with the aim of aligning US and Pakistani interests
Recent days have seen a deceptive shift in U.S policy towards Pakistan. In a stated aim to ‘redefine’ its relationship with Pakistan a process of strategic dialog has been orchestrated by the United States creating much buzz in Pakistan over the issue. This brief essay will examine the real purpose of this strategic dialog, American plans for the region, strategic implications for Pakistan’s continued alliance with the US, and the formulation of alternative policy options for Pakistan.