What Can the United States Do?

Any discussion of U.S. options in the circumstances discussed above must begin with a recognition that there are no alternatives to the policies currently being followed that are both good and radically different. Clearly, the st atus quo is becoming increasingly untenable. There is a growing conviction within the United St ates, in both the executive branch and Congress, that Pakistan must “do even more”(97) than it is currently doing. As Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns put it directly but politely, “we would like to see a more sustained and effective effort by the Pakistani government to defeat terrorist forces on its soil. Al Qaida remains a potent force inside Pakistan, as is the Taliban. Defeating these enemies is essential to our effort to defeat terrorism in South Asia and around the world.”(98)

The current approach, which consists of the United States shoveling in large quantities of economic and military assistance and counterterrorism compensation funds as exchange for what are increasingly viewed as meager Pakist ani counterterrorism successes, will soon reach the limits of political acceptability, if it has not already.(99) Even the Bush administration, which has been Musharraf’s strongest bastion of support, has begun to chafe privately about Pakistan’s performance or the lack thereof.(100) The executive branch has been neither ignorant of nor oblivious to Pakistan’s shortcomings in regard to counterterrorism, but it has sacrificed its ability to secure stronger Pakistani cooperation by speaking in discordant voices that fail to convey a clear and insistent message, by failing to maintain the proper balance between public praise and private pressure, and by becoming entrapped in a policy
cul-de-sac that emphasizes inalterable political support for the person of Musharraf rather than support for him as a means to accelerate the political transformation of Pakistan and secure victory in the war against terror.

Blindly persisting with the current policy, therefore, will set the stage for a convulsive dénouement in U.S.-Pakistani relations if any of the terrorist elements currently operating in the FATA (or in Afghanist an) manage to successfully unleash a cat astrophic attack on the United States. Although the dangers posed by such a contingency are appreciated by the administration, the relative unattractiveness of all the alternatives to the st atus quo only ends up reinforcing its durability, even though it is increasingly unpalatable and understood to be fraught with risks. The U.S. House of Representatives, for example, in early 2007 took the first tent ative steps toward an alternative strategy of conditionality by demanding that the administration certify that Pakist an was in fact “making all possible efforts to prevent the Taliban from operating in areas under its sovereign control”(101) as the price for continued U.S. assistance. In late 2007, after Musharraf ‘s imposition of the emergency in Pakistan, the U.S. Congress followed up with a more significant initiative: it withheld $50 million of the Bush administration’s $300 million military assistance request until the secret ary of st ate could certify that Islamabad had restored democratic rights, but, more important, it limited the use of the remaining $250 million strictly to “counter-terrorism and law enforcement activities directed against al-Qaeda and the Taliban and associated terrorist groups.”(102) Although these actions confirm the growing congressional disgruntlement with Pakistan’s counterterrorism performance, the conditionality they enjoin is, on balance, still token and modest. Other analysts have proposed even stronger forms of conditionality, such as smart sanctions directed at the Pakist an Army, in an effort to make Pakistan more conscientious toward, among other things, its counterterrorism obligations.(103) While these alternatives are no doubt well-intentioned, it is uncertain whether they are likely to be more successful in comparison with the status quo.

The Pakistani polity in general, and the army and intelligence services in particular, despite benefiting greatly from the most recent bout of U.S. assistance, are still deeply suspicious of long-term U.S. intentions in the region. Many in the armed forces especially feel that they are already paying disproportionately for what is in effect “Washington’s war” and that they will be compelled to cope with the lasting effects of the turmoil in the FATA and in Afghanistan long after the United States has departed the region. This fear, based partly on the experience of episodic U.S. engagement in South Asia, already conditions Islamabad’s reluctance to do battle more energetically against the Taliban. Although enlightened Pakistani military officers, including President Musharraf and General Ashfaq Kiyani, the new chief of army staff, recognize that defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda is consistent with Pakistan’s own self-interest in principle, they also believe that the intensity of counterterrorism operations cannot be increased beyond what the domestic political traffic will bear because “a war of all against all” in the FATA and elsewhere would only exacerbate the internal polarization of Pakistani society, embolden the radical fringe within Pakistan to mount even more violent acts of terror in response or in sympathy, and threaten both the security and the well-being of the still largely moderate Pakist ani population.

Any strategy of strong conditionality, even if only carefully targeted at specific institutions such as the army and intelligence services, would further deepen the resistance against effective counterterrorism operations and deeper collaboration with the United States within these establishments. The likelihood that conditional assistance and t argeted sanctions would be viewed as confirming the United States to be an unreliable ally by the most important constituencies within the Pakist ani st ate is what prevents the administration from even contemplating a shift away from the current status quo.

A third approach that has been articulated in recent months, especially by some Democratic presidential hopefuls, is one of unilateral U.S. military action against terrorist groups within Pakistan. Unfortunately, none of those who advocate this strategy have explained how it would be integrated with the existing patterns of interaction with the Pakistani government. These are based on the fundamental premise that, although Islamabad is still simult aneously part of the problem and part of the solution to terrorism, it is basically a friend of the United States that must be helped to wean itself off its existing dalliances with terrorism while it is assisted to protect itself from any terrorist depredations in the interim. It is possible that this premise underlying the current policy is fallacious, but it is nonetheless incumbent on the advocates of unilateral military action to clarify how their preferred policy prescription would advance the goals of both effectively eradicating the Taliban-al-Qaeda combine over the long term and assisting the transformation of Pakist an into a successful moderate Muslim state.

Such clarification is imperative because any policy based on the announced threat of unilateral military action within Pakistan (and possibly against Pakistani forces) is only likely to deepen the already strong suspicion within the Pakistani military about U.S. regional goals and strengthen the Pakistan military’s resentments toward the United States. In such circumstances, it would not be surprising if the Pakistan Army and ISID became even more obdurate in regard to apprehending various terrorist cadres in the FATA because the reluctance to surrender these elements in the face of a possible U.S. att ack inside Pakist an would only deepen. The idea of an announced policy of unilateral U.S. military action, therefore, has little to commend it, particularly because the president of the United States already possesses the capacity to exercise such options in an emergency.

If such a policy is adopted nevertheless at the declaratory level, despite all the disadvantages accruing to it, it is important to recognize that it will not subsist as a stable terminus. Rather, it will end up becoming only a waypoint along a very slippery slope toward a fourth policy alternative: the designation of Pakistan as an adversary of the United States, with all the resultant consequences that such an affirmation would bring in its trail. Whatever Islamabad’s failings may be-and it is easy to concede that they are many-the prospect of having to treat a large and precariously poised Muslim state, armed with nuclear weapons and with an unsavory record of proliferation activities, as a mortal adversary should give pause to even the most jaded politicians. If such a contingency were thrust upon the United States through no fault of its own, the government of the day would have no choice but to cope with this horrendous predicament as best it could. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration did contemplate the issue of how to deal with a collapsing Pakistan that might lose control of its nuclear arsenal and in the process lash out at the United States.(104)

Even if the solutions developed to deal with this eventuality were considered reasonably robust, no sane policy maker would want to do anything that contributes to such a contingency actually materializing. A policy that unilaterally t argets Pakistan in any subst antial way, even if only in the context of justified counterterrorism operations, could end up making exactly such a contribution. This approach would risk in aming Pakistani public opinion, especially that at the extremist fringes; it would deepen the bitterness within the Pakistani military and intelligence services and strengthen their incentives to assist those terrorist groups that seek to in ict most damage on U.S. interests; and it would embarrass the mass of moderate Pakistanis, both within civil society and in the armed services, who believe that cooperation with the United St ates represents the solution to both defeating terrorism, however slowly, and rejuvenating Pakistan as a successful state.

This net assessment of choices confronting the United St ates suggests, on balance, that there are no good-and dramatically different-alternatives to the current policy. It is not surprising then that dealing with Pakistan has become a source of great frustration to those inside and outside of government because the current approach has not yielded successes as quickly as is necessary and few good alternatives appear to be in sight. While Pakistani pre-varication in regard to counterterrorism is clearly one important reason accounting for the lack of accomplishment and, hence, ought to remain a source of continuing concern, there are no easy solutions to this problem, at least none that do not take the United States ever closer to that dreadful fourth alternative, an altercation of some sort with Pakistan. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that Pakistani officials who fulfill their counterterrorism responsibilities halfheartedly understand this dynamic very well and, accordingly, seek to exploit the U.S. aversion to a con ictual relationship with Pakistan to play both ends against the middle: collecting U.S. aid while protecting their terrorist clients because they are convinced that Washington would not risk stronger measures to end this charade because of the larger risks to the bilateral relationship.

It is also easy to understand why critics of the administration’s policies, suspecting that this is in fact the calculus of many Pakistani officials, advocate a more confrontational response since they believe that Pakistan’s failure to perform already places Islamabad at odds with Washington.(105) The critics’ recommendations would be justified if it was in fact clear that the senior leadership of the Pakistani milit ary was pursuing such a deliberate and calculated strategy to undermine U.S. interests through its recalcitrance in the war on terror and that its feigned cooperation was only a subterfuge for a more pernicious agenda. On this central question, however, the evidence is not clear. Rather, the facts suggest that while some elements in Pakistani society-including in the army and in the ISID-would be content to see the United States fail because of what is perceived to be its myriad transgressions against Muslims worldwide, the majority of senior Pakistani milit ary officers support the operations aimed at defeating terrorism, even if their fears about its domestic repercussions and larger U.S. goals, coupled with their pursuit of narrow regional interests, prevent them from offering their cooperation more wholeheartedly.

If this is a more accurate reading of reality, then the goal of U.S. policy must be to convince these elites that the conclusive defeat of even those who might have been their erstwhile clients is in their own enlightened self-interest. If interest does not move them sufficiently, then perhaps fear ought to: it is incumbent, in this context, that U.S. policy makers remind their Pakistani counterparts not simply that Islamabad continues to enjoy the administration’s unqualified support-as they often do-but also that the growing discontent about Pakistani performance as expressed in the current election campaign ought to suggest that Washington’s attitudes toward Pakistan could change quickly-and in the direction of unremitting hostility-if a catastrophic terrorist attack on the United States in the future was seen to have been made possible as a result of Pakistani negligence or connivance.

Apart from whatever U.S. policy makers may say to drive this point home, the best instru ment for nudging Pakistan in the direction of effective counterterrorism performance still remains moving the bilateral relationship away from a “transactional approach” centered on “specific reciprocity.” This approach requires Islamabad to perform certain desirable actions as a response to some tit-for-tat stimulus that offers either positive or negative reinforcement.
Whatever the specific benefits or liabilities in the current congressional imposition of conditionality may be, such an approach is hazardous precisely because it reinforces awkward notions of specific reciprocity and makes them central to the evolving U.S.-Pakistan relationship. In point of fact, U.S. policy toward Pakist an should aim for exactly the opposite: it should be oriented toward constructing a “relational equilibrium” based on “diffuse reciprocity.” Islamabad would thus pursue the right policies in the counterterrorism arena and elsewhere not merely because of the prospect of securing some immediate payoff but, instead, because the expect ation of a steady and lasting partnership with the United St ates propels it to act with rectitude, confident that its good conduct would lead to a wider institutionalization of trust that would pay for itself over time.(106)

Washington’s policy, including congressional actions, toward Islamabad should focus on consummating a relationship of this sort while it remains cognizant that such a goal may prove eventually to be unatt ainable because of a variety of political deficiencies within Pakistan. It is not clear today, however, that the objective of a “relational equilibrium” with Islamabad is inevitably doomed to defeat. Consequently, the Bush administration ought to persist with its current emphasis on the noncoercive engagement of Pakistan at least so long as there is a reasonable hope that the transformation of Pakistan into a moderate Muslim state is not a lost cause, that the Musharraf regime can be persuaded to expand its counterterrorism operations to those groups that have thus far remained beyond reach, and that the United States will have sufficient opportunity to switch to an alternative strategy before the present attempt at engagement is judged to have failed irremediably.

Admittedly, this is not an entirely satisfying solution because it still condemns the United States to some variation of the status quo-shifting gears, but not reversing course,” as Daniel Markey would phrase it (107)-but it is a variation that could make all the difference. Although the Bush administration and perhaps even the incoming administration will not enjoy the luxury of changing current U.S. policies toward Islamabad radically-that is, offering substantial assistance in exchange for continued Pakistani contributions to counterterrorism-it is worth introducing some modifications to the current approach. These modifications ought to include the following correctives.

First, speak clearly and forcefully in private to Musharraf and his cohort about U.S. frustrations with Pakistani counterterrorism performance in order to help them appreciate the prospective consequences of continued inaction for Pakistan and for U.S.-Pakistan relations. The current approach of “praising in public, pressuring in private” risks degenerating into a policy of “praising in public, acquiescing in private,” with great danger to both U.S. counterterrorism objectives and improved U.S.-Pakist ani relations. Odd as it may seem, the United States has never replicated the tough message sent to Pakistan on September 13, 2001, at any point thereafter, even though senior U.S. policy makers have at various moments since been extremely aggravated by the failures in Pakist an’s counterterrorism performance. A continued unwillingness to confidentially send Islamabad the necessary messages of tough love not only will contribute to prolonging the deficiencies in Pakistani counterterrorism effectiveness but will, even if only unwittingly, conduce to the eventual meltdown in bilateral relations in case of a future catastrophic attack on the United States.

Second, demand that Islamabad st art systematically targeting the Taliban leadership as part of the current counterterrorism concept of operations. The Bush administration has succeeded in persuading Pakistan to step up its efforts at interdicting border crossings, but Afghan and NATO officials assert that a significant number of successful insurgent infiltrations still occur at official crossing points along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. This suggests that Pakist ani border patrols are either ineffective or in collusion with at least some of the infiltrators, if it is assumed that some others would inevit ably succeed in covertly eluding the surveillance maintained at border outposts for a combination of topographic and technical reasons.(108) Islamabad has attempted to combat such crossings by building additional barriers such as berms and recently by ambitiously attempting to fence some sections of the frontier itself. The Indian experience in Kashmir has demonstrated that border fences erected in hostile terrain are conspicuously ineffective in preventing insurgent infiltration, even if the threat of colluding security forces is entirely discounted. The Bush administration, therefore, should continue to press Islamabad to improve its border control efforts, but it ought to dissuade Pakistan from overinvesting in such initiatives as fencing, especially if these are undertaken at the expense of targeting the Taliban leadership that, by a wide consensus, continues to operate from within Pakistan and in geographic areas that are far removed from the border itself.

Third, restructure the current counterterrorism intelligence liaison relationship between the United States and Pakist an in order to permit both the Central Intelligence Agency and the war-fighting components prosecuting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanist an to acquire greater insight into the existing terrorist networks operating within Pakistan. As Steve Coll elaborated in his superb study of the anti-Soviet jihad, the ISID traditionally was eminently successful in preventing its foreign intelligence partners from securing any access to its clients, assets, and networks, even when these were funded substantially by outside sources.(109) There is no reason to believe that this pattern of operations has changed fundamentally today; if it has not, the U.S. intelligence community will continue to get less than what it requires for the success of U.S. objectives despite the great revitalization of U.S. overt and covert assistance to Pakistan.

Fourth, continue to assist Pakistan with the technology and the training to prosecute small-unit counterterrorism operations more effectively. Much of the technology at issue is not particularly cutting edge and consists of transport helicopters, field radios, early-generation night vision equipment, and tactical vehicles. Such transfers should be sustained and ought to be supplemented by increased training, but only so long as key units such as the SSG continue to perform as resolutely as they have in the past. The improved training contemplated for the Frontier Corps and other paramilitary organizations charged with border patrol should also be accelerated.

The current U.S. milit ary proposal to enlist and arm some key tribal leaders in the FATA and in Afghanistan to fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban also ought to receive careful and serious consideration.(110) Although such programs always have risks, the dangers could be potentially worth the benefits in many cases. It is not often understood that even in a turbulent agency like Wazirist an, where the tribal confederations are often irate and radicalized, there are several tribes, subtribes, and tribal leaders of extended families who oppose al-Qaeda and the Taliban insurgency and are willing to cooperate with the Pakistani government if it can provide them with effective security and protection. In many instances, such individuals have only acquiesced to the insurgents because they had no choice or because the latter were able to better meet their security and developmental needs in comparison with the Pakistani government or the military. Identifying these groups and assisting them, by arming them if necessary through village self-defense units closely coordinating with the military, remains a good way to channel their frustration with the Taliban insurgency and the ongoing con ict and to incorporate them into the struggle against the more obdurate and intransigent al-Qaeda terrorists.

Whether such a solution is implemented in Pakistan or in Afghanistan, it should be pursued only if the following three conditions are judged to apply: the arming of the tribes serves to provide effective local security beyond the current capacity of the st ate, the groups so armed are relatively st able in social structure and in political orientation and are not ideologically radicalized, and the increase in tribal self-defense capabilities is undertaken in close and continuing collaboration with the national security forces and with the government.

Fifth, shift to an alternative modality of disbursing coalition support funds to Pakistan where reimbursements are tied to specific tasks and linked to the performance of specific objectives.(111) The current system of simply cutting checks for whatever bills are presented monthly by Islamabad as the costs borne for counterterrorism support engenders institutional corruption in the Pakistani military, destroys the integrity of the U.S. assist ance program, and is unfair to the U.S. taxpayer. The current accounting practices used by the Pakistani military to justify its routine demands for reimbursement border on daylight robbery and would never pass muster in any serious oversight and auditing system. A reform of the coalition support reimbursement system would, therefore, not only better align U.S. financial burdens with the true services rendered by Pakistan but also ensure that U.S. military assistance would actually be used for counterterrorism efforts rather than diverted toward other programs while simultaneously serving as a subtle reminder to Islamabad that U.S. generosity cannot be taken for granted in the face of continuing prevarication.(112)

Sixth, integrate the ongoing political transition in Pakistan-including the growing national clamor for a genuine return to democracy centered on an abiding rule of law-into the larger war on terrorism. Although the legitimacy of Musharraf ‘s rule and the character of Pakistan’s apex governing arrangements were not initially central to either the war on terror or Islamabad’s counterterrorism performance, both these variables have now become important to Pakistan’s ability to win the struggle against Islamist extremism. The return of theseissues to center st age has been provoked by a series of blunders perpetrated by Musharraf himself. Musharraf ‘s fateful decision to confront the Supreme Court, his efforts to forge a mutually self-serving agreement with the late Benazir Bhutto in order to secure an unchallenged
extension of his own rule, his indefensible declaration of a political emergency in Pakistan, and finally the cat aclysmic assassination of Bhutto that her followers widely attribute to the regime’s negligence if not outright complicity have all combined to make Musharraf’s own fate and, more important, the character of the future governing regime in Pakist an critical to the success of the larger war on terror.

There is absolutely no doubt that the reestablishment of a stable democratic order in Pakistan is essential to arresting the country’s spiraling descent into extremism and disorder. The current confusion about which surviving provisions of the Pakistani constitution are truly overarching, the muddied division of power between the different branches of government and even among the various offices within the executive in Pakistan, and the simplistic con ation by the Bush administration of Musharraf’s own struggle for survival and legitimacy with Pakist an’s larger battle against radicalism and extremism have all combined to create a profound institutional turmoil that neither advances Pakistan’s return to democracy nor enhances its capacity to combat terrorism successfully. Given this fact, a variety of comment ators in the United States and elsewhere have declared, in Joshua Kurlantzick’s words, that “the U[nited] S[tates] needs to abandon Musharraf today.”(113)

While that sentiment is underst andable, the prescription is misguided. The United States today has little choice but to support Musharraf, if for no other reason than that he remains essential to orchestrating an orderly political transition in Pakist an. Such a transition, which could take some time to conclude, is necessary to prevent any untoward disruption in the ongoing U.S. and Pakistani military operations related to counterterrorism; to permit the newly-lected civilian leaders to fashion fresh political arrangements that will define, among other things, the desired role of the military in the political life of Pakistan; and to provide the polity an opportunity to review the many modifications that have been arbitrarily grafted onto the Pakistani constitution over the years for their compatibility with the emerging national desire for a stable constitutionalism. Consequently, the administration ought to continue extending its support to Musharraf not simply because he has proved willing to advance certain common interests in the war against terror but, more important, because ironically he remains necessary to assuring the kind of democratic transition that st ands the best chance of enduring in Pakistan. Toward this end, Washington ought to insist that Musharraf oversee a fully free and fair election unsullied by any irregularities so that its outcome authentically respects the preferences of the nation in its entirety. And after the election the administration ought to encourage the emerging centers of power in Pakistan-the president, the prime minister, the chief of army staff, and the courts-to work as peaceably as possible while time, a gradually stabilizing political process, and the new prime minister and elected legislature, begin to define anew the structural framework by which Pakistan will be governed over the longer term.(114)

Seventh, assist the Karzai government in Afghanistan in moving quickly to address its lacunae in governance, particularly with respect to security, economic development, and narcotics production especially in the southern provinces, by committing to a substantial increase in long-term assistance to Kabul. There is a large body of persuasive research coming out of the RAND Corporation, for example, suggesting that foreign assistance at the level of at least $100 per capita per year is a minimum for successful stability operations in the early years of nation building. It is truly tragic that despite there being a near universal consensus in the United St ates that Afghanist an represents “the right war for the right reasons,” foreign assistance to this country even at its peak averaged only $57 per capita per year. In comparison, the assistance levels associated with the relatively successful nation-building efforts in Kosovo and Bosnia were, respectively, $526 and $679 per capita per year.(115) Given that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating but not yet lost-for which both Congress and the administration ought to be thankful-those two branches need to recognize that a fickle effort will not save Afghanistan today nor increase the security of the United States in the still-incomplete war against al-Qaeda. Accordingly, the United St ates should at the very least support Afghanist an’s reconstruction by doubling the current levels of U.S. assist ance over the long term.

Eighth, challenge NATO to live up to its collective security obligations by making the necessary manpower and material contributions to fight and win the war in Afghanistan. This requires, at the very least, meeting the force requirements identified in the ISAF operational plan, including by sending additional troops and combat equipment to Afghanistan. It will also necessitate abolishing the currently promulgated national caveats that impede interoperability and prevent the alliance from undertaking those combat operations that will be essential if the Taliban-al-Qaeda threat is to be decisively defeated. Transforming NATO’s mission from its current emphasis on predominantly soft approaches to defeating the counterinsurgency to something that accommodates this new direction will require a genuine debate within the alliance about its own role and contribution toward maintaining global stability, especially in those functional and regional areas that have a direct impact on European security. Thus far, NATO has evaded the fundamental strategic questions associated with its Afghan mission. If the alliance, however, is to live up to its historic decision to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty-a decision made with great courage and fervor on September 12, 2001-then this coalition, the strongest alliance in the history of man, must be able to demonstrate a commitment to both providing the resources and prosecuting the missions
necessary to resolutely defeat those common adversaries now found in Afghanistan.

Ninth,, and finally, accelerate the raising of the Afghan National Army (ANA) as a hedge against the possibility that NATO will fumble in the challenge of reorienting the ISAF mission as recommended. Although the existing effort to rebuild the 82,000-man ANA has been painfully slow, this failure is owed both to the fragmented approach to training the force, with different coalition partners being responsible for different kinds of training, and to the niggardliness in funding the effort. As things currently stand, the French oversee the training of staff, platoon, and company command officers; the British conduct initial infantry officer training and commissioning; and the Canadians oversee the combined training exercise that brings together trainee soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers in field maneuvers at the platoon, company, and batt alion levels to certify them ready for operations. All these activities are coordinated by the coalition through the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan and by the ANA through the newly formed Afghan National Army Training Command, a two-star authority that reports directly to the chief of the general staff. As the record of the past several years has demonstrated, progress has been painfully slow, and, if the training of the force-and even its expansion-is to be accelerated, a more radical solution must be contemplated. Unlike many of the NATO contingents, which either betray a disinclination to fight or are prevented from doing so, the ANA is both willing to defend its country and is highly motivated to do so. All it needs are the resources, the training, and the equipment. Consequently, the United States ought to give serious consideration to the idea of radically rationalizing the training program under possibly its own or another single national command and increasing the budgetary support significantly to enable the deploy ment of an even larger and more capable force than is currently intended-if the ANA is to be able eventually to protect its country effectively and independently. The United States should also unequivocally support the creation of an Afghan Army Air Corps capable of, at least to begin with, close air support for ANA forces operating in the field, air mobility operations for the rapid transport of troops and equipment from rearward bases to the front, and a reasonably sized heliborne medical evacuation capability for treating battlefield casualties.

These improvements to the current U.S. policy vis-à-vis Pakistan are indeed admittedly modest in comparison with some of the more drastic alternatives reviewed earlier. But they ought to help remind Islamabad that, if Washington were compelled to shift to some completely different strategy, it would certainly be costly for the United States but it would be even more painful for Pakistan. Continuing on a course of action that would end up testing this proposition in practice is in neither Pakistan’s interest nor America’s. The necessity for a pointed reminder is therefore all the more urgent because even if the current regime centered on Musharraf is replaced by another military or civilian dispensation, there is no assurance that Pakistani motivations and performance in the counterterrorism arena will be radically transformed.


97. R. Nicholas Burns, “Statement [before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations] on U.S.-Pakistan Relations,” Washington, D.C., July 25, 2007, http://www.state.gov/p/us/rm/2007/89418.htm.

98. Ibid.

99. See the excellent discussion in Craig Cohen and Derek Chollet, “When $10 Billion Is Not Enough: Rethinking U.S. Strategy Towards Pakistan,” Washington Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 2 (Spring 2007), pp. 7-19.

100. David E. Sanger and Mark Mazzetti, “Pakistan Faces Warning by Bush to Act on Terror,” New York Times, February 26, 2007.

101. Roxana Tiron, “Pakistan Lobbies against Sanctions as the Senate Takes Up 9/11 Bill,” The Hill, February 27, 2007.

102. Glenn Kessler, “Congress Sets Limits on Aid to Pakistan,” Washington Post, December 20, 2007.

103. The most considered and thoughtful example of such an approach may be found in Frédéric Grare, “Rethinking Western Strategies toward Pakistan: An Action Agenda for the United States and Europe” (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2007),

104. For a public report based on fragmentary information about what is obviously classified military planning, see Seymour Hersh, “Watching the Warheads-The Risks to Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal,” New Yorker, November 5, 2001, pp. 48-54.

105. See the discussion in Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, “While Pakistan Burns,” Weekly Standard, vol. 13, no. 7 (October 29, 2007), http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/253vpget.asp.

106. For more on the notions of specific and diffuse reciprocity, see Robert O. Keohane, “Reciprocity in International Relations,” International Organization, vol. 40, no.1 (1986), pp. 1-27.

107. Markey, “A False Choice in Pakistan,” p. 102.

108. On the collusion with Pakistani border patrols, see David E. Sanger and David Rohde, “U.S. Pays Pakistan to Fight Terror, but Patrols Ebb,” New York Times, May 20, 2007.

109. Coll, Ghost Wars, pp. 63-66.

110. Eric Schmitt, Mark Mazzetti, and Carlotta Gall, “U.S. Hopes to Use Pakistani Tribes against Al Qaeda,” New York Times, November 19, 2007.

111. See the pertinent discussion in Senator Jack Reed, “Trip Report: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq,” Office of Senator Reed, Washington, D.C., October 2006, http://reed.senate.gov/documents/Trip%20Reports/tripreport%20oct06%20final.pdf.

112. On the misuse of coalition support funds by Pakistan, see David Rohde, Carlotta Gall, Eric Schmitt, and David E. Sanger, “U.S. Officials See Waste in Billions Sent to Pakistan,” New York Times, December 24, 2007.

113. Joshua Kurlantzick, “Time’s Up: The U.S. Needs to Abandon Musharraf Today,” New Republic, November 5, 2007.

114. This recommended course of action is based on the premise that President Musharraf cannot simply be forced from office by the actions of outside powers, including the United States (even if Washington sought to pursue such a goal), and that the Pakistan Army will not abandon Musharraf short of a catastrophic meltdown of law and order in the country. Given these realities-and the fact that democracy in Pakistan remains the best hope for the triumph of moderation-the United States ought to focus less on shaping political outcomes in the forthcoming election and more on assuring a responsive, credible, and legitimate electoral process. The civilian government produced by this election should then be supported as the instrument for conducting a reinvigorated battle against extremism and for renegotiating the political compact that will define the character of Pakistan’s governing regime for the long term. A discussion of the most important innovations essential to Pakistan’s stability over the secular period can be found in Ashley J. Tellis, “U.S. Strategy: Assisting Pakistan’s Transformation,” Washington Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 1 (Winter 2004-2005), pp. 97-116.

115. Godges, “Afghanistan on the Edge,” pp. 14-21.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Founded in 1910, Carnegie is nonpartisan and dedicated to achieving practical results. Through research, publishing, convening and, on occasion, creating new institutions and international networks, Endowment associates shape fresh policy approaches. Their interests span geographic regions and the relations between governments, business, international organizations, and civil society, focusing on the economic, political, and technological forces driving global change.

Building on the successful est ablishment of the Carnegie Moscow Center, the Endowment has added operations in Beijing, Beirut, and Brussels to its existing offices in Washington and Moscow, pioneering the idea that a think tank whose mission is to contribute to global security, stability, and prosperity requires a permanent international presence and a multinational outlook at the core of its operations.

The Endowment publishes Foreign Policy, one of the world’s leading journals of international politics and economics, which reaches readers in more than 120 countries and in several languages.


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