The U.S.-Pakistan Relationship: Toward a Complementary Strategy

The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is vital to U.S. interests in the Middle East.  The relationship has been especially strained recently, putting into question the future of U.S. aid and commitments to Pakistan.

This issue of the NSFR, titled “The U.S.-Pakistan Relationship: Toward a Complementary Strategy”, is a report of a series of interviews with Pakistan VIPs conducted by the NSFR Editorial Board.  Our findings have been distilled and we have provided a number of policy options with the objective of reformulating U.S. relations with Pakistan.  Our suggestions are based on complementary strategy: the idea that the U.S. and Pakistan must understand each other’s objectives before hard negotiations can be effective.  Also in this issue are two articles by high level Pakistani political figures: General (Retired) Parvez Musharraf, former president of Pakistan, and Imran Khan, a prominent philanthropist and activist leader of a leading Pakistan political party.  Their thoughts add a unique Pakistani perspective to the analysis of this relationship.

Following the publication of the NSFR report, President Obama announced a new direction for America’s Middle East strategy.  Here are the key points of his speech:

  • Elevating trade and investment over financial aid handouts
  • Broadening and deepening regional trade initiatives between the U.S. and the region
  • Promoting the development of civil society
  • Demanding anti-corruption initiatives
  • Encouraging new forms of U.S. communication and outreach to the Middle East

These policy initiatives are consistent with our findings.  So far, President Obama has limited implementation to Tunisia and Egypt.  The NSFR report advocates that these principles be applied to Pakistan urgently.  A rupture of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship would be a serious set back to U.S. objectives in the region.

Click here to read the Spring 2011 issue of the National Strategy Forum Review:

“The U.S.-Pakistan Relationship: Toward a Complementary Strategy”

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