Friday, November 23, 2018

Rethinking Pakistan

The U.S. alliance with Pakistan has been one of the most puzzling links imaginable, and it may be about to rupture completely, if not necessarily irretrievably. Writing in The National Interest, Mohammed Ayoob, an emiritus professor of international relations at Michigan State University, describes the relationship’s history, strains, and current condition.

Ayoob’s prognosis for the fraught alliance is gloomy and it’s clear he wonders why it ever happened. During a brief period when the U.S. wanted to make trouble for Russians occupying Afghanistan, we and the Pakistanis had shared interests. Ever since, our interests and theirs have diverged, becoming essentially opposites.

A historical parallel would be the alliance of the U.S. and Soviet Union during World War II. We were not friends before or after the war but had a shared interest in defeating the Axis during it.

Given the post-Soviet reality, cooperation with Pakistan against a shared enemy seems unimaginable in the current era. Maintaining the facade of alliance in the absence of shared interests seems neither useful nor realistic.