Center for American Progress

Broaden and Deepen the Strategic Relationship between the United States and Pakistan
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Broaden and Deepen the Strategic Relationship between the United States and Pakistan

A fundamental strategic shift in U.S. policy on Pakistan should occur away from a narrow focus on military and intelligence cooperation.

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A fundamental strategic shift in U.S. policy on Pakistan should occur away from a narrow focus on military and intelligence cooperation. Pakistan’s problems will not be solved by military means alone. Long-term stability in Pakistan depends not only on curtailing extremism and militancy in Pakistan, but on strengthening Pakistan’s economy and democracy and on reducing tensions between Pakistan and its neighbors. U.S. military approaches must be integrated into a wider political strategy for the region. The U.S. government should engage with leaders of Pakistan’s civilian institutions and civil society in addition to its military establishment. Integrating the full range of U.S. and other countries’ powers—diplomatic, economic, and political—the United States should quietly and carefully expand U.S.-Pakistan partnerships on a broad set of issues, including intelligence cooperation, economic development, energy, education assistance, and more. The Obama administration should embark on a strategic dialogue with Pakistan that sets common goals for the two countries, building on the major non-NATO ally status it has already achieved. These goals should include both tactical counterterrorism and longer-term counterinsurgency objectives and should specifically engage Pakistan’s security concerns that are often at variance with ours.

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