Washington, D.C. – This week, the fourth round of a strategic dialogue between the United States and Pakistan will take place in Washington. This meeting comes at a time when the Obama administration’s policy approach to Pakistan has begun to pay dividends—terrorist leaders have been taken off the battlefield, and Taliban leaders arrested. Although dangerous global security threats persist in Pakistan, the Obama administration has taken steps to put U.S. national security on more solid footing in Pakistan through an assertive and integrated national security approach to meeting multiple threats there.
Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country with more people than Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan combined, is home to some of the most dangerous terror networks. For years, U.S. policy in Pakistan suffered from neglect and missteps. Three years ago Pakistan was descending into chaos, in part due to neglect and a misguided approach by the Bush administration, which was distracted in the trenches of Iraq. By early 2010, however, the Obama administration’s comprehensive approach to Pakistan has shifted dynamics to make America safer utilizing a strategy centered on three main pillars:
- A more aggressive counterterrorism strategy
- A more effective aid program
- A more comprehensive regional strategy
It is far too soon to proclaim “mission accomplished” in Pakistan, but the Obama administration has started to turn the tide in Pakistan with an integrated and pragmatic strategy aimed at strengthening the bilateral alliance. This week’s meetings in Washington are designed to further deepen the ties between the United States and Pakistan and achieve more progress in the coming months.
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The authors of this column, Brian Katulis and Caroline Wadhams are available for comment. To speak with them, please contact Suzi Emmerling at 202-481-8224 or email@example.com.