Real change will come only when the Pakistani polity begins to believe that the costs of the policies pursued by its army far exceed the benefits accruing to Pakistan as a country.
This past November marked the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people, perpetrated by a Pakistan-based jihadist terrorist group called Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
Although propitious political circumstances made the Balakot crisis between India and Pakistan manageable, Pakistani terrorism remains the principal continuing threat to stability in South Asia. U.S. policy moving forward must relentlessly pressure Pakistan to crack down on jihadi groups or risk continuing crises in the region.
A regular survey of experts on matters relating to Middle Eastern and North African politics and security.
Hostilities between India and Pakistan have broken out many times before. But the latest aerial skirmish has upped the ante for any future clashes over the disputed border territories, with perilous consequences.
Indian observers hope that the enhanced military capabilities demonstrated in India’s attack will deter future Pakistani terrorism.
India must recognize that any response to the attack at Pulwama can at best mitigate—not eliminate—Pakistani terrorism. But India can do much more to equip and protect its security forces.
If the United States effectively uses its considerable residual leverage in Afghanistan, Pakistan does not try and turn Afghanistan into a weak protectorate, and the Taliban does not overreach inside Afghanistan, there is reason for optimism.
Pakistan’s nuclear policy is heavily influenced by 1960s NATO flexible response strategy, and has essentially imported its contradictions into Islamabad’s own. This emulation has raised serious questions about Pakistan’s “full-spectrum deterrence” credibility, deterrence stability and future measures to manage regional security competition.
The Trump administration’s strategy in Afghanistan is promising, but the United States must devote substantial resources and effort to ensure its success.