Why US and Pakistan do not have Mutual Beneficial Relations?
Despite the fact that both nations acknowledge the importance of the other to their respective strategic calculations, there remains an underlying animosity between them that threatens to undermine their relationship. Pakistanis believe that the United States’ security objectives frequently take precedence over the possibility of developing a broad-based partnership. The United States, for its part, has leveraged both help and sanctions in order to influence the behaviour of Pakistan. This has resulted in expectations that were, for the most part, not met, which has caused the two nations to become further estranged from one another. As a direct consequence of this, the two nations have frequently struggled to maintain a relationship that is beneficial to both parties.
A Drift in the Foreign Policies of Both Countries
In the meantime, the constantly shifting conditions on a global and regional scale are having an effect on the choices that both countries are making regarding their foreign policies. China is seen as a rival to the United States of America, whereas India is seen as a strategic partner. The leaders of Pakistan are unsure of where their country fits within the geopolitical priorities of the United States. Recent suspicions of a plot to change the government have contributed to additional dissatisfaction with one another.
Because of all of this, it is necessary to restart the relationship and regain each other’s trust. Attention needs to be focused on four different aspects of such a reset.
Triangular Relationship between the United States, China, and Pakistan
To begin, there is a need for analyses regarding the triangular relationship between the United States, China, and Pakistan. Pakistan considers China to be a friend because China has never violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and has stood up for Pakistan’s positions in international forums. Through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China brought enormous investment into Pakistan at a time when Pakistan was engaged in a fight against terrorism.
Pakistan is a Bridge between Two Powers
Having said that, the positive aspects of our relations with China should not interfere with our relationships with the United States. Pakistan would like to think that it was and still is a bridge between the two powers, but this is not the case. The American government’s decision to raise concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its use of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to exert economic pressure have disappointed the people of Pakistan. However, it would be to our advantage to convince the Americans to encourage their businesses to take advantage of the economic opportunities in Pakistan, just as China and a few other countries are currently doing. The government might even take into consideration a package, comparable to CPEC, that might be developed jointly with the United States and would clear the way for American investments in Pakistan’s special economic zones (SEZs).
Pakistan and Afghanistan
Afghanistan, a country against which the United States fought a bloody war, is the second priority area for Pakistan to work with the United States. Throughout the entire conflict, Pakistan has consistently recommended that the United States take a political rather than a military approach. Despite laying the blame for its own failures in Afghanistan on Pakistan for the majority of the war’s duration, the United States made the decision to negotiate with the Taliban in the end. The second piece of advice that Pakistan offered the United States was to leave in a responsible manner. The United States made the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in August 2021, when there was no interim government in place. This left a power vacuum, which the Taliban were quick to fill.
Afghanistan remains unstable. The country is on the verge of economic collapse, and a humanitarian crisis is currently taking place across the nation. The third piece of advice that Pakistan gave to the United States was to refrain from withdrawing from Afghanistan. If this were to happen, civil war and the return of terrorist organisations would be possible outcomes. In the larger interest of Afghanistan and the region as a whole, Pakistan and the United States need to maintain their engagement in order to convince the Taliban to honour their commitments regarding an inclusive government, the rights of women, and the fight against terrorism.
US and India
The strategic cooperation between the United States and India is the third area of emphasis. The United States has made significant investments in empowering India as a counterbalance to China. The Modi regime, emboldened by the US shift, has begun an exercise to realize the RSS ambition of a Hindu state and to exert Indian hegemony in the region. This dream was first articulated by the RSS in 1948. This strategy is fraught with peril for South Asian countries. The United States must demand that India respect its neighbors, refrain from intimidating its own minority, collaborate with Pakistan to find a solution to the Kashmir conflict, and refrain from engaging in risky excursions such as pre-emptive surgical strikes. It is imperative that the United States fulfil the part that is anticipated of it in the endeavor to stabilize South Asia.
Pakistan and the United States need to Revitalise Strategic Conversation
Lastly, Pakistan and the United States need to revitalise their existing broad-based strategic conversation, which was initiated during the Obama administration and is comprised of six working groups that are specific to different industries. People-to-people connections have remained consistent throughout the past seven decades, which is an optimistic aspect of the relationship because government-to-government relations have been prone to ups and downs over the same time period. The mainstay of this reset may come from continued interactions in trade, investment, agriculture, education, healthcare, and information technology, the majority of which may take place in the private sector. This may be bolstered by the presence of over one million Pakistanis living in the United States. In the meantime, it is imperative that both sides refrain from using rhetoric that is antagonistic toward one another.