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United States Should Include Pakistan in its Rebalance Policy Toward Asia, Argues CFR Special Report

January 21, 2014

As U.S. and coalition forces prepare to draw down troops in Afghanistan, a new report urges Washington to view Pakistan not solely or even principally in the context of U.S.-Afghanistan policy, but rather to reorient the relationship toward Asia. "A U.S. strategy for Asia that does not contemplate Pakistan's role is incomplete, and a U.S. strategy for Pakistan that primarily considers its role in the context of Afghanistan is shortsighted," writes the report's author, Daniel S. Markey, CFR senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia.

The report, Reorienting U.S. Pakistan Strategy: From Af-Pak to Asia, outlines a two-pronged approach to future U.S. policy for Pakistan: defend against security threats, and support Pakistan's economic growth and normalized relations with its neighbors. Markey recommends that the United States:

  • launch a new diplomatic dialogue with China, India, and Pakistan to reduce prospects for regional tension and violence;
  • sign a trade deal that also encourages trade between India and Pakistan;
  • reallocate assistance in Pakistan to improve trade and transit infrastructure; and
  • integrate Pakistan into East and South Asia policymaking across the State Department, National Security Council, and Department of Defense, and deemphasize the Af-Pak connection.

Markey is the author of No Exit from Pakistan: America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad , which explains how Washington can prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes in U.S.-Pakistan relations.

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