Given the enormous threats facing [Pakistan]—from insurgency to environmental degradation to demographics—achieving performance-based legitimacy sufficient to challenge the military’s political dominance will likely remain a tall order for years, perhaps decades, to come, says CFR’s Daniel Markey.
At a public meeting in Assam a few days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated his government’s intention to pursue the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh. While resolving the border with Bangladesh may seem like a quiet regional development compared with the turmoil in Afghanistan or competition with China, it will in effect deliver a political hat-trick of historic proportion.
Once again, Pakistan is suffering from a self-induced political crisis. For days, street protests led by opposition politicians Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri have paralyzed Islamabad and threatened the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The pentagon last week acknowledged that the United States deployed armed drones to Iraq to provide surveillance and strike capabilities as the crisis with the Islamic State of Iraq and and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) continues to deteriorate. However, Micah Zenko points out that while numerous U.S. officials have called for the deployment of drones, these demands have not been accompanied by justifications, and there is still no precise goals for the deployment.
CFR's Daniel Markey sheds light on the two Taliban branches—the Afghan-based group that negotiated the release of a U.S. prisoner of war, and the Pakistani Taliban, which attacked the Karachi airport last weekend.
Pakistan's passive and active support to a range of terrorist and militant organisations has long been the single most important threat to the foundations of deeper cooperation between Islamabad and Washington, writes Daniel Markey.
"America's failure to fully understand and actively confront Pakistan on its support and export of terrorism is one of the primary reasons President Karzai has become so disillusioned with the United States. As American and NATO troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year, the Pakistani military and its Taliban proxy forces lie in wait, as much a threat as any that existed in 2001."
The faltering of Pakistan's peace talks with its homegrown terrorists over the weekend offers Islamabad a chance to draw a clear line of defense around Pakistan's constitutional order, writes Daniel Markey.
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.
Daniel S. Markey examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to confront and quarantine immediate threats to regional security while simultaneously attempting to integrate Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
While a fresh face at the helm of the Pakistani military undoubtedly raises American hopes for a less frustrating relationship, Daniel Markey writes that Washington should keep its expectations firmly in check and at least one eye out for trouble.
"All of these steps are meant to ensure that the prime minister, and not the Army chief, is the most powerful Sharif in Pakistan. But that status is not easy to guarantee: before he was toppled by Musharraf, in 1999, Sharif thought that his position was invulnerable, thanks to a landslide victory that gave him an overwhelming majority in Parliament. If the direct threat of a coup has receded, today Sharif faces a broader array of checks on his power."
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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