Relations between China and Pakistan are indeed growing, but must be considered in a wider context to understand their potential implications for the United States and India.
Close Sino-Pakistani relations are nothing new. Especially with respect to military and nuclear ties, Beijing and Islamabad have have been friendly since the 1960s. In recent years, bilateral trade and investment have increased. Looking to the future, China's expanding influence in Central Asia and its interest in overland access to the Arabian Sea could motivate even stronger links with Pakistan.
While in Islamabad, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue would be resumed in order to foster "deeper, broader and more comprehensive partnership." These fine words will need a lot of hard work to back them up. It would help if President Obama's administration also came to the table with a big new idea to re-energize its difficult relationship with Islamabad. An ambitious and forward-looking way to frame Washington's agenda with Islamabad would be to consider it within the context of Pakistan's role in the broader U.S. "rebalancing" to Asia.
Can Washington and Islamabad build a new strategic relationship? CFR's Daniel Markey says John Kerry and Nawaz Sharif are off to a friendly start, but big obstacles remain on counterterror cooperation.
Following President Barack Obama's remarks on the Trayvon Martin case, Micah Zenko highlights the inconsistency in Obama's policies towards justice. Although the president has stated in reference to the case that it is wrong to profile individuals based on their "appearance, associations, or statistical propensity to violence," and the use of lethal force cannot be justified as self-defense unless there is reasonable grounds to fear imminent harm, those are the exact foundational principles of U.S. signature strikes.
The specific challenge in the post-2014 context, as NATO troops draw down from Afghanistan, is to avoid a situation in which violence and instability spike, leading U.S.-Pakistan relations to fray to the point of rupture.
The Obama administration relies on drones for one simple reason: they work. Drone strikes have devastated al Qaeda at little financial cost, at no risk to U.S. forces, and with fewer civilian casualties than many alternative methods would have caused.
The first foreign leader to visit Pakistan following its recent elections was the prime minister of China, signifying the close relations between the two countries. During the visit, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari said, "."
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