Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Check out Arif Rafiq's recent piece on the U.S.-Pakistani relationship. A very insightful and practical set of prescriptions in my view. He refers to Senator Biden's proposal as a model for building a relationship with the Pakistan people, not just the upper echelons of Pakistan's government, and advises Washington to stop interfering in Pakistan's internal politics.

I have a couple of quibbles. I'm not sure how realistic it would be to replace NATO troops in Afghanistan with those from non-bordering Muslim nations like Turkey and Indonesia, but I guess it might be worth a shot some day. Also, I'm not always sure what authors mean when they say that the U.S. shouldn't "interfere" in others' internal politics. If what Mr. Rafiq means is that Washington ought to be dispassionate and uninterested in Pakistan's political winds, that strikes me as pretty unrealistic. If, on the other hand, he means that America should step back, and try to influence Pakistan's long term political development by putting itself on the right side of events rather than trying to tinker in the country's political minutae, then in my view he's being quite insightful.

In any case, definitely worth a read for anyone interested.

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