Pakistan’s perceptions of US Middle East policy

Authored by: Shahid Javed Burki

Handbook of US-Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9781857434996
eBook ISBN: 9780203859377
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203859377-17

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Abstract

Pakistan’s relations with the US are passing through some very difficult times. There have been crises before in the relationship between these two countries, but none was more complicated than the one the leadership in the two countries faces at this time. There are new leaders in both Washington and Islamabad with little experience of dealing with one another. If the latent conflict between the two capitals intensifies, it will have serious consequences for both countries. On previous occasions when these relations hit a difficult patch, it was Pakistan that really suffered. This time around, the US could also end up paying a heavy price. What is at stake for Pakistan is the integrity of the country, the type of governance that evolves, and the future of the economy? However, if Pakistan is seriously destabilized, it could create a haven from which terrorist groups could begin to hurt the US. How US–Pakistan relations are shaped will depend on a number of factors that could be influenced by public policy in Washington. Among the issues the administration headed by President Barack Obama must address are the way the growing Islamic militancy in Pakistan’s northern areas is tackled, the way the Pakistani economy is helped not only in coming out of the crisis in which it finds itself at this time but also in the way it develops over the medium and long run, and the way Washington deals with restiveness in the Middle East. It is the last issue that is the subject of this chapter.

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