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Pakistan’s deep state, the military establishment and Inter-Services Intelligence are playing a double game with the United States and do not appear to have any intention of handing over power to the civilian government, a panel of experts concluded Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute. Kamran Shafi of Pakistan’s Express Tribune drove home the distinction between Pakistan and the military-run “deep state.” He stressed that a vast majority of Pakistanis are against the concepts of jihad and nuclear proliferation and argued that the U.S. needs to engage the civilian government rather than the military establishment. The U.S. has failed to craft a Pakistan policy consistent with American goals in Afghanistan, asserted Georgetown University’s Christine Fair. Despite evidence that Pakistan has undermined U.S. interests and acted as a U.S. enemy, she said, Washington continues to placate the military establishment, undermining U.S. leverage. Eli Lake of Newsweek and The Daily Beast argued that the U.S. does have a strategy in Pakistan: funding, through the CIA, an alternative “deep state” within the Pakistani military that is sympathetic to U.S. goals and willing to collaborate on the fight against al-Qaida. The U.S. cannot disengage with Pakistan, emphasized AEI’s Thomas Donnelly. He argued that Washington needs to both recognize the fundamental difference in U.S.-Pakistan relations and develop a new set of carrots and sticks to incentivize Pakistan’s power brokers to act in line with U.S. interests. All panelists asserted South Asia’s vital importance to U.S. national security interests and argued for continued engagement, noting that there are no short-term solutions to the conundrum Pakistan presents.
Last week’s resignation of Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States and protests over a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers have once again spotlighted the Pakistani army. How it responds to a weakened elected government in Islamabad and rising anti-U.S. sentiment on the streets will help determine both the tenor of U.S.-Pakistan relations and the nature of Pakistani democracy.
How can the United States continue to cooperate with the military while strengthening Pakistan’s fledgling democracy? Do U.S. allies such as Chile, Indonesia and South Korea offer lessons on how to professionalize Pakistan’s military by getting it out of politics? What does the future hold for civil-military relations in the nuclear-armed country? A panel of experts discusses these important questions.
C. CHRISTINE FAIR, Georgetown University
KAMRAN SHAFI, Express Tribune
THOMAS DONNELLY, AEI
ELI LAKE, Daily Beast, Newsweek
SADANAND DHUME, AEI
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C. Christine Fair is an assistant professor with the Center for Peace and Security Studies within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Before this position, she was a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation, a political officer to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul and a senior research associate in the U.S. Institute for Peace’s Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Her research focuses on political and military affairs in South Asia. She has authored, co-authored and co-edited several books, including “Seeing Like An Army: The Strategic Culture of the Pakistan Army” (OUP, forthcoming 2013), “Treading Softly on Sacred Ground: Counterinsurgency Operations on Sacred Space” (OUP, 2008, with Sumit Ganguly) and “The Madrassah Challenge: Militancy and Religious Education in Pakistan” (USIP, 2008) and has written numerous peer-reviewed articles covering a range of security issues in South Asia. She is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Studies Association and the American Political Science Association and is on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Journal of Strategic Studies, India Review, Small Wars and Insurgencies, and Current History.
Kamran Shafi is a Pakistani journalist who writes a weekly column in the Express Tribune, a leading English-language newspaper in Pakistan. He hosted a current affairs program on DawnNews –TV (2008-09). He served as late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s press secretary (1988–89), and as minister (information) at Pakistan’s embassy in London (1994–96). He is a leading advocate of democratic governance and civilian control over all institutions of the state, especially the military and intelligence services.
Thomas Donnelly, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is a defense and security policy analyst and the director of the Center for Defense Studies. He is the co-author with Frederick W. Kagan of “Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields” (2010). Among his recent books are “Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power” (2008), coauthored with Frederick W. Kagan; “Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources” (2007), co-edited with Gary J. Schmitt; “The Military We Need” (2005); and “Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Strategic Assessment” (2004). From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director and a professional staff member for the House Committee on Armed Services. Mr. Donnelly also served as a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times and Defense News.
Eli Lake is the senior national security correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He previously covered national security and intelligence for The Washington Times. Lake has also been a contributing editor at The New Republic since 2008 and covered diplomacy, intelligence and the military for the late New York Sun. He has lived in Cairo, Egypt, and traveled to war zones in Sudan, Iraq and Gaza. He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President George W. Bush's axis of evil: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. He has covered Pakistan for over a decade.
Sadanand Dhume, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes about South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, D.C. His political travelogue about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, “My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist,” has been published in four countries.