The Next Chapter: The United States and Pakistan

By: 
Pakistan Policy Working Group

On October 2, 2008, the USIP-cosponsored Pakistan Policy Working Group released a report with recommendations to the next administration as it develops its strategic options relating to Pakistan. The recommendations are endorsed by Richard L. Armitage, former deputy secretary of state and Lee Hamilton, former U.S. representative and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group.

 

On October 2, 2008, the USIP-cosponsored Pakistan Policy Working Group released a report with recommendations to the next administration as it develops its strategic options relating to Pakistan.

The recommendations are endorsed by Richard L. Armitage, former deputy secretary of state and Lee Hamilton, former U.S. representative and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group.

At the launch, working group member Marvin Weinbaum of the Middle East Institute commented on the genesis behind the project. While there is much news about Iran and North Korea as the preeminent challenges facing the U.S., he said, “As a group, we believe that Pakistan is the single greatest challenge facing the next president.”

Some recommendations include:

  • Commissioning a new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate to form a common operating picture on militancy in Pakistan and elsewhere. Based on this report, the U.S. government should develop a comprehensive strategy to address threats in Pakistan.
  • Exhibiting patience with Pakistan’s newly elected leaders in their struggle against extremist elements and working to stabilize the government through economic aid and diplomacy.
  • Assisting Afghanistan and Pakistan to transform their border from a hostile frontier into an “economic gateway.”
  • Assigning primary responsibility for coordinating and implementing Pakistan-Afghanistan policy to a senior U.S. official to promote better ties between the two states.
  • Increasing support for democratic institutions and efforts to build transparency and rule of law.
  • Implementing a robust public diplomacy program emphasizing mutual interests in combating extremism, creating prosperity and improving regional relationships.
  • Calibrating aid to Pakistan based on the level of Pakistan’s use of militants in its foreign policy.
  • Committing to $1.5 billion/ year in non-military aid tied to accountability and rigorous oversight.
  • Working with regional powers and Pakistan’s partners such as China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to build stability and counterterrorism in Pakistan.

The group, formed in January 2008, consisted of experts from USIP, Armitage International, the Heritage Foundation, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Service, the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, DynCorp International, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Middle East Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Senior Rule of Law Advisor Alex Thier, who served on the group and co-authored the report, noted the importance of the report’s timing, with a new government in Pakistan and a change in American administrations. “This report comes at an absolutely essential time for reexamining the partnership between the U.S. and Pakistan,” he said. “It recommends a fundamental reimagining of that relationship from both perspectives.”

October 2, 2008