The recent New York Times editorial, Is Pakistan Worth America’s Investment?, perpetuates the idea that the United States can use its economic assistance to Pakistan as a cudgel to extract better performance from the government in its fight against terrorism. There are two problems with that idea.
CGD Policy Blogs
Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in Islamabad for a Ministerial meeting of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, the second such meeting since the countries resumed the dialogue in 2013. Much of the (admittedly limited) coverage around this meeting has centered on the security conversation: how can the United States and Pakistan counter militant groups within Pakistan and along the Pakistani-Afghan border?
This is a joint post with Beth Schwanke.
2014 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for US-Pakistan relations. The US will be pulling out of Afghanistan; the Strategic Dialogue is continuing; and Kerry-Lugar-Berman will expire. And these are just the knowns.
CGD’s Study Group on US Development Strategy in Pakistan has spent the past several years identifying where US development strategy in Pakistan has gone wrong—and identifying practical solutions for improvement. Following our latest Study Group meeting, Nancy Birdsall, president of CGD and chair of the study group, sent this open letter to Ambassador Jim Dobbins, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This is a joint post with Alexis Sowa.
Last weekend marked the first time in Pakistan's 60-plus year history that a democratically elected government completed its term. This is a major achievement for Pakistan. It also raises the possibility of a new chapter in US-Pakistan relations because a new civilian government led by the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, the winning party) might prove to be surprisingly open to US help in addressing Pakistan's huge development challenges.
At a recent CGD roundtable, water expert John Briscoe gave a whistle-stop tour of Pakistan’s water economy. In a conversation framed by comments about Pakistan’s history of resilience and ingenuity, he laid out the compelling facts about Pakistan’s dire situation:
“No superpower that claims to possess the moral high ground can afford to relinquish its leadership in addressing global disease, hunger, and ignorance,” said former US senator Richard Lugar. “Our moral identity is an essential source of national power… We diminish ourselves and our national reputation if we turn our backs on the obvious plight of hundreds of millions of people who are living on less than a dollar a day and facing severe risk from hunger and disease.”
In a recent blog, my colleague posed a set of questions for members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ask Senator Kerry in his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State. One is about the United States’ work to support development in Pakistan:
Amanda and I wrote before the New Year about the tragic violence against vaccination workers in Pakistan who were doing vital work in the struggle to completely wipe out polio worldwide. Their deaths were linked to allegations that the CIA had used a vaccine campaign as part of intelligence gathering operations in the country. I’d like to propose a specific policy action by the US government that might marginally reduce the risk of such attacks –and their knock-on effect in terms of more
The wait is finally over: President Obama has announced Senator John Kerry’s (D-MA) nomination as the next Secretary of State. Given Senator Kerry’s leading role in advocating a smarter approach towards development in Pakistan, his appointment could be a game-changer for the US’ work in the country.