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Realism Meets Nation Building The US policy elite’s critique of US foreign policy in Pakistan



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  • 1.     Realism  Meets  Nation   Building     The  US  policy  elite’s  critique  of  US   foreign  policy  in  Pakistan   Alicia  Mollaun   3rd  year  PhD  student   POGO  
  • 2. Research  Project   • Examina:on  of  US  and  Pakistan  elite   percep:ons  of  US  foreign  and  aid   policy  in  Pakistan  in  the  post  9/11   era.     •  38  face-­‐to-­‐face  interviews  conducted  in   Washington  D.C.  and  New  York  in  March  2012.       •  40  face-­‐to-­‐face  interviews  conducted  in  Islamabad   and  Lahore  between  October  2011  and  October   2013.    
  • 3. Research  themes/chapters   •  •  •  •  •  1.  US  elite  views  of  US  foreign  policy  in  Pakistan   2.  US  elite  views  of  US  aid  to  Pakistan   3.  Pakistan  elite  views  of  US  foreign  policy  in  Pakistan   4.  Pakistan  elite  views  of  US  aid  to  Pakistan   5.  Comparison  of  US  and  Pakistani  views  
  • 4. Research  Questions  –  this   chapter   • Does  the  US  elite  think  that  the  main   challenges  facing  Pakistan  are  internal   or  external?   • Does  the  US  elite  think  that  US  policy   in  Pakistan  is  mainly  guided  by  realist   or  by  na:on  building  objec:ves?   • How  sa:sfied  overall  is  the  US  elite   with  US  foreign  policy  in  Pakistan?  
  • 5. Literature   •  Proponents:  US  responsibility  to  na:on  build  (see   Dobbins  (2003)  (2007);  Lesser  (1999))   •  Argue  that  despite  limited  success  –  worthy  policy.   •  Fukuyama  (2004):  threats  come  from  weak  states  –  in   the  US  interest  to  teach  people  to  be_er  govern   themselves.   •  Realist  Cri0cs:  See  Morrell  et  al  (1999);  Pei  and  Kasper   (2003);  Dempsey  and  Fontaine  (2001);  Dempsey  (2002).   •  Not  the  job  of  the  US  to  na:on  build  –  par:cularly  as  a   means  to  counter  terrorism.     • Dempsey  argues  that  na:on  building  won’t  combat   terrorism  –  CT  hinges  on  policy  of  ‘victory  and  credible   deterrence’.    
  • 6. Literature   •  Large  case  study  based  literature  of  US  na:on  building:   •  Post  9/11,  majority  of  literature  focused  on  Iraq  and  Afghanistan,   li_le  on  US  na:on  building  in  Pakistan.   •  Afghanistan  and  Iraq:  Fukuyama  (2006)   •  Iraq:  Dodge  (2003),  Diamond  (2006)   •  Afghanistan:  Goodson  (2005),  Rubin  (2003)   •  Pakistan/Afghanistan/Central  Asia:  Rashid  (2008)     •  Li_le  considera:on  of  Pakistan  -­‐  (Rashid  (2008)  a  journalis:c     excep:on),  or  on  possible  trade-­‐offs/tensions  between  realist  and   na:on-­‐building  objec:ves.   •  This  research  fills  a  gap  on  the  literature  on  Pakistan  and  na:on   building;  and  on  US  elite  percep:ons  of  US  policy  more  broadly.  
  • 7. Obama’s  nation  building  strategy   in  Pakistan   Af-­‐Pak  Strategy  2009:  “Today,  it  is  clearer  than   ever  before  that  we  must  expand  our   rela:onship  with  Pakistan  beyond  security   issues,  and  lead  the  interna:onal  community   in  helping  the  Pakistani  people  overcome   poli:cal,  economic,  and  security  challenges   that  threaten  Pakistan’s  stability,  and  in  turn   undermine  regional  stability.”    
  • 8.   But  with  a  hint  of  realism   Obama:  “Pakistan  must  demonstrate  its   commitment  to  roo:ng  out  al  Qaeda   and  the  violent  extremists  within  its   borders.  And  we  will  insist  that  ac:on   be  taken  -­‐-­‐  one  way  or  another  -­‐-­‐  when   we  have  intelligence  about  high-­‐level   terrorist  targets.”  (2009)  
  • 9. So  what  does  the  US   policy  elite  think  about   US  policy  in  Pakistan?  
  • 10. What  is  the  major  short-­‐  to  medium-­‐term   challenge  facing  Pakistan?   •  Wide  range  of  challenges  iden0fied:   •  34  different  challenges  named;  83  responses  given.   •  Number  of  respondents  =  36       •  14  of  36  elite  respondents  (39%)  name  at   least  one  external  challenge     •  30  of  36  elite  respondents  (83%)  name  at   least  one  internal  challenge    
  • 11. What  is  the  major  short-­‐  to  medium-­‐term   challenge  facing  Pakistan?   Most  popular  responses  and  number  of  respondents:        External      (25%  of  total    responses)    Afghanistan  (5)   India  (5)   Securing  Nukes  (3)   Internal     (75%  of  total   responses)   Economy  (10)   Energy  (6)   Extremism  (6)  
  • 12. What  is  the  major  short-­‐  to  medium-­‐term   challenge  facing  Pakistan?   “The  domes:c  situa:on  in  Pakistan  will  be   cri:cal.    It  is  going  to  be  the  economic   problems  that  will  be  the  driver,  which  will   out  of  necessity  force  Pakistan  into   rethinking  its  regional  rela:onships.    The  US   obviously  has  a  great  interest  in  this   because  an  unstable  Pakistan  is  not  going   to  help  in  crea:ng  a  stable  Afghanistan  or  a   stable  South  Asia.”     Interview:  Shuja  Nawaz,  The  Atlan:c  Council.            
  • 13. What  does  the  US  want  most   from  Pakistan?   •  18  different  ‘wants’  iden:fied;  63  total  responses   (average  of  two  per  respondent)   •   Number  of  respondents  =  32   Na0on  Building   Don’t  know     Realist     63%  (total   responses)     27%   10%   Afghanistan  (17)   Stability  (7)   US  doesn’t  know   what  it  wants  (4)     Counterterrorism   (non-­‐state  actors)   (6)   Extremism  (social   phenomenon)  (5)   US  has  too  many   conflic:ng  goals   (2)   Nuclear  Security  (5)   Governance  (2)  
  • 14. Realist  perspectives   “Why  are  we  giving  Pakistan  this  aid?  It   is  Nigeria  with  nuclear  weapons.    That   is,  it  is  a  poor  country  that  cannot  meet   its  budget,  but  it  doesn’t  have  oil.    So  in   a  sense  it  is  a  form  of  blackmail… Pakistanis  know  that  we  regard  their   survival  as  important  to  us.”       Interview:  Stephen  Cohen,  Brookings  Ins:tu:on  2013  
  • 15. Nation  building  perspectives   “There  are  more  extremists,  a  more  religiously   conserva:ve  popula:on  –  that  is  what  the   trend  is.    Part  of  the  problem  is  that  there  are   always  things  to  mul:ply  that  –  a  lack  of   educa:on,  lack  of  jobs,  lack  of  a  stable   economy.  We  don’t  have  programs  to  address   it  [extremism]  at  all  …  it  is  too  much  of  a  band-­‐ aid  approach”       Interview:  Poli:cal  Staffer,  Washington  D.C.  
  • 16. What  is  the  one  key  factor  you  would   change  in  US  policy  towards  Pakistan?   •  74%  of  responses  advocated  for  a  complete  overhaul  of  US   policy   •  24  different  policy  changes  advocated,  total  responses  34   •  Number  of  respondents  =  26   •  Wide  range  of  changes  suggested,  most  popular   Complete  Policy  Overhaul   (74%)     Take  a  longer  term  approach   (5)   Discrete  Reforms  (26%)   Make  aid  pay  as  you  go  (2)   Reset  rela:ons  (3)   Promote  peace  with  India  (2)   Improve  US  credibility  (2)   Reduce  drone  strikes  (1)  
  • 17. What  is  the  one  key  factor  you  would   change  in  US  policy  towards  Pakistan?   “The  US  has  no  long-­‐term  strategy  for  its   rela:onship  with  Pakistan.    They  have  a  strategy   based  on  the  war  in  Afghanistan.    If  you  read  the   strategic  documents  the  Obama  Administra:on   puts  out,  the  purpose  of  the  rela:onship  with   Pakistan  is  to  defeat  and  dismantle  AQ,  prevent   safe  havens  and  nuclear  issues.    It  is  all  limited  to   that  agenda.  This  is  the  problem.”     Interview:  Shamila  Chaudhary,  New  America  Founda:on  
  • 18. How  satisDied  overall  is  the  US  elite   with  US  foreign  policy  in  Pakistan?   •  Very  dissa:sfied.     •  Dissa:sfac:on  expressed  in  very  general  terms  –   “take  a  longer  term  approach”.     •  Indicates  dissa:sfac:on  with  US  policy  on  the   whole  (both  military  and  civilian).     •  Lack  of  ‘discrete’  or  specific  policy  ideas  tells  us   that  there  are  no  easy  fixes  for  the  US  in   Pakistan.    
  • 19. Why  the  dissatisfaction?   •  It  is  difficult  to  achieve  realist  and  na:on  building  goals  in   Pakistan:   •  Messaging  gets  lost  –  US  asks  too  much  of  Pakistan  –  the  elite   think  there  are  too  many  goals/unclear  goals.   •  Pakistan’s  weak  government  and  civil-­‐military  tension.   •  Over  the  past  decade  the  US  has  go_en  li_le  bang  for  its  buck  in   Pakistan  –  aid  for  na:on  building  has  yielded  poor  results  in   terms  of  Pakistan  assis:ng  the  US  with  security  goals  (realist   goals)  –  so  why  keep  pursuing  this  policy?   “I  am  not  quite  sure  the  US  knows  what  it  wants.    American  policy  is  in  the   midst  of  transi:on,  from  a  near  myopic  focus…on  the  war  on  terror…the   Obama  Administra:on  sustained  many  aspects  of  the  Bush  approach  and   tried  to  add  civilian  aid…but  never  really  broke  the  narra:ve  -­‐  a  principle   objec:ve  of  the  Obama  Administra:on’s  engagement  was  the  outcome  of   its  investments  in  Afghanistan.”   Interview:  Steve  Coll,  New  America  Founda:on  
  • 20. Why  the  dissatisfaction?   •  There  is  disconnect  between  US  goals  and  Pakistan’s  priori:es   •  Many  elite  believe  there  is  li_le  convergence  of  na:onal   interests,  especially  regarding  the  Taliban  and  Pakistan’s  strategic   use  of  terrorist  networks.     “We  want  things  Pakistan  does  not  want  to  do  or  cannot  deliver   on.    There  is  a  direct  correla:on,  the  security  apparatus  knows,   that  if  they  extend  their  CT  opera:ons  beyond  the  Pakistan   Taliban,  they  are  invi:ng  a  world  of  hurt.    So  they  can’t  deliver   or  don’t  want  to  deliver.    I  don’t  see  it  changing.    They  are   promising  less  and  delivering  li_le.    Except  for  against  those   guys  [terrorists]  that  are  aiming  at  them.”   Interview,  Michael  Krepon,  S:mson  Centre  
  • 21. Why  the  dissatisfaction?   •  The  pursuit  of  realist  objec:ves  undermines  na:on  building  goals:   •  The  elite  are  cognisant  that  the  US’s  transac:onal  approach  to  the   rela:onship  and  pursuing  short-­‐term  policy  is  not  in  the  US’s  long-­‐term   interests  in  building  a  stable  and  secure  Pakistan.   •  The  elite  argue  that  the  US  rela:onship  with  Pakistan  is  viewed  through  the   lens  of  Afghanistan  –  this  damaged  US-­‐Pak  rela:ons  and  has  undermined   na:on  building  goals  given  Pakistan  thinks  the  US  is  helping  Pakistan  in   exchange  for  security  coopera:on.     “I  would  want  to  take  a  much  longer  approach…This  idea  of  thinking   about  Pakistan  in  the  long-­‐term  rather  than  the  short-­‐term  should  be   front  and  centre.    Think  about  the  10-­‐20  year  :me  frame,  not  what   you  want  out  of  Pakistan  next  year…  The  threat  of  another  9/11  hangs   over  every  poli:cians  head.    That  overwhelms  every  other  policy   decision.    If  doing  something  slightly  increases  the  chance  that  we  will   have  another  a_ack  –  no  one  wants  to  touch  it,  even  if  it  is  just  the   percep:on.”     Interview:  Danny  Cutherell,  Centre  for  Global  Development  
  • 22. Conclusion   • Looking  at  elite  responses  across  all   three  research  ques:ons,  some   interes:ng  pa_erns  emerge  with   regards  to  elite  percep:ons:   • Pakistan  needs  help  primarily  with   its  internal  challenges  –the  elite   are  more  likely  to  nominate   internal  rather  than  external   challenges  when  asked  what   Pakistan’s  main  problems  are.    
  • 23. Conclusion   • US  primary  goals  in  Pakistan  are   realist  ones  –  despite  the   Obama  rhetoric,  the  elite  think   that  when  it  comes  to  Pakistan,   realist  goals  are  more  important   than  na:on  building  for  the  US.      
  • 24. Conclusion   • US  policy  in  Pakistan  needs  to   be  overhauled  –  Most  of  the   elite  advocate  a  complete   overhaul  or  reset  rather  than   more  specific  reforms.      
  • 25. Conclusion   •  I  argue  that  this  dissa:sfac:on  with  US  policy   reflects:     •  the  difficulty  of  achieving  either  realist  or   na:on  building  goals   •  the  disconnect  between  Pakistani  needs   and  US  priori:es   •  the  fact  that  the  pursuit  of  realist  objec:ves   undermines  the  achievement  of  na:on   building.    
  • 26. Concluding  remarks   •  In  context  of  this  broader  research  project,  US  elite   views  are  not  too  dissimilar  to  Pakistan  elite  views.   •  Pakistan  elite  also  emphasise  internal  challenges  –  though  there   is  greater  agreement  on  what  the  internal  challenges  are.   •  Both  have  a  realist  perspec:ve.  Some  of  the  elite  argue  that  US   aid  to  Pakistan  should  be  scaled  back;  many  elite  in  Pakistan   advocate  cancelling  it  altogether.   •  The  Pakistan  elite,  however,  is  less  dissa:sfied  with  the  way  its   government  is  conduc:ng  policy  vis-­‐à-­‐vis  the  US  –  and  collec:vely   blame  the  US  for  many  of  its  country’s  woes.    
  • 27. Concluding  remarks   Important  applica:ons  of  this  research:   •  Ul:mately,  the  US  will  have  a  greater  probability  of   success    in  Pakistan  if  its  broad  geopoli:cal  interests   dovetail  with  those  of  both  the  elite  and  the  people  in   the  target  na:on  –  and  if  the  US  can  be_er  understand   the  perspec:ves  of  the  elite.     •  This  research  adds  to  the  large  body  of  literature  on  elite   opinion  and  fills  a  gap  with  respect  to  Pakistan.    There  is  li_le   in-­‐depth  research  on  the  foreign  policy  views  of  the  elite  in   Pakistan,  or  the  US  elite  concerning  US  policy  in  Pakistan.  
  • 28. Discussion  and   Q&A