Pakistan, Afghanistan, and U.S. Power

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DCFR brief about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and U.S. Power, based on an interview with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on Sept 20, 2011.

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Pakistan, Afghanistan, and U.S. Power

  1. 1. ‘‘ Global Themes an issues brief series of the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations DCFR Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations Issue No. 3 October 3, 2011 Pakistan, Afghanistan, and U.S. Power An Interview with Zalmay Khalilzad, former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the U.N. “One of our most serious challenges in foreign policy is the relationship between Afghanistan-Pakistan-U.S. the U.S. and Pakistan—the Pakistani policy towards Afghanistan and towards Challenges extremism and terror in general. Pakistan has been both an ally and an adver- sary on these issues at the same time. It is perhaps in a unique class of countries Jennifer Warren: What would you where it’s both a foe and a friend.” say are the greatest challenges in Afghanistan regarding security and dissatisfied. Their dissatisfaction leadership by 2014. Between now stability? leads some to become indifferent and then can we achieve some between the insurgents and the agreement between Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad: Three main government. In some cases, it may and Pakistan that facilitates challenges exist. One is the even encourage some people to join reconciliation inside Afghanistan? relationship between Afghanistan the insurgency in opposition to the Can we help the Afghans improve and Pakistan. Pakistan provides government. governance? With such positive sanctuary and support to the changes we can reduce our forces insurgents fighting in Afghanistan. The third factor is, of course, the significantly and in a very orderly We need to reach an agreement U.S. and international support and manner. I do believe that as long between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and presence in Afghanistan. There is as there is an al-Qaeda threat in the the United States that eliminates war fatigue in the West. Given U.S. region, the U.S. will want to have a these sanctuaries and changes concerns about its own economic residual presence in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s policy of support for the situation, there is a desire to pull insurgents. That’s critical to achieve back and to transfer responsibility JW: What do you think should be success in the short term. as quickly as possible to the done about the triad relationship Afghans. The challenge is to do it between the U.S., Pakistan, and A second source of security in a way that doesn’t undermine the Afghanistan regarding foreign problems is weaknesses in achievements of the last ten years, policy? Can you break down the Afghanistan’s government. and bring back the problems of Pakistan-Afghanistan part and the On the positive side, there is al-Qaeda or the Taliban-al-Qaeda U.S.-Pakistan part in more detail? the buildup of Afghan security combination to Afghanistan. institutions, which is going well. This development makes These three issues are interlinked: On September 20th, DCFR President it possible for Afghans to take the regional dynamics, the Afghan government factor, and the U.S.- Jennifer Warren interviewed Zalmay on more responsibility for their international factor. Khalilzad, former Ambassador to security. On the negative side, when it comes to governance, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the U.N. He the rule of law, and dealing with President Obama has said that the currently leads the global consultancy corruption, the government has lead for security responsibility Gryphon Partners. This brief’s content serious shortcomings. Afghans are will be transferred to the Afghan is based on his comments. 4925 Greenville Ave, Suite 1025 | Dallas, Texas 75206 | 214.750.1271 | dallascfr.org
  2. 2. 2ZK: One of our most serious and others who are fighting us in could be dealt with. We need tochallenges in foreign policy is the Afghanistan. look at a longer term relationshiprelationship between the U.S. and with Pakistan. To Pakistanis, itPakistan—the Pakistani policy When we consider the positive appears that as long as Americatowards Afghanistan and towards things Pakistan is doing and when has a problem in Afghanistan andextremism and terror in general. we worry about Pakistan’s domestic with al-Qaeda, it will pay attentionPakistan has been both an ally and weaknesses, we tend to want to to Pakistan and provide assistance.an adversary on these issues at the engage and provide assistance. But When that threat goes away,same time. It is perhaps in a unique regarding the negative Pakistani America will abandon them as wasclass of countries where it’s both a actions, we want to pressure them. done after the Soviet withdrawalfoe and a friend. We pressure them when they’re from Afghanistan. We have taught ambivalent about fighting al-Qaeda. Pakistan a bad lesson – that as longJW: A frenemy? However, this policy of pressure, as there is a problem, and they’re engagement, and support has not yet helping with that problem – weZK: Frenemy may be the right brought about a change in Pakistani pay attention to them and provideword for it. In confronting the behavior, particularly with regard to financial support. They then have anchallenges of extremism and terror Afghanistan. The U.S. and Pakistan interest in continuing the problem.in Afghanistan, Pakistan on some are working at cross-purposes It’s mostly about continuing toissues has an honorable record, between each other in Afghanistan. receive U.S. money and support.for example, allowing suppliesfor our troops through Pakistan. JW: So do you think it’s a reactive On the other hand, if PakistanHowever, because Pakistan began policy as opposed to crafting a continues with policies that resultusing that as leverage and causing holistic, strategic policy with potentially in defeat for the U.S.difficulties, we have opened up a Pakistan? Is it just coping?corridor in the north, from central ZK: The policy ofAsia, the Caucuses, and Russia to engagement andbring in supplies. Almost 50% of pressure has beenwhat we formerly used to transport designed to changein the early years via land through Pakistan’s behavior.Pakistan now comes from the north, It certainly hasn’tavoiding Pakistan. This is a very been sufficient,important change. and it obviouslyA second factor is al-Qaeda. hasn’t worked soPakistan has a mixed record. We do far. While it hasattack al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan. prevented relationsWe’ve had great successes in that from turningregard. The success in part has been completely hostilebased on cooperation from Pakistan, or from relations breaking down between the U.S. in Afghanistan or the return ofthough we would like to see more. extremists, terrorists, the TalibanWe are also concerned about and Pakistan, it hasn’t produced the change we have been seeking. and al-Qaeda to Afghanistan,Pakistan’s own future because it has I believe we need to pressurenuclear weapons and because it’s a Therefore, that aspect needs to be reviewed. them more. We have to makelarge country of 180 million people. assistance considerably moreWe do not want it to be taken over I have been an advocate for squarely conditional, particularly in theby extremists or fragment. But putting more of the positive and security domain. I support a policythe Pakistani state, especially its negative on the table to bring about of support for civil society andsecurity institutions, particularly its a change in Pakistan’s calculus. political reform for Pakistan, thatintelligence agency, has very close On the positive side, we need to is, policies that can assist with arelationships with extremists and initiate a major diplomatic effort long-term transformation and thehas used them as an instrument of to deal with Pakistan’s legitimate empowerment of a new generationpolicy in Afghanistan and India. concerns in Afghanistan. What is it of leaders. We have to contain andCurrently, Pakistan supports the that Pakistan wants in Afghanistan? manage Pakistan for the short term.Taliban, the Haqqani network, Let’s see if there are issues that I would consider implementing
  3. 3. 3more operations against terrorists, “The multi-polar world was not a peaceful world. It was a world of two world wars, forthe Taliban, and the Haqqani example. If multi-polarity is inevitable, later is better than sooner; we need to get ournetwork targets in Pakistan. We economic house in order. In my view, that’s a national security imperative.”should implement the positivethings first and if Pakistani policies geopolitical disputes that have been disintegration of Pakistan anddo not change, we should shift to a an impediment. Afghanistan could become stronger. There aremuch tougher policy including the be a beneficiary of such an effort. obviously potential nuclearsteps I outlined. One of the potential sources of terrorism threats. Pieces of nuclear economic viability for Afghanistan equipment or material could fallAs part of the positive steps, we is its transit position between South into the hands of extremists andalso need to consider a larger Asia and Central Asia. If expanded, terrorists. Right now, al-Qaeda isregional strategy such as economic it could be a hub for regional on the ropes. Osama bin Ladenintegration and the resolution trade and create opportunities for has been killed as have many otherof some of these outstanding employment and economic key leaders. Analysts discuss theproblems. My overall sense is progress. probability of the military wingthat our diplomacy has not been of the organization being defeatedfocused or engaged to mobilize JW: Is there a threat that could in a few years. That is very muchother major players in support of the blindside the U.S. and the contingent on other things workingstabilization of the region, including global community? Do we have to the proper effect and outcome.the Afghan-Pakistan relationship. misconceptions that are driving our If Afghanistan falls apart, al-Qaeda policies and therefore we might has a much bigger territory toJW: Do the Pakistani people be making missteps because we’re operate in, which will help makeunderstand that they could have looking through this U.S. prism? al-Qaeda stronger. If Iraq falls apart,development and better lives, if again that is another challenge. Iftheir country wasn’t dominated ZK: I think that the biggest question Pakistan falls apart, that’s another that may shape the region for problem. If the U.S. declares victoryby these security threats and the the long term is what happens to and takes its eye off the ball, thatmilitary? My impression is that they presents another scenario withare powerless. Pakistan. If Pakistan continues on many negative implications. The its current path, over-investment situation is unpredictable. With soZK: It’s easy to mobilize the in its security establishment and many possible potential scenarios toPakistani people vis-à-vis India, under-investment on the civilian track, the challenge becomes whichwhich has been one of their chronic side, there are risks… problems do you pay attention toproblems. The dominant security and which ones do you not? There is growing insurgency insidestate that Pakistan has become, the of Pakistan. Not only is there JW: How would you assess Iraq’sarmy and the security apparatus, the Pakistani Taliban (which the progress? If things go well inis a large part of the budget while Pakistan government opposes), the Iraq—civil societies created andother institutions have suffered. Afghan Taliban (which the Pakistani institutions keep being built—howIf you consider the basic factors military and intelligence services long will it take before Iraq issuch as education that is one of support), and the insurgency in a leader and a role model in thethe indicators whether a country Balochistan, you could have forces Middle East?is likely to be successful or not, that workPakistan is not doing well. But for thetheir security apparatus still has adisproportionate claim to resourcesthat is tolerated and supportedbecause of India. That’s why part ofthe broader strategic effort has to bethe regional stabilization of SouthAsia, partly because India has takenoff economically. There may beimaginative ways to deal with theissues between India and Pakistan,shifting the focus to more economiccooperation rather than the old
  4. 4. 4 June 21, 2011ZK: If the Iraqi political forces that to develop and benefit economically very careful. If we don’t revive ourhave made an agreement to work will provide us with leverage economy and deal with our fiscaltogether honor that agreement, I to bring China into this large issues while other powers continuethink Iraq will be well on its way. diplomatic effort that I discussed growing at a much faster rate, suchThey have many resources, but earlier. Perhaps we could work as China, India, and Brazil, overthe habit of political cooperation together along with other players an extensive period of time, weamong rivals doesn’t come for a settlement of the Pakistan/ risk returning to a world of multi-easy. Political cooperation has Afghan dispute. polarity. Such a world could bebeen difficult. Issues are viewed similar to the multi-polar systemas black and white: ‘I’m right and Insofar as there are elements of of the 19th and early 20th centuries.you’re wrong.’ This system of competition between the U.S. and In a world where the U.S. has beendemocracy is novel. So there are China, maybe the Chinese would pre-eminent, we have witnessed thegreat challenges to overcome, but not want us to stay in Afghanistan dangers and risks of terrorist attacksalso great potential exists in Iraq. indefinitely. But U.S. commitments and small conflicts, but if we arriveTo achieve this potential, when the in Afghanistan perhaps benefit at a multi-polar world, the risk ofpolitical elite arrive at agreements, China in other ways. We have big wars would return. Obviouslythey have to implement them. The been highly focused on terrorism that would not be desirable. Therecent agreement that was the basis militarily in this region, rather multi-polar world was not afor the formation of the government than focusing on Asia, which peaceful world. It was a world ofhas not been implemented to the is an area of cooperation and two world wars, for example. Ifdegree necessary. competition between the U.S. multi-polarity is inevitable, later is and China. While we have been better than sooner; we need to getChina in the region tied down in Afghanistan and our economic house in order. InJW: The Chinese are signing Iraq, they have focused on their my view, that’s a national securitycontracts for commodities economy and East Asia. We need imperative.extraction and energy resource to adjust our vision and be moreexploration in Afghanistan. Do focused on that important part of As we do so, the U.S. needs to beyou see them having any other the world, including China’s rise more selective in the use of force.role in Afghanistan outside of their and its implications. There may be When we do use force, we shouldeconomic interests? potential for some cooperation in engage in multilateral operations to this region that we need to explore limit our exposure. When engagedZK: The Chinese are aggressively more vigilantly. in another country, we should bepursuing their economic interests very careful about the mission, and Future of U.S. leadership know that it can be accomplishedin Afghanistan and the region.They have already gained copper JW: How have your views evolved with reasonable costs and terms,concessions in Afghanistan. CNPC, about U.S. leadership in a post-Iraq thinking this through carefully. Wethe major Chinese oil company, world, with ongoing involvement need to play the role of catalyzingrecently won a concession for in Afghanistan, Middle East coalitions more. If our own vitaldeveloping oil blocks in the north. revolutions, and a rising Asia/ interests are at risk, of courseBut they also have an interest in China?countering extremists and terrorists.We have this interest in common ZK: I think thewith the Chinese, as they have their U.S. is still theown security problems in Xianjiang most importantand the area near Afghanistan’s and power in thePakistan’s borders. Historically, world, militarilythey have had strong relations and in terms ofwith Pakistan. The China-Pakistan overall economicrelationship is one of the stronger prowess, despiterelationships that China has had our problems.with any country in the region. I We also have softbelieve our common interests with power capabilities.China on extremism and their desire We need to be
  5. 5. 5ultimately we will go alone, if we Disruption.” Besides weapons of This region of which we speak,have to. Obviously, the best option mass destruction, this could be very including Pakistan, Afghanistan,is to engage multilaterally and as consequential. and the intersecting areas of theselectively as possible. Greater Middle East, Asia, and New mindset needed Africa is very much reminiscent ofWe need to be more attentive to old Europe, where countries wereAsia and the balance of power JW: For a while, private foreign direct investment was flowing into constantly trying to cause problemschanges that are taking place for each other. There is very littlewith China’s and India’s growth. Pakistan. Because of security issues, investors are looking to other places economic cooperation. There isAt the same time, we must keep very little cross-border trade amongan eye on the Middle East and such as Africa, China, and India, instead of Pakistan… the players in the region. Most ofSouthwest Asia, especially as long their trade is with powers fartheras extremism and terrorism remain away. They’re often not verya challenge. We need to be attentive ZK: In that part of the world, of democratic in their politics. The ruleto new threats—which include course, a change in mindset is of law is very limited. Military andnot only the existing threats from needed. That region is a bit like security institutions are strong.nuclear proliferation, terrorism, old Europe, I mean eighteenthgeopolitical and economic changes, and nineteenth century Europe The region is dysfunctional. That’sbut also the issue of cyber threats. where there was an excessive why the Arab Spring has been aSituations may evolve where focus on geopolitics and where hopeful development for manythere will be not only states but greatness was defined by territorial people — that maybe there can begroups, even individuals, posing acquisition—imperial design, transformation in the region witha significant threat of disruption, so to speak. After World War the right priorities put forth fronttheft, or breaching our intelligence II, the Europeans became wiser. and center, such as the rule of law,secrets. How do we deal with cyber They began to engage in earnest employment, and democracy. Thisissues in terms of deterrence, economic cooperation, which has formula is not so secret. It hasdefense, and prevention? All of led to political cooperation. That worked in other parts of the world.these issues that were important cooperation is currently under stress It can work here as well. It’s notduring the nuclear period of the but the Europeans have achieved like you’re discovering somethingCold War era may resurface as we a greater level of security and that hasn’t been tried in manymove toward the spread of what prosperity than ever in their history. places.can be called “Weapons of Mass GeoEdge The Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations takes no institutional positions on policy issues. The views ex- pressed and facts presented in DCFR publications are the responsibility of the author or authors. BLOG For additional information about DCFR, please visit our website Exploring the frontlines of at www.dallascfr.org. foreign affairs Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations is a non-profit organization focused on explor- ing leading-edge developments in foreign affairs. Our mission is to promote knowledge http://geoedge.org/ of global affairs and a better understanding of the people and events impacting impor- tant policy choices of the future.For more information contact:Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations4925 Greenville Ave, Suite 1025 Dallas, Texas 75206dcfr@dallascfr.org 214.750.1271

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