Washington: Arguing that billions of dollars
in aid has failed to convince Pakistani leadership to give up
their association with extremists, a top American scholar has
suggested the US to talk tough with Pakistan by cutting off
military and civilian assistance, and strengthening ties with
"A whole variety of gentle forms of persuasion have been
tried and failed. The only option left is a drastic one. The
irony is that this approach won`t benefit just the United
States: the whole region, including Pakistan, could quickly
find itself better off," said Stephen Krasner, an
international relations professor at Stanford University.
Krasner was the Director of Policy Planning at the
Department of State, a position he held from 2005 until April
2007. He is a senior fellow at Stanford University`s Hoover
Writing for the latest issue of the prestigious Foreign
Affairs, Krasner said despite Pakistan`s ongoing problematic
behavior, however, aid has continued to flow.
The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, even certified
in March 2011 that Pakistan had made a "sustained commitment"
to combating terrorist groups, he noted.
"Actions such as this have undermined American
credibility when it comes to pressuring Pakistan to live up to
its side of the bargain. The US has shown that the sticks that
come with its carrots are hollow," the former State Department
"The only way the United States can actually get what it
wants out of Pakistan is to make credible threats to retaliate
if Pakistan does not comply with US demands and offer rewards
only in return for cooperative actions taken," he argued.
"US officials should tell their Pakistani counterparts in
no uncertain terms that they must start playing ball or face
malign neglect at best and, if necessary, active isolation,"
"Malign neglect would mean ending all US assistance,
military and civilian; severing intelligence cooperation;
continuing and possibly escalating US drone strikes;
initiating cross-border special operations raids; and
strengthening US ties with India.
Active isolation would include, in addition, declaring
Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, imposing sanctions, and
pressuring China and Saudi Arabia to cut off their support, as
well," Krasner said.
The former State Department official said the US must
make clear that if it ended its assistance to Pakistan,
Pakistan would not be able to retaliate.
"The United States could continue its drone strikes,
perhaps using the stealth versions of them that it is
currently developing. It could suppress Pakistani air
defenses, possibly with electronic jammers, so as to limit
military deaths and collateral damage," he said.
The US might even be able to conduct some Special Forces
raids, which would be of such short duration and against such
specific targets that Pakistan would not be able to retaliate
with conventional force, he said.
Observing that the US must show that it can neutralise
one of Pakistan`s trump cards: its role in the war in
Afghanistan, Krasner said the US must develop a strategy for
Afghanistan that works without Pakistan`s help.
That means a plan that does not require transporting
personnel or materiel through Pakistan.
"Washington must shed its fear that its withdrawal of aid
or open antagonism could lead to the Pakistani state`s
collapse, a radical Islamist takeover, or nuclear war.
Pakistanis, not Americans, have always determined their
political future," he said.