June 13, 2011

COMMENT: On "Dealing with India in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship by Howard B. & Teresita C. Schaffer"

Two relevant pieces of information. First from the article posted below. HBTS's recommendation (not Pakistan's preception) in the last para:

Only a marked improvement in its relations with India, including significant steps toward a settlement of their Kashmir dispute, will lead Pakistan to change this policy.

Second from the USIP Q&A session at http://www.usip.org/questions-and-answers-0 (point no. 3.3)

Important negotiations usually involve a major effort to create a sense of obligation on the part of the United States or to nurture and intensify the fear that failure to honor Pakistan’s requests will lead to disastrous consequences for U.S. interests.

HBTS seem to acknowledge "concessions...or else" Pakistan's strategy for both USA and India. They further rationalize Pakistan's threat against India and recommend the obligation of India to make political concessions on Kashmir that "will lead Pakistan to change this policy." (code: hand over Kashmir to Pakistan).

I agree with HBTS and only wish they had gone a step further, and, like the political concession demanded from India on Kashmir, also "define what kind of support the U.S. will provide" in terms of specific steps USA must undertake to help Pakistan politically and economically "because failure to honor Pakistan’s requests will lead to disastrous consequences for U.S. interests."

Don't HBTS realise that such obfuscations on our part are precisely the reasons Pakistanis accuse us of "trust deficit?" Asking India to give up Kashmir, but not telling Pakistanis what we can do to "avoid disastrous consquences for U.S. interests." I mean, even if India gives up Kashmir, we are not still off the hook, are we? If I read HBTS right, Pakistan wants USA to provide support to them as well. What kind, is what the Pakistan want us to address. After all, as HBTS write, "This is especially important because so many of their key negotiations with the United States are intended to set the broad terms of the bilateral relationship..."

For starters, here are my suggestions.

a) A civil-nuclear deal with Pakistan (better that what we gave to India, otherwise, who knows what the jehadis may be upto?)
b) Better military arms than India (otherwise the existential threat from India will always exist).
c) A free-trade deal with Pakistan (not extended to India since Pakistanis may not like us doing a = = with India).
d) Visa-free travel, movement and right to work for all Pakistanis in the USA.
e) Immigration: No quota for Pakistani immgration into the USA. After all, the best antidote to violence is creating economic opportunity. Targeted towards the most vulnerable, illiterate, unemployed, madrassa educated Pakistani youth so that they may have the least reason to pick up guns. Any number welcome, just don't threaten to blow us to bits. Please!
f) Double aid to Pakistan. The other half now for civilians. For the next two decades minimum.
g)Turn over Afghanistan to Pakistan. Support Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Whatever Pakistan wishes to do in Afghanistan, just let them!

Perhaps, GOTUS should float a trial balloon offering these confidence-building measures to the Pakistani government and try to gauge if these concessions might, just perhaps, might work avoid Pakistan's "disastrous consequences" upon us.

Again, thanks to HBTS for their very astute psychological study of Pakistani behavior. Now I am very, very scared! We MUST never fail Pakistan! (note to myself: repeat a hundred times!)

Oh! were are my leaders today who can rise up and proclaim boldly:
This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. (my addtion: And this, my countrymen, is the reason I stand in front of you today...to state as honestly and truthfully, as I can, so help me God...We supped with the devil; now we are paying the consequences!)

Reggie Sinha
Or it might be the book-selling season!




3. What factors shape Pakistan’s approach to negotiating with the United States?
Pakistan’s approach to negotiations with Americans is shaped chiefly by three factors.
1. The first and most important is Pakistanis’ concept of their country’s place in the world, including their perception of the United States and the volatile history of U.S.-Pakistan relations. This is especially important because so many of their key negotiations with the United States are intended to set the broad terms of the bilateral relationship and in that context to define what kind of support the U.S. will provide.
2. The second major influence is Pakistan’s culture. Pakistan’s operating style and expectations are shaped by a society in which the most important bonds are personal, relationships both inside and outside the government are hierarchical and the less powerful often try to turn their weakness into strength.
3. Finally, Pakistan’s negotiations with Americans reflect the structures of their government and political system, notably its divided authority and the outsized role the military has historically played. Taken together, these elements produce an approach in which negotiators cultivate what one might call “the art of the guilt trip.” Important negotiations usually involve a major effort to create a sense of obligation on the part of the United States or to nurture and intensify the fear that failure to honor Pakistan’s requests will lead to disastrous consequences for U.S. interests.
Reggie Sinha

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pakistan's Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, a key go-between, tried several times to explain to the Obama administration how to court Pakistani leaders, comparing the dynamic to "a man who is trying to woo a woman."

"We all know what he wants from her. Right?" Haqqani said in a meeting with Jones, Deputy National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and the NSC's Gen. Doug Lute.

"But she has other ideas. She wants to be taken to the theater. She wants that nice new bottle of perfume," Haqqani told them. "If you get down on one knee and give the ring, that's the big prize. And boy, you know, it works."

Haqqani said the "ring" was official U.S. recognition of Pakistan's nuclear program as legitimate. He also warned that the Pakistanis would always ask for the moon as a starting point in negotiations. He compared it to the salesmanship of rug merchants.

"The guy starts at 10,000 and you settle for 1,200," Haqqani told the Obama team. "So be reasonable, but never let the guy walk out of the shop without a sale."

Anonymous said...

For Howard B. & Teresita C. Schaffer. to posit to the Indians to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan is rubbing salt to the wounds. It is similar to an ex-Indian diplomat to the USA counselling Americans hand over California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to Mexico to secure peace with Mexico. After all, the Mexican government considers the Mexican - U.S. border to be still "disputed" and the wishes of the "hispanic majority" of these states must be taken into consideration. Already when hispanic youth march in the streets of Los Angeles demanding to "take the country back," the country they refer taking back is for Mexico.

Anonymous said...

As Reggie Bhai and others have been saying that since 1947, all of Pakistan's bad behavior has been rewarded in some form or the other. The article in question wants to do the same. It is myopic at best and delusional at worst. "Thinkers" and politicians like the authors embolden the Paki miscreants nay criminals to continue to inflict upon others in the area. My earnest appeal to the authors and other like them is - "Please focus on other problems facing the US and stay out of the subcontinent".

Anonymous said...

As Reggie Bhai and others have been saying that since 1947, all of Pakistan's bad behavior has been rewarded in some form or the other. The article in question wants to do the same. It is myopic at best and delusional at worst. "Thinkers" and politicians like the authors embolden the Paki miscreants nay criminals to continue to inflict upon others in the area. My earnest appeal to the authors and other like them is - "Please focus on other problems facing the US and stay out of the subcontinent".