Pakistan’s shocking strategic shift remains unnoticed

(From The National Interest)

Pakistan is often characterized as a belligerent, unyielding, and destabilizing force in international affairs. But despite longstanding and widespread negative perceptions, Pakistani behavior and strategic culture is changing for the better in important respects, as recently exemplified by anti-Taliban operations in the country’s North Waziristan region and thawing relations with the United States and Afghanistan.

Mounting internal threats have caused Pakistan to step back from its focus on perceived threats from India

Mounting internal threats have caused Pakistan to step back from its focus on perceived threats from India

The reorientation of Pakistan’s national security policies remains little noticed because media coverage of Pakistan is crisis-driven and narrowly focused, often overlooking longer-term trends. Pakistan is still routinely chastised for inadequately demobilizing militant groups, overspending on its military (both conventional and nuclear forces) relative to its social needs, and trading accusations with India without initiatives to improve relations.

Though there is merit to these negative critiques, at the same time Pakistan’s security policies have experienced striking but under-appreciated shifts since 2001 along three dimensions—aggressive behavior, strategic orientation, and self-examination. Read More



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