TWQ: The Merits of Dehyphenation: Explaining U.S. Success in Engaging India and Pakistan - Fall 2008
October 1, 2008
Whether the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India is completed right away or whether the war on terrorism in Pakistan chalks up more successes in the next few months, the recent U.S. approach toward South Asia represents a dramatically successful example of what many believe Washington is congenitally incapable: the capacity to think strategically over the long term and implement complex policies that require diplomatic adroitness and political agility.
Although specific elements of this policy have been controversial and the gains accruing to them more tentative, the regional approach currently pursued toward India and Pakistan has nevertheless been more successful than could have been imagined when President George W. Bush first took office. The most striking evidence of this accomplishment is that, in sharp contrast to the last several decades, the United States today finds itself in the fortuitous position of enjoying good relations with India and Pakistan simultaneously while both states seek to sustain a durable peace with one another.
This outcome is owed partly to structural changes in global and local geopolitics, as well as to decisions made by visionary regional leaders, but it derives fundamentally from the new tack pursued by the United States in South Asia.