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National Defense > Blog > Posts > U.S.-Pakistan Alliance Failing to Contain Terrorism, Says Scholar
U.S.-Pakistan Alliance Failing to Contain Terrorism, Says Scholar
By Chelsea Todaro

The United States should break off its counter terrorism alliance with Pakistan because the South Asian nation has goals that don’t match U.S. foreign policy objectives, a scholar argued at a recent panel discussion in Washington, D.C.

Pakistan’s security community’s primary objectives are to counter the influence of its rival India as well as U.S. allies in Afghanistan. That is reason enough to stop sending military aid there and to declare Pakistan an enemy, according to a scholar at a Heritage Foundation discussion on June 19.

Christine Fair, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s security studies program, stated in her new book, “Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War,” that the Pakistan army uses aggression and asymmetric warfare as a tool of foreign policy to satisfy its desire to protect Muslims throughout South Asia.

“It’s not a security seeking state, it’s actually an ideological state that desires additional territory … even if it’s not required for [its] security,” Fair said at a Heritage Foundation discussion about the book.

“We really need to treat Pakistan like the enemy that it is. It is a country which fundamentally opposes some of our key and most important interests in the region and should be treated as such,” Fair said.

Pakistan adheres to the “two nation theory,” which states that Muslims and Hindus cannot exist together because of their different ideologies. This allows Pakistan to undermine U.S. interests and focus on military action against India, she said.

Pakistan’s goal to protect its Muslim beliefs led to deteriorated relationships with Afghanistan and India, and increased terrorist attacks along the borders of these countries. The United States has spent billions of  dollars to secure an alliance with Pakistan, but it has yet to abandon its fears of India, which makes it unworthy of the money and time that has already been spent, she said.

Fair argued that the country is not doing anything to stop terrorism. “For every [terrorist] they kill they grow 10 more. We are basically paying them to mow their own lawn,” she said.

David S. Sedney, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, countered at the discussion that the United States should maintain relations with Pakistan to prevent radical Islamists from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The United States relies on the country’s support to fight the Taliban, and keeping a strategic alliance by sending military aid will eventually lead to a better relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sedney said.

“If you look ahead to the next 30 to 40 years, dealing with Pakistan is something we all are going to have to struggle with” said Sedney.

Terrorist attacks in the country continue unabated, he said. Yet, policy makers have learned from their mistakes and Pakistan alone is not to blame for past failures.

“One of the features during my time in the United States government was that the most important thing in dealing with Pakistan was personal relationships. This was the key to changing Pakistan,” said Sedney.

Fair said Pakistan’s perception of victory is the ability to sustain a military. “They don’t think of winning or losing … they define genuine loss as being unable and unwilling to get up and counter India again,” Fair said.

This is a paradox because Pakistan claims to have an alliance with the United States but its priority is to counter U.S. allies in Afghanistan and India. This makes Pakistan’s future dangerous, she said.

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