January 11, 2010 ☼ Afghanistan ☼ China ☼ Foreign Affairs ☼ multipolarity ☼ Pakistan ☼ Realism ☼ realpolitik ☼ United States
This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.
As we have noted earlier, a Brzezinskian world is a world where there is a tidy bipolar world, where the United States and China sit together and make The Big Decisions. It differs from the real world in that the real world is real, and the Brzezinskian world lies in the domain of wishful thinking.
In the Brzezinskian world the following prescription would be considered as both sensible and in US interests:
Additionally, the United States needs to develop a policy for gaining the support of Pakistan, not just in denying the Taliban a sanctuary in Pakistan but also in pressuring the Taliban in Afghanistan to accommodate. Given that many Pakistanis may prefer a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to a secular Afghanistan that leans toward Pakistan’s archrival, India, the United States needs to assuage Pakistan’s security concerns in order to gain its full cooperation in the campaign against the irreconcilable elements of the Taliban. In this regard, the support of China could be helpful, particularly considering its geopolitical stake in regional stability and its traditionally close ties with Islamabad. [Foreign Affairs emphasis added]
Strange. One would think Mr Brzezinski was advising a president who wants to change the policies of his predecessor. What does he think the Bush administration did for nearly seven years?
That’s not all. In the same issue of the magazine, in an article on overcoming the obstacles to a nuclear-free world, Charles Ferguson writes:
Renewed US engagement in helping resolve the Indian-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir is one necessary step toward reducing nuclear tensions on the subcontinent. But this is not enough. Because Pakistan relies on nuclear weapons to counter India’s conventional superiority, the United States needs to address this imbalance by recalibrating its policy of supplying armaments to both states, giving Islamabad enough assistance so that it feels sufficiently secure to free up more military forces to fight the terrorists who are threatening the Pakistani government and its nuclear arsenal. [Foreign Affairs]
Here is someone who is arguing—in the second decade of the twenty-first century—for the United States to settle the Kashmir dispute to Pakistan’s satisfaction and then provide enough military assistance to Pakistan for it to feel secure vis-a-vis India without nuclear weapons. And he evidently thinks that it is a smart thing to do.
Related link: Atanu Dey’s classic post on dollar auctions and deadly games
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