Cato Policy Analysis No. 80 January 5, 1987

Policy Analysis

A Fortress Built on Quicksand:
U.S. Policy Toward Pakistan

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter is a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Executive Summary

A close security relationship with Pakistan has been the cornerstone of U.S. policy in South Asia for more than three decades. Beginning with the Eisenhower administration, Washington regarded that country, together with Iran, as an essential obstacle to Soviet expansionism toward the Indian Ocean and the oil fields of the Persian Gulf. Following the Iranian revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan acquired an even greater importance as a component of U.S. geopolitical strategy throughout that region.

The strategic cooperation between Washington and Islamabad is symbolized by a security agreement concluded in 1959, but the relationship is far more comprehensive. The United States has provided more than five billion dollars in economic and military aid since the mid-1950s. Pakistan's armed forces, 12th largest in the world, are equipped with an array of modern weapons, courtesy of the American treasury. A succession of governments in Islamabad have rewarded this generosity by consistently supporting U.S. foreign policy positions--a marked contrast to the stance adopted by most Third World states.[1] Today, more than ever, Pakistan is Washington's principal political and military asset in South Asia.

The U.S.-Pakistan connection has survived a host of difficulties. India's supporters in the United States have long contended that support for Pakistan needlessly drives a wedge between this country and the world's most populous democracy. Such critics repeatedly advise American officials to recognize that India is inevitably the dominant power on the subcontinent, and they recommend that U.S. policy be adjusted to reflect that reality.

While this view has attracted several prestigious adherents over the years, including John Kenneth Galbraith, Chester Bowles, and at least during his Senate career, John F. Kennedy, its impact on U.S. policy has been limited. Pressure from pro-India forces did impel President Lyndon Johnson to embargo arms aid to Pakistan during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan conflict, when it became evident that Pakistan had violated restrictions on the assistance by using U.S.-supplied weapons for aggressive purposes. Similar lobbying contributed to a decision by the Carter administration to suspend economic and military assistance because of Pakistan's surreptitious military nuclear program. But the basic features of a close U.S.-Pakistan relationship have survived such setbacks. A succession of American administrations have stressed the importance of political and military ties with Islamabad even when this position severely strained relations with New Delhi and contributed to growing Indo-Soviet cooperation. The pro-Pakistan orientation culminated in President Nixon's famous "tilt" toward Pakistan during that country's 1971 war with India.[2]

The relationship has also surmounted a series of unpalatable developments within Pakistan. U.S. officials are often discomfited that our South Asian ally has been dominated by a series of military dictatorships, an embarrassing contrast to India's history. Civilian rule has accounted for barely one third of Pakistan's four decades of independence. The current government of President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq dates from a military coup in 1977. Moreover, these dictatorial regimes have amassed a distressing record of human rights violations.[3]

Endemic political instability in Pakistan has also strained the relationship with Washington. The 1971 "tilt" occurred in the aftermath of a bloody civil war in which East Pakistan broke away to form the new nation of Bangladesh. During the mid-1970s, the government in Islamabad fought a lengthy and difficult campaign to suppress another separatist movement in Baluchistan province. Other secessionist impulses, while less potent, have surfaced repeatedly throughout the country's troubled history.

A continuing source of alarm for the United States is Pakistan's apparent determination to develop a military nuclear capability to match a similar program in India. Not only does this strategy undermine Washington's long-standing effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it creates undesirable risks for the United States. American policymakers exhibit understandable uneasiness about Pakistan obtaining nuclear armaments given that country's exceedingly stormy relationship with India.[4]

Such ominous developments should have caused U.S. policymakers to reassess the wisdom of investing so much diplomatic, political, and military capital in an unpredictable and unstable ally. For a brief period during the early years of the Carter administration there was some evidence of a reevaluation, but any inclination to deemphasize the Pakistan connection vanished when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. The Carter administration promptly muted its criticism of the Zia regime's human rights record, reiterated the 1959 security guarantee, and offered a new package of military aid totaling some $400 million.[5]

During the intervening years, Pakistan has resumed its traditional role as America's principal political and military outpost in South Asia. Congress authorized a $3.2 billion five- year aid package in 1981, and the Reagan administration has requested a new program exceeding $4 billion when the original measure expires at the end of FY 1987.[6] In exchange, Washington has pressured the Zia government to serve as a conduit for covert U.S. military aid to Afghan rebel forces, the mujaheddin, fighting the Soviet occupation army. That assistance is now estimated at $250-$300 million annually.[7]

The direct aid to Pakistan (which has included F-16 fighters and other sophisticated weapons in the American arsenal normally not available to Third World allies) combined with Islamabad's heightened role in the Afghanistan conflict underscores how much the United States has invested in its South Asian policy. Evidence suggests, however, that it is a risky and unwise commitment.

Washington views Pakistan both as a bulwark in its own right against Soviet expansion and as an important component of American policy toward Afghanistan. But Pakistan is an extraordinarily frail ally--an impoverished nation with a history of political separatism and instability, governed precariously by a military strongman who faces mounting domestic opposition. The last point was underscored in April 1986 when massive anti- government crowds greeted the return from exile of Benazir Bhutto, daughter of the country's last elected prime minister and heir to his political machine. Pakistan seems destined for yet another period of acrimonious confrontation and domestic turmoil. By placing so much reliance on a weak and unstable ally, the United States risks the collapse of its entire South Asian policy.

The Zia-Bhutto Confrontation

The return of Benazir Bhutto, daughter of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, from exile in Britain heralded a new round of political conflict. Some 500,000 people greeted her arrival in the city of Lahore, and the throng openly chanted anti-government slogans, some denouncing President Zia as a "dog."[8] Emboldened by this reception, the 33-year-old Bhutto assumed control of her father's political organization, the Pakistan Peoples Party, purged it of old-line officials and filled the resulting vacancies with loyal young activists. She then launched a nationwide campaign to compel the government to call immediate elections rather than in 1990 as currently promised.

For a time, this confrontational strategy seemed to work. It gradually became evident, however, that Bhutto overestimated both the breadth of public dissatisfaction with the Zia regime and the depth of allegiance to her. Calls for massive demonstrations in July on the ninth anniversary of Zia's coup against her father resulted in disappointing turnouts. Ignoring this warning that she might be overreaching herself, Bhutto and her organization again took to the streets the following month. This time there were continuous, sizable demonstrations in her home province of Sind, but elsewhere the initial outpouring of support quickly evaporated. Moreover, the government of Zia's hand-picked prime minister, Mohammad Khan Junejo, responded to the provocations by declaring a state of emergency and jailing Bhutto and hundreds of her followers.[9] This crackdown marked a reversal of hesitant but encouraging steps toward democracy, including the election of a "nonpartisan" parliament in 1985 and the legalization of political parties in early 1986.

Benazir Bhutto had openly tried to duplicate the successful revolution led by Corazon Aquino in the Philippines. It was an image she evoked in most of her speeches, and the Western news media were quick to proclaim "parallels" between the Philippine and Pakistan struggles.[10] But by the autumn of 1986 one extremely clear difference had emerged: While Aquino had swept into office amid the acclaim of a decisive majority of her countrymen, Bhutto failed in her initial bid for power.

The divergent results should not have been so surprising to Western observers. So-called parallels with the Philippine revolution are vastly overdrawn. While some similarities do exist, there are also crucial differences. The United States should not expect a bloodless transfer of power to a democratic, pro-Western government. Pakistan's history and the dynamics of the current political environment suggest a less appealing outcome. Indeed, the personalized struggle between President Zia and his challenger often obscures more fundamental problems that, quite literally, threaten to unravel Pakistan as a nationstate. It is this latter possibility that poses a lethal danger to current U.S. policy in the region.

Superficial Philippine Parallels

Various writers stress apparent similarities between the Philippine revolution and the current political ferment in Pakistan. In each country an entrenched autocrat encountered rising levels of public resistance. Similarly, in both cases a determined and dynamic woman defied traditions of male dominance to lead an opposition movement pledged to restore democracy. Moreover, both women had personal as well as political motives for launching their crusades. Corazon Aquino openly accused Ferdinand Marcos of being implicated in the murder of her husband, Benigno. Benazir Bhutto makes no effort to conceal her hatred for President Zia. Not only did he orchestrate the coup against her father, but he subsequently imprisoned the former prime minister on a murder conspiracy charge--an allegation that led to Bhutto's execution in 1979.

Those who attach great importance to these parallels imply that the outcome in Pakistan will also mirror Philippine developments. According to this theory, Benazir Bhutto's version of "people power" will ultimately (and perhaps with the same stunning rapidity) oust the Zia dictatorship as Aquino and her followers expelled Marcos. U.S. officials, perceiving the implications of this process, will abandon their long-standing support for the incumbent ruler and tacitly endorse the democratic insurgents. The United States will then form reasonably comfortable ties with the new government, thus preserving the essence of American foreign policy objectives in the region.

Problems with the Parallel

There are several difficulties with this sanguine scenario. The Philippine analogy itself is flawed in three respects. First of all, President Zia is neither as unpopular nor as vulnerable as Ferdinand Marcos. Secondly, not only is Bhutto's political position correspondingly weaker than Aquino's, but her commitment to democratic values is far less certain. Finally, Pakistan's political and social problems dwarf those of the Philippines. All of these crucial differences should severely temper expectations concerning an easy and benign outcome to the current struggle.

While most experts conclude that the aloof Mohammad Zia ul-Haq would encounter difficulty winning a fair election-- especially against a charismatic opponent such as Benazir Bhutto--he is much stronger politically than Ferdinand Marcos. One crucial difference is the attitude of the nation's clergy. The Philippine Catholic Church, led by Cardinal Jaime Sin, was openly hostile to the incumbent regime. In marked contrast, the bulk of Pakistan's Islamic clergy seems solidly pro-government. This stance is largely a consequence of President Zia's "Islamization" campaign during the early 1980s to make Pakistani criminal and civil law conform to the dictates of the Koran. While the subsequent changes were more cosmetic than substantive, they represented a significant symbolic victory for Islamic fundamentalists.[11] Zia thereby neutralized a potentially dangerous source of opposition to his regime.

He also maintains a viable position among key economic constituencies. While corruption has been a serious problem in Pakistan during years of martial law, it never reached the massive level of the Marcos kleptocracy. In fact, it has not been demonstrably worse under Zia than it was under previous rulers, including prime minister Bhutto. Moreover, Zia has rarely been personally implicated in financial misdeeds, again a marked contrast to the widespread perception in the Philippines that Marcos was the principal beneficiary of graft.[12]

Pakistan's economy has also been improving in recent years rather than duplicating the deterioration that afflicted the Philippines. Some of this improvement may be illusory--a temporary "high" caused by the influx of U.S. aid funds. Another crucial component of improving economic conditions, the income generated by Pakistanis who work in the oil fields of the Persian Gulf nations (nearly $3 billion annually), may prove to have been a temporary phenomenon. There is likely to be a significant decline in hard currency derived from that source given current conditions in the global oil market.

Nevertheless, much of the improvement is structural and results from market oriented reforms the Zia government has undertaken. Several firms, especially in the cement, fertilizer, and sugar refining industries have been denationalized. Subsidies to inefficient industries have been reduced, some tax rates cut, and the thicket of stifling governmental regulations amassed throughout the British colonial era and the years of independence pruned. Much remains to be done, but even these modest changes facilitated a vigorous growth in Pakistan's long moribund economy. During the past six years, the country's gross national product has expanded at an annual rate of more than 5 percent, highest in South Asia.[13] Corazon Aquino received extensive assistance from Philippine business leaders angered at the pervasive corruption and alarmed at signs of economic disintegration. Given the trends in Pakistan and her own socialist views, Benazir Bhutto will find it considerably more difficult to solicit the support of Pakistan's business community.

Finally, whereas Marcos confronted a growing reform movement among younger military officers during the final years of his rule, there is little evidence of a similar phenomenon in Pakistan. This is an especially crucial difference, since it was the defection of reform-minded officers (and enlisted men) to the Aquino camp during the hectic days following the stolen election that finally impelled then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel Ramos to break with Marcos. Without their rebellion, in turn, it is extremely doubtful whether Aquino's "people power" would have been sufficient to oust the Philippine autocrat. As long as Pakistan's military remains loyal to President Zia, Bhutto will face a daunting obstacle in her climb to power--especially when combined with the other advantages possessed by the existing regime.

Nor would a Bhutto triumph necessarily mean the advent of a stable, democratic (much less pro-capitalist) government. Unlike Aquino, whose commitment to democracy seems sincere and abiding, Bhutto's attachment to that value appears problematical at best. She is a doctrinaire socialist, and that ideology remains a guiding principle of her Pakistan Peoples Party.[14] In advocating a collectivist system, she follows loyally in her father's footsteps.

Critics also fear that she would emulate her father in another way. During his years in office, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was scarcely the paragon of a democratic leader. He outlawed opposition parties, censored the press, and jailed thousands of political opponents.[15] Indeed, the repression practiced by his civilian government was only marginally less severe and pervasive than the military dictatorship that followed.

Not only has Benazir Bhutto conspicuously failed to repudiate her father's authoritarian legacy, she has thus far refused to express even the mildest criticism. This omission is considered ominous by diverse political leaders including those of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD), an opposition coalition which once included the Pakistan Peoples Party. The rigidly authoritarian internal structure of the PPP (including the absence of contested elections for party posts) is likewise considered disquieting. These factors, combined with Bhutto's calculated cultivation of a "personality cult," suggest that her principal goal is a restoration of "Bhuttoism" rather than democracy.[16] Such a result would constitute little, if any, improvement on the current regime.

A final factor that undermines simplistic conceptions of a Philippine parallel is the divergent political histories and conditions of the two countries. Until Marcos declared martial law in 1972, the Philippines had a democratic system that had functioned successfully for more than a quarter century. The impact of American values and institutions during the decades of colonial association probably contributed to that record. Marcos was able to suppress the attachment to democracy for a time, but it eventually reasserted itself with renewed vigor.

Pakistan's history is strikingly different. Military dictatorships alternating with equally authoritarian civilian governments have been the norm. Democracy simply never established secure roots. It may well be (although such predictions are invariably hazardous) that Ferdinand Marcos will constitute merely an unfortunate aberration in the political evolution of his country. Both President Zia and Benazir Bhutto are all too typical representatives of the political traditions in their nation.

Pakistan's Endemic Weaknesses

Preoccupation with a Philippine parallel and the personal struggle for power between Zia and Bhutto has tended to distract attention from more fundamental weaknesses in Pakistan's political and social fabric. These weaknesses are now so severe that they threaten to plunge the country into chaos, perhaps culminating in the collapse of the state itself. This is no idle fear, nor would such an event be without precedent in the modern era. Austria-Hungary disintegrated during the final stages of World War I, and more recently similar processes took place in Cyprus and Lebanon. Moreover, it must be remembered that Pakistan, as originally constituted, ceased to exist in 1971 with the successful secession of East Bengal (now Bangladesh). That event removed more than half the nation's population from the jurisdiction of the Islamabad government.

The future of Pakistan would be problematical even under the most favorable conditions. U.S. foreign policy objectives in South Asia, and the resulting demands placed upon Pakistan as the principal American client in the region, are greatly magnifying the danger. Unless Washington pursues a more perceptive strategy, it courts disaster both for itself and its longtime ally.

Secessionist Forces

At the root of Pakistan's difficulty is the fact that the country itself has always constituted a highly artificial and fragile political entity. The decision to partition the Indian subcontinent on the eve of independence from Britain was motivated almost entirely by a desire to defuse the religious animosity between Muslims and Hindus.[17] While the creation of Pakistan did at least partially satisfy the Muslim minority, it ignored other explosive pressures menacing the new nation.

Geographically, Pakistan was composed of two predominantly Muslim regions 1000 miles apart, separated by an openly hostile India. An equally vast social, cultural, and economic chasm divided the Bengalis of East Pakistan from their supposed countrymen in the West. Indeed, about all the two populations had in common was their religious faith, and that proved insufficient for prolonged unity. The arrangement fell apart in the bloody 1971 civil war.

This secessionist episode may be an omen of what lies in store for the remainder of Pakistan. Other strong separatist impulses continue to exist. In part, this is a legacy of the colonial era. The western boundary between Pakistan and the neighboring states of Iran and Afghanistan was based on little more than the geographic limits of British military power. In the process, it bisected major ethnic groups. For example, the Baluchs in the southwestern province of Baluchistan closely identify with their ethnic brethren across the border in Iran. There is a strong and continuing effort on both sides of that boundary to create an independent Baluch nation. That desire for autonomy exploded in a major rebellion that took the government of Prime Minister Bhutto nearly four years to suppress. Similarly, the Pushtun population of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) have extensive ties to their ethnic cousins in eastern Afghanistan. One scholar of the region notes ominously that throughout Pakistan's history, the NWFP "has the longest tradition of demands for autonomy of any province--East Bengal, which comprised East Pakistan, included."[18]

The centrifugal political pressures are not confined to the western border region. A bitter rivalry exists between the two most influential provinces of Sind and Punjab. Not only are the Punjabis more prosperous, they eclipse the Sindhis (and all other ethnic groups) numerically. The Punjab has been the principal locus of economic and political power throughout most of Pakistan's history, much to the chagrin of the other provinces, especially Sind. It is not merely coincidental that Prime Minister Bhutto, the patriarch of a leading Sind landowning family, was overthrown by a predominantly Punjabi military. While separatist sentiments in Sind predated the coup, that incident and Bhutto's subsequent execution have converted the province into a hotbed of secessionism.[19]

These regional and ethnic tensions suggest that Pakistan is less a nation than a highly unstable political amalgam. Even the most carefully crafted democratic federalist system would encounter difficulty in preserving national unity while accommodating such diverse interests. A parade of unpopular military dictatorships, including the current regime, has exacerbated an already dangerous situation.

Hostile Neighbors

Another habitual problem confronting Pakistan is the hostility of its powerful neighbor, India. The two countries have fought three major wars since independence, not to mention a host of minor incidents. Although the principal catalyst for these recurring conflicts is the disputed border along Kashmir, the problem is broader. Indian governments exhibit little tolerance for a Pakistan that dares to dispute India's status as the dominant power on the subcontinent. While the current Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, has taken modest steps to thaw relations, the situation remains tense.[20]

Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Pakistanis must deal with another, even more belligerent, neighbor. The presence of 120,000 Soviet troops across the western border is a matter of obvious concern for Islamabad. Moscow's previous efforts to encourage separatist elements in Baluchistan and its blunt warnings to Pakistan about aiding the Afghan rebels heighten that apprehension.

The Refugee Problem

The conflict in Afghanistan has not only given Pakistan an unwanted Soviet neighbor, it has created a new and very serious burden on the nation's fragile social structure. More than three million Afghan refugees now live in camps along the border, primarily in Baluchistan and the NWFP. In addition, thousands of armed mujaheddin utilize Pakistani territory as a base for military operations against the Soviets inside Afghanistan.

Friction between the indigenous inhabitants and the new-comers is reaching alarming proportions. The Zia government contends that Pakistan has a moral obligation to assist fellow Muslims expel the Soviet invader. Initially, the Pakistani people appeared to support that position overwhelmingly. But as the Afghan war enters its eighth year, the refugee numbers continue to mount, and Islamabad's support for the mujaheddin raises the specter of a military clash with the USSR, the consensus has fragmented.

Critics cite the $1 million per day cost to the national treasury to feed and shelter the refugees. They also contend that the Afghans strain already overburdened public services (especially water supplies), compete "unfairly" with Pakistanis for jobs, and contribute to growing crime problems.[21] Hostility is most evident in Baluchistan, but complaints against the Afghans are mounting even among their Pushtun ethnic brethren in the NWFP. Discontent throughout the country is sufficiently strong that opponents of the Zia government have made the refugee problem a major issue, calling for Pakistan to break with the United States and seek a compromise solution to the war in Afghanistan.[22]

Given these serious societal problems, Washington's insistence upon making Pakistan the chief American client in the region and a pawn in the superpower rivalry with the Soviet Union is extremely ill-advised.[23] Pakistan is an ally afflicted with numerous separatist forces, facing powerful, hostile neighbors on two sides, and confronting an increasingly divisive refugee presence. This refugee issue--the newest ingredient in an already explosive mixture--should not be under-estimated. The current situation in Pakistan bears an alarming resemblance to conditions in Lebanon during the early and mid- 1970s. The presence of homeless Palestinians and their military arm, the PLO, became the catalyst that pushed a delicate, barely viable Lebanese polity into chaos.

Pakistan will be fortunate if it survives as a political entity in the coming years. That country faces a host of daunting difficulties, and U.S. policy in South Asia makes them significantly worse. Washington's desire for a reliable ally is creating serious dangers both for Pakistan and the United States.

A Myopic U.S. Strategy

Current policy toward Pakistan is a relic of the "pactomania" strategy that characterized the 1950s. American officials originally envisioned Pakistan as merely one member of the Baghdad Pact--a multilateral alliance on the southern flank of the USSR designed to thwart any expansionist goals in that direction. Turkey, Iraq, and Iran were the other links in the anti-Soviet chain. This pursuit of a comprehensive security arrangement proved to be an ambitious but ultimately unattainable objective.

The Baghdad pact suffered a severe blow almost immediately when Iraq withdrew following an anti-Western revolution in 1958. Turkey increasingly gravitated toward its association with Western Europe through NATO, showing only modest interest in South Asian problems. The United States moved quickly to fill at least part of the void through bilateral arrangements with both Pakistan and Iran, but that approach also collapsed following the 1979 Iranian revolution.[24] Only Pakistan continues to fulfill its assigned role as a U.S.-sponsored guard in South Asia, and it is far too weak to bear such an enormous burden.

Dangers to Pakistan

The most direct danger to Pakistan arising from its status as America's military client is increased Soviet and Indian hostility. India has bitterly resented U.S. military assistance to its arch-rival since the 1950s. New Delhi regards the arrangement both as an unwarranted American intrusion into what is rightfully India's geographic sphere of influence and as a direct threat to its national security. The Reagan administration's decision to give Pakistan advanced weaponry, including 40 F-16 fighters, has especially angered the Gandhi government. While the United States insists that this assistance is designed to bolster Pakistan's ability to defend itself from Soviet aggression, India not surprisingly adopts a different view, noting the three wars it has fought with its neighbor. Clearly,the Pakistani arsenal could be used against India in some future conflict. U.S. military aid thus heightens Indian hostility toward Pakistan as well as poisoning Indo-American relations.[25] It also gives India and the Soviet Union a common focal point for their foreign policy concerns, thus helping to cement an otherwise curious alliance between a democracy and the world's most notorious totalitarian state.

A potentially lethal danger to Pakistan is incurred by antagonizing the USSR. Its role as a U.S. military and political outpost in South Asia places Pakistan on the frontlines in an ongoing superpower struggle. This causes the Kremlin to pay an inordinate amount of attention to an otherwise relatively minor Third World country. Moscow has an obvious incentive to eliminate a U.S. ally on its geopolitical doorstep, either through military intimidation or attempts at destabilization.

Pakistan's manifest internal weaknesses give the Soviets ample opportunity for mischief, especially in the area of subversion. The Soviets have cultivated extensive contacts with Baluchistan separatist leaders for many years and apparently provided modest clandestine aid to the rebels during the uprising in the 1970s. There are indications as well that Moscow maintains contact with left-wing elements in the anti-Zia coalition. While such subversive activities have thus far remained at relatively low levels, the infrastructure for a more concerted campaign is being built.[26]

Using Pakistan as the principal conduit for U.S. military assistance to the Afghan mujaheddin exposes that nation to especially grave risks. The USSR obviously regards Afghanistan as a high-priority foreign policy concern. Moscow would scarcely have destroyed detente with the United States and committed 120,000 troops to a seemingly endless war if this were not the case. Therefore, the Kremlin leaders likely regard joint U.S.- Pakistani assistance to the Afghan rebels as a serious threat to its interests. The Red Army's inability to crush the insurgency and restore stability to Afghanistan on communist terms creates an additional incentive to cut the Gordian knot in some other way. Since the USSR cannot strike directly at its superpower rival without risking a global conflagration, the most feasible strategy is to increase political and military pressure on the more vulnerable antagonist--Pakistan.

The obvious and most probable threat comes in the form of heightened Soviet subversion activities, but an even more ominous danger exists. If the Afghan stalemate continues, and especially if the mujaheddin seem poised to topple the Kabul regime despite Soviet military assistance, Moscow will be tempted to strike directly at the sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan. There have already been dozens of "minor" incidents this year, primarily cross-border shelling and intrusions into Pakistani air space by communist (Soviet and Afghan) planes. Although such episodes thus far seems to constitute more a "war of nerves" than a harbinger of a general offensive, it is disquieting that both the number and severity of incidents have increased from previous years.[27] Soviet protests to Islamabad concerning the use of Pakistani territory as sanctuaries by the mujaheddin have also become noticeably more strident in recent months.

Should Moscow attempt to wipe out those sanctuaries--or even adopt a limited "hot pursuit" policy--it would create an extremely grave situation. The Zia government would face an unpalatable choice. If it failed to respond to such blatant provocations, the government would be tacitly conceding an inability to defend the homeland. Given the Zia regime's already precarious position, such a humiliation might well topple it from power. Yet, a military response would involve the risk of a perilous confrontation with the USSR--one difficult to contain. The possibility of Soviet military pressure on Pakistan not only imperils that country, it poses serious risks for the United States

Dangers to the United States

The ongoing political and military association with Pakistan endangers American security in three ways. A Soviet move against the Afghan border sanctuaries would probably impel Islamabad to invoke the 1959 security pact, since it is extremely unlikely that the Pakistanis would take on the Red Army alone. In addition to the 1959 agreement, Washington strengthened its commitment following the invasion of Afghanistan by proclaiming the Carter Doctrine, pledging resistance to any further aggression toward the Persian Gulf-Indian Ocean region.[28] U.S. officials would therefore have to decide whether to dishonor those commitments or come to the aid of Pakistan even though it entailed a direct confrontation with the USSR.

Even worse, it is uncertain how effective American assistance might be given inherent geographic limitations. While the United States maintains a significant naval presence in the Indian Ocean and a rapid deployment force was explicitly created for possible use in this region, American military capabilities would be dwarfed by those of the USSR.[29] The Soviets would be operating less than 1,000 miles away from their homeland; the United States more than 8,000. It is a sobering disparity. The 1959 security treaty was created at a time when the United States enjoyed a decisive edge in nuclear weaponry. Under those conditions, Washington could threaten (with reasonable credibility) a devastating response if Moscow dared attack Pakistan or any other American ally. In today's environment of strategic parity, such warnings possess little if any credibility. An obsolete security treaty thereby places the United States in a position of retaining a military obligation that it can no longer fulfill. A commitment so totally lacking in credibility virtually invites challenge.

Even if the United States manages to avoid the nightmare of a military confrontation with the Soviet Union in South Asia, our Pakistani connection involves another risk. The same security agreement that Islamabad could invoke against a Soviet attack, it might attempt to employ in the event of a new Indo-Pakistani war. While the treaty applies explicitly to communist aggression, the close association between India and the USSR makes that point disturbingly ambiguous. The Zia government openly accuses India of being an undeclared Russian ally and might well argue that an attack from that quarter constituted a Soviet-orchestrated threat. It should be noted that the government of Pakistan attempted a similar ploy in the 1971 war, at a time when Indo-Soviet cooperation was considerably less extensive.[30]

Washington would probably reject such a claim, but the danger of a clash with India could come in other ways. Pakistan would certainly employ its modern American-made weapons in the event of war--however much U.S. leaders might object. Moreover, the United States would face a terrible dilemma if the war began to go badly for Pakistan--a distinct possibility given the disparity in population and military capability between the two powers. Unless Indian objectives remained extremely limited, a Pakistani defeat might involve irreparable damage to that country as a political entity. There would exist considerable pressure on American officials to prevent that outcome, even if it meant risking a military clash with India. It is indicative of the tension on this score between New Delhi and Washington that Indian public opinion increasingly regards a military conflict with the United States as a serious possibility.[31]

The possible consequences of American involvement in a new war between Pakistan and India must be assessed against the backdrop of nuclear weapons development in both countries. India demonstrated its capability by detonating an atomic device in 1974, and rumors abound that New Delhi now possesses a small arsenal. The Zia government insists officially that Pakistan has no nuclear weapons program, but this denial possesses meager credibility either inside or outside the country.[32] Prudence dictates that the United States must operate on the assumption that both nations are--or shortly will be--nuclear powers. Given the record of conflict since partition and the continuing tense state of Indo-Pakistani relations, that probability underscores how dangerous our political and military association with Pakistan has become.

The prospect of war is certainly the most serious danger, but the United States is incurring another risk. Washington has built an elaborate geopolitical strategy in South Asia, assuming an obligation to keep the Persian Gulf oil routes open and escalating assistance to the rebels in Afghanistan. Crucial to this regional policy is the continuation of Pakistan as an effective political and military ally. The loss of Pakistan, either through external pressure or domestic turmoil, would literally destroy the entire foundation for American policy in South Asia. By basing its strategy so totally on a weak and unstable ally, the United States risks creating regional chaos and probably an irresistible opportunity for Soviet expansionism--precisely what Washington has fought to prevent for more than three decades. While it may seem paradoxical to some observers, the preservation (or more accurately, the creation) of a stable, non- communist barrier to Soviet expansion in South Asia requires U.S. military disengagement from the region and an end to the Pakistani connection

Cracks in the Edifice of U.S.-Pakistani Cooperation

Although Pakistan assuredly wants to retain the apparent military protection afforded by its security treaty with the United States, there are also signs that Islamabad is beginning to recognize some of the dangers involved in being America's client. Despite receiving more than $600 million per year in U.S. economic and military aid, the Zia government is increasingly resisting U.S. demands. The most obvious examples of tension occur with reference to policy toward Afghanistan.

Pakistan has never been entirely comfortable in its role as conduit for American military aid to the mujaheddin. Rebel leaders have complained for years that equipment destined for their forces is delayed or even siphoned off by Pakistani officials. Most recently, there have been loud objections that sophisticated weapons such as the shoulder launched "Stinger" ground-to-air missiles are being intercepted.[33]

Mundane corruption may account for some Pakistani actions, but there also appears to be a policy motive. Channeling military aid to the mujaheddin (especially if it is done in a highly visible manner) risks antagonizing the Soviet Union, bringing about more border incidents and an increase in other none-too- subtle Soviet pressures. Moreover, Pakistan's leaders are nervous about arming powerful mujaheddin units which they cannot control. President Zia served as an official attached to the embassy in Jordan in 1969 and 1970 when King Hussein found his power severely eroded by the PLO, and this experience apparently made an indelible impression. Zia understands how perilous it could be to his political fortunes to have a well-armed foreign guerrilla army operating in his country.[34] Despite intense U.S. pressure to assist the mujaheddin--and the pull of religious solidarity--the Zia government regards its role with mounting apprehension.

The divergence of Pakistani and U.S. objectives is similarly evident with respect to diplomatic positions concerning Afghanistan. For example, Washington has long exhibited skepticism toward the UN-sponsored negotiations to end the conflict. The United States insists upon a prompt and total withdrawal of Soviet forces and few, if any, safeguards for the subsequent survival of the Kabul regime. In short, U.S. leaders seek Soviet concessions that would either guarantee a mujaheddin victory or at least create a predominantly noncommunist successor government. While officially endorsing the UN talks, American officials seem to regard them as little more than a snare designed to achieve what the USSR has been unable to attain on the battlefield--recognition of its quisling regime and acceptance of at least a limited continuing Soviet military presence in Afghanistan.

Pakistan adopts a somewhat different view. It has been an active participant in UN-sponsored negotiations since their inception in 1982. While Islamabad insists upon a definite time- table for the withdrawal of Soviet troops, it has displayed a willingness to discuss various compromise measures. In marked contrast to the U.S. insistence that the mujaheddin be a party to negotiations for a settlement of the Afghan conflict, Pakistan would seem to prefer direct talks between Islamabad and Kabul--assuming the Soviet troop withdrawal problem could be overcome. These disagreements have been an increasing source of tension between the United States and Pakistan.[35]

Again, there appears to be a significant difference in perspective. The Reagan administration is using Afghanistan as a testing ground for the so-called Reagan Doctrine of providing aid to anti-Soviet insurgents in the Third World. It also seems content to use the mujaheddin to tie down Soviet military forces in a bloody, protracted conflict.

The Pakistani government, however, worries about the massive Afghan presence in its country and the burden placed on an already fragile domestic social and political structure. Pakistani officials have a much greater incentive to seek a compromise solution, even if that must come at the expense of the insurgents. They want a settlement, above all, that reduces the Soviet military threat on Pakistan's border and enables the Afghan refugees to go home.

If the Reagan administration finds the Zia government to be an increasingly reluctant and recalcitrant ally, it will be even less happy should the opposition come to power. The Pakistan Peoples Party explicitly advocates a nonaligned foreign policy and excoriates Zia for doing Washington's bidding in South Asia. Bhutto and her followers make it clear that they will not allow their country to be used as a sanctuary for the Afghan insurgents nor will Pakistan continue as a distributor for U.S. arms destined for the mujaheddin.[36] A significant faction within the other principal opposition group, the MRD, is even more virulently anti-American, routinely denouncing the Zia regime as a instrument of "U.S. imperialism." Given the growing public concern about the presence of the Afghan refugees and danger of a military clash with the USSR, the anti-Zia forces sense that they have a popular issue. The incumbent government's cautious but visible attempts to distance itself from the more doctrinaire aspects of U.S. policy suggest that this perception is correct. It raises yet another question about Pakistan's reliability as an ally.

An Alternative Strategy

The Need for a New Policy

While the U.S. objective of preventing Soviet expansionism in South Asia may be admirable in the abstract, it has no connection to current realities. Our ability to constrain the USSR directly is severely limited. The Soviets can bring their military power to bear in that region far more easily than can a rival located on the other side of the globe. Unless the United States is willing to risk a nuclear conflagration, there is no effective way to neutralize that geographic advantage. Moreover, contrary to the hysteria surrounding the promulgation of the Carter Doctrine, there is nothing in South Asia--not even the much-touted Persian Gulf oil routes--worthy of incurring such a grave risk.[37]

Washington's strategy of using client states as a base of operations in the region in order to minimize the Soviet advantage is doomed to failure. Pakistan is the last of those clients, and the burden of U.S. demands threatens to become a catalyst plunging that nation into disaster. If American policymakers truly believe that a stable, noncommunist Pakistan constitutes an essential barrier to Soviet expansionism, then a drastic reorientation of U.S. policy is essential.

Pakistan badly needs to implement internal political and economic reforms if it is to survive as a nation. Politically, a democratic system based on federalist principles constitutes the most feasible mechanism for peaceful change while recognizing the great diversity of the various provinces. It offers at least some hope of defusing the endemic ethnic and regional separatist pressures.

Economic reforms are equally essential. A moribund economy is a virtual invitation for social and political turmoil. Pakistan needs to pursue--even more aggressively than the Zia government has done thus far--measures aimed at cutting away the stifling web of state socialism. The creation of a market economy will enable Pakistan to join the ranks of other noncommunist Asian nations such as Thailand and Malaysia that have experienced rapid economic growth in the past two decades.

A more hospitable external environment would greatly facilitate Pakistan's ability to implement such reforms. One crucial feature of that environment is diminished Soviet and Indian hostility, but such a change is unlikely to occur so long as Pakistan remains a U.S. political and military client. Quite the contrary, pressure from Moscow and New Delhi will probably intensify as the USSR pursues an elusive victory in Afghanistan and India frets about having a neighbor armed with nuclear weapons serving as a surrogate for American power.

Using Pakistan as a pawn not only helps create powerful foreign enemies for that country, it is exacerbating already formidable domestic strains. The vast quantities of American military aid since the 1950s have greatly strengthened the Pakistani military at the expense of the civilian sector. This has both weakened democratic elements and distorted the economy, gearing it toward a garrison state rather than consumer production. Washington's uncritical support for the current "friendly" autocratic government (as well as its predecessors) antagonizes competing political elements and strengthens separatist forces who see no hope for change within Pakistan. Finally, employing Pakistan as an instrument for carrying out U.S. policy in Afghanistan has brought to the fore a new divisive issue, thereby creating even more political and social instability. It is in all respects a dangerous and myopic strategy.

Some Risks and an Opportunity

The crucial feature of a new U.S. policy in South Asia is the severing of extensive political and military ties with Pakistan. This implies not only abrogation of the security agreement, but the termination of military and economic aid programs and an end to using the country as a conduit for assisting the Afghan rebels. In short, it necessitates U.S. military disengagement from South Asia and a much lower political profile.

Unquestionably, there are risks attached to that strategy. The Soviets might regard a U.S. departure as an opportunity to embark on an expansionist binge throughout the region, either by accelerating the subversion of neighboring states or by direct aggression. In this worst case scenario, Pakistan would probably be the first item on Moscow's territorial menu.

Without the protection of its superpower patron, Pakistan might also fall victim to Indian hegemonic aspirations. Certainly the religious animosity, the territorial dispute involving Kashmir, and the suspicions concerning rival nuclear weapons programs would not disappear overnight. Any one of those issues could ignite a fourth Indo-Pakistani war, and without American military aid a decisive Indian victory would be almost certain .

Although some danger exists that Moscow or New Delhi might respond to a U.S. military withdrawal from South Asia by crushing Pakistan, there is ample reason to expect a more peaceful aftermath. The Soviets in particular would pay an exceedingly high price if they moved to establish their power on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Soviet policymakers have spent three decades cultivating close ties with India. Although this policy has been quite successful, it is significant that a discernible cooling of relations has taken place as the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan drags into its eighth year.[38] It is extremely doubtful whether the Gandhi government could regard a Sovietized Pakistan--a development that would place the Red Army on India's border along a thousand-mile front--as anything other than a menace to national security. In short, the USSR can achieve its coveted warm water ports only at grave risk to its relationship with India--an association Moscow considers vital to counter Chinese power. It is unlikely that the Kremlin leaders would be willing to pay such an exorbitant price. Pakistan, therefore, represents an important buffer between Soviet and Indian spheres of influence. This realization would probably inhibit New Delhi from precipitous action just as it would Moscow.

Even if Pakistan avoided external calamities, however, severe internal political and economic difficulties would remain. The struggle between conservative forces supporting the government and the coalition of moderate and radical opposition elements is unlikely to dissipate. Similarly, neither the SindPunjab rivalry nor the powerful separatist campaigns (especially in Baluchistan) will soon vanish. The Pakistani people may have the foresight to enact the political and economic reforms needed to avert catastrophe, but they might also refuse to take those steps, or at least fail to do so in time. Even under the best of conditions, Pakistan's continued survival cannot be guaranteed.

The presence of risks should not obscure the fact that the opportunity for a benign solution also exists. Indeed, if the United States pursues a sophisticated disengagement strategy, it may help transform much of South Asia into an island of stability while defusing a possible source of conflict with the Soviet Union.

There are subtle but significant signs that the Soviets are becoming weary of their military involvement in Afghanistan. General Secretary Gorbachev's admission that Afghanistan has become "a bleeding wound" is merely one of several indicators.[39] At the same time, Moscow adamantly refuses to withdraw from that country in a manner that appears to give the United States a major propaganda and geopolitical triumph. Rather than accept such a humiliating setback, the Soviets will probably fight on indefinitely. The mujaheddin, for all their bravery, will not be able to dislodge a determined occupation by the Red Army, although they can continue to make it a costly and bloody one.

U.S. policymakers have the opportunity to offer the Soviet Union an extremely tempting package deal. The arrangement would involve an "Austrian solution" for both Afghanistan and Pakistan.[40] Essential features of such--n accord would include: 1) a complete Soviet military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the formation of a new government in Kabul, including representatives of the mujaheddin; 2) termination of the security agreement between the United States and Pakistan; 3) a commitment from both superpowers that they will provide no military assistance to any faction in Afghanistan or Pakistan; 4) a stipulation among all parties that neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan will join any bilateral or multilateral military arrangement with either superpower; and 5) a guarantee by the USSR and India to respect the independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and Pakistan.[41]

This "neutralization" option contains attractive features for all parties involved. The United States would achieve an important diplomatic goal--the removal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and the securing of at least some measure of justice for the Afghan people. The Soviets would be able to extricate themselves from that quagmire while trumpeting that they had removed a long-standing American military "threat" in South Asia. India would be gratified by the passing of the U.S. political presence on the subcontinent (an implicit recognition of India's preeminence) and probably relieved at the limitation of Soviet power as well. Pakistan and Afghanistan would cease being pawns in a superpower struggle and would have the opportunity to solve their own internal problems.

It is important that the United States seize this opportunity without delay. Our existing policy in South Asia is built on an exceedingly precarious foundation--a weak, divided, and manifestly unstable ally. It is a foundation that could crumble at any time, causing the collapse of Washington's entire South Asian strategy. Disengagement would then be a forced process occurring under the worst possible conditions, creating a power vacuum and perhaps irresistible opportunities for Soviet expansionism. The chance of securing a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan will have been lost, as well as the possibility of seeing Pakistan emerge as a stable democratic entity in South Asia.

There are risks in pursuing a strategy of neutralization, but they pale in comparison to the dangers inherent in blindly following our current policy. Down that path lies almost certain disaster


[1] Pakistan is technically a member of the Nonaligned Movement, having joined in 1979 following its withdrawal from the moribund Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). This occurred during the nadir in U.S.-Pakistani relations, reflecting Carter administration irritation at the Zia government's human rights record and apparent intention to pursue the development of nuclear weapons. Pakistan remains, however, one of the most pro-U.S. nations in the Nonaligned Movement. On the evolution of the U.S.-Pakistan connection, see Shirin Tahir-Kheli, The United States and Pakistan: The Evolution of an Influence Relationship (New York: Praeger, 1982).

[2] Justifications for the "tilt" can be found in Henry Kissinger, White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979), pp. 842-918. His account captures the hostility vented against the administration by pro-India elements because of this policy decision. Kissinger insists that the "tilt" was motivated by a desire to preserve some semblance of a balance of power on the Indian subcontinent, not a cynical strategy of cultivating Beijing by supporting an important Chinese ally, as most critics at the time contended.

[3] Amnesty International, Pakistan: Human Rights Violations and the Decline of the Rule of Law (1981). See also Amnesty International Report - 1986 (London: Amnesty International Publications, 1986), pp. 246-249.

[4] Leonard S. Spector, The New Nuclear Nations (New York: Vintage Books, 1985), pp. 113-130. For accounts of the most recent controversy surrounding Pakistan's nuclear program see Bob Woodward, "Pakistan Reported Near Atom Arms Production," Washington Post, November 4, 1986; "U.S. Warns Pakistan Nuclear Effort Could Harm Ties," Washington Post, November 5, 1986; and Joseph S. Nye, Jr., "Pakistan's Bomb Could Kill Us All," Washington Post, November 9, 1986.

[5] Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977-1981 (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1983) pp. 429, 432, 444, 448-449. A useful recent analysis of U.S. policy regarding the conflict in Afghanistan, including the Pakistan connection, is contained in Craig M. Karp, "The War in Afghanistan," Foreign Affairs (Summer 1986), pp. 1026-1047.

[6] "FY 1987 Assistance Requests for South Asia," Department of State Bulletin, July 1986, pp. 81-84; "Visit of Pakistan's Prime Minister," Department of State Bulletin (October 1986), p. 55.

[7] Joanne Omang, "Secret Votes Give Afghans $300 Million," Washington Post, October 10, 1985; Walter Pincus, "Iran Arms Cash Tied to CIA-Run Account Aiding Afghan Rebels," Washington Post, December 3, 1986.

[8] Matt Miller, "Bhutto Daughter Rocks Pakistan Politics," Wall Street Journal, April 15, 1986; "Opposition Leader Returns to Pakistan," Dallas Morning News, April 11, 1986.

[9] Matt Miller, "Pakistan Riots Neither Side Wanted Set Stage for Harder-Line Confrontation," Wall Street Journal, August 19, 1986; Spencer Reiss, "Bhutto's Test of Wills," Newsweek, August 25, 1986, p. 41; Richard M. Weintraub, "Bhutto Sows Chaos, Zia Charges," Washington Post, August 31, 1986; Walter A. Taylor and Peter Ross Range, Pakistan's Violent Turn," U.S. News & World Report, September 1, 1986; pp. 21-23; and Russell Watson et al., "Calling Bhutto's Bluff," Newsweek, September 1, 1986, pp. 31-32.

[10] There were, to be sure, some dissenters from this facile analogy. See for example, "No Corys in Karachi," Wall Street Journal editorial, August 20, 1986; Russell Watson and Donna Foote, "Avenging Angel," Newsweek, July 7, 1986, pp. 33-35. A concise profile of Bhutto and her political beliefs can be found in Steven R. Weisman, "Struggle in Pakistan: The Return of Benazir Bhutto," New York Times Magazine, September 21, 1986, pp. 40-48, 110-111.

[11] For various views on the significance of the Islamization program see Mohammed Ayoob, "Dateline Pakistan: A Passage to Anarchy?" Foreign Policy (Summer 1985), pp. 161-162; Barbara D. Meltcalf, "Government by Islam," Worldview (September 1984), pp. 4-6; and Steven R. Weisman, "The Islamization of Pakistan: Still Moving Slowly and Still Stirring Debate," New York Times, August 10, 1986.

[12] Tony Clifton, "Challenging General Zia," Newsweek, April 21, 1986, p. 37.

[13] "Pakistan's Future," Dallas Morning News, August 23, 1986; "FY 1987 Assistance Requests," p. 83. Reflecting this economic growth, Pakistan's rate of unemployment has declined by more than one fourth from prevailing levels in the mid- 1970's. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Trade and Development Report, 1986, p. 163. A mounting debt burden, however, clouds the economic picture. "Uncertainty Mars Pakistan's Gains," New York Times, August 11, 1986.

[14] Watson and Foote, p. 34.

[15] Weisman, "Struggle in Pakistan," p. 43; Amnesty International, An Amnesty International Report Including the Findings of a Mission to Pakistan, 23 April - 12 May 1976 (May 1977).

[16] Michael Doan, "Daughter on a Pakistan Power Trip," U.S. News and World Report, August 25, 1986, p. 8; Watson and Foote, p. 35; Richard M. Weintraub, "Pakistan's Fragile Democracy," Washington Post, September 21, 1986. Bhutto's ruthless tactics have even alienated some of her earlier supporters, creating a schism in the Pakistan Peoples Party. "Falling to Pieces," The Economist, October 18, 1986, p. 47.

[17] A gripping account of the turmoil and religious bloodshed that accompanied the partition is contained in Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre, Freedom at Midnight (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975).

[18] Ayoob, p. 171. For an account of the unsuccessful Baluch rebellion in the mid-1970s and the current simmering animosity toward the Islamabad government throughout the province, see Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World (New York: Congdon and Weed, 1984), pp. 199-204.

[19] Ayoob, pp. 156-158. This ethnic tension has also rended individual communities. The latest incident involved pitched battles in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, that left more than 40 people dead. See Richard M. Weintraub, "Ethnic Violence Afflicts Pakistan," Washington Post, November 8, 1986.

[20] The most significant breakthrough was a mutual pledge in December 1985 between India and Pakistan not to attack each other's nuclear reactors. There had been pervasive concern that India might launch a preemptive strike against the Kahuta facility as Israel did against Iraq in 1981. Spector, pp. 92- 93, 117. This concern, while diminished, has not been erased entirely by the accord.

[21] Karp, p. 1044; Jeri Laber, "A Dilemma For Pakistan," New York Times, October 17, 1986; James Rupert, "Soviets Hold a Pakistan Card," Washington Post, October 7, 1986.

[22] Clifton; Weisman, "Struggle in Pakistan," pp. 110-111; Ayoob, pp. 164-165, 172.

[23] An early, perceptive warning about the dangers involved in such a U.S. strategy is contained in Christopher Van Hollen, "Leaning on Pakistan, Foreign Policy (Spring 1980), pp. 35-51.

[24] The Reagan administration's surprising and highly controversial Iranian initiative suggests that some U.S. policymakers retain illusions of re-establishing a grandiose geopolitical strategy in South Asia with respect to that country as well. For a revealing insight into the administration's dangerously naive assumptions, see John M. Poindexter, "The Prudent Option in Iran," Wall Street Journal, November 24, 1986.

[25] Useful discussions of India's long-standing resentment regarding U.S.-Pakistani military cooperation include Selig Harrison, "Cut a Regional Deal," Foreign Policy (Spring 1986), pp. 126-134; and Francine R. Frankel, "Play the India Card," Foreign Policy (Spring 1986), pp. 148-166.

[26] Rupert. Even Benazir Bhutto made a journey to Moscow for talks before returning to Pakistan from exile.

[27] Rupert. According to Pakistan officials, there have been more than 650 violations of Pakistani air space in 1986 compared to 251 in 1985. Steven R. Weisman, "Civilian Areas Raided By Russians, Pakistanis Say," New York Times, October 30, 1986. There is growing U.S. and Pakistani alarm concerning these incidents. Tim Carrington, "Zia Seeks U.S. Radar, Anti- aircraft Guns to Blunt Afghan Forays Into Pakistan," Wall Street Journal, October 16, 1986; John H. Cushman, Jr., "U.S. Seeking Awacs for Pakistan," New York Times, October 17, 1986. See also Edgar O'Ballance, "Pakistan: On the Front Porch of Conflict," Military Review (March 1986), pp. 68-75.

[28] On the origins and import of the Carter Doctrine, see Brzezinski, pp. 443-459.

[29] For analyses of this U.S. strategy and its weaknesses, see David Isenberg, "The Rapid Deployment Force: The Few, The Futile, The Expendable,' Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 44, November 8, 1984; and Jeffrey Record, The Rapid Deployment Force and U.S. Military Intervention in the Persian Gulf (Cambridge, Mass.: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, February 1981).

[30] Kissinger, pp. 894-895. He notes further that "over the decades of our relationship with Pakistan, there had grown up a complex body of communications by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, going beyond the 1959 pact, some verbal, some in writing, whose plain import was that the United States would come to Pakistan's assistance if she was attacked by India." (p. 895). It must be stressed that the Reagan administration has done nothing to allay concern that the 1959 agreement might apply to an Indo-Pakistani war. Harrison, pp. 127-128. On the nature of the extensive Indo-Soviet relationship, see Delip Mukerjee, "India and the Soviet Union," Washington Quarterly (Spring 1986), pp. 109-122.

[31] Harrison, pp. 126-127; Frankel, pp. 150-151.

[32] Richard Weintraub, "Pakistanis Deny Nuclear-Arms Report," Washington Post, November 5, 1986. For an analysis of the competing Indian and Pakistani nuclear programs, see Spector, pp. 89-130.

[33] James Rupert, "Arms for Rebels Siphoned Off," Washington Post, January 16, 1986; Frederick Kempe, "Confusion in U.S., Doubts in Pakistan Slowing Aid to Afghanistan Guerrillas," Wall Street Journal, June 9, 1986.

[34] Ayoob, pp. 166-167. This ambivalence is not unique to Pakistan. The government of Honduras is exhibiting much of the same apprehension regarding its role as a haven for and arms distributor to the Nicaraguan rebels seeking to overthrow the Sandinista regime.

[35] Harrison, pp. 134-140. Harrison earlier assessed U.S. coolness toward the UN talks in "A Breakthrough in Afghanistan?" Foreign Policy (Summer 1983), passim. On other sources of friction between Washington and Islamabad, see Lawrence Ziring, "The United States and Pakistan: Troubled Alliance," Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Summer 1983), pp. 39-54.

[36] Ayoob, p. 172.

[37] On the declining strategic importance of the Persian Gulf, see Gerald F. Seib, Persian Gulf Declines as Vital Highway for Mideastern Oil," Wall Street Journal, January 24, 1986; and David B. Ottaway, "Persian Gulf Slips Down Priority List," Washington Post, February 13, 1986. Even in earlier periods, the Gulf region was always far more important economically to Western Europe and Japan than it was to the United States, yet those nations contributed virtually nothing to defense measures for the area. Perceptive discussions of the U.S. tendency to overrate the security significance of Third World conflicts include Christopher Layne, "The Real Conservative Agenda," Foreign Policy (Winter 1985-1986), pp. 73-93; and Robert H. Johnson, Exaggerating America's Stakes in Third World Conflicts," International Security (Winter 1985-1986), pp. 32-68.

[38] Indicative of increasing Indian wariness is the cautious but revealing approach to the United States regarding alternative sources of military-related technology. Molly Moore, "India to Buy Technology, Jet Engines from U.S." Washington Post, October 12, 1986. Mikhail Gorbachev's subsequent visit to India was certainly motivated in part by a desire to revitalize the Indo-Soviet relationship. Despite the friendly reception given to the General Secretary, little in the way of additional substantive cooperation appears to have emerged from his talks with Rajiv Gandhi. Matt Miller, "India, Soviets Fail to Agree on Goals for Asian Strategy," Wall Street Journal, December 1, 1986.

[39] Another significant sign was the forced retirement of puppet Afghan communist party chief Babrak Karmal in May 1986. This change tacitly met a long-standing Pakistani demand. President Zia had stated that he would never deal with "the man who has come to Afghanistan riding on Russian tanks." Quoted in Harrison, "Cut a Regional Deal," p. 137.

[40] Some Pakistanis have openly advocated "Austrianizing" their country. Ayoob, pp. 171-173. Given the severe Soviet problems in Afghanistan, however, it may be possible to achieve that result for both nations. An Austrianized Pakistan with a continuing Soviet military presence in Afghanistan is an asymmetrical outcome with fragile prospects for permanence. Even that result, though, is preferable to seeing Pakistan collapse under the burden of U.S. demands or become the catalyst for a superpower military showdown.

[41] India's willingness to guarantee Pakistan's territorial integrity would in all likelihood be contingent upon progress regarding a settlement of the long-standing Kashmir border dispute.

1987 The Cato Institute
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