Friday, July 15, 2011

Wallerstein: The U.S.-Pakistan Alliance – Ever More Shaky

Immannuel Wallerstein, Commentary No. 309, July 15, 2011

The United States and Pakistan have been close geopolitical allies almost since the birth of Pakistan in 1947. They have needed each other in the past. They need each other today. But their priorities and policy objectives have moved further and further apart. They are both appalled by the idea that the close alliance may end. But it may.

The origin of the alliance was rather simple and straightforward. In the process of British withdrawal from India, two states came into existence, not one. Essentially, Pakistan broke away from India. Pakistan and India have been in steady conflict ever since. For each the greatest fear derives from the actions of the other. There have been three wars between the two – in 1947-48, in 1965, and in 1971. The first two were over Kashmir, the result of which was a de facto partition which neither side has ever accepted as legitimate. The third was over Bangladesh’s secession from Pakistan, in which India sided with Bangladesh.

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