The Idea of Pakistan By Stephen Philip Cohen. In recent years Pakistan has become a strategically important state, both criticized as a rogue power and praised as being on the front line in the ill-named war on terrorism. The final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States identifies Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, as a high priority state.
This is not a new development. In the 1950s and 1960s Pakistan was a member of two American-sponsored alliances, but then drifted away from Washington. In the 1980s Pakistan was a vital partner in evicting the Soviet Union from Afghanistan, even though its covert nuclear program drew much criticism. In 1996 it was one of three states (the others being Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, UAE) to recognize the Taliban regime, which was by then playing host to the terrorist organization al Qaeda. After September 11, 2001, Pakistan was again characterized by American officials as a vital ally, even though it was caught, and admitted to, covertly spreading nuclear technology to a number of states; further, its enthusiasm in tracking down al Qaeda and Taliban leaders was suspect. The Idea of Pakistan By Stephen Philip Cohen. Buy Online as Cash on Delivery.
Unfortunately, the United States has only a few true Pakistan experts and knows remarkably little about this country. Much of what has been written is palpably wrong, or at best superficial.2 Over the years, it has become difficult to conduct research in Pakistan’s deteriorating security environment, and support for such work has dried up. It is little wonder then, that views cover a wide spectrum, with “rogue state” at one extreme—some would call it a potential nuclear Yugoslavia or even the most dangerous place in the world. The Idea of Pakistan By Stephen Philip Cohen