The U.S. relationship with Pakistan is based on outdated Cold War geopolitics and contradictory interests, South Asia experts told a congressional committee on Tuesday.
“After spending billions of dollars in the region and losing thousands of American lives and many multiples of Afghan and Pakistani lives, we are still grasping for a grand strategy,” said Shuja Nawaz, Director of the South Asia Center, at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“It is time to change that strategy,” he added.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Californian Republican, said South Asia is governed by the relationships of “democratic India, bankrupt Pakistan and communist China,” which “is always there, stirring the pot.” U.S. alliances with India and Pakistan will determine America’s security, he said.
“The two major threats that face the United States today are radical Islam and China, which is emerging not as a friendly power but instead as a hostile power to the United States,” Mr. Rohrbacher said.
“The Chinese, at a conceptual level, don’t want to have radical Islam in its territory, but they’re willing to play a sophisticated game that tolerates these elements.”
The United States should increase economic and international political pressure on Pakistan to prevent it from harboring terrorism groups, the experts said.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, nominated to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said at a separate hearing on Tuesday that Pakistan is an essential ally in the U.S. War on Terror that cannot be alienated completely.
“We also have an interest in stable Pakistan and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology,” Mr. Dempsey said.
“Our partnership with Pakistan in the context of the greater South Asia region holds great potential for security, economic advancement, and stability.”
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