Pakistani-American Scholar on US Role as Peace Broker in South Asia

Pakistani-American scholar Dr. Moeed Yusuf has examined the role of the United States in defusing South Asian crises since the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998.

In "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" by Dr. Moeed Yusuf published by Stanford University Press, the author analyzes American diplomacy in three critical periods: Kargil conflict in 1999; the stand-off after the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Yusuf argues that the US-Soviet Cold War deterrence model does not apply to the India-Pakistan conflict and offers his theory of "brokered bargaining". In chapters that detail the US role during three India-Pakistan crises, it is clear that the US rejected India's insistence on bilateralism in resolving India-Pakistan disputes.  The author says that "in each episode, the concern about the escalation forced the United States to engage, largely unsolicited, and use a mix of rewards (or promises of) and punishments (or threats of) with the regional rivals to achieve de-escalation--ahead of its broader regional or policy interests."

It seems that Yusuf accepts the widely-held assumption that India enjoys insurmountable conventional military superiority over Pakistan. Many speculate that the difference between the conventional military strengths of the two South Asian rivals is so great that Pakistan would be forced to quickly resort to the use of nuclear weapons in the event of an Indian attack. Such assumptions and speculations are challenged by Professor Walter Ladwig of the War Studies Department at London's Kings College, Meenakshi Sood of Delhi-based Indian Army think tank called The Center for Land Warfare Studies, and other scholars.

Professor Walter Ladwig believes that Pakistan’s conventional deterrence against India in the near to medium term is "much better than the pessimists allege".  Pakistan's  NCWF (New Concept of War Fighting) developed in response to India's CSD (Cold Start Doctrine) is designed to "mount a counter-offensive even before India fires the first shot", according to Indian analyst Meenakshi Sood. Ladwig sums it up well: "Despite a growing technological edge (over Pakistan) in some areas, Indian policymakers cannot be confident that even a limited resort to military force would achieve a rapid result, which is an essential pre-condition for deterrence failure".

One could argue that Yusuf gives too much credit to the US efforts in de-escalating India-Pakistan crises. It creates the impression that brown leaders are less rational than their white counterparts in dealing with existential crises. It perpetuates the stereotype that only a select few nations in the West can be trusted with weapons of mass destruction.  It justifies the nuclear Apartheid being pursued by the United States in the form of nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).  Could it be that the author's research is heavily influenced by the fact that he works for the United States Institute of Peace which is a US government-funded Washington think tank?

Overall, Dr. Moeed Yusuf's "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia" is a thought provoking book. It should stimulate serious discussion of how regional nuclear powers like India and Pakistan can engage with each other more deeply to maintain peace and stability in their neighborhood. This will require both parties, India and Pakistan, to have sustained dialog to resolve core issues like Kashmir that underly recurring crises.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
US and China are playing geopolitical game in Pakistan over CPEC that could determine which country becomes the next superpower


http://www.riazhaq.com/2018/09/us-china-competition-in-pakistan-cpecs.html
Riaz Haq said…
USIP's Moeed Yusuf: "#India-#Pakistan Conflict Leaves Great Powers Powerless #US helped prevent war in 2008 after #Mumbai. Those days are gone. #Terrorism isn’t the only worry. The “Line of Control” in #Kashmir is also a likely flashpoint". @USIP https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/10/954587-india-pakistan-mumbai-terror/

decade ago, the world watched in disbelief as terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group ripped through the Indian financial capital of Mumbai. By the time the 10 attackers were stopped four days after the assault began, they had killed 164 people—Americans and other foreign nationals among them—and left over 300 injured. India’s 9/11, as the Indian media dubbed it, had unfolded. India, having long seen the Lashkar-e-Taiba as a direct proxy of the Pakistani intelligence outfit, the Inter-Services Intelligence, blamed the Pakistani state for having directed the attack. A near-war crisis between the two nuclear neighbors ensued in its wake, offering a stark reminder why U.S. President Bill Clinton termed this part of the world “the most dangerous place” on Earth at the turn of the century.

Ten years after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, the Indian-Pakistani rivalry remains as entrenched as ever. While the two countries have avoided major wars, they continue to flirt with crises and have been engaged in low-intensity conflict in the disputed territory of Kashmir. This has unfolded in an environment devoid of any robust crisis management mechanisms aimed at reducing the risk of inadvertent escalation and providing dependable ways of directly negotiating a way out of a crisis. With nuclear weapons in the mix, the consequences of escalation could be catastrophic—and the possibility of such an outcome is greater today than it was on the eve of the Mumbai attacks.

India and Pakistan came “fleetingly close” to war during the Mumbai crisis, but fortunate circumstances prevented a military clash. The attacks came on the back of the single most promising peace process the two have ever had. The overall aura of positivity and the trusted channels of communication created through their five-year peace bid helped relieve tensions. A dovish Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh—who was genuinely interested in peace with Pakistan and hesitant to use military force to settle disputes, especially in South Asia’s nuclearized environment—also led India to forego the military option, even as the Indian public and media were calling for blood. Most importantly, third-party states, led by the United States, played crucial mediatory roles and were instrumental in nudging India and Pakistan to end the crisis.

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Pakistan has been increasingly vocal and aggressive in alleging Indian support of terrorist incidents in Pakistan.

Terrorism isn’t the only worry. The “Line of Control” that divides Indian and Pakistani control of Kashmir is also a likely flashpoint. Violence levels along the Line of Control were the highest in 15 years in 2017, with violations of a cease-fire agreed to in 2003 consisting of prolonged and often significant military hostilities.
Riaz Haq said…
Massive Global Cost of India-Pakistan Nuclear War

https://youtu.be/O0ZPt60sZ0s

This is TED talk by Dr. Owen Brian Toon, professor of atmospheric and ocean sciences at University of Colorado at Boulder. He's citing research he did with Professor Alan Robock, professor of climate research at Rutgers University. Here's a link to more references regarding nuclear winter:

http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/nuclear/
Riaz Haq said…
Bharat Karnad: #Modi "incessantly squawking to #Washington about #Pakistan’s nefarious hand in #Kashmir affairs...#Indian PM brought up Kashmir in their talk by way of...complaint and may have added for good measure that were Pakistan to butt out" #Trump https://bharatkarnad.com/2019/07/23/trump-lied-but-whats-the-truth/

I have for a long time now maintained that Modi is doing just about every thing wrong with his policy of unilateral friendship and strategic concessions vis a vis the United States. Much of this is due to his unrequited enthusiasm, even love, for America and things American that blinds him to the serious cost of his approach — a steady erosion of the national interest. But Trump extemporaneously also made clear his dichotomous view of the world when, in referring to Afghanistan, he said that the US would not any more play “the policeman” of the world — meaning that he was “extricating” US forces from that country, but added that if he wanted to he could end the Afghanistan war in no time at all by killing “10 million” people, by using weapons of mass destruction, such as thermobaric bombs (fuel air explosives). In other words, he set up the US as either playing the global policeman or US using WMD! And this is the US President, also with his curious views on Kashmir, that Modi is banking on to assist him in furthering India’s interests?

There’s lots Modi can do to right his policy of tilt. He can begin by resisting the temptation to show of his English language skills and speak to world leaders, and particularly Trump, only in Hindi (even better, in Gujarati) in which he’s more fluent. It will also put the foreign leaders off their game — a strategy routinely used by the Chinese nomenklatura and perfected by Maozedong’s premier, Zhouenlai. It is a diplomatic method studiously followed by North Korea and other countries that have successfully dealt with the US and the West generally.

Native languages as diplomatic tool is something MEA has never used, leave alone exploited, to the country’s advantage. Because in head-to-head exchanges between leaders, the one using other than English is always at an advantage. For instance, were Modi to carry on diplomatic business only in Hindi or Gujarati — albeit inconveniencing foreign minister K. Jaishankar with only street-level acquaintance with Hindi and none at all of Gujarati — foreign interpreters/note-takers helping out their leaders will be hard put to get it right. So when aide memoirs/diplomatic notes are shared the Indian note will naturally have precedence. This is precisely the tactic Chinese interlocuters have traditionally used to baffle foreigners, and to obtain the diplomatic edge. President Vladimir Putin too speaks only in Russian in his formal exchanges even though he has as good a handle on the English language as does Modi.
Riaz Haq said…
So what's #Modi going to do? #India’s 3rd party mediation policy on #Kashmir is very confused and hypocritical. It seeks 3rd countries’ support to isolate and coerce #Pakistan but it refuses to accept their mediation to resolve the issues in #SouthAsia

http://www.riazhaq.com/2016/10/is-indias-modi-succeeding-in-isolating.html
Riaz Haq said…
Time for #India and #Pakistan to walk the talk. Was what President Clinton did #mediation? Or was it intervention? #Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Abhinandan was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming. Was it mediation? #Kashmir #Balakot https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/its-time-for-india-and-pakistan-to-walk-the-talk/article28739436.ece

It took more than 10 years after Simla to group the subjects that India and Pakistan would sporadically talk about, and even then the two countries have been going around in circles. It is reasonable to assume that nowadays Pakistan talks more about India and Kashmir to the U.S. than to India. Terrorism was one of the subjects that the two nations emphasised they would bilaterally discuss, but the 2011 Mumbai blasts shattered that premise. Since then India has been talking about Pakistani terrorism not so much with Pakistan as with any country willing to listen. This is probably why U.S President Donald Trump revealed at the Oval Office on July 22 that he and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan would be “talking about India”. “I think maybe if we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do,” he said. “But I think it’s something that can be brought back together.”

Clinton’s role during Kargil
President Trump may have been overstating it, but when the Simla Agreement was violated in Kargil, it was an American President who helped push the Pakistani troops back into Pakistan. As the Kargil War began to get bigger, a worried President Bill Clinton, who called the region “the most dangerous place in the world”, reached out to both Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging Mr. Sharif to pull back from the Line of Control (LoC) and Vajpayee not to widen the war front.

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Was what President Clinton did mediation? Or was it intervention? Or meddling? Or was this all a shining example of bilateralism envisaged in the Simla Agreement? President Trump gave India a preview on February 28, before Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was freed by Pakistan, of what was coming when he said: “We have some reasonably decent news. I think hopefully that’s going to be coming to an end. It’s been going on for a long time, decades and decades. There’s a lot of dislike, unfortunately. So we’ve been in the middle trying to help them both out, see if we can get some organization and some peace, and I think probably that’s going to be happening.” Was that mediation or the Simla Agreement at work? Nobody pointed out to President Trump that only the Ministry of External Affairs or the Pakistani Foreign Office or the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations were allowed to make such announcements.

We have to recognise that the world has changed since the Simla Agreement was signed. After the 1971 war, India returned land taken in battle on the western border, to create lasting peace. The LoC is now more firmly established than ever before. There is no talk any more of United Nations resolutions. Most of the subjects in the ‘composite dialogue format’ like Siachen, Sir Creek and Wullar Barrage have been discussed threadbare. Some of them have been ready for political signatures for years. If the way forward is bilateral, then surely it is time to prove it?

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