The next U.S. president should weigh the tactical gains from air strikes, military incursions, and detentions in Pakistan against the longer-term harm they do to our alliance with Islamabad.
- Energy security for Pakistan should be a U.S. priority, because energy shortages are a major cause of instability and an impediment to economic growth. To this end, the United States will need to be flexible on issues such as the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline and civilian nuclear cooperation, which could be negotiated in parallel with U.S. efforts to bring Pakistan into nuclear non-proliferation agreements.
- The United States should work to mitigate the rivalry between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan and toward a settlement of the two countries’ dispute over Kashmir.
- U.S. support for Iranian insurgents based in Pakistan would have destabilizing effects throughout the region. The United States should not embark on any such program.
- While the progress of political negotiations with Islamist militants is so far not evident, the United States should not unequivocally reject this option. The United States should coordinate its counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan with Pakistani efforts to stem insurgency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan. A joint aid and reconstruction program for Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan should be considered by the U.S. and other countries in the Friends of Pakistan group.