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    On July 29, 2010, a roundtable discussion was held at the DSS department with the visiting US scholar Walter Russell Mead, Henry L Kissinger Sr. fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington DC. The talk was attended by the DSS faculty, Ph d and M Phil students as well as distinguished guests from other departments and area study centers.

    Prof. Mead touched upon the changing dynamics of US foreign policy and interests and discussed in comparison to Pakistani policy imperatives. First touching upon the differential policy perspective, where US has a consistent global approach, which undergoes tactical shifts given the nature of interests and engagement in various “theatres” worldwide. In comparison Pakistan’s approach is regional and the changing American interests somewhat no longer hold resonance with Pakistan. US given its strategic and commercial interests is comfortable in de-hyphenating India and Pakistan, and gradually the South Asian theatre is disintegrating into Asian and Middle Eastern theatres respectively, a policy which in the near future would be echoed by the European powers as well. This policy would cast a negative impact on Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir problem; however given US contemporary interests, Kashmir is of marginal value. The US would ideally want the issue to be resolved, but would also not antagonize its strategic relations with India, whose economic and strategic empowerment is providing the US with a low cost alternative to the rising China. For the US, Asia with pluralistic power is far better and manageable than having China as the soul dominating regional power.
    He furthermore said that although the US would like to pull out its troops from Afghanistan, but for the moment, there is neither a domestic pressure for a complete withdrawal, nor the need. In fact the recent passage of the war bill in the US legislatures proves that US domestic constituency is rather supportive of US deployment, than believed to the contrary. For Pakistan, according to Prof. Mead accepting the Blackwell formula of dividing Afghanistan along ethnic lines would be highly beneficial in the future, Pakistan needs to set its priorities, where as US also needs to engage with certain Taliban groups for an amicable political settlement of Afghanistan. the talk was followed by a very engaging question and answer session.

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Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, 45320, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-051 9064 3076, Email: dss@qau.edu.pk