Pakistan, 1997

By Craig Baxter; Charles H. Kennedy | Go to book overview

3
Pakistan and the Post-Cold War
Environment

Hasan-Askari Rizvi

Pakistan faces a difficult situation in the post-Cold War period. Its strategic importance has diminished and its ties with major powers have grown "perilously thin." 1 These changes necessitate a thorough reappraisal of Pakistan's strengths and weaknesses in global and regional affairs. Pakistan's predicament is that it is imperative for it to review and revise the parameters of its foreign policy while most of the problems from earlier periods remain unresolved and defy easy solution.

No doubt, the end of the superpower rivalry has given the developing states like Pakistan some room for maneuver. It can also be argued that despite the military ascendancy of the United States in the international system, the US does not have a clear-cut game plan and lacks resources to control and command the international system. There are economic constraints and logistical problems which the US alone cannot surmount. However, the bargaining power of the US has increased vis-à-vis the states that endeavor to challenge its interests rather than engage in dialogue for mutual adjustment of interests. The US is now better placed to apply diplomatic and military pressure on the developing states, if need be, to protect its national interests or advance its global agenda.

The relative stability and predictability of the Cold War era has disappeared; most regional alignments have lost their original relevance (e.g. NATO), and an attempt is being made to redefine their roles. Some, like the Warsaw Pact, have been disbanded and new economic groupings are emerging. This transition has caused confusion and some anarchy, accentuating the problem of management.

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