US-Pakistan Relations: The Geo-Strategic and Geopolitical Factors/RELATIONS AMERICANO-PAKISTANAISES: LA GEOSTRATEGIE ET DES FACTEURS GEOPOLITIQUES

Article excerpt

Abstract:

The relations between the United States and Pakistan (US-Pakistan relations) have a very tumultuous history, which is spread over nearly six decades. Owing to the diverse strategic and, sometimes, incompatible strategic interests, these relations have seen various engagements and estrangements. This paper aims at exploring the role played by the geostrategic and geopolitical factors in bringing US closer to Pakistan. It takes into account the cost and benefits of these relations for Pakistan and the United States. It also highlights the present warmth in relations between the United States and Pakistan in the perspective of geo-strategic and geopolitical factors. It also discusses the future prospects of these relations.

Key words: US-Pakistan Relations; Geostrategic factors; Geopolitical factors

Résumé: Les relations entre les États-Unis et le Pakistan (les relations américano-pakistanaises) ont une histoire très tumultueuse, qui s'étale sur près de six décennies. En raison des stratégies diverses et, parfois, des intérêts stratégiques incompatibles, ces relations ont vu des engagements et des brouilles variés. Le présent article vise à étudier le rôle de la géostratégie et des facteurs géopolitiques qui ramènent les Etats-Unis plus proches du Pakistan. Il prend en compte le coût et les avantages de ces relations pour le Pakistan et les Etats-Unis. Il souligne également le réchauffement présent dans les relations entre les Etats-Unis et le Pakistan dans la perspective de géostratégie et des facteurs géopolitiques. Il aborde également les perspectives futures de ces relations.

Mots-Clés: relations américano-pakistanaises; facteurs géostratégiques; facteurs géopolitiques

"Geography determines a nation 's history - the political significance of an area bears a well-defined relation to its climate, landforms and natural resources."

A Napoleonic Dictum

INTRODUCTION

US-Pakistan relations are greatly indebted to the geo-strategie and geopolitical significance of the latter. There is no denying the fact that geography controls the political environment of a country and the same is true about Pakistan. Besides opportunities, the geography poses some challenges too. There is no escape from one's geography and from its impact on one's policies (Mujtaba Razvi, 200 1 .). The security of a state largely depends upon the extent to which it adopts a vigilant policy towards her neighbors that postulates a sound frontier policy. It is also stated by the scholars of international politics and diplomacy that the defense and foreign policies of the 'small' and 'weak' states do contribute to shape regional and international politics (Hasan Askari Rizvi, 2001). All these are true for Pakistan. Looking at the past, it can be seen that owing to the strategic worth of South Asia, it has always been the focus of world attention and after the partition of Indian subcontinent in 1947 into two independent states of Pakistan and India, its importance remained the same. Both the states were viewed as key players in checking the influence of communist threat emanating from both Soviet Union and China.

In 1947, possessing a unique geographical location, Pakistan consisted two distant parts; the West Pakistan, in the Indus River basin and the East Pakistan (later on became Bangladesh in December 1971) located more than 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) away in the Ganges River delta. Separated from each other, these two wings had 1000km wide Indian territory between them. On the West, Pakistan borders with Afghanistan, whose one kilometer narrow Wahkhan strip kept the defunct Soviet Union away from Pakistani frontiers. To the North, she has the Peoples Republic of China. The oil rich heart of the Persian Gulf region-Iran, is in the northwest of Pakistan. In the South, the Arabian Sea, the northwestern extension of the strategically important Indian Ocean washes Pakistan's coastal shores. …