How Pakistan Negotiates With the United States: Riding the Roller Coaster

This book, one in a U.S. Institute of Peace series on cross-cultural negotiations, sets out how Pakistan’s distinctive history, geography, and political culture have shaped its approach to negotiating with the United States. It then describes the asymmetric interactions of the governing institutions that produce Pakistani foreign policy, covering the military (including the intelligence service), career diplomats and the bureaucracy, and politicians -- an effort that makes clear how much the military dominates. The book also tracks U.S.-Pakistani negotiations from the time of Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan (who ruled from 1958 to 1969) to the present. Pakistan’s perception of India as an existential threat warrants a separate chapter on Indian-Pakistani negotiations, which highlights the contrasting styles Pakistan uses when negotiating with India versus when negotiating with the United States. Schaffer and Schaffer, seasoned specialists, have put to good use their many interviews with American and Pakistani officials in showing that cultural cues are important. Even so, the question they raise remains: “Can two countries whose tactical goals overlap but whose strategic priorities diverge significantly negotiate a reliable basis for cooperation?”

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