US expert favors civilian nuclear deal for Pakistan


An American analyst on South Asia has said that the United States should offer Pakistan a conditions-based civilian nuclear deal as a way to save the relationship, which severely tested during the last decade, as well as secure long-term interests with regard to containing militancy and atomic safety.

Christine Fair, an assistant professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies, said Washington should adopt a new approach towards Pakistan, since the previous US policies toward the South Asian country had failed. She favoured a civilian nuclear deal as a way to make the relationship productive.

The US traditional approach of “muddling through” its management of Pakistan would not yield positive dividends forever, she said.

“Time for a big idea for Pakistan”

“If the United States wants one last chance of salvaging a relationship with Pakistan, it should put on the table a conditions-based, civilian-nuclear deal,” she proposed in an opinion piece appearing in Time magazine.

Such an “enormous” deal and “political inducement”, the expert said, should help Islamabad curb the alleged support for militancy and help Washington achieve its goal of ensuring security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Putting the nuclear deal on the negotiating table with Pakistan should have a clarifying effect, Fair said.

As 2014 looms, the United States should recognise that some meager prospects for a peaceful Pakistan may be the prize rather than a functional Afghanistan, Fair added.

Unfortunately, during the last 11 years, Washington and its allies have persistently pursued a policy—howsoever inept and ill-conceived—that prioritized Afghanistan.

Unable to forge a tandem policy to manage the twinned threats inhering in and from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the international community had a semblance of an Afghanistan strategy while never formulating a Pakistan strategy at all, Fair maintained.

“Jurassic savages wouldn’t attack us if we didn’t occupy them”

Contemplating about the future Afghan scenario, Fair noted the United States would leave Afghanistan in 2014, although it was likely that the United States would retain some presence in negotiation with the current Afghan government and that which would emerge after the presumed Afghan presidential elections in 2014.

On the Taliban, she said, they may even return in some measure.

“But this does not matter. The Taliban are Jurassic savages. But they would not kill Americans if the Americans and their allies were not there occupying the country,” she said.