Home Contact Us  
   

Pakistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5185, 18 November 2016
 

US Policy Orientation

Donald Trump and South Asia
Michael Krepon
Co-Founder, Stimson Center
 

What can the subcontinent expect from President Donald Trump? Bewilderment, for starters. If the new occupant in the Oval Office is unfamiliar with Russia, China, the workings of NATO, nuclear deterrence, and the impact of trade compacts, do not expect him to be well versed on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Kashmir.

True, most incoming presidents are strangers to the subcontinent, but Trump is a special case. He did not take his homework seriously during a lengthy presidential campaign, and one of the many questions surrounding his ascension is whether he will apply himself to the monumental job ahead. The same questions applied to President Ronald Reagan, who fared well when surrounded by savvy advisors, and stumbled badly when given awful advice. 

Trump will also be greatly dependent on the people around him for expertise and wise counsel. His inner circle of advisers consists of family members and a small cohort who stuck with him through thick and thin: Rudy Guiliani, Newt Gingrich, General Mike Flynn, and Jeff Sessions. Their abilities to handle the affairs of state are equally questionable. Guiliani is mentioned as a possible Secretary of State, along with John Bolton. Both have empathy deficits, confusing diplomacy with boorish behaviour. Their ties to Democrats on Capitol Hill are frayed, to say the least, and would encounter bruising conformation battles. Perhaps better-qualified candidates will come to the fore.

Below the top tier, where all of the diplomacy toward South Asia takes place – except for crisis management – the applicants are a mystery. If the top tier appointments have little standing, recruiting quality help will be extremely challenging. Many high-ranking officials in previous Republican administrations have sworn off working for Trump. The Heritage Foundation will be heavily involved in job placement, with Old School Republican internationalists continuing their retreat from the corridors of power. Obstructionists and deconstructionists will now have a go at making policy.

US presidential diplomacy is likely to return to the cue card era of the Reagan administration. Do not expect major initiatives toward the region in the Trump administration. The trend lines toward India and Pakistan established during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations are too deeply grooved to change, but there could be differences in degree rather than course corrections. New Delhi could find it has a less persuasive advocate in the White House for its pursuit of NSG membership, and an unsympathetic ear to Prime Minister Modi’s 'Make in India' campaign. Pakistan faces a bigger problem: a less tolerant executive branch for hosting  Jaish and Lashkar cadres that carry out attacks against India.

Pakistan’s talking points have long since lost traction in Washington. If there is not evident change in Rawalpindi’s stance toward anti-India groups, the Trump administration and Capitol Hill could react very strongly when the next attack happens. One key variable is how much overt effort Rawalpindi makes to stop cross-border violence. A second is the scale of the attack.

Washington no longer pretends to have the carrots to influence Rawalpindi’s choices, but it still has more sticks. The 'nuclear' option is declaring Pakistan to be a state supporter of terrorism – a decision many in India would applaud, until they deal with the consequences.

US-Pakistan relations are a sad tale of mutually unrequited hopes. US-India relations are a positive work in progress that could also be defined by mutually unrequited hopes. One test of the relationship during the Trump administration could come with increased friction – perhaps of a serious nature – between Washington and China. In which event, boosters of the US embrace of India would expect something more than studied neutrality.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India, Pakistan and the Nuclear Race: An Assessment

Pakistan's Turn

The Grand Bargain

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.