Partnership for Progress: A Report on Pakistan by the Center of American Progress

Partnership for Progress
Advancing a New Strategy for Prosperity and Stability in Pakistan and the Region
By Caroline Wadhams, Brian Katulis, Lawrence J. Korb, Colin Cookman | Center for American Progress, November 17, 2008

Pakistan lies at the nexus of one the world's most complicated geopolitical regions— one plagued by poverty, nuclear proliferation, and global terrorism. With a growing population of more than 165 million people, Pakistan is a vital link between South and Central Asia and the broader Middle East. Pakistan's multiple internal challenges extend beyond its borders and have a wide-ranging impact on regional and global stability. Just as conditions in Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Central Asian countries affect Pakistan, events in Pakistan shape its neighbors.

There are positive signs and opportunities for Pakistan's democracy and, ultimately, stability. In February 2008, a democratic transition occurred in Pakistan, ushering in a civilian government and leading to the resignation of military strongman Pervez Musharraf from the presidency. Despite a history of interference in the political process, the Pakistani military has intentionally provided space to Pakistani's civilian leaders to find their footing since the election.

Pakistan will pose one of the greatest foreign policy challenges for the incoming Obama administration. How Pakistan addresses its militancy, weak governance, and economic dif- ficulties will directly influence the security of the United States and its people. The Obama administration must seize these opportunities and work with Pakistan, its friends, and neighbors to create a new strategy for enhancing security in Pakistan. But first U.S. policymakers must understand the key challenges facing Pakistan and the region, as well as the critical opportunities the Obama administration can leverage over the next four years.

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