In the CSSPR Conversation Series, Dr. @Rabs_AA hosted Dr. @vali_nasr ,for a wide-ranging discussion on regional dynamics, the intercession between geopolitics and geoeconomics, Pak-U.S. relations, Afghanistan, Iran, and a whole lot more.
According to Dr.Nasr, the Biden administration has not come to office with a forward-looking policy on South and Western Asia, for that matter.
However, Dr.Nasr contended that the changing landscape due to three broad changes will bring in new dynamics.
The first change that Dr. Nasr mentioned was that happening in Saudi Arabia. From a Wahabbi, Monarchy construct, said Dr.Nasr, Saudi Arabia is moving towards its version of Kemalism, which is more secular.
One of the corollaries of that, according to Dr.Nasr, is an abandonment of an Islamic foreign policy. Also, for Dr.Nasr, Riyadh's geoeconomics-driven drift towards India will have an impact on Indo-Pak dynamics.
The second change, said Dr.Nasr, is the growing Sino-U.S. rivalry. While noting Pakistan's refusal to call itself China’s client state, Dr.Nasr contended that it will be perceived as one in the West.
Dr.Nasr said new axes will emerge through competing relationships, like Sino-U.S. in response to Sino-Pak.
China, according to Dr.Nasr, does not consider itself as a Pacific power, and has aspirations and ambitions in Eurasia.
China is building ties with Iran; it is moving in Central Asia and Turkey, noted Dr. Nasr while adding that Pakistan will have to make choices that didn't have to make before going forward.
The third, more imminent factor identified by Dr.Nasr was a change in Washington, as evidenced by demoting terrorism in the order of threats to its security. He said:" the 9/11 hangover is over."
Interestingly and rightly ,Dr.Nasr, recalling his time as advisor to the late R Holbrooke ,said that Trump broke the taboo of talking to the Taliban.
The foundations on which Pakistan’s geostrategy is based, are shifting, and so will Washington’s perceptions of the region, argues Dr. Nasr.
In response to @Rabs_AA 's question on whether Beijing and Moscow will affect Washington’s approach towards Kabul, Dr.Nasr said the US is seeking everyone's support, including Iran's, to meet the May 1 deadline.
The Taliban, argued Dr.Nasr, will give Washington a choice between doubling up (tps) or leaving. At every stage, rightly observed Dr.Nasr, the Taliban could escalate.
The Taliban see no reason to cut a deal with Kabul, said Dr. Nasr while adding that the deal was a military ceasefire between two fighting forces ; the peace deal with Kabul was an afterthought.
The challenge for D.C. is to convince the Taliban to negotiate with a militarily-irrelevant force in Afghanistan, argued Dr.Nasr while adding that there is no appetite in the U.S. to escalate things in Afghanistan.
While answering @Rabs_AA on the tactical challenges impeding Pak-US ties, Dr. Nasr said that, on Afghanistan, Pakistan is the country that supports the American project.
The onus, he said lies on Pakistan to define its relationship with the US rather than be the recipient, since the US doesn't have policy post-May 1.
Responding to Pakistan's complaints about Indo-U.S relations, he said that they are multi-dimensional and business-oriented. Pakistan, he said, needs to rejuvenate and rejig its ties with the US while adding that Pakistan has the potential to build economic bridges with the US.
If Pakistan is able to deal with internal structural issues, it can turn a page in its ties with the US and Europe, said Dr. Nasr.
Iran,argued Dr.Nasr, wanted to use its relations with China as a leverage against the U.S.
Dr.Nasr said the US is not thinking long and hard about China’s westward expansion,arguing that America needs to understand the nature of the threat posed by China, which is more than that presented by Iran.
Dr.Nasr said that Iran would change its direction overnight while explaining how and why the JCPOA was an important milestone.
The US, felt Dr.Nasr, could have nudged Iran towards improvement, with trade and other openings, but Trump did the opposite, much to the delight of hardliners.
The single most important issue between Washington and Tehran is the nuclear one, said Dr.Nasr, stressing that the latter would not go to war with Iran over Hezbollah .

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More from @syedalizia1992

24 Sep 20
Enthralling conversation happening right now on @ajwsmall 's interesting and thought-provoking report. @Rabs_AA has made some excellent remarks on the report and the overall dynamics of CPEC.…
Dr.Akhtar calls CPEC as a transformative project, and terms the parleys on CPEC as recalibration and reassessment that would ultimately lead to reassurance.
Dr.Akhtar contends that the watered-down version of CPEC is not denting its gargantuan nature, but the tailoring of the project is more sustainable and reassuring. "Let's face it ,plans and goals change; delays and deliberations happen," she added.
Read 8 tweets
23 Sep 20
William E.Todd ,the nominated US Amb to Pakistan, gave a testimony to the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.…
"The U.S.-Pakistan health partnership helped contribute to better-than-expected COVID-
19 outcomes in Pakistan, from training health workers to upgrading emergency operations
Todd said Pakistan remains an important regional partner.
Read 6 tweets
4 Sep 20
That @MarkeyDaniel dedicates the preface of his book to Gwadar is quite telling and commensurate with China's priorities in the region.
Interesting point re impediments for China: domestic politics within states of Eurasia.
"“Where does China stand on this issue?”
will become second nature to American diplomats in the region."

Read 4 tweets
31 Aug 20
This piece by @Rabs_AA ,brilliantly lays bare Pakistan's future strategic challenges and the option(s) that the country should exercise ,in the wake of the Israel-Gulf rapprochement.…
The author argues that Pakistan must not lose sight of the impending threat of encirclement, that could emanate from Israel's forays around and proximity to Pakistan. New Delhi and Tel Aviv could ramp up trouble for Islamabad in the Arabian Gulf, argues the author.
But why Pakistan could be the target? The author says that it is because Islamabad continues to survive, rather than wilt, posing a great deal of discomfiture to those that want to impede the country's rise up the power ladder.
Read 5 tweets
29 Jul 20
"Our campus was off limits ,creativity was not," says @Rabs_AA in an RCSS webinar on Education and Technology.
Internet access is the biggest issue when it comes to the online education landscape in Pakistan, she adds.
Pakistan is not new to virtual education, says @Rabs_AA while giving the examples of the AIOU and VU. She adds that Pakistan must embrace the online world of education, if not ,it stands to lose.
Read 5 tweets
21 Jul 20
18 pages into this interesting study on DPRK by @PerkovichG and @toby_dalton ,I find this point very logical: "Trading some compliance uncertainty for comprehensiveness up front seems worthwhile to build a
broad foundation for the second stage of verified capping to follow." Image
“Permitting” ongoing nuclear and missile activities like this would be politically very hard
to swallow in Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, and probably also in Beijing."

Well, a state doesn't require permission from other states to take decisions in its interest.
retaining CD would be
a necessary condition for North Korea to decide to eliminate nuclear
weapons. The DPRK also would likely continue producing and perhaps
even selling ballistic missiles for conventional military use up to some
agreed range and payload limit.

Fair point!
Read 5 tweets

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