What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Teh EU Pakistan Summit

The EU held a Pakistan Summit recently, and more or less this is what came out of it.

I offered some pieces of advice to the EU in advance - see below - at the request of the Atlantic Community think tank. They asked a lot of experts, people with whom I very much like being mentioned together. What I said did not really make it into the initial summary of the survey results, but this will not ruin my pleasure :)

So, in three brief points.

1. Do not look at Pakistan policy in isolation.
Having come to the understanding that challenges in Afghanistan can only be handled in a regional approach, one should not forget that our important interests in Afghanistan can only be achieved and protected if our Pakistan policy contributes to furthering our aims there.

2. Afghanistan policy can contribute to furthering aims in Pakistan, too.
Pakistan faces a severe challenge by the Pakistani Taliban movement, and by other militant organisations across the country. To convince all key actors in Pakistan to definitively abandon endeavours to use these organisations for strategic purposes at any point in the future, one has to show strong commitment to defeat Islamist militancy on the other side of the Afghan-Pakistani border. EU countries cannot afford to show wavering in their commitment in Afghanistan, as that undermines our goals in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

3. Delink aid to Pakistan from counter-terrorism.
Aid to Pakistan is necessary. Yet it should be delinked, as much as possible, from counter-terrorism. Paradoxically, its contribution to stability would only grow as a result. A perception that it is given in order to help Pakistan deal with terrorism, or to make Pakistan deal with terrorism, is to be avoided, as much as possible. Pakistan can deal with the issues related to terrorism the most effectively if its society and its political elite mobilise against it, but they have to do so largely by themselves. Avoiding the semblance of indirectly paying for kills and captures through aid could enhance the political appeal of the EU, and it would also help to avoid providing a perverse incentive in the Pakistani setting, with regards to tackling militancy. It is also likely that such, more normal aid activity, albeit with a clearly declared and demonstrated commitment to provide aid in the long run, would be more productive, even as aid per se.

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Meanwhile, everyone from Oxfam to Richard Holbrooke is talking about how the EU does not really pay up yet when it comes to the humanitarian crisis, i.e. the refugees from Bajaur, Malakand and elsewhere. That is what I would add now to all you see here, above. Of course, the handling of this crisis should also include reconstruction in areas that were devastated in the military operations in Swat, and that is definitely something the EU should meaningfully aid.

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