Teresita Schaffer and Howard Schaffer
Adeela Bahar Khan
The book has written by the two authors named Teresita Schaffer and Howard Schaffer. Teresita specialized in South Asia and international economics during her thirty-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service. She served in Islamabad and New Delhi (1974-77 and 1977-79), as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia (1989 92). She created and directed the South Asia program at CSIS from 1998-2010.
Howard is a professor at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. During his thirty-six year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, he served as ambassador to Bangladesh (1984 87), political counselor at American embassies in India (1977 79) and Pakistan (1974 77), and he was twice deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for South Asian affairs.
The analysis of the book is built on the primary experiences of the two authors – one, a former undersecretary on the South Asian desk and the other, a former economic officer in Islamabad. It represent from the direct access to policy elites in Pakistan – retired civil and military bureaucrats, who are privy to key meetings. Taking ahead all the rich experiences in Pakistan and South Asia, the book presents a sketch out Pakistan’s power structure – both formal and informal.
However, the book is an impressive, insightful and truly important volume, especially for Americans who cannot decide whether Pakistan is America’s friend or rival. They will learn that the issue is more complex and respective grievances are more reciprocal. The book further highlights the cross-cultural negotiations sets out how Pakistan’s unique history, geography, and political culture have formed its approach to negotiating with the United States.
“How Pakistan negotiates with the United States” analyzes the themes, techniques, and styles that have characterized Pakistani negotiations with American civilian and military officials since Pakistan’s independence. Sketching from their vast diplomatic experience, authors Teresita and Howard Schaffer observe how Pakistan’s ideological center, geopolitical position, culture, and military and governmental structures shape negotiations with the United States. The authors address the procedures in which the two governments reach towards the agreement formally as well as the overall conduct of official dialogue between the two countries, the informal processes that have shaped their diplomatic relationship, and the periodic involvement of the United States in Pakistani domestic politics. The book also tracks U.S.-Pakistani negotiations from the time of Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan (who ruled from 1958 to 1969) to the present. Pakistan’s perception of India as an existential threat warrants a separate chapter on Indian-Pakistani negotiations, which highlights the divergent approaches Pakistan uses when negotiating with India versus when negotiating with the United States.
Over the past sixty years, Pakistan-U.S. relations have been obvious by highs of close cooperation and lows of deep bilateral rift. Much of the negotiations story underscores the remarkable resilience, but also the vulnerability and instability of the relationship. During the Cold War and continuing after 9/11, Pakistan’s location has shaped a relationship of mutual interest and irregular goals. The United States views Pakistan as a strategic partner in achieving global security goals; Pakistan looks to the United States as a counterbalance to India.
The potency of the book lies in the way it presents Pakistan’s negotiating structure comprising more than mere formal negotiating institutes or players. For the authors, much of the informal power structure is derived from the cultural context of the country. For instance, the book explains how the role of the “social web” and non-authorised power structure is activated when a Pakistani official negotiates with the US. The US has often evaded the civilian government and negotiated directly with the military.
The Diplomats posted abroad may undergo through training on the country where they arre posted because they assess national behaviour on the basis of the cultural milieu of that country. The constitution of true culture reflects from its flexibility and struggle, however, given, the sole reliance on cultural reasoning can be contested on the same grounds. Many retired military officials in Pakistan would explain the Taliban’s rigid behaviour through the lens of Pashtun culture and norm – much to the consternation of Pashtun nationalists.
Since the book covers negotiation strategy, it also abides the typical thinking model in Pakistan, which is termed as a deliberate attempt by Pakistani players to mould it so. The comparative analysis by the author for instance focuses on how the officials are lying to view issues through conspiracy lens. The American view is more institutional in nature. While a contrast in the thinking may exist, it can be argued that instead of it being a negotiation strategy on the part of Pakistani officials, such thinking reflects the intellectual lethargy on the part of the Pakistani elite. The difference is so obvious that on the one hand policy makers in the United States, like Schaffers, are prone to borrow from academic work on political science while, on the other hand, even the academia in this part of the world uses abstract rhetoric to present its case.
Overall, the book summarizes all the factors that play into negotiations with Pakistan – the players, the process and the external context. Hence, the book also serves as a synopsis of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The book is also important because it is not only reveals all the mechanisms in place whereas viewing state perspective purely from state to state relations. Thus, instead of Pakistan negotiating with the United States, the message sending across to the US is by the Pakistani Military, Specific politician or civil leadership. The authors are analyzing the players operate in different ways in negotiations instead of arguing whether without the internal dynamics the relation would be any different.
In Pakistan, the book should serve as a soul-searching exercise for all those who think that they are smart enough to fool the Americans through their narrative that questions America’s past perfidies. As Schaffers would perhaps tell them, they know very well about the chain and even the players of the past. At least, the “guilt trip” on which Pakistani negotiators try to send the Americans must be given a break.
Throughout the cold war Pakistan has been in the US camp . The hatchling state of Pakistan was looking around to build its defence capability against its larger neighbour, India. The US Pakistan is an eager partner and US tried to lessen the Soviet influence. The purchase of the common ticket for a ride of two countries hardly had a smooth journey – and it remains a “roller coaster” ride till today. Both the countries have had different concerns and settings (security). It is essential for Pakistan that US should take India into the account.
The question is still questions that who takes the ride for Pakistan and is the only civilians responsible to speak for the economic relations with the neighbours or either military take such uncertain initiatives.