The New Rules: Why the U.S. Should ‘Give’ Af-Pak to China

The New Rules: Why the U.S. Should ‘Give’ Af-Pak to China

Nuclear Pakistan, we are often told, is the Islamic-state equivalent of a Wall Street firm: In geostrategic terms, it is too big to fail. That explains why, even as the Obama administration begins preparing for modest troop withdrawals from Afghanistan this July, it dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Islamabad last week to smooth over bilateral relations with Pakistan's paranoid regime, which were strained even before the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Clinton's trip and the Obama administration's instinctive embrace of Islamabad is a fool's errand, doomed by history, geography and globalization itself.

In fact, the U.S. should drop the entire Afghanistan-Pakistan mess in China's lap now, while the getting is good, and here are the reasons why:

Over the long haul, the U.S cannot possibly throw as many bodies and bucks at the problem as China can. The U.S. is currently negotiating with both Iraq and Afghanistan regarding a long-term U.S. troop presence, at the same time that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is proposing military pay cuts and the U.S. government is breaking its latest debt ceiling at $14.3 trillion. Meanwhile, cash-rich China, which has already seeded commercial interests throughout Asia and Africa over the past decade, is planning to send $2 trillion overseas in investments over the next 10 years. Moreover, China actually borders both Afghanistan, where it recently plunked down a $3.4 billion investment in a copper mine, and Pakistan, with whom China has almost twice as much trade as America does.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.