The Blog

It's All About Kashmir

There are good reasons why the United States should turn its attention to brokering a solution in the disputed province.

12:00 AM, Apr 25, 2003 • By JUSTIN POLIN
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Successful resolution of the Kashmiri conflict would also build substantial diplomatic capital for the United States. Just as Theodore Roosevelt's involvement in peace negotiations between Russia and Japan heralded the rise of America as a great power, peace in Kashmir would demonstrate America's capability to solve seemingly intractable global problems peacefully, thus conferring more legitimacy upon American global leadership. The stabilization of Pakistan would immunize the United States from claims that it has "declared war" on Islam, and Pakistan would gravitate toward the Western orientation that its founding fathers had envisioned.

Any effort to promote peace between India and Pakistan would also help the war on terrorism. One nightmare scenario for U.S. foreign policy is a collapse of President Musharraf's regime which allows Islamist leaders to gain access to nuclear weapons. An Islamist Pakistan would undo much of the work done in Afghanistan and present a grave terrorist threat to India as well as the United States.

Is there an easy, obvious solution for Kashmir? No. But even if one is not optimistic about the chances for a rapprochement between India and Pakistan (and there is good reason not to be), the drawbacks of an American intervention in the peace process are minimal and the benefits could prove to be significant.

Justin Polin is a research assistant at the Project for the New American Century.