Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smart Power in Pakistan

By Louise Diamond

Hard power, soft power, smart power -- what is the right mix of U.S. resources for engaging with the world and it challenges? This is a question sweeping through Washington, and rightly so, as the Obama administration seeks to reverse the toxic legacy of eight Bush years on America’s world standing.

We don’t hear much about Kashmir these days. Yet, like the tip of the iceberg, it is the visible reminder of a much larger problem. The Partition of British India in 1947 displaced approximately 12 million people, spawned violence that killed hundreds of thousands, and left a psychological legacy of distrust, animosity, and unhealed trauma in both India and Pakistan that has only grown worse over the decades.

Kashmir got caught in the crossfire of Partition, and remains so today. In the last 60 years it has been the focal point of bitter and dangerous Indo-Pak relations. Like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Kashmir situation has defied endless attempts at solution and has bred increasing hatred, violence, and seeming intractability. Yet, a solution is possible -- and, I would suggest, urgent.