The United States, India and Pakistan: To the Brink and Back
India and Pakistan are among the most important countries in the 21st century. The two nations share a common heritage, but their relationship remains tenuous. The nuclear rivals have waged four wars against each other and have gone to the brink of war several times. While India is already the world’s largest democracy and will soon become the planet’s most populous nation, Pakistan has a troubled history of military coups and dictators, and has harbored terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. In his new book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back (Brookings, 2013), Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, director of Brookings Intelligence Project, clearly explains the challenge and importance of successfully managing America’s affairs with these two emerging powers while navigating their toxic relationship.
Based on extensive research and his experience advising four U.S. presidents on the region, Riedel reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the conflicts that have flared in recent years and the prospects for future crisis. Riedel provides an in-depth look at the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008—the worst terrorist outrage since 9/11—and concludes with authoritative analysis on what the future is likely to hold for the United States and South Asia, offering concrete recommendations for Washington’s policymakers.
On February 26, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted an event marking the release of Avoiding Armageddon. Bruce Riedel discussed the history and future of U.S. relations with India and Pakistan and options for avoiding future conflagration in the region. Senior Fellow Tamara Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, provided introductory remarks, and Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, lead the discussion.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.