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United States-Pakistan relations, 1947-1954: the conditions and causes for a military alliance Larson, Wade Jeffrey


This discussion argues that the United States-Pakistan alliance of 1954 emerged because American strategic concerns for the Middle East, arising in the aftermath of the Korean War and based upon a recognition of Britain's declining ability to defend the region, coincided with Pakistan's strategic needs as a newlyindependent nation. The United States believed that Pakistan-a moderate Islamic nation, situated on the eastern flank of the Middle East, and ideologically inclined toward the West-could assist Western efforts to protect the Middle East from Soviet influence, penetration, or attack. This discussion further argues that the United States only brought Pakistan into the Western strategic network when a series of events made it seem that Asia would be the next battleground for the Cold War and after it was clear that if containment were to be extended to South Asia, Pakistan was the only choice available. Pakistan's persistent and sophisticated courtship of the United States differed greatly from India's efforts to remain neutral in the Cold War. And this discussion argues that the alliance was consistent with the broader policies of both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations and that it stemmed not from American interests in South Asia but from Washington's global strategic efforts to contain the Soviet Union. Consequently, the United States-Pakistan alliance was not the result of American attempts to "contain" or dominate India, of Anglo-American competition over the subcontinent and the Middle East, or of American efforts to establish economic hegemony over South Asia. Indeed, as the United States' fears for Middle Eastern security subsided, so did its commitment to the alliance with Pakistan.

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