The intrusion of China into the middle of the hotbed turmoil in Pakistan is a troubling development. The increasing strategic alliance between China and Pakistan is changing the balance of power in that region. China’s position as recently stated that “an attack on Pakistan will be considered an attack on China” is a defiant sword rattling warning to India, Pakistan’s bitter rival in the region, and a friend of the United States.
China has also informed America that it should respect the sovereignty of Pakistan, relating specifically to the recent operation in Pakistan resulting in the killing of Osama bin Laden, and more generally to the drone attacks which strike at Taliban and al Qaeda targets in the tribal region of Pakistan. The foreign policy challenge for the Obama administration becomes one of how to confront this new political chess game with China in the region. What appears most clear is that America must not allow China to reduce the effectiveness of our war against terrorism in the region involving Pakistan, who has proven to be an unreliable partner in this war. Another challenge for the Obama administration will be to assure its ally India that America will stand beside India at all times where China is concerned.
There is no doubt that this new initiative by China to enter the fray in Pakistan is a strategic play that creates a new set of external threats to the United States and the Obama administration. It is critical that the United States not blink in the wake of this new initiative by China. It is reasonable to expect China to follow up its statements by increasing its diplomatic presence in Pakistan, followed by military advisors and additional military assets. Therefore, increased tensions in the region will follow. America must not shrink from these new threats from China which is obviously flexing its muscles in direct confrontation to the Obama administration, which has conveyed a weak face in its international relations,which has too often been a voice of accommodation and appeasement.