On the Brink: Instability and the Prospect of State Failure in Pakistan   [open pdf - 627KB]

From the thesis abstract: "The ongoing military operations in Afghanistan underscore the importance of regional stability in Central and South Asia. While much of our attention remains focused on Afghanistan, the unstable nature of Pakistan creates a problematic scenario for the United States. Although the media and policy makers are showing a growing interest in the state, Pakistan's problems are not new. Instead, they represent a history of domestic, regional, and international troubles that leave the state in an unpredictable posture. Most importantly, these historical events, coupled with current political, economic, and security related issues, have created a fragile state with the propensity to fail. Therefore, this monograph highlights and explains many of Pakistan's problems under the framework of assessing the likelihood of state failure. Existing research provides the fundamental characteristics of fragile and failed states and serves as a benchmark for comparison to determine whether Pakistan is merely weak, in transition, or on the brink of failure. Pakistan's potential collapse would have severe consequences for many regional and international actors. However, the U.S. military, operating in Afghanistan, would face immediate and significant challenges in a failed state scenario. As a result, U.S. officials continue to reiterate the importance of Pakistan's stability. Yet, it may take years of continuous external support to ensure Pakistan's worst-case scenario does not occur."

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