The Trump administration is considering taking a harder stance against Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan, but experts warn that pressure alone will not bring peace.
Similar tactics have failed in the past, and analysts warn that the US can only influence the south Asian country by coupling force with diplomacy, which president Trump seems to shun.
And attempts to strong-arm Islamabad could push it deeper into a growing alliance with China and Russia, and lead to more instability.
China, in particular, offers Pakistan an opportunity to counter the strengthened union between the US and India, whose presence in Afghanistan the Pakistani military considers an existential threat.
Among the tools considered by the Trump administration, according to Reuters, are expanding drone strikes, withholding aid and revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally.
But attempts to bully Pakistan into submission will only drive Islamabad further towards China, said Ayesha Siddiqa, author and research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
“It also means that in Afghanistan, there will be more violence. Pakistan sees Afghanistan as an American-Indian project against Pakistani interests,” she said.