Is Pakistan undergoing a "shocking strategic shift" away from its long-standing India-centric policies and preference for supporting non-state proxies? That is just what Sameer Lalwani provocatively argues in a recent article. He claims that the prevailing characterization of Pakistan as a "belligerent, unyielding, and destabilizing force in international affairs" has obscured an important "reorientation of Pakistan's national security policies." He describes three inter-locking shifts that warrant examination: that Pakistan is reducing its bellicosity toward its long-time foe India, turning inward to address domestic security threats instead of continuing its competition with India, and re-examining its very strategic culture in the process. I wish it were so, but unfortunately Lalwani's arguments are far more shocking than Pakistan's putative strategic shifts. The latter have yet to occur and, indeed are unlikely to occur in any policy-relevant time frame. Rather than seeing in Pakistan what they wish to see, the United States and its partners must see Pakistan for what it is and plan accordingly.
Faux Shift 1: "Aggressive" or "belligerent" Pakistani behavior toward India has been significantly reduced.