War and Escalation in South Asia
Mar 9, 2006
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With the advent of two nuclear powers, discoveries of nuclear trafficking, and the growth of insurgencies and terrorism that directly threaten U.S. interests and objectives, South Asia has become a primary theater of concern for the United States. Free from the restrictions of earlier sanction regimes and attentive to the region's central role in the global war on terrorism, the United States has engaged South Asian states aggressively with a wide variety of policy initiatives. Despite the diversity of policy instruments, however, few are very powerful. Indeed, only the U.S. military seems to offer many options for Washington to intensify its security cooperation and influence in the region.
RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) studied the key factors in the region that imperil U.S. interests and suggested where the U.S. military might play an expanded, influential role. Current U.S. military force posture, disposition, and lines of command may not be optimal given South Asia's new strategic importance. Seven key steps may improve the United States' ability to advance and defend its interests in South Asia—and beyond to the Middle East and Asia at large:
Given South Asia's potential for violence, it is prudent to shape a part of the U.S. military to meet potential crises, just as the United States once shaped its military presence in Western Europe for the contingencies of the Cold War.
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