For Pakistan, there is no escape from geopolitics, even when it comes to issues like connectivity and trade. And that is true in a global sense as well as the United States adopts a tougher posture toward the Belt and Road Initiative, digs deeper into a tariff war with China, and continues to use economic sanctions or lawfare to force Iran to capitulate.
Calls for Pakistan to become a “normal” state that puts its economic interests above its strategic are outdated, reflecting a view of globalization that is now passé. The economic and the strategic increasingly blur once again, thus making Pakistan’s ability to address its economic challenges even harder.
Arif Rafiq (@arifcrafiq) is a nonresident fellow at the Middle East Institute and president of Vizier Consulting, LLC, a political risk advisory company focused on the Middle East and South Asia. He is author of “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Barriers and Impact” and editor of the CPEC Wire newsletter.