Pakistan’s foreign policy has been shaped by a complex mix of national interests, strategic imperatives, domestic politics, and ideological factors. While every state designs its foreign policy based on national interests, Pakistan’s unique historical and geopolitical circumstances have often led it to prioritize emotions, feelings, and ideology over pragmatic considerations.
One of the primary reasons for Pakistan’s emotional and ideological approach to foreign policy is its identity as an Islamic state. The country was created in 1947 as a homeland for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, and its founders saw it as a beacon of hope for the global Muslim community. This sense of Islamic solidarity has influenced Pakistan’s foreign policy since its inception, with the country positioning itself as a leader of the Muslim world and championing causes such as the Palestinian struggle.
Pakistan’s relationship with India is another factor that has shaped its emotional and ideological foreign policy. The two countries have a long and contentious history, marked by several wars and ongoing conflicts over the disputed region of Kashmir. This has led Pakistan to view India as an existential threat and to adopt a confrontational stance towards its neighbor. Pakistan’s military, in particular, has played a significant role in shaping the country’s foreign policy towards India, seeing it as a key factor in maintaining the country’s security.
The impact of Pakistan’s emotional and ideological foreign policy has been mixed. On the one hand, it has allowed the country to punch above its weight in global affairs and to exert influence beyond what its size and economic strength would suggest. For example, Pakistan has been able to cultivate close ties with powerful countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, thanks in part to its status as an Islamic state.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s emotional and ideological foreign policy has also led to a number of strategic missteps and missed opportunities. For example, its support for Islamist militant groups in Afghanistan and India has led to international condemnation and has contributed to instability in the region. Similarly, Pakistan’s focus on the Kashmir issue has often come at the expense of other priorities, such as economic development and regional integration.
In conclusion, while every state designs its foreign policy based on national interests, Pakistan’s unique historical and geopolitical circumstances have often led it to prioritize emotions, feelings, and ideology over pragmatic considerations. While this approach has had some benefits, it has also contributed to strategic missteps and missed opportunities. Going forward, Pakistan will need to strike a balance between its emotional and ideological impulses and its strategic imperatives if it is to achieve its goals and secure its place in the world.