The India-Pakistan rivalry is one of the five percent of international conflicts that have been labeled as intractable. The rivalry is one reason why South Asia remains the least-integrated region in the world, and despite recent steps toward normalization, the future could be as unpromising as the last sixty-five years. Can the two states resolve the many territorial and identity issues that divide them? Are there possibilities for their cooperation on one level, even if antagonisms remain? Should normalization from the bottom up be encouraged, or do they have to agree on resolving strategic conflicts first? Stephen Cohen provides an authoritative and instructive examination of these and similarly important topics in Shooting for a Century.
Shooting for a Century is the first comprehensive survey of the deep historical, cultural, and strategic differences that make it probable this conflict will endure, despite many efforts by the international community to resolve it. Stephen Cohen develops a comprehensive theory of why the dispute is intractable and suggests ways in which it may be ameliorated. He draws on his rich and varied experiences in South Asia in exploring the character, depth, and origin of Indian and Pakistani attitudes toward each other. He proffers ways in which the tensions might be ameliorated, including a more active role for the United States on a range of issues that divide the nations.
In the past fifteen years the stakes have become higher for both countries: each has acquired nuclear weapons and had multiple crises, and Pakistan has shown signs of failure. Ironically, as Cohen explains in Shooting for a Century, India is booming, but the time for normalization may not have come yet, and there are groups on both sides that would oppose it.
Stephen P. Cohen joined the Brookings Institution as senior fellow with the 21st Century Defense Initiative in the Foreign Policy program in 1998, after a career as a professor of political science and history at the University of Illinois. In 2004, he was named by the World Affairs Councils of America as one of America’s 500 most influential people in the area of foreign policy. Dr. Cohen is the author, co-author or editor of several books focusing primarily on South Asian security issues, the most recent being The Future of Pakistan (Brookings Institution Press, 2011) and Arming without Aiming: India Modernizes its Military (Brookings Institution Press, 2010). He has also written on India, Pakistan, nuclear proliferation, disaster management, and the application of technology to the prevention or amelioration of terrorism. In 2008, Dr. Cohen was visiting professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, where he taught a course on the politics of manmade and natural disaster. He has consulted for numerous foundations and government agencies, and was a member of the Policy Planning Staff (Department of State) from 1985-1987. He was visiting scholar at the Ford Foundation, New Delhi, from 1992-1993.