- Iran is difficult to directly access because Turkmenistan which as a bit of a hermit kingdom wont provide a corridor to anyone (Americans, Russians, Chinese), and that means China can only reach Iran through either Afghanistan or Pakistan. That's part of the long term value to them of stabilising Pakistan. Its still their only direct or indirect route to the Persian Gulf.
- The Russians are already treating Pakistan as China's junior partner. That means Russia's quid pro quo will often boil down to permitting sales of defence technology items to Pakistan, either indirectly via China, or even directly to Pakistan in the areas the Chinese are still behind, like aircraft engines. It also means that Pakistan's relationship with Russia will be less contentious than before. Ultimately things will depend on the state of Russo-Chinese relationship, which post-Crimea is good but tilted in China's favour.
- The short term direct economic benefits of CPEC to China will be very small in comparison to investments in places like Kazakhstan or even Bangladesh, but again, but its a venture capital experiment. CPEC is more than a cash bribe from the Chinese. Its a co-investment, and the Pakistanis are the ones who have to bear most of the security costs as their share. I think it will provide some economic growth to Pakistan, but at very high (internal) political cost. But in many ways in comparison to US aid, the economic bump will be much more sustained given that the investment is in productive infrastructure for political costs that are about what they've gotten used to.
The Chinese aren't going abroad to die in numbers. They're going abroad to make money. The security costs of the mines in Afghanistan make them unprofitable to operate, and either the situation would have to improve, or the cost of copper and iron would have to go through the roof. In part they're hoping that a new economic relationship with Pakistan will change Afghanistan as well.
The Marshall Plan financed a lot of projects in Western Europe....but it was up to Europe to make the most of those investments to stabilise themselves, grow their economies and build up trade. The Chinese are investing in highways to start with. Much of the trade will be non-strategic commercial trade, moving on Pakistani trucks - low risk, but potentially useful. If the Pakistanis show they can provide security, the Chinese will put in the railway lines and eventually pipelines. But yes, they'll wait to see if the Pakistanis can delivery security, and even so they are investing in alternatives.
The power plants are a much more complicated thing. That was something Nawaz desperately wants to show the public that he's tackling the energy crisis. But the Pakistanis are going to have to really sort out a lot of things to make that happen, and confront dysfunctionalities in their bureaucracy and political economy, especially if they want the Chinese to own and operate them. Its much more complicated than paying for a deepwater port or highways. The Chinese have very different expectations for projects they're handing over as investments in a bilateral relationship, and projects they're expecting to operate at a profit.
Lastly, Daesh in terms overseas operations has been phenomenally good at radicalising and recruiting lone wolves and small cells, and inspiring them to commit psychologically devastating acts of violence that shake public confidence and tie down huge resources in order to prevent attacks. That's part of what they'd be bringing to Pakistan. As I said, I don't expect them to take and hold much territory. They don't have the right cadre for that. But Army Public School style massacres and other traumatising kinds of urban terrorism are entirely in their reach. The 'Punjabi Taliban' problem has barely begun - but much of the LeJ and their army of supporters in the ASWJ will be very interested in the Daesh message; they have no love for the state or the pampered classes.
Last edited by Johann
on 01 Sep 2015 02:38, edited 1 time in total.