Conflict with Pakistan among top potential threats for US in 2012: Report

By AFP
Published: December 9, 2011
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CFR lists a conflict with Pakistan as the most plausible in 2012. PHOTO: FILE

CFR lists a conflict with Pakistan as the most plausible in 2012. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: A conflict with Pakistan, the euro crisis, and a political instability in Saudi Arabia and have emerged as top potential threats facing the United States in 2012, an influential think-tank said Friday.

The Council on Foreign Relation’s Center for Preventive Action anonymously surveyed US officials and experts to compile an annual list of the most plausible conflicts for the United States in the new year.

The 2012 list elevated several contingencies to the top tier of risks: a US conflict with Pakistan prompted by an attack or counter-terrorism operation; an intensified euro crisis, which could plunge the United States back into recession; and a Saudi instability, which would threaten global oil supplies.

Threats that remained at the top of the list from last year included a potential incident between the United States and China, internal instability in Pakistan, intensified nuclear crises with Iran or North Korea, and a spillover of drug-related violence from Mexico.

Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who focuses on conflict resolution, said that the survey was designed to fill a gap as the US government has a poor record forecasting future instability and conflict.

“It is a perennial problem to get policymakers to focus on future challenges when dealing with the tyranny of the inbox,” Zenko said, referring to the overwhelming flow of messages.

“But in an age of austerity it has never been more important to forecast, prevent or mitigate plausible contingencies that could result in an expensive and long-lasting US military involvement,” he said.

The survey elevated the risk of conflict with Pakistan amid high tensions in 2011 following the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden. But the think-tank removed the potential for military escalation between Pakistan and arch-rival India from the top tier of risks.

The survey also added Bahrain as a “tier-two” risk to the United States, citing fears that growing instability in the Sunni-ruled kingdom could spur fresh military action by Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Other risks that were downgraded or removed from last year included:

– Intensified military conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.

– Renewed military conflict between Russia and Georgia.

– Violent instability in Thailand.

– Violent instability in Myanmar.

– A succession crisis in Zimbabwe.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Pakistani
    Dec 9, 2011 - 11:43PM

    the main reason is Economy
    US building industry in India which will use the minerals in Afghanistan as raw material
    India and US both grow and Pakistan and Afghanistan people will become more deprived.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 10, 2011 - 12:29AM

    Bankcrupcy of the world ad on please….

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  • G. Din
    Dec 10, 2011 - 1:03AM

    These think tanks are living in air castles with no idea of situation on ground. Ask those who have dealt with Pakistan. Pakistan is no threat to any one, period! Stop bolstering the windy egos in Pakistan and baiting and egging them on to extinction!

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  • antanu
    Dec 10, 2011 - 1:51AM

    There is no threat to US at all…it should simply go back from the region and stop meddling in other country’s affairs…and the world will be safer place to live.

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  • Nand
    Dec 10, 2011 - 2:44AM

    It is good that Pres. Obama is keeping a cool head on Pakistan’s misadventures. Once he looses his patience, Hell will break out. North and West attack will destroy all military capacities. Eastern front will easily have a fun day for the Indians. Seems Paki are asking, no wanting this to happen.

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  • Ubaid Niaz
    Dec 10, 2011 - 2:54AM

    The only thing that i will emphasize upon is, being Paskistanis we need to reunite ourselves despite all the differences we possibly have. Only this way we we can survive the battle, as we can’t stop the bad things which have been triggered and dragged to that extent that we have allowed invasion of our soil multiple times, and everybody is responsible from government to military forces and we common people as well as we thing nothing beyond then our so called societal, religious and caste differences.

    We can not avoid the battle as whether we accept it or not we, have changed our soil to battle ground and it will result in bloodshed anyway, so if we really want to glorify whatever left in us, we need to be upfront and let the world know we are not dead yet and we will deal with anything that will be harmful to our country. Its high time that we should stop thinking about materialistic pleasure but to try to save our very own country which our ancestors gave us as a gift after losing their blood and everything, let their sacrifices be not wasted.

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  • You Said It
    Dec 10, 2011 - 5:21AM

    @Pakistani:
    US building industry in India which will use the minerals in Afghanistan as raw material
    India and US both grow and Pakistan and Afghanistan people will become more deprived.

    Not really. Afghanistan would get over billions from the sales of the minerals. So if this happens only Pakistani people will be left out. This is also why Pakistan wants the US and India to stop military and civil aid to Afghanistan, so it can install the Taliban back in power and pocket the $3 trillion worth of minerals.

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  • You Said It
    Dec 10, 2011 - 6:37AM

    The CFR Preventive Priorities Survey which resulted in these results was conducted over the past few months. The results of CFR’s survey are amazingly good, given that it accurately predicted a potential conflict between the United States and Pakistan as we saw a week ago. Excellent work, CFR!

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  • guest-worker
    Dec 10, 2011 - 6:43AM

    Teenage beauty queen ‘stoned to death’: Report

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  • Ahsaan
    Dec 10, 2011 - 7:20AM

    lo beta.. now US has started openly justifying that a war is near.. they need to send just 1 f 22 that will down the whole PAF.may Allah keep us protected

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  • Asad
    Dec 10, 2011 - 9:50AM

    The Pakistan Embassy in U.S. should not grant anymore CIA agents visas. CIA wants to create instability in Pakistan.

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  • Just curious
    Dec 10, 2011 - 9:54AM

    @Pakistani:

    How will Afghans get deprived, when India is setting up railroads and steel processing mills in Afghanistan?

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  • EX
    Dec 10, 2011 - 10:29AM

    @Just curious:
    Because India wants to create client states , it will harm Afghanistan for same reasons India banned American super makerts from India

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  • Nasir
    Dec 10, 2011 - 11:48AM

    @Nand:
    Living in fools’ paradise.

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  • NA
    Dec 10, 2011 - 11:52AM

    @You Said It:
    If someone thinks Afghanistan can prosperous and live in peace by destabilizing Pakistan he is seriously mistaken.

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  • Indian
    Dec 10, 2011 - 12:06PM

    It is funny to see that people are still thinking it to be a potential conflict!! It is already a conflict which Pakistanis are only waking up to now..

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  • Indian
    Dec 10, 2011 - 12:18PM

    @EX:
    The reason India is contesting not ‘banning’ the American super markets in India is it does not want to end up like Pakistan which depends on the outside world to as trivial a thing as a ‘pin’ and kill its farmers and other poor people who survive on the few hundred rupees they earn per day. Just walk outside your house and look on the streets of Pakistan and ask yourself this question – How many automobiles carry the tag ‘Made in Pakistan’? and you will realize the futility of your comment..
    It is also the same reason that Pakistani establishment is jittery of giving India the MFN status as it will ‘flood’ Pakistani markets with bettered priced better quality Indian goods with which the Pakistani industry cannot compete and survive against..

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Dec 10, 2011 - 2:13PM

    A conflict with Pakistan, the euro crisis, and a political instability in Saudi Arabia and have emerged as top potential threats facing the United States in 2012, an influential think-tank said Friday.
    This is what USA think tank has planned for USA to do in 2012!!!!

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 10, 2011 - 4:14PM

    @Indian
    Your country offering low prices ? there is no such thing like low prices . Base on the stealing of our water and turning of rivers you are making countless dams and having low cost of production.
    Its our water which you are stealing . Wait for the day when we will become politically stable.
    We will offer you friendly terms but will not allow you to steal a drop of water from us.

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  • vasan
    Dec 10, 2011 - 4:36PM

    Pakistani : India stealing water ???. Even your ex foreign minister Qureshi acknowledged that India is not stealing water. You guys are fed with poisonous lies that is causing slow death.

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  • naeem hussain
    Dec 10, 2011 - 4:52PM

    No body can understand Indian duplicitous acts better than Pakistan. @vasan:

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  • Indian
    Dec 10, 2011 - 6:02PM

    @Pakistani:

    Yeah that is what some bockheads argue on your TV so that they can instigate people like you to consolidate your delusion and actually forget the basic reasons for the state of your country which are Rampant fundamentalism, corruption, military nosyness in every thing, now a war against NATO which has the potential of turning up into a war given the nature of comments from US presidential would be’s….

    Wait for the day when we will become politically stable. Recommend

  • Indian
    Dec 10, 2011 - 6:05PM

    @Pakistani:

    And yeah – “there is no such thing like low prices ” – Obviously you won’t know of low prices due thanks to everything that is imported including the nuke..

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  • Indian
    Dec 10, 2011 - 6:06PM

    @naeem hussain:

    The Collective psychosis speaketh..

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  • G. Din
    Dec 10, 2011 - 6:29PM

    @EX:
    “@Just curious:
    Because India wants to create client states , it will harm Afghanistan for same reasons India banned American super markets from India “

    Firstly, India has not banned FDI in retail (supermarkets etc.). So, before you rush to comment, read carefully and get your facts straight. Some parties and states have opposed it. Others approve of it. You do not thrust such decisions down the throats of public in a democracy.
    What India wants is none of your business unless that has some direct bearing on Pakistan. You have absolutely no locus standii in deciding for Afghans what will harm them; that right belongs only to Afghans. Get used to it!
    @naeem hussain:
    “No body can understand Indian duplicitous acts better than Pakistan. @vasan: “
    It should “please” ex-foreign minister Querishi no end that you don’t consider him Pakistani enough!

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 10, 2011 - 6:45PM

    your gov wants terms with Pakistan on the basis of equality but your establishment is not ready for it and it keep on showing wrong picture of Pakistan(for their own motives) , If you are educated youth of India then you must understand that how much its necessary to not back stab on neighbour rights, We will do our part to not occupy your right and you do yours , but at present being impartial you must understand that India is violating our rights and not acting as a good neighbour , he is playing false game to capture resources of region by bullying , be like somewhat china , people in Pakistan have lots of respect for China , don’t be like US who have interests in other countries and she steals the resources of other country.

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  • naeem hussain
    Dec 10, 2011 - 8:47PM

    You are correct about Indians@Indian:

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 10, 2011 - 9:16PM

    what is happening inside Pakistan is our problem , you don’t comment on that , ok ?
    what I am saying about the issues which overlap both of us , the problems in PAK are our problems if they are costing you anything then you have right , otherwise you don’t have any right to speak on our internal affairs , we do rather like to burn into ashes with the heat of nukes but we will tolerate to interference of another country , for the same reason there is so hatred for US in our country and for the same reason same hatred is growing for India because of its growing infringements on our rivers and sabotaging the aspects which are sensitive towards the interest of Afghanistan and Pakistan people .
    In the end don’t comment on our internal affairs same as we are not commenting on the very darker side of your country .
    Humans are equal everywhere , we should respect rights the land ,rivers,strategic assets of each other country .

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  • dua
    Dec 10, 2011 - 9:47PM

    An open and direct conflict with Pakistan will be the end of US hegemony in the world. So it ain’t going to happen. But on the other hand US has many “allies” in Pakistan which might do their job if US can only respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and stakes.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Dec 11, 2011 - 2:26AM

    Actually the nuclear threat is the biggest worry in 2012. It is true that both North Korea and Iran are unpredictable and their nuclear capabilities unknown,
    Pakistan poses a threat if their nukes would fall into the wrong hands. According to Musharraf they are not stalled somewhere, but are constantly on the move, so much so that the top brass sometimes don’t know where they are.

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  • Truth Teller
    Dec 11, 2011 - 5:54PM

    CIA+MOSSAD+RAW Conspiracy against Pakistan & Ummah a Islami! Final Vistory will be Ours! I can see the shadows of victory!

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  • Dec 11, 2011 - 6:27PM

    Well it was already expected. Too bad double digit IQ holders labelled it as conspiracy theory in the past. Their delusion of US being a friend and bastion of peace, justice, liberty and freedom is about to be broken up and bombed into reality with munitions from sky. Have fun US lovers.

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  • K. Salim Jahangir
    Dec 11, 2011 - 8:28PM

    America have threat from within. So long as incumbent US Secretary Defense & Director CIA are there in Washington DC ,one should expect third World War

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  • antanu
    Dec 11, 2011 - 8:35PM

    All the countries listed above…be alert…you are the next target of US “PEACEFUL DESIGNS”.If you have enemies, befriend with them…you dont need enemies while having a friend like US

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  • Shayan
    Dec 12, 2011 - 9:00AM

    that awkward moment when the US sees your country as a top threat

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  • Ashraf P
    Dec 12, 2011 - 11:48AM

    @Moise: You are bound to get one right after calling absolutely EVERYTHING a conspiracy – even the floods !!

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  • Dec 18, 2011 - 5:45PM

    @Ashraf P:
    Let me guess, a double digiter?

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  • Aqeel Kamgar
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:05AM

    HmmmmmRecommend

  • Aqeel Kamgar
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:11AM

    @antanu:
    Indeed :) .U.S.,already an ultra power is not unwise if she wants to rule the globe…All what can be done is to try to change her intentions and make them realize that they can make the planet as welfare world instead of fireball and bring back the slavery era-life must go onwards

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  • TM
    Dec 23, 2011 - 1:31AM

    @j. von hettlingen: I wouldn’t necessary agree with you on nuclear escalation being the biggest threat. The negative outcomes of a nuclear engagement are disproportionate to gains by either of the states listed above. As far as Iran is concerned, even if they are in the process of acquiring a nuclear weapon (which I and the ex director of the international director of the international nuclear watchdog don’t believe they are) then it would be solely for the purposes of acting as regional security stabilizer with respect to Israel. The outcomes for N. Korea, who do posses nuclear armaments, have not changed after the death of their leader and the establishment would
    be well aware of the repercussions of an unprovoked nuclear advance on their part

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