“Recipient countries matter tremendously and have agency because their geopolitical concerns and domestic interests can intersect to affect how well or poorly BRI functions in their country.”
Dean Najam argued that the divided country desperately needs a narrative of healing; however, none seems to be available at this time.
Dean Najam finds that the older diaspora tend to have direct connections to these people and give to them rather than donate through organizations; however, younger generations tend to favor institutional giving.
“A country where the many wounds of division were already deep and deeply felt has now become even more divided with new lines of polarizations having emerged.”
Dean Najam argues that April 9, 2022, in Pakistan – the day in which Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote – is akin to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot in the United States in that it signifies a fundamental sea change in political conduct and the impacts are going to be pervasive and long-term.
“This rhetoric of extreme personal attack, visceral hatred for the other and both sides calling each other traitors is going to define the structure of politics for many months and years to come.”
Dean Najam discusses the importance of putting citizens at the center of national security considerations, noting that it is important to remember that not all issues of human development are issues of human security.
The OIC meeting covered pressing issues including Afghanistan, Yemen, Islamaphobia, as well as the changing shape of geopolitics, the last of which Dean Najam says has led many countries to reevaluate their existing alliances.
Dean Najam highlights how the youth of Pakistan should harness its power, as they will be the deciding factor in all future elections until 2045, and the correlation between youth and human development.
Dean Najam’s wide-ranging interview addresses questions on the United States’ relationship with Pakistan and India, tools of international power diplomacy, multilateralism’s decline due to COVID, climate security, and much more.
The Indus River has sustained civilization for nearly 8,000 years, and according to Najam the challenge now is to ensure that it continues to do so despite the challenges of climate change.
Whether 2022 proves to be just a “going on” for India will be determined by its ability to balance its interconnected and complicated relationships with China, Russia, the U.S., Pakistan and others.
Dean Najam talks about the youth in Pakistan, their ambitions and dreams, their immense potential, and the human development challenges that keep holding them back.
Dean Najam states that countries like Pakistan will have to bear the maximum cost of climate change, hence, Pakistan has to change its efforts both nationally and internationally to address the issue diplomatically and make it a diplomatic cause.
“This is the age of adaptability. Climate change is no longer a future issue. Anyone who talks about it as if it is a future issue is lying.”
Dean Najam’s remarks highlighted three areas that population experts, demographers, and social scientists will have to confront.
Najam and host Huma Yusuf reflect on the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and offer thoughts on how Pakistan – a country that emits less than 1% of global greenhouse gases but counts among the most climate-vulnerable – should craft its climate policy.
“I’ve argued for a very long time that it isn’t even a relationship…The U.S. doesn’t trust Pakistan, and there is no one in Pakistan who trusts the U.S. But there is a sense that they need each other.”
When asked if Pakistan might be able to influence the balance of power in Afghanistan following a U.S. departure, Dean Najam adamantly said it could not.
In his remarks, Najam commented on the lack of a multilateral response during the pandemic, the environmental impacts of COVID-19, as well as what the post-COVID future might look like.