Author Howard B. Schaffer reveals the limits of American influence in the Kashmir region
The escalating dispute in the Kashmir region proves a threat to security in South-Asia and to the United States. In an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, former ambassador to Bangladesh and author of The Limits of Influence: America's Role in Kashmir, Howard Shaffer discloses the growing dangers of the conflict between India and Pakistan, warning that the dispute may instigate the emergence of a potential nuclear war. He urges independent settlement in both areas to promote India-Pakistan relations.
As for Washington’s influence, Schaffer states, "If Washington does find a propitious opportunity to play a more active role, the settlement it promotes should call for making the Line of Control a permanent border that is porous; autonomy for Kashmiris on both sides; and joint institutions on an all-Kashmir basis."
Howard B. Schaffer has spent thirty-six years as an officer of the U.S Foreign Service, through which he was appointed ambassador to Bangladesh. Ambassador Schaffer currently teaches and writes at Georgetown University and widely recognized as a leading American specialist on South Asia. He is the author of highly regarded biographies of two American diplomats who served as ambassadors to India at times when Washington was deeply involved in efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute. They were published as Chester Bowles: New Dealer in the Cold War (Harvard University Press, 1993) and Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk (University of North Carolina Press, 2003). Schaffer is also the author of many articles on South Asian matters.