Stephen Co­hen

Slogan - - Contents - By Faizan Us­mani Stephen Co­hen

Stephen Philip Co­hen, the Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal scientist and pro­fes­sor of South Asian se­cu­rity stud­ies, was ex­cep­tional in many ways.

Stephen Co­hen was one of those few Amer­i­cans who were best known in the sub­con­ti­nent for their ob­jec­tive anal­y­sis, par­tic­u­larly of Pak­istan and In­dia, and of South Asian se­cu­rity.

This as­pect is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant as most po­lit­i­cal ex­perts and researcher­s in the West de­sist from ex­am­in­ing the po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity mat­ters of the South Asian re­gion on the ba­sis of merit and they tend to form sub­jec­tive views that are mostly aligned with their state poli­cies.

Co­hen’s rep­u­ta­tion as a US-based ex­pert on se­cu­rity is­sues in South Asia was well­founded be­cause he emerged as a lead­ing voice from the West. He pi­o­neered the study of se­cu­rity is­sues, mainly in the South Asian con­text.

In the West­ern world, Stephen Co­hen was best-known for his deep in­sights into Pak­istan and In­dia, and he alone served as a one-man think tank in the West on the most com­plex se­cu­rity mat­ters of the sub­con­ti­nent. His five-decade long as­so­ci­a­tion with the South Asian re­gion helped him de­pict a re­al­ity-based pic­ture of re­gional se­cu­rity that, by it­self, re­mains vul­ner­a­ble at the hands of those global pow­ers that seem to be con­cerned by the frag­ile state of peace and se­cu­rity in South Asia.

Born in 1936, Stephen Philip Co­hen was a se­nior fel­low in the For­eign Pol­icy pro­gramme at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion for 21 years, from 1998 un­til his death on Oc­to­ber 27, 2019. Dur­ing his as­so­ci­a­tion with the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion, he pub­lished seven books and sev­eral pa­pers fo­cus­ing pri­mar­ily on se­cu­rity and for­eign pol­icy in South Asia.

Co­hen was the first Amer­i­can scholar to work in the field of South Asian se­cu­rity stud­ies. Be­ing a pi­o­neer in his aca­demic do­main in the U.S., he trained and men­tored many lead­ing an­a­lysts and se­cu­rity strate­gists. In ad­di­tion, he de­vel­oped pol­icy in­ter­ests in key mat­ters, such as disas­ter man­age­ment, nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion and coun­tert­er­ror­ism. In recog­ni­tion of his im­pact­ful schol­ar­ship and far-reach­ing in­flu­ence in pol­icy-mak­ing, he was named se­nior fel­low emer­i­tus by Brook­ings in 2017.

Prior to join­ing Brook­ings, Co­hen was a fac­ulty mem­ber at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Ur­banaCham­paign in the de­part­ments of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and his­tory from 1965 to 1998.

He served as a mem­ber of the Pol­icy Plan­ning Staff at the U.S. De­part­ment of State in 1985-87. He also taught in Sin­ga­pore, Ja­pan and In­dia and served as the scholar-in-res­i­dence at the Ford Foun­da­tion in New Delhi dur­ing 1992-93.

Co­hen au­thored, co-au­thored and edited a num­ber of books, re­search pa­pers, mono­graphs and ar­ti­cles. Among his best­known books are, ‘The Fu­ture of Pak­istan,’ ‘Pak­istan, Piece by Piece,’ ‘Shoot­ing for a Cen­tury: The In­dia-Pak­istan Conundrum,’ ‘The Idea of Pak­istan,’ ‘The Pak­istan Army,’ ‘The In­dian Army: Its Con­tri­bu­tion to the De­vel­op­ment of a Na­tion,’ ‘The Com­pound Cri­sis of 1990: Per­cep­tion, Pol­i­tics and In­se­cu­rity,’ ‘In­dia: Emerg­ing Power’ and the ‘Arm­ing with­out Aim­ing: In­dia’s Mil­i­tary Mod­ern­iza­tion.’

Stephen Co­hen was named as one of Amer­ica's 500 most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in for­eign af­fairs. He died leav­ing be­hind a gen­er­a­tion of po­lit­i­cal researcher­s and strate­gic an­a­lysts he had men­tored over a 50-year ca­reer.

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