A key US goal in the region is stamping out Al Qaeda and groups that sustain it. Pakistan is in many ways more important than Afghanistan for this. Most of the leaders of Al Qaeda are hiding in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. More sharing of the intelligence capabilities of the US and Pakistan would be an effective tool for finding them. The US has high-tech intelligence capabilities for monitoring communications and movements, as well as drones that can launch missiles against insurgents. The Pakistanis have intelligence from local informants, and boots on the ground to track down and capture people.
This seems simple enough. But sharing intelligence is made difficult by the political differences between the US and Pakistan. The US would like to use its forces in Pakistan; the Pakistanis object. The US would like Pakistan to move its army into the regions bordering Afghanistan; the Pakistanis worry this would weaken them against their rival India. The US worries that some elements of the Pakistani government have an interest in seeing Al Qaeda or the Taliban survive. The Pakistanis worry that the US will abandon them if it rounds of some or all of the leaders of Al Qeada. And so on.
Neither country can trust the other to take actions that protect the long-run objectives of the other. But neither country can achieve its objectives without cooperation from the other. Is there a solution to this dilemma? In The International Politics of Intelligence Sharing, I suggest that countries can successfully cooperate in such situations. They do so by creating a hierarchical intelligence sharing agreement, in which the more powerful state quietly directs and supervises many of the intelligence activities of the subordinate. This allows more powerful state to ensure that the subordinate is acting in a way consistent with its interests. In return, the more powerful country offers the subordinate much closer intelligence, economic, military, cooperation. The United States used such hierarchies with some success in cases as diverse West Germany during the Cold War, South Vietnam in the early 1970s, and some countries in the Middle East since 9/11.
Could a hierarchy enable more intelligence sharing between the US and Pakistan? Probably not, and the reason why will surprise many Westerners who see Pakistan as an untrustworthy partner in countering terrorism. For a hierarchy to work for both partners, the more powerful country--here the United States--has to be able to credibly promise to protect its subordinate--here Pakistan--from internal and external foes. Pakistan is unlikely to gamble that the US would live up to such a commitment. The US has too many reasons to reduce its footprint in the region as soon as it makes any progress in stamping out Al Qaeda, and likely lacks the willingness to heavily support the Pakistani regime over the long-term. So throwing its lot in with the US is a risky gamble for Pakistan, which feels it may be better off steering a more independent course.