Imran Khan speaking at Chatham House, London. Credit: Chatham House. 14 January 2010

The Rise and Fall of Imran Khan and What’s Next for Pakistan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan resigned on April 10th, following a no-confidence vote in Parliament. The former cricket star turned politician had served as Prime Minister since 2018,  but in recent months he had increasingly fallen out of favor with Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, which has long been a dominant force in Pakistani politics.

My guest, Michael Kugelman, is Senior Associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center. We kick off discussing how Imran Khan leveraged his celebrity as one of the greatest cricket players of all time to a career in politics. We then discuss how he governed as Prime Minister and the circumstances that lead to his downfall. Finally, we have an in-depth conversation about how this political transition in Pakistan may impact US-Pakistani relations and regional dynamics between Pakistan, India and China.

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Transcript has been lightly edited for clarity

Who is Imran Khan?

Michael Kugelman [00:02:25] If you go back to the 1980s and into the early 1990s, Imran Khan was really a household name in the world of cricket. He was not just Pakistan’s, but one of the world’s greatest cricket stars, for sure and his most famous moment was when he rallied an injured hobbled underdog Pakistani national cricket squad to a World Cup championship victory over heavily favored England in the 1992 World Cup. It was huge and, the entire country of Pakistan was literally exuberant for days and days. So that really, I think, was the pinnacle of his fame as a cricket star. But, yeah, he was a really big deal for a long time.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:03:04] And I have to imagine there is potent symbolic weight to the fact that Pakistan defeated its former colonial masters, England, in that World Cup.

Michael Kugelman [00:03:15] Oh, absolutely, you’d better believe it. And not to mention that England simply had a really tremendous, indomitable cricket squad. But indeed, if you look at the history of it, indeed there’s a tremendous amount of pride based on that very fact that I think made Pakistanis even so much happier that they that they defeated the English.

Why and how did Imran Khan enter into Pakistani politics?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:03:36] So how did one of the greatest cricket players of all time who led Pakistan in this improbable victory over England in the 1992 Cricket World Cup enter into politics.

Michael Kugelman [00:03:49] Yes. It was actually very soon after Imran Khan retired from cricket, very soon after he decided to launch his political career. So, he launched his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which really translates to the Pakistan Justice Party. He launched it in 1996, and he was already thinking about a political career, I think, during the last few years of his cricket career. One thing that he started to do was become a big philanthropist and he really emphasized charitable causes. And he developed this large cancer hospital in Pakistan in honor of his mother. And I think that was his way of projecting himself as so different from so much of the Pakistani political class, which was dynastic, corrupt, very wealthy, not given to huge displays of philanthropy. So that was a really big deal. But then indeed, in ’96, he formed his political party and the big issue that it revolved around, and it continued to be the case up to the present day, was the issue of corruption. Imran Khan, from his very earliest days as a political figure, depicted himself as a champion of anti-corruption, and he also wanted to really present a third way, so to speak, or actually I guess the second way — he wanted to project himself and his party as different from the long standing mainstream political parties in Pakistan, and there were only two of them, that had ruled Pakistan for its entire history when Pakistan was not run by the military. And again, the idea was to project himself as non-dynastic and non-corrupt, and that really helped him generate a lot of mass appeal in the nineties. It took him a while, of course, until he would lead a government. But he used that image, that projection, as a way to build national appeal in the years that followed.

What policies and ideas did Imran Khan campaign on to lead the Pakistani government?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:05:39] And I suppose, you know, when you have this independent kind of celebrity and you’re not caught up in the politics of the past, and you are very much an outsider, it’s easy to project oneself as being not tainted by the corruption of the sort of political establishment.

Michael Kugelman [00:05:56] Yeah, that’s correct. I mean, he really projected himself as that type of populist figure, this outsider who was coming in to make big changes and then pass-through major reforms. But of course, at the same time, we have to acknowledge that Imran Khan was someone who had made a lot of money, become very wealthy from his cricket career. He had very deep attachments to the West and in particular Great Britain, where he’d spend a lot of time during his cricket career, and he was a big part of the celebrity culture in the UK for a while. So, it’s not like he was a complete maverick and a complete outsider, but certainly in the context of Pakistani mainstream politics, he was very different. So, he was definitely very different from what had happened from what we’d seen in the decades leading to his emergence in politics.

How did Imran Khan become Pakistan’s prime minister in 2018?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:06:40] So I take it his party must have been something of a sort of permanent minority party for a long time because, you know, you said he started his party in 1996. He wasn’t prime minister until 2018. How is it that he emerged after so many years through the political wilderness to become prime minister in 2018?

Michael Kugelman [00:07:03] Yeah, it was definitely a long, hard road. And the PTI, his party, didn’t really even have any type of presence in the parliament, in the national parliament, for quite some time. And keep in mind, the political state of play was very challenging for him to penetrate for quite some time. Just a few years after he formed his political party, the military came back to take power in 1999 and you had military rule until 2008 so that made democracy very difficult. But it is notable that Imran Khan actually joined the very large pro-democracy movement that broke out 2007-2008 against the rule of military dictator Pervez Musharraf. And it’s funny because we hear so often, or we’ve heard in recent years that Imran Khan was the favorite son of the military, and he became prime minister because of the military support. Well, when he was first starting out, he was actually opposed to military rule in a big way but then what he started to do after civilian rule returned in 2008, he began to focus a lot more on trying to develop a larger base. He did several things. First of all, he really leveraged very adeptly, very strategically, this grievance harbored by a pretty significant voting demographic in Pakistan: that being a conservative, young, middle class, urban group of folks that were repulsed by corruption in the political class and he leveraged that. That had been his big calling card for so long: anti-corruption. So that really helped him become a bigger political figure as we got into the late 2000’s. And then in the 2013 election, he did not win it, but he used the 2013 election to take aim at the government, which he described as incredibly corrupt, and he claimed that it had won the election through fraud. He became a very adept opposition figure by galvanizing large crowds on the streets in major cities, including in Islamabad. That raised his stature even more. Then the final thing that he did, and this is really what allowed him to become prime minister in 2018, is he very slowly cultivated a better relationship with the military. And as you know, in Pakistan, if you’re a civilian politician and you want to attain the highest place in that political class, that of prime minister, you need to be on good terms of the military. So, he improves relations with the military and then you had a situation in the months leading up to the 2018 election where a number of things happened that suggested that the military may have been indirectly helping Imran Khan to win election. For instance, you had a number of arrests of members of the Pakistan Muslim League Party, which is at the time of the ruling party against Imran Khan. You had TV channels that suddenly went off the air, TV channels that were airing coverage of candidates opposed to Imran Khan and things like that. So, Imran Khan won the 2018 election thanks to the mass following that he had but at the same time, many experts, including myself, believe that he was aided by these pre-election engineering efforts by the Pakistani military to put Imran Khan in power. At that time the Pakistani military was very unhappy with the party that had been in power. It had sparred with the military a lot and I think the military saw Imran Khan as that figure that could be a very useful prime minister for the military’s cause, which we can go into.

What did Imran Khan accomplish as Pakistan’s prime minister?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:10:39] Yeah. So having become prime minister in 2018 with, as you said, the support of the military and a degree of popular support as well. How did he rule? What were characteristics of his time as prime minister?

Michael Kugelman [00:10:58] So he came in with very lofty goals and very high ambitions. Again, he was projecting himself as this populist maverick outsider that wanted to do big and better things. So, he made all kinds of promises that there was no way he could keep. So, he talked about wanting to create this new Islamic welfare state in Pakistan that would involve huge increases in social welfare spending to help the poor. Pakistan’s economy didn’t allow that quite frankly. He also vowed to get rid of all corruption within the political class within 90 days of taking office. That wasn’t going to happen either, given the structural presence of corruption in the political class. But he tried to follow through on those promises. Initially, it became very clear that it wasn’t going to work out. Another thing that stands out from his years in power is that he never really had any consistent, clear, principled positions. He made a lot of U-turns. He promised to do one thing, and he would have reneged on that promise. But I think what stands out the most, and this is what in the end contributed to his downfall, is that he really acted like an opposition figure even when he was prime minister. He really did not reach out across the aisle to work with the opposition. He harassed them. He called them names. He accused them of being frauds and corrupt. You know, he alienated members of his own party for some of the things he did. So, in the end, he wasn’t willing to make the types of compromises and concessions that are necessary in a parliamentary democracy, and particularly for Imran Khan, who was leading what was a rather fractious coalition. I mean, when his party won the election in 2018, it was by a pretty narrow margin, so he didn’t have much of a margin for error. He really had to make concessions and work with the opposition and be more accommodationist, but he wasn’t. And that’s really what stands out in retrospect about his nearly four years in power.

Why did Imran Khan lose the support of Pakistan’s military?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:12:53] And presumably, at some point, he must have fallen out of favor with the military and the security services, right?

Michael Kugelman [00:13:01] Yeah, that’s correct. So indeed, for the first few years that he was in power, he did have quite good relations with the military from the Army chief on down. And, you know, it’s striking many an analyst, including me, soon after he was elected, questioned whether he would be able to maintain good relations with the military because his personality doesn’t lend itself to working well with the military. He’s stubborn, he’s defiant; he’s got strong views. He does not like to defer to the higher authorities and yet the military wants exactly that. It wants civilian prime ministers to be willing to be malleable and to defer to the Army. But I think for the first few years that he was in power, Imran Khan really wanted to become Prime Minister for so long since he formed his party in 1996 so he was willing to defer. But then things finally changed at a key moment in November of last year when Imran Khan disagreed with the decision of the army chief about who the next spy chief would be, the next chief of Pakistan’s preeminent spy service, the ISI, as it’s known. So that is what finally caused his relationship with the Army chief, General Bajwa, to take a major tumble. Related to that is that the person who had been the spy chief up to that point, a guy named Faiz Hameed, had been a close ally of Imran Khan. They got along very well and the ISI chief in Pakistan is almost as powerful as the army chief. So that ISI chief, who was close to Imran Khan, he moved on to another position, he became a core commander outside of Islamabad. So, Imran Khan, basically, he lost the support of the army chief, and he also lost a key ally in the security establishment who moved on. The opposition capitalized on that knowing that had happened. That’s what prompted the opposition to put together this no confidence vote, justifying it on the fact that Imran Khan had failed to address the economic crisis in Pakistan, which was true to an extent, but really it was what had happened to Khan with the Army chief and with the spy chief. And that really created a situation where I think that the Army chief, perhaps indirectly, but played a role in allowing this no confidence vote to move forward. And of course, it’s a no confidence vote that Imran Khan failed to survive.

How was Imran Khan forced out of power in Pakistan?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:15:16] And then Khan tried some perhaps extra constitutional machinations to cling to power but was unsuccessful. Is that right?

Michael Kugelman [00:15:24] Yeah, that’s correct. It got really crazy in the sense that Imran Khan basically came up with this this argument that the no confidence vote had been put together by the opposition with the collusion of the US government and that the Biden administration was working with the opposition to try to get Khan kicked out of power. So, Khan then said that for that reason the no confidence motion was illegitimate and not credible, and therefore there was no way there could be a vote on it and if there was, you’d be caving to this illegitimate process. So, the Supreme Court weighed in, you know, the opposition obviously objected and brought this case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court said, no, that’s not the case at all. Procedurally, you can’t do that because in Pakistan the constitution says that when a no confidence motion has been introduced in parliament, as it had at this point, you can’t cancel the vote, you have to go through with it. So, the Supreme Court said that Imran Khan had acted unconstitutionally and ordered that the vote take place after all, which it did, and he lost. And at that point he did accept the result.

How did Imran Khan relate to the United States government and foreign policy during his time in power?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:16:35] So I find it interesting and telling that Khan would explicitly cite some sort of American conspiracy to oust him from power as the reason that he lost his premiership. And it’s also interesting, and I noted at the time that, it was the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Khan paid a visit to Moscow to Putin. What do both of those things suggest to you about how he approached relations with the United States?

Michael Kugelman [00:17:10] You know, it’s interesting that Imran Khan actually had fairly good relations with the US until relatively recently.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:17:18] That’s what I thought. That’s why I was kind of surprised about those two things.

Michael Kugelman [00:17:22] Right, I mean, it’s during the last few years of the Trump administration, really the latter part of 2018 leading into 2019-2020 that US-Pakistan relations were in a good place with Khan in power mainly because Donald Trump had really wanted to get out of Afghanistan and he then requested that Imran Khan help bring the Taliban to the table to negotiate with the US government on an agreement. And Imran Khan and Islamabad did that and that resulted in Imran Khan getting invited to the White House. So, you know, it’s easy to forget now, but, almost two years ago, Imran Khan sat there in the Oval Office with Donald Trump. He was seated on Capitol Hill; he had a pretty successful visit here. Things went downhill, though, when the Biden administration came to power. Imran Khan took it very personally that President Biden did not call him, even though there’s no reason to think that Biden would call Imran Khan — Pakistan is an ally of the US but it’s not a close ally. There’s a lot of tensions in the relationship. And then I think also the fact that Pakistan was not invited to participate in this White House climate summit, which was taken as a big snub by Imran Khan, that didn’t go off well. But then, of course, as you know, what really set off the conspiracy allegations was a private exchange that happened reportedly between a senior U.S. State Department official, Donald Lew, and the Pakistani ambassador to the US, in which in which Donald Lew said, according to the reportage, that US-Pakistan relations aren’t in a good place under Imran Khan and that it would perhaps be better for the relationship if Imran Khan does not survive the no confidence vote, which at that time was going to soon be introduced. So, Imran Khan used that comment as evidence that the US was actually planning to get rid of Imran Khan, even though one cannot draw that link but that was the main data point, the prime data point, that Khan pointed to. And indeed, it does reflect how US-Pakistan relations in the Khan era had taken a major turn for the worse.

How will Pakistan’s new prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, engage with the United States?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:19:31] So Shehbaz Sharif, the brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is now the prime minister of Pakistan. What can we expect in terms of bilateral relationships between Pakistan and the United States going forward? I mean, it seems to kind of be at a rocky moment when you have the outgoing prime minister accusing the United States of orchestrating his downfall. What are key elements of Shehbaz Sharif’s policy priorities towards the United States right now and vice versa?

Michael Kugelman [00:20:06] Yeah so certainly one big change in the U.S. Pakistan relationship, which will help, and it’s already happened, is that you’re not going to have this shrill, anti-American rhetoric coming from Islamabad. Imran Khan has always been a sharp critic of U.S. policy. One of the biggest, sharpest Pakistani critics of U.S. policy going back to the drone war. Imran Khan once threatened to shoot down American drones if he were in power. But Shehbaz Sharif, just by nature, his personality, he’s much more subdued. He certainly is not given to sentiment that’s critical of U.S. policy so already that’s changed. I do think that Shehbaz Sharif being in power will provide more space and a better environment for the two governments to explore the possibilities for future partnership but I think that the Sharif government will also be careful, right, because Sharif does not want to play into the very rhetoric of Imran Khan and his supporters that indicate that Sharif is in power only because the US government helped put him there and if Shehbaz Sharif were to very publicly call for better relations with the U.S. and make efforts to improve relations with the U.S. that would give ammunition to Sharif’s critics to Imran Khan and his supporters so that’ll be tricky. Final point on this. The U.S. Pakistan relationship was going to be in a tough spot no matter who was in power in Pakistan, just because of U.S. competition with China, which is such a key component of U.S. foreign policy. That’s a problematic given that Pakistan is closely allied with China so there was only so far that U.S. Pakistan relations could go, given that Pakistan is essentially tied to the hip with the Chinese and then the U.S. India relationship has been growing as well, which is long been problematic for Pakistan. You also have a Biden administration in office that comprises, including Biden himself, many senior officials who had previously been with the Obama administration at a moment when the U.S. Pakistan relationship experienced some of its worst crises ever in 2011- 2012, so I think that there’s still a lot of ill will and mistrust and unhappiness within some many senior figures in the Biden administration that would be hesitant to move closer to Pakistan. So, this is to say that we shouldn’t overstate the changes, much less the improvements that we could see in US-Pakistan relations now that we have a new government.

How might the Pakistan-China relationship change with Shehbaz Sharif in power?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:22:37] So I’m glad you brought up China because that was on my list of questions for you. I mean, you know, it seems the Russian invasion of Ukraine sort of stalled or hit the pause button, it seems, on what was the growing foreign policy focus of the Biden administration, which is to gain allies around the world to counter Chinese influence. And I’m just curious if you can go a little deeper for me, for the audience, into some of the key elements or the key questions that might drive Shehbaz Sharif’s approach to China and vice versa in the coming weeks or months or years. What can we expect? What are some key issues that will be important in that Pakistani Chinese relationship?

Michael Kugelman [00:23:25] Yeah, well, you know, as I said before, China is arguably Pakistan’s closest ally. They’ve been very close for many years, very strong security cooperation and more recently, economic cooperation so you could talk about how we could see some shifts in foreign policy between Sharif and his predecessor, Khan but on China, there’s going to be a lot of continuity. You know, Sharif, like any leader in Pakistan, would value the importance of relations with China and he’s going to want to pick up where Khan left off and that’s to do whatever is necessary to keep the relationship strong. I think in the immediate term, Sharif will perhaps look to Beijing as a potential source of new financial assistance because Pakistan’s economic crisis is just really getting out of control at this point. So, I think we’ll see that. Now it is notable that Beijing had a very good relationship with Shehbaz Sharif’s political party and that’s because Shehbaz Sharif’s brother Nawaz Sharif was prime minister when the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the Pakistan component of the Belt and Road Initiative, was formally launched. And as I understand it, Beijing had liked working with the Sharifs and the Pakistan Muslim League Party because they didn’t ask many questions. They were perfectly happy with how commercial cooperation went with China, whereas Imran Khan was very focused on the issue of transparency and concerned about corruption. And indeed, you actually had some senior leaders in the Imran Khan government that publicly expressed concern about Chinese loans coming from CPEC because of concerns that there was too much money coming in and not enough transparency so that’s pretty significant. I think that suggests that the Chinese perhaps may be relieved to have Imran Khan gone. They would never say this publicly, of course. And if they think there could be opportunities for stepped up partnership with Shehbaz Sharif and his government, but you know, final point on this, one big concern for China for several years has been the security of its nationals in Pakistan. You’ve got many Chinese workers in Pakistan and there have been a number of cases in recent years where there have been terrorist attacks that have targeted Chinese workers, including one just a few weeks ago in Karachi, where several workers at the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi were killed in an attack by a female suicide bomber deployed by separatists by Baluch separatists who have always opposed Chinese investments in Pakistan. So, China is very concerned about that. So, on the issue of it’s of the safety of its workers has been a rare tension point in China-Pakistan relations. That was the case under Khan. It’s certainly going to be the case under Sharif. So even though we could expect relations to perhaps be better between China and Pakistan in the Sharif era, you know, the issue of these terrorist threats to Chinese workers in Pakistan is going to linger. That’s going a notable challenge for the relationship moving forward.

Could Shehbaz Sharif’s transition into power affect Pakistan’s relationship with India?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:26:27] So lastly, how might this change in power in Pakistan impact Pakistan’s relationship with India going forward, if at all? Or could we sort of expect more or less the kind of status quo going forward?

Michael Kugelman [00:26:43] Yeah so both Sharif soon after he took office and also Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, offered positive, conciliatory comments. I mean, Modi essentially congratulated Sharif and then Sharif had said that he wanted to move forward in relations with India. But here, quite frankly, with one exception which I’ll get to in a second, I think that the constraint here is India. I think that New Delhi would see this new government as what’s going to be a short term one. I mean, there are elections scheduled for next summer, in the summer of 2023, suggesting that it’s just going to be over a year, that this government will be in power. And so, would this Modi government want to take the bold political step of extending an olive branch to a government that’s not going to be around for a while? I think that’s a consideration. Secondly, as you know, the Modi government is a Hindu nationalist one that has benefited politically from taking a hard line on Pakistan in recent years and soon after Modi was elected, he made a trip, a surprise trip to Pakistan to meet with Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz’s brother, who was prime minister at the time. Very soon after that, there was a terrible terrorist attack, a deadly terrorist attack in India, which India blames on Pakistani militants that set back relations. So, I just don’t know if the political moment will be right for Modi to be willing to extend a hand to Sharif with the exception, one positive sign we could see is in trade. India, Pakistan trade, there hasn’t been much of it since a major military crisis between India and Pakistan several years ago. Cross-border trade is something that could really be beneficial to Pakistan, especially at a moment when its economy is in a freefall. Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League, one of its key support bases, is the business community in the province of Punjab, which borders India. So, I do think that there could be political incentives for Shehbaz Sharif to try to push for some type of dialogue with India to allow there to be a reopening of at least some cross-border trade with India. So that’s one area of low hanging fruit that I think we could look to as a potential way to move the needle forward just a bit on India-Pakistan relations. But otherwise, I think that we’ll see this relationship continue to be in this cold peace type status that it’s been in for the last few years.

Will Imran Khan attempt to regain power in the next Pakistani elections?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:29:06] So 2023 are the next elections. Do you expect Khan to put up a fight again or do you think he’s been sort of resigned to the political wilderness? What would you expect in 2023 with Khan and Sharif?

Michael Kugelman [00:29:22] Now Khan is definitely not going to disappear quietly into the night. That would not be his brand of politics. That would not be his personality. He is going to happily settle back into his role on political opposition, which of course is the role he had played for many years. He has maintained this narrative that the current government is a bunch of traitors that colluded with the US to oust him. He has mobilized huge numbers of people, huge number of supporters in recent weeks to come out on the streets in protest the current government. He has vowed to lead a march on Islamabad later this month. So, he’s not going away. He’s going to keep the pressure up on the government and he is very much going to be in the game when it comes to the next election, which is scheduled for the summer of 2023 but who knows if it doesn’t come sooner? You know, if this current government struggles to deal with the economic crisis, then it will become more politically vulnerable because the Pakistani public will redirect its anger away from Imran Khan and his inability to fix the economy over to Shehbaz Sharif. So yeah, Imran Khan is going to be continuing to be a big player. The fact that his relationship with the military has suffered may make it a bit more difficult for him as we get to the next election, but I certainly think there is a very good chance that that he could be back and could even be reelected and could become the prime minister again in 2023. A lot depends, of course, on what happens over the next eight to 10 to 12 months.

How is the Pakistan and India heat wave affecting people and politics?

Mark L. Goldberg [00:30:47] Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you briefly about this just incredible heat wave that is gripping Pakistan and India at the moment. I mean the reports about temperatures, I’m seeing are unprecedented for this time of year. Is there something, you know, that we perhaps in the West who are listening to this right now aren’t appreciating or understanding? Or can you give us some sense of just how bad is this heat wave right now in the region?

Michael Kugelman [00:31:14] It definitely is a huge issue for several reasons. One is just the sheer intensity of the heat and we’re talking about the highs in some areas of the region as high as 120 degrees. And this is a region where very few people have access to air conditioning. So, this has implications for public health. It also has implications for food security, because some of the biggest agricultural breadbasket areas of Pakistan and India actually happen to be in some of the most heat prone areas, including northern India. So, it’s a mess. Secondly, I think what this heat wave does is it sort of serves as a wakeup call for those that aren’t aware of this, that South Asia and specifically India and Pakistan are some of the most climate change vulnerable countries in the world. And in that sense, what we’re seeing now with this heat is exactly what climate specialists have long predicted for India and Pakistan and unfortunately, I think it’s a sign of what’s to come. There’s going to be more there’s going to be more heat waves like this. And I think what that then amplifies is that climate change and its effects, these are inevitable, irreversible problems, challenges for India and for Pakistan that I think in due course will dwarf the types of political challenges that you and I have been discussing earlier. Even issues like terrorism and things like that. These are going to become the big issues. And they’re shared challenges, of course, by Pakistan and India. So, you know, if you want to be optimistic, if there’s one thing that we could look to that could perhaps bring these two rival nuclear states together, it would be their recognition that they’re soon going to face existential threats posed by a shared threat, that being climate change. I may be too idealistic there, but I’d like to hope that in the years ahead, maybe that’s something that could provide the incentives to get these two countries to work more closely together to combat this, the climate change effect.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:33:08] Well, Michael, as always, thank you. This was great.

Michael Kugelman [00:33:11] Thank you. Always a pleasure to talk with you.

Mark L. Goldberg [00:33:15] All right. Thank you all for listening. Thank you to Michael Kugelman, as always. And thank you to Michael for humoring me with that last question. That was not part of the plan, but I figure I needed to ask him about that unprecedented heat wave, and I really appreciated his answer. All right. We’ll see you next time. Thanks, bye!