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An Ill-Timed, Ill-Advised Provocation Against an Ally; and a Nuclear Power

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The rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has now boiled over into Pakistan, our supposed ally, as the U.S./NATO coalition carried out a provocative military action that has the potential to destabilize the Pakistani government and the entire region. It was made very clear that borders of sovereign nations are no longer relevant and can be violated at will by the coalition forces.

Tensions are running very high after the Pakistani government, on September 30, gave orders to close the major supply route for transporting U.S. and NATO supplies from the port of Karachi, though the Khyber Pass and across Pakistan into Afghanistan. This closing was retaliation for the attack by US helicopters that crossed into Pakistan and killed three of its military near the border. Since then, militants have, on three occasions, set fire to numerous coalition supply trucks, an ominous sign of events that may follow.

As dangerous as this is, it's not entirely new; reports indicate that this attack was the fourth by U.S. helicopters in recent weeks. Also, there have been continuous attacks by U.S. pilotless drones on targets in Waziristan, located in the northwest region of Pakistan, that have killed numerous civilians. While the drone attacks have been tacitly approved by the Pakistani government they also have been the subject of great debate and disagreement as its people are fearful of what kind of escalation might follow. They know full well the aggressive track record of the Western coalition.

The coalition has other supply routes but they are far more difficult and costly to utilize. The Pakistani government will, no doubt, wait a few days and then reopen the supply route after issuing a stern warning, but what will follow is anybody's guess. It appears to be just one more planned step by the coalition in the expansion of the Afghanistan war, one which could escalate the current scenario into something that may be impossible to control.

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At the risk of being repetitious, I will once again state that this entire Afghan/Pakistan war is not being waged because of the pursuit of Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists because they are a direct threat to America as so many people have been led to believe. It's common knowledge that terrorists can strike from Europe or any number of other nations. This is just another contrived reason straight out of the same handbook that was used to convince the majority of Americans that Saddam Hussein was preparing weapons of mass destruction for an attack on the U.S.

In reality, it is a very ambitious, aggressive plan to establish a permanent presence in Central Asia in order to control precious natural resources, quite obviously OIL. That's why the U.S. military leaders have repeatedly told the media that our military intends to be in that region for the long haul; that they have no intention of withdrawing no matter what President Obama says.

However, things may have gone too far with the aggressive push into this sovereign nation. The people of Pakistan have watched the encroachment into their country with fear, apprehension and outrage. While the government of Pakistan still considers the U.S. an ally, that partnership may be changing because many of the Pakistani generals are now strenuously objecting to these heavy-handed tactics.

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This could not be a worse time for another escalation by coalition forces. Monsoon floods hit Pakistan in July, creating great suffering and havoc. At least 20 million people have been directly affected and nearly 4 million are homeless. Is this the way to treat an ally? If Pakistan becomes destabilized, because of the floods and attacks by the coalition, and if the government falls, the Pakistani military will most assuredly step in and take over control of the country.

India, Pakistan's mortal enemy over many decades, and another regional nuclear power, could seize the opportunity to launch an attack to take over Kashmir, the region that is currently divided between India, Pakistan and China, and the primary reason for on-going tensions and threats between India and Pakistan.

While military tensions rise in that region of Central Asia, Israel keeps beating the drums for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and has attempted to get both the U.S. approval and participation. While we know that Mr. Obama is very inexperienced in foreign policy and military matters, he had better have the wisdom to resist any effort by Israel to pressure him into assisting with an attack on Iran. Conducting three major military actions at the same time would be a disaster for America.

If these military actions continue, that region could erupt into a widespread war, involving powerful nations of the Middle East and Central Asia. Pakistan is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the northeast; Russia is not that far distant. These nations have vital interests in the region and, at some point, one of them might lose all patience and decide that the actions of the U.S. and NATO can no longer be tolerated. The coalition seems to be oblivious to the potential firestorm that it could ignite if it continues to launch attacks in Pakistan.

At some point, and very soon, President Obama must understand that this region must not be destabilized and that he can no longer allow the military that he commands to continue on its present course. He must put the brakes on the military and issue orders that its forces immediately vacate the nation of Pakistan, withdrawing back to Afghanistan.

Given the fact that Pakistan has a population of more than 170 million and a substantial nuclear arsenal, the probability that this scenario could explode into a war like no other in history grows greater every day. If there ever was a time when cooler heads must prevail, that time is now.

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Michael Payne


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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