By Kevin A. Stoda
Just after President Bush’s envoy John Negroponte left his five-hour talk with General Pervaiz Musharrif this weekend, newspapers in the region were rife with new information provided by U.S. officials that the U.S. is increasing the number of American military advisors in the regions of Pakistan, where fighting is heaviest among Musharrif’s forces, local tribesman, Al-Quaeda, Al-Quaeda allies, the Taliban on the border with Afghanistan.
It has simultaneously been emphasized in this and other reports that the United States has certainly also been increasingly aiding Pakistan in protecting its nuclear arms industry increasingly in the years since 9-11.
This was all being revealed as many person were killed in battles amongst Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the northwest part of Pakistan.
Finally, a few days later, once again Musharrif’s military and security arrested hundreds of protesting journalists.
Negroponte, who had led America’s effort to promote unpopular governments in Central America in the 1980s, had been sent by the White House ostensibly to tell Musharrif to retire from the military and to end the state of siege in his country in order to hold fair national elections in January. However, Negroponte left the Mussharrif meeting without even slapping the wrist of the Pakistani strongman, who had seized power illegally in 2000.
CAMBODIA SHADOW OVER U.S. TROOP INCREASE IN PAKISTAN
Supposedly the CIA and American national security agencies have had a stronger presence in Pakistan in recent years than has the U.S. military.
This is partially because the local Pakistani populace generally sees heavy U.S. military presence there as a quasi-American-colonialization of the Pakistani status quo.
So, in the years after 2001, when the allies or the USA had already entered Afghanistan via Pakistan and other neighboring states, the U.S. military presence had been decreased greatly. Currently, there are reported to be only about 50 U.S. military personnel in the country.
International Herald Tribune reporter, Carlotta Gall, writes, “Altogether, the broader strategy is being accelerated because of concern about the instability in Pakistan and the weakness of the Musharraf government, as well as fears of extremist with safe havens in the tribal areas could escalate their attacks on allied troops in Afghanistan.”
It is also noteworthy that the U.S. has already sent about 11 billion dollars to Pakistan since 9-11 to help in the so-called war against terror. However, Pakistan military under strongman Musharrif to date has had little success.
As the war on terror is appearing more and more to be the George W. Bush administration’s version of the Vietnam War, one is tempted to say that the increase in U.S. activity parallels the U.S. in the Vietnam-era in Cambodia and Laos. At that time, in the 1960s and 1970s, in order to increase pressure on Northern Vietnamese forces using the so-called Ho Chi Minh trail, the United States focused on neighboring countries.
The “Cambodiazation” of the Vietnam was the last big expansion of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia in the 1970s.
Therefore, it is responsible to begin wondering whether the expansion of the war in Pakistan will bode equally adversely on South Asia. In short, the Khmer Rouge took over in Cambodia a few years after the U.S. began to depart Southeast Asia. As well, Laos fell to communist forces that were supported by the North Vietnamese and other communist states.
Ultimately, the “Cambodiazation” of the Vietnam War and the expansion of bombing in Laos eventually led to the greatest American backlash against America’s longest war. That is, the public began to be extremely vocal in demand that the U.S. presence in the Vietnam War and regional civil wars be brought to an end.