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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/24/09

No More Politics On War Please

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Rulers of Pakistan will never hesitate to kill the whole people of their country if they were asked by their masters sitting in Washington. The present US administration headed by Barack Obama has been chosen by the Americans for bringing peace to the world, but at the moment things are going the wrong way. There will be no denying that army operation was the need of hour, but now it must be stopped as only innocent people including women and children are being targetted. The army cannot win this war as the terrorists have been strengthening their positions with each passing day. Force can be used for a while, but it is not permanent solution.

US rulers in the past have played the role in creation of holy warriors in Pakistan as she was needing their service for making destruction in various parts of the world. The United States can rightly be held responsible for the killing of millions of people around the world. Now this is an open secret that al-Qaeda has been created in the United States. The US has asked Pakistani government to give base to al-Qaeda in the country. Most of the rulers of Pakistan are corrupt so they always facilitated the evil forces for using their soil for negative activities in the world.

Now the US administration should set a deadline for Pakistani rulers to complete the army operation. The army has been conducting operation in Bajaur Agency for the last 10 months. Half of Bajaur Agency has been bulldozed, but it is still unclear when the operation will be stopped. It is interesting to note that most of top Taliban leaders are still active. They have been issuing statements in the newspapers and giving sermons on FM radio. There is still confusion in Pakistan policy about terrorism.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made a speech at an American think tank, complaining of incoherence in Washington's policy towards Pakistan. This has elicited one-sided comment in Pakistan. The point raised by Ms Clinton pertained to America's traditional "no friendship or enmity is permanent" foreign policy shibboleth which also underpins its "cut and run" practice in military operations abroad. She appealed for more coherence of policy towards Pakistan, indicating the seriousness of President Obama's policy approach to Pakistan.

The comment in Pakistan, correctly arrived at, ran along familiar lines, but needs to be balanced for the sake of Pakistan's own correctness of vision. One comment went as follows: "Pakistan and the United States have ostensibly been allies since the early days of the Cold War. America has pumped billions into this country in the form of cash and weapons and we, in turn, have readily done its bidding, most notably during the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The US also bankrolled the Musharraf regime in the years following 9/11, a time marked by impressive economic 'growth' and a skin-deep sense of prosperity."

While not quarrelling with the above assessment, one can add some insights for the sake of balance and as guidelines to any future policy planning in Pakistan. It is unwise to describe the Cold War equation between the US and Pakistan as the former "pumping in money" and the latter "doing its bidding". Pakistan went into a relationship with the US with pragmatism, unlike what most critics think. It was pitted against India and had had its first war with it the year it was born. In the Cold War, which had just begun, India had clearly chosen not to side with the US against the Soviet Union.

Many people favour the "left wing" analysis of how unfairly Pakistan's first prime minister, Mr Liaquat Ali Khan, went to the US on a state visit when he should have gone to the USSR. But if you look at the fruits of this relationship in the ensuing years of the Cold War, it was a good foreign policy decision, if foreign policy is to be based on the self-interest of the state and not on passions. Pakistan was nurturing a nationalism based on a fear of India, whereas America was nurturing a nationalism based on fear of the USSR. The bilateral equation was carried forward on a complex reconciliation of these two fears. Pakistan did not do America's bidding blindly; it relentlessly pursued its India-centred objectives. It is another matter whether this was a wise long-term objective or not.

The basis of the relationship was not in any values. Pakistan, as the politically unstable revisionist state veered to military rule and Islamisation. At the best of times, American think tanks and Congress voiced opinions highly critical of Pakistan - which Pakistani politicians at times take as "official" opinion - but Cold War exigencies prevailed over principle. When the USSR sent its army into Afghanistan, the process of US-Pakistan mutual disenchantment was at its peak. Pakistan was broke after the Bhutto interregnum of democracy and General Zia-ul Haq saw his patrons in the Middle East spoiling for a jihad that would rain dollars on Pakistan. He went into Afghanistan because of a "confluence" of policy with the US. And he got big money for it too.

One can't fault General Zia for this "realistic" decision. And in the end he hardly did "America's bidding". What Pakistan got out of it was its nuclear bomb, hardly a result of the supineness that policy critics often bemoan. In fact if you look closely, it is Pakistan which appears to be "milking" the US constantly. General Pervez Musharraf did the same sort of thing to the US. There was no money in the kitty after a decade of unstable democracy; and the dollars poured in when he joined the war on terror but drew a line when asked to send troops to Iraq in 2003.

The US-Pakistan relationship has endured because both have needed each other. There is hardly any incoherence in that. There have been vicissitudes in it because one has global worries to take care of, and the other is regionally obsessed with India. Without reference to the US, it is for Pakistan to meditate over its single-item foreign policy: can it go on risking its survival by following an uncreative and imitative approach to its big neighbour, India.


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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur District, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is (more...)

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