Pak Interests Differ from US on Substantive Issues

By Dr. Shireen M Mazari

The Americans cannot understand mainstream Pakistan because they never get beyond the selected few amongst even the elite, the rulers and the civil and military bureaucracies. Ms Clinton never got the real picture on her earlier visit and surely she will not understand the depth of the anti-American sentiment that prevails in Pakistan today, despite (or perhaps because of) the massive inflows of intrusive aid into this country.

We are told she has come with a $500 million aid package and apparently the aid will go into power, agriculture, health and dams also – but as we all know for the Americans there is no such thing as a “free lunch” – and already our country is bleeding because of the alliance with the US so we are going to be bled some more with this aid package which is believed to be part of the old $ 7.5 billion Congressional aid package.

So why is one seeing this as a “bribe”? Simply because it is intended to soften the blow that the US is trying to deal Pakistan in terms of altering what remains of our indigenous foreign policy. So much has also been admitted by the self-styled expert on Pakistan, like many others on Holbrooke’s team, Vali Nasr. In a talk with CNN while he admitted that there was a wide trust gap between Pakistan and the US, besides stating that changing the relationship would take time. But his assessment was that “We are not going to be able to change their foreign policy on a dime.” If he had been a proper expert on Pakistan and actually knew the country well, he would have realised that it is not money that will alter Pakistan’s thinking (leaving aside the fifth columnists) on the US, but actually policy changes in US strategic policy especially in this region.

What are the primary changes the US will need to make to allow Pakistanis to rethink their perceptions of the US?

One, a stop in drone attacks, which can in definitional terms be regarded as state terrorism against the Pakistani people. Let Pakistan talk to its militants – many of whom are Pakistani citizens – rather than demanding our military simply kill the people of FATA indiscriminately.

Two, a new approach to the Pakistan-India relationship and a more even-handed policy towards both states. As long as the Indo-US nuclear agreement remains and the US pressurises Pakistan on its civil nuclear agreements with China, the US will be suspect. Also, the supply of state-of-the-art conventional weapon systems to India with no restrictions on their use, and the highly conditional sale of F-16s to Pakistan also add to the suspicions about the US agenda for Pakistan. And let us not forget the missile defence system for India, which will compel Pakistan to increase the number of its warheads and missiles. On Kashmir also, the recent statement by the US State Department, echoing the Indian position and ignoring the disputed status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir within the UNSC, hardly creates confidence in Pakistan. Many are asking why this is so and what the secret clauses are to this Agreement since the US is desperately seeking access for India through the land route across Pakistan into Afghanistan?

Three, the US has to rid itself of its approach to the Muslim World, especially towards Muslim states that refuse to toe the US line. Its killings of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan; its harassment of Muslims in the US itself all add to the anti-US sentiment. The US analysts are ignorant about the fact that Pakistan has since 1947 been in the frontline of assisting Muslim causes – be it our pilots flying Syrian planes against Israel or the Tunisian and Algerian leadership using Pakistani passports and our embassy in Paris as they struggled for independence from France – to cite a few examples only.

Four, the Guantanamo Bay and Dr Aafia cases are reflections of persecuting Muslims outside the pale of international law.

Five, the media campaigns – that is how they are perceived here – against Pakistan on many fronts do nothing for US interests in this country.

Six, the manner in which US diplomats, covert operatives and private contractors strut about their business in Pakistan, revealing US neoimperialist arrogance, also does not help the US cause.

These changes can bring the US more in line with Pakistan’s foreign policy interests in the region which include sustaining a credible nuclear deterrence, relying more on nuclear energy for our energy shortfalls in the long run, building upon our strategic partnership with China, improving relations with Iran – a neighbour with whom we have historic and cultural linkages and no dispute – and furthering our Muslim identity through strengthening the Ummah, and most critically moving India into conflict resolution of the core issue of Kashmir in accordance with UNSC resolutions. Can the US deliver on any of these goals? So far the answer remains in the negative.

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One Response to Pak Interests Differ from US on Substantive Issues

  1. mahboob a. khawaja says:

    Global Shame:
    Can the Aggressors be Peacemakers?

    Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.

    Wars are planned and orchestrated by the few, the privileged ruling elite, the humanity becomes the targeted victims of the few for global hegemonic governance. Throughout the ages, the conscientious mankind searched for ways to undo the war and strive for peace, the real aim for the establishments of international institutions. But now the global institutional capacity to deal with peace and conflict management appears in ruin with the continued onslaught of the American led so called War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like the failed League of Nations, the UNO is an umbrella institution for debate and time consuming dialogue – a new nuisance model of the 21st century institutional failure. Most UN funding is covered by I.O.U. paper notes by the leading powers. They decide and control what the UN can and should do, not the UN itself. It is a dummy and silent spectator organization witnessing all the global catastrophic disasters in progress. A global puppet show to deceive the humanity with visual illusions of intentions, discussions, complemented by lies and deceptions assuming new titles for the international politics. Bush and Blair have been replaced by Obama and Cameron to overtake the wars of aggressions in Iraq and Afghanistan. With changed faces, strategies and aims remain the same to continue the war against Islam. Today, there was an allied global conference in Kabul to talk about its reconstruction and future. The question is, why was Afghanistan invaded and destroyed?

    Realizing the eminent defeats by the handful forces of Talaban, the allies are gathered to make their presence known for propaganda purposes to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan and global audience. Talaban fighting the intruders are not the foreigners but people of the land. The US, British and others paid agents are foreigner mercenaries fighting in a foreign land, culturally unknown and unconquerable by their armed forces. Piety and peacemaking vis-à-vis aggression and wickedness cannot be combined as credible attributes in one mindset and one character. Now, the issue is, how conveniently, the aggressors want to redefine their strategic role and ambitions in Afghanistan as peacemakers as if they have achieved the goals of their aggression. Imagine, Adolph Hitler while occupying France and continuing bombing of London, wanted to organize a peace conference. Would it have been a logical discourse for the French and British people to talk peacemaking with the aggressor? Bush and Hitler had lot in common as both claimed to have the divine support for their mission. Both tried to destroy the living humanity but fell in disgrace and met defeats.

    A week earlier, Talaban while talking to the BBC reporter in Kabul, made it clear that they believe in peacemaking but all the foreign forces must leave Afghanistan. The same logic that French and British politicians would have implied to Hitler. Could the facts of human life be changed, be it Iraq, Afghanistan or the occurrences of the 2nd World War?

    The “war on terror” was a bogus war planned by the US neoconservatives to occupy Iraq and other oil rich Muslim countries for their strategic goals. Both the US and its allies failed miserably to conquer the people of these lands. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan need change for peace and normalcy. The change can only happen if the US led occupying forces leave immediately and compensate the victim nations for the war damages. The same formula used at the end of the WW2. The same legal principle is needed that the aggressors be brought to legal and political accountability in an international war tribunal such as Nuremberg tribunal after the end of the WW2. E. H Carr, the famous historian, had emphasized that history has learning role for the future. Those who defy the logic of learning were lost without a trace.

    Would the aggressors tell the humanity, when would they end the aggression? And when would their armed forces finally leave Iraq and Afghanistan? So that the victims could think openly and plan for change and peaceful transfer to making of their own future. This is the issue that the current gathering of the 70 or so nations avoided to discuss. The assembly was not for peacemaking but for prolonging the failing war efforts. The leaders wanted to discuss the developmental aid, a typical western materialistic scenario to help the impoverished nations. The aid gimmick is an attractive illusion to entrap the poor nations and exploit their resources for the good of the colonial masters. The US and Britain survive on borrowed money from the future generations as their own financial institutions have collapsed and so are the political powerhouses and working agencies. But the aid’s long term purpose is to create more beggars and poverty and dependent nations asking for external aid and to survive on borrowed future and resources. The discussion developmental aid and withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan sends a clear signal of defeat and prospective surrender to the Talaban fighting for the freedom of their homeland.

    Future must be anew, not the repetition of the past. Future making does not lie with the aggressors nor with the failed international institutions, it is with the will and resolve of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan to oust the aggressors and recover their homes and habitats for rebuilding their lives and human dignity. The US led forces went to Iraq and Afghanistan in pursuit of freedom, liberty and justice for the people. Instead they planned and developed the institutions of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Belgrham prison in Afghanistan. Facts speak for themselves. All you need to do is to see the outcomes, the triumphs of the American version of liberty, human rights and justice role models, the inhuman treatment and horrifying photos of the prisoners are easily available from the internet, and the photos speak their own language depicting the American-British civilized achievements in the Arab-Islamic world. Mr. Karzai, the self-made president of Afghanistan, claimed that he and the participating members of the Arab-Islamic world represent the Islamic version of the civility and not terrorism. Mr. Karzai or others in attendance, the Arab-Muslim staged actors do not represent the interest and priorities of the Muslim Ummah. The people of the Islamic world see them all as a pan on the global political chessboard being financed, supported and kept in office to steal the future of the people of Afghanistan and the Muslim world. He is viewed as part of the problem, not part of any workable solution. If the US and its comrades in arms the UNO, NATO and others were honest and responsible institutions, they should have outlined the priorities for immediate withdrawals of the forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. More importantly, if there are concerned Arab-Muslim leaders, they should set the agenda for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli problem, the making of an independent State of Palestine and the removal of the illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. Apparently, there is no conference scheduled to deal with the real issues facing the global humanity. The states, the main puppet actors in the global political arena can be found existing on legal papers, not in the real world actions, and certainly not in a responsive manner to the concerned international community.

    The abstract phenomenon of state- the sitting members of the UNO, lack any human conscience to be accountable to the global humanity already in great distress and sufferings. The UNO, the US and other intransigent state actors feel no shame for their atrocities against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, the US forces have massacred more than three million innocent civilians and millions displaced or forced to become refugees in foreign lands. Afghan landscape tells its own story with million uprooted from ancestral homes and forced to go to foreign countries in search of protection and human survival. The aggressors do not wish to see the problem, that they are the real problem, not otherwise. Sooner they leave Iraq and Afghanistan, the better. The ancient and civilized people of Iraq and Afghanistan know it well what is peacemaking and who are the aggressors. The aggressors appear desperate to quit and the Kabul conference seems to explain that urgent necessity but intellectually confused, morally corrupt and militarily exhausted, and not sure how best to get out of the terrible mess they have created for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and the whole of the humanity in turmoil.

    A century earlier C.E, M. Joad (Guide to Modern Wickedness), captioned the human tragedy in these words:

    “….Human nature is at least in part wicked and in part foolish, how can human beings be prevented from suffering from the results of their wickedness and folly? ….Men simply do not see that war is foolish and useless and wicked. They think on occasion that it is necessary and wise and honourable, for war is not the work of bad men knowing themselves to be wrong, but of good men passionately convinced that they are right.”

    (Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: “Muslims and the West: Quest for Change and Conflict Resolution”, University Press of America; How America Lost the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and Mujahideen Won; To America and Canada with Reason, VDM Publishers, 2009; “President Obama – War is War, Not Peace”, 2009; and “Is President Obama Remaking America?” Comments are welcome at: kmahboob@yahoo.com)

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