The post Second World War scenario brought America to the centre of the world after their long self imposed isolation soon after the First World War in the 1920s’ and their Economic depression of the 1930s’. Their first love was obviously to help Europe rebuild itself after the German onslaught and in return the Europeans, as they are very astute, passed their illegimate child (Israel) with all their troubles to America in gratitude. The baby was passed from its mother’s womb (UK’s Balfour Declaration) to its foster father the USA and the European suckling of the caesarian child continued till the Suez crisis of the 1950s’.After that debacle and the Nationalization of the Suez Canal by Gammal Nasser’s Egypt, America took complete control of this new born child in the heartland of the Muslim world. The Americans did not stop at that only and soon introduced the outlines of the Baghdad Pact to rope in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan into this arrangement to neutralize the Israeli regional environment thus providing security and stability to this newly implanted country. The Baghdad Pact later on became CENTO (Central Treaty Organization) a pre-cursor to the present Central Command (CENTCOM)
His Majesty Government (UK) was instrumental in giving America this new role as it had exhausted its already depleted resources in the Middle-East and Asia-Pacific in the Second World War. Their last of the Sea Lords’ in the Asia-Pacific Region, Mr. Mountbatten along with his British Flotilla was handed over to the American Commander after this blue blooded British Admiral handed over his Command to take up the mantel of the last Viceroy of India. The WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) embrace of the UK-USA was thus very tightly held through all these years in our Asian Continent. All the pacts of the 1950s’ namely CENTO, SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization) and ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States) had a common factor of the two WASP players i.e. UK and USA.
Americanization of Asia was in full swing. The Japanese had handed over the Okinawa Island to the American Fleet and the US Air Force had built-up its Overseas Strategic & Tactical Commands there. The largest Clarke Air Force Base was built in the Philippines and a very large military presence along with their supportive Rest & Recreation facilities (Casinos, Brothel Houses, Drug Mafias etc, etc) was made available in Thailand for the pleasure of the men in US uniform. The centuries old Asian culture from Japan to the Middle-East was being decimated under the foot of the US military and the American taxpayers were being led to a blind alley. The American military might under the Asia-Pacific Command consisting of hundreds of ships, sub-marines and aircraft was spread over from the shores of Australia to the Indian sub-continent on the Eastern Asian Hemisphere, whereas; equally impressive military outfit covered the Western Asian Hemisphere starting from Pakistan onwards under the CENTCOM.With all this free show of American military might in Asia, the American public were in a rude shock after the first pictures of the Vietnam War atrocities of their military were being splashed in the bedrooms of Middle-Class American Voters back home. Within no time the American public pressure was built-up especially from their universities and the young draftees with the result that the US President had to abandon the Vietnam War and bring its sons and daughters home.
Throughout this period, Pakistan was considered the most allied ally of America in Asia. We had formally joined the CENTO and SEATO pacts and had become its most active member. Our neighbor India along with China, Indonesia and Egypt had established the Non Aligned Pact in Bandung, Indonesia. The irony of fate brought the then Vice President of USA Mr. Richard Nixon to attend the first Bandung Conference and when Mr.Sukarno (Indonesian President) introduced Mr. Chou-en-lei (Chinese Premier) to Mr. Nixon he did not shake the extended hand of the Chinese Premier. Mr. Chou-en-lei being a visionary leader proclaimed that the US leader has affronted the Asian tradition by not accepting the extended Chinese hand and so now he would wait for the day when the hpw arm shake would be initiated by the USA. He didn’t have to wait for long, courtesy Pakistan. Nearly twenty years after this incident, Mr. Nixon, by then the US President flew to Beijing and was too keen to extend his long arm to the waiting Mr. Chou-en-lei at the tarmac. China had opened the arrogant eyes of the American leader and never looked back after this historical visit.
Pakistan had played a strategic role in bridging the US-China gap and breaking the Chinese isolation from the Western world. Within twenty five years of this exposure, the Chinese were to become a major global player. Along the way, Pakistan had to pay a very heavy price through its dismemberment and all its pacts (CENTO, SEATO) could not come to its rescue. There can be no meaningful pacts between unequals, this we have learnt at our own peril and now India would like to emulate us by taking our seat. We can only pray for them. In the Americanization of Asia, Pakistan as a country played a dominant role and would now like to wash its dirty linen. Like there are two Americas……..American Public and American Government, there are also two Pakistans……….Independent Minded Pakistani Public and the Sycophantic Pakistani Government. More interaction between the American and Pakistani public may be called for to understand each others ethos. The first initiative has already been taken by the energetic US Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton during her last visit to Pakistan. She may have got some jitters from the strong arguments presented to her by the Pakistani intelligentsia. This dialogue has to be continued at various levels for the Americans to understand the Asian mindset in the 21st Century.
The Europeans have had a field day till the first half of the 20th Century, whereas; Americans enjoyed their strong position from the later half of the last century, especially in the context of Asia. While the European powers colonized Asia the Americans wanted to Americanize them by pushing their own life styles on them. Japan did come out quickly from the morass of the Second World War with American largesse but maintained its conservative social structure much to the chagrin of the Americans. South Koreans owe much of their economic development to US. American policies may have generally fared much better in South East Asia as compared to South and South-West Asia. It appears that in this Western Region their policies are captive to the Israeli interests rather than their own. Add to this already delicate situation has been the latest intrusion of the Indian factor. The challenge to the American policy makers for Western Asia could be to either build their strategies around these two surrogate states (Israel and India) or to make it more holistic and thus encompassing the majority of the countries situated here. These policies would have a direct impact on Pakistan for better or worse. No doubt that this Century belongs to Asia where the American military has been positioning itself since the last 60 years at the cost of trillions of American taxpayers dollars but the civilian side of America (Uncle Sam) has gone amiss due to which the American influence is fast dwindling while other major players are likely to fill this vacuum. Winning over the hearts and minds of Asians would be a better long term strategy rather than their Americanization for short term gains. The ball is in the American court and the region of play is Asia.
Mansoor Malik has been Founding Director General of National University of Science and Technology (NUST) with over 33 year of experience in planning, establishing and managing national level, strategic, high-tech organizations. Versatile with proven skills in promoting technology innovation and commercialization. Through team participation he enjoys challenging the status quo.
Besides being Commandant College of Aeronautical Engineering, he has also been associated with Aeronautical Complex Kamra at senior management level for induction of different weapon systems including F16.