NOTES FROM A SOCIAL SCIENTIST
By Dr. Haider Mehdi
An important introductory note: This article is a policy analysis document dealing with the US and its allies’ “New World Order” strategic geo-political doctrine. Islamabad would be well-advised to carefully shift its global diplomatic discourse in view of forthcoming international political events and changes that might offer this nation a leading conciliatory role in the Islamic world. But, first and foremost, is the need for the Pakistani foreign policy establishment to fully understand the operating dynamics of the essential factors that will determine the course of US foreign policy in President Obama’s remaining term of office. This writing is essentially an attempt in that direction.
“President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia on (last) Saturday came with a decision to dramatically expand America’s covert programme to assist the Free Syria Army – it remains to be determined what type of weapons will be transferred or whether Washington will accept that Riyadh hand over shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (to rebels),” reports the press in the Arabian Gulf.
Political observers in Pakistan are speculating that since Riyadh made a massive grant of $3 billion recently to Nawaz Sharif’s government, it might press, and even secretly demand, that the Pakistani government provide the surface-to-air missiles to FSA via Jordan. Indeed, this speculation is not without merit given the history of Pakistan’s diplomatic-military engagements in the Middle East and elsewhere in the past.
Incidentally, the international media has reported that John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, has told the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, that Pakistan’s army is producing more missiles than it needs. Islamabad has to be careful to read in between the lines as to what message is being precisely conveyed. Political analysts in Pakistan, fearful of US soft diplomacy, see an intriguing intervention with the purpose of creating a rift between civil-military leadership in this country, as well as making a case for the transfer of surface-to-air missiles on an urgent basis if Riyadh makes such a demand.
“Kabul has recently seen a continued string of complex attacks, behind which were foreign intelligence agencies,” Karzai told US Secretary of State John Kerry by phone on Saturday night. Take an educated guess of what is being said and who is being blamed for exporting, supporting terrorism and opposing the Afghan peace process. Your guess is as good as mine.
Writing on the issue of Russia’s legitimate annexation of Crimea, Tariq Ali commented in a recent article: “Rape, torture, homeless refugees and tens of thousands of dead was the fate of the Chechens. No problem here for Washington and its EU allies. In the calculus of western interests… Chechens, Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis are of little importance. Nonetheless, the contrast between the West’s attitude to the Chechen war and Crimea is startling.”
Graham Greene, the world-famous British novelist, in his 1965 novel “The Ugly American,” recounts the tale of covert US intervention and politically motivated intrigues in Vietnam in preparation for the American military invasion (the novel’s events are more realistic than fiction). It is to be noted that the US history of destabilizing foreign countries in Latin and South America stretches back over decades and the Musaddeq democratic regime in Iran was overthrown as far back as 1954.
In over 100 military and destabilization political campaigns and covert interventions in several countries, the US has maintained that its legitimacy comes from “Manifest Destiny” – God given “exceptionalism.” Another concept evoked to legitimize US foreign political-military interventions is Morganthau’s “National Self-Interest” doctrine. Since the end of the Second World War, the Americans have added the strategic notion of “National Security” in its political arsenal of intervening in the affairs of foreign nations. And recently the US claims that “preemptive” military strikes against foreign countries are justified on the basis of “human rights” violations and promoting democracies in foreign lands.
Anyone anywhere will have to be a perfect “US apologist” to admit the complete legitimacy of the American claims and its foreign intervention doctrines. But in a world that is less-than-perfect containing vested interests leaderships (mostly in the Third World), the US keeps getting away with its belligerent, inhumane and needless political military incursions by manipulative tactics. These days, the US strategic focus is to exploit the sectarian divide and religious sentiments and to promote indigenous political, ethnic and gender conflict as a foreign-policy doctrine to further its geo-political interests.
The fact of the matter is that ugly Americans are back again with their secretive, coercive, covert and combative plans to advance the US-West’s agenda of global military-political domination. The present international political system is under severe threat of further destabilization by the US and its EU allies’ “New World Order” strategic doctrine (break the Third World up into small countries). Indeed, Pakistan will be affected in many ways – unless we prepare ourselves to deal with the consequences of the new US push towards a world subjected to its command and control, and plan how to manage a constructive counter-action strategy for “Real Politik” engagement.
In Islamabad, the most important notion to absolutely comprehend is that every American President in the middle of his second term starts carefully contemplating the historical legacy of his presidency: what will future historians, political analysts and academics say and write about his political accomplishments, leadership capabilities, domestic economic achievements and, above all, the successes or failures in his foreign policy initiatives.
Barack Obama is no exception to this rule; he wants historical immortality in the annals of American history. Consequently, Obama does not want to leave office with another American war in the heart of Europe. Here is what Obama said that he willnot do over the Crimea crisis: “We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine.” In Obama’s recent meeting with the Saudi monarch, “Obama confided that he would insist (on) securing an iron clad accord with Iran.” For Obama, peace negotiations and an agreement with Iran is the centerpiece of his diplomatic legacy; he will not abandon it at any cost. So far Obama has not directly intervened in the Syrian conflict for fear of being castigated in the future for his military policy (though it might change now because of Putin’s challenge to US-Nato over Crimea). Obama has already failed in keeping his presidential campaign promises of creating a fundamental “change” in America and he has not closed down “Guantanamo Bay” prison, and so on and so forth. The outgoing American President cannot afford any new political or military adventures. Obama is now dependent on foreign goodwill for his historical legacy.
And herein lies opportunities for Pakistan: Islamabad should not give military assistance or military equipment to SFA no matter how much pressure is applied. Islamabad should send a special emissary to Tehran to assure it of its lasting friendship and start renegotiations on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline – no matter how much it displeases the Americans. Pakistan should assist the Afghan Taliban’s integration in their country’s mainstream political process – no matter how much the US opposes it. Islamabad should not attack its own citizens no matter how much the US insists on it.
And above all, Islamabad should take a leading role in the political reconciliation process in the Islamic world – no matter how many obstacles are put in its way.
And Islamabad should tell John Kerry it is none of his business how many missiles are produced by the Pakistani army.
Let us hold the bull by its horns!