By Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.
President George W. Bush declared in his 2006 State of the Union message that "our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy…….without public debate and without congressional hearings, a segment of the Pentagon and fellow travelers have embraced a doctrine known as the Long War, which projects an "arc of instability" caused by insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia that will last between 50 and 80 years. According to one of its architects, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are just "small wars in the midst of a big one."
(Tom Hayden“Our Government Is Planning to Stay at War for the Next 80 Years-Anyone Got a Problem with That? LA Times, April 1, 2010)
The cruelty of the American led bogus war on terrorism has transformed Pakistan into a beggar nation, solely looking to military and economic aid for all its operations. The military Generals and their by-products – the ruling PPP Zardari and in waiting Muslim League Nawaz Sharif, have infected the body politics of Pakistan with corruption and tyranny, draining out all of the positive thinking and creative energies of the nation for a promising future. They must be held accountable for these crimes against the people of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s much optimized strategic relations with the US at best appears to be “an odd marriage of convenience.” After decade old war against the “Islamic terrorism”, the Bush presidency failed to achieve any known aims – if there were any aims of the unwanted war except to occupy the natural resources and to dominate and secularize the Muslim world with guns and bullets. Bush had no sense of the eventualities of the “war on terrorism.” It was an outcome of sheer madness and hopelessness of the US – a superpower at the time to deal with the crisis of 9/11 terrorist attacks. The US military is entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the strategic indicators point out to only one possible conclusion that the US and its European and other paid allies will negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan to ensure safe exit from the faith-based unconquerable mountainous people of southwest Asia.
Pakistan is much needed for any closure process to take its shape. Its corrupt and naive PPP led government will do all to appease the master. India and Iran are viewed as irrelevant neighbors for any rational strategic approach to conflict management. The US and its allies are defeated parties in the unwanted conflict in Afghanistan. It showed poor sense of strategic analysis how a superpower at the time, jumps into big thinking but does not know where it stands in global moral and political standing of principles. America lives with a history of failed wars across the globe. Sean Underwood (“US-Pakistan Relations Fleeting” 03/29/2010), the Swiss ISN Zurich Security Watch points out that
“The current close relationship between the US and Pakistan is likely to be short-lived, as Washington treats Islamabad as a fair-weather friend and no real strategy exists to seal a concrete deal.”
President Bush envisioned a century long crusade against the Muslim world but ended up bankrupting America leading to the collapse of its financial institutions which supported the madness of warmongering and as a superpower transformed into being a broken superpower for all purposes. Even the European allies do not take the US seriously in global consultancy and advisory for their strategic future. Perhaps, the European had their own lesson learnt from the dictates of history after killing millions and millions in support of the nationalism for the two WW and leaving history to judge them as naïve and egoistic people only suitable for killing each other for racial supremacy. The global world of politics is full of the tyranny and corruption of wars. Tyranny and corruption of wars knows no bound. America’s survival depends on continued conflicts and its military engagements throughout the world. Chris Floyd (“Darkness Renewed: Terror as Tool of the Empire: ICH, 04/2009) explains the reality of the US corruption:
…”and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan – the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people – your family, your friends, your lovers, you – in order to further their geopolitical ambitions.”
Wars are marked on the global chessboard. The Obama administration is continuing the Bush policy of war engagements against the Muslims across the globe. The scenario and acts are derived from the preconceived notion of strategic engagement to attack the splinter groups of Talaban in Afghanistan and Pakistan and provoke a challenge to be responded with full fledge military response as justification for the US led war efforts in southwest Asia. Chris Floyd looks beyond the obvious:
“In [a Los Angeles Times] article by military analyst William Arkin… [comes] the revelation of Rumsfeld's plan to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception." According to a classified document prepared for [Donald] Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization – the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" – will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.”
Pakistanis find themselves in living hell that Saeed Qureshi, a reputable international journalist describes it “Kiamat- Doomsday of Pakistan (April 11, 2010). The national interest of Pakistan is not the focal point for any strategic dialogue with the US but to further the interest of the most corrupt ruling elite enjoying high standards of living in a nation deprived of basic human needs and aspirations for its survival. Military aid will strengthen the military, not the humanitarian sustainability of the common folks. Foreign aids do not help to develop a nation’s capacity for change and growth. The aid phenomenon simply creates a culture of long term systematic beggary assistance to the recipient nations.
Economically and militarily interdependent Pakistan is preoccupied with its domestic instability, lack of political institutions and corrupt leadership holding the political powerhouse with the help of foreign masters and military establishments. The so called political leadership is transitory and its survival even in short terms is questionable. The Generals enjoy little credibility in collaborating with the PPP Zardari government known as thugs and indicted criminals by Pakistani NAB courts and Swiss legal justice for money laundering cases. They do need some kind of umbrella protection to carry on the business of killing their own civilian population under the guise of “terrorism” as the US alleges and wanted them to put up the act.
The strategic alliance has dual meaning and purposes. By providing military hardware to Pakistanis, they will continue the proxy war against the suspected militants and the Talaban groups in particular, in tribal belt areas of south and north Waziristan. You will recall, during the decade old war, the US could not grab any known figures of Al-Qada or Talabans to gain strategic credibility of a worthwhile cause in that part of the world. The US never wanted to capture any of those figures either. It was a bogus war aimed at killing and destruction of the habitats of Muslim people in the Middle East and southwest Asia. The US does not want to be seen as a defeated party in Afghanistan and Iraq- a fact becoming clear to all the military observers. The US desperately needs Pakistani ISI to shield its military failure and the final defeat. Sean Sherwood (“US-Pakistan Relations Fleeting”, 03/29/ 2010) offers detailed observation:
“Improving security in Pakistan, the rationale for Pakistani cooperation with the US, their historically troubled relationship as well as conflicting national interests of the two states all indicate that this close collaboration is unlikely to become permanent. In recent months, US military operations and counterterrorism efforts in South Asia have experienced a noticeable shift in the level of cooperation from the ISI. In Pakistan, increased cooperation between the two intelligence communities has created a successful two-month period in which authorities captured or killed 20 senior Taliban officials and members of al-Qaida in Pakistan, one of the largest setbacks experienced by the Taliban since October 2001. Among those captured in Pakistan was Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Talibans’ second in command. Also captured was Mullah Abdul Kabir, member of the influential Quetta Shura council.”
To reinforce its strategic importance and role in Afghanistan, according to Ehsan Azari (“US-Pakistan What Strategic Dialogue”: openDemocracy.net, 04/8/2010), the Obama administration has “recognized Pakistan as a central player in Afghanistan, a role it played with horrible consequences during the 1990s; precipitating the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan which provided a launching board for al-Qaida. Pakistan has a history of undertaking some tactical combat operations, including even mock operations, against limited groups within the Taliban insurgency in order to attract US policy makers and increase the cash flow.
It has now become clear that the recent arrest of Taliban leaders in Pakistan was designed in part to punish those Taliban who enter into negotiation in Kabul bypassing Pakistan. Kai Edie, the former UN special representative to Afghanistan, accused Pakistan of sabotaging clandestine discussions with senior Taliban leaders. Pakistan rarely chooses to harm those Taliban who are Pakistani military strategic partners, since it relies on their support. At the very moment that Pakistani civilian leaders pledge to cut off the Taliban bases in Pakistan, shadowy ISI agents are secretly giving assurance to the Taliban that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban in the ‘anti-American Jihad’.”
Historically, Europeans and others had countless strategic pacts and understandings to pursue their own vested interest and articulate hostiles befitting to their strategic needs and priorities. None of the military pacts were ever a factor for peace and harmony amongst the contending European powers. All were violated in spirit and purpose to fuel the two World Wars in Europe. Pakistan had several of those including CENTO, SEATO and secret military arrangements with Britain and the US but none were activated or implied to help Pakistan when India moved aggressively to dismember Pakistan in 1971 on East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
To balance the imbalanced strategic equation in southwest Asia and particularly to counteract India, Pakistan buys weapons from the West, it lacks manufacturing capability or large industrial complex as India enjoins much with its own strategic planning and cooperation of the former Soviet Union to be self-sufficient. Pakistan faces multiple challenges both on the domestic front and on its borders with India and Afghanistan. What good is this strategic alliance or relation if there is such a thing?
The corrupt leadership would lean to any foreign governments to acquire strategic partnership or affiliation to ensure its own short-long terms survivability. It is a deceptive position of extreme strategic weakness that Pakistan is made to fight on different fronts- war that has been camouflaged to be a Pakistani conflict. In reality, it is an American sponsored terror to cripple Pakistan within and punish the Muslim nation for its original alliance with the Talaban.
General Musharaf and his military colleagues were hired to work as agents of influence to change and destabilize Pakistan into a people of Islamic “terrorism.” President Bush claimed to have paid $10 billions to the Pakistani Generals to wage war against al-Qaida and Talabans. The trail of tyranny and corruption continued under the PPP Zardari regime to engage in a strategic dialogue with the US for their own good and future governance.
Imagine, if Pakistan had stable political institutions and genuinely proactive and responsible leadership, it was conceivable that the US Obama administration would have attached real world strategic value to its relations with Pakistan as an ally, not as a bribed entity to fight for the master. Would this strategic dialogue contribute to Pakistan’s domestic stability and position on the border with Afghanistan? Sean Sherwood (“US-Pakistan Relations Fleeting”) explains the sensitivities involved:
“Theoretically, Pakistan will remain a close ally of the US; however, this cooperation will not be backed by any meaningful exchange of information. Convincing senior Pakistani officials that cooperation with the US is in their best interests will be a difficult task for American statesmen, especially as Pakistan begins to experience more security within its borders than in past years because of the ongoing offensive. Once additional security has been established by Pakistan, the level of ISI’s cooperation with the US intelligence community is likely to reduce in the area of combating the Taliban and al-Qaida. While a stable Afghanistan is in Pakistan's interest, a strong Afghanistan is not.”
Would this conflict ever end? Or is it a strategy to gain pause and then to go for new and innovative long war against the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Tom Hayden (“Our Government Is Planning to Stay at War for the Next 80 Years-Anyone Got a Problem with That? LA Times, April 1, 2010) asks the Obama administration:
It's time the Long War strategy was put under a microscope and made the focus of congressional hearings and media scrutiny. The American people deserve a voice in the strategizing that will affect their future and that of their grandchildren. There are at least three important questions to address in public forums:
* What is the role of the Long War idea in United States' policy now? Can the Pentagon or president impose such war-making decisions without debate and congressional ratification?
* Who exactly is the enemy in a Long War? Is Al Qaeda (or "Islamic fundamentalism") considered to be a unitary enemy like the "international communist conspiracy" was supposed to be? Can a Long War be waged with only a blanket authorization against every decentralized group lodged in countries from Europe to South Asia?
* Above all, what will a Long War cost in terms of American tax dollars, American lives and American respect in the world? Is it sustainable? If not, what are the alternatives?
The strategic alliance with the US is not a new phenomenon to Pakistan but a failed act of recorded history. Its role and importance accrue no value to the well being of the masses of Pakistan. The nation’s health is dangerously sickening, not being able to THINK rationally of its present and of its future. The common citizens of Pakistan are experiencing social unrest, high costs of foods, IMF dictated taxes and non-productive economy crippled with internal strife and political hardships with increasing daily bloodbaths and killings of the innocent civilians. Those responsible – the foreign masters and the Pakistani political accomplices must be tried in court of law and punished for their crimes against the humanity.
American drone attacks alone are reported to have killed more than three thousand civilians in the Pakhtoonistan province of the NWF. How would a strategic delusion bridge the gaps for the ordinary beleaguered citizens of Pakistan? Would this on-going bogus war on terrorism help to strengthen the resolve for change and development in Pakistan? Would it pave the way to organize public concerns and growing discontentment to oust the PPP Zardari gang from power? The military will continue to be a rollercoaster in any future political shaping of the country with the US holding the string for either democracy or dictatorship.
For over half of a century, Pakistanis have inherited a junk history determined by the collaborative governance of the Generals and their by–products Bhuttos-Zardaris and Sharifs. Are the incompetent Generals and Zardari’s a HOPE for the future of Pakistan? Not so, Pakistan NEEDS a planned change and reformation of the corrupt political governance and new public institutions and political system to make the future come true. The educated and intelligent new generation of Pakistanis is the only HOPE that the masses can look upon for the future-making, away from the dead-ended and corrupt politics of the few self-styled ignorant rulers claiming to profess democracy but undermining the existence and freedom of the Pakistani nation. History shall judge the people and leaders by their actions, not by their claims.