The Limits of Western Geo-Strategy
President Obama, a smart American President is realizing the limits of Western Geo-Strategy. In fact, the culmination point of US Geo-Strategy had already been reached. Even as a unipolar world fades a multi polar era is not emerging. Rather a non polar or zero polar world order is quite visible.
‘USA is globally preeminent but not predominant. It may lead the world, but cannot control the world.’
President Putin has repositioned Russia to restore global balance. Moscow is not only globally respected but once again a major player in the Middle East. While China’s share of the global GDP increases all the time. Pakistan under its dynamic and bold Army Chief General Raheel Sharif is proactive to eradicate terrorism. By the same token, defending Pakistan in its full spectrum is his article of faith. Pakistan will emerge as a key player for multi regions.
America is lucky to be led by President Obama, who remains cautious of embroiling USA in new misadventures. The top American military man General Dempsey appears suave enough not to send young Americans in harm’s way for little reason. The mirage of the Iraqi deserts and treacherous ravines of Afghanistan would be an eye opener even for novices, military professionals should know better.
Alexander the Great may have been the first wave of western Geo-Strategy marching east till the Indus Valley. Yet the Crusades commencing in 1st millennium may have been more effect creating. Islamic counter stroke by Salahuddin Ayubi in the epic victory at Battle of Hattin 1187 and capture of Jerusalem may have set the stage. Centuries later, after the First World War, when British and French generals arrived at Salahuddin’s grave, they reportedly exclaimed – ‘we have returned’!
The US invasion of Iraq, Arab Spring and later US withdrawal has created a new environment. Out of this mayhem and disorder is emerging ISIS and namesakes. It was claimed Al-Qaida was eliminated; rather new forces and more radical ones are emerging, sweeping across the Middle East, and even Africa. Their Battle cry is “The Caliphate”! ISIS is now converting into the Islamic State. The locomotive of Western Geo-Strategy is America. The problem is that America has more propagandists than Geo-strategicians! One reason Geopolitical problems remain unresolved.
The solution for western Geo-Strategy is to respect great powers like Russia, China and support key states like Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. If non state actors are the predicament, then the remedy obviously lies in augmenting critical state actors.
Sykes – Picot
In the aftermath of the First World War which bleed Europe white the Ottoman Empire was carved up by greedy imperialists. A century later the lessons are coming home to roast. Sykes Picot the English – French master minds created the new map of Middle East which lasted nearly a century!
In the last decades two critical events have changed the Middle East Geopolitical landscape. Firstly the western, US led invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and its aftermath. Secondly the Arab Spring and winds of change. The US exodus in Iraq has brought the old order down. The Pan Islamic Caliphate seeking militants are on the march. Nationalists and key state actors like Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and most critically Pakistan is the other choice.
The American led western strategy had destroyed the old order in Central Middle East creating a power vacuum. A strategy of ‘Controlled Chaos’ is converting into ‘Uncontrolled Chaos’. It is ironic that American Colonel (R) Ralph Peter’s ‘Blood Borders’ and the ISIS agenda has much in common. They may be mutually inspirational even as avowed enemies. Much more inexplicable that Bathists and Islamic militants including Shias and Sunnis confront USA, after over a decade of US occupation.
Now US faces the predicament of reentering the Arena of Iraq. Falluja ironically hailed by US marines had already become an ISIS strong hold.
Limits of American Geo-Strategy
Iraq is lost and may divide into Shia, Sunni and Kurd regions. Afghanistan may follow suit. After spending trillions of dollars, thousands of causalities and protracted conflicts of well over a decade, the situation may be worse than before. What the world needs is the Geopolitics of peace. Global peace demands accepting Russia’s rights, absorbing China’s rise and resolving key disputes of Kashmir and Palestine.
The larger Middle East is on the boil. The central portion of Syria, Iraq is already in flames. The fervour of militant sweep may affect Jordan to Saudi Peninsula. ISIS and affiliates are likely to confront Iran. The two pillars of stability in a future inferno are Pakistan and Turkey.
Pakistan is the decisive weight for many regions. Its status as a bridge state between the larger Middle East and South Asia, Central Asia and South Asia, China and West Asia / Indian Ocean places it on a unique central position. Pakistan’s interposing capability promises its Geo-Strategy clear advantage over other state actors and all non state actors.
Even as the Middle East turns more unstable, America withdraws from Afghanistan. Pakistan has launched a comprehensive military offensive in North Waziristan. The brave and professional Pakistan Army supported by the nation is determined to secure Pakistan.
Afghanistan was the previous war while the one brewing in Iraq – Syria is the future one. Both the Shias and Sunnis in Syria – Iraq blame USA. Washington needs Pakistan not only for Afghanistan’s stability but help bring peace in the greater Middle East. A Shia – Sunni clash is not preordained. Pakistan along with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran can help contain the fires of hell. Pakistan is the only State which has China as a Strategic Ally, USA as an old friend and Russia as a new friend.