DID YOU ASK FOR CHANGE? HAVEN’T YOU GOT IT?
Why not?! After all, that is precisely what our policy makers are relentlessly driving us toward: an eternal and seemingly inevitable doom for our nation. What’s worse is that our elected representatives are allowing this suicide to materialize.
Amid a crippling economy and insurmountable recession, the impecunious yet optimistic taxpayers spent millions of dollars to elect a president for ‘Change.’ However, in the backdrop of the apparent change in name and face, a belligerent foreign policy remains a constant, jeopardizing our national security at an unparalleled scale. Mere vestiges of his economic recovery rhetoric from the campaign trail remain a year after the trail has ended, and destination White House accomplished by President Obama. Now we are all privileged to travel the next trail together, the trail leading to a national suicide which passes through the rubbles of unending costly wars and bloodbath.
Though it would be unfair to hastily label Obama as our new ‘war’ president – for fairness demands accounts of all the surreptitious orchestrators of our foreign policy – imperative is to ponder how the war in Afghanistan and upcoming troop surge announced by the president defines suicide for our nation. The pundits and mainstream media outlets largely overlook the fundamental flaws plaguing our foreign policy that have allowed the Taliban, a bunch of ‘cavemen,’ to even stand up to the most prodigious military and our allies for over eight years. Without publicly acknowledging a bitter truth about our failed policy and demystifying tangible solutions to neutralize the sources that strengthen our enemy, the deployment of an additional 30,000 troops is driven by an impractical illusion to win.
It is no secret that Pakistan, our key ally in the war on terror, has become a haven for the Taliban militants since the United States invaded Afghanistan and pushed the militants across its border. The Pakistani military is undertaking aggressive offensive against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan responsible for hundreds of suicide bombings and thousands of deaths in Pakistan; however, it is simultaneously supporting the Afghan Taliban for two reasons. First, as about twenty percent of Pakistani army’s fighting strength comprises Pashtuns with blood ties in Afghanistan, many of our demands on the army are counter-productive. Second, according to Pakistani media, India and a number of other foreign intelligence agencies in Afghanistan are involved in funding the TTP and Baluchistan Liberation Army to dismantle Pakistan.
Even General Stanley McChrystal has stated that, “Increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.” Despite the clear warning from the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, we allow India to continue its inimical involvement in material and intelligence support to Pakistan’s insurgents. Infuriated by our lack of concern toward its strategic needs, the Pakistan army deems it necessary to support the Afghan Taliban. And as is evident from General McChrystal’s assessment, the U.S. cannot succeed in Afghanistan unless Pakistan’s strategic interests are met.
Pakistan’s historic distrust of the U.S. lies – as admitted by Hillary Clinton – in our country’s contribution to the region’s instability when we left behind the CIA trained mujahideen after the Cold War as Pakistan’s problem. Today, we are amplifying that distrust with a disregard to Pakistan’s concerns by interfering in the country’s internal affairs through Blackwater (now known as Xe) in addition to our predator drone attacks which have claimed hundreds of innocent civilian lives in the name of collateral damage.
Understandably, the U.S. and Pakistan have their own respective strategic needs in the Af-Pak region. However, if we wish to develop a geostrategic alliance with Pakistan once again – this time to contain the very enemy we created during the 1980’s – we must restore our trust among the Pakistanis politically. In order to convince Pakistan to put its genuine emphasis on its Western border to tackle the Taliban, President Obama must fulfill his campaign promise to help Pakistan and India resolve the Kashmir dispute which according to him was his administration’s ‘critical task.’ The key to avoiding an ignominious legacy in Afghanistan lies in Pakistan, and until our policy makers neutralize Pakistan by taking into account its security concerns, we cannot expect their wholehearted cooperation.
Our situation in Afghanistan has become disgraceful and horrifying to the point that our military is paying its own enemy to protect itself. Even the top U.S. generals on the ground have suggested the war cannot possibly be won using force. Sending an additional 30,000 troops is appealing to those in delusion that by flaunting the American military might we can contain our enemy. But the warmongers fail to calculate that with half a million dollars spent on each soldier, the surge amounting to an estimated $30 billion – an additional $2.5 billion per month to the $3.6 billion a month already being spent – in the midst of a national debt of $12.1 trillion is an inevitable national suicide.
Our national security demands that we invest in healthcare, education and job creation domestically, and restore our respect abroad including among European countries, instead of promoting wars and creating more terrorists. Unless we bring about a tangible change in our foreign policy and mitigate isolationism, we would prove to be our own worst enemy causing a self-inflicted and perhaps well-deserved national doom.
Mehreen Saeed is an American freelance writer.