The Ghost of Admiral Mahan, the father of US Long Arm
By Brig Samson S Sharaf
The thousand of cables released by Wikileaks are undoubtedly authentic in content down to the originator indexes. These are mostly diplomatic dispatches between the various US embassies and the State Department commenting on diverse issues from inter-state relations to nuclear proliferation, terrorism, electioneering in different countries and micro politics. It gives a rare peep into the State Department thinking, diplomatic behaviour and most; what it thinks of its allies and enemies.
Much of the information shared in these cables is perhaps a duplication of the dossiers that US intelligence agencies maintain even on the slightest issues sexing and confirming the obvious and not the likely. This policy of fabricating and managing information has cost USA dearly in the past and would do so in the future. The individuals farming and tainting perceptions in this exclusively mastered domain of US GAME THEORY rather than be held accountable ultimately become icons of sorts.
One such damaging cable was the lengthy Kennan Telegram from Moscow. The World War II had ended enabling the US economy to revive itself after the crash. The issue was how to impose US economic policies on the world so that US produces, and the world consumes in the reconstruction and subsequent phases. It was also electioneering time and both US Presidential candidates did not wish to appear spineless before Stalin who was opposing such a prevailing economic strategy. Finally USA decided to use its military long arm that forced the world to endure a Cold War over many decades. Surely, Kennan Telegram was not an isolated diplomatic dispatch but rather a confirmation of prevailing perceptions in game theory that were merely confirmed.
Similarly, the readers must be reminded that Late President Kennedy had resisted the Bay of Pigs invasion and was planning to thin out from Vietnam. After his assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin incident was fabricated and blown out of proportion to justify military adventurism. President Johnson with Congressional approval decided to make an all out use of the US Military’s Long War. As classified documents now reveal that the incident never took place and was fabricated to justify the containment policy.
Come 9/11 and OBL, CIAs own child gone berserk; or was it so? First US Military forces pulverized Afghanistan with all types of munitions from precision guided munitions to the daisy cutters and then suddenly shifted to Iraq. The Iraqi dossiers were deliberately sexed up to destroy a developing country to the seams. Was this a silly strategic error or will events in Yemen ultimately unravel the true intents and purposed of this sideshow occupation?
And now Afghanistan; President Karzai appears closer to the diplomats than the military officials. He maintains that British presence as vanguard of the Obama surges has been most un-professional and disruptive to ends of policy. This is a clear statement to the effect that US-ISAF Operations in Afghanistan have stalled. Diplomatic dispatches suggest that with Pakistan’s assistance, the situation is retrievable while research papers mostly sponsored by Department of Defence list Pakistan as a problem and not a solution. USA certainly wanted to compensate this lull through expanded drone strikes in Pakistan that was refused. It appears that because of this disconnect, the expansion of the war zone to Pakistan has been averted, but for how long.
The two phases of Wikileaks are contrasting and need analysis. The first pertained exclusively to the military operations, war diaries, war crimes and situation reports. The latest episode pertains to the US Foreign Office and Diplomatic Corps. Is it a tit for tat, or there is a third party exploiting this fault line?
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her briefings maintain that during the administration of President Bush, a decision was made to connect the diplomatic cables to the Pentagon and that a fully cleared military intelligence officer was responsible for the leaks. She said:
“The process was undertaken in order to do a better job of what's called ‘connecting the dots,' because after 9/11, one of the principle criticisms of the government was that the information was stove piped, that the Defense Department knew things that the State Department didn't know, that the White House didn't know…. So it was understandable for the Bush administration to say, ‘we need to end the stove piping and figure out how to have greater situational awareness and sharing of information.'"
Wikileaks has confirmed what most opinion makers used to presume. The pursuance of the US foreign policy is the exclusive domain of the Department of Defence and Pentagon who justifies the use of the military long arm wherever they wish through sexed up information. The State Department with its foreign policy arm works somewhere in between and on the periphery. The leaks provide a peepshow into this estranged and sometimes dysfunctional relationship.
Wikileaks has also confirmed the hypocrisy of the enchanted US values of freedom, liberty and democracy. In practice, USA spies on political parties of very close allies like UK and Germany and even attempts to manipulate results. In countries like Pakistan, they enjoy the neo colonialist right to choose, machinate, eliminate and reject.
Wikileaks has also stripped Pakistan politicians to obscenity. They have now started looking beyond the army to their virtual benefactor as their saviour. It has also put the military leadership in sharp focus to either stabilize a rotten system or to let it rot in the name of American democracy and values.
Wikileaks also informs us that most of the information thus far released is pointed and there are indeed issues that have been held back. In case these leaks are selective then there is a case for espionage experts to evaluate the dynamics of this intelligence operation. Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski points out how this release is "seeded" with information that is "surprisingly pointed."
Wikileaks also makes us think that besides being a turf war between the Pentagon and the Foreign Office, some crucial US interests have been compromised and hurt. Pro US Arab allies are reflected as more anti Iran than Israel. Relations with Germany, UK and Spain need re-definition. China’s influence in North Korea is undermined. The South American Summit in Argentina has become controversial etc. Definitely there is some country that stands to gain from this diplomatic and intelligence fiasco. Israeli foot prints cannot be ignored.
Pakistan’s Intelligence Agencies and Research Centres need to download each dispatch and then evaluate the information in entirety to formulate a transparent paper on the US designs and instruments of policy implementation. This paper should then form the basis of re writing the National Policy and Strategy aimed to make Pakistan a truly independent, self assured, self reliant and sovereign country. This will be the New National Narrative for Jinnah’s Pakistan.
Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired infantry officer of Pakistan Army and honorary Colonel of the First Sindh
Regiment. He has the distinct honour of serving in the Military Operations Branch GHQ during the most interesting and eventful years of Pakistan’s history. Did his Post Graduation from Quaid e Azam University with distinction. His specialization is International Political Economy with sharp focus on Nuclear Policy Making and Security.
He is a frequent speaker in national and international seminars and writes through the framework of established theoretical paradigms. His hundreds of articles though futuristic have invariably been vindicated. He has also been a High Altitude mountaineer, trekked the entire perimeter of Pakistan and explored the harsh and difficult NARA Desert in the severest summer heat. He is Rector of St. Mary’s College, the first Catholic Higher education Institution in Pakistan and CEO of both Ecotech Iternational Inc. USA and WaterTech Private Limited, Pakistan. He is a pioneer of relief water in disaster areas.
Brig Sharaf is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.