If one has to find the last straw that broke the camel’s back, we might turn up with several straws that finally forced Pakistan’s ‘establishment’ to call it a day. World was aghast when Pakistan’s demure doll of a foreign minister came out with a challenging statement that had no parallel in the history of Pakistan, since its creation by British and US to cater to their strategic and military needs in one of the world’s most strategic regions. And lo and behold, when the chips were in place, the world could make out that Hina Khar was not spouting an empty threat. Arrogant America was still not willing to concede that its game is up in the region and it can no longer dictate to Pakistan. When US Military Chief Mike Millen blamed Pakistan’s ISI to be in cahoots with terrorists that lay siege to US embassy in Kabul and demanded that Pakistan should destroy Haqqani Talibans; Pakistan refused US demands for the first time and that too in public. There never such a humiliating moment for the arrogant Americans to be so boldly defied by their supposedly hired mercenary state.
Pakistan wasted no time in getting China and Saudi Arabia into the loop, as it could easily make out the final break with US is more or less scripted. When possibly for the first time, Pak planners took stock of their options and alternatives, they suddenly found they do have leverages that could work in favor of a more robust, more independent foreign policy. Their equations with US, China, India and Afghanistan were all working in their favor and they found a ray of hope that once out of America’s war games, they can build up a viable economy for their people, without having to be in the pay of America’s military warlords and remain shackled to a violent and warring mode of living that was forced on them.
America has been making a big and continuous song and dance about 20 billion dollars aid to Pakistan. The other day Imran Khan on BBC Hard Talk, countered that according to Pakistan analysts, Pakistan has suffered a loss of 60 billion dollars in missed opportunities during this period.
America has suffered a big defeat in Afghanistan and its 140,000 troops are now hostage to not only Taliban but even Pakistan. A few days of stoppage of supplies through Pakistan to Afghanistan, had given a taste of what US can expect if it tries to bully Pakistan. The Pakistan establishment does not have to make any move.
Anti-Americanism is so deep-rooted in Pakistan, that it is the people that would make life difficult for Americans, if they behave as if they are still dealing with a paid servant of a country of 150 million people.
America’s pitch for democracy appears hollow when it routinely maneuvers its stooges in the ruling position and tries to run the victimized country as a department of its State Department. It has put Karzai in the hot seat and had invested a lot to give Afghanistan a semblance of a ‘modern’ state. It however has not been successful in destroying the spirit of freedom and independence from Afghanistan’s real power that will inevitably repeat the same civil war scenario that Afghanistan witnessed earlier on American pull-out. It is wishful of US planner to think otherwise. The historical forces work in Afghanistan like a force of gravity. Sooner or later, water will find its level. America should have tried old British style diplomacy rather than brute forces to come to terms with people of Afghan. Threats, ultimatums, invasion, bombings and droning, will hardly turn the tide in favor of America or NATO. Already analysts in the US are increasing in numbers openly admitting that America’s war on Iraq and Afghanistan has been unnecessary and hugely cost-ineffective. Its time US realizes, discretion is better part of valor.
India’s haste in receiving Karzai and signing in strategic agreements with a stooge regime that can hardly last for any length of time, is one of the compulsion of India’s action/reaction foreign policy. There are signs that India has developed some spine and had been able to chart an independent line of action, resisting US pressures at several levels. However, India should have remained neutral in Afghanistan, whatever pressure US would have brought in. It is laudable that US was not able to force or convince India to send troops into Afghanistan and some US analysts are holding India on that count. In fact, gone were the colonial days, when a million Indians fought in First World War to save the King/Queen. India, a free country, has no need to fight other’s wars on any pretext. Even now, India should have waited for another decade to see the final denouncement of the US/Afghanistan imbroglio, before making itself available to take part in any role offered by a settled government in Afghanistan within the ambit of SAARC neighborhood references. India should have avoided the kind of involvement that Indian forces in Sri Lanka suffered and that is a naturally corollary of India’s current engagement with Karzai regime.
As the prime country in the subcontinent, India should boldly come out with a peace plan for the entire region, without any tutelage from the US that has designs in the interest of its own people and country. India should take lead in bringing all SAARC countries together to fashion a new future of economic development through regional integration. It should keep US out of any such plans, as US hardly bothers to even take recognizance of other countries’ special interest in war and peace. It is difficult for India to reform the American hotheads; but it quite possible and essential for India to start presenting its own interest and interest of its people, before granting any quarters to US and its allies, especially when they bring in spurious and over exaggerated self-serving subject of global security.