When Austrian Prince Francis Ferdinand was killed by a Serbian student on 28 June 1914, no one imagined that this incident would lead to the First World War which ultimately changed history and geography of the world. Similarly the planners of the tragic events of 11th September were not fully aware of impact and subsequent consequences of their action. This unfortunate and horrible event will have far-reaching consequences on politics and economics of the world; and could even bring about some geographical changes.
In 1914 Austria under the Habsburg dynasty was one of the major powers, and Serbia was a weaker, but troublesome neighbour. Soon after the incident, Austria accused Serbia for instigating the plot to kill the Prince, and delivered an unacceptable ultimatum to Serbia. No attempt was made to prove Serbian government’s involvement in any conspiracy to kill the Austrian Prince; and as expected when Serbia refused to obey, Austria, without any hesitation, declared war on Serbia which escalated into the First World War.
Perhaps history is repeating itself, a few hours after the tragic event of 11th September a ‘culprit’ was found. There was no need to establish his ‘guilt’. Powerful media of the USA, Britain and rest of the world began a ‘crusade’ to depict Usama Bin Laden and his hosts the Taliban Government as villains who must be crushed. All the necessary arrangements have been put in place to accomplish the ‘mission’ which is not to seek justice or bring the culprit or culprits to justice but to crush Usama and other Muslim militants.
With this ‘crusade’ the ‘New World Order’ announced and established at the time of the Gulf War, will surely enter a new phase. And this new phase of the ‘New World Order’ will have great impact on South Asia, and more than likely it will bring about political and geographical changes in the region.
Each time in the past when attempt was made to establish a new world order, it resulted in political and geographical changes. The major powers of the time were not happy with the existing world order and balance of power and wanted to change it to suit their plans and ambitions; and even if the Austrian Prince had not been murdered by a Serbian student in 1914, still there would have been a war to change a balance of power and establish a new world order. The War not only changed the balance of power but dramatically changed geography of the world.
The new world order established after the First World War could not achieve the desired results for too long, and the world was plunged into another disastrous conflict in 1939 that again changed balance of power and established a new world order. By early nineties even this world order became out of date and redundant, and George Bush (senior) had to declare a ‘New World Order’ to meet new challenges.
This ‘New World Order’ although declared with great enthusiasm and vigour could not take its roots because of different reasons; but it helped to bring about many changes in world politics. It even brought some geographical changes as well- one only has to look at map of Europe. Even there is a kind of geographical change in Iraq where the Iraqi government whether good or bad, has no say in certain parts of the Iraqi Territory. Also the ‘New World Order’ encouraged and facilitated the ‘peace process’ in Palestine and Ireland, even though in Palestine there is no peace but only war where unarmed Palestinians are being crushed and destroyed- but may be that is how ‘peace’ is to be achieved there. Champions of peace and justice see nothing wrong with Israeli F16 and tanks firing in populated civilian areas.
Let us assume for a moment that the events of 11th September had not taken place, in my view, still a way would have been found to embark on the second phase of the ‘New World Order’. Like in 1914 it was just not the killing of the Austrian Prince that brought about all those changes briefly mentioned above; similarly it was not tragic incidents of 11th September that led to the present impasse. Plans and thinking was already there, what 11th September has done is precipitated and set in motion the process which authors of the ‘New World Order’ had in mind.
No one in right mind could justify what happened on 11th September, but one might ask what is about to happen, could that be justified? We have seen incidents of terrorism in the past, this of course is the worst, but we have not seen this kind of response to the previous incidents either. At the time of Okalahoma bombing we saw similar rhetoric against Islam and ‘Muslim fundamentalism’, but as soon as it was learned that he was ‘one of us’, everything changed. He was tried and sentenced according to the law. No one demanded response like the one demanded against Usama Bin Laden or the Taliban when IRA committed terrorism in London and else where. There was no witch-hunt of Catholics or any other community.
But now objective is different and that is to implement the ‘New World Order’ in letter and spirit. This process would, no doubt, mainly damage interests of Muslims, and South Asia could be a battleground for a long and destructive conflict. This is where role of Pakistan comes in. Pakistan had no choice but to co-operate. Many think that Pakistan could well become a target during course of this long ‘process’. Pakistan appeared to have no cards and had very little room to manoeuvre. But if we carefully analyse the role of Pakistan after the 11th September one could only admire those who are at the helm of affairs. Pakistan has shown maturity and farsightedness.
For the first time I am impressed with the performance of Pakistani officials who have shown that they have ability to plan and handle situation in international crises of this magnitude. Hitherto they have played their cards very well, but they must be cautioned that they need to tread very carefully as geographical changes could take place. They may not be able to stop changes which are due to take place in that region, but surely they have ability to influence outcome of certain things. Apart from other considerations they must keep this in mind that the Kashmir dispute is still unresolved, and it could not be put on the back burner because of other compulsions. In fact it is time to push the Kashmir dispute at top of the agenda, and show the world that it is not a territorial dispute; and that Pakistan would accept whatever is decided by the people of Kashmir. It is Kashmiri peoples wish that is paramount and it is they who should determine the future of State of Jammu and Kashmir.