Mr. Bruce Riedel’s (ex CIA, advisor to US President) recent article was titled ‘Containment of Pakistan’. It would be more appropriate to title it as ‘Confusion or Containment for Pakistan’.
Mr. Riedel had accused Pakistani Generals of Neo blasphemy – ‘not believing in an American victory in Afghanistan!’ The fact is that the majority of people in Afghanistan itself and neighbouring Pakistan, Iran, Central Asian states, China, Russia, besides the cultured people in Europe and rest of the world do not believe in an American victory. Smart Americans mercifully now in majority realize the Afghan War is lost. Thinkers and writers like Eric Margolis, Michael Scheuer and others have been saying it for years. Ironically the definition of US victory in Kabul keeps changing.
The aim and end of war (primary principal of war) itself seems to be more slippery than an eel. So to use American parlance – ‘Mission Creep’. Since the war in Afghanistan is not won (nor can be won) blame the Haqqanis, Taliban, Pakistan and anybody else in the neighbourhood. Gore Vidal, a great American writer had aptly titled his book ‘Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace’.
For ten years Pakistan was a non NATO Ally (rather not wanted Ally). Then it was graded as FreEnemy (friend – enemy) and now Mr. Bruce Riedel suggests containment of Pakistan (which is a policy option of dealing with enemies). To put the record straight, out of the trillion dollars war effort Pakistan received under $20 billion, while suffering $70 billion losses. Of course the pain, anguish, bereavement of nearly 40,000 casualties suffered by Pakistan cannot be measured in tangible term. Certainly they don’t matter to war mongers and their ilk. (Mouth pieces of the military – industrial – financial complex).
Patriotic and smart Americans would not worry about ‘Waziristan’ but about ‘Wall Street, considering the economic malaise at home. Conversely, the globalists want a new war with Pakistan and Iran (may be with Turkey, Saudi Arabia) followed by China and Russia. A strategy of deflection, to divert attention from problems at home. The capitalist cabal system is under attack! So when are these low paid, deprived, lower middle class, but good Americans going to be termed as anarchists, miscreants and terrorists? (May be inspired by OBL from his watery grave – if the American account was true!)
Washington can try ‘Containment of Pakistan’ (with all the consequences) but containment of its military is simply absurd. The Pakistan military is a part of the nation like US military is a part of America. Obviously Washington – Delhi propaganda tries to drive a wedge between the Pakistani people and their soldiers. Civilian supremacy remains a supreme concept. The problem is that the corrupt elite in Pakistan which the Americans and the Indians want to pamper, don’t represent the nation. They are perceived as puppets. The American quest for a pliant Pakistan subservient to India (turning hostile to China) is rejected by the same civilians and common Pakistanis Mr. Riedel claims to be supporting.
Furthermore, the notion that Pakistan Army is ambitious in terms of Afghanistan is preposterous! America led NATO has waged a decade long horrific war. Before US exit, hostile Indians want to entrench themselves in Kabul. (Even as a number of Indian Strike Corps mass on Pakistan’s borders under the garb of Winter Exercise 2011). Millions of Afghan refugees are sheltering in Pakistan. Kabul refuses to rectify the Durand Line agreement (not even fence it for security reasons). US / NATO troops concentrate on Waziristan borders, escalating drone strikes, threatening special operations, massing hardware for a mini ‘Shock and Awe’, posturing for an air campaign and the works! What is the Pakistan Army expected to do? It can’t be ‘contained and cooperative’ at the same time!
Finally Mr. Riedel’s obsession with Pakistani nukes (or is he voicing some sinister agenda). Even if Mr. Riedel’s view of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal becoming 4th or 5th largest in the world is true, so what is the problem? The Pakistani population by some estimates may be also 4th – 5th largest in the world. What’s wrong with the 4th – 5th largest country having that big a nuclear arsenal?
Containment of Pakistan may retard Pakistan but also forsake the geopolitics of peace. A cornered, bullied and threatened Pakistan will turn more nationalistic or militant. It will not become the dove which some misguided Americans funded by neo rich Indians desire. A geopolitical realignment may follow. Squeezed by Americans and Indians on two fronts, Pakistan will seek new allies – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia even Russia, while fraternizing with Turkey.
A contained Pakistan on two fronts will lead to conflict. The Afghan War may extend to Pakistan, Iran and India. A vast war region, with peace prospects diminishing by the day. An all out war can spiral out of control, go nuclear, destroying the region and affecting the globe. In case of a limited conflict, even if the Pakistan Military is bruised, beaten or humiliated in battle with American – Indian forces, (unlikely in a short span) the change in Pakistan will not be what Mr. Riedel had hoped for. In an emotionally charged, nationally hysterical public mood, pliant – puppets will not come to power. Radical minded revanchists could usurp power.
Another possibility is a revolution sweeping Pakistan. If the Arab brothers can have a spring, good people of USA can ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and Ayatollahs in neighbouring Iran bring a revolution (1979), why not Pakistan? A revolution would be the best thing for Pakistan. But the revolutionaries don’t take diktat from foreign powers – the historical legacy so far.
The cause of peace can be best served, not by ‘Pakistan’s containment’ but by US Exit from Afghanistan through a ‘Negotiated, Peace Yielding Settlement’. This is the advice expected from sages, and geopoliticians who seek a peaceful and prosperous world for tomorrow.
(Geopolitics of Peace is an endeavor by Nadir Mir)
About the Author - Brigadier Nadir Mir (R) SI (M): For his school and college education, he attended the prestigious Karachi and Quetta Grammar Schools, St. Anthony’s High School, Aitchison College and FC College Lahore. In his Military Education, he is a graduate of Armour School, Fort Knox USA, Army Staff College Quetta, Turkish War Academy Istanbul, War College and National Defence College Islamabad, Pakistan. Nadir Mir knows Urdu, English and Turkish languages. He is widely traveled and a globe trotter. After “Farewell to Arms” Brigadier Nadir Mir aspires to contribute for the national cause – Pakistan. He is now settled in Lahore.