America’s damage control exercise
Senator John Kerry, Chairman US Foreign Relations Committee, offered Pakistan a personal guarantee that the United States has no design against its nuclear assets, and that the two sides will continue to work together in future operations against high-value targets.
The Senator said that he could “write with his blood that the US has no interest in Pakistan’s nuclear assets, though it is in the interest of the United States that they remain well-protected and secure under a proper command and control system.” Going by Senator Kerry’s own statement that “actions not words are needed to tackle militant sanctuaries in Pakistan”, the US is also an obligation to give practical demonstration of addressing Pakistan’s concerns about its encirclement by India from the Western border. The Senator also said that the relations between Pakistan and the United States presently stand at a “critical moment”, but at the same time reminded that there is strategic partnership so far as the war is concerned. The evident reality is that it has never been a strategic partnership; and by all reckoning it has been a virtual enslavement of Pakistan during the last six decades.
Anyhow, Senator Kerry seems to have been assigned with the task of damage control after relations between Pakistan and the US became strained because of the unilateral action by the Special Forces in Abbottabad. Though a section of the press had reported in a manner as if he had come to convey President Barack Obama’s strong message. It sounded as an effort to keep Pakistan on board by reassuring that no unilateral action would be taken in future. After his arrival in Pakistan on Sunday, he met Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who told the Senator about the anger of the armed forces and the people over the Special Forces action in Abbottabad. On Monday, the Senator had a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, which lasted for two hours, and they agreed to remove the mistrust between the two sides. Kerry said: “The secrecy surrounding the operation was strictly for reasons of operational security and not of mistrust of Pakistani leadership.” Yet, the Pakistani leadership should have pointed out CIA Chief Leon Panetta’s statement, which was reflective of distrust or mistrust.
The unilateral action by the Navy Seals that killed bin Laden had made waves on the diplomatic front between the two countries. And their intelligence plateau too was in ruffled. After the Raymond Davis episode, relations between Islamabad and Washington became strained, but America’s unilateral action has brought the relations between the two countries at the lowest ebb. In fact, Pakistan has always honoured its commitments vis-à-vis defence pacts or bilateral agreements, but it was America that ditched Pakistan after achieving its objectives every time.
Anyhow, Pakistan should not be blamed for bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, as he was the CIA’s find and America’s friend, who was inspired along with thousands others to come to Pakistan to participate in the Afghan jihad. Needless to say, that was the first violation of our sovereignty due to the flawed policies of our inept rulers. While the American mistake was that when the US attacked Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, it did not put enough boots in the country to capture Osama and other leaders, who repeatedly first moved to Kunar to FATA to settled areas. It was indeed the responsibility of the US forces and its allies to stop them and arrest them on the Afghan side of the border.
In reality, a lot of confusion had been created by the statements from members of the American administration and, of course, of President Obama himself giving rise to suspicions. The international media, especially print media, had been reporting about America’s plans to take control of the Pakistani nukes, should the government fail in the war or terrorists take over Islamabad. Members of the Bush administration, think-tanks and analysts had also been trying to raise fears in the minds of the international community that militants might capture power in Pakistan, and control its nukes. Pakistan considers such conjectures as utterly absurd. After having given some equipment for the security of the nukes, the Americans literally wanted Pakistan to disclose its nuclear sites but Islamabad had been unwillingly to show American officials how or where the gear was actually used, because they did not want to reveal the locations of their weapons, or the amount or type of new bomb-grade fuel the country was producing. Some American analysts were of the view that they have less ability to look into the nuclear laboratories where the highly enriched uranium is produced.
Since both CIA and ISI are likely to work in the interest of their countries, the conflicting interests could stoke tensions and strain their relations. Being the spy agency of the sole superpower, the CIA operates in almost all countries of the world. It has the reputation of conducting black and covert operations in other countries, and involve in sabotage activities and regime change. If past is any guide, the CIA has to its ‘credit’ political assassinations and toppling of governments that had refused to toe the US line. As regards intelligence-gathering, the CIA either has the ‘knack’ of doctoring intelligence or it is more often than not based on lies. The US had solemnly declared that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and nukes in its arsenal. There were stories about Saddam’s connections with Al-Qaeda, but later it to acknowledge that there was none. The US, in the meantime, leadership did not have any qualms over destroying the infrastructure of an independent country and killing of thousands of people for no fault of their own.
Anyhow, Pakistan’s political and military leadership should put their act together to work out a new military doctrine, not only to remove weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but also envisage ways and means to deal with threats to our internal and external security. They must ponder over ways and means to respond to the ‘surgical strikes’ either from the US or India. At the present, it is a war of attrition, and if America pushes Pakistan against the wall, Pakistan might retaliate not caring for the consequences. After all, there are countries like Cuba and Iran, who had defied arrogant America. Despite enormous funding for regime change or make a dent in the Iranian government, America has not succeeded because Iranians are united to face challenges to their country. The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba in April 1961, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. But today, there are more than 10 nuclear powers with the delivery system, thus obscuring the concept of victor and the vanquished.