US should rationalise its policy
Mohammad Jamil
2/14/2012

 

Theoretically, foreign policy goal of any country is to have cordial relations with all countries of the world, focusing on commonality of interests and relegating the divergences to the secondary position. Of course, ultimate objective is to promote national interest, safeguard national security, independence and sovereignty.

Unfortunately, our foreign policy has been susceptible to manipulations because of political and economic instability brought about by flawed policies of successive governments. Instead of putting in efforts for self-reliance, our governments depended on the US, and it was due to dependency syndrome that Pakistan had to accept unreasonable demands of the US. Pak-US relations had chequered history and suffered serious setbacks due to misperceptions. At the present, due to mediocrity of US tactical commanders and intelligence operators, America is in quandary. They have in fact caused irreparable loss to US-led coalition in Afghanistan. And in view of the Taliban’s strong resistance, American officials like Leon Panetta and others blame Pakistani counterparts not realizing the consequences of insinuations against Pakistan.

Pakistan having been pushed against the wall, it has started reviewing its relations with the US. The parliamentary committee has already completed its review and the parliament would finalize the terms of engagement with America. The US on its part should rationalize her policy and seriously focus on addressing Pakistan’s concerns. Obviously, Pakistan is eager to maintain good relations with super power like USA, and committed to fight the menace of terrorism, but the present mistrust and oblique-angle-vision of US officials have angered Pakistani civil and military leadership. Their demands on Pakistan are heavy, whereas they have failed to acknowledge Pakistan’s sincerity and commitment despite Pakistan’s sacrifices. It is not in good taste to recount the good things done or sacrifices made, but when American officials present exaggerated figures of US aid to mislead the world, Pakistan has the right to set the record straight. During the last ten years, Pakistan has not received even $ 10 billion, and after the Kerry-Lugar law, Pakistan has received only $500 million during the last two years against commitment of $3 billion, yet American administration insists on having given billions of dollars aid to Pakistan.

It has to be mentioned that Pakistan had earned the wrath of another super power firstly by aligning with the western camp and then when Pakistan’s soil was used for spying over the Soviet Union. In fact, the rift between former Soviet Union and Pakistan developed after U-2 spy plane incident that occurred during the Cold War on May 1, 1960 (during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower), which was shot down over the Soviet Union. At first, the United States government denied the plane’s purpose and mission, but was forced to admit its role as a covert surveillance aircraft when the Soviet government produced its remains (largely intact) and surviving pilot, Francis Gary Powers. Anyhow, now the position is that after having given tremendous sacrifices in men and material, first in Afghan war in 1980s and then after joining war on terror, Pakistan is being maligned by the US. At times, members of US administration appreciate Pakistan’s role in war on terror and for decimating the terrorists’ infrastructure and their strongholds, but at another they express concerns that terrorists might succeed in laying their hands on Pakistan’s nukes.

After the end of the Cold War when the US and the West changed their priorities, it was imperative for Pakistan to review its priorities and goals in a drastically changed international landscape, which was not done. After May 2nd incident and attack on Salala border posts, Pakistan government decided to review its foreign policy in the light of new developments. It is more than two months since Pakistan closed the two key border crossings into Afghanistan used for supplies to NATO troops. In view of the strained relations between Pakistan and America after last year’s Raymond Davis episode and US Navy Seals attack on Abbottabad compound, America had been working on alternate routes and kept the supplies flowing, but the cost has been prohibitive. ABC news, quoting a Pentagon official said “the cost of supplies to NATO/ISAF troops in Afghanistan is now $104 million a month, against cost of $17 million to transport supplies through Pakistan”. In other words, the increase is 512 percent in monthly costs resulting from Pakistan’s shut down of the border crossings at Torkham and Chaman shortly after a NATO air strike in late November 2011.

The American movers and shakers must be ruing for being so arrogant and neglectful of Afghanistan’s objective ground realities since their invasion and occupation, which has become an Achilles heel for a respectable end-game for them there. Now it is a matter more of an honorable exit rather than alternate routes for supplies to NATO forces. Yet, US/CIA is openly supporting and encouraging the separatists/nationalist factions in Pakistan, and our sovereignty has been repeatedly violated by the US, despite protests by Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan has been big loser, as it has sustained direct and indirect loss exceeding $60 billion. About 40000 people have been killed including 5000 security personnel since Pakistan joined the war on terror. But what Pakistan got from being an ally of the US and the West, and of course what they say non-NATO ally, except sanctions, distrust and insinuations. On the other hand, America signed civil nuclear agreement with India, and is trying to prop India to become a regional rather a world power. By doing so, America is considered as unreliable ally.

As a result of American civil and military leaderships’ monumental stupidity, America is in quandary, with their peace foray with the Taliban turning into an intractable dilemma for them. The venture has run into problems which probably they had not even imagined of. Their erstwhile-pampered Afghan minorities – Tajiks, Uzbaks and Hazaras that were pitted in a fierce civil strife with the Taliban before their ouster by the US-led foreign armies, are furious with them for keeping them out of the parleys, even threatening to take to the gun again if Taliban are brought into the power structure. They have taken exception to opening of Taliban’s political office in Qatar and insist that any peace talks’ venue has to be within Afghanistan, not outside.

For his part, Karzai too is very sour for being kept out of the loop, whereas he had expected to be at the foray’s centre. The Americans have veritably walked into a minefield of uncertainties, all of which they could have avoided had they kept in mind the Afghan polity’s sensitive and deeply-held ethnic and tribal fault-lines. It really is so stupefying that they could be so ignorant of these slippery slopes when they were no stranger at all to Afghanistan or its people.