Category Archives: US Policy

POST 9/11 US POLICY TOWARDS TERRORISM AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR PAKISTAN

Introduction:                                                                                                              

The events of 9/11 represented a critical threshold in Pakistan’s foreign policy. General Musharraf was among the first foreign leaders to have received a clarion call from Washington. “You are either with us or against us” was the massage[1]. With its own post independence political history replete with endemic crises and challenges that perhaps no other country in the world had ever experience, Pakistan stood there aghast already burdened with a legacy of multiple challenges, both domestic and external, when the tragedy of 9/11 presented it with new ominous realities, and also an opportunity to think anew and act anew [2]. Pakistan faced the worst dilemma of its life. It did not know which way to go and which way not to. Terrorism became world’s foremost and “unifocal” concern transcending all other global challenges.

US-Pakistan relations in historic perspective:

Over the last six decades relations between Pakistan and US have seen many ups and downs, punctuated by intense engagement by and strong distinct estrangement. Each country has tried to influence other with its own peculiar needs. Pakistan once viewed, as the most allied ally when suited to US interest in 1950s, became the most sectioned ally of the US in 90s. The intensity of relations varied from one extreme to that of completely ignoring the other as in 1971, to that of urgent action as was seen immediately after the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in December 1979 or during the war on terrorism after 9/11[3]. A new era of US-Pakistan relations started after the event of 9/11. Pakistan took u-turn towards Afghanistan[4]

Anti Americanism in the Muslim world:

Since September 2001 till today, that is, just within nine years the US has lost much of its good will and probably all of its moral foundations essentially because of its foreign policy, its imperialistic attitude of not listening to its allies and its outright disdain for international law, erosion of its moral ground and imposition of its own culture and values upon others. Botched diplomacy, imperialistic policies and brutal expression of its power have left legacy of resentment, fear and anxiety especially in the Muslim World[5].

Many Muslims also stressed that Israel’s political and territorial strength has not exactly been domestically resourced. It has developed rather as a rentier state, depending heavily on outside, specifically American, assistance. From 1949 to 2002 US grants to Israel totaled over $ 87 billion and from 1991 the annual amount registered a dramatic rise, reaching a little more than $4 billion in the fiscal year of 2000.  Further Muslims hold that the US has persistently overlooked that its sides with the state that has been progressively taken over by Jewish extremists[6].

From 1945 to 2003, the US attempted to overthrow than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many million more to a life of agony and despair[7]. America treats itself above all laws and conventions. Its shameless invasion of Iraq, the merciless massacre of its innocent civilians and horrific torture of suspects swelled the ranks of American-haters and created many a suicide bombers[8].

When the US indulges in military adventures abroad, it is not free of reaction at home. People within the US have been influenced by an increasing appreciation of what their country represents to the outside world[9].

Post 9/11 challenges faced by Pakistan:

Pakistan faced worst dilemma of life. It seemed as Pakistani president and officials have become the sole spokesmen for the US in threatening the Taliban and want to convey that our cooperation in the US lead effort is unconditional and we would not even let our national interest and integrity come in way of this cooperation. In Musharraf own words, 9/11 “came as a thunderbolt” presenting acute challenges as well as opportunities[10].

The important challenges faced by Pakistan in changed world scenario after 9/11 events are Pakistan nuclear program, Kashmir issue, anti terrorism movement, and the economy of Pakistan, indo-US strategic and civil cooperation agreements, a ten years defense pact, a nuclear agreement and agreement on civil nuclear cooperation[11]. The situation in Pakistan has assumed many alarming proportions as the suicide bombers that once targeted the American soldiers and Western installations in Afghanistan has turned their guns towards Pakistan[12].

Pakistani forces are fighting against terrorists and insurgents on its own soil. Drone attacks on our people by US led forces have become daily routine. US special operations forces seemed in FATA to provoke Pakistan army to launch full scale attack in North Waziristan[13].

The latest act of terrorism has ensured that Pakistani living America will again be singled out in their workplace, recreational centers, school, colleges, restaurants, trains, buses, and even on the streets[14]. Pak army are fighting against terrorists and all these thorns will be gradually weeded out from our garden, our Pakistan[15].

Conclusion:

A proxy war is being fought on our soil. PAKISTAN IS THE ONLY Muslim country with an ongoing military operation against its own people. We have brought the anti-Taliban war into Pakistan which puts our armed forces on the wrong side of the people. Our sovereignty is being violated with impunity. Our freedom of action in our own interest is being questioned and undermined. We are accepting the responsibility for crimes we have not committed. Our problems are further implicated by the complex regional configuration with American sitting in Afghanistan, new Indo-US nexus and Indian increasing influence in Afghanistan. Our domestic failures have seriously constricted our foreign policy options. Our problems are not external but domestic. We need domestic consolidation, politically, economically and socially.


[1] Pervez Musharraf, In the Line of Fire (New York: Free Press, 2006), p. 201.  

[2] Shamshad Ahmad, “Post-9/11 Turnaround”, World Times, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2008), p. 7.

[3] Qadar Baksh Bloch, “Engagement and Estrangement in US-Pakistan Relations”, The Dialogue, (Peshawar: Quarterly Journal) Vol. 1, No. 4 (2006), p. 28.

[4] “Pakistan Foreign Relations” (Islamabad: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2002), p. 77.

[5] Qadar Bakhsh Bloch, “American Intervention in the Muslim World: Before and Beyond 9/1”, The Dialogue, (Peshawar: Quarterly Journal) Vol. 1, No .3 (2006), p. 1.

[6] Amin Saikal, Islam and the WEST: Conflict or Cooperation? (United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 90.

[7] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (London: Zed Books, 2003), p. 352.

[8] S.G. Jilanee, “Why They Love To Hate America?”, South Asia, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2010), p. 17.

[9] Ishrat Saleem, “Americans Against American Policies”, Daily Times (May 5, 2010), p. 5.

[10] “Pakistan Chronology” (Islamabad: Ministry of Information and Media Development, 2001-2008), p. 55.

[11] Sajjad Shaukat, “Defence Day: We Are At War”, The Post (September 7, 2009), p. 5.

[12] Shabbir Chaudhry, “Suicide Bombing”, World Times, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2008), p.16.

[13] Javed Hussain, “A War Without End”, Dawn (May 3, 2010), p. 7.

[14] Anjum Niaz, “Good News and Bad”, The News (May 5, 2010), p. 7.

[15] Muhammad Amjad, “A tribute to Our Shuhada”,  Pakistan Observer (May 5, 2010), p. 5.

America’s Interests in South Asia

  “South Asia is most dangerous place” on the earth, said by President Clinton when he was going to visit South Asia in 2000. This statement shows that how much America keen about the region. Before World War II America was not very much involve in this region but after the war US’s primary objective was to develop relations with the states of South Asia who came in to being all of a sudden after the end of World War II.  After 1945 US realize that there lies world’s 40 percent population which may go to communist block. By looking this, US started to develop ties with South Asian states. The region has always been an area where great powers used to play games at large (A.Z Hilali, 2010). We can say that the South Asian states are players between world powers to, especially between US and Russia and China.

In 1950s Pakistan’s number was second in receiving aid and then the rest of the states. Military aid to Pakistan was in the shape of two agreements known as SEATO and SENTO in 1954 and 1955 respectively, although these agreements never came in to practice as for as it was the case for Pakistan. Later on US do facilitate and assist Pakistan by giving weapons and ammunition especially during the soviet’s invasion in Afghanistan. And with the incident of 9/11, US aid to Pakistan in almost every sphere increased dramatically as Pakistan had become the major ally for US in the region as it was in 1979. Another important state of the region is India which has become very vital for US now days. US throughout the history has assisted more than of Pakistan justifying it with the statements that India is much larger than of Pakistan so there is no comparison of aid or assistance. While growing Indian economy and power is also in favor of US as she wants a state in the region which can counter the Chinese influence from further growing in Afghanistan. Pakistan as a front line state in so called “war against terrorism” and India as a state of having capacity of becoming regional power has made this region very important for Washington. South Asia today is one of the world’s greatest laborites of political, economics and social changes and challenges. To meet these challenges US had many purposes. Main purpose of US foreign policy towards South Asia is to achieve its global strategic and political goals. US’s goal in the region are not shaped or concerned with the states at large but they concerned with the usage of these states against China and Russia. For this purpose US gave started to give economic aid to South Asian states as it is the “instrument” of US foreign policy (Charles Wolf, 1964). Before 1945, US interests in the region were very limited and perhaps only were linked to commercial. The American Tobacco Company was making trade with South Asia and many American students of history and education came to South Asia for research in the region which was full of religious and cultural heritage. These were the pre war connections. After World War II most of the states of the Asia, Africa and Europe were weak in military and economics and UK was also no more able to lead the world, so it was American’s turn to lead the world and to maintain balance of power in the world. So US left its traditional policy of “isolationism” and joined world affairs effectively. Main ambition of US was to prevent the area from Soviet communism. Fro this it looked for close cooperation and friends in South Asia too because of its vital position and large number of world’s population.

Primarily US policy should be based on these six principles in South Asia which were made by the policy makers; Firstly always be considered in the light of American national interests in their worldwide extent, secondly recognize the present American heavy involvement and great stake in the future to the countries and people of the area, thirdly develop an integrated approach that gives due attention to the impact of specific actions and of long-term policies on the balance of forces there, fourthly pay special attention to the internal dynamics of the political and social systems, fifthly be based on independent appraisal to avoid any impression of simply endorsing the positions of other countries in the area and outside and sixthly avoid any pressure to “choose” Pakistan and India (Charles Wolf, 1964).

Pakistan as being the second largest state of the region has always remained an “open” country for US throughout the history, because of its geographical location and especially being as an adjacent state to Afghanistan. Several times Pakistan has been remained an important country for US in the region. After getting independence Pakistan was looking for an international partner which can assure Pakistan’s sovereignty and to prevent any aggression from India. Pakistan’s purpose was not to contain communism but to ensure its defense and independence by joining world power. This lead to Pakistan’s shift towards US block. Both signed Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement in 1954, followed by SEATO and CENTO in 1954 and 1955 (Phillips Talbot and S.L. Polpai, 1958). There were also feelings in America that by giving military assistance to Pakistan, we can win the trust of Pakistan. Some events which made Pakistan a close country to US because it was Pakistan who paved the way to US to go to make diplomatic relations with China even during Cold War in 1971. Pakistan set the foundations for both sides especially for US to negotiate their disputes. In 1979, when Soviets invaded in Afghanistan, US became fearful of Soviet communist expansionism. So it asked for Pakistan to help in this regard and Pakistan did it. US provided weapons, money, ammunition, technology and experts to Pakistan to counter Soviets. It was a long war which was fought jointly by Pakistan and Afghan Mujhadins from 1979 to 1989. Attacks of 9/11 on US made once again Pakistan as a close ally of US, as US was going to start war against Afghanistan. Pakistan was the neighboring state, so it got real importance at the scene. US demanded Air basis, intelligence sharing and logistic support from Pakistan which was fulfilled. As a result US declared Pakistan as “major non-NATO Ally”, on June 2004, with the statement that “this status would further enhance relations in defense and cooperation between the two sides”. Because of its proximity to Afghanistan and formerly close to Taliban and being an Islamic country possessing nuclear capability, Pakistan was considered to be very crucial to root out terrorism in the region with the collaboration of US.

Later in 1960s and 1970s the US was not very much in the affairs of South Asia. It adopted the policy of neutrality during the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971 which hurt Pakistan more than of India. These two decades were a matter for Pakistani leaders to think seriously about changing US behavior towards Pakistan. This US attitude will not facilitate Pakistan in any future war so Pakistan should not be dependent only on US. But during the Russian invasion in Afghanistan in 1979 was another turn in the Pak-US relations, as US was looking for the containment of communism in the region, Pakistan became most important to US and became a front line state in the Afghan Jihad against Soviets.

At the moment condition for US in Pakistan is not good because of the growing terrorism in Pakistan; public opinion is rapidly turning against US. This is a real threat to Washington as well as to the government of Pakistan, because it would lead to the change in the government set up and the next government may have anti-American ideas. In order to be there and to normalize public, US organized “Strategic Dialogue” with Pakistan, whose first round held in Washington on 24-25 March 2010 and second would be held in Islamabad in July. During these dialogues Pakistan and US made several agreements on trade, communication, technology, weapons, education, human development, energy, defense, terrorism, security (Anees ur Rehman, 2010). Agriculture and many other fields. Some consider these dialogues as the most important talks between the both sides ever in history. But even these dialogues, US leadership is still saying that Pakistan is not very much serious in taking actions against militants which are having there safe heaven in northern areas of Pakistan and on Pak-Afghan border. US have put pressure on Pakistan to take actions against these militants and asked for “do more”. Although sometimes, President Obama has praised the action of Pakistan armed forces in FATA and Swat.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of newly developing states were a great threat to US and international peace, so being the superpower US took initiative towards Pakistan and India on two concerns. First that there would be no deployment of nuclear weapons and second was that US got assurance from both sides that they would not go into serious and sensitive nuclear war. Furthermore US also made plea of the no more experiment or development of ballistic missiles. US leadership’s policies have done well in the region either they are in the shape of embargo, sanctions or cut down in economic aid. However major issues such as Kashmir are still to be solved where India is showing no relaxation. The need is to bring India on negotiation in this matter too and US can do it. Another way of the salvation of Kashmir issue is the mediation of US but at the moment US is not ready as well as India is continuously saying that it is bilateral issue and we would not accept any third party’s involvement in the matter.

America’s Quest for Global Dominance

In a macroscopic view of United States foreign policy from World War II to the post-Iraq War reconstruction it can be clearly seen the United States’ political, military and economic motives, in comparison, often in sharp contrast, to its outward rhetorical support for democracy, the Middle-East peace process, free trade, and human rights. There are clear differences between positions taken by the US government and the people of the world regarding a proposed invasion of Iraq. It can be examined the doctrinal thinking of the Establishment in the United Kingdom and the US, such as in regard to propaganda use, centralized decision making and imperialism of Western powers from recent American invasions to the European empires.

In September 2002 the Bush administration announced its National Security Strategy, which declared the right to resort to force to eliminate any perceived challenge to US global hegemony, which is to be permanent. The new grand strategy aroused deep concern worldwide, even within the foreign policy elite at home. Also in September, a propaganda campaign was launched to depict Saddam Hussein as an imminent threat to the United States and to insinuate that he was responsible for the 9/11 atrocities and was planning others. President Bush and his associates also persisted in undermining international efforts to reduce threats to the environment that are recognized to be severe, with pretexts that barely concealed their devotion to narrow sectors of private power.

Current U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Iraq are not a specific response to September 11, but simply the continuation of a consistent half-century of foreign policy an “imperial grand strategy” in which the United States has attempted to “maintain its hegemony through the threat or use of military force. U.S. legal code definition of terrorism, is an exact description of U.S. foreign policy (especially regarding Cuba, Central America, Vietnam and much of the Middle East), although the term is rarely used in this way in the U.S. media even when the World Court in 1986 condemned Washington for “unlawful use of force” in Nicaragua. U.S. is a rogue nation in its foreign policies and its “contempt for international law,”

Bush administration was determined to use terrorism as an excuse to pursue a radical right-wing agenda. Other states perceived the same opportunity. Russia eagerly joined the coalition against terror expecting to receive authorization for its atrocities in Chechnya, and was not disappointed. China happily joined for similar reasons. Israel recognized that it would be able to crush Palestinians even more brutally, with even firmer US support. And so on, throughout much of the world.

America’s strategy for the future is nothing less than the maintenance of American hegemony through the use or threat of military force, a strategy that threatens to leave the world a more dangerous and divided place. The only other world superpower is, with any chance whatever of curbing America’s ideologically driven quest for global dominance, World Public Opinion. It is a propaganda war waged upon the American public by the Bush administration. Now it is maintained and expanded by Obama Administration. This is by no means a new development. American foreign policy historically is showing a remarkably pattern of hypocrisy, racism, exploitation, and cynical manipulation of public opinion by successive US administrations. What is new and disturbing about the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq is the precedent America and Britain have set for establishing new norms of international law. The concept of “preventative war” must have its victims and those victims must be weak, yet important enough to be worth the trouble. Any country that is opposed to US interests but is capable of defending itself i.e., those with nuclear capabilities, will be left alone. The clear and catastrophic message to opponents of American hegemony is to get nuclear-quick. So the view of American foreign policy lies in stark contrast to that depicted by corporate media, popular pundits, and US heads of state.

There are many questions still waited for answer i.e., Was the United States really concerned with democracy when it supported a viscous proxy war in Nicaragua, even though their government had been democratically elected? Is the United States government hypocritical when it condemns state sponsored terrorism when it sponsored terrorism itself against such countries as Cuba and Nicaragua? And, how does the United States rationalize the School of the Americas, which has long been understood as a training ground for Latin American neo-fascist terrorists? Is the United States truly interested in peace in the Middle East when it denies the “Saudi Plan” set forth in early 2002, which would offer “full recognition and integration of Israel into the region in exchange for withdrawal to the 1967 borders?” Why did USA goes to war with Iraq when no imminent threat of WMD’s could be found, no connection to Al Qaida could be proven, and multiple studies were produced by leading agencies suggesting that invading Iraq would only decrease domestic security?

The answers are surprisingly consistent with what US foreign policy guided by imperial global expansion and military dominance. Countries must be aligned with US interest in order to ensure capital penetration and corporate and military hegemony. If a country does not choose to align, then it will wind up a target of US backed aggression, or branded a terrorist state. In 1965, Indonesia expressed its intention to elder statesman Ellsworth Bunker that they wished to stand on their own two feet in developing their economy, free from foreign, especially Western influence’. A National Intelligence Estimate in September 1965 warned that if the efforts of the mass-based PKI to energize and unite the Indonesian nation succeeded, Indonesia would provide a powerful example for the underdeveloped world and hence a credit to communism and a setback for Western prestige. A US backed coup ensued, killing a lot number of people, and installed the brutal dictator General Suharto. This is the cost, of not aligning with the “master” state.

There are other ways to get the job done, such via the UN, the World Court, and so forth. Given that the U.S. tends to dominate the UN and most other international agencies, this does seem to raise two important issues. First what really is the difference between the U.S. playing the hegemonic role via the UN, etc., and doing so all on its own? But second, it does show the arrogance of the U.S. that even dominating the world through international organizations it largely runs is still “not good enough” for it. Is America really an evil empire, I think an objective look at the historical record will provide the evidence that America has done well too for people than any country in the history of the world. The United States rebuilt Europe twice in the 20th century after two world wars. Europe was liberated from the Nazi menace primarily through the intervention of the United States. Eastern Europe was liberated from the tyranny of communism primarily because the United States was willing to take the leadership role in destroying it.

The U.S. neglect or spurning of the World Court and the UN, but these agencies were also set up by the imperialist powers, and serve to support the continuation of capitalist-imperialism. The only real solution to this problem of not just “U.S. world hegemony”, but of the capitalist-imperialist system that lies behind it, is social revolution. The basic problem, in both this country and the world, is the continued rule of the capitalist-imperialist class, and the basic solution to that problem is for the working people of the world to overthrow that murderous ruling class. U.S. economic dominance had fallen from 50% at its post-World War II high to only about half of that in 1973. Doesn’t that show that the U.S. is doing a pretty crappy job of dominating the world? In a similar vein, “why there is such a huge national debt and trade deficit if the U.S. is so in control of the world economy?” There is a giant, successful conspiracy running things in US. If the U.S. is actually dominating the world, and doing so for at least 60 years now, then there has to be some continuing, coherent political body within the U.S. that is coordinating all this. I think this body is the U.S. capitalist-imperialist ruling class which rules via its two main political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, as well as through its ownership and control of almost all the media, education, and so forth.