United States Time to Write Off Pakistan
The United States has carried on a charade in its policies towards Pakistan since 9/11 maintaining that General Musharraf was an indispensable American ally and a stout fighter against international terrorism. That the United States policies on Pakistan since 9/11 were General Musharraf-centric and not Pakistan-centric exposes the hollowness of the American policies towards Pakistan. General Musharraf could not have single handedly carried on the American war against terror without the willing support of the Pakistani people. After eight years of eulogizing General Musharraf the truth seems to be dawning on the United States that it was a wrong bet and that the United States had not played its cards well.
What has been the net result of such American policies towards Pakistan? The net result today is that General Musharraf stands besieged in Pakistan by his own people who are increasingly taking to the streets demanding an end to the brutal political suppression by the military regime and the restoration of democracy in Pakistan. Pakistan's frontier regions from which Pakistan's war against terror in support of United States strategy should have been launched are in full control of Islamic fundamentalists groups waging a war against Musharraf, the Pakistan Army and the United States. The Pakistan Army is demoralized and divided over the military regimes' support of American strategies, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar the key figures wanted by the United States for the 9/11 bombings continue to be out of reach of the Americans and in Pakistan sanctuaries by kind courtesy of the Pakistan Army and General Musharraf.
The striking feature today is that the besieged Pakistani military dictator has now started blaming the United States for the challenges and ills confronting him. Further he has now seemingly started defying United States advice and directives to improve the worsening situation in Pakistan by calling off the Emergency and adapt to political demands being made for democracy. This was evident from the recent visit of top US Administration officials to Islamabad which ended in virtual failure.
The United States too after eight years of unreservedly supporting General Musharraf against strident criticism from within Pakistan and criticism from international quarters has now stated voicing its displeasure publicly against the military ruler. The US media has finally been orchestrated towards this end and is now calling for reversal of US policies towards General Musharraf and reassessing his strategic utility to the United States.
What is General Musharraf's strategic utility in United States strategies today? The answer is a total negative. In eight years of military rule under him with vital props provided by the United States the prevalent picture today is that Pakistan and Pakistani masses have emerged as the most anti-US nation in the world. Further both General Musharraf and the Pakistan Army are neither inclined nor willing to prosecute United States strategies against global terror within Pakistani territories bordering Afghanistan. This has a direct bearing on America's war efforts in Afghanistan where the neighboring instability and Pakistan's complicity in abetting the Taliban military operation within Afghanistan are causing grave challenges to US and NATO military operations.
Pakistan under eight years of military rule and despite billions of dollars in aid from the United States both for economic development and bolstering the Pakistan Army is fast slipping once again to a 'failed state' status. In United States strategic doctrines 'failed states' are deemed as direct threats to United States security.
If that be so and against the explosive political situation generated in Pakistan directly by General Musharraf and indirectly by United States policies centered on him, the time has finally and crucially come when the United States has to painfully write off Pakistan and its strategic utility as a prime determinant from its strategies and foreign policy formulations.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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