“I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose
happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.”
The US administration has always in its relations with foreign countries practised hypocrisy and this has in turn resulted in the failure of a majority of their initiatives in foreign lands.
As far as its relations with Pakistan are concerned, successive US administrations have tried to use them to achieve their own strategic interests, even if it resulted in an exorbitant price that the people of Pakistan had to pay, which they have been doing since long.
If we cast a cursory glance from the time Pakistan joined SEATO and CENTO, and the role played by this country during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, it is evident that Pakistan has taken care of the US interests since after independence, whereas the US has always ditched Pakistan whenever it required the superpower’s support. The Indian aggression in 1971 war and Pakistan’s quest for nuclear weapons to ensure its safety are two examples which clearly indicate its attitude towards Pakistan.
At present, and more specifically after the 9/11 incident, the US has once again created a situation where Pakistan became a frontline state in the global war on terror which originally was an American concern. But due to its backlash the Afghan war has spilled over into Pakistan creating grave economic and security problems for its people. Undeniably, the Pak-US relations have more often remained tense, if not strained due to a variety of reasons.
Nevertheless, the US has been reluctant to provide the much needed arms and ammunition such as night-fighting equipment, ranging from high-tech radars to sophisticated night vision goggles, and combat helicopters which are the basic tools in Pakistan’s fight against terror. It is primarily for this reason that the insurgency has been dragged on for such a long time.
In addition, the US has also failed to rein in the present Karzai government in Afghanistan, which is a puppet of the Indian administration, and has allowed its intelligence agency, RAW, to operate training camps on the Afghan soil for insurgents, who later cross over into Pakistan.
The Government of Pakistan, time and again, has provided irrefutable evidence to the US about India providing financial support and sophisticated weapons to the insurgents, who are battling a bloody war with Pakistan’s security forces in Baluchistan and Pakhtunkhwa. However, America has remained silent on this issue. Next, it has also failed to stop the illicit trade of drugs from Afghanistan that has resulted in the creation of nearly four million drug addicts Pakistan.
In this context, it is really surprising when reports appear in the media that the US administration is reviewing plans to directly carry out unilateral strikes in Pakhtunkhwa comprising settled areas. If this happens, it could lead to serious repercussions for the democratic government in Pakistan.
Ostensibly, these reports have appeared after Pakistanis have been complaining about the drone attacks that are carried out by the CIA in the mountainous areas of this country.
While the US argues that the attacks were taking place in the areas that were not easily accessible to the Pakistan army, its decision to strike in settled areas would further alienate large sections of the Pakistani population. Therefore, this insolent behaviour of the US will not resolve the issue of terrorist attacks but could lead to the breeding of an entire new generation that is even more hostile against them.
The pretext that the Americans have constructed is that in case there is “a successful terror attack on its (US) soil”, they would not hesitate to carry out unilateral strikes inside Pakistan.
In case the US government believes that carrying out air strikes could be an effective option to reduce the threat it is facing from the militants, it is undoubtedly living in a fool’s paradise. As a matter of fact, while the air strikes may be able to target a few terrorists, the colossal collateral damage that they will cause will never help them achieve any purpose. On the contrary, it would generate more hatred for the US that will intensify with time. Hence, increasing the threat of terrorist attacks against the US.
Unilateral air strikes in the tribal areas would lead to calls for revenge and result in damaging America’s relationship not only with the Pakistani government, but also with its military establishment. However, it is possible that the US administration may plan or conceive such ideas out of desperation because of its failure to achieve its political and military objectives in Afghanistan.
The US is well aware of the fact that in spite of the policy of increasing their ground forces in Afghanistan they have been losing the war. And even the policy of bribing the warlords, which has cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars to date, has resulted in complete failure.
Thus, the US must understand that in case they opt for unilateral strikes in Pakistan’s settled areas it will add a new dimension to the Afghan war. Consequently at the end of the day, the US will not be able to sustain this adventure and will have to pull out from Afghanistan in a huff, which will create more serious problems not only for the Americans, but also for the western democracies.
It would, therefore, be suitable if the US took Pakistan into confidence and allow them to take care of the security issues that are connected with Afghanistan and the South Asian region.
Furthermore, it would be advisable if the US played a positive role to prop up Pakistan’s economy and also provide the combat tools to the security forces of this country that are essential to win the war against the militants in Afghanistan and some regions of Pakistan’s northern province.
It would be far better if the US trusts Pakistan’s capability to deal with the situation, and to begin with more intelligence sharing could definitely result in the achievement of common goals.
The writer is a freelance columnist.