Tuesday, May 3, 2011

US Pakistan: cheek to jowl

Osama Bin Laden's death has, as it should, raised questions about US relations with Pakistan. However, realistically speaking, calls from the wells of Congress, the press, and the street for abrupt end of aid to Islamabad are premature. The simple truth is: the US'
hip is knitted to Pakistan's hip.
This scorpion like dance lies in decisions made in Washington a half century or more ago to tilt in favour of Pakistan and punish 'neutralist' India. Not only that the US backed the military seizure of power that engaged in pushing an Islamist agenda. Who remembers Ayub Khan? The Baghdad Pact? CENTO? SEATO? General Zia al Haq proved especially a useful tool until he's was blown up along with the US ambassador. Military in power means arms to stay in power, suppress internal rivals, and engage in outside adventures.
Pakistan lost three wars against India, and the ground was laid for seeing India as its main enemy and target, the more especially one war cost Pakistan its eastern property now known as 'Bangladesh'.
As a result of US' anti India bias, Pakistan became a reservoir of America's taxpayer largesse.
Clever by half Ronald Reagan [and Jimmy Carter] pumped in billions in arms and funds to defeat the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to save its client. When the Soviets withdrew, so did Reagan's concern as the Taliban seized power in that mosaic of tribes with a capital in Kabul. By washing its hands, the US left Pakistan with a legacy of refugees and other financial strains. And so Pakistan's army and its intelligence arm throw a protective cloak over Afghanistan, as radical Islam seeped into its neighbourhood. Meanwhile, it played the US for all its worth for arms and money even despite the cleavage in military and political identity of views.
If readers of GuamDiary find it troublesome in our argument, we suggest they quickly review US Iran relations until 1979. The US was played like an Amati violin by the Shah for his own advantages, and it is the same with Pakistan today holding the US hostage to its 'realism' in Pakistan, so much so the ally Pakistan is playing both sides of the street as the state descends into anarchy, but the military pulls the strings. [Events in Egypt should be a warning!]
So there's little the US can do to penalise Pakistan. It prefers playing charades with a public who sees through the gambit: Pakistan knew Bin Laden and others, including Mollah Omar are on the receiving end of its protection, largesse, and money a great deal of which comes out of the US rate payers' pockets.
Cheek to jowl is the best way to characterise US Pakistan relations until they implode.

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