After learning positive lessons from the past conflicts, adopting new world trends like renunciation of war, peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development, it is expected that unlike the non-state actors, state actors will behave with responsibility. Quite contrarily, American irresponsible leaders are still displaying bizarre approach towards Pakistan.
Although in the past few years, contradictory statements of the US President Obama and high officials have been reflecting an ambivalent approach towards Pakistan, particularly in the post-Osama scenario, yet recently tension which already existed between both the countries, reached new heights when by showing irrational approach, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen accused that Pakistan is waging a ‘proxy war’ in Afghanistan with the assistance of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He also blamed the Haqqani network’s “acts as a veritable arm” of ISI, alleging for a recent assault on the US embassy. Let us analyse the US confused policy towards Pakistan, which proves that the United States is an irrational state actor.
However, Admiral Mullen’s irresponsible statement was also repeated by the other US top officials who issued stern warning about Islamabad’s failure to crack down on the Haqqani network, and raised the possibility of US unilateral action in North Waziristan.
On the other side, on September 26, in order to defuse the tension, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter met President Asif Zardari and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and both sides agreed to remove ‘misunderstanding’ and continue with the negotiation process to avoid the current relations from turning further worse. In this regard, US Deputy Secretary of State for South Asia, Robert Blake also said that there is a need to enhance ties with Pakistan and help its people.
Meanwhile, on September 29, noting the gravity of the situation, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Gilani convened the All Parties Conference (APC) which was participated by the top political leaders, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Addressing the APC, Prime Minister Gilani, while rejecting the US assertions said that Pakistan cannot be pressurised to “do more” and urged the nation to stand united to confront the challenges.
ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha told the participants of the APC that the Haqqani network, to which Pakistan is blamed for having links, operated independently in seven provinces of Afghanistan. He vowed that Pakistan would not launch any military offensive on the behest of others. Pasha further revealed that the Haqqani network was not operating from Pakistani territory.
Rational approach of Islamabad could be assessed from the unanimously adopted joint declaration of the APC which rejected baseless allegations of the US. The participants of the APC forged unity in the showdown with Washington, recognising the need of a new policy with a focus on peace and reconciliation. Nevertheless, rejecting American coercive diplomacy and pressure tactics, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership agreed in principle that no compromise would be made on the national security and sovereignty of the country and that all the decisions of the All Parties Conference would be implemented in letter and spirit.
On the other side being a responsible state actor, China has tried to defuse the Pak-US tension, while endorsing Pakistan’s stand. In this regard, on September 27, China’s Vice Premier Meng Jianzhu extended full support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, hailing Pak Army’s role in fight against terror. On the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei also expressed similar thoughts.
Nonetheless paradoxical policy of the US high officials about Pakistan has continued, exposing America as a reckless state actor. In this respect, before his retirement, Admiral Mike Mullen again repeated his allegations about Haqqani group and ISI. On the same day a Pentagon spokesman pointed out that Defence Secretary Leon Panetta endorsed the view of Admiral Mike Mullen.
On September 30, while speaking in optimistic tone, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that the US wants to continue to work to put its relationship with Pakistan on a stronger footing, but at the same time, she accused that the Obama administration would like to have an end to safe heavens in Pakistan.
On October 1, President Asif Ali Zardari asked the United States to resume a serious dialogue with Pakistan on the way forward in the relationship and counter-terror efforts. On the same day, Prime Minister Gilani declared that Pakistan could play a key role for peace, but all the bigger or smaller countries should talk to Pakistan on equality basis.
Notably, tension has been escalating between Islamabad and Washington. And America has intensified its blame game of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan by the Haqqani group and ISI, while, in the recent past, aerial and ground shelling by the US-supported NATO forces inside Pakistan’s border, and the US-backed intermittent attacks by the armed militants who crossed inside Pakistan from Afghanistan, have kept on going.
In fact, by making the Haqqani network its scapegoat, America seeks to fulfill its various. US wants to held Pakistan responsible for its defeat in Afghanistan By implicating Islamabad, the US also intends to justify before its public—a prolonged war against terrorism, heavy cost of war and financial crisis inside America.
It is mentionable that US irrational approach has also been followed by India which has recently revived peace process with Pakistan. On the secret urge of Washington, on September 27, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, while endorsing US Admiral Mike Mullen’s allegations regarding ISI and Haqqani network, said, “There is now growing awareness of the groups which indulge in these nefarious activities.”
On September 30, a US key Republican presidential candidate John Huntsman remarked, “We have a good partner in India…the uncertainty coming from Pakistan in the war on terrorism…US needs to shore up its relationship with India.”
Similarly on the push of America, on October 1, the Afghanistan’s intelligence agency blamed Pakistan and Taliban’s leadership for plotting the recent assassination of ex-president Burhanuddin Rabbani.
It is noteworthy that under the pretext of Haqqani group, and unrest in the country, which has collevtively been created by CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad, US India and Israel have been destablising Pakistan to ‘denculearise’ the latter which is the only ‘nuclearsed’ country in the Islamic world.
Under the guise of blame game regarding Haqqani group, US could directly attack North Waziristan through barrage of aerial strikes. And US seeks to shift Afghan war to Pakistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
This is of particular attention that renowned power-theorists, Morgenthau, Waltz and Kissinger, while echoing Machiavelli and Hobbes, see international relations as constituting a search for security in the world where there is no super agency to impose law, and where maximisation of power is the only route to state security. But these theories cannot be applied in the present era of political ‘rationalism’ which demands mutual dependence of nations upon each other.
In the aftermath of 9/11, western thinktanks have recognized inter-relationship between economics, politics and terrorism. In the present era of globalisation, there is a direct relationship between internal and external security. If America intends to convert Pakistan into a “failed state” by causing instability, it is, in fact, creating external insecurity which is likely to further harm America’s larger geo-political and economic interests on regional and global level.
As regards the question of Pak-US security, perhaps Washington has failed to recognize that security is a two-way traffic. If America needs security, Pakistan also wants the same. Security cannot be obtained by endangering the security of our country. In these terms, it is a matter of mutual dependence—not that of master-client relationship as American misperceive. US also needs Islamabad’s assistance to implement its exist strategy from Afghanistan. Even after withdrawal from Afghanistan, America will have to depend upon Pakistan’s help.
Returning to our earlier discussion, US has proved itself as an irrational state actor.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations