America On Trial
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their joint press conference displayed bonhomie that bordered on an embarrassing display of flirtation. “We had a PPP meeting,” Qureshi gushed. “That means it was a Public Private Partnership!” This inane schoolboy humor aroused gales of laughter from Clinton. One doesn’t know whether it was Cupid or Chanakya at work. This public display of extra warmth did not quite obscure the denial of a Nuclear Civilian deal to Pakistan. Nevertheless Indian analysts are dismayed by the US attitude towards nuclear-proliferating Pakistan.
Pakistan promised dollars and arms that can be used only in conventional war. But the critics should not resort to hasty condemnation. They should await the end result of the US-Pak interaction. It has to be seen whether the US has finally gone under or whether it is very, very belatedly trying to extricate itself from the deep hole that it dug itself into. The critics themselves have woken up to the subversion of America’s national interest by its leaders very late. This scribe has been warning for over a decade about the distortions of US policy that is now exposing Washington’s impotence. A quick recap of those warnings would be in order.
This scribe described the US corporate-China nexus cemented by their joint approach to Pakistan as the real axis of evil. Initially Israel was part of this axis. Befriending China to split it from the Soviet Union made strategic sense in the early 1970s. But this axis soon degenerated into an unholy exploitative combine that helped spread nuclear proliferation and encouraged terrorism. Israel, which helped China become a nuclear power, may be having second thoughts now. It may have to rue the day when it strengthened China. In the years to come China could dump Israel because it no longer needs its arms or technology. China needs energy which is provided by Islamic nations bitterly opposed to Israel.
Nixon as the co-architect of this axis along with Kissinger was tainted and discarded. Out of power he confessed to columnist William Safire that by building up China the US had created a Frankenstein’s monster. While Nixon sank into oblivion, Kissinger’s power and influence grew with each succeeding presidency. He remains the point’s man of the US-China axis.
Thanks to this axis, America today is not only a huge debtor to China but is also impotent to counter Beijing ‘s excesses in promoting nuclear proliferation and terrorism. The establishments in America and China are both corrupt. But in China power-driven politicians are in the driving seat. In America profit-driven bankers are in the driving seat. That is why China has been prevailing over America. Enough evidence to substantiate this truth has been provided in the past by this scribe. It does not bear repetition. Now America has to extricate Pakistan from the total control exercised over it by China without upsetting its own economic applecart. Chances appear remote but are not
The confusion surrounding the David Coleman Headley case is symptomatic of the complexities attending the US crisis. Headley could not have operated without strong logistical support from sections within the US establishment. He could be part therefore of a powerful fifth column that aids terrorism and has established presence in the governments of America , India and Pakistan.
Headley has implicated serving Pakistan army officers in 26/11. The FBI exposed Headley and arrested him. It forewarned the Indian government of the 26/11 attack. Yet it could not prevent the attack. One prominent Indian columnist described the intelligence provided to India by FBI as “vague”. Identifying the hotels that were to be attacked and the fact that the terrorists would come by sea was anything but vague. Indian agencies provided security to the hotels. But a few days before the attack occurred the security was mysteriously removed.
More ominously, permission to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend a function in one of the targeted hotels before 26/11 occurred was granted by security agencies. Why? Was this monumental ineptitude or sabotage? No inquiry into this lapse has come to light. The bottom line is that either deliberately or by default the operations of Headley were facilitated by America, India and Pakistan. So, is there or is there not an evil axis at work?
America wants the civilian democratic government in Pakistan to exercise its authority over its army. According to reports some far reaching amendments to the Pakistan constitution are likely to be introduced within the fortnight to achieve this goal. The results of this effort must be seen before any final judgment on the US achievement in Pakistan can be made. However, for argument’s sake, even if civilian democracy does get strengthened at the expense of the army in Pakistan that will not necessarily solve India’s problems. The litmus test for India will remain Pakistan’s attitude to China vis-à-vis India. Both Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minister Qureshi have indicated their total compliance with China ‘s anti-Indian role in South Asia. American and Indian interests in Pakistan may not therefore coincide.
US-Pakistan relations are presently in a flux. A clearer picture must emerge before defining India’s own policy. If present trends continue and both America and Pakistan continue to kowtow to China at India’s expense, New Delhi must make fundamental changes in its foreign policy. Alternative options are available. India can dump America, curb China and tame Pakistan. But it would be futile to outline the measures necessary to achieve this as long as we are ruled by a political class that can neither conjure the vision to aspire, nor summon the will to act.
By Rajinder Puri