“Leading from behind” & US
Time is not neutral and so is not the world opinion, the mechanism for achieving world leadership summons up new strategy and calls for equal distribution of technological resources because it is a proper proposition of peaceful settlement of external and internal threats. The American nation that exists today is vastly differing from pre-September 11, 2001. Brutally divided government still seeks to expand war expenses, and engineer risky military missions to deal with dueling national security narrative of “homeland”. May be all true, but the centuries old US military and security institutions are seems to be losing glory and resources, a development that also fleets mysterious war managers and diverse cultural problems of civil-military relations.
In the context of leadership ability of the US as the “only” super power, the death and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Syria embodies public opinion, rather than Western media coverage and reporting that campaigns strategic-changes, abruptness, and quite different America for the world audience. The creation of modern American model is deliberately constructed around the developing nations throughout the world. Nations in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East were supposed to create their own militaries and security institutions accordingly. In an age of global politics, highly original solutions to resolve the regional conflicts are being hampered only by the fact that the US had not have the slightest idea that implementing post-9/11 security policy would potentially harm the economy and security of allay countries. Consequences of such policy approach can be exemplified in the case of economic crisis in Europe and fall-out of war on terror on Pakistan. The biggest flaw in the US leadership role is that it effectively blurs high-internal threat conditions, and thereby multiplies the strength of average miscreant abroad. The militant outfits such as al-Qaeda, neo-Nazis and TTP are reached to a position of un-authorizing the US initiatives in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya and European countries. By not recognizing the fact that growth of extremism is not a religion or country specific, the US is becoming irrelevant in the field of negotiation and peacemaking. To underrate the positive impact of resolution of Israel-Palestine conflict and negative impact of attack on Iran, with a persistent error to encourage militia-style forces in developing countries is a recipe for further demolition and disaster. This reflection also includes the consequences of continued strategic deficit that America is experiencing. Primarily, further concentration of military presence in almost every ocean of the world is the suitable policy for the future US leadership.
Despite the tremendous military capacity and outmatched in resources, the Soviet Union collapsed, but, the US is just unable to change and adjust its basic foreign policy approach towards allies and strategic friends. As it is seen in the case of Afghanistan that the US leaders continued to pressure Pakistan and regional powers that the US national security depends on the steadfastness, loyalty and reliability of its allies. A careful examination of this formula reveals that such a scheme reinforces “diplomatic rigidity” because it coerces partners on war on terror to keep carrying out duties to keep the US happy. In the case of Pakistan, addition of issuing threats and taking military actions to convince that the US is serious in stabilizing Afghanistan, has become a diplomatic tool of choice. The current high-tech advancement, especially in drone technology also codifies the strategic-sense for which the US is paying less attention to the issue of credibility and focusing more on mobility of strategic resources to almost every continent of the world. Nonetheless, the new “world disorder” signaling rapid and significant process of provocations and hence shift in the global balance of power. Instead of leading from the front, the current US leadership faces a definite geopolitical and economic challenge from China, Russia, India, Brazil and some European and Asian powers including Japan.
Pakistan’s initiative to enhance economic/military cooperation with Russia and India should be seen as exercising control over long-range security and economic objectives. These efforts have sufficiently recognized by both democratic and military establishments in Pakistan. Despite its role as frontline state in war on terror, Pakistan has only faced ingrained attitude of the US and NATO member states, although the scope of economic and security sufferings of Pakistan is obvious and obviously getting worse. This assessment leads to a very logical conclusion that the US should consider it credible that “leading from behind is not leading at all”.
—The author is a Denmark-based National Security Expert and defence analyst.