The rise of neo-imperialism

Rashid A Mughal

Not too long ago, Henry Kissinger, the well-known American Secretary of State, highlighted the American Foreign Policy in one sentence. He said, “There are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies of America. Our foreign policy is based on exigencies, which keep on changing and so will our policy”. Kissinger is a known anti-Muslim and anti-Islam ex-Secretary of State of America. Two days back, he spilled yet another venom against Muslims by warning that WWIII is round the corner in which Muslims will suffer a crushing defeat and most of Arab world will be controlled by Israel.
During the times of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Reagan, Pakistan was a blue-eyed boy but as Kissinger said, exigencies changed and now Pakistan is a “bad boy”. Instead of regular and continuous support for Pakistan in every field – economic assistance, supply of defence needs and close co-operation on regional and international issues, now is the time for threats of sanctions and “Do-more” mantra and use of other arm twisting tools to force Pakistan follow and tread their line of “directives”. One such arm twisting tool is the signing of Strategic Partnership agreement with India and Israel for co-operation in supply/manufacturing of sophisticated and high-tech defence production equipment. No doubt it has rung alarm bells for Pakistan.
True, India outweigh Pakistan, if it comes to numbers, in terms of size, population, economy, imports and exports, size of army and nuclear armaments. But it is a fact that both are basically poor countries and have millions to feed. If all these resources are diverted towards emancipation of poverty-stricken millions of hungry people in both countries and improvement of their health, education and building of their country’s infrastructure, it would be a better option but looking at the Indian aggressive stance against Pakistan, it seems to be a distant dream. India-US and Israel strategic alliance has created an atmosphere of tension and aggression, as far as Pakistan is concerned. Pakistan, which has been a long time ally of the US and has given tremendous sacrifices, both in terms of lives and economy, today stands neglected because of US two-faced policy.
In order to evaluate whether US foreign policy indeed has two-faces, let’s first follow the liberal narrative concerned with US policy towards Egypt, with a particular focus on Washington’s use of economic tools to influence political and economic goals in the Middle Eastern state. Following an initial assessment of the literature, economic data, and interviews with US public administration representatives and experts on the matter, it is evident that USA has pursued a positive-sum economic interdependence-based policy towards Cairo with the intent of achieving political and economic goals in Egypt. Concurrently, the second stream of the project, which is concerned with the Realist mantra, is focused on the economic sanctions placed on Iran, in the context of the Middle Eastern state’s nuclear programme. Predictably, the respective literature, data and interviewees concerned with US ties with Iran, have conferred the point that Washington, simultaneously adopted a more zero-sum sanctions-based approach in order to achieve political and economic goals in Tehran.
This two-sided US foreign policy approach reveals a capacity for Washington to act pragmatically. However, and perhaps more importantly, this dual-sided approach points to a tendency of failing to take into account the environment in which the polices are being implemented. With respect to Egypt, this was evidenced by the continuation and increase in the provision of economic aid to the country, in spite of deteriorating economic and political conditions in the Middle Eastern state, specifically when it came to Egypt’s experience of the Arab Spring. The same can be said for the US foreign policy towards Iran in the run-up to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which only achieved its goals following the international community’s alignment to the US policy towards Iran, and not as a result of the discrete US sanctions-based policy towards Iran.
It is clear that Washington, DC has demonstrated a willingness to be flexible and pragmatic when practicing foreign policy. That being said, the question arises as to whether this flexibility and pragmatism is being exercised in a manner which maximizes the chances of achieving the explicitly stated US foreign policy goals.
The US has faced criticism for backing right-wing dictators that systematically violated human rights, such as Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, Efraín Ríos Montt of Guatemala, Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentina, Hissène Habré of Chad, Yahya Khan of Pakistan and Suharto of Indonesia. Critics have also accused the United States of supporting Operation Condor, an international campaign of political assassinations and state terror organized by right-wing military dictatorships in the Southern Cone of South America.
Journalists and human rights organizations have been critical of US-led airstrikes and targeted killings by drones which have in some cases resulted in collateral damage of civilian populations. In early 2017, the U.S. faced criticism from scholars, activists and media outlets for dropping 26,171 bombs on seven different countries throughout 2016: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.
It will be pertinent here to mention that the US always pursues its long-term aims and goals with regards to foreign policy guidelines. They have a history of occupation of areas, which they think, are strategically important and vital to them. The second war ended in 1945 but still today you see their forces occupying Okinawa in Japan and they still retain their bases and forces in Germany. They have not removed their forces from Korean Peninsula since Korean war in 1951-52 and now they are in Afghanistan since 2002.Only two days back they announced that they will keep their forces in Syria as long as they deem fit. So their Two-faced Policy stands exposed to the world. This is the Imperialism, American style which we are witnessing in 2017.
— The writer is former DG (Emigration) and consultant ILO, IOM.

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