The great betrayal



M Ziauddin

The Americans don’t trust Pakistan any more. And Pakistan on its part reciprocates the feeling. Both seem to be suffering from a deep sense of having been betrayed by the other.
The cold war’s most allied ally of the Americans and its non-NATO ally of recent years justifiably feels that it has been let down and abandoned by the super power after having been used.
On the other hand, Washington accuses Islamabad of providing sanctuaries to terrorists who Washington alleges use Pakistani soil to launch murderous attacks on the people of neighbouring Afghanistan as well as on US troops stationed in the war-ravaged country.
Notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan’s ability to secure its integrity along the Durand Line suffers from a number of social, cultural, economic and religious limitations, the country, nevertheless, has in its own national interest and also to deny the terrorists safe havens on Pakistani soil, launched as many as three military campaigns in the region since May 2009—the Rah-i-Haq of General Kayani, Zarb-i-Azb of General Raheel Shariff and the current Ruddul Fasaad of the current Army Chief General Bajwa.
The cost of these campaigns in monetary terms as well as in men and material has been enormous. But instead of appreciating the effort and extending a helping hand, especially in terms of financial compensation, the US seems to have decided to turn the screws on Pakistan in complete violation of all international norms.
But then, this is nothing new for the Americans as according toStephen M. Walt,professor of international relations at Harvard University(America Can’t Be Trusted Anymore—Published in Foreign Affairs—April 10, 2018) Americans believe they are honest, plain-speaking truth-tellers who can be counted upon to keep their word and fulfill their promises whereas America’s opponents, by contrast, are a slippery bunch of deceptive charlatans who will exploit any loophole and seize any opportunity to hoodwink the country.
“Accordingly, U.S. negotiators must insist on all sorts of intrusive measures — such as the extraordinarily stringent inspection regime incorporated into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran — to make sure they can verify what others are really up to.”
Mr. Walt says the United States has amassed a pretty good record of reneging on promises and commitments. At a minimum, he says, Washington cannot claim any particular virtue or trustworthiness in its dealings with others. He points out that in the unipolar era the United States repeatedly did things it had promised not to do.
“Think about all the treaties U.S. officials signed with various Native American tribes and subsequently broke, modified, or reneged upon as the nation expanded steadily across North America.
“Or consider the Nixon shocks of 1971, when the United States unilaterally ended convertibility of the dollar into gold, in effect dismantling the Bretton Woods economic order it had helped create.
”President Richard Nixon also slapped a 10 percent surcharge on imports to make sure the U.S. economy didn’t suffer as the dollar rose in value.
“Or consider some more recent events. As more and more documents come to light, it has become clear that U.S. officials convinced their Soviet counterparts to permit German reunification by promising that NATO would not expand further. Secretary of State James Baker told Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not go “1 inch eastward” and Gorbachev received similar assurances from a host of other Western officials as well. President Bill Clinton’s administration blithely ignored these assurances, however, in its overzealous rush to create what it thought would be a “zone of peace” well to the east. As a number of observers warned at the time, this decision poisoned relations with Moscow and was the first step leading back to the level of confrontation we are dealing with today.
“That blunder was compounded by the George W. Bush administration’s decision to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. While technically not a breach of trust (i.e., the treaty permitted either party to leave if it wished, provided it gave adequate notice), it was still a clear signal that the United States didn’t care about preserving good relations with Moscow and was not going to take Russian sensitivities into account.
“Similarly, America’s handling of the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea does not inspire confidence in its trustworthiness either. There is no question that North Korea violated the agreement by secretly working on an alternative enrichment path, but the United States never lived up to its commitments either. In particular, it failed to lift economic sanctions as promised, and the light-water power reactors it had pledged to provide were delayed for years and ultimately never arrived. As Stephen Bosworth, the veteran U.S. diplomat who headed the multinational effort to implement the agreement, later put it, ‘The Agreed Framework was a political orphan within two weeks after its signature.’
“And then there’s the checkered history of U.S. policy toward Libya. Building on a successful multilateral sanctions program, the Bush administration successfully convinced Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi to let American inspectors enter the country, dismantle his entire weapons of mass destruction program, and cart it away. To get the agreement, however, Bush promised Qaddafi that the United States would not attempt to overthrow his regime. It was a clear quid pro quo: Qaddafi gave up his weapons programs, and the United States promised not to do to him what it did to Saddam Hussein. But then a few years later, President Barack Obama’s administration ignored that earlier pledge and collaborated in Qaddafi’s overthrow.
“But wait, there’s more! The multinational operation against Qaddafi was authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, and Russia agreed to abstain on the resolution because its stated purpose was preventing Qaddafi from attacking civilians in Benghazi, not toppling the regime. However, as Stephen R. Weissman has shown in an important article, regime change was on U.S. officials’ minds from the get-go, and they soon blew right past the terms of the resolution. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates later recalled, ‘The Russians felt they had been played for suckers on Libya. They felt there had been a bait and switch.’ And they were right. So, if you’re ever wondering why Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly blocked Security Council action over the disaster in Syria, there’s at least part of your answer.
“Needless to say, the lessons of Libya have not been lost on other countries. North Korean media have repeatedly invoked this example to justify the country’s nuclear weapons program and to warn against ever trusting assurances from the United States. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. If you were Kim Jong Un, would you rather pin your survival on a nuclear deterrent of your own or promises from the United States?
“Which brings us to Donald Trump. The world is now dealing with a U.S. president who appears to have no firm convictions or beliefs, the attention span of a hummingbird, and who apparently makes important national security decisions on the basis of whatever fairytale he just saw on Fox & Friends. As near as one can tell, he never saw a treaty or agreement signed by his predecessor that he liked, even though he has trouble explaining what’s wrong with any of them. He just likes to talk about ‘tearing them up’ no matter what the consequences may be.”

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