Mirza Aslam Beg
AMERICAN Secretary of States’ hop-over visit’ to Pakistan, on his way to India, was a crude diplomatic gesture of brow-beating Pakistan. He handed over the demand note, as confirmed by a senior US diplomat – Alice Wells: “US wants to see practical steps from Pakistan, over the next few weeks, and not months, to use its influence to get the Taliban to the table,… thus ensuring that its own country is not destabilized.” Outrightly Pakistan rejected this demand because Taliban won’t listen to Pakistan and the demand to accept India as the Strategic Defense Partner of America, is unthinkable. Now there is a kind of diplomatic stress between the two countries and the credit goes to President Trump and the concept of achieving his purpose, by use of force, by whatever means possible.
In fact, Trump’s strategy is out-dated, because it is based on the post-WW-II notion of a super-power, enjoying un-precedented military and economic power for global domination, whereas over the period this super-power has lost its shine, particularly after its defeat in Vietnam and Korea and the deliberate loss of old allies and friends, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, in a short period of a decade and a half. All are Muslim countries and victims of post 9/11 Crusade. And this decline is sharp, while the today’s international relations, both geo-political and geo-economics dominate inter-state relations, with China and Russia providing strategic pivot, towards which regional countries are gravitating.
Oblivious of emerging global realities “Trump is doubling down on an unsuccessful war in Afghanistan, which is a sign of insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He didn’t even bother to look at the Soviet decision of withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, because Soviets knew they were defeated and logic of conflict suggested a timely withdrawal. That timely decision of the Soviets helped them make good friends of Taliban. And now a timely withdrawal by US is not forthcoming, because of two basic reasons: One: America hates Islamic States and Political Islamic State such as Egypt under president Morsi, as well as a moderate Islamic State like Pakistan, of today. Two: By retaining American influence in Afghanistan, they are hoping to prevent formation of alliance, between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan that could provide depth of security, to these countries. The proposal for the formation of the said Alliance was expounded to the formation commanders and garrison officers of Rawalpindi on August 25, 1988, as to how Strategic Depth of Security to Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan could be achieved. This concept was distorted by some of our own and foreign writers saying, that I had proposed a defeatist concept of “withdrawal to Afghanistan for territorial depth, against Indian military ingress”. This was unthinkable, because our armed forces mission is: “Defend all territories of Pakistan and develop counter offensive capability to carry the war into the enemy territory.” Thus, the Offensive-Defensive Concept was developed based on our real military capability. I spoke verbatim, as recorded by ISPR, I quote:
“It is a matter of great satisfaction that in this hour of struggle, we are not alone. The entire nation is with us… The second positive note which has emerged is the heroic struggle on the north-western borders… The days of hegemony of super powers are over and now we will witness the dawn of the supremacy of Islam. The triumph of democracy is in sight…The three countries – Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan – are emerging free, strong and resilient, and are moving towards a common destiny, to unite together and form the bastion of power – Strategic Depth of the Muslim World. It’s a vision which must be converted into a reality.”
The Indo-US collaboration against Pakistan is a failed attempt. After occupation of Afghanistan, India was facilitated by USA and its coalition partners to establish a vast spy network in Afghanistan, targeting mainly Pakistan. Thus India let loose a reign of terror in Pakistan which has continued unabated. In order to establish Indian Hegemony over the region, Afghanistan was declared as part of South Asia and the Strategic Partnership agreement was reached in 2005/2014, with declared objective to curb and contain rising Chinese military and economic power. These attempts failed as the Afghan Taliban defeated the occupation forces, while the Pak Army and its Air force, dismantled Indian terror network extending into Pakistan.
Both USA and India are facing serious internal problems. Trump has emerged as the most unpopular President because of his style of governance and whimsical decision making. Secondly, his top advisors and policy makers are the Generals who failed to deliver in their war in Afghanistan. They can only repeat failures and no better, and that is what precisely they are doing now. “Trump has been tragically effective at dismantling environmental and health regulations, as his most enduring legacy of Cancer, Infertility and diminished IQ” (Nicholas Kristof). On the other hand India is faced with a serious socio-political crisis of conflict between the Secularists and the Ultra-Nationalists. Historically, such trends had emerged in India, in the past, causing serious polycentrism, that would now be accelerating regional drift by more than a dozen on-going insurgencies.
Pakistan has faced challenges of myriad dimensions during the last decade and a half, yet it is politically stable despite weak governance, poor decision making, and now is focusing on the elections 2018, that would lead the nation to a robust democratic order. Moreover, Pakistan has found its rightful place in today’s international relations, based on geo-political and geo-economic relations – the forceful trend sweeping the region that would actualise a peaceful environment, without fighting a war.
— The writer, a retired 4-star General, is former COAS, Pakistan Army.
Mirza Aslam Beg