Dr Muhammad Khan
In the US-Taliban talks, finally it was a victory of the deep state of United State, once the signing ceremony was sabotaged at the eleventh hour, after having completed all the formalities. The deep state never wanted to reduce its troops from Afghan soil, therefore, maintained a sustained and an incessant opposition to sign a deal at Camp David, which also included the troops pull-out in phases. The analysts of US politics strongly believe that, the deep state is the real power centre of United States, which formulate the policies and strategies of the super power and implement those in its own way, taking White House on-board at an appropriate time. An insightful analysis would reveal that, it is the prevalence and ascendancy of deep state over the US polices which upheld the status of super power for United States, despite a tough global antagonism and strategic re-alignment.
With a US military presence in Afghanistan, the US deep state had chosen five strategic objectives to pursue on long-term for preserving its super power status and countering its peer competitors. Challenging and containment of the rising power of China was perceived immediately, after the end of cold war, which was made possible through collapse of former Soviet Union in early 1990s. US military presence in Afghanistan provides it with a strategic tool to achieve this priority one strategic objective besides its presence in Asia-Pacific and strategic partnership with India.
While the US planners were formulating strategies to contain the China, the Putin’s Russia was noticed with concern as a resurgent power by the deep US state, which warranted a counter strategy too without wasting much of time. Some of the policy makers in US viewed resurgent Russia as more serious challenge and a potential danger than the rising China. Indeed, former Soviet Union was disintegrated by US, while making use of direct and indirect war strategies. Countering the resurgent Russia was chosen as yet another US strategic objective, which could be most appropriately pursued with US military presence in Afghanistan.
Indeed, Russia still holds sways in Central Asian region, which is contiguous to Afghanistan. Otherwise, Afghan Government and Taliban are maintaining their linkages with Russia, a successor state of former Soviet Union. Foreseeing a convergence of interests between China and Russia in Central Asia, one of the US strategic objectives is to increase its influence in this Euro-Asian landmass. Central Asian region has huge deposits of hydrocarbon and costly minerals. By countering Chinese and Russian influences in this region, US would be able to neutralize joint opposition of its peer competitors and usage of Central Asia resources against US interests.
For a long, US has been viewing nuclear Pakistan and its strong armed forces with lot of concern. It has maintained a steady pressure on Pakistan to either freeze or roll back its nuclear programme with a substantial decrease in its armed forces. For this purpose, US has stopped supply of aircrafts and other military equipment for which Pakistan had paid in advance. Besides, US has skilfully engaged Pakistan in its own engineered war on terror, which brought a serious setback to the social fabric of this strongly knitted ideological country apart from enormous human and material losses. Later, seeing the professionalism and competence of armed forces of Pakistan, US violated the terms and conditions of promised military assistance and even the rightful share of Pakistan in the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) after 2016.
The fourth strategic objective of US deep state in Pakistan is to neutralise its strategic competence and military professionalism. Since its offensive posturing fell-flat in last few years, therefore, decided to re-engage with Pakistan to use indirect strategies. Afghanistan and the instability there serve the purpose in the most befitting manners. Besides, the US mediation offer over Kashmir is being viewed by the scholars of international relations with lot of scepticism.
The 5th strategic objective of US deep state is to keep the Iran under strict surveillance for its anti-Israel sentiments and to counter any move which enable this theological state to development its nuclear arsenals. The Arab world has already been manipulated by the US through a huge military deployment, providing unprecedented war munitions, controlling their militaries and military strategies and above all by creating internal rifts among the regional states.
With all the above stated strategic objectives, the US deep state would never allow Donald Trump, to cut a deal with Taliban which necessitates pulling-out of its forces from Afghanistan. Nevertheless, despite President Trump declaring the deal with Taliban as “dead” there is still a possibility of its revival and signing-up, provided, Taliban show their willingness to accommodate US strategic objectives in the region as envisioned by US deep state with a guarantee to maintain a reasonable US force level on its six military (strategic) bases in Afghanistan. In all eventualities, the strategic planners in Pakistan must analyse the evolving situation in the region and work-out all options for safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan with a clear foresight. Let there be no comprise on the traditionally stated Pakistani position on the Kashmir.
— The writer, a retired Brig, is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.