Resisting pressures from the US
Theoretically speaking, the parties to interstate relations tend to promote their national interests, but more often than not the big powers ride the rough shod over the smaller and weaker countries. The reason is that interests or objectives of a superpower invariably clash with the interest of a weaker or smaller country.
Thucydides, the Ancient Greek historian of the fifth century B.C., was father of scientific history, and also pioneer of political “realism” – the school of thought, which posits that interstate relations are based on might rather than right. Thus, on one hand, he was the first “to describe international relations as anarchic and immoral, whereby the strong do what they have the power to do, and the weak accept what they have to accept.” Having that said, there are instances in the annals of history when smaller or weaker countries put up resistance against the big and mighty. And today Afghanistan is the glaring example of this historical phenomenon. Of course, Pakistan is trying to resist America’s pressures to follow its dictation since attack on Salala check post.
After unparalleled death destruction during World War-II, United Nations was created in 1945, and its stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and to stop wars between countries, to provide a platform for dialogue and also to ensure equality and justice in the relations between the countries. Today, diplomatic maneuvers and sophisticated methods of ambassadorial shrewdness are employed to achieve break-through in issues entailing tough engagements leading to hard decision- making process while remaining steadfast on principled stances. During the Cold War era the interstate relations were based on intimidation, but with the disintegration of the Soviet Union the old bipolar world ended. The US being the sole superpower embarked on the way of establishing unilateral global dominance. Unfortunately, Pakistan is confronted with a complex situation to restore normalcy of relations with US especially in matters relating to the opening of Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) for NATO.
But the US insists that Pakistan should step up operations against Al-Qaeda remnants and Haqqani Network in North Waziristan (NW), curb domestic terrorist organizations including LeT, Jamat-ud-Dawa (JM) and Quetta Shura etc., control the source of fertilizers used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (lEDs) and prevent proliferation of nuclear material / expertise, which Pakistan is already doing. Anyhow the issue of visas to US experts engaged in counterterrorism efforts and other assistance programmes in Pakistan is one of the major bones of contention. The US wants resumption of NATO supplies, disregarding Pakistan’s fresh genuine demands and resolutions adopted by Parliament of Pakistan. US House Armed Services Committee passed a bill prohibiting the preferential procurement of goods and services from Pakistan until NATO supply lines were re-opened.
Ever since US violated Pakistan’s sovereignty to kill OBL and launched aerial attacks on Salala Check-post it has initiated powerful propaganda campaign against Pakistan using frightening techniques in the face of invincibility of US military, economic sanctions and levelling serious allegations against Pakistan. The aim is to create fear in the minds of top leadership, media men and the masses. Pakistan’s Parliament, however, has taken a principled stance on opening of NATO supply lines, drone attacks and new terms of engagement for cooperation in GWOT. The people of Pakistan demand that decision taken by the Parliament must be respected. Since arrogant superpower is using psychological pressure tactics, it is time for the leadership to show the strength of character and withstand all pressure tactics applied to wear them down. The more Pakistan presses its demands from a point of strength the more impact it will have on US policy makers.
If one examines the statements from American officials, think tanks and media about Pakistani nukes’ security and possibility of falling in the hands of terrorists one would conclude that they were trying to prepare the ground for taking the matter to the UN and then get the resolution passed that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are not secure. After 2nd May attack on Abbottabad compound, and to be precise in mid-May, Senator John Kerry, Chairman US Foreign Affairs Committee offered Pakistan a personal guarantee that the United States has no designs against Pakistan’s nuclear assets, and that two sides will work together in any future operations against high-value targets. He said: “He could write with his blood that the US has no interest in Pakistan’s nuclear assets, though it is in the interest of the United States that they remain well-protected and secure under a proper command and control system”. It has to be mentioned that American leaders have more than once declared that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are well-protected.
Going by Senator Kerry’s own words that “actions not words are needed to tackle militants’ sanctuaries in Pakistan”, one can ask him that the US by the same token should give practical demonstration of addressing Pakistan’s concerns about encirclement of Pakistan by India from the western border. Senator also said that relationship between Pakistan and the United States presently stands at a “critical moment”, but at the same time reminded that there is strategic partnership so far as war on terror is concerned.
The eidetic reality is that it has never been a strategic partnership; and by every reckoning it has been a virtual enslavement of Pakistan during the last six decades. Due to various reasons, relations between Pakistan and America remain strained, each country suspicious and mistrusting of the other. And this is primarily because the perceived strategic interests of the two countries are not aligned together.
In this backdrop, we have to decide how best our national interests will be served in the present circumstances. Do we carry on as before, pursuing our existing strategy, or do we redefine it? America pursues its defined national objectives ruthlessly and it does this by using its immense military power and world influence. The question is, given existing conditions, how Pakistan should proceed to ensure favourable conditions for itself after the withdrawal of US-NATO forces from Afghanistan. As for Pakistan, it needs to put its own house in order, and to effectively take on the challenges faced by the country, our political and military leadership as well as judiciary should act in unison, and think of ways and means to forge unity in the ranks of the nation. They must bear in mind that by downplaying their differences, improving law and order situation and controlling corruption are the key factors that can help face the challenges faced by the nation.