November 24, 2021

The Pakistan Con

China can thank their historical nemesis the British empire for Pakistan. 

"The US should not, however, drop Pakistan. Bad situations can always get worse. Today, Pakistan is a weak state; tomorrow, it could become a failed one. That would be a regional and global nightmare, given the presence of nuclear weapons and terrorists." - Richard N. Haass, 'The Pakistan conundrum' The Strategist, January 18, 2018.

"Indian policymakers have not been able to come up with a definitive policy framework to resolve the Pakistan conundrum. India has tried both the diplomatic and the military ways to find a solution to the problem. But nothing has worked out so far that could deter Pakistan from sponsoring terrorism." - Aditya Kumar Singh, 'The Pakistan Conundrum' The Kootneeti, May 18, 2020.

"This still leaves the question: what can India do in the event of a jihadi takeover of Pakistan? I had asked this of a former high-ranking defence official in the Clinton administration at a conference at Harvard in late 2001. Without blinking an eyelid he said, “We would help the Indians take out the nuclear arms.”" - Deepak Lal, 'The Pakistan conundrum' Business Standard, January 19, 2013.

It is one of the ironies of history that Pakistan, a product of the Muslim separatist movement in India, is helping China crush Muslim separatism in its backyard. 

An excerpt from, "China’s Deepening Engagement With Pakistan On Counterterrorism" by Ghulam Ali, CACI Analyst, May 26 2010:

In the post-9/11 period, China also openly sought Pakistan’s support on the issue of Muslim separatism in Xinjiang. Beginning in December 2001, the then Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Musharraf, visited the Grand Mosque of Xi’an at China’s request and asked the Muslims to be loyal to the Chinese government. This was the first time a Pakistani leader went public to endorse China’s polices on Xinjiang. Pakistan has since backed Beijing on this issue. The most significant display of this support came during the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang in which almost 200 people were killed. Pakistan not only endorsed China’s measures to quell the riots but used its clout to prevent certain Islamic countries to take the issue to the Organization of Islamic Conference, thus saving Beijing from embarrassment.

The Muslim of China have greater cause today to demand a state of their own than Indian Muslims did in 1947. The Muslims of India didn't suffer persecution or oppression at the hands of Hindus. 

But the changing of history and transformation of geopolitics isn't predicated on human rights and just causes. 

Power has always dictated events, and Indian Muslims had a powerful ally in Britain who wanted to create a militaristic buffer state to prevent the Soviet Union from invading South Asia. British politicians also wanted to reward Indian Muslims for their loyal service during the Second World War. 

The newly created Pakistan was sold as a capable military ally of the West but it has proven to be anything but in the past eight decades. 

British military intelligence did an adequate job of setting up the rump state to deal with local insurgents and popular uprisings but not much else. 

London's support grew out of limited military objectives. It had no interest in transplanting Western ideas of democracy, rule of law, and the free exploration of ideas. Pakistan was a nation state in name only, held together through force alone. 

As a result its development has stagnated under successive military dictatorships while India transformed itself into a dominant power over the same period of time.

India's confidence is based on the fact that it has an ancient civilization to draw from and incorporate into its modern national imagination. Pakistan's leaders looked to Arabia to find an equivalent inspiration, and the consequences have been tragic. 

Instead of making peace with its neighbour Pakistan donned the black cloth of Islam and pursued an unwinnable holy war over a miniscule piece of land. It views itself as a frontier for the Muslim army, but if it disappeared from the map tomorrow Islamic history won't even register it as a loss for Islam.

Pakistan's leaders have lied to Muslim audiences about their role in the Islamic world because the truth is that they preside over a dispensable and fragile nation. Pakistan is not the nuclear sword it proclaims itself to be. It is engaged in nuclear blackmail because it lacks the military superiority to defend its territorial claims. 

Hypocrisy runs through Pakistan's short history. Its biggest hypocrite remains its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who played the Islamic card despite not believing in the validity of an Islamic state. 

An excerpt from, "Jinnah’s 11 Aug. speech was a con trick; Indians saved his Pakistan project from miscarrying, says Pakistani-Swedish academic" by Kapil Bajaj, Pgurus:

Prof. Ahmed’s research shows that Indians played a phenomenal role in rescuing Jinnah’s Pakistan from collapse by controlling violence against Muslims, but the same cannot be said about the separatist leadership of the Muslims in its treatment of the Hindu and Sikh victims of violence, who were simply left to fend for themselves.

“It’s the Indian government that helped Pakistan – (Mahatma) Gandhi by giving his life and (Jawahar Lal) Nehru by doing his duty in stopping the attacks … (on Muslims, thus controlling the situation that would have forced more Muslims to flee to Pakistan),” he says.

After Jinnah's death, Pakistan was left without a charismatic figure to mold and lead the new nation. And since it lacked traditions, a shared history and laws it fell back on the army to stabilize it and project its image in the community of nations.

Pakistan's other saving grace was its geographic location. Washington used it to its full advantage numerous times. But the history of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been marked by a series of false promises and betrayals. 

An excerpt from, "When JFK hosted Pakistan’s president at Mount Vernon" by Bruce Riedel, Brookings, July 6, 2021:

In October 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, China invaded India. As I have written in my book “JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and the Sino-Indian War,” Kennedy managed two huge and dangerous crises on opposite sides of the globe. The Indians appealed for American weapons, Kennedy ignored his promise to Ayub Khan, and a massive supply of arms flowed into India. Moreover, Kennedy made it clear that the United States would not tolerate Pakistani attempts to take advantage of India’s predicament in disputed Kashmir. The president was aided in handling the perilous crisis by his personal rapport with Ayub Khan created at Mount Vernon.

In a perfect world Pakistan would've ceased to exist at the end of the Cold War since its strategic usefulness expired with the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

It could've played a positive role in Afghanistan in the last three decades and redefined its national destiny, moving away from a purely Islamic identity, but its arrogant military leaders have lacked the humility and vision to transform their failing nation. 

They instead have doubled down on a policy of irrational hostility towards their immediate neighbours.

An excerpt from, "Pakistan Is an Arsonist That Wants You to Think It’s a Firefighter" by C. Christine Fair, Foreign Policy, September 10, 2021:

With the U.S. Embassy in Kabul shuttered, the United States is very likely to do what it usually does: go back to the arsonist and sustain the pretense that it is in fact the fire brigade. The United States will likely find itself more dependent on Pakistan as it seeks a foothold to retain intelligence cooperation and likely drone basing for targeting the terrorist refuges in Pakistan, even while Pakistan continues to cultivate the same refuges. As in the past, whether it was the use of Pakistan territory for U-2 flights or for drones, Pakistan and the United States will likely establish yet another pay-to-play scheme.

The stability of Pakistan has been questioned since its founding. It was born out of the deceit that Muslims in India were under threat and required a country of their own. 

Pakistan's leaders have continued to play the victimization card, conning Western and Islamic officials as well as their own people. As of late they've also tried conning the Chinese, but they are less gullible and have little patience for cheats. Pakistan should expect to become a colony of China or risk total collapse.

November 15, 2021

Isolating Pakistan

By backing the Taliban in Afghanistan and speaking for its rogue government in international forums Pakistan is aspiring to be a regional power. But it is punching above its weight. 

It lacks the cultural, religious, economic, technological, and military strength to defend its geopolitical gains which were gifted to them by a distant superpower. 

Just as Washington put Iraq on a platter for Iran, it served up Afghanistan to Pakistan. But Islamabad doesn't have the stomach to finish its meal. It will throw it up upon its lap.

It didn't acquire its prey in a true hunt. Afghanistan didn't fall as a result of a military conquest from the outside but a political conspiracy from within that was led by two-faced American strategists. 

So far Afghans have not shown signs of submission to their new masters. They have engaged in protests and boycotts. Such acts of resistance will only grow in time as the Taliban get fat and comfortable.

All the Pakistani military has accomplished thus far is take advantage of a weak, broken, and divided society that was brutally occupied for twenty years by a foreign empire. Afghanistan was in no condition to resist an aggressor. 

But history has shown Afghanistan to be a resilient country. Russia, India, and Iran have to realize by now that standing by does them no good. Waiting on the Taliban to fail is not a strategy but an admission of cowardice. 

As for the United States and its NATO allies, history won't be kind. Empowering the psychopaths in Pakistan will be another black mark on the war on terror's historical record.

The slave markets of Libya that followed Gaddafi's end will be a small blip in comparison to the atrocities that will befall Afghanistan should Pakistan be allowed to remain in charge.

Pakistan's history of genocidal crimes in East Pakistan will be repeated in Afghanistan. There should be no doubts about that. As students of the slimy British empire, the Pakistani military has learned every trick in the book of conquest, from mass starvation to divide and rule.

Empires can get away with genocidal crimes. Pakistan has only been able to do so because it is protected by the two empires of our age. Washington and Beijing have utilized Pakistan at the expense of its many indigenous victims.

China has its own geopolitical reasons, but why does the West continue to hide Pakistan's atrocities?

The U.S. and NATO have a historic responsibility to punish Pakistan's military for their crimes against the Afghan nation. 

The idea of isolating Pakistan can't be realized through mere words or symbolic gestures at sporting competitions. It has to be real. And that means putting sanctions on Pakistan’s military and political leaders. 

Washington once argued against penalizing Islamabad, saying that Pakistan could retaliate against its supply routes and bases in the region. It can no longer make the same excuses. 

An excerpt from, "The US just got out of Afghanistan and it's already at risk of getting sucked into another country's war" By Daniel DePetris, Business Insider, November 3, 2021:

The importance of Pakistan as a logistics and transportation hub for supplies into Afghanistan is negligible since the US military is out of the country. Pakistan may still be a valuable counterterrorism partner, but thanks to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Islamabad's leverage over Washington has dwindled.

The likelihood of Washington acting against Pakistan in any serious way is very slim. And the same could be said about Pakistan's biggest foe, India, which has offered up tough words, but little else.

For now they seem perfectly fine with Afghanistan collapsing under Pakistan's deadly embrace. And by the time they change their minds and decide to act it will be too late.

November 4, 2021

Afghanistan Descends Into A Failed Terrorist State

"Kabul bleeds as State collapse is imposed on Afg before handing it over to terrorist syndicate. Millions are IDPs, have lost livelihood and face the challenge of daily sustenance. So far no concrete plan for UN monitored  humanitarian intervention to  prevent the catastrophe." - Former Pakistan Senator Afrasiab Khattak.

Afghanistan's transformation from a failed state under NATO supervision to a failed terrorist state under Pakistan's hegemony is almost complete.

Long bank lines three months ago are now long bread lines. Afghans hurried to the borders in August to escape the Taliban, they now do so out of hunger.

Afghanistan is on the verge of mass starvation, claims The Washington Post.

"In September and October," Courtney Vinopal writes in Quartz, "nearly 19 million people in Afghanistan experienced food insecurity at either a crisis or emergency level, representing 47% of the country’s population, according to the UN report."

The U.S., Pakistan, and the Arab monarchies bear a lot of the blame for Afghanistan's fate. They fed the demons of hate, and introduced a viral strain of Islam into Afghanistan to further their own ends. They used and discarded Afghanistan like it was nothing.

But they are not the only countries that bear responsibility for the ongoing humanitarian disaster.

India and Iran, as Afghanistan's ancient neighbours, have failed the country in its hour of critical need. 

After the capture of Kabul by the Taliban they left their former anti-Taliban allies, led by Ahmad Massoud, to wither away. 

As a result of their cowardice Pakistan has emerged emboldened and ready to reshape the country to its liking.

Spearheaded by its Taliban functionaries, Pakistan is injecting its ideological poison fully into Afghan society by rewriting the education curriculum. They want to raise a terror state with which to batter India and other nations.

It will take multiple generations before any sense of peace is restored in Afghanistan. And the fight to save it will go through Islamabad, a reality that Washington either didn't want to admit or have the stomach for. 

America and the West had the luxury to walk away. But India and Iran are not afforded that same benefit. They must act now and punish Pakistan for its crimes, or risk terrorism at its hands for many years to come.

October 25, 2021

Pakistan Is A Nuclear Rogue State, Part 5: The Dangers of Disengagement

For peace to emerge in South Asia Pakistan must be broken up and scattered to the ends of the earth. 

An excerpt from, "Post Afghanistan, US-Pakistan relations stand on the edge of a precipice" By Madiha Afzal, Brookings, October 13, 2021:

"Over the last 20 years, Washington’s needs in Afghanistan defined the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, even if that meant Washington sometimes had to turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s sanctuary for the Taliban. Now, after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington has little incentive to gloss over what it has long seen as Pakistan’s double game or to broaden ties. Washington’s attention is now east of Pakistan: on its relationships with India and other countries to counter China. In this environment, U.S.-Pakistan relations face a reckoning."

An excerpt from, "Get the Generals Out of Pakistani-U.S. Relations" By Adam Weinstein, Foreign Policy, September 30, 2021:

"Congress’s dubious attitude toward Pakistan was best summarized by Rep. Bill Keating when he recently described it as “one relationship that really always troubled me.” During that same hearing, Rep. Scott Perry struck at the heart of Pakistan’s insecurities when he exclaimed, “we should no longer pay Pakistan [for counterterrorism cooperation], and we should pay India.” Recently introduced legislation calls for an assessment of Pakistan’s past support for the Taliban but falls short of any punitive measures."

In the aftermath of the Taliban's takeover in Afghanistan the military and civilian leaders of Pakistan have treated the country as conquered territory. 

They move in and out of Kabul without visas or any sort of diplomatic protocol. And they have no shame while there, lecturing the Taliban about women's rights.

What's worse is the West is depending on Pakistan to be a beacon of civilized conduct for the Taliban. Western officials hope that Islamabad can tame the radical excesses of the Taliban regime. But that is never going to happen. They are a package deal. 

Afghanistan's ills will bleed into Pakistan. And Pakistani society does not have the antibody to deal with the Talibanization since it served as the host of the disease for over five decades.

Disengaging from Pakistan and Afghanistan will enable the Taliban disease to spread to the rest of the world body, especially Central Asia.

Leaving Pakistan to rot seems to be Washington’s preferred strategy. But that is no way to treat an open wound. Allowing it to fester will benefit no one.

The situation calls for an amputation.

It is in the interests of the United States, Europe, Russia, India, China and Iran to remove Pakistan from the map and restructure the regions that Islamabad has wrongfully lorded over since the end of WWII. 

That may seem extreme, but the circumstances demand it. The coddling of Pakistan has led to the nightmare currently unfolding in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's deranged military elite won't dissociate with the Taliban or destroy their nuclear stockpile unless they are forced to by a united global coalition. 

The U.S and China can prove they are mature superpowers by cooperating to resolve the Pakistani problem and help free South Asia of this bastardly concoction of a country. 

October 5, 2021

Pakistan Is A Nuclear Rogue State, Part 4: The End of Appeasement

Upon its admission into the United Nations, Pakistan was received by all countries except one: Afghanistan.

Afghanistan declined Pakistan’s entry into the U.N. because it laid claim to Pashtun lands in northwestern Pakistan. 

Afghan leaders brought up the matter of an independent Pashtunistan at international forums like the U.N., and encouraged Pashtun resistance movements inside Pakistan with arms.

An excerpt from, "The Forgotten History of Afghanistan-Pakistan Relations" By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Tara Vassefi, Yale Journal of International Affairs, February 22, 2012:

Afghanistan has never accepted the legitimacy of the Durand Line, named after its architect, Sir Henry Mortimer Durand. However, the country had little recourse when faced with a global superpower like Britain. This changed with the creation of Pakistan. Afghanistan had long been recognized as an independent state by the time Pakistan was created in 1947, and there was no particular reason to think that Pakistan was built to last. Pakistan’s lack of cohesion is signaled even by its name, as it is an acronym for the areas encompassed within the state: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan. Additionally, Pakistan was born of a bloody partition with India—something that produced not only the two states, but also an arch-rivalry that persists to this day. Just as many Indian leaders thought the new state of Pakistan might not survive, so too did Afghan politicians.

Immediately after Pakistan emerged, Afghanistan put forward a demand for the creation of an independent “Pashtunistan,” meaning “land of the Pashtuns.” The idea was that Pakistan should allow the Pashtuns in the northwestern part of their country to—if they so chose—secede and become an independent state. Though the size of the envisioned Pashtunistan differed over time, Afghanistan’s proposals frequently encompassed about half of West Pakistan, including areas dominated by Baluch majorities.

Afghanistan's belligerence towards Pakistan from 1947 to 1979 has to be remembered because Pakistan’s military leaders certainly do. They have always been afraid of an Afghanistan aligned with India. 

If the British cared about Pakistan and its neighbours they would have ensured long-term security by consulting with Afghanistan's leadership before bestowing a new country on their sensitive borders.

Conflict over border demarcations between Pakistan and Afghanistan was totally predictable. The new Pakistan could just have easily been created without the territories that Afghanistan had desired for centuries. 

Over the decades since its creation Pakistan has not invested resources in this frontier area. It became the new "owners" of this land without having any previous cultural or political ties to it.

Pakistan’s control over native Pashtun lands, and other indigenous regions such as Baluchistan, has always been contested. With the absence of natural legitimacy, Pakistan relied on brute force to maintain its rule. Angry locals were massacred and entire families of political leaders were exterminated at once.

Such acts have always been met with global silence. 

So Pakistan continues to pursue a militaristic approach to solve its problems. And when it finds itself in really bad times it gets bailed out. 

At every crisis point in Pakistan’s history the West came to its aid. The financial help Pakistan receives annually is enormous.

An excerpt from, "Committee to scrutinise UK aid programme in Pakistan" UK Parliament, February 11, 2021:

Pakistan has been DFID’s largest country programme for the last five years, and was expected to amount to £302 million in 2019/20, spanning across areas including human development, climate and the environment, and humanitarian aid.

An excerpt from, "Why Trump cut millions in military aid to Pakistan" by Alex Ward, Vox, September 4, 2018:

But since 2002, the US has given Pakistan over $14 billion in aid to combat terrorism and insurgents in the region. That money is meant to reimburse Pakistan for its ongoing efforts to defeat militant groups, and it forms part of the $33 billion in total help that the US has given Pakistan over the same time period.

Western allies like Iran during the Cold War and Japan in the War on Terror have also supported Pakistan with cash and arms. 

The Shah of Iran was the first foreign leader to visit Pakistan in 1950. Iran and Pakistan worked together to suppress uprisings in Baluchistan and oppose Communism in the region.

An excerpt from, "Iran and Pakistan’s intertwined history" By Muhammad Amir Rana, Dawn, July 24, 2016:

The Shah period was the most important phase in which the two countries, despite ups and downs, remained important partners in global and regional politics. The US factor was significant which glued both countries to Seato and Cento. The author aptly explains how geography, geopolitics and the US influence brought Tehran and Islamabad closer. During the Cold War era, one of the major factors which kept Pakistan in the US bloc was the influence of the Shah of Iran. Pakistan’s foreign policy constant has been India and this factor decided the country’s relations with the outer world. The Shah knew it.

At the same time, Tehran was a key conduit to the West for Pakistan, and the Shah’s obsession with communism further nurtured their friendship as Vatanka elaborates: “For the Shah, Pakistan over the years morphed into a critical buffer zone, a line of defence against not only the Soviets but also the then Soviet-leaning India.” In the totality of Pakistan-Iran relations over the course of history, most of the credit goes to the Shah of Iran.

Since the beginning, Pakistan has been viewed as a military tool by global and regional superpowers as opposed to a sovereign country.

Its viability as a state was questioned by officials in the Truman administration. American leaders wanted an undivided India after the British exit.

An excerpt from, "India and Pakistan in American strategic planning, 1947–54: The commonwealth as collaborator" By H. W. Brands, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 1986: 

American officials had been disappointed that the pre-independence unity of India had not been preserved, for in unity, they believed, lay resistance to communism. Two states on the subcontinent were more unstable than one, but if India and Pakistan could settle their problems peacefully, security could still be achieved. A full-scale war, however, besides destabilizing the present moderate governments of the two countries, threatened to unleash the fissiparous tendencies latent in the sub-continent, leading, if not checked, to what American officials unoriginally called the 'Balkanization' of South Asia. Ultimately, in an effort to head off such an outcome, the Americans would feel obliged to intervene in the Kashmir dispute, but for the time being they preferred to leave this Commonwealth problem to the Commonwealth. The American Under-secretary of State, Robert Lovett, told Noel-Baker that American mediation would be undesirable on two counts. First, it would distract the American Congress from the more important task of defending and rebuilding Europe. Second, it might draw 'undesirable Russian attention', thus compounding the difficulties of the subcontinent with the competition of the cold war. 

The wise policy of non-intervention towards Pakistan and India was replaced with foolish interference in 1971 during the Nixon administration, when the U.S. came to Pakistan's aid to crush an uprising in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

Since that time, and especially after 1979, Washington and Islamabad became closer out of desperation more than anything else. Due to its policy to turn Afghanistan into Russia's Vietnam, Washington helped transform Pakistan from a somewhat functioning country into the complete mess it is today. 

It looked away when it acquired nukes in the 1980s. It looked away when it supported international terrorism in Afghanistan in the 1990s after the Soviets departed. And it looked away this year when it put the Taliban in power after two decades of meaningless fighting.

A change in policy is desperately needed. 

An excerpt from, "Rethinking Western Strategies Toward Pakistan: An Action Agenda for the United States and Europe" By Frédéric Grare, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 10, 2007, Page 48:

Sanctions on Pakistan have also been inhibited by a lack of consistency in policy. U.S. governments have always been concerned about nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and democracy (and more recently narcotics), but their relative importance has varied over time. The Pakistani leadership has always been aware of shifting U.S. priorities and has played them to its advantage.

Pakistan became a pariah state after the overthrow and execution of the elected prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. But the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan changed the hierarchy of U.S. priorities and brought Pakistan back into favor. Supporting the mujahideen and, consequently, Zia ul-Haq’s military regime, became the number one concern to which all other objectives were subordinated, including the prevention of nuclear proliferation. Democracy has never, in practice, figured very highly in U.S. priorities. In Pakistan it has been merely important.The United States has always lacked a coherent strategy toward Pakistan. Beyond a series of stated general objectives, it has pursued a series of ad hoc policies dictated by circumstances. For a long time, the Cold War obscured this. But when this geostrategic framework disappeared, what remained was an absence of real U.S. concern for Pakistan. U.S. policies appeared to be incoherent, contradictory, and unfair, which allowed the Pakistani leadership to manipulate public opinion against the United States while it manipulated the United States through agitation of the masses. U.S. policy proved ultimately counterproductive.

Washington’s outlook on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and South Asia has been cynical. It lost in Afghanistan because it didn't have its heart in it. It was not willing to go to war with Pakistan to save Afghanistan. And that's fair. A country's core national interests should always come first.

But the policy of appeasing Pakistan has to end.