Sunday, September 14, 2008

Is Pakistani Democracy Part of the Great Game?

Dr. Sathanathan, a South Asian scholar specializing in International Studies, claims it is. Here is how he explains his conclusions in the latest issue of Outlook India:

There is great euphoria among Pakistani liberals over the presumed "return to democracy". They are yet to discover Late Neo-colonialism. The maneuvers against Musharraf bear uncanny resemblances to organized "people's power" the CIA unleashed during "color revolutions" and upheavals against Hugo Chavez.

The widely expected victory for Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential election brought to a high point the tortuous process of regime change in Pakistan. Anyone who has followed the "color revolutions" that installed pro-American rulers in Georgia (Rose Revolution, 2003), Ukraine (Orange Revolution, 2004) and Kyrgystan (Tulip Revolution, 2005) could surely not have missed the tell tale signs.

The earliest foreboding surfaced in the backroom manoeuvres by United States (US) and British intelligence services to engineer panic about the security of Pakistan's nuclear assets. It was a repeat of the duplicitous hysteria they generated over non-existent weapons of mass destruction that Iraq allegedly possessed. A carefully worded article, co-authored by former State Department officials Richard L. Armitage and Kara L. Bue, signalled the shift in US policy. After formally acknowledging then President Pervez Musharraf's many achievements, the authors continued: "much remains to be accomplished, particularly in terms of democratization. Pakistan must…eliminate the home-grown jihadists…And…it must prove itself a reliable partner on technology transfer and nuclear non-proliferation." And the denouement: "We believe General Musharraf…deserves our attention and support, no matter how frustrated we become at the pace of political change and the failure to eliminate Taliban fighters on the Afghan border." Translation: Musharraf has to go.

Almost simultaneously a 2006 country survey in The Economist, titled "Too much for one man to do", began on a jingoistic overkill: "Think about Pakistan, and you might get terrified. Few countries have so much potential to cause trouble, regionally and worldwide". The following year a Carnegie Endowment report faulted western governments that "contribute to regional instability by allowing Pakistan to trade democratisation for its cooperation on terrorism". Senior US State Department officials repeatedly accused Musharraf of "not doing enough" to combat Islamists within Pakistan and prevent their infiltration across the Durand Line into southern Afghanistan.

Sensing the way wind was blowing, then PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto redoubled efforts to convince Washington and London that, if she were to become Prime Minister, she would gladly do their bidding. She underscored her enthusiasm to serve and ensured her party was fully responsive to America's Late Neo-colonialism. She summoned senior party members to Dubai on 9 June 2007 for a "briefing" by a team from the US Democratic Party's National Democratic Institute (NDI), ostensibly on the subject of elections in Pakistan. The ruling Republican Party's International Republican Institute (IRI) had conducted the previous four "briefings" in June and September 2006 and March and April 2007. Benazir leaned towards the Democratic Party in the last one no doubt as a hedge against the party's possible victory at the forthcoming US Presidential Election.

Even a cursory knowledge of US Imperialism's standard operating procedure is sufficient to surmise at least some among the IRI and NDI officers were covert intelligence operatives; and that their "briefings" went beyond "tutelage of natives". Rather they have been grooming the PPP as America's satrap.

Benazir's predilection to collaborate with the West has its roots in the Bhutto family's micro political culture. Her grandfather, Shah Nawaz Bhutto was a minor comprador official in the British colonial regime. The British rewarded his "loyal" services with the title Khan Bahadur and later appointed him President of a District Board and still later elevated him to knighthood.Her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's populist programmes did not dilute that legacy, which left a lasting impression on Benazir; she firmly believed the path to political power in Pakistan meanders through the Embassy of the United States, the current neo-colonialist.

She promised to offer the International Atomic Energy Agency access to Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan to "satisfy the international community", an euphemism for the major powers; and to allow the US-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan to operate inside north-western Pakistan. By the time Benazir visited the Senate in September 2007, she had convinced the Bush Administration of her unswerving loyalty; for "she received a standing ovation from a select gathering of US lawmakers, diplomats, academics and media representatives. This contrasted sharply with her previous visits to the US capital when she received little attention." To deepen "Washington's renewed interest in her" Benazir cautioned that supporting Musharraf was "a strategic miscalculation" and pleaded "the US should support the forces of democracy", which, of course, refers to her PPP.

So, President George W Bush enabled Benazir's return from exile by arm-twisting Musharraf to promulgate the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). The NRO of 5 October granted amnesty to politicians active in Pakistan between 1988 and 1999 and effectively wiped the slate clean of corruption charges for Benazir and her husband Asif Zardari. Three weeks later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it appear the Bush Administration wished to bring together "moderate" forces, implying a scenario in which Musharraf and Benazir would join forces as President and Prime Minister respectively; and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte corroborated Rice: "Our message", he intoned, "is that we want to work with the government and people of Pakistan".

However, Musharraf saw through the US Administration's transparent ploy to lull him into believing it would not remove him and install Benazir in his place. So, he swiftly invited Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), back from exile in Saudi Arabia to counter Benazir. But he could not consolidate his position, especially because he mishandled the judiciary, and was compelled to resign on 18 August 2008.

In a nutshell, the reason for "Washington's renewed interest" in Benazir is Musharraf's firm opposition to US Late Neo-colonialism, to its manoeuvres to occupy, pacify and ravage Pakistan. In the 19th century British colonialism waged the "war on piracy" on the high seas ostensibly to bring "the light of Christian civilization". But the British were the most successful pirates, as Spanish and Portuguese historians would gladly confirm. The "war on piracy" was the duplicitous justification trotted out to dominate lucrative maritime trade routes that were in the hands of Chinese, Arab and Tamil maritime empires and to invade kingdoms and/or countries essential to control trade and plunder resources. During most of the 20th century heroic anti-colonial movements and anti-imperialist wars rolled back much of colonial rule, which in some instances however morphed into neo-colonialism. Indonesia after Sukarno, Iran after Mosaddeq and Chile after Allende are well known examples.

The "war on terror" and "promoting democracy" are the 21st century equivalents of the 19th century British gobbledygook. American Late Neo-colonialism purveys them as moral justification and uses as political cover for intervening and, where necessary, invading resource-rich and strategic countries to overthrow nationalist leaders, install puppet regimes and savage the countries' wealth. And of course the US is by far the most powerful terrorist force.It succeeded in Iraq (for now); but the CIA-organised regime change could not dislodge Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who rejected the neo-colonialist 1989 Washington Consensus and supported alternative nationalist economic models.

Politically challenged Pakistani liberals -- a motley crowd that includes members of human rights and civil liberties organisations, journalists, analysts, lawyers and assorted professionals -- are utterly incapable of comprehending the geo-strategic context in which Musharraf manoeuvred to defend Pakistan's interest. So they slandered him an "American puppet", alleging he caved in to US pressure and withdrew support to the Afghan Taliban regime in the wake of 9/11 although in fact he removed one excuse for the Bush Administration to "bomb Pakistan into stone age", as a senior State Department official had threatened.

Nevertheless American discomfort with Musharraf's government was palpable by late 2003, after he dodged committing Pakistani troops to prop up the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. When he offered to cooperate under the auspices of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), naïve Pakistani media and analysts lunged for his jugular, condemning him once again for succumbing to US demands. But in fact he nimbly sidestepped American demands: he calculated that diverse ideological stances of the 57 Muslim member-counties would not allow the OIC to jointly initiate such controversial action and therefore Pakistan's participation cannot arise, which proved correct.

Washington of course was not amused and the Bush Administration grew increasingly hostile to Musharraf's determination to prioritise Pakistan's interests when steering the ship of the state through the choppy waters of the unfolding New Great Game, in which the West -- led by the US -- is manoeuvring to contain growing Russian and Chinese influences in Central and West Asia. His foreign policy decisions over time convinced Washington that under his leadership, Pakistan would side with enemies of US and Britain in the New Great Game. First, he refused to isolate Iran; instead he vigorously pursued energy cooperation to build the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline in the face of stiff American opposition. Second, Washington was alarmed by Musharraf's preference for deepening Pakistan-China bilateral relations and forging nuclear cooperation; and more so when he offered Beijing naval facilities at the Gwadar port on Balochistan's Arabian Sea coast overlooking the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint through which passes approximately 30 per cent of world's energy supplies.

Perhaps the last straw was his success in gaining Observer Status for Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Russia and China are spearheading the SCO, which includes four other countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan; Iran and India are also Observers. The SCO is widely perceived as a rising eastern counterweight to western security and economic groupings and Islamabad drifting towards the SCO was simply unacceptable in Washington.

To rub salt into its wounds, Musharraf refused permission to interrogate Dr AQ Khan and firmly rejected Washington's demands that NATO troops be allowed into the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to hunt down Osama bin Laden and his associates.

By early 2006 it was clear Washington was looking for nothing less than a pliable leader in Islamabad, a firm political foothold in Pakistan and a Pakistani foreign policy that complemented US strategic aims in Central Asia.

What perhaps angered Washington the most were actions Musharraf took to wind down the "war on terror" within Pakistan.Immediately after taking power, he outlawed three Islamic extremist groups and, after 9/11, intensified military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.

Washington would have gone along with Musharraf had he focussed on military operations to curb Islamists. Military action alone cannot defeat guerrillas; but it can kill many of them and in turn induce new recruits -- well known points reiterated by William R Polk in Violent Politics (2007) – so that the so-called "war on terror" would not end any time soon.

That could supplement US Administrations' assiduous manufacture of the "Islamic threat" through the 1990s to launch an endless "war on terror" -- the New Cold War -- to rescue America's permanent war economy. For after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US economy (and by extension west European economies) faced perhaps its biggest crisis: the "Communist threat" ceased to be credible; it could not be exploited to terrify the American people into acquiescing to rising military expenditure that keeps wheels of the permanent war economy rolling and to expanding the repressive security apparatuses.

So the Bush Administration deftly replaced the "Communist threat" with the "Islamic threat", no doubt following Machiavelli's famous advice in The Prince, that a wise ruler invents enemies and then slays them in order to control his own subjects. The apparently counterproductive bombings, arrests, torture, kidnappings and disappearances (sanitised as Extraordinary Rendition) carried out by US forces while the CIA covertly funded, armed and supported Islamists are intended not to eliminate the "Islamic threat" but to contain it within manageable limits and to spawn the next generation of "terrorists".

Sometimes, plans go awry; "culling" may not contain the resistance, as seen in Afghanistan from time to time. Nevertheless, the strategy is to "feed terrorism" and simultaneously "cull terrorists" so that the perpetual New Cold War oils America's moribund permanent war economy.

Musharraf, however, did not play ball. He complemented military force to defeat Islamists with political initiatives.

He signed a peace treaty with tribal elders in North Waziristan (within FATA) to marginalise the Islamists. To combat the Islamists' religious ideology, he promoted "enlightened moderation", a veiled reference to secularism and tolerance. Musharraf's vision of a secular Pakistan has its roots in exposure to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's legacy when he attended school in Ankara during his father's diplomatic posting to Turkey. In fact, after taking power in Pakistan he often held up Ataturk as his role model. He planned to "wean away" the people from the "extremists" through education is how he described his approach to this writer. Towards this end, he introduced educational reforms and re-wrote school history text books; enacted laws protecting women's rights and diluted Islamic laws against women; and he liberalised the media. To deny Islamists their traditional rallying cry -- Kashmir -- he opened path breaking negotiations with India to remove that arrow from the Islamists' quiver.

When Musharraf skilfully combined military operations against Islamists with a political front promoting secularism to ideologically disarm them, the US administration saw red. By secularising Pakistani society over time Musharraf would de-fang the "Islamic threat" within Pakistan and extricate the country out of the contrived orbit of "war on terror".That would greatly diminish Washington's leverage to intervene in the country to distance Islamabad from Beijing and exploit energy resources abundantly found in Balochistan and, in the long run, perhaps derail US administration's well laid plans to bring Afghanistan to heel and to dominate Central Asia and its oil-rich Caspian Sea basin.

But Musharraf was in no mood to back down. So the Bush Administration slipped regime change into gear. Taking advantage of his missteps, the anti-Musharraf media blitz, NGO and student mobilisations, lawyers agitations, protests by political parties and civil society organisations seemingly coming from all directions in fact displayed a fantastic degree of organisation, coordination and financing clearly beyond the ken of the fratricidal activists and often ad hoc institutions and never witnessed before in the country. Very likely they will not be seen again either; indeed later the activists were singularly incapable of organising any significant agitation when three women were buried alive for defying their parents' choice of husbands. The manoeuvres against Musharraf bear uncanny resemblances to organised "people's power" the CIA unleashed during "colour revolutions" and upheavals against Hugo Chavez.

The Bush Administration began reaping the rewards of unseating Musharraf within 24 hours of his resignation. Chief of Army Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani travelled to Kabul to meet NATO and Afghan commanders on 19 August. About 10 days later Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen informed a Pentagon news conference on 28 August that Kayani and his lieutenants held a "secret meeting" with their US counterparts on a US aircraft carrier, reminiscent of American gun boat diplomacy in Latin America and unthinkable in Pakistan under Musharraf's watch..

Mullen touchingly chronicled how he "learned to trust" Kayani and bent over backwards to emphasise that Kayani is no American puppet, that Kayani's "principles and goals are to do what's best for Pakistan." But a few sections of the US media, weaned on decades of Pentagon-speak from the debacle in Vietnam to the illegal invasion of Iraq, saw through the verbal obfuscation. And when a reporter pointedly queried Mullen whether Kayani's "goal for Pakistan also aligned a hundred per cent with the US goal", the Admiral waffled: "[Kayani] knows his country a whole lot better than we do. And again, I just think that's where he is, that's where he'll stay." Translation: US administration has got Kayani on tight leash.

And to maintain there is no substantial change from Musharraf's policies, Kayani's spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas and Mullen alleged the meetings had been arranged several weeks earlier, when Musharraf was President, to facetiously imply he had approved the contacts.

The import of "coordination" between American, NATO, Afghan and Pakistan militaries will become clearer over the next weeks and months. For now the suspicion is unavoidable that the US Administration has at long last begun frog-marching Pakistan into the US-created Afghan quagmire to further destabilise the country and justify intervention.

Musharraf had resolutely opposed precisely this eventuality. He rejected US demands that the Pakistani army assist NATO forces in Afghanistan. He underlined the country will not repeat the catastrophic mistakes of the 1980s when it got embroiled in America's war in Afghanistan against the then Soviet Union, for which the Pakistani people continues to pay a heavy price. Rather, he insisted his army will fight only Pakistan's war within Pakistan's borders.

The consequences of the PPP leadership following the US into the Afghan quagmire will soon be evident.Already, within 16 days of Musharraf's resignation, US forces carried out the first ground assault in Angoor Adda area within Pakistan's borders -- which Musharraf had disallowed -- with the connivance of the new leadership. Obviously there is more to come since the Bush Administration has eagerly caricatured the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as "The New Frontier" in the New Cold War.

For the moment, there is great euphoria among Pakistani liberals over the presumed "return to democracy". The comments by Ayesha Tanmy Haq are typical: "We have removed a dictator by the citizenry showing that real power lies with them." The hapless liberals have yet to discover Late Neo-colonialism and its devious manoeuvres for regime change; they have in fact effectively legitimized them by opposing Musharraf. They are agonizingly unaware of the labyrinthine geo-politics and economic imperatives underlying the New Cold War. They are blissfully going along with the collaborationist leaders who are bartering away the country's future for the proverbial pieces of silver.

Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He serves as a Visiting Research Scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of International Studies.

Sep 12, 2008
Counterpoint
The Great Game Continues


Link: OUTLOOK

14 comments:

Jaydev said...

The author is an LTTE sympathizer for god sake..cant get anymore evil than that(forget imperialism). Riazji, you are cherry picking "objective" articles that somehow depicts Pak as a victim. We all know how dirty Pak establishment is in spreading terror,narcotization and epicenter of dangerous proliferation activities. When America is pissed-off, they might release on a piece-meal basis the dirty activities of Pak establishment both military and civilian which hitherto were covered-up under policy of appeasement of Pak by successive admin from Reagan to BushJr. Its very unfortunate that ppl in Islamic countries buy into conspiracy and yellow journalism. Reading between lines is not very difficult thing..if u read a couple of newspapers..we can filter facts from bias. Dont have to rely on dubious sources for truth. These kind of conspiracy theories is what drives disturbed youth towards al-queda ideology and all..Bottom line is you dont like what you see, therefore you look for(and therefore only see) what you like..sort for intentional self-delusion.

Riaz Haq said...

I don't necessarily agree with a variety of viewpoints from different authors I publish from time to time, nor do I always agree with your comments which I also publish.

However, I do value people who logically think for themselves and effectively articulate their views. These include my readers and commentators, such as you, Jaydev, who contribute their comments to help the discussion along to enlighten me and others.

Mavin said...

This article seems very logical and it is possible to draw parallels with the continuous influencing of education, media, key bureaucrats, political leaders / outfits.

Has it ever struck you?

If you accept the hypothesis of this article - Then Osama bin Laden always eludes arrest because he is more valuable alive than dead.

If dead the spectre is permanently destroyed and you have nobody else to demonize.....

Riaz Haq said...

Maven,
Osama is REAL and he is no ordinary demon, he is the devil incarnate. He and his evil ideology have misguided a lot of people, mostly Muslims, and brought great suffering upon humanity. I hope he is captured and/or killed very soon.

Unfortunately, his capture or death will not end the misery of the world. And people who have profited from the existence of bin Laden as a threat will find or invent new demons to continue their enterprise based on fear-mongering.

For all you know, we might even see a revived cold war with same or different adversaries to keep the military-industrial complex thriving.

Riaz Haq said...

B. Raman (Former RAW intelligence official and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai) writes in recent issue of OUTLOOK as follows:

(Informed sources) say that it is correct that Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari had been kept in the picture by officials of the Bush administration, including President George Bush himself, about the new rules of engagement approved by Bush in July before the visit of Gilani to Washington DC. Under these new rules of engagement, the US has been allowed to step up aerial attacks on suspected terrorist hide-outs in Pakistani territory by the Predator pilotless planes and undertake ground operations through special forces within a depth of not more than five kms if warranted by precise intelligence without informing the Pakistan Army beforehand. According to them, these rules of engagement also lay down that ground operations would be undertaken in such a manner as not to involve an accidental confrontation with the Pakistani security forces. As against three Predator strikes and no ground strike during the whole of last year when Pervez Musharraf was the President and the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), there have already been 12 Predator strikes and one ground strike since the Gilani government came to office on March 18, 2008

These sources say that Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), was also briefed on these new rules of engagement during his meeting with Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, on board a US aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea on August 27, 2008. However, Kayani has strongly denied this. A press release of the Inter-Services Press Office issued on September 10,2008, quoted Kayani as saying as follows while commenting on media reports: "The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country will be defended at all costs and no external force will be allowed to conduct operations inside Pakistan.

Jaydev said...

+vely acknowledge your admonition riazji..guess i overstepped my mandate..(always looking 4 a fruitful discourse..but get emotionally carried away nonetheless)..
back2nitpick:
The author(dr.ss) talks as though Musharraf was removed by a carefully planned US diplomatic measure. But the fact is the sudden avalanche of activities by PPP+PML to dislodge Musharraf took the State Dept by surprise which was very evident. The help for impeachment process was done by a renegade Zalmay Khalilzad(US ambassador 2 UN) closely advising Zardari out of personal interest keeping other wings out of the loop (perhaps in good faith).Given the amount of comfort Pres.Bush had with Musharraf,its difficult to imagine otherwise.He was an absolute stabilizing factor presenting a simple single window system "shielding US from dealing with individual contradictory components within Pak regime" from State Dept perspective,irrespectively.

Taking out Bin laden-Al-zawahiri combo will boost morale of counter-terror warriors but operationally insignificant, given the huge talent pool of Al-queda.Its a franchise type organization with a hydra-type command structure having regional customizations.
CIA would be interested in decimating entire food chain of dedicated arab/pak cadres.Al-Queda can only be shutdown by some kind of propaganda victory in long run..like Soviet Union invasion of Czechoslovakia?..fall of berlin wall? equivalent(or may be bigger)..which dried up ideological recruitment for KGB.(Given the distrust of general news sources in Islamic world, that would be next to impossible.) Until then and in short term, the process of killing to the last man and women of their cadre (that they have intel on), has to continue. A long bloody war of attrition. Sigh!

Riaz Haq said...

Jaydev,
The problem with intelligence tips in Afghanistan and FATA is their notorious inaccuracy that has led to many, well-documented deaths of innocent civilians and strong, angry backlash.
Even if the tips accuracy is improved, you still have to contend with the fact that "you can not jail or kill every terrorist", in the words of Bill Clinton. The US military tends to attract an inexhaustible stream of recruits for the terror outfits, when it is perceived as killing innocent people.

So I still believe in a balanced strategy of carrots and sticks to win the "hearts and minds" of the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the absence of that, even the use of overwhelming force will not solve the problem. It will just make it worse.

Jaydev said...

I am not advocating a military only solution.In counter-terror there is a short-term approach and long-term approach.Both are important and one cannot pick one over the other. In all the anti-terror discourse my exasperation was that, becoz of lack of political will on both Pak and US, they took a decision not to take a decision and let status quo remain on Afghan-Pak border until it was too late.(Don't even mention India..it has the lamest counter-terror policy ever..or non-existent).The result is that in the interim period, many-many bad guys "graduated" from those places and perhaps went back to respective countries to be sleepers ..and that dangerous momentum will be very expensive in terms of lives and property in times to come. Metaphorically speaking,the parts that are affected by cancer have to amputated and also undergo long term medication so that it does recur. Military strategies don't necessarily have to so callous like Lal Masjid raid (in which hundreds of girl students were massacred by SSG)or unplanned strikes that killed 500 or so Afghan civilians until now.More than "hearts and minds", the important thing is to put before the ppl in raw terms the gravity of the situation and unmask the Taliban-Al-Qeada strategy. ISI definitely has excellent intelligence on those terror leaders,but they were hitherto using them like ATM cards to draw aid and hard cash. Its hard to believe that they dont know where baitullah is after he attended press conference in public.Thats like insulting ppl's intelligence.

Ice said...

Hi, just landed up on the discussion thread while doing some other search.
Well, I'd like to
a) ask Mr. Haq if I could reproduce the article on my blog with credit to the author?
b) also share my opinion. It is inevitable that history as we know it is as written by those who were in power. Yes, I'd say that all the Osamas of the world are evil. However, evil as they may be, they undoubtedly rise from strength to strength only because at some point in time, another party acts as a catalyst to further their mutual interests. While Musharraf may not have been 100% a great guy, I still respect him for whatever he had done for his country. I agree with the hypothesis that US sought a mandate to further their interests in West and Central Asia, and found an ally in Musharraf. When their purpose has been sidelined a bit, they seek to change the situation back to their advantage. While Musharraf may have been very much hand in glove with US to bring funds, monetary support and stability to Pakistan and some of his actions have miffed the local populace,running a country is no joke. If the US was so strong an ally of Musharraf, how come he has quietly stepped down while the local govt. in Iraq has been plagued by incessant resistance from vast areas within and still continues to be in power? I have not seen or heard a single news item on Musharraf's current activities since August 18. With power comes greed...and greed increases the hunger for power and control. All I'll say is, my gut feel says that US is slowly axing the branch on which it sits. At the end of the day, all news about death, damage and economic strife only hits the common man, while those in power continue to eat their 3 meals a day, travel in aircraft and air-conditioned cars and express their condolences to those in grief!
We are still in the Dark Ages of the second kind.

BRADEN said...

Braden

I can see where the writer could perceive these as the facts but unfortunitly. I think your a little deluded. I am an American currently living in Florida. my interest in Pakistan exists because i believe your country will be the model to developing democracies world-wide. amazing history. I've also been reading this blog to get a better perspective outside of U.S. news
historically your right, America in the past has used all sorts of tactics to control various governments and their politically outcome. look at South American death squads(Bolivian rangers) of the 60's and the 70's, drug running like Air America during the Vietnam war, Iran-Contra scandal. most Americans remain willfully ignorant of these post colonialization type tactics. I am not Pakistani nor have i ever been to Pakistan, so on the ground i may be wrong. who knows what the U.S. is doing behind closed doors. but most of the countries they chose to deploy these tactics contained some kind of strategic advantage such as undermining socialist governments and using their failure as a way to undermine the ideal(Argintina). or areas rich with natural resources like oil(Iraq)or other commodities like diamonds and gold(Africa), medicines(South America). Pakistan unfortunitly possesses none of these things at the moment. what would America want the bad economy, thanks we have our own. maybe Pakistan's natural gas which wouldn't even put a dent in our demand. also in today's world markets Pakistan has proven that it is nobodies puppet government.
also your forgetting the Pakistani people chose to remove Musharraf. are you claiming that the majority of your own people are easily fooled. although Bhutto wasn't an angel by any means. instead of believing she was trying to make Pakistan some American puppet, realize she was only using every available resource to ensure what she thought was the future of pakistan. not much different from Musharraf pronouncing a war on terror to mantain power and to create broader alliances. Also the U.S. government is wagging a war in a neighboring country why wouldn't the U.S speak with Pakistan's new heads of state. politically its always better to test the waters. this is how government works no matter what county.
even though it can't be substantiated, the ISI seems to operate from the same play book as the CIA. they in all probability where trained by the cia during the 80's. In America we are becoming well aware of what happens when we give so much power to a small group of people. The ISI one of Pakistan's many obstacles. look what our intelligence community has done to the world and America's reputation, I think this post proves just that. now I'm not saying that trust needs to be given to America in regard to your countries self-interests. that would be suicidal because America is only thinking of its best interests. but don't let Pakistan's future become tainted by the same ideals that have tainted America itself. Also is this kind of talk really beneficial to the Pakistani people, instead you should use that energy to help build Pakistan into the Muslim leader that it already has the heart to be.

Riaz Haq said...

Braden,
What I published are the views of a Sri Lankan and I do not agree with the author's arguments or conclusions. But the author does find some resonance in Pakistan. And I can understand why. I do think US has a deep strategic interest in Pakistan for many reasons, its location in the proximity of two great powers being one. Pakistan's support is essential for US success in Afghanistan. US initially bet on Musharraf but later put its bet on Bhutto, forcing Musharraf to sign an amnesty and allow Bhutto to come back to Pakistan and participate in the election leading to the PPP win. Musharraf himself is not blameless. He contributed to his own down fall by messing with the judiciary that angered many people. Bhutto was and Zardari is very compromised and corrupt. Zardari can be easily manipulated to accept US demands that Musharraf would not. Hence US is betting on Zardari. Only time will tell if the US bet pays off without significantly destabilizing Pakistan to the detriment of the US, the entire South and West Asia region and the current "global war on terror".

I am a little skeptical that the enhanced US and world interest is good for Pakistan. It distorts Pakistani politics and hurts Pakistan's ability to deal with its own internal problems, including its fundamentalist jihadi outfits.

Ultimately, Pakistanis have to take charge of their own destiny to improve their situation.

BRADEN said...

ya i agree it should be a Pakistani war if it is to be effective. but I like the idea of diplomaticly unifying the countries tribal regions instead of out right war(they are Pakastani after all). the U.S.'s current decision to go into Pakistan is deplorable and only result in the exact opposite of what they try to gain. Unlike most I know our enemies now, will one day be our friends. The wrongs we have committed in this war is destructive in regards to long term diplomacy. I can't help but think of World War 2 German and French soldiers uniting and discussing the war they fought against each other 40 years earlier(which at the time of the war, was inconceivable). In my previous post I was speaking more to the author and not really the bloggers. your points(also the original article) are so amazing hence why i read this blog everyday. I'm not for Bhutto or Musharraf. They are only catylists for what Pakistan will be. They both had something to offer, but in their offering was also the elements that made them obstacles.
Thomas Pain who wrote Common Sense said this about government "Government at its best is nothing more than a necessary evil, at its worst an intolerable one". All politicians are corrupt to some degree. But from what I've read I have great optimissim in the Pakistani people. especially in regards to the transfer of power in Pakistan. The road ahead may be rocky, but they can clearly see the way. I don't think any amount of American meddeling is going to get the people of Pakistan to fall in line to our will or to be mearly wiped from existence.
I think Pakistan without jepordizing its national intrests need to consider the world in general. Jump in head first if you will. The world is much smaller these days and the more practice the government has in dealing with these new outside pressures the more effective they will be in implementing long-term Stratagies. They already are in a way, after reading the great article on alternative energy in Pakistan. Exploring outside models, using new information to strengthen and repair relationships with neighboring countries(India). All these complications are what intrests most westerners I've spoken with. not the harboring of terrorist like the news would have us believe. I see in these new emerging Muslim nations great possibilities in succeeding where the west has failed. But instead of being this manufactured American ideal it is being created using their own history and personal experience. Expanding on this great experiment called freedom. My fears in regards to the article is that in his tone i sense resentment, which is understandable because most of us reading this are separated from actually seeing the dead these decisions create. But self-destruction lies in that resentment, I sense that same resentment in the voices of my fellow Americans and know nothing good can come from it. Look at what colonolization has done to the world. In our fear and resentment we tainted the only thing that made us good. Its easy to place blame, its harder to find solutions.
I thank you for this blog and your own achievements. with people like you in possession of such education. I have little fear that the Pakistani's would sell themselves and their history so easily.This knowledge is what gives me great hope( a little nievely maybe)in these developing regions. It isn't how many times you fall, but the fact you rise again.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting analysis of how Pakistan has changed in this decade by a Ahsan, a blogger on Five Rupees:

In the last decade, this picture has changed dramatically due to three central factors.

The first and most important factor is the explosion of private electronic media. In the 1990s, it was difficult for most Pakistanis -- the vast majority of which cannot or do not read newspapers -- to get information that was not government-sponsored or, less mildly, propagandistic. ....

This picture has changed drastically, as anyone with even a cursory interest in Pakistan will be able to tell you. There are now dozens of news channels in Pakistan, each with their own ideological and partisan bent. Some are national-level, others more regionally and ethnically focused. The trend began in the early part of this decade and has plateaued only recently, as the market gets sated. And while few of these channels will win awards for calm understatement or presciently sedate analysis, the fact remains that the media -- if it can be spoken of as a collective -- has given voice to a mass of the population previously unheard from. It has become a player of truly monumental importance for its ability to shape, mold, and excite the public. It is, at once, sensationalistic, blood-thirsty, xenophobic, conspiratorial, humorous, investigative, and anti-government. And yet its arrival on the scene is more than welcome, first for providing the venue for disenfranchised interests to make themselves known and second because the alternative is much worse.

The second significant factor, related to but distinct from the first, is the rise of communication technologies in Pakistan, particularly cellular phones. In 2002, there were 1.2 million cell-phone subscriptions in the country. By 2008, this number had risen to 88 million -- an increase of more than seven thousand percent. In addition, more than one in ten Pakistanis had access to the internet by the end of the decade; low by advanced countries' standards but an astronomical rise by Pakistan's. These developments in communications meant that political narratives became congealed and disseminated at speeds never heard of before, and that information and the wider "war" for public opinion became incredibly hard to win if a battle was lost at any stage.

The third major factor is the economic growth that took place in Pakistan in the first half of the 2000s. Pakistan's GDP doubled between 1999 and 2007, and more than kept pace with population growth, as GDP per capita increased by almost sixty percent between 2000 and 2008. More to the point, this growth was overwhelmingly powered by expansion of the service sector, which is concentrated, quite naturally, in the urban centers of the country. For the first time since independence, the term "Pakistani urban middle class" was not a contradiction in terms.

This development had two effects. First, and more trivially, the urban middle class did what urban middle classes do: they bought televisions and computers. In turn, that allowed them to plug into the private media explosion in ways simply unimaginable previously. Second, it shattered the elite-only edifice of Pakistani politics, and made challenges to government based on Main Street issues -- the price of flour, the lack of electricity, the selective application of the rule of law -- a viable process. Fifty years ago, Seymour Lipset wrote one of the canonical articles in Political Science on the process of democratization, its relationship to urbanized middle classes, and how the demands and values of the latter lead almost inexorably to support for the former. Here was living proof of Lipset's analysis.

Riaz Haq said...

In an open society, it's very easy for #US #CIA covert operatives to penetrate and corrupt it. #democracy #Pakistan

http://n.pr/GPMWrl