In the latest issue of the Foreign Policy magazine of the US, Ms Christine Fair, the well-known US academic, has given an excellent analysis of the state of affairs in Pakistan and of the state of the US relations with Pakistan.
The article, which reflects well the desperation and confusion in Washington DC over the lack credible and workable options to make Pakistan behave as a responsible member of the international community, comes out with a list of options that could be tried out in future. Some of these options are quite drastic like letting the state of Pakistan collapse without being inhibited by fears over what could happen subsequently.
Her analysis, brilliant and thought-provoking, has failed to look into how Pakistan has been able to maintain a policy of defiance against the US for over a year. It does not bring out the fact that this Pakistani defiance has been largely due to its confidence that China and Saudi Arabia would never let it suffer or collapse, whatever be the punitive measures that might be taken by the US against it.
China matters to Pakistani political and military leaders much more than the US. They are more sensitive and responsive to Chinese views, concerns and advice than they are to those of the US.
We saw striking evidence of this during the Kargil military conflict of 1999 between India and Pakistan. The Bill Clinton Administration, then in office in Washington, repeatedly advised Islamabad to withdraw its troops and re-establish the sanctity of the Line of Control (LOC).
The Pakistani leaders were confident that China would support their stand of non-withdrawal. But to their shock and surprise, Gen Pervez Musharraf, the then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), and Mr Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister, who visited Beijing one after the other, found that Beijing was in agreement with the US advice to withdraw.
On his return to Islamabad from Beijing, a surprised Nawaz Sharif flew to Washington DC to seek US help for working out a face-saving formula to enable the Pakistani troops to withdraw. What worked on Islamabad was not US unhappiness and pressure, but the Chinese support for the US stand on the sanctity of the LOC.
A point covered in Ms Christine Fair’s analysis is how to tame Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions and defang its nuclear arsenal to prevent its falling into the hands of the jihadi terrorists. She has correctly referred to Pakistan’s continuing to add to its nuclear arsenal.
She has failed to highlight the fact that China’s continuing support for Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions has been behind its defiant stand on the nuclear issue. China and possibly North Korea continue to supply nuclear-related equipment and missiles of different kinds to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s economy is in a shambles. Despite this it has been able to procure from China and possibly North Korea an unending supply of nuclear material and missiles. It does not hesitate to flaunt its missile capability by testing one missile after another at regular intervals without a single failure. Pakistan has had a unique success record in the world in respect of missile firings.
This has been possible because of the steadfast Chinese and North Korean support to Pakistan’s programme. Unless and until the US is able to break this nefarious nuclear-cum-missile nexus of Pakistan with China and North Korea no amount of direct US pressure on Islamabad will produce satisfactory results.
When Mr George Bush Sr was the US President and Mr James Baker his Secretary of State, the US closely monitored China’s nuclear-missile relationship with Pakistan and repeatedly made it clear to both countries that this clandestine relationship could cost them heavily.
After 9/11, because of the US dependence on Pakistan for dealing with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the US monitoring of the nuclear-missile supply relationship between Pakistan and China and the US pressure on China to stop adding to Pakistan’s nuclear capability has eased and Pakistan has taken full advantage of this.
In the on-going discussions in the US on the available options against Pakistan, the China angle has not received the attention it deserves. This deficiency is evident in the analysis of Ms Christine Fair too. It is important to pay greater attention to the Chinese angle and study how to wean China away from its blind support of Pakistan.
The Saudi angle is another factor that has not received due attention in her analysis. The Saudi angle is important for two reasons. Firstly, the Pakistani leadership has the confidence that if the US drastically cuts down its economic assistance, it could count on Saudi Arabia. Secondly, the Wahabi-oriented jihadi organisations operating from the Pakistani territory are kept sustained by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan as well as Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistani military-intelligence establishment uses these Wahabi jihadis for trying to achieve its strategic objectives against India and in Afghanistan. The Saudi intelligence uses them for spreading the Wahabi ideology in the Islamic world—particularly in the Af-Pak region and in the Central Asian Republics.
The important question, therefore, is not only how to make Pakistan behave, but also how to get the co-operation of China and Saudi Arabia in this endeavour. Making Pakistan behave as a responsible member of the international community is a much more difficult and complex task than it has been projected by Ms Chrisine Fair in her timely analysis.
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies.
"Some of these options are quite drastic like letting the state of Pakistan collapse without being inhibited by fears over what could happen subsequently."
The best option is to take steps that hasten the collapse of the Pak state. For last 65 years , the world has done just the opposite. It has not worked. Pakistan has held the gun to its own head and threatened the world. Its time to call the bluff and let nature take its course.
Mr. Raman, your analysis is correct. The fact of the matter is that Countries in the West do not understand the Asian culture. Telling lies and porkies is part of the Asian culture, especially Pakistani and Chilnese culture and the Western Countries fall for it. This is one of the reasons as to how Pakistan has been able to screw the West for enormous amiount of aid. Now the Pakistani hand has been fully revealed and every country in the West now regrets it and Pakistan will not get any further aid.
As far as China is concerned, people in the West are learning fast the tricks China plays; the biggest problem that has come is the nexus of China and Russia.
Chinese students are thronging every country in the West, and no body wants to go back. If China is that wonderful, why do these Chinese do not want to go back?
Chinese are buying lot of properties abroad by paying suitcases full of money; which is part of money laundering.
People are also now realising the quality of the Chinese goods, but they have no choice but to buy because of its cheapness. Countries like India can compete in quality with the Chinese goods but not on the price. And Unions in India do not help either!
"China will become a super power soon" is the slogan these days. My insight and understanding the Chinese culture says, it will NEVER be a super power for the simple reason Chinese do not have the character or the discipline to become a super power and it takes generations to inculcate these traits in a nation.
It is time , Indian expert start telling what India should do in present situation. It is worrying ( though not surprising) that India is the target and worst sufferer of terrorism from Pak but Indians do not have plan to tackle worst case scenerio nor Aam Aadami is aware of dangers. He is still in the " lost brother" mode of thinking.
while I agree with the article largely fact is that neither Saudi nor China will pour in billion dollars of aid to Pakistan yearly like US Japan and the EU does currently. Block all civilian and military and leave them at the mercy of GOD after 2014 fir dekhna khud sudhar jayenge
Mr. Raman's criticism of Christine Fair's article in Foreign Policy is appropriate. Her article is shallow and unbalanced.
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