Saturday, April 23, 2011

US-PAKISTAN: A STRATEGIC PERMANENCE

B.RAMAN

There has been an unwarranted satisfaction and even glee among sections of our analysts over recent indications of difficulties in the relations between the US and Pakistani Armed Forces and between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

2.The articulation of US dissatisfaction and concern over Pakistan's half-hearted action against terrorists operating from North Waziristan, over its continued support to the Jallaudin Haqqani faction of the Afghan Taliban, which was previously operating from North Waziristan, but now operates from Kurram, over the collusion of Pakistani military and intelligence officers with the Afghan Taliban and over the difficulties created by it in allowing Raymong Davis, a member of the technical and administrative staff of the US Consulate-General in Lahore, allegedly involved in the murder of two Pakistanis, to go back to the US have created perceptions of serious difficulties in the US relations with Pakistan.

3. Speculative stories and negative public comments about Pakistan emanating from US officials and sources during the recent visits of Lt.Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the Director-General of the ISI, and Salman Bashir, the Pakistani Foreign Secretary, to the US and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Pakistan have strengthened these perceptions.

4. Periodic emergence of difficulties in the relations between the two countries has been there ever since the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988. One saw such spells of difficulties after then President George Bush Sr invoked the Pressler Amendment against Pakistan post-1988 and imposed economic sanctions because of Pakistan's clandestine acquisition of a military nuclear capability, when then President Bill Clinton placed Pakistan on a list of suspected State-sponsors of international terrorism for six months in 1993 and forced Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister, to sack Lt-Gen.Javed Nasir, the then DG of the ISI, and some of his senior colleagues for allegedly not co-operating in the re-purchase of the unused Stinger missiles from the Afghan Mujahideen, when Clinton imposed additional economic sanctions after Gen.Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999 and publicly snubbed him during a visit to Pakistan next year, and when then President George Bush forced Musharraf to remove Lt.Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, then DG of the ISI, from his post and transfer Lt.Gen.Mohammad Aziz, the then Chief of the General Staff, from the GHQ to Lahore because of their suspected links with the Afghan Taliban before the US started its military operations against the Taliban in October,2001, and when Bush repeatedly turned down a Pakistani request for signing a civil nuclear co-operation agreement with it similar to the agreement signed with India.

5. The US did not allow such difficulties to affect a certain strategic permanence in its relations with Pakistan arising from its strategic location, the long years of military-military and intelligence-intelligence relations between the countries which have served to some extent the national interests of the two countries and the important role which Pakistan could play in maintaining stability in Afghanistan. This permanence has been further strengthened by the US realisation that co-operation from Pakistan is essential for maintaining homeland security.

6. The enhanced Drone (pilotless plane) strikes against terrorist hide-outs in the two Waziristans since Barack Obama came to office in January 2009, have highlighted two ground realities. Firstly, the US has the capability to achieve significant success in its counter-terrorism operations on its own even without the co-operation of the Pakistani Army and the ISI. Secondly, despite this, it cannot achieve complete success without the effective co-operation of Pakistan.

7. The US has always followed a policy of carrot and stick for making Pakistan co-operate. While it does not hesitate to use the stick when it considers it necessary in its interests, it takes care to ensure that the use of the stick does not seriously damage the strategic permanence in its relations with Pakistan. The US will maintain this strategic permanence whatever be the temporary tactical difficulties in the relationship. ( 24-4-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

2 comments:

Esoteric said...

There are many reasons for US to not ditch Pakistan,to name a few...

- Nuclear Weapons and possibility of Jihadis getting their hands on them
- Potential strikes on US soil by Af-Pak based militants
- Access to Afghanistan for US/NATO supplies
- Pakistan's close relationship with China
- Pakistan's proximity to Iran/India/China & Afghanistan and boots close to key strageic region wrt trade & strategy
-Leverage over India due to Pakistan's disputes with India.Also US ability to mask its undercover activities in India.
- Large trained military force of Pakistan
- Strategic codependence of Pakistan-US to meet their objectives in the region.
- Pakistan being the Afghan drug trade transit point

Both from a defensive and offensive geo-political and military tactics it helps the US to be a partner Pakistan.Its a no brainer esp with China looking to leverage Pakistani capabilities for their own conflicting or at time converging strategic objectives with the US in the region.

Waves said...

From an Indian perspective, US & China are two faces of the same coin.
They will use Pakistan to the hilt and save it from drowning completely.

Neither US nor China will prefer a strong democratic government in Pakistan, as democratic governments have the habit of saying NO.

The mere fact that Pakistan has been responsible for the death of hundreds of US servicemen in Afghanistan, but still is awarded billions of dollars should tell you something!

Hence for India it is very important that the backing power of US & China be reduced.

US:
-----
We should encourage US to stay the course in Afghanistan. Just as Pakistan uses scare tactics the same should be applied. India should promote thinking with US about the dangers of US leaving out of Afghanistan.

Now Pakistan being a nation of "religious warriors", having US in their neighborhood is a mouth watering target. Their ghazis will keep attaching US forces. Imagine if this goes on another 5 years? There will be a limit to how much servicemen sacrifices will US be able to tolerate.

Meanwhile India should "educated" American population about the double game that Pakistan is playing. Nothing resonates more than knowing "American boys" are been murdering by an "ally" who gets billions of dollars.

The objective should be to make Pakistan the number one enemy, replacing Iran within the American public.

China
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Again as I said earlier, Pakistan being a "religious warriors" entity, covert "education" be provided about China's repression of Muslims. All that is required is some videos and some sermons against Chinese.
Given the amount of killings been committed in Pakistan, finding few brain washers against China will hardly be a problem.

If TTP can turn against Pakistan, who are "defenders of Islam", how difficult is to find some warriors against China.

There is a observation .. "If India & Pakistan were at peace, Pakistan & China would have been at each other's throat".

May be it is time we encourage some Pakistani warriors towards China. If Pakistan can play politics with religion against us, then we can also play politics with against Pakistan's "friends".