America’s hubris; Pakistan’s appeasement

Courtesy:-  Mohammad Jamil

Despite Pakistan’s vociferous demand to end drone strikes, eight suspected militants were reportedly killed in a U.S. drone attack on Saturday in Dre Nishtar area of Shawal valley. As if to add salt to injury, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in an interview said the same day that the US will continue to launch drone strikes against militants in Pakistan even if the Pakistani government opposes it. During an interview to PBS news, Panetta said: “The United States is going to defend itself under any circumstances.” Pakistan’s Foreign Office condemning the drone attack in North Waziristan stated: “It is our considered view that the strategic disadvantages of such attacks far outweigh their tactical advantages, and are therefore, totally counterproductive.” The nation has been listening to the foreign office vows and resolve for a severe response to any alien transgression into Pakistani territory; however in case of the super power Pakistan appears to be helpless since it is confronted with challenges such as fiscal and trade deficits, apart from lack of unity in the nation and disharmony in the institutions.

Since the recommendations of Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security have been adopted by the Parliament, it is up to the government to either convince the US for the infecundity of the drone attacks or consider measures to stop the drone attacks. In any case, fundamental issues pertaining to national security have to be decided by the political leadership, not by military commanders or diplomatic corps. And that is where the citizenry stands so distraught and disenchanted by our leadership’s act. The ruling elites cannot even imagine how deeply has this American adventurism hurt the nation in its psyche on May 2nd and 26th November 2011, showing up their nuclear state even worse than a banana republic? On 2nd May, as the American president and his core security and administration team was huddled up together in the situation room watching the raid live on our territory, our own ruling elites were blissfully asleep, that had left the nation in an unbearable psychological shock.
On 6th May 2012, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar addressed a press conference and dwelt various issues. When asked about Pak-US defence deals, he said Pakistan had asked the US for ‘joint’ and ‘coordinated’ drone attacks, but Washington refused to accept this demand. To another question, he said if the supply of Nato containers is not restored it would be violation of the international law. On one hand he expressed helplessness on the issue of drone attacks, and on the other hand he in his wisdom invoked the international law, which even the US and Nato have never referred to. It is true that Pakistan cannot afford to fight the super power; and needs its support for keeping the economy afloat. But why was that hullabaloo of reviewing the foreign policy? There is no denying that the US and Pakistan need each other; therefore both sides must realize the core requirement and remove mistrust by accommodating each other’s interests. The situation demands mutual trust and confidence among the stakeholders including US, Afghan Government, Taliban and Pakistan.
According to a press report, Pakistan and the United States are working quietly on an acceptable text for a US apology for the Nato air strike on 26th November that resulted in the martyrdom of 25 soldiers of the Pakistan Army at the Salala check post. About 20 soldiers were seriously injured in the gory incident which came from the so-called ‘allied’ forces. The draft is being worked out and discussed between the top diplomats of the two countries as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has been tasked to choreograph a mutually acceptable text for the purpose; of course which could provide face saving both for Pakistan and the US. Such a breakthrough will help restoration of supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan. Reportedly, the senior diplomats stationed in Islamabad are in constant contact with the ambassador who has been staying in Islamabad for more than ten days and has come here for the third time since her posting to Washington in December.
Pakistan’s economy is in dire straits, and is feeling the financial crunch because of the fiscal and trade deficits. The government has to go through the ritual of the budget next month, and the current financial year also being the election year, the government has to showcase its care for the masses. But it is only by resolving the issues with the US that the much needed financial assistance from the United States, reimbursement of under Coalition Support Fund and clearance of dues under various heads would be possible. At the same time, disposition from the world fiscal institutions, rescheduling of debt or new debt to pay back the old debt would be available to Pakistan. Nevertheless, Pakistan seems to be uncomfortable about the strategic agreement between Afghanistan and United States inked by Presidents Obama and Karzai in Kabul on the first death anniversary of Osama bin Laden. Islamabad is studying the agreement and formulating its formal reaction.
The bitter truth is that the country's political leadership across the spectrum is congenitally unfit and incapable to taking quick and right decisions. The very shrill, that this leadership raised over the reformulation of the country's foreign policy by the parliament speaks volumes of its immaturity and superficiality. Nowhere in the world is foreign policy formulated by the legislature, although it may decide the issues of war and peace or settle a foreign policy matter referred to it by the executive branch. All over the world, it is the prerogative of the executive to formulate foreign policy; of course military and intelligence agencies give briefings and advice on the threat perceptions to the security of the country. Indeed foreign policy is changeable keeping in view the changing political landscape of the world. However, the immutable are only the nation's sovereignty, its security and its territorial integrity, which are non-negotiable in any case and cannot be compromised in any conditions.


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