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Why Trump’s Troubling Pakistan Policy Dooms Afghanistan Peace By Touqir Hussain The Diplomat

The Diplomat

The Diplomat

Why Trump’s Troubling Pakistan Policy Dooms Afghanistan Peace

The administration’s approach to Islamabad undermines potential solutions in Afghanistan.

By Touqir Hussain
February 15, 2018 
 

For a 16-year-long war in Afghanistan, whose failure lies in an endless list of complex causes – including flawed strategy, incoherent war aims, return of the warlords, rise of fiefdoms and ungoverned spaces, corruption, power struggles and a competitive and conflict-prone regional environment – U.S. President Donald Trump has one simple solution: get rid of the Haqqani Network and Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. And if Pakistan does not oblige, cut off aid.

Like the Afghanistan war, the equally complicated U.S.-Pakistan relationship is also being narrowly defined, thereby obscuring the many different ways it can serve or hurt the very American interests that the Trump administration is trying to serve.

It is certainly true that Pakistan has a lot to answer for, especially for its illicit relationship with the Taliban. But sanctuaries did not play a defining role in the war’s failure, nor will their eradication, if they still exist, play a salient part in its success.
Sixteen years into the war, which has been described as “16 one year wars,” Washington has shown no better understanding of the complexities of Afghanistan and the region than when it invaded the country in 2001. Some understanding of what has gone wrong might help us find the way forward.

The War in Afghanistan: What Went Wrong

It was a war that may not have been unnecessary but was nonetheless possibly avoidable. It has been an unwinnable war in the way it has been conducted, especially given the realities of a strife-torn country wracked by multiple conflicts since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1973.  The 1980s war against the Soviets and the subsequent civil war had raised the profile of the mullah and jihad and changed not only Afghanistan but also the adjoining tribal territories in Pakistan. Home to millions of Afghan refugees and base to mujaheddin, these territories almost became like one country along with the areas across the Afghan border.

Pakistan’s heartland too was affected by the religious infrastructure spawned by the 1980s war and by Islamabad’s own follies,  to which Washington made no small contribution, first through the ISI- and CIA-sponsored jihad in Afghanistan, and then by sanctioning Pakistan in 1990 and leaving it to its own devices. The Taliban were an extension of this slow unravelling of Afghanistan, and strategic overreach of the Pakistan army and societal changes in the country.

Former President George W. Bush made grievous mistakes upon America’s return to Afghanistan. He showed no understanding of what had been going on in and around Afghanistan since Washington’s last exit. It was a strategic mistake to try to defeat al-Qaeda by defeating Taliban who were not going to fight but instead run away to Pakistan. The focus should have been on al-Qaeda. The context of dealing with the Taliban was fixing fractured Afghanistan through reconstruction and stabilization of the country with a new ethnic-regional balance acceptable to all the Afghans. That is what you call nation-building. But Washington, of course, would have none of that.

Instead, Bush outsourced much of the war to warlords and rushed to institute democracy, guided by the need to get domestic support for the war and by a flawed view that democracy is nation-building. Actually, democracy and nation-building are two separate challenges, with one sometimes reinforcing the other but not always.

In Afghanistan, democracy did not help. It made Karzai dependent on the political support of warlords and regional power brokers, the very people who had brought Afghanistan to grief in the 1990s. This led to payoffs, corruption, a drug mafia, power struggles, and bad governance, facilitating the return of the Taliban which led a resistance that was a part insurgency, part jihad, and part civil-war. And by creating a dual authority – their own and that of the Afghan government – Americans set up a perfect scenario for clash of personalities, policies and interests, making for a poor war strategy.

 

 

 

 

While Bush went on to fight another war, for his successor, it was a story of dealing with his deeply conflicted approach to the war where policy and legacy collided. Indeed the policymaking itself was not without its own conflicts, strife-torn as it was by turf wars, interagency rivalries and bureaucratic tensions.

The Trump Strategy

Now Trump is seeking a military solution to the conflict. There is a talk of a political solution, but that seems to be just a Plan B in case the military option fails. The suspension of aid to Pakistan is aimed at pressuring Islamabad to help Washington defeat the Taliban. But Pakistan is finding it hard to oblige without relinquishing its national interests in favour of U.S. aid, and that too in the face of public humiliation by Trump. It certainly will not do so in this election year, and not in an atmosphere where Pakistan sees the Indian threat having doubled with India’s increased presence in Afghanistan from where it is allegedly helping orchestrate terrorist attacks on Pakistan. If anything, this should enhance Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban, which may be demonstrating their value as an ally with the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Kabul.

The Taliban are the biggest card Pakistan has to secure its interests in Afghanistan, and it would not give it up easily unless it knows what comes next.  Pakistan also feels the U.S. strategy would not succeed and may in fact backfire. A disinherited Taliban on a retreat from Afghanistan would be a much greater threat to Pakistan and to the United States, especially if the Taliban joins forces with other jihadist and Islamist groups.

The Washington-Islamabad standoff thus continues. Pakistan feels it can take the heat, and that if Washington dials up the pressure, it would fall back on China. Washington thus has to consider the geostrategic implications carefully in this respect.

The China Factor

A Pakistan closely aligned with China could conceivably take a harder line against India. If the United States continues to see China as a threat and India as a balancer, what would serve American interests better: an India whose resources are divided by a two-front deployment, or one that has friendly relations with Pakistan? For that, Washington should not burn its bridges with Islamabad.

A relationship with Pakistan would also give the United States leverage against India. Furthermore, it will be useful to have Pakistan on its side in a region that is increasingly coming under the strategic shadow of Russia and the creeping influence of Iran. Most importantly, Pakistan’s role remains critical in stabilizing Afghanistan, and in helping Washington’s counterterrorism efforts.

A Political Solution?

After considering all other options, the discussion always reverts to the talk of a political solution. But the irony is such a solution remains as elusive as the military one. How do you have power-sharing or coexistence when the Kabul government and the Taliban subscribe to two different political systems? And if instead of sharing it, you divide power by relinquishing the governance of some areas to the Taliban rule, are you not consigning the populations to the Middle Ages?

Pakistan has a limited influence to bring Taliban to the negotiating table and has little incentive to do so when there is lack of clarity about American policy and Pakistan’s own relations with Washington are strained. The upshot is that Taliban themselves are divided. Some are irreconcilable, but those who want peace worry that if they do lay down the arms and accept a deal while the American forces are still there, they might be shortchanged.

The Taliban trust China and its guarantees that they would not be betrayed. But the Chinese need support from Washington and Kabul. The Quadrilateral Consultative Group process offered the prospect of such a support.  But the Trump administration prefers military option and going it alone, and that also suits Kabul: this way, at least the Americans will likely stay for the long haul.

What is needed is a new relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Only Kabul and Islamabad together can deal with the Taliban, politically if possible, and militarily if necessary. Counterinsurgencies are essentially a governance issue. Afghanistan needs to conciliate the areas under the Taliban control, and Pakistan should help by making its lands inhospitable to them. And both must work on joint border management and resolution of the refugee problem. This is a long-term plan, but it is doable. U.S. engagement with them would be essential to their success, as would be China’s involvement.

But the Trump administration is not thinking in these terms. Instead, Trump has defined the Afghanistan war very narrowly and in immediate terms as a terrorism problem. American soldiers under attack from sanctuaries in Pakistan, rather than the war itself, preoccupies the Trump base. As for the military, it is only thinking of the military solution, and that also highlights the sanctuaries issue. So, right now, U.S. Pakistan relations are stuck, which makes the prospects of any political solution in Afghanistan quite dim.

Touqir Hussain, a former ambassador of Pakistan and diplomatic adviser to the Prime Minister, is adjunct faculty at Georgetown University and Syracuse University.

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If US Betrays Pakistan’s Trust Again, Redress May Not Be Possible

America is preparing to leave Afghanistan at the mercy of a lame government and an army of questionable loyalty.

The search for “good” Taliban is on in Afghanistan; the U.S. has announced that no action is to be taken against those who are not a threat to the U.S., including Mullah Omar.

The United States has said that after Jan. 2, 2015, the U.S. Army will not take any action against Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders in Afghanistan if they pose no direct threat to the United States. Addressing a press conference in Washington, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that the U.S. will not operate against anyone simply on the basis of their being Taliban members. Nevertheless, he used the occasion to clarify that those who fight will not be spared by any means. Kirby emphasized that any Taliban who operate against the U.S. or against its Afghan partners will automatically fall within the scope of the U.S. military operation.

Addressing the final news conference for the year last Friday, President Barack Obama reassured the American public that he is committed to his promise to end the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Obama said that in less than even two weeks, the U.S. mission that has continued in Afghanistan for more than 13 years will come to an end. However, Obama gave full permission to his troops to combat extremists in the event of their becoming direct threats to the U.S. or to Afghan forces.

After 9/11, America’s enemies in this region were al-Qaida and the Taliban. The U.S. and its allies needed Pakistan’s cooperation in confronting these enemies, cooperation which Pakistan provided. With this cooperation, and with the use of modern arms and trained armies, the U.S. and its allies totally crushed Afghanistan. Ammunition and iron rained down on the land of Afghanistan, and land forces also employed their talents and weaponry to the full extent. Thousands of al-Qaida members and Taliban were killed, and at the same time, hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens were also killed, including children, old people and women. In the words of America, it broke the back of al-Qaida.

The Taliban were removed from power but could not be eliminated. They still exist as a force in Afghanistan and some other countries, and the U.S. has even carried out direct, as well as indirect and secret, negotiations with them at times. Although the U.S. stayed in Afghanistan for 13 years with full pomp and power, it could not realize its desire to completely eliminate the Taliban; nor could it persuade the Taliban to cooperate with the Afghan government. Now that a big part of the U.S. Army will be leaving Afghanistan in about a week and a half, without coffins, the Americans are hoping that the Taliban who continued to confront them for 13 years will start behaving like good children and pledge allegiance to Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. This is not simply an illusion or a misconception on the part of the U.S., but inane thinking. The Taliban maintain a hold in many areas of Afghanistan and influence in several others; they are simply lying in wait for the U.S. and its allies to leave Afghanistan — when they can implement their plan to occupy Kabul.

Despite the presence of tens of thousands of military experts and their operations, the governments of the previous Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and current President Ashraf Ghani have remained weak in most areas other than in cities such as Kabul. At the beginning of the coming year, following evacuation of NATO forces from Afghanistan, the government of Ashraf Ghani will have to face severe problems despite having full or partial authority in different regions. Perhaps the U.S. and the Afghan administrations are relying on the 150,000 members of the [Afghan] National Guard. But these are the very U.S.-trained soldiers who carried out dozens of attacks on their American teachers. It is possible that tomorrow these U.S.-trained soldiers will be seen standing in support of the Taliban in the same way that the army of President Hafizullah Amin joined the Taliban following the Russian evacuation.

The U.S. defeated Russia with help from Pakistan; it then took the route home, leaving Afghanistan in a state of anarchy and leaving Pakistan suffering to this day from the ill effects of its actions. Had the U.S. restored peace in Afghanistan by establishing a strong government there, the hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees would not still be a weight on Pakistan after 35 years. As it did in the past, the U.S. is once again leaving Afghanistan without any planning. Pakistan today is in the grip of terrorism and lawlessness that is stronger than any it experienced in the past. Pakistani Taliban — products of the Afghan[istan] War — have turned the whole country into an ammunition pile.

On Dec. 16 these terrorists, carrying out the worst example of brutality and barbarity in human history, bathed hundreds of children in dust and blood at the Military Public School in Peshawar. According to the brutal terrorists, this was retaliation for operation Zarb-e-Azb, being conducted by the Pakistani army to eliminate the terrorists. Following this incident, the whole country united under the Nawaz Sharif government for the elimination of terrorists. The prime minister lifted restrictions on the death penalty to be effective immediately. So far there have been six executions, while gallows have been constructed in prisons for more.

After the Peshawar incident, the government immediately called a conference of parliamentary parties in an effort to form a working group that would reach a consensus regarding a strategy. Yesterday, this group agreed on eight recommendations including the establishment of military courts and repatriation of Afghan refugees. The prime minister was briefed about these recommendations and, in this context, has called a meeting of parliamentary parties to approve an action plan based on the working group’s recommendations. The meeting will be attended by political leaders, including Imran Khan.

Along with execution of terrorists, the Pakistani army is conducting rapid operations in which 200 terrorists were killed within a week and twice the number arrested. In the most recent action in Karachi, 13 terrorists belonging to al-Qaida and the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban were killed in confrontations; arms and suicide jackets were recovered from them. About 300 suspected terrorists were arrested in operations carried out in Mansehra and Islamabad.

Pakistan helped the U.S. with its heart and soul in the war against terrorism, as a result of which, the flames of warfare that were extinguished in Afghanistan have started flaring up in Pakistan. Until yesterday, the U.S. was placing pressure on Pakistan to take evenhanded action against those who posed a danger to Pakistan as well as those who did not pose a danger to Pakistan, without discrimination. Now the U.S. is in search of “good” Taliban in Afghanistan.

Whether the matter relates to Pakistan or to Afghanistan, “good” Taliban are those who give up arms. Taking the position that we will not confront those who are not confronting us is equivalent to deceiving oneself. This thinking is no different from saying that “you cannot use your weapons; but if your reservations lead you to wield arms, then we will also retaliate.” Prior to the U.S. invasion, the nature of the Taliban position in Afghanistan was no different from this; they had not hurt U.S. interests and even bin Laden had not stood up with his gun in Afghanistan. Still, the U.S. placed a price of $10 million on Mullah Omar’s head. In light of the U.S. statement today, how would the U.S. treat him if he makes an appearance at the beginning of next year, decorate him with garlands?

America is preparing to leave Afghanistan at the mercy of a lame government and an army (the [Afghan] National Guard) of questionable loyalty. Further, the fire of terrorism is blazing in Pakistan. Should the U.S. once again leave Pakistan without its friendship and support — as it has done in the past — then Pakistan will eventually emerge from the morass after it faces difficulty. However, its trust in the U.S. will be finished and it will not wish to cooperate with the U.S. ever again. It is possible that in only a few months following evacuation, the U.S. will be in need of Pakistan’s cooperation in Afghanistan.

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More Confessions of an Economic Hitman: This Time They’re Coming for Your Democracy

 

 

More Confessions of an Economic Hitman: This Time They’re Coming for Your Democracy

 04/21/2016 05:45 pm ET | Updated Apr 23, 2016
 
Twelve years ago, John Perkins published his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and it rapidly rose up The New York Times’ best-seller list. In it, Perkins describes his career convincing heads of state to adopt economic policies that impoverished their countries and undermined democratic institutions. These policies helped to enrich tiny, local elite groups while padding the pockets of U.S.-based transnational corporations.

 
 
Perkins was recruited, he says, by the National Security Agency (NSA), but he worked for a private consulting company. His job as an undertrained, overpaid economist was to generate reports that justified lucrative contracts for U.S. corporations, while plunging vulnerable nations into debt. Countries that didn’t cooperate saw the screws tightened on their economies. In Chile, for example, President Richard Nixon famously called on the CIA to “make the economy scream” to undermine the prospects of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.
If economic pressure and threats didn’t work, Perkins says, the jackals were called to either overthrow or assassinate the noncompliant heads of state. That is, indeed, what happened to Allende, with the backing of the CIA.
Perkins’ book has been controversial, and some have disputed some of his claims, including, for example, that the NSA was involved in activities beyond code making and breaking.
Perkins has just reissued his book with major updates. The basic premise of the book remains the same, but the update shows how the economic hit man approach has evolved in the last 12 years. Among other things, U.S. cities are now on the target list. The combination of debt, enforced austerity, underinvestment, privatization, and the undermining of democratically elected governments is now happening here.
I couldn’t help but think about Flint, Michigan, under emergency management as I read The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
I interviewed Perkins at his home in the Seattle area. In addition to being a recovering economic hit man, he is a grandfather and a founder and board member of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance, organizations that work for “a world that future generations will want to inherit.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 John Perkins

2016-04-21-1461274507-4624228-Perkinspic.jpeg
Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sarah van Gelder: What’s changed in our world since you wrote the first Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?
John Perkins: Things have just gotten so much worse in the last 12 years since the first Confessions was written have expanded tremendously, including the United States and Europe.
Back in my day we were pretty much limited to what we called the third world, or economically developing countries, but now it’s everywhere.
And in fact, the cancer of the corporate empire has metastasized into what I would call a failed global death economy. This is an economy that’s based on destroying the very resources upon which it depends, and upon the military. It’s become totally global, and it’s a failure.
van Gelder: So how has this switched from us being the beneficiaries of this hit-man economy, perhaps in the past, to us now being more of the victims of it?
Perkins: It’s been interesting because, in the past, the economic hit man economy was being propagated in order to make America wealthier and presumably to make people here better off, but as this whole process has expanded in the U.S. and Europe, what we’ve seen is a tremendous growth in the very wealthy at the expense of everybody else.
On a global basis we now know that 62 individuals have as many assets as half the world’s population.
We of course in the U.S. have seen how our government is frozen, it’s just not working. It’s controlled by the big corporations and they’ve really taken over. They’ve understood that the new market, the new resource, is the U.S. and Europe, and the incredibly awful things that have happened to Greece and Ireland and Iceland, are now happening here in the U.S.
We’re seeing this situation where we can have what statistically shows economic growth, and at the same time increased foreclosures on homes and unemployment.
van Gelder: Is this the same kind of dynamic about debt that leads to emergency managers who then turn over the reins of the economy to private enterprises? The same thing that you are seeing in third-world countries?
Perkins: Yes, when I was an economic hit man, one of the things that we did, we raised these huge loans for these countries, but the money never actually went to the countries, it went to our own corporations to build infrastructure in those countries. And when the countries could not pay off their debt, we insisted that they privatize their water systems, their sewage systems, their electric systems.
Now we’re seeing that same thing happen in the United States. Flint, Michigan, is a very good example of that. This is not a U.S. empire, it’s a corporate empire protected and supported by the U.S. military and the CIA. But it is not an American empire, it’s not helping Americans. It’s exploiting us in the same way that we used to exploit all these other countries around the world.
van Gelder: So it seems like Americans are starting to get this. What is your sense about where the American public is in terms of readiness to do something?
Perkins: As I travel around the U.S., as I travel around the world, I see that people are really waking up. We’re getting it. We’re understanding that we live on a very fragile space station, and it’s got no shuttles; we can’t get off. We’ve got to fix it, we’ve got to take care of it, and we’re in the process of destroying it. The big corporations are destroying it, but the big corporations are just run by people, and they’re vulnerable to us. If we really consider it, the market place is a democracy, if we just use it as such.
van Gelder: I want to push back on that one a little bit because so many corporations don’t sell to ordinary consumers, they sell to other companies or to governments, and so many corporations have such an entrenched reward system where if one person doesn’t perform by exploiting the earth they’ll simply get replaced with somebody else who does.
Perkins: I’ve recently been speaking at a number of corporate conferences. I hear time after time after time that many of them want to leave a green legacy. They’ve got children, they’ve got grandchildren, they understand we can’t go on like this.
The big corporations are destroying it, but the big corporations are just run by people, and they’re vulnerable to us.
So what they say is, “Go out there, start consumer movements. What I want is to receive a hundred thousand emails from my customers saying, ‘Hey, I love your product but I’m not going to buy it anymore until you pay your workers a fair wage in Indonesia, or wherever, or clean up the environment, or do something.’ And then I can take that to my board of directors and my big stockholders, to the people who really control whether I get hired or fired.”
van Gelder: Those campaigns, as you know, have been going on for decades now, and sometimes they result in small changes around the edge. But there’s enormous resistance from corporate executives because of the profits to be made in continuing the system as is.
Perkins: I think we’ve seen tremendous changes, though. Just in the last few years, we’ve seen organic foods become very big. Twenty years ago they couldn’t make a go of it. We’ve seen women having bigger positions in corporations, and minorities, and we need to get better at this.
We’ve seen the labeling of many foods. GMOs aren’t included yet, but nutrition and calories and so forth are. And what we really need to do is convince corporations that they’ve got to have a new goal.
We’ve got to let corporations know what their job is: It’s to serve a public interest, and make a decent rate of return for investors. We need investors, but beyond that, every corporation should serve a public interest, should serve the earth, should serve future generations.
van Gelder: I want to ask you about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and other trade deals. Is there any way that we can beat these things back so they don’t continue supercharging the corporate sphere at the expense of local democracies?
Perkins: They’re devastating; they give sovereignty to corporations over governments. It’s ridiculous.
We’ve got to let corporations know what their job is: It’s to serve a public interest, and make a decent rate of return for investors.
We’re seeing terrible desperation from people in Central America trying to get away from a system that’s broken, primarily because our trade agreements and our policies toward Latin America have broken them. And we’re seeing, of course, those similar things in the Middle East and in Africa, these waves of immigrants that are swarming into Europe from the Middle East. These terrible problems that have been created because of the greed of big corporations.
I was just in Central America and what we talk about in the U.S. as being an immigration problem is really a trade agreement problem.
They’re not allowed to impose tariffs under the trade agreements—NAFTA and CAFTA—but the U.S. is allowed to subsidize its farmers. Those governments can’t afford to subsidize their farmers. So our farmers can undercut theirs, and that’s destroyed the economies, and a number of other things, and that’s why we’ve got immigration problems.
van Gelder: Can you talk about the violence that people are fleeing in Central America, and how that links back to the role the U.S. has had there?
Perkins: Three or four years ago the CIA orchestrated a coup against the democratically elected president of Honduras, President Zelaya, because he stood up to Dole and Chiquita and some other big, global, basically U.S.-based corporations.
He wasn’t assassinated but he was overthrown in a coup and sent to another country.
He wanted to raise the minimum wage to a reasonable level, and he wanted some land reform that would make sure that his own people were able to make money off their own land, rather than having big international corporations do it.
The big corporations couldn’t stand for this. He wasn’t assassinated but he was overthrown in a coup and sent to another country, and replaced by a terribly brutal dictator, and today Honduras is one of the most violent, homicidal countries in the hemisphere.
It’s frightening what we’ve done. And when that happens to a president, it sends a message to every other president throughout the hemisphere, and in fact throughout the world: Don’t mess with us. Don’t mess with the big corporations. Either cooperate and get rich in the process, and have all your friends and family get rich in the process, or go get overthrown or assassinated. It’s a very strong message.
van Gelder: Tell me about your time spent in Ecuador with indigenous people. I’m wondering if you could talk about how that experience has changed you?
Perkins: Many years ago when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Amazon with the Shuar indigenous people there, I was dying. I got very ill, and my life was saved in one night by a shaman. I’d come out of business school this is 1968, ‘69, and I had no idea what a shaman was, but it changed my life by helping me understand that what was killing me was a mindset—what they would call the dream.
I spent many years studying all this, and working with many different indigenous groups, and what I saw was the power of the mindset.
The shamans teach us—the indigenous people teach us—once you change the mindset, then it’s pretty easy to have the objective reality change around it. So, instead of the kind of economy we have now, a death economy, if we can change the mindset we can very quickly move into a life economy.
van Gelder: So what are the mechanisms by which a change in consciousness actually shifts things on the ground?
Perkins: Well, in my opinion the biggest catalyst that needs to go forward to change this is we’ve got to change the corporations. We’ve got to move from that goal that was stated by Milton Friedman in the 1970s, that the only responsibility of corporations is to maximize profits regardless of social and environmental costs.
We change the big corporations by telling them we’re not going to buy from you anymore unless you change your goal. No longer should your goal be to maximize profits regardless of social and environmental costs. Make a decent rate of return for your investors, but serve us, we the people, or we’re not buying from you.
van Gelder: You quote Tom Paine in your book: “If there must be trouble let it be in my day that my child may have peace.” Why did you decide to use that quote?
Perkins: Well, I think Tom Paine was brilliant in that statement. He understood how that would impact people. And he wrote that statement in December 1776.
Washington had lost just about every battle he ever fought; he wasn’t getting any support from the Continental Congress; they weren’t giving his men guns or ammunition or even blankets and shoes, and he was bogged down at Valley Forge. Paine realizes that he’s got to somehow write something that will rally people, and there’s nothing that rallies people more than to think about their children
That to me is where we’re at right now. I’ve got a daughter and I’ve got an 8-year-old grandson. Bring on the trouble for me, OK, but let’s create a world they’re going to want to live in. And let’s understand that my 8-year-old grandson cannot have an environmentally sustainable and regenerative, socially just, fulfilling world unless every child on the planet has that.
And this is new. It used to be all we had to worry about was our local community, maybe our country. But we didn’t have to worry about the world. But what we know now is that we can’t have peace anywhere in the world, we can’t have peace in the U.S., unless everybody has peace.
Sarah van Gelder wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Sarah is co-founder and editor at large of YES! Follow her on Twitter @sarahvangelder.
 

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Propaganda against the Army and ISI was part of the US agenda

Gen Beg warns of Egypt-like change in Pakistan

Propaganda against the Army and ISI was part of the US agenda

Proposes three-point formula to normalise situation

April 22, 2014    ASHRAF MUMTAZ

  LAHORE  – Former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg on Monday proposed a three-point formula to normalise the tense civil-military relations, warning the government of an Egypt-like change in case urgent steps were not taken in accordance with his suggestions.

He proposed a three-point formula to normalise the situation

1. high treason case against Gen Pervez Musharraf should be dropped and he should be allowed to go abroad;

 2.Pemra should ensure that no TV channel telecasts programmes that undermine the prestige of the army; and

 3. ministers or other leaders should be barred from speaking against the people who defend the country even at the cost of their lives. 

Talking to The Nation, he said the civil setup would face no threat and the situation would normalise within no time if the government acted in the light of his suggestions. Otherwise, he said, a military general would take over, just like Gen El-Sisi did in Egypt, and the United States would support the change for its own interests.

Gen Beg was of the firm view that the Constitution would not be able to block a military intervention if the rulers did not give the army its due respect. “ZulifikarAli Bhutto had said the 1973 Constitution would bury martial laws, but it was the martial law that buried Bhutto”.

Critical of the flawed decision-making process of the present government, Gen Beg said the rulers did not properly calculate the likely negative fallout of their policies. According to him, the government takes decisions first and thinks later. As a result, its damage control measures don’t yield results. 

Gen Beg said the army was like a family and Gen Musharraf was its former head. The way he was insulted created unrest in the rank and file which forced Gen Raheel Sharif to issue a statement that army will defend its honour and dignity. Compared to the anger of the soldiers, Gen Raheel’s statement was ‘very soft’ however, he claimed.

He said it was after Gen Raheel’s statement all government functionaries had gone on defensive and they were offering explanations that they did not want to insult the army. Such people should have been careful before issuing derogatory statements, said Gen Beg.

The army, he said, would not tolerate the way Gen Musharraf was being singled out for trial. Similarly, he said, the former president-COAS could not be held responsible for ‘high treason’ as what he was accused of having done did not fall in this category. A treason charge on a former army chief was just not tolerable.

Making a strong plea for permission to Gen Musharraf to go out of Pakistan, Gen Beg said if a man like Hussain Haqqani could be allowed to leave the country despite a very serious charge against him, why the former president-COAS couldn’t be given a similar treatment.

Explaining his argument that the US would support a general in power in Pakistan at a time when it was leaving Afghanistan after 13 years’ stay in Afghanistan, Gen Beg said the US always felt more comfortable in dealing with one man rather than an elected parliament.

He said when the US interest called for a change in Pakistan because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it got Zulfikar Ali Bhutto eliminated and brought Gen Zia to the fore. Likewise, the US supported Gen Musharraf when its interests in Afghanistan so demanded.

According to Gen Beg, had a political government been in power in Pakistan in 2001, the US would not have got the kind of ‘facilities’ in Pakistan that Gen Musharraf had allowed them. Replying to a question, the former COAS said the US had deep penetration in all departments of Pakistan and it could bring about a political change at any time of its choice.

“I don’t say that Gen Raheel Sharif is going to become Gen El-Sisi (by overthrowing the political government), but a lot can happen”. 

He alleged that the propaganda against the army and ISI was part of the US agenda as it was the most effective way of creating tensions between the civil and military leadership. “The higher the tension, the easier the change”, Gen Beg said.

 

Reference

 

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United States’s Relations with Pakistan – Inam Khawaja

United States’s Relations with Pakistan

By

Inam Khawaja

 

The history of Pakistan’s relations with United States of America shows that since the signing of the ‘Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement’ on May 19, 1954 and the signing of ‘Mutual Security: Defense Support Assistance Agreement” on January 11, 1955 Pakistan has not violated any provision of these Agreements and has been an honest ally of  USA. The US on the other hand has time and again acted directly against Pakistan’s interests.

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  1)   In October 1955 US let down Pakistan with respect to promised military aid reference telegram from the Consulate General at Lahore to the Department of State of Oct. 4, 1955 quote:-

 Pouching dispatch on talk with General Ayub who says US let us down on military aid to Pakistan likely be exposed in Consembly with result various Mid-East countries will take ‘I told you so’ attitude on [or?] argument “You cant trust Americans”

Says his face now red re contentions he made to King Saudi Arabia who personally warned in Pindi in 1954 “Americans can’t be trusted”. Says he also “had certain knowledge” that Shah of Iran felt the same way and so he Ayub sent an emissary to convince Shah USA different from British.”  (refer page 444, Foreign Relations, 1955-1957, Volume VII)

2)   In October 1962 US sent George Ball (Under Secretary of State) to Pakistan along with Duncan Sandys (Minister Commonwealth Relations UK) and put pressure on President Ayub to stop the planned military action by Azad Kashmir Army to capture Akhnur thus cutting off land route of Kashmir with India. (At that time India was being badly mauled in its war with China).

 

3)   In 1965 US placed an embargo on arms sales to Pakistan and choose not to provide Pakistan with military support as pledged in the 1959 Agreement of Cooperation.

4)   In April 1979 the United States suspended all economic assistance to Pakistan over concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear program.

 

5)   It may be noted that Military sales and economic aid was resumed in 1981 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. On October 1, 1990 US   again suspended all military sales and economic assistance by applying the Pressler Amendment. Furthermore it totally abandoned Afghanistan and even closed its Embassy in Kabul.

 

6)   In May 1998 when India conducted Nuclear tests USA put pressure on Pakistan not to conduct nuclear tests and when Pakistan went ahead and carried out nuclear tests USA imposed stringent economic sanctions on Pakistan.

 

After the demolishing of the World Trade Centre on 11, September 2001 Musharraf  naively in his Commando bravado  made verbal agreements with US and provided military bases, flight corridors, cooperation with CIA to arrest and hand-over Al-Qaeda operatives, induction of US troops in Pakistan ostensibly for training,  transport of provisions through Pakistan for US forces in Afghanistan etc. In fact he should have let the Foreign Office to do the negotiation which was headed by Raiz Khokar an experienced and able Foreign Secretary.  

USA has been fighting in Afghanistan since October 2001 now almost thirteen years, the longest war in their history. There are over 130,000 US and allied troops in Afghanistan. This is no different from Soviet Union which had about the same number of troops and after nine years threw in the towel and left Afghanistan in February 1989. The US and its allies are in the same situation and have finally decided to leave by the end of this year. However instead of accepting their failure they continue to blame Pakistan about insurgents in North Waziristan. This is exactly what the US Army did after their failure in Vietnam when General Westmoreland blamed Laos and Cambodia for allowing their territory to be used by the Viet Cong. However the difference is that at that time Nixon was the President, Kissinger was the Secretary of State (a man of great vision and intellect) and Helms was the Director of CIA, all very powerful and intelligent civilians who saw the failure of the army and extracted US out the unpopular Vietnam war which was in any case not in American interest.

In contrast today there is a President who is beset with an economy in doldrums, Susan Rice the National Security Advisor and General Petraeus the Director of CIA. Petraeus has come to this post after his military failure as Commander of ISAF and US forces in Afghanistan.  Furthermore, Panetta has moved up from head of CIA (after the failure of CIA in Afghanistan) to the post of Secretary Defense. True to form to cover up their dismal failure in Afghanistan both militarily and politically the Pentagon and CIA are now blaming Pakistan.

One would like to ask Mr. Panetta as to what his CIA was doing while the Taliban traveled from the so called ‘bases’ in North Waziristan  to Kabul travelling about 200 Km in Afghanistan? Why were they not interdicted while they travelled 200 Km with the weapons, ammunition, explosives and their other gear? How and from where they acquired the vehicles they used in the attacks? The fact is that the Taliban are very much based in Afghanistan where they have popular support which provides them with safe houses, stores for weapons, transport, ammunition and explosives which interestingly are all of US origin.

It is time that the US accepts the facts and faces the hard truth that their thirteen year war in Afghanistan is a total failure both politically and militarily. The nationalist Islamic Taliban is stronger than in 2001 and the Americans have not been able to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans. Their attempt to split the Taliban through Rabbani ended in his assassination. Taliban have survived over a decade of American onslaught both militarily and politically and today they are stronger and far better organized than they were in 2001. They have the support of over 60 percent of the Afghans. The recent Taliban attacks on the Intercontinental Hotel and on the fortified US Embassy and the twenty two hour firefight in the heart of Kabul was actually their message to the Americans to prove and demonstrate their presence and support in Kabul.  It is time the US exit Afghanistan with an understanding with the Taliban rather than blaming Pakistan or ISI.

According to the survey taken by Pew Research Centre of USA only 11 percent Pakistanis had a favourable view of USA that is 89 percent Pakistanis were opposed to USA. It is significant that this survey was taken before Salala attack it must have significantly increased since then.

The recent threats to Pakistan by top American officials have to be taken most seriously by us. It would be disastrous to take them lightly and consider it an effort to just put pressure on us to take action against loyal Pakistani citizens in North Waziristan. It is speculated by some that there is a very strong view that if a decision is taken to act according to American dictate there is a possibility of a split in the forces. One needs to evaluate if this is the American’s real intention because this could provide them an excuse to act against our nuclear assets. One US think tank has recently proposed the development of a US-Indian nexus for this purpose.

After a break of about three years the US Pakistan strategic dialogue has started with a statement by Kerry; “It remains essential for the United States and Pakistan to continue to find avenues of cooperation on counter-terrorism, on nuclear security.” 

Pakistan finds US obsession with our nuclear security sinister especially in view of their silence on Israel’s nuclear assets.

The people of Pakistan are firmly behind their Armed Forces. Every political party is united in its resolve to stand firmly against those American dictates which are against our national interest. The people of Pakistan know what their national interest is and we do not need American advice on this matter.

Karachi, January 28, 2014.

 

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