The world is being sucked into a vortex of embattlement and warring. The first experiment of this ‘war’ is being conducted on Pakistan.
The interesting thing is while the aggressor is the US, the aggression is emanating from all Pakistani quarters. Our leaders, government officials, public representatives, religious politicos, or any one for that matter doesn’t refrain from rapping on the US while the US is taking all this huffing and puffing with patience and assuring that we will take care of Pakistan’s grievances. But our representatives have mistaken the patience of the US representatives for something else and are putting demand after demand in front of them thinking that now the US is in our clamp, we should milk it for all it’s worth.
Whichever determined hero I talk to, they all claim with single-minded confidence that “the US cannot exit Afghanistan without our help.” This means that we have convinced ourselves that the US indeed does want to leave Afghanistan and that these people believe that the US will stick to the timetable it has given for leaving Afghanistan. But who will make the US follow this timetable? Who? The maulvi sahiban who are out to ‘defend’ Pakistan? Will they make the US scoot?
Will the Jamaat-e-Islami take care of the US like it took care of India in East Pakistan? Or will it be our media crusaders who don’t like hearing the name the US but are ever-willing and ever-waiting for invitation to tours to the very same country? When I hear the yammering of such people, I say “We’ll show the US by not taking their money.” But even that doesn’t happen. We threaten the US, try to intimidate it but we also keep asking for dollars. The interesting thing is that the US is also taking the bait to an extent.
Those who think that the US will attack us directly are bound to be disappointed. Military action is always taken where other options are not available. In the past decade or so, the US and its allies have taken formal military action against three countries; these attacks and invasions were conducted on countries where no other options were available.
The first such military action was in Afghanistan. The country is so backward and under-developed, with virtually no economy, infrastructure or functioning society to speak of, that any conspiracy could be enacted there. They neither have industry or a financial system which the US could strangle as leverage. Al-Qaeda had dens all over this administratively anarchic country and was carrying out its plan all around the world from its safe havens here. The US attacked Afghanistan because the country was already too entropic for the US to manipulate through engineering some kind of intrigue or chaos.
The second, Iraq. It was under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. It had cut off all kinds of trade relations with the US. The Americans weren’t even allowed to enter the country under the pretext of reporting or tourism. If any American was allowed at all, they were kept under strict surveillance. No Iraqi citizen was allowed to have any relations with a US citizen. If an Iraqi was even found to be merely conversing with an American, they would find themselves in a cosy torture cell the very next day. Two-thirds of the staff of an Iraqi embassy was designated to keep tabs on Iraqi diplomats.
Iraq wasn’t short on dollars courtesy their earnings from oil exports. No Iraqi was dying of hunger; they would either die a natural death or from that of a bullet from the gun of Saddam’s soldier. Ina country like that, the US had no other option but to directly invade it. They could neither send spies there, nor terrorists. They could also neither send secret agents nor blackmail them by drying up the dollar stream. Thus, the attack.
And then there was Libya. Some time ago, the US had to change the government over there and it was able to make do with just air raids. This is because Qaddafi had lifted the various bans on the US to get American favour. He had also resumed trade ties with them to that end. The Americans were able to come and go freely. Thus, it was very easy to infiltrate the country with US agents.
All those people who were exiled from Libya were also brought back. All these people organised and revolted against Qaddafi. Nato’s bombers reduced the Libyan forces to nothing. All of Qaddafi’s military might amounted to naught and he had to die at the hands of his won people. But our situation is possibly even worse than that of Libya’s. If the US ever does decide to move against us, it wouldn’t need any boots on the ground or any fighter jets in the air.
Each thread of the Pakistani economy is inextricably tied to the US. Our forex reserves are in dollars. Most of our exports are to the US and to its allies. A big chunk of our forex earnings comes from these countries. Obviously, these are our earnings but they can be cut off if and when the US so wants. It doesn’t need any new excuse. As long as North Waziristan is present, they will have a readymade pretext to levy sanctions on us. The IFI’s that we are indebted to, if they insist on timely payments on our many many debts, we can be made to default in a matter of minutes. The lifeline that is extended to us sometimes by the World Bank and IMF, that too will not be there. The arms and fighter jets that we got from the US, if we don’t get the tools, parts and money to maintain them and the supply of these is interrupted, these arms and jets will turn into scrap in a matter of four months.
If such a scenario were to play out, all the airs and graces of our ruling elites will have to go. The electricity that we get for a few hours, we won’t even have the money to produce that. There already was little electricity for the loud speakers that our maulvi sahiban shout themselves hoarse through, but it will then be hard to even get batteries for them. We have no ready alternative for all the aid, loans and earning we get from the US and its allies. The anti-US elements in Pakistan have presumptuously made up their minds that China will fill that gap. But is that even a possibility? What we get from China is coming in because the US has never objected to it.
We have a recent example: as soon as the US made the slightest indication about its displeasure, China promptly declined to fund the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. It is but to be expected. Why would any country preface its external friendship over its own interests? In China’s mammoth mountain-like economy, our contribution probably amounts to a square foot of grass. Why would the mountain care if that miniscule patch of green flourishes or dries up? On the other hand, the US is a significant trading partner of China and they would never jeopardise their economy which is reliant on the US for Pakistan.
What would we do of the nuclear bombs that we have amassed if the situation that I have just sketched out for you plays out, God forbid? For us, pushing us into the vortex of entropy is enough. We don’t need to be engaged in any war. We need to shelve our delusions of grandeur and get a dose of reality. Those who say that the Afghans ‘defeated’ the US, don’t they see that the US is still occupying Afghanistan? US props are still running the country. It is not Afghanistan that has destroyed the US; it is quite the other way round. The more Afghans resist and try to bleed the US, the more Afghanistan will bleed.
Those talking of the economic problems of the US needn’t worry about that. That country is the home of capital and capital creation. They can revive their economy simply by imposing a war on a country like us. If the mammoth is weakened, the itty bitty bunnies have nothing to be happy about. – PT