War on terror: Pakistan, a victim of America’s ‘benign neglect’

Published: September 28, 2012

"Most Americans also share a bias against relations with Muslim states, especially after the 9/11 attacks," says Professor Marc S Ellenbogen. DESIGN: NABEEL ABDUSAMAD.

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan is a victim of America’s “benign neglect” – the US regards Pakistan as a security state than a regular Muslim state. This was said by Professor Marc S Ellenbogen, Chairman of the Global Panel Foundation, at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) on Wednesday.

He added that most Americans also share a bias against relations with Muslim states, especially after the 9/11 attacks.

The professor noted that world politics has become polarised and complicated. America is realising that its supremacy in world politics will not last, especially as emerging powers like China, Russia and India pull their weight around in world affairs.

Responding to questions by IPRI scholars about the treatment Pakistan had received for its role in the war on terror and earlier in the fight against the Soviet occupation, Ellenbogen conceded that groups with influence in Washington do not share Pakistan’s perception of its national interests. They expect Pakistan to go the whole nine yards as America’s ally, he added.

Also, he explained that the US is engaged in redefining its relationships with the world and trying to adjust to the changes that are taking place in the Muslim world.

He explained the growing American closeness to India on the perception that the latter is a more stable and less corrupt country. China, of course, occupies a central place in American policies.

However, he said, America is basically an isolationist society. It had never been a colonial power and presently there is a strong push in public opinion for America to return to its pre-World War shell.

Prague Society Vice-President Jens Geitmann, Danish Ambassador Ole Moesby and former Pakistani ambassador Mustafa Kamal Kazi attributed the current explosion of Muslim wrath over a sacrilegious video to the proliferation of the social media.

Had the film been made twenty years ago few would have noticed it, Geitmann said, adding that the social media has changed the entire information system of the world, which makes it difficult for nations to devise long term policies.

In his concluding remarks, Ellenbogen agreed with IPRI scholars, acknowledging that the US should understand Pakistan’s position on Afghanistan and its concerns about the post-withdrawal scenario.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2012.

More in Pakistan