When will we disband our two-faced US policy?

Published: December 6, 2010

The writer heads the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad

From the outside, Pakistan appears to be a crisis-ridden country. From inside, it’s a nation hostage to the bigotry of a few thousand civilian and military elite. Externally, this elite projects the country to be the victim of a war that it says others imposed on it. It uses this ruse to keep begging for handouts in crunch times. Internally, ironically though, this ruling elite refuses to reform itself; the princely style of governance is one indicator and the arbitrary abuse of powers is another.

On the one hand, the rulers claim, the recent round of the strategic dialogue with the US was a major achievement and on the other, the security apparatus believes that America is out to disintegrate Pakistan.

At one level, the ruling elite pretends to be self-respecting and unflinching on Pakistan’s national interests, but at another, they sit meekly while the US president announces two billion dollars of additional military aid and the US and the Indian media hypes up this meager and still uncertain 400 million dollars per year as “a US reward for a double-gaming Pakistan.”

In essence, Pakistan is currently buckling under the insensitivity and insanity of a military and civilian ruling elite that suffers from megalomania, bigotry, lacks clear vision, refuses to read the clear writing on the wall and has a continued ambivalence about the national security paradigm. And thus, both the military and civilians revere groups that qualify as Pakistani al Qaeda auxiliaries.

Since the early 1990s, Pakistan’s skewed national security paradigm stunted economic growth. Pakistan’s elite seemed more interested in promoting, protecting and exporting jihad, rather than cutting this industry down. Geostrategic location was the mantra used to justify all adventures. But, circumstances suggest, the costs of this location outweigh the benefits. The country is reeling under distortions that sprang directly from the expedience of the “cold war”; military dictatorships and a rent-seeking selfish ruling elite.

While others may now be more sympathetic to our security concerns, this is no guarantee for survival. That is why one would hope that the military complex indulges in deep introspection to weigh the costs and benefits of policies it has pursued for long.

We need a clear rejection of, and opposition to, all sorts of private militias. The state must declare divorce on these groups. Pakistan will keep going down if its elite remain in a state of denial and refuse to reform. This attitude has not only bled this country but also blotted its image beyond repair.

Economically, Pakistan is no match to India. Politically, the world wants to engage with it for all the wrong reasons. So what Pakistan needs is a drastic review of how it looks at various issues. This would probably make it focus more on the economy than its geostrategic location. Exploitation can be good as a short-term tactic but never entails enduring strategic benefits.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • ksmat
    Dec 6, 2010 - 4:55AM

    Pakistan needs to focus on modern education for the masses and on economic development. All else will follow.

    Education cannot be a limited religious education, but one that includes contemporary subjects. Economic development has to be industrial (so more jobs are created) not just IT-based as this leads to a far fewer number of jobs.Recommend

  • American
    Dec 6, 2010 - 6:24AM

    If you cheat every one all the time, one day every one will gang up and come after you.

    On that day, nothing will save you…not ‘atom bum’, not the ‘establishment’, nothing.

    This is a dangerous game with no winners. (Do you see any in last 25 years ?)Recommend

  • vasan
    Dec 6, 2010 - 6:29AM

    “Exploitation can be good as a short-term tactic but never entails enduring strategic benefits.”
    What is long and short term. Ever since Indepence, Pakistani public, the Americans and the world at large have been taken for a ride by Pakistani Politicians, religious mullahs,the army, . Havent that ride benefited those who play such dubious games with enormous wealth enabling them to buy mansions and chateus in Dubai , France, UK and the europe.Recommend

  • Rajat
    Dec 6, 2010 - 7:17AM

    Why be India centric with regard to “divorcing” the jihadi groups, think that these are bad for Pakistan rather than this is bad for neighbours. You will get more people having less sympathetic view on them. As it is true in your country, Hatred of India precedes love for Pakistan. Instill independent nationalism, rather than enemy centric nationalism. True, jingoism against Pakistan exists in India, but increasingly more people are patriotic and take great pride in the economy and the diversity of our country. Sikh/Tamil nationalism is completely dead because of the feeling that we can do better collectively.Recommend

  • Venky
    Dec 6, 2010 - 7:28AM

    A very truthful article. But I do not understand why everyone in Pakistan would like to bring India in their affairs. Longtime back, India understood this mistake and de-hyphenated itself and merged in world affairs. Similarly Pakistan should move away from being a security state, forget about India, strategies and conspiracies and sincerely mingle with world. regardsRecommend

  • Bean
    Dec 6, 2010 - 1:56PM

    The article sums it all, the simple solution to all Pak’s miserys is to destroy the terror structure. This article is very sincere and hopefully all people in Pak will understand this rather than be in a self denial mind and suffer. Neither India nor US or any one can point a finger to Pak when this happens.Recommend

  • sherani
    Dec 6, 2010 - 2:01PM

    excellent one thank you sir for an eye opener articallRecommend

  • Anoop
    Dec 6, 2010 - 4:39PM

    Not just US policy, Pakistan’s India policy, Afghanistan Policy and all other policies are two-faced. Recommend

  • Behram Khan
    Dec 7, 2010 - 12:52AM

    Why not we give Pakistan under US Lease for 99 years. Everything will be in Black an d whiteRecommend

  • Kamran
    Dec 7, 2010 - 1:54AM

    @American
    Takes one to know one sir. Revisit some of your “American” history and you’ll find out what it really means to cheat. Even today American foreign policy(especially towards the Muslim world) can be summed up as a bunch of self serving exploitation. A lie is a lie even when it is followed by that “all justifying” favorite American phrase “our national interest”.Recommend

  • GG
    Jan 8, 2011 - 3:39AM

    @Kamran,
    You yourself answered your question or comment, it is all about your own “national interest” just like it is for america or any other country in this world. If you think your nation and its citizens will progress by following a path of self-denial, hatred for others and self-pitying then God help you, you will continue down the current path of self-distruction or else you can choose to stop living in this imaginary world of your own where you feel it is your religious duty to protect prophet mohammed (as he can’t do it himself) and nothing else. Just remember, look around and see if there is any other country in the world which has prospered based on religion alone?Recommend

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