“Washington’s view is that only
Washington, no one else, has a sphere of influence, and Washington’s sphere of influence is the entire world.”
- Paul Craig Roberts,
“War On All Fronts”
Recently, Egyptian political activists, nearly half-a-million of them, gathered outside the hotel in Cairo where Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, was staying, to protest against her visit to Egypt. This huge and impressive gathering’s agenda was to tell Secretary Clinton: “You are not welcome in Cairo”, and America: “do not interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt.”
Later, Clinton’s motorcade was pelted with shoes (a cultural expression of ultimate disrespect), tomatoes and rotten eggs. The following day similar anti-US demonstrations were held outside the US Consulate in Alexandria. Among the many placards carried by the demonstrators, one read: “America’s zero-influence in Egypt”, and another said: “Egypt is not Pakistan.”
It is amusing that Egyptian political activists used Pakistan’s analogy in expressing their rage and anger to the extent of US interference in the internal affairs of a nation. Notwithstanding the emotions and the hurt involved by this analogy with Pakistan, there is a fundamental element of truth and political correctness in the perceptual outlook of the Egyptian demonstrators. After all, the facts are that Pakistan has been virtually a US “satellite” state and stigmatised as an American “client” nation for over six decades.
Pakistanis need not to be emotionally disturbed over the public insults hurled at them in a foreign country and carried all over the world by the international media. We have no one else to blame but ourselves!
Let us remind ourselves that Egypt’s January 2011 revolution was inspired at the grassroots level, and the July 2012 protests in Cairo and Alexandria are a continuum of the same public political expression to democratise the country and get rid of foreign influence and external intervention in their affairs. For Pakistan and its masses, there are lessons to be learned from the Egyptian public uprising against their own ruling class and its intrinsic links with foreign powers, most specifically the US and its allies in Western Europe.
For its future survival and national solidarity, Pakistan will have to adopt a “zero-influence” policy, in regard to US interference in its domestic and foreign affairs. Such a political discourse will not get off the ground, unless a massive grassroots public movement and uprising is set into a nationwide political action. Behind closed doors, US meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs is reaching dangerous proportions, threatening its existence as a nation.
Muhammed Abdul Hameed, a Pakistani columnist, who posts his Urdu articles on a blog, in a recent write up, entitled “Who is behind all this and why?”, contends that the ANP leader, Asfandyar, travelled to Washington on an American invitation for a three-week top secret mission prior to the 2007 elections. Reportedly, Washington’s agenda was to bring him on board to carve out a new country by joining the Khyber province and tribal areas (Fata) and later include the “Pashto” speaking areas from Afghanistan in this new “Pakhtun” nation. The ANP leader agreed to the American plans and his government was installed in NWFP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). Yet, the US-ANP plans failed.
Eric Draister, in the profoundly analytical article titled “Balochistan – crossroads of a proxy US war”, convincingly argues that the US geopolitical interests, worldwide capitalistic objectives, containment of China’s rising financial-industrial power and Russia’s re-emergence as a powerful adversary in global politics are the reasons behind the current unrest in Balochistan. He writes: “….…unrest in Balochistan centres around forced disappearances, kidnappings, targeted killings, assassinations and terrorism. However, these are merely the tactics of a much broader, more geopolitically complex war in which the United States and its Western allies are engaged…….Balochistan is, in fact, a nexus: the point at which diametrically opposing strategic interests converge.”
The US understands Balochistan’s strategic location in the context of its future geopolitical interests. It weighs its natural resources and the need to exploit them for its own riches. It is in USA’s interest to destabilise Balochistan and carve out a new country in this area for its 21st century doctrine of a ‘New World Order’. Draister argues: “The United States views Balochistan, an area that encompasses western Pakistan, eastern Iran, and a piece of southern Afghanistan, as critical to the maintenance of US hegemony in the Middle East and Central and South Asia.” Consequently, in view of the US determination to push for its global agenda, the political stake for Pakistan and its national existence is under serious threat.
However, both Hameed and Draister, are in agreement that the US has flawed in its comprehension of the extent of “nationalism” at the grassroots of Pakistani society. They also contend that America has failed in understanding the Pakistani military’s ability, resourcefulness and absolute resolve to safeguard and protect the territorial integrity of the nation.
But “nationalism” and a disciplined army is not enough to safeguard Pakistan’s future survival. What is vital is to translate and convert nationalist sentiments into a powerful and aggressively proactive, versatile, organised and progressive political movement to strike at the heart of this nation’s problematic: the removal of the traditional ruling elite and incumbent political “mafia” from the seats of political power in the country. It is they who facilitate American influence and it is they who are responsible for the disastrous political course on which this nation is being pushed.
A new generation of leadership is required in this nation to keep it out of harm’s way. A leadership that can mobilise it towards a distinctively constructive political discourse: a democratic, social-welfare focused state, free of foreign influence, self-resilient, independent and above all, morally-ethically informed to manage themselves and their state apparatus for national-political decision-making - short of that, we are likely to fail in a viable state-building process.
As a beginning to a people’s mass mobilisation movement, Imran Khan’s PTI’s late September plans for a hundred thousand people’s peace march to Wazirstan is an auspicious initiative. Let the US-Nato atrocities against the peaceful and innocent citizens of Pakistan be exposed. Let the entire world know that the US-West’s so-called “terrorism war” is a hoax - a pretext for its selfish, inhumane, immoral and unethical approach to global politics.
Hopefully, the PTI’s march will be ostensibly organised to prove to the Americans and their allies that a substantial percentage of Pakistanis believe them to be unsound in their global policies and want them to be gone from this part of the world - permanently.
Never mind the Egyptian insult - it is time to learn a few lessons from them!
Let us find political solutions to Balochistan’s political problematics ourselves - and soon!
Let us start with a US “zero-influence” policy!
The writer is a UAE-based academic policy analyst, conflict resolution expert and the author of several books on Pakistan and foreign policy issues. He holds a doctorate and a masters degree from Columbia University in New York.