Clausewitz describes a war in holistic terms as a paradoxical trinity composed of the tendencies of the people, the commander and his army, and the government. In Clausewitz’s most famous words: “War is merely the continuation of policy by other means”; we see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means. Declaring that war is a mere continuation of policy “by” other means implies that diplomatic, economic, and ideological interaction between the combatants screeches to a halt when the shooting starts. Statesmen set nonviolent policy implements aside while armies, navies, and air forces batter away at one another. However, in the last three decades, after having effectively decimated the selected list of Muslim countries with economic and military potentials-- unacceptable to the US-led western alliance, the Economic Hitmen appear to have shifted focus on the achievement of their stated and unstated objectives concerning Iran and Pakistan by ‘other means”, so ominously visible to all and sundry.

During a period from 2002 to August 2021 i.e. US final military exit from Afghanistan, the efforts remained in place on shifting the battlefield to Pakistani soil, which was courageously blunted by the people, the Armed Forces, and national intelligence agencies of Pakistan. At present, the same is once again being managed on a relatively smaller scale by promoting the resurgence of terror proxies launched from Afghanistan directed at KPK and Balochistan bordering areas in particular. While the US has shifted its strategic focus to Asia-Pacific, the new but extremely clever strategic ally India has been given all possible assistance to not only corner Pakistan but also undermine China’s flagship project CPEC and BRI in the CASA region; which provides a win-win opportunity to India. However, unlike Pakistan, India doesn’t like to be hyphenated with Pakistan and projects herself at par with China in the region. The last 20 years of military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan have taught the US that instead of jumping into the fire herself, America should create a commonality of strategic interests with the regional allies and enable them politically, diplomatically, economically, and militarily to fight and settle the lingering disputes on terms and conditions mutually beneficial for the US and the chosen ally. Pakistan versus India and Taiwan versus China can be cited as two examples to underscore the point made. In the bigger context, the same can be inferred from the creation of AUKUS (Australia, UK, and the USA) and QUAD (USA, Australia, Japan, and India) in the Asia Pacific as a mini-NATO.

After dumping the self-respecting but erroneously dubbed arrogant IK’s government in Pakistan, the shackles of IMF, FATF, and World Bank effectively clipped the country’s economic and diplomatic wings, putting a question mark on the sovereignty of the country. To the dismay of China, the incumbent government appears successfully pocketed by the US administration with the incumbent leadership running to the USA for internship and implementation of the dictate. While Pakistan’s economy is hanging by the extended thread, unprecedented floods have played havoc with the lives of 35 million people creating a plethora of food, health, water, energy, and infrastructure crises estimated to be needing billions of US dollars. Although the internal security challenges are multiplying with every passing moment, the most deplorable power play by the ruling elite continues to set new lows for morals, laws, and state management. The propaganda, audio video leaks, and disgusting parlance by the ruling class have badly sapped the national morale and people look fazed.

With Pakistan embroiled on multiple fronts and badly shaken by the extremely polarized politico-economic and public state, the stage seems set for the achievement of their respective national interest by the foes of Pakistan. While Clausewitz’s paradoxical trinity looks wobbly for Pakistan, the obverse application of his second quote i.e. ‘continuation of policy by other means’ appears ominously plausible by the US-managed triangular framework involving India-USA-Pakistan. What could be the US-India joint ideal envisaged end state concerning Pakistan? In my view, putting the major bones of contention i.e. Indian illegally occupied Kashmir, Sir Creek, and Indus water treaty violations at the back burner, a denuclearized Pakistan (or at least effectively controlled nuclear and missile programme), economically integrated with India through free trade and open borders all around that counters CPEC/BRI and cooperation against Iran could be the envisioned dream. Can Pakistan in the given environment fully counter this malicious plan? Sadly no. The Middle Eastern significant countries already stand aligned with India and Israel, so no hopes can be attached to them anymore. A regional framework and alliance like SCO and CSTO involving all regional countries including Pakistan, China, Russia, CARs, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey are considered imperative for mutual self-respecting survival as advocated in dozens of earlier papers by me. Good relations with one country don’t have to be at the cost of another country as amply demonstrated by Pakistan’s arch-rival India. Therefore, if there is any art of diplomacy available with Pakistan, we can have equally good relations with both the USA and China without compromising any national interest of course. Long Live Pakistan!