Poisoned carrots and chaos

Brave as it was on part of Pak Army, we’d be well-advised not to read too much into the recent episode of Pak-US counter-terrorism cooperation, featuring the rescue of a shady American-Canadian couple and their innocent children. It will have no bearing on the stubborn-headed US policy in Afghanistan. In fact, it is already being spun to strengthen the false US narrative against Pakistan. Clearly, the US is not about to give up its perverse Afghan strategy because of it. The US-guided subversion of CPEC will not be affected.

Rather than giving any certificate for our counter-terrorism sincerity, Trump is already touting the rescue operation, based on intelligence provided by the US, as an indication that his bullying stick has worked, and to claim that an errant Pakistan is finally coming around to following orders to do more. Meanwhile, the US sent an inter-agency delegation to Islamabad. Interestingly, the intelligence lead for the rescue was provided by the US just in time for the visit.

The question is: Why were we so eager to prove our sincerity to the idea of Pak-US counter-terrorism cooperation? Is it a good idea to begin with? Given the larger US strategy for the region, how will any amount of cooperation with it help Pakistan? Will it not ensnare our security apparatus in distractions? Will it not influence our counter-terrorism priorities and start dictating the thrust of our counter-terrorism operations? Don’t we know what Pak-US counter-terrorism cooperation boils down to?

Surely, we’ve been through it before and should know a thing or two about the games Uncle Sam plays, about carrots and sticks. We can’t, for instance, allow ourselves to be fooled by all the nice things US officials say about our counter-terrorism efforts while visiting Islamabad. That’s just another meaningless carrot which changes nothing when it comes to the US plans for the region.

Let’s get this straight: when the US says it would like Pakistan to cooperate with it in countering terrorism in Afghanistan, what it actually means is that it would like us to follow its orders without question or debate and dance to its tunes, while setting our own house on fire in the process.

Have we forgotten the hellish place this cooperation had brought us to? Are there any indications that things have changed and, after 16 blood-soaked years, the US would now like to bring peace to Afghanistan and not more war? Are there any indications that it has learnt to work with sovereign states as partners rather than ordering them around as landless serfs, not interested in listening to them? Has it accepted a détente with China and Russia? If anything, the signs are that the exceptional megalomania of Uncle Sam is getting worse.

Besides, how can we be sure that this won’t be a one-way street like before, that the US would reciprocate by conducting counter-terrorist operations in Afghanistan based on intelligence provided by us?

Can we really trust the US when it says it wants peace in Afghanistan? Are we willing to be distracted by the futile quadrilateral peace process yet again and lose our focus on the much-needed cooperation with our regional partners? Let’s not forget: The US is the real root of the mess in Afghanistan and it can never be a part of the solution. Not unless it revisits at least its objectives in Afghanistan, if not its overall imperialist orientation towards the globe.

No such soul-changing transformation is taking place under Trump. If anything, the many overt and covert arms under the umbrella of Uncle Sam are operating in top gear to bring Pakistan back to the US stranglehold; to put a spanner in the emerging regional convergence and cooperation on Afghanistan and to use Pakistan as a tool, not to counter terrorism and bring peace to Afghanistan but to realize the unchanged evil objectives of US occupation.

The hybrid war against Pakistan couldn’t get any hotter than this. You can see it in the engineered chaos in Pakistan’s corridors of power. You can sense it in the increasing frequency of terrorist attacks in the country. You can read it in the concerted campaigns in the social media targeting Pakistan’s vulnerabilities. You can hear it in the incessant talk on the media about an economic melt-down, the ultimate weapon.

The ruling political elite is busy throwing up divisive and polarizing controversies in sync with much of opposition; providing distractions like a circus while ignoring vastly important issues of governance facing us.

It’s a delight to see John Perkin’s ‘Confessions Of An Economic Hitman’ finally make it to Pakistan’s mainstream. More and more people are waking up to the curse of debt as a tool of imperialist control and exploitation. The US can employ leverage against us as long as we depend on dollars borrowed at its pleasure. It’s not as if there’s no way out. The path to de-dollarization, just like the path to peace in Afghanistan, goes through regional cooperation.

But picture this: When Trump hurled those threats and made those nasty allegations about Pakistan providing safe havens to terrorists, Iran was one of the first countries to defend us. Trump just said things about Iran which are much worse but we have remained silent. Is it because we are too busy chasing the mirage of Pak-US counter-terrorism cooperation?

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be contacted at hazirjalees@hotmail.com

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