Time to divorce the US

It is not hard to see through the deception and media spins around the US drone attack in Balochistan that killed the Taliban chief. After all, the recent distractions and outright lies rely on the same contradictory fragments of propaganda and misinformation that have been the hallmark of the imperial narrative for years. The crucial question is: Will this finally prove to be the last nail in the coffin of our illogical relationship with the US?

Hopefully, this recent episode of unilateralist badmashi will wake up those in charge of our destiny and make them realise how poisonous this relationship is, and the fact that there is nothing in the world that we can do to make it sweet. One way or the other, the US-led empire is out to get us and destroy us like Afghanistan and so many other countries around the world. It is high time we stopped approaching it like an alienated friend, trying to patch up our differences.

Let’s not fool ourselves. The US comes to us as an enemy, a powerful and dangerous enemy with a huge bag of tricks to deceive us into believing otherwise. While it talks of peace in Afghanistan, it prepares for perpetual war in the country and expanding it to infest the entire neighbourhood. While it talks about fighting terrorism, it works single-mindedly to feed the monster and use it as a tool of destabilisation, for spreading chaos and violence.

We must understand that each facet of our multi-faceted engagement with the two-faced devil is actually a weapon of war in its hand. The blankets of aid and loans it brings us carry epidemics to cripple us forever, to make us sick and dependent. The grants for ‘boosting’ our agriculture are designed to compromise our food security, hijacking it for the benefit of unethical mega-bucks agricultural corporations, impoverishing our farmers and poisoning our land.

Look closely at the programs sponsored by the USAID in the name of helping us, and it’s not hard to see the disruptive agendas underlying them. In the garb of working for the welfare of minorities, it works towards alienating them. In the name of strengthening our democracy, it makes inroads in our institutions and media to control not only the democratic process but also the debate around it, ensuring the subservience of both to imperial interests.

Look closely and you’ll see the empire grinding its blood-soaked axes in everything it claims to be doing for our benefit, from education to health, human rights to humanitarian relief. It’s not only Pakistan, of course. The entire world is viewed by the US and the empire it leads as a playground for its exploitative and murderous games that have killed millions of innocent civilians and brought misery for those who manage to come out of its overt and covert wars alive.

The international financial institutions under its thumb pretend to be helping poor countries like ours stand on their feet but they work to burden their victims with more and more debt, recovering billions of dollars in interest and dictating their economic and fiscal policies to exacerbate the crises they face. The piling debt is used to arm-twist countries into following the anti-people agenda of neo-liberalism and tailoring their foreign policy to suit the empire.

So, it’s not just the duplicitous game it is playing in Afghanistan and its hypocritical bandwagon of terrorism that it would like us to ride to our destruction. The entire gamut of our relationship with the US and the unipolar empire it leads is intentionally poisoned. There’s no point in trying to redefine a relationship which is essentially toxic. We need to disentangle ourselves from the myriad tentacles of the empire and refuse any assistance or cooperation it offers in any field.

Something of the sort is already happening in the domains of counter-terrorism and foreign policy, thanks to the deepening of our strategic partnership with China. But this distancing from the empire is being treated by our government like unintended and fragmented consequences that need mitigation. It is not a holistic and well-considered policy. The drone attack in Balochistan provides the perfect catalyst for Pakistan to move in a decisively anti-imperialist direction.

Even the worst crisis could be turned around and transformed into a great opportunity. This one brings many. To begin with, the drone attack provides the perfect reason to terminate the farcical quadrilateral process for peace in Afghanistan. We can’t hope to take it very far with US as a part of the process. The Taliban’s foremost demand is an end to foreign occupation and that’s the last thing the US would agree to. It will continue to act unilaterally and kill off those making such demands.

Clearly, the drone-murder in Balochistan was not intended to bring peace to Afghanistan. The international and local media mouthpieces of the empire would like to treat the official lies of the American administration as the gospel truth. There is no attempt to connect the dots and the contradictory fragments of the imperial narrative are being pulled out from the archives, dusted off and presented as justification; Pakistan is providing safe havens to terrorists, Pakistan should do more, Pakistan is the problem.

There is talk once again about the Quetta Shura and how the scene has shifted from FATA to Balochistan. To make matters worse, Obama has gone on and announced that the US would continue to target terrorists wherever they are, read Pakistan. He is essentially threatening to resume drone attacks and targeting Balochistan where some semblance of stability is slowly but surely returning. Is it just a coincidence that this is where the CPEC terminates?

This is no time for dithering. Pakistan must take a categorical stand and tell the US that it would shoot down any drone that violates its airspace. The recent drone-murder should provide the impetus to cut off the many linkages that tie us to the US-led empire and expedite the deepening of our cooperation with China, Russia and other SCO countries.

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

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