US Dictat to Pakistan Not Working

May 30, 2012 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The US is having more problems with its “ally” Pakistan, according to a recent article in the New York Times (“Frustrations Grow as US and Pakistan Fail to Mend Ties” NYT 5/28/2012″). After summoning the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari to the recent NATO conclave in Chicago, they berated and humiliated him in the best traditions of Imperial arrogance. The US is frustrated because Pakistan has not capitulated to the dictates of the Obama administration. If we look at the NYT article we can understand why.

Public opinion in Pakistan is decidedly anti-American. The US drone strikes in the country, as well as the killing of 24 Pakistani troops by US-NATO forces by “mistake” have not helped the situation. How did the US respond when President Zardari brought up Pakistan’s concerns about its relationship with the US – reasonable concerns that could be easily solved if the US showed some goodwill and respect for the Pakistani people.

The situation is critical. Pakistan has closed the supply route US forces have been using to transmit war supplies to Afghanistan. The US wants this route opened up and thinks the best way to do that is not to address the concerns brought up by President Zardari but to browbeat him and demand that he shape up to US expectations. This is not a tactic designed to win the good will of the people of Pakistan – no matter what they may ultimately think of their own political class.

When Zardari arrived in the windy city he found out that he would not be meeting with President Obama (a sign of Imperial displeasure) but would have to endure a lot of hot air blowing his way from the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton who was, as the NYT puts it “nothing if not blunt.” She told a “subdued” Zardari that “It’s going to take leadership from you and others” to solve Pakistan’s problems (many of which also seem to be US problems in trying to “win” the war in Afghanistan or least wind it down so that an inglorious exit can be pulled off). According to Clinton, it seems that her country’s inability to be militarily successful in the region is due to Zardari’s lack of leadership skills, rather than the ineptitude and stupidity of US policy makers.

Take for instance the case of the 24 Pakistani soldiers recently killed by “mistake” on the border of Afghanistan. Zardari says Pakistan lacks the resources to control all the troublesome insurgent groups in its border area, and his government needs to get maximum cooperation with other political parties and groups to carry out an effective policy. He told Mrs. Clinton that “We’re backed into a corner because you haven’t apologised” for the killing of the soldiers (which has outraged Pakistani public opinion).

There is a simple solution to this major contentious issue between the two countries: a simple apology to the Pakistani people would go a long way to relieving tensions. Sadly, the imperial pretensions of the US won’t allow it to apologise. The NYT times even reports that US election year politics may be involved. Since this involves US military supply lines being disrupted, America’s own troops could be adversely affected, all because of the pride or perceived political expediency of politicians in Washington.

The NYT reports that our “alliance” with Pakistan “is central to the Obama administration’s plan to end the war in Afghanistan.” But the Obama administration treats Pakistan and its President with unconcealed contempt and will assuredly cause a complete rupture of relations if it does not stop its bullying and high handed actions. Another example is the continuing drone attacks that the US makes in Pakistan, despite the fact that the Pakistani parliament and people objects to them. Here we have a sovereign country telling us to stop bombing its people and we completely ignore it and continue bombing. The US is shooting itself in the foot and blaming others for its self inflicted wounds.

The Parliament is democratically elected, as is the President of Pakistan, and the demands that they have made of the US can be seen as a democratic expression of the will of the Pakistani people. But what the people of Pakistan think or want is the last thing on the mind of Mrs. Clinton who used her time in Chicago to lecture Zardari on how to carry out the plans the US wants to see Pakistan adopt, and, as the NYT says, “to sell them to politicians in Pakistan.” It may be that the politicians in Pakistan are more interested in doing what their people want them to do rather than what Mrs. Clinton wants them to do.

But a brave new world is gradually coming into existence outside of the US, one that increasingly refuses to bow to the imperial dictat and to accede unquestioningly to the demands of US imperialism and its corporate masters. People everywhere are becoming more insistent on their democratic rights, even within the US itself. Let us have the audacity to hope that the Obama administration gets the message.

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This post was written by Thomas Riggins

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