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COUNT THE COST

 

Nadeem Yousaf

 

In relation to policy making, it could be said that the strategic apex of his government takes ad-hoc decisions without considering repercussions and aftermaths of them, but, announce them as strategic plans. As a matter of fact, this adhocism is not restricted to Musharraf’s regime but applicable to all governments of the past.

 

Pakistan has been playing in the foreign hands for years, for our policy makers are either unable to understand or are stooges of them. The fact is that these foreign-hands have their short and long term goals for which they do make some insignificant compromises during the course of meeting their goals. Making compromises is, in fact, integral part of proactive policy of the Masters, which is either misunderstand by our strategic apex or considered expedient for personal reasons.

 

Analyzing the history depicts that our all rulers have taken pride in establishing good relationship with American Presidents but the harsh and strident fact is that country could not be benefited from these personal one-to-one friendships. These rulers hardly understand that relationship with only USA president is not sufficient to have strategic relationship with USA as a state. Unlike Pakistan, US presidents come and go through the system but policies remain there. American president do not pronounce guarantee to their “personal friends” because they know their domain of power.  A key facet of American politics is that it does not revolve around personalities but institutions. Therefore, continuity in policy is found in USA. Iraq is the best example of continuity of American policy. Bush senior waged the war against Iraq and remained under surveillance even when Clinton administration took the power. Clinton did not change the policy to strengthen American presence in ME.  Following the American ME policy, Bush Junior escalated the conflict to squeeze Iraq further to look after American interests in ME as well as in Asia. It is very likely that major changes in the policy would not be made even if John Kerry wins.

 

Another salient feature of American policy, which is mostly ignored by our rulers, leaders and public, is American proactive international policy making. It is yet to be appreciated in Pakistan that how USA President reacts to an event in public is less important than the reactions or comments come from the sidelines. For example, everybody knows that President Clinton apparently disliked overthrow of civilian government in Pakistan by army Generals but Gen.Zinni interview on CBS told a different story of American preferences. General Zinni, soon after the coup, told CBS 60 minutes that Musharraf may be America's last hope in Pakistan.

 

There are many reasons that developing countries’ rulers are unable to cope with American strategy. First, most of developing rulers do not have roots in people and are in power by virtue of spoiled political system. Second, they grab power with the intention to stick with it till death and unnecessarily spend their energies to prove indispensable for the nation. To achieve wishful thinking, they put restriction on freedom of information, declare opposing intellectuals as pseudo-intellectuals and consider drawing room discussions as think-tank. They would rather create single-loop learning environment than double-loop learning in which only stale solutions find the way to emerge. They only hear what they want to hear and stand in opposition to innovative solutions. Third, Americans pampered authoritarian leaders to attain their goals. The poor authoritarian leaders really think that they are also indispensable for America. Saddam Hussain and Gen. Zia-ul-Haq are two of such examples who worked hard to invigorate Americans and left no stone unturned to serve their interests at the expense of national interest, but embraced ill-fate at the end. Unfortunately, Muslims hardly learn from the past or observation.

 

Whatever sycophants of this government say, there are no clues that Pakistan is a long-term strategic partner of USA in comparison to India. The current skimpy benignancy and supplies of lollipops are ‘compromises’ that USA has to purvey to achieve the set targets. Many analysts and members of Musharraf regime are delighted without acknowledging the signals behind it as to why American President is giving sole credit of the support in the so-called war of terrorism to Gen. Musharraf, instead of Pakistan. The acolytes of this government do not understand that glittering courtships between individuals hardly means resplendent relationships between states in the long run. These acolytes must mark that Americans never praise their friendship with individuals in India but the State, for they understand that long-term strategic friendships are between states and not between individuals. Similarly, we do not hear that PMs of any other country, not even Tony Blair, are praying for Bush win in coming elections as our PM has been stating in the public.

 

USA will not show any hesitation of sacrificing so called personal friendships when their goals are achieved.  The same friend(s) will be accused for various gallantry actions in a similar fashion as Saddam was. Gen. Musharraf must learn lesson from Saddam and the history. He must appreciate that he has recently taken some steps to, such as humiliation of nuclear scientists, Wana Operation, deporting Shahbaz Sheriff and active participation in forming one party government, which can easily be used as a case against him at the appropriate time. He is intelligent enough to realize that he has hardly any roots in public though he has enlarged PML (Q) by using different means.

 

Repudiating the fact that nuclear proliferation saga has finished at the international level is analogous to living in fool’s paradise. It is still alive and under review, albeit not sternly at this point of time. However, it will catch impetus at the right time. Sooner or later, a full page advertisement in 2000 and the distributed brochure for export of nuclear related items will once again become center of discussion in International media. Dr. A.Q. Khan testimony will be suspected and Musharraf’s pardon will be questioned.  And, comments of the former army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg, it was a respectable way of earning money as reported in the Guardian, will be used against Pakistan to control our sovereignty and nuclear capability.

 

It is high time that Musharraf government should reassess policy of Glasnost which has done tremendous damage to national interest. Accusing Pakistani media for playing negative role, putting restrictions on freedom of information, promoting reptile press and strengthening the king part by using all legitimate and illegitimate means will not serve national interests. Instead of being disgruntled at critics and media, the government should commend them that they have shown some guts to the world that the nation is still alive and not latent. It is very likely that America would have not invaded Iraq if the nation have taken corrective measures to control Saddam Hussain at the right and shown cognizance on the national affairs instead of simply relying on Saddam’s disinformation.  In short, qualitative analysis of Pak-American friendship and recent public statements from different quarter show that American probationary affection for Pakistan might prove to be a courtship and the nation will count the cost in near future, unless corrective measures are not taken and genuine efforts are not made for strengthening political institutions.

 
 

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