Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lal Masjid: The US pulls out all the stops

The US is now getting desperate to insulate itself from the events going on inside Pakistan.

The open threat of cutting US aid to Pakistan is being held out. This threat by itself is utterly meaningless. The US depends on Pakistan for sustaining its troops in Afghanistan and if the US cuts aid to Pakistan - it will do at great cost to its posture in Afghanistan. While a shift in focus of this nature may seem sensible from the perspective of that global war on terror, from the perspective of economics, this is not desirable. Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium and it sits astride a new pipeline route to Central Asian energy reserves. Afghanistan is the key to ensuring American dominance over the trade in opiates and energy. Additionally Pakistan is one of the biggest players on the illegal arms market - the US cannot afford to lose Pakistan as an ally.

This is the geo-political reality of our time - all ever so feeble protestations about democratic traditions in the US non-withstanding.

While tough talk from someone like presidential hopeful Senator Barak Hussain Obama may suggest that a political reformation is in the works in America... similar such talk from more credible congressional leaders of the US invading Pakistan, cutting off aid, etc... this signifies a desperation the US. This desperation can be traced back to this sense of helplessness that accompanies a loss of leverage in Pakistan.

Perhaps this a reaction to the recent suggestions from the Pakistani Army top brass to Musharraf that he should pursue a course of action that ensures that the Islamist anger does not turn against the Pakistan Army as an institution. We all know that the US has invested heavily in propaganda aimed at projecting Musharraf as a great American ally. Most of the propaganda was aimed largely at the super-gullible American audience which believes anything it sees on TV. However due to a highly misguided policy of trying to dictate the news in Pakistan, large portions of this propaganda has leaked out and spilled on to Pakistani audiences.

The end result is the singular identification of Musharraf with all things American. Hostility towards Musharraf is indirectly splashed on to American interests.

This is an association that American leadership cannot sustain. American leadership cannot be held responsible for their own mistakes, why on earth would they want to be held responsible for Musharraf's mistakes?

America cannot risk having the Pakistan Army turn against them as an "institution".

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