Saturday, September 13, 2008
Pakistan and our Misguided Foreign Policy
We have mismanged our foreign policy with Pakistan This is largely because we see other countries in the light of "how can they be of use to us". Frankly, we are not very concenred about their needs or, even the effects of our interactions with them --- unless the results hurt us.
General Pervez Musharraf led a coup e'tat in 1999 and named himself President in 2001. He was a military strongman. The USA has a liking for military strongmen especially in areas where, the people left to their own accords, might not be agreeable to our uses for their country.
During his tenure in office Pakistan has floundered, made little. if any. progress in its economy; the democratic system has eroded; the people's interests largely ignored; corruption has flourished; domination by the military elite strengthened; relations with India unresolved.
Musharraf was a man we thought we could count on in keeping his country aligned with us.
We do not mind a strongman who neglects democracy for his people -- if he keeps his country in our pocket.
Mussharaf was not very successful in fulfilling our needs. Muslim Pakistan has atomic weapons as does their perpetual rival Hindu India. If we should be worried about atomic weapon technology getting in the hands of the wrong people --- we should have worries about Pakistan.
A number of years ago, we discovered that their chief atomic scientist was distributing atomic weapon technological information overseas to those he favored. The Pakistan government, once they discovered this, said that they were unaware of the matter.(?) However, despite our insistence to punish the professor -- he remains free -- of course, watched more closely.
Then there is the eleven billion dollars that we have given Pakistan to use in fighting the Taliban, al-Queda and other troublemakers in the tribal regions that lie along the western border of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan. 90% of this money was not spent for this purpose. This has been testified by the most reliable sources. Instead Pakistan used our taxpayers' money to strengthen militarily their border with India -- their rival and perpetual enemy. Aircraft, missiles, heavy equipment were bought for this purpose. Now, and this is the most amazing part. Our government knew about this mismangement of our money, but apparently was unable to do anything about it. Pakistan was just too important. We could not anger Musharaff.
Now, the irony of this is that we consider India also our ally, but are knowlingly allowing our funds to help Pakistan either defend itself against India or attack her. In addition, President Bush is pushing for increasing our supply of nuclear materials and expertise to India!
Are we concerned about helping to start a nuclear war? We certainly are supplying the "kindling" to both of the opposite sides. Or we are taking two powder kegs, enlarging their explosive force, and all but suppliing the wicks and matches.
How can our government be SO stupid! Our foreign policy, in general, throughout the world is flawed. It's sick at its very center. We need a fresh approach; that's takes into consideration all the factors-- not just our shortsighted goals for our imagined immediate needs.
Just a few weeks ago, new elections were permited, and a new President was elected, the husband of the murdered Bennazir Bhutto, who was a popular favorite and former Prime Minister.
If our electorate chooses an Obama administration, we may have a chance to construct a sensible, workable, feasible and fair foreign policy that we can be proud of and does the world -- and ourselves more good than harm.