Spearhead Analysis - 22.05.11
“(Pakistan) is an indispensable part---we should stop beating up on Pakistan”
---Henry Kissinger (reported in the Sunday Telegraph May 22nd, 2011.)
In the run-up to the raid that killed OBL the highest levels in the US government had clearly voiced their suspicions and beliefs about Pakistan. The success of the US raid has given President Obama an enormous domestic and international political boost. It has left Pakistan with egg splattered on its face. Lost in the post OBL furor is the question---why and how OBL was where he was? The anger is against the US for carrying out an operation in Pakistan without Pakistan’s consent and against Pakistan’s military for not discovering and retaliating against the US raid. OBL, when he surfaced internationally after 911 was a game changer and now his death should also be a game changer—at least for Pakistan.
President Obama charged with the responsibility of defending the US has said that if similar targets were discovered then he would order similar raids. Instead of ranting and raving the focus should shift to making sure that there are no ‘targets’ in Pakistan that could warrant unilateral US action. These ‘targets’ if in Pakistan violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and lead to further such violations. Harboring such ‘targets’ or not detecting and removing them is not in Pakistan’s interest. It is definitely in Pakistan’s interest to make sure that all the linkages and lapses that lead to Pakistan’s identification with international terrorism are eliminated systematically and methodically by orchestrating all of Pakistan’s considerable resources and expertise.
Pakistan cannot allow itself to be hollowed out from within. Nor should human security within Pakistan be at such low levels that people are gunned down on the streets of Karachi, kidnapped for ransom or killed because of ethnicity, religion, sect or occupation. The inward focus should also be on the economy and political stability. The clamor for ‘civilian control’ should translate into an understanding of how this control can be achieved using existing structures and not by blaming the military or the ISI. A country with established institutions, democracy and capacity must assert itself and take steps to be part of the globalized world---a goal that makes the US-Pakistan relationship an important facet of foreign policy.
Concerted, converging and coordinated action is required over a period of time to stabilize the western border region and Baluchistan. Once started, such action will create the environment for dealing with the radicalization and extremism that causes internal violence and exploitable vulnerability. This will start setting the stage for arresting and reversing economic decline and political instability. It is in these areas that the US can help Pakistan and by doing so it will be ‘securing the United States’. The US and the EU should be strongly supportive of the dialogue process between India and Pakistan because this is the key to regional stability. The US should signal that a Pakistan that is on the road to stability would be the Pakistan that can be strongly and decisively supported to become economically viable internally cohesive. It is upto the leadership in both the US and Pakistan to set the tone for their future relations because this is what will drive public opinion.
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