A note to the COAS!
By Dr Haider Mehdi
September 04, 2012
“The day we see truth and do not speak is the day we begin to die.”
~ Martin Luther King
The question is: is Pakistan facing an eventual demise because we see the truth and do not speak?
This article is an exploratory illustration of the COAS’s speech of August 14th at the Kakul Military Academy.
National independence days and other important days in the history of a nation are auspicious occasions for a country’s leadership to make widely important public addresses. It is through these speeches that the leadership shares its political vision and ideological doctrine, while setting up national priorities and clearly stating what is important and why and how these priorities are to be managed. All in all, these public statements offer a window into the minds of national leaders as to what they are thinking, why they are thinking so and what rationale is offered in support of their thinking and the priorities that they have set.
The COAS did what was expected of him: General Kayani addressed national issues and shared with common citizens his personal as well as institutional views of the problematics that the nation is facing at the present and how to resolve them. After all, the military has the constitutional prerogative for its legitimate input in national decision-making, and Pakistan’s top military commander, as the spokesman of the military establishment, made his opinion known. Hence, it is important that the nation fully comprehend what he said and why he said what he said.
Let it be made clear that it is vital to separate fiction from facts: Analysing the COAS’ speech is in fact a reality check to make sure that the nation’s top military commander is on the same frequency of political thought as the majority of Pakistani citizens. It is to ensure that national policy managers and decision makers have their finger on the national pulse, respect people’s national sentiments and are not mistaken in their views in making important national decisions under delusionary, deceptive, misconceived notions or external threats and pressures. After all, Pervez Musharraf’s decision to support America’s war in Afghanistan has turned out to be a national catastrophe, a historic misjudgement made under foreign pressure and an illusionary mindset devoid of political logic and impregnated with misconceived ideas of power and global politics.
The COAS made two fundamental policy statements relating to present-day political crises in the country in his Independence Day speech:
One, Pakistan is faced with its own internal political threats that endanger its solidarity and survival.
Two, the ongoing war on terror is now Pakistan’s own war that cannot be fought and won by the military alone. The entire nation has to join in to fight this national exigency.
Mowahid Hussain Shah in an August 16th column in The Nation opined the following in respect to Pakistan’s internal political crisis: “Among many reasons, there are two that stand out…....the second key reason is the low priority given to integrity in public life. Too many are in it not for public service, but to amass wealth - predictably then, the openly undeserving and the blatantly dishonest rule the roost, with devastating effect. When avarice becomes the coin of the realm, then the results are self-explanatory.”
I believe that the COAS’ reference to Pakistan’s internal threats and its present-day political crisis are comparable to Shah’s opinion quoted above. After all, Pakistan’s traditional political culture of status quo is the fundamental determining factor for the failure of political management and the national development crisis. Indeed, Pakistan needs a revolutionary political transformation in its political culture as well as political leadership to avert the oncoming political disaster and political-economic abyss. The COAS is correct in pointing out this threat to the country’s survival.
On the issue of war on terror, understandably the COAS’ opinion is that this war has become so complex and complicated that the entire nation has to join in to fight against it. I, as a political analyst, however, agree with the PTI Chief Imran Khan’s war on terror prognosis: end the US war in this region and terrorism will stop in Pakistan.
In this context, it is imperative to understand the American geopolitical strategic doctrine for the 21st century, codenamed “The American Century”. With its technological superiority and military strength, the US wishes to dominate global politics. This is consistent with the American ideological doctrine of expanding corporate capitalism and hegemonic control of global resources and oil. It must be understood that the economies of the US and its Western allies (Britain, Germany and in particular France) are tied to the sale of military hardware and technology (the military-industrial complex) and expansion of regional conflicts. The more military conflicts that pop up, the more arms that can be sold and the more control and influence that can be exerted on regional and global politics; so the more US hegemony is expanded, the more the US and its Western allies become rich. That is the crux of the matter behind the increase in contemporary global and regional conflicts all over the world. And the US is using the war on terrorism as one of its pretexts. In this context, “Pakistan today is commonly misperceived as the hatchery of radical Islam. And it is what has replaced communism as America’s key ideological foe,” wrote Shah in his August 16 article.
The article titled America’s New Proxy Wars (posted by Juan Cole and authored by Nick Turse) points out the fundamental change in America’s approach to contemporary war management and global hegemonic domination: “From Asia and Africa to the Middle East and the Americas, the Obama administration is increasingly embracing a multifaceted, light-footprint brand of warfare. Gone, for the moment at least, are the days of full-scale invasions of the Eurasian mainland. Instead, Washington is now planning to rely ever more heavily on drones and special operations forces to fight scattered global enemies on the cheap. A centrepiece of this new American way of war is the outsourcing of fighting duties to local proxies around the world.”
In a highly analytical article, columnist Zaki Khalid has provided convincing evidence to argue that the recent terror attack on Pakistan’s Kamra Airbase had visible CIA footprints. The entire script and execution of the said assault had the ominous backing of the Obama Administration consistent with its New World Order doctrine and plans for America’s new proxy wars. It is also part of the political-military tactical process to demand and force Pakistan’s military engagement in North Waziristan. In addition, there is sizable evidence to prove that attackers at Kamra were from Afghanistan’s ‘Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams’ that operate outside the Afghan government supervision and are funded, trained and controlled by the US.
“The Kamra attack is a notable addition to this demand. They are challenging the Pakistani army to come to North Waziristan and, believe me, the military leadership including General Kayani do not want to go there,” wrote Khalid.
Good news! Hopefully, the COAS will remain steadfast in his refusal to bow to US demands and threats, and maintain his independent view not to send troops to North Waziristan.
The war on terror is not Pakistan’s war: never was and hopefully never will be. It is being imposed on us by America’s new proxy war doctrine.
As Imran Khan says: “Pakistan needs to disengage and disassociate itself from the American so-called war on terrorism”
Stop the so-called war on terrorism and terrorism will end in Pakistan.
Speak the truth when you see it!
Dr Haider Mehdi is UAE-based academic policy analyst, conflict resolution expert and the author of several books on Pakistan and foreign policy issues. He holds a doctorate and a Master degree from Columbia University in New York. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org