By Dr Muzaffar Iqbal
Americans are laughing and they have every reason to celebrate: they have accomplished a regime change without firing a single bullet. They have gotten rid of a liability without any commitment to take care of their protégé-general who had lived out his utility, and they have replaced his entire team of cronies with another set of smiling faces wearing tailor-made suits instead of khakis.
The Americans are laughing because they have accomplished a regime change in Pakistan through a mechanism that is new even to them. They have every reason to laugh because this is really a unique case in the sixty years of American adventurism abroad since the World War II: Out of the 34 cases of overseas US militaristic meddling in five diverse geographic regions, involving eleven presidencies, George W Bush and his team has accomplished something that no other president of the United States has been able to: they can have their pie and eat it too. From Truman's European reconstruction (1945-52) to the expanding empire under Eisenhower (1953-60), and from the Kennedy-Johnson extensions (1961-8) to the Nixon-Ford consolidations (1969-76), there has been no presidency which has so drastically expanded the American empire as Bush and his team has done in the last eight years.
As they prepare to leave the White House, Bush and Cheney can satisfactorily look at the world map they have wrought and be proud of their achievements for the world now looks exactly how they wanted it to look: Palestinian resistance has been fractured, the odd man in Iraq, who had started to grow too tall for his stature, has been taken out, the entire Middle East is now dotted with American military bases, including those in Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait where the Americans have large areas under their control where no native can go except those who clean toilets and do other chores for them, and Iran has been encircled form all sides.
What they are leaving behind for Obama or McCain's next adventure is a tightly-nit combination of military might and client regimes. There are two possible venues for this next adventure of a country whose presidents have developed ideological, economic, psychological, and political compulsions to attack other countries: Iran and Pakistan. The case of Iran is obvious: it is the only country left in the region without a client or obliging regime.
Pakistan, however, is a new story: it is not so much the regime that needs to be changed, for it is a client regime for all practical purposes, but the uncontrollable "militants", who have already become direct targets of American drones with or without the consent of the recently installed regime. There are also other reasons to attack Pakistan: it has developed nuclear weapons which America would like to destroy or control because of its fears that these weapons might get into the hands of "extremists". So, if the marines land in FATA, they will open a new chapter in American aggression, unlike any that has taken place before in Guatemala (1954), Congo (1961-5), Cuba (1961), British Guiana (1961-6), Laos (1961-73), South Vietnam (1961-5), Brazil (1964), Dominican Republic (1961-6), Indonesia (1965-6), Cambodia (1970), Kurdistan (1971-5), Chile (1973), Angola (1975), East Timor (1975), El Salvador (1979-91), Nicaragua (1981-8), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), Somalia (1992-94), or Haiti (1994 and 2004). It will be an aggression of another order against an enemy who would not be in a presidential palace. It will be an adventure unlike any America has undertaken in its entire history.
What America is after is not the ragtag groups all lumped together in that catch-all phrase, Taliban, nor the tribal people, but the last resistance against its global hegemonic ambitions. This last resistance comes from those who have not submitted to the American might because of their attachment to another vision of life and death. They refuse to cowardly say 'we cannot wage war against America'. They do not fear the new pharaohs, for they believe in a supreme and sublime message. This last resistance stands in the way of the empire builders and thus, it is not surprising that both Obama and McCain are obsessed with it. Just last week, the McCain campaign team sent 28 million copies of "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," bundled as free DVD insert into newspapers. The film features scenes of Muslim children being encouraged to become suicide bombers, interspersed with those of Nazi rallies. The two-year-old film, produced by Raphael Shore, a Canadian who lives in Israel, and directed by Wayne Kopping of South Africa, likens Islam to Nazism. The film was so revolting that no traditional distributor accepted it when it was first produced, but now more than 70 newspapers across America have spread this message of hate so that McCain can cash in on fears of American voters. Democrats are quickly learning this fear mongering, which has become the trademark of Bush-Cheney strategy. The DVD is can be viewed for free on YouTube.
Bush and Cheney may be laughing, but there is a lot of blood on their hands. The mayhem in Iraq and Afghanistan is going to haunt them for the rest of their lives and the new adventure in Pakistan will not make life easy for the new team of American policemen and women aspiring to occupy the White House; such is the law of the One who is still in charge of the affairs of men in this world of ours, just as He was in charge of the affairs of the Pharaoh of the old.
The writer is a freelance columnist. E-mail: email@example.com
Source: The News, Pakistan