No More! | Pakistan Today

No More!

Pakistan should set its own conditions to “Do More”

A Happy New Year to all of you. Here’s hoping that 2018 will prove to
be better than 2017, though I wouldn’t bet on it. The year gone by has
been fraught with instability and uncertainty for Pakistan and the
world. Uncertainty is a cancer of that eats at the vitals of
continuity and future planning. But that is what happens when we are
trapped in the headlights of the juggernaut of global change wrought
by the inexorable movement of historical forces that lead to a change
in the global status quo, to shifts in the various centers of gravity
causing boundary changes and a New World Order or disorder, call it
what you will.

Countries must first try and survive the onslaught and then forge for
themselves a better position in the New World Order, this time in a
multipolar world, no longer a unipolar world when the end of the Cold
War saw the end of a bipolar world. Now, like after Yalta post Second
World War, the world will be carved into blocs or orbits of influence
around each superpower. Each pole will have its own economic,
military, intellectual and ideological gravitational field and the
rest will have to revolve around at least one of them. The three poles
will be the U.S.A., China and Russia with some overlap between the
gravitational fields of all three. The prime purpose of each pole will
be to extend its economic and political reach and influence as far and
wide as it can: consider China’s OBOR. Pakistan must decide which
gravitational field or fields it wishes to be pulled by without
alienating the others. When China comes up with a reserve currency: it
is about to launch the Petro-Yuan and the ability to convert Yuan into
gold at the Shanghai Gold Exchange and take it anywhere. It will be
the return of the Gold Standard in another way and the primacy of the
U.S. dollar will be over and so will the overhang of that country over
the global economy. The concept of non-alignment has gone down the
chute, thanks to India and Cuba putting NAM into the lap of the late
Soviet Union. It remains so much hot air right now. Every country will
have to take a clear position.

The three poles will wish some regional countries to act as ‘regional
policemen’, like Iran was under the Shah regional policeman for the
Middle East. Saudi Arabia wishes to take that position now, which is
fraught with multinational conflict with Iran. Bari Al Atwan says that
a Saudi-Iran doctrinaire war to determine Sunni or Shia primacy in the
Middle East is not just imminent but inevitable. That will change the
complexion of the Middle East. The U.S. wishes India to be the
regional policeman of South Asia, which is also fraught with
increasing conflict between India on one side and Pakistan with China
and possibly Russia too and inevitably with the rest of South Asia.
Nuclear conflagration would then be on the cards. Germany will
continue to call the shots in Europe, whatever happens to the EU and
Euro and might become a fourth pole as well.  Brazil at least could
become the policeman of Latin America. And so forth…

What of the Far East? Difficult to predict where the U.S.A.-North
Korea standoff will lead or the spat over sovereignty over various
South China Sea islands, but the inevitable overriding policeman over
the area will have to be China, though America will try to prop up
Japan into that role.

The U.S. can hardly militarily attack a country of 120 million when it
couldn’t defeat a country of 20 million, unless the 120 million wish
to commit suicide by creating chaos and anarchy.

As far as we are concerned, America, woefully bereft of a sense of
history, is repeating its hackneyed mantra of ‘do more’. That’s
because, as usual, it has lost its war against a rag tag Afghan
Taliban militia of Afghanistan with ISIS also getting into the act.
Making excuses and passing the buck to duck failure is a hallmark of
the loser. Do more, what? Win the war for you, as we did against the
late Soviet Union? Enough. We should reply: “NO MORE”. We have
suffered enough fighting your wars: invited an avalanche of drugs and
lethal weapons, suffered untold terrorism much more than you have,
incalculable human and material losses and billion of dollars in loss
of investment. But those holding begging bowls  cannot say “No more”
with confidence for they will drown under a sea of huge debt.
Borrowing more to service the debt will only exacerbate the problem
like digging the hole you are in and put paid to what is left of our
tattered sovereignty. For an economic bailout the conditions of the
lenders will be impossible to accept.

But we should realize that desperate losers cannot call the shots. So
we should set the conditions to “do more”, the most important of which
has to be to get our debt written off in exchange for the over $120
billion we have lost in America’s war on terror, and the money looted
by our rulers and their crony ‘businessmen’ stashed away in the West
returned to us. Else we will have to build a Ritz Carlton in
Islamabad. Not easy, but doable with the right leadership that can
look the hegemon in the eye and set his own conditions. But we don’t
have that leadership…yet if we ever will.

If not, debt-equity swaps will be another option, and that is where
China comes in. So be prepared to live life switching from British to
Chinese style, chopsticks and all. The wretched of the earth will,
obviously, continue to live in the lifestyle they are sadly used to
since the beginning of history — abject poverty.

Methinks and fears that the “do more” demand is calculated to prepare
the conditions or excuse for later action against us, starting with
internal destabilization, which India with Afghanistan are doing and
the U.S. looking the other way to prepare the ground for physical
action. External interference has now exposed itself, what with Punjab
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif being whisked away to Saudi Arabia for
‘talks’, most likely at the behest of the U.S.A. Disqualified
recalcitrant Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is slated to leave for Saudi
today. What comes out of it one wouldn’t risk guessing. It could be
the ‘Hariri Effect’, for all I know. Perhaps the arrested Saudi
princes revealed the involvement of the Sharifs in their corruption.
God knows best but we will soon find out. Our National Security
Adviser had a five-hour long meeting with Nawaz Sharif. They army is
obviously on board with whatever shenanigans are taking place in
Saudi. The NSA and Nawaz couldn’t have discussed the recipe for
‘Nihri’ all this while. President Mamnoon is more suited for that.

The U.S. can hardly militarily attack a country of 120 million when it
couldn’t defeat a country of 20 million, unless the 120 million wish
to commit suicide by creating chaos and anarchy. Images of 1970 and
East Pakistan spring to mind. Pakistan is sitting on the lip of a
volcano. A rising dollar is making it harder for ends to meet. There
could be an explosion any time. God help us.

Our founder, Mohammad Ali is said to have said: “No power of earth can
undo Pakistan.”  He forgot his Pakistanis. We have already broken his
Pakistan once.

Humayun Gauhar

Humayun Gauhar is a veteran columnist in Pakistan and editor of Blue Chip magazine.