Abdul Rahim |
On August 21, 2017, President Trump announced Afghan policy and warned the U.S enemies that “no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms”. President Trump’s much-awaited policy on the war on terror in Afghanistan was purely Pakistan-centric. Blistering Pakistan, he said, ‘we are paying billions of dollars to Pakistan but at the same time, Pakistan is nursing and housing our own enemies.’
Preserving integrity, sovereignty, identity and prosperity of the state, civil-military leadership need to sit on one table and review all policies options according to the changing regional and global security and political scenarios
He warned Pakistan to review the policy of providing safe havens to regional terrorist proxies. Though President Trump’s warning is textually different from that of ex. President Bush but contextually, it is similar to “with us or against us”. President Trump has just re-polished Obama’s doctrine.
The U.S is concerned more with the future of politics in the Indian Ocean and the presence of China and Russia in the region. Pakistan’s strengthening ties with China, Iran, and Russia are the root causes of the U.S grievances with Pakistan. Russia and China’s friendly relation with Pakistan is a threat to the U.S-Indian strategic partnership in South and Central Asia.
Regional states including Russia, China and Iran have openly criticized President Trump’s remarks on Pakistan role in the war on terror which is welcoming. They appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices against terrorism since the 9/11. Iran and Russia, for the first time, are extending their friendly hands towards Pakistan which must be welcomed.
Contentions and tussles among institutions is a threat to Pakistan’s regional and global influence. The institutional tussle and quest for power is also a threat to state’s reputation
Political and institutional controversies over foreign policy formation have brought Pakistan to the brink of policy failures and insecurities at national and international level. Security policies of Gen. Musharraf and ex. DG ISI Gen. Pasha is still prevailing in policy-making complexes and shall be continuing.
The problem is not with President Trump but with Pakistan whose foreign policy is fragile when it comes to Pakistan’s coalition with the U.S in the war on terror in Afghanistan. Neither military nor civilian top brass has ever understood regional and international political and security issues that directly affect Pakistan.
Following are the possible and easiest policy options for Pakistan to make the U.S cognizant about Pakistan’s importance in the region and role in maintaining peace in Afghanistan.
National interest first policy on part of ties with the US
The U.S-Pak ties on economic, political, military and strategic levels continuously changed from time to time. ‘Deterrence’ and ‘sour grapes’ policies remained the core subjects of Pak-US ties. And Pakistan has never played wisely to secure its national interests.
Politician’s interest-based and opportunist role and dependence on military bureaucracy to secure government is shameful
Pakistan indulging itself in US war on terror caused it to suffer thousands of casualties, both civilian and military, and thousands of dollars of economic loss. This must come to an end.
Pakistan must prioritize its own national interests while dealing with the U.S. Pakistan has lost enough in the war on terror. Further negligence and the dreadful coalition-support fund must be replaced with investment in trade and business to strengthen the national economy.
Immediate visits to regional friendly states
Another option that Pakistan must avail is to invite or visit all regional friendly states like Turkey, Iran, China, and Russia. It will help to strengthen Pakistan’s case on the war on terror and will ensure the diplomatic and political support of these states.
Foreign minister of Pakistan must visit Iran, China, Russia and Turkey. It will help to strengthen Pakistan’s case on war on terror, and will ensure the diplomatic and political support of these states
Friendly Iran and Russia on the diplomatic and military level is significant for security and stability of Pakistan. Using new foreign policy options on relations with these states will secure Pakistan from any future military threat and economic sanctions from the American side.
Winning trust of Iran on Afghan war
Iran is an immediate neighbor that has a powerful influence in northern parts of Afghanistan. Ex. PM Nawaz significantly helped Pakistan to normalize ties with Iran. Iran is the best option to normalize Pakistan’s ties with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. In mutual cooperation with Iran, it can help Pakistan to overcome the issue of insecurity in Afghanistan that will directly ensure peace in Pakistan.
Extending China’s naval access to the Indian Ocean
China’s access to the Indian Ocean might be the ultimate response to the U.S aggressive policy towards Pakistan. China’s presence in the Indian Ocean will help Pakistan to overcome any possible future threat from the US and India. China’s naval activities with Pakistan’s maritime forces in Indian Ocean region will enhance Pakistan’s naval capabilities.
Pakistan indulging itself in US war on terror caused it to suffer thousands of casualties, both civilian and military, and thousands of dollars of economic loss. This must come to an end
The presence of China in the Indian Ocean will contain the rise of the US in this region. Pakistan needs to be tactical while dealing with the U.S. To counter the US, China seriously needs the support of Pakistan in South Asia, Turkey and Iran in the Middle East, and Germany and Russia in Europe. Completion of CPEC must be prioritized and emergency steps must be taken to make Pakistan regional connector that will stabilize it.
Engagement with Russia in military and economic ties
Russia is powerful. President Putin understands the US and world politics. He knows how to deal with regional and global political and security issues. Russia like China also condemned President Trump’s remarks against Pakistan which is welcoming. Pakistan and Russia are increasingly normalizing ties.
And Pakistan must avail this opportunity by engaging in military and economic ties with Russia. Friendly Russia along with China will surely veto any agenda in UN Security Council against Pakistan which will be the success of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Strong civil-military mutual understanding on regional affairs
Finally, there is need of mutual understanding and cooperation on policy-making decisions between civil-military leadership. For a stable and secure Pakistan, stable civil-military ties are a must. Without cooperation and mutual understanding between civil-military leadership, Pakistan’s foreign and interior security policies can never be successful. Regional states look towards the foreign office to hear about Pakistan’s policy on terrorism and ties with regional states but tweet-policy (tweets by ISPR) makes it confusing and creates ambiguity.
Criticizing military is considered same as going against Pakistan. This is wrong. The military doesn’t mean Pakistan. There are many other national institutions and sectors that are playing a serious and committed role to strengthen Pakistan. The military must recognize professionalism and responsibilities. Intervening in political and civilian affairs will damage her reputation.
Read more: Merger of FATA: to be or not to be?
Though President Trump’s warning is textually different from that of ex. President Bush but contextually, it is similar to “with us or against us”. President Trump has just re-polished Obama’s doctrine
Though, Pak army is confident and well-skilled but is unable to deal with political affairs both at national and regional levels. Tweeting policy on regional and global affairs will never build a good image of the military but will surely prove hazardous for both security and political stabilities.
Politician’s interest-based and opportunist role and dependence on military bureaucracy to secure government is shameful. They need to be baptized. Politico-cum military role of politicians must recognize their jurisdiction in order to become purely Democrats.
Contentions and tussles among institutions are a threat to Pakistan’s regional and global influence. The institutional tussle and quest for power are also a threat to state’s reputation. Preserving integrity, sovereignty, identity, and prosperity of the state, civil-military leadership need to sit on one table and review all policies options according to the changing regional and global security and political scenarios.
Abdul Rahim has completed his M. Phil degree with a focus on foreign policies, regional security, and strategic affairs at International Islamic University, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.