Andrew Korybko |
US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis recently said that “the One Belt, One Road also goes through disputed territory, and I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate”, around which time he also threatened to work on revoking Pakistan’s “Major Non-NATO Ally” (MNNA) designation if it doesn’t cooperate more closely with the US in Afghanistan.
The US’ top military leader is implying that CPEC might become destabilized because it runs through supposedly “disputed territory”, and Trump’s earlier remarks in late August about Pakistan providing “safe havens for terrorists” pair perfectly with Mattis’ in suggesting that the Hybrid War on CPEC will be soon be waged through Afghan-based terrorists who supposedly “boomeranged” back into Pakistan as “blowback”.
This dramatic move would assuredly prompt a vicious response from the US, but Washington might have already shattered whatever remaining illusions the Islamabad elite may have had left
None of this should be surprising, however, since it should have been clear to most observers that the US would always be opposed to CPEC if even only by virtue of the fact that it represents China’s only reliable non-Malacca access route to the Indian Ocean.
Read more: CPEC’s vulnerabilities: Can Pakistan carve a way out?
Although there are other components to the Hybrid War on CPEC, particularly relating to the transnational region of Balochistan and India’s role in this entire asymmetrical campaign, the core of the US’ present efforts is to shape the narrative that Pakistan is a “Muslim terrorist-exporting Chinese ally”, and that Beijing and all other CPEC participants are at the very least indirectly complicit in supporting “terrorism” against the nation of India and American troops in Afghanistan.
The overall idea is to create an atmosphere of instability around CPEC that the US could attempt to blame solely on Pakistan, and the Mainstream Media would then exploit this weaponized narrative
This manufactured and artificial framing of the situation is designed to serve as the pretext for the US to sanction and then strike CPEC, with the latter being carried out under the guise of targeting “terrorists” who spilled across the border from Afghanistan back to their so-called “safe havens” in Pakistan. The overall idea is to create an atmosphere of instability around CPEC that the US could attempt to blame solely on Pakistan, and the Mainstream Media would then exploit this weaponized narrative to dissuade businesses from using this game-changing transport route.
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All things considered, the whole point of this operation is to “contain China”, as the failure or weakening of CPEC would inordinately impact on Beijing by depriving it of its much-needed non-Malacca access route to the Indian Ocean, thereby retaining its erstwhile dependency on US-controlled transit areas in the South China Sea and elsewhere.
The US’ top military leader is implying that CPEC might become destabilized because it runs through supposedly “disputed territory”, and Trump’s earlier remarks in late August about Pakistan
That being said, the US should expect that Pakistan could react to these forecasted developments, or even the recent threats, by restricting the Pentagon’s overland and air transit through its territory to Afghanistan, though this is the “nuclear option” that Islamabad will probably only employ if its decision makers were confident that relations with the US were way too damaged beyond the point of any realistic rehabilitation and that their country had the full support of its multipolar partners in China, Russia, and Iran first.
Read more: CPEC: Is the sovereignty of Pakistan being compromised?
This dramatic move would assuredly prompt a vicious response from the US, but Washington might have already shattered whatever remaining illusions the Islamabad elite may have had left and inadvertently made this scenario more likely than it thinks.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.
Andrew Korybko is a political analyst, journalist and a regular contributor to several online journals, as well as a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia.The views expressed in this article are author’s own. It does not reflect Global Village Space Editorial policy.