One may argue what is the correlation between regime change coup in Pakistan, the war in Ukraine and China’s Belt Road Initiative? The answer is quite simple for those analysts and close observers of US political maneuverings, like the American journalist Caleb Maupin who explains the correlation in a few lines. “The Wall Street monopolists want to break up the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and halt development across Central Asia. Removing Khan is part of that strategy.”
However, the correlation may be visible to most but not in Pakistan it appears. Where controversy is still raging with opposition parties, elements in the media and even in the judiciary vehemently refuting Khan’s claims that the US-instigated a regime change operation against him. Even after Khan had produced a letter sent by the Assistant Secretary of State for the South, Donald Lu, which when summarised states that ‘US relations with Pakistan will not improve until Khan is removed.’
Read more: Why Imran Khan really matters for Pakistan?
Understanding the matter better
Khan’s claims arguably have not been refuted by most of the Pakistani populace aware that it was not so long-ago under President Bush, Pakistani Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf was told that the US would bomb Pakistan “back to the stone age” if the country did not cooperate with America’s war on Afghanistan; nor has the populace forgotten the ensuing war crimes the US and its allies perpetuated, in the name of fighting “terror;” with horrific torture reports from Abu Gharib for example where imprisoned Iraqi mothers were made to watch as US soldiers raped their children.
However, those refuting Khan’s regime change allegations are not concerned about NATO’s war crimes, mainly, Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), both with a documented history of financial scandals, embezzlement of public funds and penthouses in London and New York. One can argue even the Pakistani media is complicit, many having vested interests like the Express Tribune for example which is affiliated to New York Times and is expected to project the US viewpoint. Their main argument is that since United States pulled out of Afghanistan it does not need Pakistan to carry out its operations and therefore is not interested in its internal affairs.
The refuters appear to be on the same page as Washington, with one US official Lisa Curtis who served under President Bush and Trump stating: “It’s highly unlikely that any US official would get involved in Pakistan’s internal politics. I think Imran Khan is trying to play the ‘US card’ to build up support from his base.”
It is difficult to take this remark seriously considering that since the second world war the CIA has meddled in many countries internal affairs and funded around ninety regime change operations since the second world war with an intention to install a US friendly government.
Read more: WATCH: Child cries to meet Imran Khan
The letter gate issue
The question one needs to examine is why did the letter state that US and Pakistan relations will not improve unless Imran Khan is removed?
Could it be that under Khan’s tenure Pakistan had become less of a US client state and joined the emerging multi-polar world order led by China and Russia which opposes America’s Unipolar hegemonic global agenda. For Washington, which had come to depend on Pakistan as a vassal state that consisted of a weak pliable judiciary and systems of governance, Khan, who at one time was viewed as a ‘darling of the West,’ had become a dangerous liability.
After the US was pushed out of Afghanistan Khan supported by the military refused to allow US military bases in Pakistan. He established an independent foreign policy refusing to become a pawn of the US as previous leaders establishing strategic alliances with Iran Russia and China which US continually labels as “a global threat.”
However, what may have been the last straw for US and EU was the fact that Khan had gone to visit Putin to discuss trade issues at the time when Russia had started its operations in Ukraine and had also refused to buckle under US and EU pressure to condemn Russian actions.
This at a time when Washington was gathering allies to join NATO to condemn Russian operations in Ukraine and the US army was gearing up to confront Russia and China. Just recently Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley requested a huge budget of $773 billion because according to him “China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities… intend to fundamentally change the rules-based current global order” and needed to be confronted.
Apart from a huge budget US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also argued that the US “needs to do a lot better” in “leveraging US allies.” An example of this “leveraging” was exemplified recently when Austin gave an ultimatum to India’s that it’s continued purchase of Russian weapons systems is “not in their best interest,” and that there will be a “requirement” that leaders in New Delhi swap some of these systems for US and allied armaments.
Read more: Imran Khan launches PTI membership drive
In order to “leverage” world leaders to be on board with US and NATO instigated war in Ukraine where NATO is pouring in millions of dollars of weapons, establishing military basis, bioweapons labs, Washington had so far been unsuccessful in “leveraging” Khan.
The regime change issue
Contrary to those refuters who argue US did not carry out regime change in Pakistan because Pakistan is not important enough, one can argue it is more important and the reason is simple, China’s Belt Road Initiative which involves Pakistan playing a key role.
China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC will transform the global geopolitical landscape, connecting many countries across the globe, and creating connectivity corridors to enhance development through trade and investment. The US is particularly peeved with the Pakistan Afghanistan Uzbekistan railway (PAKAFUZ) which will connect Central Asian land locked countries and Afghanistan to Pakistan and the Arabian Sea, and to the horror of the US, facilitate Russia’s easy overland access to South Asia.
Washington is well aware of economists predicting the meteorite rise of the Asian economies and the new Asian Century and have already implemented a strategy that aims to cause “manufactured chaos” in the region and hinder economic development projects.
According to the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine and the RAND 2016 report “manufactured Chaos” will readdress the shifting balance of power, destroy the BRI, and neutralise any threats coming from China Russia Pakistan and Iran. On the same lines the RAND’s 2019 paper “Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground” focuses on embroiling Russia in disputes eroding its sovereignty and exploiting tensions in the South Caucasus, which explains the failed CIA regime-change operation in Kazakhstan earlier this year.
The same policy is evident in Ukraine where US and its allies funded a color revolution, and Victoria Nuland who was Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs was visibly handing out ‘refreshments’ encouraging the coup. Today neo-Nazi’s groups supported by the West are causing untold atrocities with western weaponry, destabilising the region and manufacturing ‘chaos.’
The biggest problem facing Pakistan is if Khan does not win the upcoming elections the country may return to being a vassal state that the US can control and dictate. Even though Pakistan’s ‘deep state’ may not allow this, in the past they could not prevent the embezzlement of public funds and the fact that a near-empty treasury was handed to the PTI government when it first got into power.
What do political analysts think?
According to Andrew Korbyko a geopolitical analyst, who has written extensively on BRI and issues concerning South and Central Asia had warned: “Pakistan’s return to American vassalhood status in the event that the US’ regime change campaign against Prime Minister Khan succeeds could therefore destabilize South Asia.” He points out that not only will Pakistan’s economic development take a back step, but a US-installed leader of Pakistan may politicize CPEC and PAKAFUZ and therefore complicate ties with China and Russia.
“In other words,” he argues, “Pakistan could be exploited” by the declining US Empire in pursuit of hegemonic dominance “to deal a heavy blow to multipolar connectivity processes in the geostrategically located Eurasian Heartland.”
The road ahead looks rocky; however, one glimmer of hope is the fact that Pakistan has never had a more popular and respected leader as Imran Khan, the western media were careful not to show the millions who came out to support him when the coup against him was unfolding. According to observers of history, with this type of support Khan will either return to power or meet the fate of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and those leaders who refused to be pawns for US and western powers.
The writer is a London-based journalist. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.