American new norm - `Do more'

No matter what and how much Pakistan does, America wants more

PROF. M. I. BHAT

Pakistan – “Do more.” Karzai – “Do more.” Mexico – “Do more.” EU – “Do more.”
This is the new norm of the US government to cover up its own failure in and frustration over handling of its affairs, be that war in Afghanistan, failure to control drug trafficking or to mend its economy. Blame others for we are too good and powerful to commit any mistake, let alone any wrong.
35,000 direct and indirect deaths, over 100 billion lost dollars, and a people and their businesses devastated by multiple daily bombings and drone attacks. What more should, or possibly could, Pakistan do to appease unrelenting American demand to “do more.”
In return for what?
Pakistan has received mere $179.5 million in aid from America in whole 2010 against the $1.5 billion due out of the much publicized $7.5 billion five-year aid package pledged under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill passed in 2009. (Of the too many billion dollars one too often hears, how much is toward reimbursement for military deployment and other services and how much returns to US via its own contractors and expert fee are hardly mentioned.)
Look at it in comparative terms. Pakistanis do all the dirty work and get killed for America and receive peanuts in annual aid. Israel gets over $3 billion annually and without any special pleading. For what? Your guess is as good as mine. Add the dollars that America gives Egypt ($1.55 billion in 2010) and Jordan ($458 million, 2007 data) to “leave Israel alone” (to oppress, dehumanize and delegitimize the Palestinians), you get to know exactly how cheaply the US treats its ally/frontline country/strategic partner in war on terror, Pakistan. Again, add to that the recent worldwide humiliation and threats of military action or the heart ache it continues to nourish over US nuclear deal with its arch rival: "But they (the United States) are doing the civilian nuclear deal not with Pakistan, but with India. Now how can I convince my public that they are your (Pakistan's) friends and not the friends of India? ... the perception matters."  Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani’s words on the current US-Pak tiff off.
Does the US really need threat Pakistan with aid cuts when it has already implemented it without any announcement or should Pakistan really need worry more about such a threat? Other than public pressure, Pakistan government seems to have lot many good reasons to spurn recent American threats.
As if the American curse was not enough, the natural disasters seem to have developed a special taste for Pakistan hitting the country mercilessly and almost persistently. The country is at the brink of collapse – as an economy, as a society and indeed as a nation. Yet, the American demand to “do more” never ceases. The latest hype in threats against Pakistan is nothing more than what world rightly perceives and Yousuf Gilani correctly worded: “Frustration” over its failure to achieve the results it wants in Afghanistan.
Miran Shah case typically expresses American frustration. Writing on ‘What’s behind the U.S.-Pakistan rift,’ David Ignatius (WP) notes:
  “On Sept. 8, Gen. John Allen, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, is said to have warned Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistani army chief, that two truck bombs had been assembled in Miran Shah, the Haqqanis’ base in North Waziristan, and were headed for Afghanistan. Kayani is said to have pledged he would take action.
“On Sept. 10, one of those truck bombs struck a NATO base in Wardak, just east of Kabul, wounding 77 U.S. soldiers. That was a trigger for Mullen’s anger:”(A minor correction: Wardak SW of Kabul.)
Miran Shah, the capital of North Waziristan, is hardly 20 km from Pakistan-Afghanistan border. However, the road leading into Afghanistan from Miran Shah goes via Datta Khel-Shewa-Thal-Ahmadi Shama and Alizai covering a distance of 126 km from Miran Shah to the border crossing. From the border point to Wardak the road distance is 255 km and it winds through Khowst-Gardez-Pul-i-Alam-Sheykhabad. So Pakistan army had half the opportunity only as the American army had in intercepting the truck. In fact, if one goes by the ground facts that obtain for the Pakistan army in North Waziristan, then not even a fraction of the American opportunity, indeed.
If American army could know about assembling of the truck bombs, surely they would also have advance information of the truck having crossed over unintercepted into Afghanistan. The towns like Khowst and Gardez the truck must have passed through aren’t locations that could be without large American army presence or their road patrols. So what could possibly hold them back from intercepting the truck when they knew it is heading into Afghanistan?
This holds good if one assumes advance intimation to Pakistan was to test its sincerity to the American cause in Afghanistan. The result was out the moment the alleged truck crossed border point and there was no logic for American inaction.
Alternatively, why wait for Pakistani action when they could have pressed a drone into action. Or, are those drones for killings innocent civilians only?
Truly America is talking its frustration that may be good for its domestic politics.
Pakistan is a scapegoat. The real reason for the American frustration lie elsewhere. For instance, line up the highly decorated American army Generals who fought Afghanistan war – Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, Lt. Gen. David Rodrigue, Lt. Gen. David Barno, Gen. David McKiernan, Gen. Robert Stewart, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Gen. David Petraeus, to name some -- and their most modern military fire power known to man versus “rag heads” with primitive arms, and you have the answer. Most of those Generals have become history along with their Joint Chiefs of Staff and their Defense Secretaries while the ‘rag heads” stand their ground. Isn’t that enough of humiliation to cause frustration to the “Superpower”?
Across the border Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan too has been lamenting American persistent parroting of “do more” on corruption and on helping douse the raging insurgency. But themselves loosing billions “to corruption and fraud” by its own army and contractors is okay. Karzai’s reverse demand to stop wanton Afghan civilian killings and night raids before he could do anything more for the American cause doesn’t register with the US government.
Closer home, it is the Mexican government that is hammered with unrelenting American demands to ‘do more” to stop drug trafficking and in the process watching corpses of Mexican civilians and soldiers pile up. But there is no action on Mexican pleas to stop gun trafficking from the US. Now the Texas Governor and one of the Republican presidential hopefuls, Rick Perry, is promising his potential voters of military action into the Mexico to stop drug peddling into America!
Mexican drug cartels may be the suppliers but who are the dealers and consumers of those drugs in the US? Why not address your own drug dealers and drug addicts to curtail, if not stop altogether, the demand for the Mexican drugs?  Who should know supply-demand relationship better than the best votary of capitalist economy! Or, why not seal your border tight?
The latest to receive American “do more” demand is the European Union to help salvage the American economy. Let European (particularly German and French) middle class and poor suffer for the American rich but the American rich need not pay taxes to save their own middle class and poor. That is the crux of what is packaged inside the US demand of “do more” on the European Union.
Not surprisingly then the Europeans have started openly rebuffing Americans as did Pakistan in desperation. The first salvo was fired by the Austrian Finance Minister, Maria Fekter, and followed by her German counterpart, Wolfgang Schäuble, during a recent EU Finance Ministers meeting when they criticized the US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Fekter’s statement is revealing about American attitude in dealing with rest of the world (save Israel!): “I found it peculiar that even though the Americans have significantly worse fundamental data than the Eurozone, that they tell us what we should do, and when we make a suggestion ... they say no straight away.” She went on to say: "I would have expected that, if he explains the world to us, that he would also listen to what we want to explain to the Americans."
Iranians have coined a term for them: “Arrogant power.”
Time may not be far off when India too would start hearing the murmur “do more.” Just let the “strategic partnership” thickens. India can be far better than Pakistan but never Israel.

(The author is professor of Geology at University of Kashmir, Feedback at bhatmi@hotmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST




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