by Waseem Shehzad (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 9, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1443)
In the aftermath of the US defeat and humiliation in Afghanistan, Washington’s attitude toward Pakistan has again hardened considerably. Not known for accepting any responsibility for its own follies resulting in failures—that would require some humility on the part of the US—it always seeks scapegoats. Pakistan is a soft target. It need not be if Pakistani decision-makers develop some spine.
The noises emanating from Washington portend choppy waters ahead. US-Pakistan relations have never been smooth regardless of the spin put on by Islamabad or Washington. America has always had a transactional relationship with Pakistan. The moment Washington feels its interests have been served, Islamabad is ditched. There are many examples of this from Pakistan’s 74-year history.
While it is good to tackle issues diplomatically, it would be disastrous to bury one’s head in the sand based on false assumptions. It was almost a given that once US troops pull out of Afghanistan, Pakistan’s utility would diminish. Far from appreciating Islamabad’s efforts in convincing the Taliban to come to the negotiating table, it is being blamed for America’s debacle.
The oft-repeated narrative has been that Pakistan supported the Afghan Taliban and provided them sanctuary on its soil. This implies that Pakistan is a superpower that was able, through its support of the Taliban, to defeat the US and its NATO allies in Afghanistan. The old canard of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of “jihadi extremists” has also been resurrected.
It is an insult to Pakistani military professionalism to make such allegations. Pakistan’s nukes are far safer than those of the US. Less than a year ago, an absolute mad man ran the show in the White House. He had his grubby hands and fingers on the nuclear button.
The current situation in the US is little better because of deep political divisions. There have been several instances in the past when supposedly sane and stable American presidents were on the verge of unleashing nuclear weapons on the world. America is the only country to have used nuclear weapons, not once but twice, on Japan. And in the US’ first war on Iraq in January 1991, depleted uranium shells were used that caused massive radiation poisoning of civilians as well as poisoned Iraq’s soil and water.
The recent US deal to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia contravenes the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Washington also turns a blind eye to Israeli threats to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities used entirely for civilian purposes. The Zionists have already bombed and destroyed Iraq and Syria’s nuclear facilities. Such madness has no parallels.
Unable to explain their humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, US officials have started to lash out at Pakistan. In testimony before Congress on September 13, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would be reviewing its relationship with Pakistan in the coming weeks and months.
Two weeks later (September 27), 22 Republican senators moved a bill in the Senate calling for a reassessment of Pakistan’s alleged role in Afghanistan before and after the fall of Kabul. Called the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act, the bill also wants to address outstanding issues related to the Biden regime’s “rushed and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
This was followed on September 30 by Marvin Kalb of Brookings Institution conjuring up the “threat” of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists. Titled, “The agonizing problem of Pakistan’s nukes”, Kalb wrote: “Bordering Afghanistan, now again under Taliban rule, is Pakistan, one of America’s oddest ‘allies.’ Governed by a shaky coalition of ineffective politicians and trained military leaders trying desperately to contain the challenge of domestic terrorism, Pakistan may be the best definition yet of a highly combustible threat that, if left unchecked, might lead to the nightmare of nightmares: jihadis taking control of a nuclear weapons arsenal of something in the neighborhood of 200 warheads.”
An old Zionist hand, Kalb’s overriding concern, as that of all Zionists regardless of their political or other affiliations, is to protect the Zionist state of Israel. Since 911, the US has been pushed into multiple wars in the Middle East by pro-Israel lobby groups to ensure no power emerges to challenge Israel’s hegemony. It is widely believed that the Tel Aviv regime has between 200-400 nuclear weapons. Yet Pakistan is viewed as a “threat” primarily because it is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons.
Kalb also reminds us that “since the shock of 9/11, Pakistan has come to represent such an exasperating problem that the US has reportedly developed a secret plan to arbitrarily seize control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if a terrorist group in Pakistan seemed on the edge of capturing some or all of its nuclear warheads.”
Most informed observers believe that US anti-Pakistan posturing is meant to force Islamabad to allow US planes and drones to fly over its territory for “over-the-horizon” attacks on Afghanistan. There is no other route for the US to conduct such attacks. Should it again buckle under US pressure, it would be a disaster for Pakistan.
Geography dictates that Pakistan should not antagonize its western neighbour. After 20 years of a hostile US-India-backed regime in Kabul, Pakistan should not incur Taliban hostility. The US is not a reliable partner. The sooner decision-makers in Islamabad internalize this point, the better. Pakistan’s 74-year-long history is littered with American betrayals at the most crucial times (1965, 1971, 1989 etc).