Two recent events point to the changing pattern of global politics but Pakistani elite still cling to old notions.
The Vostok 22 drills were launched in Russia’s Siberia region on September 1.
They will last until September 7.
More than 50,000 troops and 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships from some 20 countries are participating in the Russian-hosted military exercises.
In addition to ground exercises, the Russian and Chinese navies are also practising “joint action to protect sea communications, areas of marine economic activity and support for ground troops in littoral areas” in the Sea of Japan according to the Russian defence ministry.
In addition to Russia and China, the exercises involve troops from several ex-Soviet republics, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.
Pakistan is pointedly absent from these exercises.
Uncle Sam would have been upset, so it is better to stay away.
Instead, Pakistan is trying to ingratiate itself to the US.
This was evident from an interview Dawn’s Washington-based correspondent Anwar Iqbal conducted with Derek Chollet, a third-tier advisor to the US Secretary of State.
The interview was published on September 1.
Dawn’s correspondent was anxious to know whetherPakistan still had ‘strategic value’ for the US.
Chollet’s response must have sounded like music to the American-doting Pakistanis.
“Oh, absolutely. I mean, Pakistan is one of the world’s largest Muslim countries. It has the fifth or sixth largest population. It is a critically important country to the US,” said Chollet.
In the interview, the US official said Washington did not want countries to choose between the US and China.
Chollet, however, said, Washington was worried that countries entering into relationships with China “are not going to end up well.”
When did the US start worrying about the well-being of other countries?
America has historically had transactional relationships with other countries and when its purpose has been served, it has abandoned them.
Pakistan’s experience with the US has been particularly troubling.
In the 1980s, the US used Pakistan against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
No sooner did the Soviet troops leave in February 1989, then the US not only abandoned Pakistan but imposed stiff sanctions on it through the infamous Pressler Amendment.
After the events of 911, the US threatened to bomb Pakistan into the Stone Age if it did not comply with American demands.
Pakistan’s commando general, Pervez Musharraf folded like a pack of card.
As an ‘American ally’ in the so-called war on terror, Pakistan became the only country to be bombed and droned by the US.
Constant demands to “do more” escalated into America ordering Pakistan to attack its own people in the Orakzai tribal agency as well as North Waziristan.
The indiscriminate firing by Pakistan military forces using long-range artillery and other heavy weapons resulted in mass civilian casualties.
The killings spawned such groups as the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as the Pashteen Tahhafuz Movement (PTM0 in North Waziristan.
If Pakistanis are upset at the terrorist acts of these groups, they should reflect a little deeper about how they emerged.
How would they feel if their mothers, sisters, daughters or children were murdered by artillery shells lobbed by their own armed forces to appease the US?
And now that America has been driven out of Afghanistan, the Washington warlords have again abandoned Pakistan.
This is reflected in the paltry sum of $30 million pledged by the US for flood victims in Pakistan.
This translates to less than $1 per person directly affected by the floods (35 million people).
Official estimate of damage stands at $10 billion. The actual cost would be much higher.
While the world is rapidly moving away from a US-led unipolar world order into a multipolar world order, the Pakistani elite continue to cling to an outdated notion.
Unless the Pakistanis realize that America has never been their friend, they will not be able to make the right choices.
Such faulty thinking will inflict further suffering on an already stricken population.