June 21, 2010

Mr Holbrooke's Charade

So Ambassador Holbrooke doesn’t want Pakistan to go ahead with the proposed Iran – Pakistan gas pipeline project. According to him, sanctions by the US Congress against Iran could hurt Pakistani companies involved in this venture. Very noble of Mr. Holbrooke to let us know that he has the best interests of the Pakistani entrepreneurial conglomerate at heart. Or is it?

Now I don’t have anything against the US but certain facts, I just cannot ignore. Those facts span the entire history of Pakistan so let me start from the beginning. The first time that Pakistan really needed help from the United States was in 1965, during the Indo-Pak war. To put it bluntly, the US refused outright. The second time Pakistan needed real help from the US was in 1971. The US again refused on the grounds that it could become party to a direct conflict between two countries. Yeah right. Like America isn’t a lackey of Israel when it comes to using its veto power on the United Nations resolutions; like it doesn’t put its money where its mouth is when it comes to resolving the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. Just some facts, no hard feelings intended. The third time, when Pakistan needed America’s help was in the 1990s. After the 80s, when WE, the Pakistani nation fought America’s proxy war in Afghanistan, after we put up our heads in shame when it became apparent that we had allowed America to run secret pilot programs to let recon and fighter planes fly over Russia, the US abandoned us. Gathering a pattern?

Hey but before you get mad, just stating facts. No hard feelings. The US let us rot in our own internal conflicts and conspiracies. It refused to help us when we needed it; when we needed the political structures to be strengthened, when we needed our institutions to be reinforced. It also did not come to our aid when we stuttered under our debt burden and it left us to the dogs at the end of the 80s.

The US has always come to our aid whenever we have agreed to do its bidding. Unluckily for us, and luckily for the dictators, the US has needed us to do its bidding during their times. The nation being the helpless lamb that it is simply stood by and watched helplessly as the dictators negotiated the price of our cooperation. This is what happens when the policy making institutions are non-existent in a country and all the decisions are left to be made by one man and one man alone. But coming back to the US, we’ve gladly been its proxy whenever the conditions demanded it.

Now most of us agree on the fact that the US is a giant, evil, war machine only interested in seeing us decimated. I disagree with this statement. To me, and what is apparent to the naked eye, is the fact that America has always safeguarded its interests, by hook or by crook. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong though, is our gutless political leadership. While America threatens us with its teeth and shows off its muscle, we’ve got nothing to show it back. We can’t even roar in front of a mike; we simply mew. This is the problem. While the US policy makers ensure that the masses’ voices are registered and the will of the Americans is showcased around the world, it is quite contrary to what goes in the Motherland.

Which brings me back to the topic. After all you’ve read, it must become apparent to you that the only reason Mr. Holbrooke’s suddenly trying to be so nice is to isolate Iran from doing any business with anyone because the US and Iran have a personal vendetta against each other. BUT what is our response? We do not have the might to build ourselves nuclear power plants. Every time someone in Pakistan says the word nuclear, the US demands an explanation. Which is precisely why talk of the Pak – China nuclear co-op deal has suddenly gone dark. While we do not have the guts to question the US – Indo nuclear treaty, we also lack the courage to ask America to provide us with free oil from its Alaskan oil fields. The US agreeing to provide free oil to Pakistan to meet its energy requirements is a utopian fantasy.

But really, that’ll be what’s known in the world as “valiant”. Let’s see what Mr. Holbrooke decides.