US Diktat to Pakistan Not Working

The US is having more problems with its “ally” Pakistan according to a recent article in the New York Times (“Frustrations Grow as US and Pakistan Fail to Mend Ties” NYT 5/28/2012″). After summoning the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari to the NATO conclave in Chicago last week and then berating and humiliating him in the best traditions of Imperial arrogance towards the lesser breeds without the law the US is frustrated because Pakistan has not capitulated to the dictates of the Obama administration. If we look at the Times article we can understand why.

Public opinion in Pakistan is decidedly anti-American and the US drone strikes in the country as well as the killing of 24 Pakistani troops by US-NATO forces by “mistake” hasn’t helped the situation. How did the US respond when President Zardari brought up Pakistan’s concerns about the relationship with the US — reasonable concerns that could be easily solved if the US showed some good will and respect for the Pakistani people.

The situation is critical. Pakistan has closed the supply route US forces have been using in that country to transmit its war supplies to Afghanistan. The US wants this route opened up and thinks the best way to do that is not to address the concerns brought up by President Zardari but to browbeat him and demand that he shape up to US expectations. This is not a tactic designed to win the good will of the people of Pakistan — no matter what they may ultimately think of their own political class.

When Zardari arrived in the windy city he found out that he would not be meeting with President Obama (a sign of imperial displeasure) but would have to endure a lot of hot air blowing his way from the Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton who was, as the NYT puts it “nothing if not blunt.” She told a “subdued” Zardari, “It’s going to take leadership from you and others” to solve Pakistan’s problems (many of which seem to be the US’s problems in trying to “win” the war in Afghanistan or at least tamp it down so that an inglorious exit can be pulled off). It seems that the US’s inability to be militarily successful in the region is due to Zardari’s lack of leadership skills rather than the ineptitude and stupidity of US policy makers.

Take, for instance, the case of the 24 Pakistani soldiers recently killed by “mistake” on the border of Afghanistan. Zardari says Pakistan lacks the resources to control all the troublesome insurgent groups in its border area, and his government needs to get maximum cooperation with other political parties and groups to carry out an effective policy, he told Mrs. Clinton, that, “We’re backed into a corner because you haven’t apologized” for the killing of the soldiers (which has outraged Pakistani public opinion).

There is a simple solution to this major contentious issue between the two countries. US forces (NATO is just a cover for the US) “accidentally” kill a large number of our ally’s troops and a simple apology to the Pakistanis would go a long way to relieving tensions, except the imperial pretensions of the US won’t allow it to apologize. The New York Times  even reports that US election year politics may be involved. Since this involves US military supply lines being disrupted the US’s own troops could be adversely affected, and all because of the pride or perceived political expediency of politicians in Washington.

The NYT reports that our “alliance” with Pakistan “is central to the Obama administration’s plan to end the war in Afghanistan.” But the Obama administration treats Pakistan and its president with unconcealed contempt and will assuredly cause a complete rupture of relations if it does not stop its bullying and high handed actions. Another example is the continuing drone attacks that the US makes in Pakistan despite the fact that the Pakistani Parliament and government object to them. Here we have a sovereign country telling us to stop bombing its people and we completely ignore it and continue bombing. The US is shooting itself in the foot and blaming others for its self inflicted wounds.

The Parliament is democratically elected, as is the president of Pakistan (Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy so the role of the president is not the same as in the US) and the demands that they have made of the US can be seen as a democratic expression of the will of the Pakistani people. But what the people of Pakistan think or want is the last thing on the mind of Mrs. Clinton who used her time in Chicago to lecture Zardari on how to carry out the plans the US wants to see Pakistan adopt, and, as the NYT says, “to sell them to politicians in Pakistan.” It may be the politicians in Pakistan are more interested in doing what their people want them to do rather than what Mrs. Clinton wants them to do.

But it is a brave new world gradually coming into existence outside of the US, one that increasingly refuses to bow to the imperial diktat and to accede unquestioningly to the demands of US imperialism and its corporate masters. People everywhere are becoming more insistent on their democratic rights, even in the US itself. Let us have the audacity to hope the Obama administration gets the message.

Thomas Riggins is currently the associate editor of Political Affairs online. Read other articles by Thomas.