Obama's Speech: 'Servility'
Toward America Has its Limits
military needs a guaranteed say over how U.S. forces conduct themselves in areas
of Afghanistan that border Pakistan. … As for the increase in drone attacks, these
need to stop now - and on this, Pakistan's government must come clean about
where it stands. … There must be a limit to our servility to a foreign power."
PRESIDENT Obama's much-awaited
policy on Afghanistan commences with more of a whimper than a bang. That's
appropriate, because Obama appears to have opted with the old Bush policy, while
at the same time, giving it a more realistic hue. Instead of grandiose
expectations of military victory and the construction of a new Afghan nation, it's
clear that America now seeks an honorable exit within eighteen months. The will
obviously involve putting pressure on all sides to come to the table and make
possible a situation that allows such a face-saving U.S. exit. This is why
there's talk of whittling away Taliban support by providing jobs and incentives
for local people.
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The electoral fraud and
general corruption of the Karzai government was also part of Obama's discourse.
Included was the already-revealed increase of 30,000 U.S. troops, which will only
add to the instability and violence - and not only in Afghanistan, but Pakistan
as well. After all, playing numbers games within the framework of an already-failed
policy is hardly likely to alter the dynamics.
For Pakistan the message was
clear: there will be more destabilization as militants, escaping U.S. forces in
areas bordering Pakistan, infiltrate our nation. The problem is further
aggravated because of the refusal of the U.S. and NATO to adopt any defensive
strategies to stem infiltration across the porous Pakistan-Afghan border. Pakistan
has suggested mining the border, fencing it, more U.S. and NATO checkpoints, and
so on; but for reasons that defy all logic, these proposals have been rejected.
Another problem for Pakistan is
Obama's ridiculous claim that al-Qaeda is after Pakistan's nuclear assets. The
war they wage doesn't require nuclear weapons. Rather, it is certainly the U.S.
which is targeting these assets. Ironically, Obama has admitted that without
Pakistan, America's strategy for Afghanistan is a non-starter. U.S. despair regarding
the Afghan War was clearly reflected in Obama's speech. It's time for Pakistan
to renegotiate its cooperation and demand better terms for continuing as a
front-line state for America.
For starters, strategically, we
need better access to markets, high-tech military hardware, nuclear parity with
India, and an end to Indian infiltration of Pakistan through Afghanistan. Tactically,
our military needs a guaranteed say over how U.S. forces conduct themselves in areas
of Afghanistan that border Pakistan, and Islamabad must demand specific types
of cooperation to stem the infiltration of men and material. As for the
increase in drone attacks, these need to stop now - and on this, Pakistan's
government must come clean about where it stands. What we don't need is for our
foreign minister to insist that the U.S. remain in Afghanistan for five years
more! There must be a limit to our servility to a foreign power.
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