|China, Our All Weather Friend|
If you want to know what happens to a third world country when it enters Uncle Sam’s embrace, don’t look at Africa, or Indonesia or Latin America. Visit Pakistan. If you want to see how a free nation is stifled by corrupt rulers, with American help, through its own apathy and folly, visit Pakistan. Today Pakistan – battered, its pride bruised – is a pretty pessimistic place.
At one time, Pakistan was “the most allied” of America’s allies. Washington turned to Pakistan in the early 1950s when India chose non-alignment. Pakistan desperate for outside support, eagerly reciprocated. In the early 1960s, the alliance frayed when Pakistan turned to China while America backed India in its war with China. With the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, American policy did a complete volte – face, when Islamabad provided essential support for anti-Soviet American operations in Afghanistan. A second US – Pakistan alliance then took shape. However, neither Ayub nor Zia compromised National sovereignty in exchange for military and economic aid provided by the United States.
The 9/11 attacks led to a third US – Pakistan alliance. Once again, Pakistan served as a support base for the war in Afghanistan and, later, as a frontline state in the so-called war against terrorism, became actively involved in tracking down Al Qaeda in the mountains of Waziristan. This has turned out to be a qualitatively different kind of relationship with disastrous consequences for Pakistan.
General Musharraf secured American acceptance of his military coup against the democratically elected government of Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan rented itself out to the United States and became what Stephen Cohen calls a “rentier state”. No self-respecting, sovereign, independent country, no matter how small or weak, could have accepted such humiliating demands with such alacrity. We lost our independence, our fledgling democracy and all our liberties. But General Musharraf, until then a usurper, a pariah and a social out cast in American eyes, became the darling of the United States and its best friend almost overnight.
Pakistan has suffered a loss of over one billion dollars during the so-called war on terror and sacrificed thousands of lives. Our army was killing its own people, fighting America’s war on terror in Waziristan. In return, we are getting threats and treated as an accused party.
Pakistan has lost its manhood, its honour, its dignity, and its sense of self-respect. In American eyes, Pakistan is now like a silent movie star. She was good in her day. But Americans have got the talkies now. Once we were the darling of America and could do no wrong. All that has now ended. Now we are in the dock. This is not the way Americans treated us or talked to us when they were wooing us. All these years we have been daydreaming and are only now beginning to learn the perils of our relationship with America.
Like millions of my countrymen, I feel a deep antipathy toward the “Yankees” who have, with the help of power-hungry Generals, and corrupt politicians, turned independent, sovereign Pakistan into a “pseudo - Republic” and a “rentier state”. “Liberty once lost”, Adams famously said, “is perhaps lost forever”.
Citizens! We are betrayed. Nuclear Pakistan has lost its independence. It is now virtually an American satellite sans its manhood, its honour, its dignity, and its sense of self-respect. If you want to know what happens to an ill-led and ill-governed, poor country which attaches itself to the United States, visit Pakistan.
America, for all its nascent idealism, began as an instance of brutal European imperialism, with the extermination of indigenous peoples and the enslavements of Africans. The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan were, therefore, not isolated episodes. They were the culmination of 110 – year period during which Americans overthrew 14 governments for various political and economic reasons. The first foreign leader to be overthrown (January 1893) was Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii.
In Puerto Rico, Americans crushed the elected government of Louis Munoz Rivera in 1898 after he had held power for just 8 days.
In Philippines, American fought poorly armed Philipino rebels in a war of resistance which lasted for three and half years. More than 4000 Americans and 35000 Philipinos were killed.
President Jose Zelaya was the most formidable leader Nicaragua ever had. His attempts to regulate American mining companies, and his insistence on seeking loans from European rather then American banks, led the United States to overthrow him in 1909.
In 1911, Miguel Davilla of Honduras was overthrown in an operation staged jointly by the United States Navy and a band of rebels led by the American mercenary Lee Christmas.
These are just a few examples of the most direct form of American intervention – the overthrow of foreign governments – a seemingly unending process which continues till today. It is now abundantly clear that Pakistan, the only nuclear power in the Islamic world, will soon be denuclearized and emasculated.
By succumbing to American pressure, we managed to secure a temporary reprieve. But at what price? Pakistan is splattered with American fortresses, seriously compromising our internal and external sovereignty. Foreign troops stationed on our soil move in and out of the country without any let or hindrance. Pakistan has become a launching pad for military operations against neighbouring Muslim countries. We are being drawn into somebody else's war without understanding its true dimension or ultimate objectives.
Years ago, an American Ambassador said in Lahore, “if you don’t like us, find another friend”. Luckily, in China, Pakistan has found an all weather friend that we can rely on. Chinese, like Pakistanis, in their private and in their public life, appreciate the value of friendship and the constancy of friends. China has always come forward to assist Pakistan in its hour of greatest need. China has always stood by Pakistan and has always responded to Pakistan’s call for help. China helped us when we were all alone. They never ask us, “do more”. They never threaten us. Our relation with China – higher than the Himalayas and deeper then the Arabian Sea can never be rolled back. It has the solid support of the people of Pakistan. China is our all weather friend.
A great economic and social revolution unprecedented in human history has taken place in China. 400 million poor people have already been lifted out of poverty. China has been growing fast both in good times and in bad times. China’s development model is irresistibly attractive to the developing countries, including Pakistan, because it accounts for a rapid growth unprecedented in world economic history.
People reject US concerns over CPEC. The people of Pakistan are the guardians of CPEC. If, under American pressure, CPEC is cut short or slowdown, Pakistan’s future will be in tatters. US investment is welcome but not at the expense of our relations with China and certainly not at the expense of CPEC. Thank you Ms. Alice Wells for your unsolicited advice. We can look after our interests.