Thursday, 20 June 2013
America And Pakistan: An Odd Couple In A Very Difficult And Complicated Marriage
Make no mistake about it. Unless you yourself reading this come from a polygamous background like I do, and like most Pakistanis do by their Islamic faith and culture you will never fully understand while a divorce is totally out of the question for the foreseeable future for the reasons I will briefly highlight in this write-up.
America the husband is only able to keep the marriage going at the expense of the tax payers and the downtrodden in America because American leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike have made their members believe that America’s security totally depends on keeping that marriage alive by all means. Before I go into any further details on that front, let me explore in some details what I think makes the two countries an odd couple.
The two countries are so far apart in their beliefs and value system that anybody has to wonder why and how they got into this relationship to begin with. I can understand America and the State of Israel tying the knot because they fundamentally share identical values but America tying the knot with any of the countries in the Middle East region beginning with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan is a jigsaw puzzle which does not make any sense for America unless you factor in the oil interest and the desire or ambition of America to remain the dominant country in the world regardless of the contradictions the status entails or the heavy burden the relationship has always imposed on America.
The Islamic faith that Pakistan espouses, has little room in it for a one-man-one- woman marriage like Americans legally believe. Pakistani Laws permit or tolerate the acquisition of 4 wives or more provided the husband is able to support them. The operative word in Islam is the man’s ability to support how many wives he is allowed to have. The upper limit stated in Islamic Law is 4 but it could be more provided the husband is able to support them. If Bin Laden as terribly embattled as he was, was still able to keep no less than 3 or 4 wives living with him in a windowless dungeon for close to 6 years, you can understand how completely different the value system of the two nations has always been. America legally believes and preaches religious tolerance by accommodating all kinds of religions including non-believers. Islamic Pakistan on the other hand believes only in Islam and she views other religions with suspicion or hatred at best. The two countries are so diametrically different in so many ways.
It is those fundamental differences that have captured my fancy in this article as I view America as the most eligible husband nation that most other nations around the would want to have for a husband for obvious reasons that you and I already know about. America does not only want to be the policeman of the world, she wants to remain the leader whose ultimate interest must determine and dictate what the other nations do or the choices they make at any given point in their national life. By America becoming the husband nation to most of the countries seeking her favor has meant that America has to be prepared to assume some financial responsibility for all of them to the extent of putting her own financial viability in jeopardy like we are now beginning to see with the heavy burden America’s subsidy to Egypt, to Iraq, to Pakistan and now to Afghanistan has imposed on the American economy in close to 20 years and counting.
If anything has ever dramatized this observation, it is the capture and the killing of Osama Bin Laden, one week ago, in the most unlikely place that Bin Laden had chosen to set up his command and control Headquarters for 6 years or more in nearly a decade of successfully hiding and fooling America’s Intelligence and her unique capacity to hunt down and prevail over her enemies like Bin Laden who dared to challenge America. Whether you like or hate Bin Laden with passion like most people do around the world, you have got to take off your hat for Osama Bin Laden for taking on the world’s 2 Super powers, the defunct Soviet Union and the United States and using their own weapons and resources to fight them most of the time. He had single-handedly declared a “Fatwa” on Americans and her allies around the world, so to speak.
It will be recalled that the commercial planes Al Qaeda had used to blow up the two towers and the other planes he had wanted to use to blow up the Pentagon and the White House were all American-owned. Some could argue that the demystification of Russia in Afghanistan by Bin Laden and his fundamentalists and Mujahedeen Armies and collaborators had so weakened the Soviet Union by demonstrating her vulnerability as a world power. It was only a question of time before the Russians lost their prolonged cold War streak with America. It was the loss in that war that heralded the final break-up of the Soviet Union, if you can believe that. Osama Bin Laden more than any individual in the Islamic world had found a way to use American expertise and covert support to dislodge the Soviet Union before turning against America. Bin Laden had pretty much done the same thing that Adolf Hitler had done when he took on the whole world by storm from 1939 to 1945. Bin Laden had single-handedly kept his war against America going far much longer than the Second World War with his rag tag Army of terrorists. Even though America had won that Pyrrhic victory with the death of Osama Bin Laden, American economy is on live support today in large part because of Bin Laden.
That Osama is no longer around to pose a challenge to America and her allies around the world may well be the greatest achievement of Obama’s presidency and the best predictor and guarantee of Obama’s victory in 2012 even if the economy shows only a very modest improvement. I am predicting that the Republicans would have an uphill task making the case for Obama’s defeat in 2012. Even though Domestic policy has always trumped Foreign Policy in deciding the fate of American Presidents in a general election, the 2012 election may well the wild cat that finally breaks that jinx in this election circle.
With the treasure throve of information carted away from Bin Laden’s fortress 35 miles outside Islamabad, Americans have to know sooner or later about the network of support Bin Laden may have received from the Pakistani equivalent of the CIA thereby putting Pakistan on the defensive about their ignorance for not knowing that Bin Laden was hiding undetected in a fortress within earshot of the Pakistani Pentagon or Kremlin in a military base as strategic as West Point is to America. It is simply unbelievable.
Even if America gets unassailable proof of Pakistan’s duplicity, complacency or stark incompetence in Bin Laden’s saga, she still cannot end the marriage with Pakistan as a nation with more than 100 Nuclear war heads in her arsenal and with what could be at stake for America’s strategic interest in that volatile region if by any error of omission or commission Pakistan goes under and their nuclear weapons and technology fall into the wrong hands, God forbid. Pakistan needs the subsidy from America to stay afloat as a nation in distress with a very weak civil and military authorities at the helm of affairs right now.
The stakes are just too high. They are unpredictable and scary for both countries. That is why the odd couples cannot afford to go their different ways or dump each other at this time, regardless of their temptation to want to do so.
I rest my case.