Feb 21, 2009

The new oil game

Operation Enduring Turmoil, a report issued by a US-based now defunct think tank, The New American Century exposes the designs of the US neo-conservatives to capture the oil resources scattered around the world, especially the Middle East and Central Asia. The report is even more alarming when it focuses on Pakistan. It suggests disassembling of Pakistan, giving the northern Pakistan to Afghanistan, Southwest Pakistan to the Baloch in what seems to be an effort to restrict Chinese access to energy resources in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Europe. While there is nothing new in this report as similar reports redrawing the map of the Middle East and Pakistan have been churned out by US-based think tanks in the past, it must still be countered in strongest possible terms. The point to bring home to the American neo-cons is that these reports only further isolate the US from the rest of the world, especially the Muslim world. The question is: why does the US fail to get any positive response for its policies? The answer to this query is that despite being the sole superpower, the US fails to win over other nations through its unilateralist policies. President Bush, who did not enjoy much support from other states, proved himself to be unmindful of ground realities in Afghanistan. His decision to attack Iraq and failure to prove the cause of attack was a major reason for US policies’ failure. If the Bush administration wanted to succeed in its original plan for invading Iraq – capturing Iraqi oil reserves – it needed to stabilise Iraq first by finding a viable political solution. The US foreign policy suffers from a strange paradox. Despite Washington being a big ‘champion of democracy’, it has always supported military dictators in the world in general and Pakistan in particular. It is believed that the think tank exercised strong influence on US government officials of President Bush’s administration and affected the administration’s military and foreign policies, especially on the issue of national security and the Iraq war. The show of willingness from Iran in the past to engage in a process of normalisation of relations between the US and Iran should have been reciprocated by the US. The West in general and the US in particular should understand that it would not be wise to treat Pakistan and Iran the way they treated Iraq. The neo-con pipedream of an ‘American Empire’ has firmly been shattered after the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US establishment must give up its delusional divide and rule policy as such tactics do not work in today’s world. On our part, we should put our own house in order so that the nefarious designs of the neo-cons never see light of the day. China and Pakistan should continue supporting each other to counter the machinations of hostile China forces. We have made some progress in the restive Swat by making a peace deal with Sufi Muhammad; however, a lot has yet to be done. The government must also realise that the critical situation in Balochistan needs to be addressed on a priority basis, especially in the backdrop of the law and order situation there. With the US fighting the war on terror in its usual ways despite the change of guard at the White House — successive drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas are a case in point —one should not expect much different from Obama administration. Unless the US hawks are replaced by sensible policy makers in the US establishment, peace will remain a far cry.

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