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India and Pakistan
in a Quagmire
Superpower Games & Human Tragedies
Vijendra Singh Jafa*


UK resumes arms sales to Pakistan”, cried the first page headline in a prominent Indian daily. [1] It was further reported that Britain has said that this decision was in tune with its 'ethical' foreign policy. India was shocked and righteously indignant: how could Britain have so conveniently forgotten the outrage her government expressed when General Musharraf derailed democracy in Pakistan in October 1999 and sent elected leaders to jail on trumped-up charges; ignored the Commonwealth resolutions condemning the General’s audacity; overlooked Musharraf’s Kargil perfidy barely a year earlier; and disregarded the facts regarding undesirable end-users of British arms to Pakistan - a case that India has laboured diligently, despite a studied British posture of disbelief, to establish over the years?

Over two decades ago, Conor Cruise O'Brien expressed an opinion that has the ring of universal truth:

“People often don’t object to terrorism as much as they say they do. Take Mrs. Thatcher, for example. If you were to accuse Mrs. Thatcher of being an habitual accomplice and armourer of terrorists, she would be sincerely indignant... To sell guns to terrorists is immoral. To provide authoritarian governments with weaponry is morally neutral. When the ‘terrorist sign’ is extinguished, and the ‘authoritarian sign’ is switched on, you know that you have moved from the domain of moral judgement into that of pragmatism... I have had a good many occasions to observe democratic statesmen in contact with different categories of murderers and torturers… I imagine the interior monologue of the average democratic statesman on making such a contact, to run more or less as follows: ‘This fellow is a bit of a stinker, of course. His is a pretty stinky country, after all. Still, the point is that he did get where he is; the stink is no affair of mine. If they ever do get rid of him they’ll only put some other stinker, who may not suit our book as well as this fellow. In any case, the important thing is that he’s in charge over there, just as we’re in charge over here. So let’s chat this fellow up and see what we can get out of him’… There is a freemasonry among governments, which transcends ideology, regimes, and methods.” [2]

In the grain of the American [3] and British wisdom, “great souls care little for small morals”. [4] When Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, the British Embassy in Jakarta reported that, “Certainly as seen from here, it is in Britain’s interest that Indonesia should absorb the territory as soon as and as unobtrusively as possible; and if it comes to the crunch and there is a row in the United Nations, we should keep our heads down and avoid siding against the Indonesian government.” [5] The reasons were plainly and simply Britain’s 'national interests', which included:

i.         Sale of British arms to Indonesia. Defense Procurement Minister Alan Clark explained, “I don’t really fill my mind much with what one set of foreigners is doing to another”; [6]

ii.        The waters of the Timor Gap lie over one of the richest deposits of oil and natural gas, and British Petroleum, Australian BHP, and US Marathon Petroleum are involved in drilling operations in the area. [7]

In 1978, the British government sold eight Hawk ground attack jets, which the Indonesian army used in its saturation bombing during the encirclement and annihilation campaign in East Timor. In 1993, 24 more Hawks were sold to Jakarta. Tony Blair came to power in 1997 promising an “ethical foreign policy”, but his government approved the sale of 16 more Hawk jets and issued 22 new arms export licenses. [8]

Similarly, the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Richard Walcott, explicitly advised his government in August 1975 to take “a pragmatic rather than a principled stand” with regard to the forthcoming invasion of East Timor because “that is what national interest and foreign policy is all about.” In his report he also suggested that a favourable treaty on the Timor Gap “could be much more readily negotiated with Indonesia than with Portugal or independent Portuguese Timor.” The Australian Foreign Minister explained in 1990 that “the world is a pretty unfair place, littered with examples of acquisition by force”, and Australia may proceed to share Timor’s oil with the conqueror since there was “no binding legal obligation not to recognise the acquisition of territory that was acquired by force.” [9]

President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were in Jakarta two days before the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in December 1975 and there is little doubt that they gave the green signal to invade. US companies supplied about ninety per cent arms used during the invasion of East Timor. “The United States wished things to turn out as they did”, writes Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his memoirs, “and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.” Moynihan cites 60,000 East Timorese killed in first few months. [10] Weapons sales were reduced during 1976, but when it looked as if Indonesia might run out of military hardware (largely due to military action in East Timor), the 'human rights' administration of Jimmy Carter authorised arms sales of $112 million, up from $12 million a year before. Arms sales to Indonesia peaked at over $500 million during the Reagan administration.

Though Britain and the US abstained from all eight votes on East Timor in the UN General Assembly, surprisingly it was Japan that voted against all the eight resolutions. The reason was not far to seek. In 1975 Japan was the second largest investor in Indonesia; received 37 per cent of Indonesia’s exports and provided Indonesia with 25 per cent of its imports. In 1996 Indonesia became Japan’s top foreign aid recipient with a contribution of US $965 million. Canada abstained from voting on five of the UN resolutions on East Timor and voted against three of them. Again, the reason was not difficult to explain. It had an estimated investment of CND 8 billion in Indonesia, issued permits valued at CND 420 million for arms exports to that country, and has an extensive two-way trade with it. [11]

East Timor is not the only example of how, in the real world of the ‘political economy of human rights’, ‘national interests’, and what is now known as the 'strategic interests', of many countries get inextricably intertwined. These complex interdependencies produce the strangest of bedfellows. John Cooley has recently documented how the US, UK, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and, amazingly, even Israel, joined together to build the network of violent Islamic groups now waging 'holy wars' in many parts of the world – Kashmir, the Middle East, Bosnia, Chechnya, Phillipines, Algeria, Palestine, and against Coptic Christians in Egypt. [12] The Jamaat-i-Islami in Pakistan, and its organ, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, openly claim to be assisting jehad in over 30 countries. [13] Cooley recounts how the new jehad emerged from “a strange love affair which went disastrously wrong” – a love affair between USA and militant Islam which dates back to the late Seventies when American strategists dreamt up the idea of co-opting Islam to fight Communism. The turning point was 1979 when USA 'lost' Iran and the Soviet Union blundered into Afghanistan. First Jimmy Carter, and then Ronald Reagan, hailed the Mujahideen (Holy Warriors of Islam) as 'freedom fighters'. [14] The CIA spent directly or through its Pakistan counterpart, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), billions of dollars arming and training them to fight the Soviet occupiers. Though USA and Pakistan were the main players in this game of jehad, details about other participants [15] in the American proxy war in Afghanistan are edifying:

         China joined in by letting the Americans build two electronic listening posts in the province of Xinjiang, near the Afghan border. These were manned by Chinese personnel trained by the American intelligence, and provided the US with “a unique opportunity to eavesdrop on Soviet Central Asia”. A great deal of weaponry was Chinese, including AK-47/56 assault rifles, heavy machine guns, mortars and artillery. Cooley states, “The surviving inhabitants of Kabul can attest to the terror and devastation spread by the repeated torrents of heavy rockets, mainly of Chinese origin, which the various factions rained on the city”. Cooley estimates that China may have trained upto 55,000 Muslim volunteers, Uighur and non-Uighur, to fight the Soviets alongside the largely Pakistani volunteers, and CIA paid US $400 million to China for training these fighters. [16]

         Washington’s key Arab allies – the Saudis and President Sadat of Egypt – “became, for a time, virtual recruiting sergeants and quartermasters to the secret army of zealots being mustered to fight the Soviets”. One of great ironies of the cruise missile attack on Osama Bin Laden’s three camps in Afghanistan, ordered by President Clinton in 1998 in retaliation to the bombing of two American embassies in East Africa, is that these camps were built by Bin Laden in 1980 under the direction of the CIA and the ISI, and with American money.

         A strange and somewhat unknown participant was Israel, which helped arm and train the Muslim militants. This may be one of the best kept international secrets of the last two decades of the 20th century.

         Britain’s role extended to Mujahideen training and intelligence, and companies like Control Risks and Saladin Security picked up contracts for training Afghan fighters, often using British Special Air Service (SAS) veterans. [17]

When the Soviet forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan in 1989, it was, for the Mujahideen allies, tantamount to the victory of Islam over atheistic Communism, and, as such, a harbinger of the revival of Islam as a global force, and a spur to fresh jehads. The Cold War policy makers of the late Seventies caused, rather than merely fuelled, the Islamic zealotry of the following decades and, Cooley concludes, “the world will continue to experience this blowback from the Afghanistan war of 1979-89 well into the new century.” [18]

The story of Afghanistan is one of the most tragic of any country in modern history. More so, because, unlike the Holocaust and other great genocides and bloodbaths of the 20th century, the bloodshed in Afghanistan, and the 'collateral damage' it is causing in the Indian sub-continent and around the world, appears to have no end. The story of how Afghanistan drifted into the tragedy dates back to the 1950s. It is the story of two superpowers – USA and USSR – hell bent on destroying Afghanistan in the pursuit of their hegemonic goals in South Asia.

The American engagement with Afghanistan was gradual, and without strains and stresses during the three initial decades after 1919. While Afghanistan was given formal recognition by the Soviet Union, Iran, Egypt, France and Germany within four years of its 'independence' from the British in 1919, [19] the United States spurned the Afghan request for recognition for seventeen years and did not confer recognition until 1936. During the 1950s, US support for Pakistan’s claims beyond the Durand Line [20] soured US relations with Afghanistan. On 15 May 1956, a US State Department note stated it “has always regarded the Durand Line as the legal boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan.” [21] When the US decided to provide military assistance to Pakistan in 1952, the Afghans sent a delegation to USA to ask for similar support. They were told that “extending military aid to Afghanistan will create problems not offset by the strength it will generate. Instead of asking for arms, Afghanistan should settle the Pushtunistan dispute with Pakistan.” [22]

When Kabul turned to the Soviet Union for help, the Soviets were more than forthcoming with arms, economic aid, and support on the border issue on which the stated Soviet position was:

We sympathise with Afghanistan’s policy on the question of Pushtunistan. The Soviet Union stands for an equitable solution of this problem which cannot be settled correctly without taking into account the vital interests of the peoples inhabiting Pushtunistan. [23]

But by 1957, the US started extending considerable financial assistance to Afghanistan to neutralise the growing Soviet political influence that had resulted from Moscow’s early initiatives. The US built the Kabul-Jalalabad, Kabul-Kandahar, and Herat-Islamquila roads bordering Pakistan and Iran; they also built the Kandahar International Airport, financed the Hilmand Valley Project and several educational projects, and provided funds for the Haj pilgrimage for 1,000 Afghans. Total US aid had exceeded $30 million by the time Eisenhower visited Kabul on December 8,1959. At the same time, Soviet projects were concentrated in the northern parts of Afghanistan, bordering the Central Asian republics; and the Soviets also provided aid and technical support for cotton production and oil exploration.

By 1958 there were two camps among Afghanistan’s ruling elite – a pro-Soviet faction headed by Prime Minister Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan, and a pro-West camp headed by King Mohammed Zahir. The Soviets lost some ground in 1963 when King Zahir visited Washington and Daoud Khan resigned. Mohammed Hashim Maiwandwal, known for his strong pro-US views, became the Prime Minister in 1965. He visited Washington in 1967, met President Johnson, and the meeting resulted in expressions of similar views on political and security issues in South Asia. This also led to the signing of a cultural and educational exchange programme between the US and Afghanistan, and a visit to Kabul by Vice President Agnew in 1969. But, in a sudden turn of events, Maiwandwal was accused of being a CIA agent and was forced to resign in November 1969.

Meanwhile, the country's economy deteriorated despite foreign aid from both superpowers, and there was widespread disaffection on account of starvation, unemployment and inflation. Apparently helped by the Soviet Union, and in league with the pro-Soviet People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), Daoud organised a coup against the King on 17 July 1973, seized power, and declared Afghanistan a ‘republic’. The Soviet Union was the first to recognise the new government, and provided a loan of US $428 million for development projects and a grant of US $600 million to finance the five-year plan beginning 1973. [24]

As a counter-blast to the Soviet success, the US abetted, through the good offices of Pakistan, an Islamist insurgency in the Panjshir valley and Laghman province. The US also began to provide funds to Pakistan for military training and financial assistance to the exiled Afghan Islamists living in Pakistan, with a view to support their struggle to topple the Kabul regime. Pakistan also assisted the abortive coup of former Prime Minister Maiwandwal which led to his detention and execution. The US then prompted Iran and Saudi Arabia to provide huge amounts of aid to Afghanistan on the condition that Daoud distance himself from the Soviet Union. All this had the desired results. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Kabul in 1974 and 1976 and this helped to sweep the Pushtunistan issue under the carpet for a while. [25] The visit also led to the extension of USAID to Afghanistan and an increased flow of funds for development.

Daoud worked for two years (1977-78) to improve his relations with Iran, Pakistan and the US, and purged pro-Soviet members of the PDPA from the government. In retaliation, the Soviet Union engineered a coup with the help of the pro-Soviet Khalq and Parcham factions of the PDPA on April 27, 1978. This group seized power and proclaimed Afghanistan a ‘democratic republic’. Noor Mohammed Taraki became the President and Hafizullah Amin the Prime Minister.

Not to be left behind in this game of one-upmanship, the United States recognised the new government and appointed Adolph Dubs, who had served as a diplomat in Moscow during 1972-74 and as Deputy Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs during 1975-78, as the new Ambassador in Kabul. Dubs was abducted and killed by four armed men on February 14, 1979, despite a rescue operation launched by the Soviet and Afghan troops. In an act of retaliation and condemnation for this killing, the US Congress prohibited further aid to Afghanistan and stopped the educational aid programme.

But the US continued to provide covert financial and military support to the exiled Islamists in Pakistan, who were soon able to enlist the support of some clerics in Afghanistan to declare a jehad against the government in Kabul. This led to mass uprisings, small insurgencies, sectarian warfare, and factional fighting within the ruling party in Afghanistan. Moscow wanted Amin, whom they perceived to be the main cause of this trouble, to be removed from his post. When Taraki returned from a trip to Moscow and called Amin for a meeting at his office on September 16, 1979, a gun battle broke out and Taraki was killed. Amin now became the President and started mending relations with the US straightaway.

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979, claiming that they had been invited by the Afghan leaders to defend the country against external aggression. Najibullah was appointed as President. Although the US was dismayed by the Soviet invasion, the Carter Administration, prompted by a desire to salvage the SALT II Agreement with the Soviets, did not do much beyond providing enhanced covert assistance to anti-Soviet groups in Pakistan. As a gesture of annoyance with the Soviet invasion, the US also boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics, cancelled the educational and cultural exchange programme, announced curbs on Soviet fishing privileges in US waters, and stopped the sale of US technology and food-grain to the USSR.

It was left to the Reagan Administration to declare its solidarity with Afghanistan by providing financial assistance to forces fighting the Soviet troops. At this stage, the US dubbed the Soviet invasion as a threat to the security of Islamic nations and began to portray itself as the champion and ‘natural ally’ of the entire Islamic world. Addressing a gathering of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Secretary of State George Shultz said:

This is a gathering in the name of freedom, a gathering in the name of self-determination, a gathering in the name of getting the Soviet forces out of Afghanistan, a gathering in the name of a sovereign Afghanistan controlled by its own people. Fellow freedom fighters, we are with you. [26]

The impact of the ensuing process of legitimisation is described by Eqal Ahmad:

They [United States] also invested in this jihad the legitimacy of their enormous power, and the lustre of their media made glory. On one especially memorable occasion when Afghanistan’s hard line Islamists visited the White House, President Ronald Reagan described them as the Muslim world’s 'moral equivalent of our founding fathers'. [27]

Reagan provided US $625 million of covert aid to the Pakistan-based Islamic groups, the largest since Vietnam, and US $430 million for feeding and clothing Afghan refugees in Pakistan. [28] CIA aid increased in the mid-1980s when the US provided Stinger missiles. The covert and overt military and financial assistance to the Pakistan-based jehadis was channeled through the ISI. As long as President Zia-ul-Haq acquiesced to the US policies, the latter did not care how the ISI distributed the aid to the Islamic fighters, or what strategic objectives of its own Pakistan pursued in Afghanistan or, for that matter, elsewhere, including Punjab and Kashmir in India. According to one account, “The United States and its allies supplied to the Mujahideen an estimated ten billion dollars worth of arms and aid”. [29]

The Soviets, faced with their own deteriorating economy and opposition to the Afghan war at home, found a graceful way to exit when Pakistan and Afghanistan signed the Geneva Accord of May 14, 1988, which enjoined upon both of them not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs. The Soviet troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan in February 1989 after ten years of fighting. The war left 1.5 million dead, and caused the destruction of all socio-economic structures in Afghanistan, as well as total lawlessness in areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.

President George Bush announced on October 7, 1992, that the US would provide financial assistance for the re-building of Afghanistan and resume diplomatic relations. Nothing was done in either direction, largely because of the new and unanticipated problems that emerged after the Soviet withdrawal. The transitional Islamic government headed by Sebghatullah Mojaddadi was constituted in April 1990. Burhanuddin Rabbani of the Jamait-e-Islami party succeeded him in August 1991. Najibullah resigned and tried to flee to India. [30]

The struggle for power, however, escalated when Pakistan aggravated the ethnic politics of Afghanistan by supporting Gulbuddin Hikmatyar against Rabbani, a Tajik from Badakhshan. The US may have egged Pakistan on this course because Washington was suspicious of the Tajik-dominated government developing close ties with Iran, India and Russia, which was perceived as contrary to the US policy of containing Iran. The Taliban were considered to be the best alternative because they did not, unlike the Tajiks, share a common language with Iran. The US ambassador to Pakistan, John C. Monjo, visited the Taliban headquarters in Kandahar in October 1994, along with some Pakistani military and civil officers, to start an exercise for the Taliban to seize power. This the Taliban did after two years, on September 26, 1996. That a major objective of the US policy was to establish a pipeline from Central Asia to western markets via Afghanistan, became clear when the first American to visit Kabul, after the Taliban had taken the city, was Marty Miller, a Texas oil man, whose objective was to get the warring factions to agree to the proposed pipeline.

The assistance and encouragement provided by the US to the Taliban to overthrow the Rabbani government in Kabul was an expression of its well-tested methodology. The United States aided and abetted, during the 1950s and 1970s, violent overthrow of a succession of democratically elected governments by military adventurists, or violent replacement of one set of authoritarian regimes by other authoritarian regimes, or aggravation of civil wars to 'contain communism' and Soviet influence in a number of countries around the world. This policy had its genesis in the anti-communist security system and other initiatives in the field of internal security in other countries developed by the US during the latter half of Eisenhower's first term.

On December 21, 1954, the US National Security Council (NSC) decided to have a report prepared by the Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) “on the adequacy of the current programme to develop constabulary forces to maintain internal security and to destroy the effectiveness of the Communist apparatus in free world countries vulnerable to Communist subversion.” [31] In contrast to the ‘fire-fighting’ operations of the Truman era, Eisenhower expressed the view that “in certain kinds of countries inhabited by certain kind of people, it might be militarily sound and less costly for the US to provide them with light armament rather than standard heavy equipment. That is, a constabulary or a Philippine scout-type force might do the trick.” [32]

This internal security strategy came to be known as ‘Programme 1290d’. The Working Group reviewed 44 countries but selected 22 countries for initial analysis and intervention. In these reports, the threat of communist subversion was evaluated to be critical in Laos and Vietnam; dangerous in Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia and Syria; potentially dangerous in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Brazil, Chile, Greece and Iran; and contained but needs watching in West Pakistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Korea, Philippines and Thailand. [33]

The development of the 1290d programme was, however, riddled with difficulties from the beginning. Instead of a single identifiable programme, there existed a variety of plans that encompassed economic assistance, anticommunist propaganda, and training of security forces. Since every major US agency overseas attempted to promote these programmes, co-ordination was erratic. For such a specialised and sensitive policy, very low level personnel, some not even technically competent in security matters, often conducted 1290d initiatives. [34] Because of personnel and funding problems, the implementers of 1290d also failed to work out the specific assistance programmes for developing nations struggling with a multiplicity of problems including poverty, explosive population growth, political immaturity and corruption, illiteracy, and racial/ethnic/colonial conflicts.

But there was a far greater problem with the security aspects of these initiatives than mere bureaucratic inefficiency. Confusing “revolutionary nationalism and indigenous discontent with externally supported communist movements”, the United States often found itself aligned with repressive regimes and “discredited elites,” whose importance as bulwarks against communism was totally misunderstood. [35] In fact, wittingly or unwittingly, the US started abetting the emergence of police states and aiding dictators who violated human rights. [36] In response to critics of this policy, an official spokesman, Albert R. Haney, said that the Administration did not have the 'moral luxury' of helping only those countries with democratic ideals similar to the United States. “Eliminate all the absolute monarchies, dictatorships, and juntas from the free world”, Haney declared, “and count those who are left and it should be readily apparent that the US would be well on its way to isolation – the fortress America illusion.” [37] This did not mollify critics, particularly in Congress, who continued to attack policies that aided governments in suppressing legitimate internal opposition. The early covert initiatives under 1290d were confined to the American hemisphere, particularly Guatemala, Chile, Brazil and Bolivia. The worried Latin Americans often wondered whether the US intervention was little more than a ‘Trojan Horse’ intended to penetrate their security services.

Mounting criticism led to the revamping and refining of the 1290d programme, which started with its re-designation as the Overseas Internal Security Programme (OISP) on 13 March 1957. The more focused OISP was transferred from the Department of State to the President, the responsibilities of all agencies were more precisely defined, and a fairly high calibre of military and civil personnel were enlisted for its implementation. The CIA continued to provide, as in the case of 1290d, intelligence/counterintelligence support and covert operations support as required. But this great US endeavour received a major jolt when the motorcade carrying the visiting Vice President Richard Nixon, his wife, and the US delegation, was attacked by 4,000 Venezuelans in Caracas on April 27, 1958. This attack was particularly embarrassing, as the 1290d/OISP reports had for several years declared Venezuela ‘stable’.

At this stage, it began to be pointed out in internal debates that ultra-nationalist and violently anti-American Latin Americans may not be inspired by Communist ideology. There was, consequently, increasing Congressional resistance to increased military assistance to counter suspected Communist influence, and many Congressmen opposed 'military assistance to regimes that lacked popular, democratic support within their own nations at the excuse of being anticommunist.' But, whatever may have been the liberal American concerns, and howsoever strongly they were expressed in Congress, academia and the media, the developments after 1959 saw the growing militarisation of the OISP. Arguably, the Cuban Revolution of January 1, 1959 was a significant contributory factor.

A new report produced by a policy review group composed of personnel from the Departments of Defense and State, CIA and OCB said that “internal security programs were a valuable means of countering low-intensity threats to US interests in areas not in immediate danger of communist subversion.” [38] The group only offered an evasive response to the criticism regarding the US aiding repressive and military regimes overseas. [39] In October 1959, a high-powered team of US civil and military counter-insurgency experts went to Colombia, and from then on teams of warfare experts visiting countries around the world, perceived to be of interest to the US and not necessarily connected to the containment of communism, became the norm rather than an exception. Thus the internal security doctrine developed for the American hemisphere under President Eisenhower evolved into a counter-insurgency doctrine world-wide under President Kennedy.

The mind harks back to US involvement in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos between 1965 and 1975 in which four million people were killed; [40] the coup in Indonesia in 1965 when Gen. Suharto removed Gen. Sukarno and had one million people – the so-called Communists in Indonesia – killed; the military coup in Turkey in 1971; the legitimisation of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during 1970-1980; the setting up of the Contras to overthrow the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua in 1981 leading to the creation of networks of US-supported armed terror in El Salvadore and Guatemala; the violent repression in Haiti by Gen. Raoul Cedras; US-backed UNITA’s (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) extra-judicial executions in Angola in 1988; the 1973 coup in Chile which brought Gen. Pinochet to power; official support to the Kosovo Liberation Army's terrorist activities in 1998-99, to name a few.

In the late and lamented 20th century, any behaviour of a Latin American government that could be construed as ‘irresponsible’ or ‘communist’ – as in Guatemala, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Panama and Nicaragua – merited an American invasion force, an assassination squad, a 'counter-insurgency' team, or at the very least, a plot ‘to make the economy scream.’ Nobody could complain; and resistance was out of the question. The United States was always the judge in its own case. [41]

The Reagan Administration might have liked the US military to become much more directly involved in Central America but it lacked Congressional and public support. Therefore it opted for a low-intensity intervention in Nicaragua and El Salvidor, using local armies – the Contras and Salvadoran armed forces. In practice the political and economic impact of these policies was hardly of low intensity. In a decade, the US spent $5 billion on El Salvador’s five million people, and at times provided one-third of the government’s operating expenditure in Costa Rica, and more than half of the Honduran government’s revenue. [42] The Contra war brought Nicaragua’s economy to its knees. Throughout the region, US policies polarized local political forces and caused a nationalist backlash on both the left and the right. What was sharply limited was the Reagan Administration’s ability to reach its goals. It could not crush the leftist guerrillas in El Salvador, or reform the Salvadoran government, or shoot the Sandinistas into submission on US terms. No amount of dollars or badgering or public relations could transform these people. The result was an embarrassing loss of credibility for the United States in Latin America.

Sometimes, even a convoluted and half-hearted US response to an overseas crisis has led to avoidable complications and bloodshed. Take, for example, the current tragedy in Sierra Leone. [43]

In 1991 Foday Sankoh, a cashiered army officer, started a rebellion in the diamond-rich region in eastern Sierra Leone – all for diamonds. He was supported by President Muammar Qadhafi of Libya. Qadhafi also assisted Charles Taylor’s armed bandits to overthrow Liberian President Samuel Doe as well as the President of Burkina Faso. Taylor offered safe haven to Sankoh’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and provided several of his best military units for Sankoh’s initial attack in 1991. The years 1991-98 saw an inconclusive see-saw war between Sankoh and the democratic governments in Freetown for political power as well as authority over the diamond mines. These resulted in considerable mayhem and murder, with Sierra Leone’s army often making common cause with the rebels. A coalition of West African nations, led by Nigeria and known collectively as the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), sent several battalions to help the government fight the RUF between 1994 and 1998. When rebel forces were poised to take Freetown in 1995, the government turned to a South African mercenary group called Executive Outcomes who took only a week to drive rebels from Freetown. But in January 1999, well after Executive Outcomes had gone back, Sankoh took over effective control of Freetown, forcing President Kabbah to plead with a fellow West African, Kofi Annan, for a UN peacekeeping force. American perceptions of strategic priority and expediency, however, obstructed an effective and principled humanitarian intervention. “Kofi Annan, however, explained that the Security Council would not come to Sierra Leone’s rescue. It was, after all, a small country with no important patrons…” [44] Kofi Annan had no choice: the Americans were preoccupied at the same time with the ‘more important business’ of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) attacks on the Serbs in Kosovo. So how could a UN peacekeeping force be sent to an insignificant country like Sierra Leone? This was another example of the UN priorities having often been determined by the US perception of the right time to act. [45]

The problem was compounded by the fact that UN involvement in this part of Africa had an unfortunate history. The UN Security Council had been passive in the face of the impending Rwandan massacre in 1994, all because of the United States and Britain refusing to reinforce the small Belgian contingent that had been stationed there. In Sierra Leone, the Clinton Administration, unwilling to commit troops and resources to the problems of an ‘unimportant’ West African country, but fearing accusations of risking through inaction another disaster on the scale of the one in Rwanda, where one million people were killed, found a cost-free way of acting - or, more accurately, appearing to act. The Americans brokered the Lome Accord, signed in July 1999, between the RUF and the government of President Kabbah.

The RUF agreed to lay down arms in exchange for a promise of amnesty for past acts and their inclusion in a new coalition government. Foday Sankoh, their leader, got the cabinet post of his choice - Ministry of Mines - thus formalising his illegal nine-year-long control over the country’s diamond supply. [46] This agreement was repellent to Kabbah, but those were the terms that the United States approved, and so they were the best terms that Sierra Leone was going to get in order to have the UN peacekeepers. In October 1999, the Security Council created a peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone. Western nations, including Canada, Australia, Holland and Poland, refused to commit their troops, and India was the only country with a genuinely professional army willing to send troops. The Indian contingent joined those of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Guinea - in all 6,000 troops. Within a month, Sankoh’s RUF ambushed Kenyans and took away their rifles, RPGs and armoured carriers.

The Security Council responded by authorising another 5,000 troops with orders to disarm the rebels. Foday Sankoh was arrested in May 2000. After Sankoh’s arrest, Charles Taylor has been playing the role of regional peacemaker with the blessings of the USA. With about 200,000 people dead, 250,000 maimed, and 400,000 rendered homeless refugees during the nine years in Sierra Leone, Taylor, one of the prime architects of the conflict, has become America's preferred interlocutor with the rebels. [47] The UN will now be negotiating Sankoh’s and Sierra Leone’s fate with a man every bit as unprincipled and bloodthirsty as Sankoh himself. There is, today, hardly anything that answers to the description of a government in Sierra Leone. President Kabbah’s writ does not run beyond his boundary wall. Sankoh’s men are fighting only fifty miles from Freetown, and Sankoh’s trial could provoke a full-blown war. The Herculean task that confronts the UN Peace Keeping Force in Sierra Leone can well be imagined.

Another complexity has progressively crept into international - i.e., Western - interventions in Third World conflicts. The Western, and more particularly the American, perspective on contemporary counter-terrorism has substantially been shaped by the US experience in various conflicts as they combine with radical shifts in the emerging technologies of warfare. The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) – the use of computers, knowledge management systems to improve battlefield command and control, the development of precision guided conventional weapons, stealth systems, new types of armour and unmanned platforms – has transformed the American way of war. The truth about RMA, however, is that wars fought entirely in the air, without a ground component, hide a crucial weakness: the refusal to risk American (Western?) lives and, consequently, the necessity of an imperfect engagement and the acceptance of incomplete victories. The bombing of Iraq in 1991 left that country devastated, but Saddam Hussain is still in control after nine years. As Anthony Cordesman points out, further, the 1998 bombing of Iraq did not put Iraq’s chemical and nuclear warfare research establishments out of business. [48] Similarly, the 1999 NATO bombings of Serbia/Kosovo failed to dislodge Milosevic from power. The fact is that air power alone, without a willingness to commit ground troops with high risk to the fighting men, cannot protect civilians populations. The truth that emerges from the Kosovo experience is that you cannot stop ethnic cleansing from 15,000 feet in the air.

But the US attitude predates Kosovo and the 1991 invasion of Iraq by decades, and is rooted in the domestic outrage against American casualties in Vietnam. The United States had already developed RMA to a level that could be used very effectively during the closing years of the Vietnam War. This risk-free and casualty-averse American way of war assumes that the US policy must move in a direction where other countries could be persuaded to accept high risk of casualties to achieve high gains on the ground in the process of serving American interests. The US has thus tended to assume, or at least hope, that some countries desperate for US arms and money, or non-state actors that such countries could organise and gather, would not find the risks unacceptable. The zeal of the Islamic fundamentalists served initially as a handy tool to obstruct the march of Soviet Communism. Pakistan was found to be a convenient rallying point for the motley crowd of Islamic fighters from all over Asia, particularly the Middle East, and Africa. Pakistan also proved a willing, indeed eager, ally, with its ISI grabbing the American mandate under the supervision of the CIA.

But the Afghan operations spawned a terror well beyond the control or the original intent of its sponsors. The heart of contemporary international terrorism is a legion of trained veterans of the Afghan War that the Americans and their allies created, armed, trained and deployed in the 1980s. Today this legion of mercenaries and mujahideen is the cornerstone of international terrorism in theatres that sweep across North Africa and Asia, deep into Europe, and progressively towards America. Trained and armed during the Afghanistan War, these Islamic warriors and their successors have now been actively deployed in India (pre-eminently in Kashmir [49] , Assam, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh), North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, China, Philippines, Tajikistan, Chechnya and the eastern seaboard of the US. They have also established a subversive presence in many Western countries.

More importantly, they are well on the way to destroying at least one of the principals responsible for their creation: Pakistan. And this is increasingly evident, not only to the distanced or dispassionate observer, but to many who are in the very eye of the storm. Eqbal Ahmad, acknowledging both the American role in creating the Islamic terror and the disastrous choices made by his own country's leadership, speaks with anguish of the devastating impact these have had on his own country as well as others:

We knew of the violent pan-Islamic character which the Afghan war was assuming with American sponsorship. But no country, not Algeria, not Egypt, protested the participation of their nationals in a distant war. Pakistan was hospitable to a fault while all watched casually, then looked the other way until, that is, the chickens of Afghan insurgency returned home to roost. I found in 1986, for example, that Egyptian intelligence had an effective presence in Peshawar and excellent information on the demography of Jihad. They were merely keeping a watchful eye. America, after all, was an ally and benefactor; they could not interfere with its agenda. The demands for extradition started to reach Pakistan from Algiers and Cairo only after the U. S. had cashed in its investments in Afghanistan, and gates of hell had broken loose in Algeria and Egypt. But whom can Pakistan request to rid their country of the thousands of armed zealots their government has nurtured and continues to nurture? [50]

This is a rising lament, as the flush of Pakistan's 'victory' in Afghanistan continues to recede. Mahdi Masud, writing from strife-torn Karachi, declares that the Afghan War proved to be a disaster for Pakistan’s internal stability, peace and economic development.

Other by-products affecting Pakistan are drugs, Kalashnikovs, organised crime, armed militancy and sectarian violence. Compared to these continuing costs, the US economic and military aid that came with Pakistan’s involvement in the war was comparatively of little account. The new dimension of the Kashmir conflict, arising from the supporting role of the veterans of the Afghan jehad in the held territory has changed the image of the Kashmir struggle in the eyes of the western countries already worried about the problem of terrorism and religious and sectarian fanaticism and violence in the region. … Pakistan’s social and political structure has become involved with the Taliban in multifarious ways, apart from the origins of the Taliban in some of the deeni madarsas in Pakistan. … While the training camps in Afghanistan may not be Pakistan-specific, militants from these camps have in the past entered Pakistan and carried out acts of sectarian violence. … No political or security consideration is an adequate compensation for the economic and social price that Pakistan is paying for the instability these groups have caused. [51]

Significant national and international consequences of Pakistan's involvement with the Taliban have been noted by others. Writing in The Frontier Post two years ago, Abid Ullah Jan opined that Pakistan became an enemy of Iran by creating and sustaining the Taliban at the US’s behest.

We criticise Iran for openly including India in the new regional gang-up against Pakistan but forget that we have already [taken] recourse to threatening attitude towards Tehran by blindly accepting the US dictates for the region. We loathe India’s exploitation of the current anti-Pakistan sentiments among the Iranians. … but we forget that we have no one to blame for this situation but our government and the governments before it. … We must not forget that the ISI is the primary factor in keeping Afghanistan in turmoil. … The ISI and many newspaper analysts claim that Iranian agents are fuelling sectarianism in Pakistan. It is much less than half the story… It is actually Pakistani terrorists – Sunni extremists armed and trained by the Taliban (who are in turn backed by the ISI) – who are responsible for the worst sectarian violence. [52]

Way back in 1995, Dawn carried a telling analysis of Pakistan’s policies by M.B. Naqvi, who argued:

Islamabad’s predicament lies in having an over-sized military establishment, with commitments in Kashmir and Afghanistan that are beyond the financial capacity of the economy. …Invoking the ‘front-line state’ syndrome is possibly the most dangerous line of least resistance that will land the country in God knows what troubles and where. [53]

Naqvi was not willing to accept that that there were no people in Pakistan “who see religious fanaticism and all its works to be destructive, not only of human freedoms of Pakistan but also of Pakistan state.” He notes further that,

…religious bigotry cannot be fought with armies and para-military forces, even if its by-products might require to be tackled physically. But the latter is not the main war. Primary theatre of this war is the human mind; the knowledge and scientific mode of thinking and spirit of relaxed tolerance – born of the values of freedom and human equality… [54]

Talking about the ‘front-line syndrome’ that has influenced much of Pakistani foreign policy over the past four decades, Irfan Husain observes that Gen. Zia-ul-Haq had a vision of a Pakistan-led Islamic grouping comprising Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics, but insists that it is now “Time for a reality check”:

The fact is that through our role in Afghanistan, we have antagonised Iran…. And we have annoyed Russia and the very Central Asian states we had hoped to befriend. Basically, they all fear and resent the emergence of Taliban on their borders... Finally, India is concerned about the spill over of the Taliban victory into Kashmir… All in all, the Taliban victory has translated into a diplomatic disaster for Pakistan. But potentially even more lethal is the very real prospect of a Taliban spill over into Pakistan. Already the breeding ground for murderous religious militias of varying stripes, the country can ill-afford the menacing presence of these ‘warriors’ violently pushing their own bizarre version of Islam. And yet that is just what may soon happen, given the support they already enjoy among extremist groups in Pakistan. [55]

If any further demonstration was required that the chaos in Pakistan, and its rising tide throughout the Indian sub-continent and beyond, is a consequence of the policy of expediency pursued simultaneously by the US and its client states such as Pakistan, it comes from the most unexpected quarters. Reacting to a suggestion that the US wanted the jehadi organisations to be banned as terrorists, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, head of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the most active terrorist grouping fighting Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), remarked in an interview to the The Friday Times:

But aren’t these groups a product of the US strategy? When it was in its interest, during the Afghan war, it actively put them together. The US did not consider them terrorist groups at that time. Now that the purpose has been served, it feels fit to brand them terrorist organisations. Is that not wrong and unjust? If they are alluding to human rights, then it doesn’t befit them to condemn today what they welcomed yesterday. This simply explains the duality of American character. [56]

Pakistan's history offers powerful proof of the consequences of a Third World country surrendering its sovereignty [57] and independence by working as a surrogate to a superpower in pursuit of short-term gains. Indeed, the surrender of sovereignty that Pakistan's engagement with USA has entailed is both an excessive and unnecessary price for the latter's 'support' to Pakistan's ‘imagined greatness’. This was dramatically demonstrated when, as the Foreign Minister in Ayub Khan’s cabinet, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was not allowed to see the Bada Ber US Air Force base near Peshawar. Pakistan had leased this base to United States for launching U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union and China and to set up electronic listening posts. [58] Roedad Khan, then a member of the Civil Service of Pakistan, was Deputy Commissioner, Peshawar, in 1959. He recounts:

On arrival, he [Bhutto] told me that he would like to visit Bada Ber, the American base close to Peshawar... and made it clear that he would like to see everything. I got in touch with the Base Commander who said that the Minister would be welcome to visit the cafeteria where he would be entertained and served coffee and sandwiches. He turned down the Minister’s request to see sensitive areas of the base but promised, in deference to my wishes, to refer the matter to Washington. Half an hour later, he got back to me and asked me to inform the Minister that, except the cafeteria, no other part of the base could be shown to him. I conveyed this to Mr. Bhutto. He was visibly upset… [59]

At the root is a delusion that lies at the very heart of the Pakistani state - that it can, through manipulation and opportunism, secure the greatness that has eluded it. It is possible, indeed increasingly probable, that Pakistan’s continued search for ‘front line’ status would eventually bring about its disintegration. [60] The West’s understanding of Pakistan as a land dominated exclusively by Islamic fundamentalists, and the protracted efforts to direct the perceived energies of the zealots to serve the West’s own interests, have had the effect of depriving Pakistanis of their capacity to rule their country. This has dehumanised Pakistan and brought it to the brink of chaos. [61]

Pakistan has been persuaded for the past fifty three years, largely on account of pressure from the donors of arms, to live with one agenda alone – Kashmir – a problem that Pakistan was quite capable, given a sustained phase of democracy, of resolving with India on its own. Pakistan has remained so totally engrossed and involved – physically, emotionally and intellectually – in carrying out this agenda, alongside whatever else the West has wanted it to do, that it has been denied the time and free-play to develop its own innate capabilities to design new and more imaginative national policies for ruling itself and for dealing with its neighbours. If Pakistan cannot, today, see beyond Kashmir, it is because it cannot look back at fifty three years left blank by this full time pre-occupation imposed upon it, and finds itself without a block to build on in the absence of any other direction for national endeavours. Indeed, Roedad Khan eloquently expresses the idea of the irrelevance of the Indian bogey to Pakistan's historical decline:

Fifty years after its creation, Pakistan’s quest for a stable political order remains elusive. Since 1947, Pakistan has been racked by instability and has been subject to recurrent cycles of army rule, turmoil, and divisiveness. … Ayub, Yahya, Bhutto and Zia, all powerful heads of state and government left behind a splintered, ruined country, torn by conflicts, hijacked by thugs and robber barons, and in doubt about its future. … If Pakistan were to decline, it will not be because it could not maintain itself against the resurging power of India. The judgement of history would be that the causes of its decay were, as in the case of the Mughal or the Ottoman empires, much more internal than external. [62]

What else can explain a book in which a Pakistani Brigadier heading the anti-Soviet ISI operations in Afghanistan in 1983-87 throws his national self-esteem to the wind, and gleefully and proudly boasts of the servile manner in which he carried out the US and CIA mandate? [63]

The values and criteria of the Pakistani polity have been distorted like the curved space of a self-contained universe. It is a universe saturated with memories, but memories from which no lessons are drawn; saturated with a past wasted to the dictates of the drill-sergeants of the West, and that provides no guidance for the future. In this closed universe of a single-point programme, after each crisis, time always starts afresh and history is always in the year zero. Pakistan has become a sacrificial offering to the ghost of its own past. [64] The West has promoted and lived in complete harmony with four military dictators who have derailed democracy as many times, and the nation has never been allowed to find its feet and to experience a measure of stability under a democratic system. As if acting under a curse, Pakistan seems to be determined to commit the same errors, to re-live the same tragedy, again and again.

There is, however, a growing body of Pakistani intellectuals who now realise where the Western penchant for their dictators and misuse of Pakistan as a Western surrogate has led them. Despite the regime of fear and the suppression of ideas that has been imposed in Pakistan for decades, voices of dissent are finding expression. In the wake of the recent bomb blast that damaged the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, an editorial in Pakistan’s Frontier Post examined the dangers of Pakistan’s continued engagement with the Taliban regime and of holding on to the “US baby” in Afghanistan. [65] “The nation expects the Chief Executive, Gen. Parvez Musharraf, to heed the blast as a warning that cannot be louder and clearer,” the paper notes, and advises the general to “order a drastic reappraisal of our commitment with whosoever is in the saddle in Kabul.” The editorial observes further that the people of Pakistan were convinced right from the beginning that Zia-ul-Haq's decision to plunge Pakistan into the Afghan war had nothing to do with them.

The dictator is dead and gone. Now his surrogates have been pushing Pakistan deeper and deeper into this bottomless dungeon because they lack moral courage to face the profoundly wronged people of Pakistan... Will anyone please explain, why we, of all nations and states in the world, are the only ones to have a full strength embassy in Kabul? Even the Saudi has quietly slipped out. So has the United Arab Emirates. There is no trace of the US in Kabul whose war we are fighting. [66]

The people of India and Pakistan have come out of a common racial cauldron. The ruling class of the two countries is culturally and intellectually similar. Both people have lived through the same civilisational and historical processes from the 9th to the middle of the 20th century. Both have lived through hundreds of years of authoritarian empires and, more recently, colonial rule that they demolished by a common endeavour. Democracy was alien to the recent culture and civilisation of this sub-continent on both sides of the Indo-Pak border. But if the Indians could quite successfully sustain democracy for fifty-three years, there is no reason why Pakistan cannot secure a comparable success. Not many Pakistani intellectuals, however, possess the requisite sagacity. [67]

On the face of it, what we have of Pakistan today is an Islamic state quite unsusceptible to reform and liberalisation, unsuited to democracy, and endemically prone, amenable and vulnerable to theocratic and authoritarian rule. It is a pity because Pakistan had a fairly liberal beginning as a state. [68] The difficulty is that the Pakistani will to democracy has been systematically undermined by the West's support to a destructive agenda, and to a string of military dictators. Even today, democratic forces in Pakistan are struggling against Gen. Musharraf's dictatorship, even as the West is attempting to dilute its criticism of the disruption of democracy and restores financial and military support to the military dictator. [69]

In many ways, the West, and particularly America, is a prisoner of history and habits of thought. David Kaiser recently wrote that the “Vietnam War occurred largely because of Cold War policies adopted by the State and Defence Departments in 1954-56.” In fact, says Kaiser, it was Truman who foresaw US military response to Communist aggression anywhere. During Eisenhower’s Presidency, the US “did everything it could to build up pro-American, anti-Communist regimes in Southeast Asia, while preparing to meet renewed Communist aggression with American military force, including Atomic weapons.” [70] During the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, Rusk, McNamara, Bundy, and most Joint Chiefs “never questioned the assumptions of the Pentagon and State Department, and supported intervention in Southeast Asia from 1961 on.” McNamara and the Pentagon “helped hide the true situation from the President, and the American people, thereby putting off the need to re-evaluate American policy. Kennedy died believing, mistakenly, that the war was still going on.” It is estimated that between 1946 and 1987, the US spent $230 billion in military and economic aid solely for the purpose of containing the spread of communism. [71]

American foreign policy during the Cold War era bore the stamp of people like Hans J. Morgenthau, George Kennan, Reinhold Niebuhr and Henry Kissinger, among others, who believed that “moderation in policy cannot fail to reflect the moderation of moral judgement.” [72] Strength and power were the basis of a capitalist state's endeavour to project and defend its vital interests in the world. This 'New World Order’ defined the global ideology of liberal capitalism - beginning with the Bretton Woods Agreement, President Truman’s Point Four Program aimed at providing economic, technical, and military assistance to countries either allied to or supporting US global policies, right to the establishment of the World Bank and the Global Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). [73]

It is apparent that the successive post-World War II US Administrations had no desire to re-evaluate their policies and to break away from the past. Nevertheless, it is important here to recall that, in a letter to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson made a declaration of 'generational independence,' implying that each generation was "entitled to wipe the slate clean, to throw off any burdens thrust upon them by their predecessors." [74] There is some evidence that President William Jefferson Clinton has taken note of the advice of his name-sake and distant predecessor, Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the US, and is trying, in some measure, to "wipe the slate clean". The influence of the recent writings in the US and the American public and leadership opinion as reflected in the 1998 quadrennial survey conducted by the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations (CCFR) and other similar studies is evident in the emerging policy against terrorism in Washington.

According to the CCFR survey, the number one 'critical threat' to 'US overall interests' in the minds of the public - named by 84 per cent of respondents - is international terrorism. Of the biggest foreign policy problems that the public mentions, seven of the eleven most common responses relate to a fear of weapons, violence, and conflict. The percentage of Americans in favour of using troops abroad has fallen and those opposing the use of troops has risen since the 1994 survey. The picture changes dramatically, however, in the fight against terrorism, where Americans are prepared to use significant force. 74 per cent Americans favour US air strikes against terrorist training camps and other facilities. 57 per cent favour attacks by US ground troops. 54 per cent even favour assassination of terrorist leaders. [75]

Confronted with Islamic international terrorism as a direct result of the Afghan War, influential groups in academia, the media, and public policy institutions in the United States have also veered round to the view that a centralised international infrastructure of Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists has emerged during the last decade of the 20th century. [76] Their recommendations are that:

         the US should not engage or negotiate with the Islamic fundamentalists and terrorism in public or any official capacity;

         the US should support everyone who is combating Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism;

         the US should adopt an activist policy that will contain as well as roll back the gains made by Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists; and

         the US should initiate “a liberal militancy, or a militant liberalism that is unapologetic and unabashed against Islamists.”

There are, of course, hard liners in the US who go even further to talk in terms that Americans on the whole might find extreme and distasteful. Some believe that Islam encourages its adherents to attack and kill non-believers indiscriminately, and that Islamic extremists hate the fundamental values of freedom and democracy. They demand that terrorism should be treated as an act of war rather than a crime, and that the executive order against the assassination of terrorists and pre-emptive assassination of potential terrorists should be annulled. These demands may have been fuelled by revelations of the scale on which young men are being trained for jehad in the madarsas in Pakistan. [77]

Apparently, attacks on the US base in Lebanon in 1983 in which 250 US marines were killed, the two bombings on US military bases in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996, the bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York in 1995, and attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, have prompted some harsh reactions in the US. This is in sharp contrast to the earlier US recognition of terrorism as a legitimate form of political dissent. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright now declares, “There is no safe haven for terrorists.” [78] President Clinton has made similar statements, and in September 1998, he urged the United Nations General Assembly that "all nations must put the fight against terrorism at the top of our agenda." He added, further,

When it comes to terrorism there should be no dividing line between Muslims and Jews, Protestants and Catholics, Serbs and Albanians, developed societies and emerging countries. The only dividing line is between those who practice, support, or tolerate terror, and those who understand that it is murder, plain and simple. [79]

Clinton, at least in some measure, owed his second term to an electorate fed up, after fifty years of Cold War, with putting foreign policy first. As the President, he appears to have reflected the desires, priorities, anxieties and sentiments of the vast majority of the suburban American middle class, including a suspicion of any foreign policy initiative without a clear domestic interest or angle. The fight against terrorism has been very high on Clinton’s agenda. It was on the top of his agenda during his brief halt in Pakistan in March 2000. [80]

However, this new American policy may already have come too late, and too close to the November 2000 Presidential election to be of any lasting value. The Democrats, if Al Gore is elected, may resile from the current perceptions and commitments if they are called upon to cater to a new and yet unapprehended situation. If elected, George Bush Jr. may not follow Clinton’s line on Islamic terrorism, including the jehad in Kashmir. In any case, the American foreign policy is not known for its consistency, and appears to be guided by ‘dynamic pragmatism’ as schematised in George Kennan’s advice in 1960: “Let us beware, in future, of wholly condemning an entire people and wholly exculpating others… No other people, as a whole, is entirely our enemy. No people at all – not even ourselves – is entirely our friend.” [81]

In any case, we cannot take consistency, either concerning terrorism as a phenomenon and a policy tool, or concerning the terrorist organisations themselves as actors and political factors, for granted. There is still a large body of 'liberal' intellectuals that insists that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’, and this may always stand in the way even of democracies wishing to co-operate on counter-terrorism in the future. As Noemi Gal-Or observes, the fight against terrorism does not rely primarily on the moral common denominator and, therefore, does not take co-operation for granted. Rather, governments should look for a 'pragmatic common interest', and the answer will lie there. [82]

Gal-Or asserts that western liberal democracies may be 'terrorism tolerating systems'. This conclusion is based on a survey which demonstrated that political systems in the West are acquiescent of terrorism and do not develop an anti-terrorist disposition in principle unless countries look for a 'pragmatic common interest'. As an example of such an interest, the study cites the case of the European Parliament’s contribution to the creation of a climate favourable to the 'collective brain-storming' necessary to work out a joint attitude towards terrorism.

This is a crucial finding for India, as it struggles to secure support in its fight against the tide of Islamic terrorism. Evidently, there is no moral common ground that will make such support necessarily forthcoming simply on the grounds of international declarations and 'ethical policy' postures. Nevertheless, a 'pragmatic common interest' does exist for the time being, and must be demonstrated and taken advantage of, rigorously and repeatedly. It is essential, today, to prove beyond the scope of equivocation that bombs that kill innocent people in Guwahati, Srinagar and Pahalgam are as bad as they are in London, Jerusalem and New York. Moreover, that these are, indeed, part of an international design to destabilise all those who believe in civilised behaviour around the world. And further, to show that those who adopt these means would, given an environment that does not tolerate or accept such violence, progressively accept the alternative of peaceful and negotiated resolution of disputes.

Perhaps that is asking for the heavens. If that is so, and if all talk of international co-operation for eradicating terrorism is as idealistic and unattainable as efforts for the eradication of war have been in human history, there is no alternative to accepting the notion that terrorism is simply a new way of making war, and that no option exists but for each state to be strong, self-willed and motivated enough to fight it on its own, or in alliance with whosoever may be willing to join with it.

The West has, till now, tended to depend on a system of punitive and collective coercion against what it regards as terrorism. Such a system of collective coercion through the means of arms has, however, proved to be quite ineffectual in several recent examples. As stated earlier, even though the US claimed that Saddam Hussein’s lawless regime was the ultimate justification for the Gulf War, the US-led coalition settled for the restoration of Kuwait’s sovereignty, and allowed Saddam Hussein to crush both the Kurds and the Shias, whom America had previously encouraged to rebel against the regime. Saddam Hussein remains as powerful and 'popular' among his people even today, and, if anything, has been elevated to the status of a holy warrior against the 'tyranny' of America's 'evil empire', at least among vast numbers in the 'Islamic world'.

Similarly, the punitive strikes against Osama Bin Ladin's camps in Afghanistan, and the high profile campaign to demonise him through the international media have, indeed, added to his strength, giving him an image much larger than life. It has resulted, moreover, in a recruitment windfall, as Muslim youth from countries that range from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia flock to his camps to join his jehad.

Collective coercion as practised in the past has even less of a chance of success in future, as outright aggression is not likely to be an acceptable scenario among nuclear states such as Pakistan, irrespective of their role and record with regard to the sponsorship of, or participation in, acts of terrorism.

This was clearly acknowledged during Pakistan's foolhardy and militarily disastrous incursion into Kargil in 1998-99. The combination of regular forces, mujahiddeen and mercenaries who comprised the force of aggression created a pattern that made it difficult for any collective international entity to take an unequivocal stand on the basis of the existing international laws governing warfare. Unsurprisingly, the Security Council has chosen to treat violent conflicts in Kashmir under Chapter VI of the UN Charter – concerning pacific settlement of disputes through diplomacy rather than under Chapter VII, which authorises coercive action against threats to peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression. The present system suits the strategies of militant Islamic expansion, and it is clearly to Pakistan's advantage to continue its proxy war against India through the Islamic mujahideen, rather than risk a conventional confrontation.

Arguably, the resolution of conflicts like Kashmir through negotiations will have a better chance of success if the major powers are willing to recognise the sponsorship of terrorism, and to put forward incentives and impose penalties and sanctions on the country that is objectively recognised to be promoting or supporting incursions by armed militants. This, however, does not appear to be happening, and will not happen unless there is a visible recognition that the ‘essential interests’ of these leading (Western) nations are sufficiently threatened by the enduring conflict. The British decision to sell arms to Pakistan is a clear demonstration that the ‘essential interests’ of at least one major power do not necessarily lie in the denial of arms to a people who have used them largely for terrorist purposes. A great deal of ambivalence has also characterised the US policies on sanctions against Pakistan, and the clearly contradictory policy adopted on the categorisation of that country as a supporter of terrorism and the character and quantum of aid and diplomatic support that is still being extended to it. Where, then, is the impetus for collective international action to come from?

It is also doubtful if any other European nation will, in the foreseeable future, perceive a direct and proximate threat from the activities of militants operating against India from Pakistani soil. The Russians, at the moment, lack the resources to intervene directly and would, in any case, first fight the growing Islamic militancy within their own borders. China's interests in establishing a hegemonic presence in the region preclude the possibilities of principled intervention, since some regional destabilisation would be in its interest, the troubles with the Uighurs notwithstanding.

Moreover, the direct involvement of the Americans, Russians and the British armed forces in the resolution of the Kashmir conflict will not be in the interest of either India or Pakistan. It is evident that such military interventions blaze forth trails of avoidable violence and destruction; they create new and more intractable problems instead of fully resolving the ones that prompt such interventions. It is not possible to ignore the disastrous consequences of Superpower intervention in Afghanistan since the 1950s, and more particularly during 1979-89, and the havoc they have wreaked in South Asia. The more recent armed interventions in Iraq and Kosovo leave too many questions about their purpose and efficacy. The fact is, the remedy of direct involvement of Superpowers in settling regional disputes has proved to be worse than the disease.

Further, how can the UK and the US, who directly contributed to the creation of the Kashmir problem in the first instance, be called upon to resolve this conflict, given their highly subjective insights and partisan historical perspectives? The main issue confronted by the UK in Kashmir in 1947 was control over the 'main artery into central Asia', and it was first intended to be achieved by persuading the US to put a large question mark on the Maharaja’s accession to India. The idea was to warn the US of the 'Russian menace.' Earlier, Mountbatten had visited Kashmir in June 1947, and told the Maharaja that 'India would not object' if he acceded to Pakistan. Sir Paul Patrick of the British Commonwealth Relations Office informed the US representative in London on December 22, 1947, that India was threatening Pakistan and “is driven to a rash course by Nehru’s Brahmin logic which argues that now Kashmir has adhered to India, it is part of India.” George Marshall, the US Secretary of State, recorded on January 10, 1948, after a visit to Washington by Noel-Baker, the British Commonwealth Secretary, and Lord Ismay, that “the visitors wanted the movement of Pakistani troops into northern Kashmir and to place Kashmir under UN control pending the holding of a plebiscite.” But Pakistani troops had already moved into the north as soon as the accession of Kashmir was announced in October 1947, and British army officers had, in a coup, removed the Maharaja’s Governor of the Northern Territories and installed a Pakistani Governor in his stead. Initially, the US did not accept the British line, and George Marshall is on record to say that reference to the UN 'would complicate the issue', but the change in US policy did come by the time the matter came up at the United Nations. [83] And the policies of both the UK and the US with regard to Kashmir have either been ambiguous or weighed in favour of Pakistan ever since.

Pakistan is beset with serious internal problems of its own. There is a critical breakdown of its political, economic and social structures and stability. It has about 80 Islamic sects and 18 jehadi groups of all shades and character. There is a strong demand for provincial and regional autonomy in Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP. It is clear that, unless a radical correction is instituted, Pakistan is moving inexorably towards disintegration. [84] To the extent that this tendency is realised, increased trans-border movement of narcotics and arms, of rootless militants, and possibly hordes of displaced persons and refugees, will be India’s next nightmare. And disintegrating nations can be dangerous, particularly if the entities falling apart during the process of disintegration are likely to possess ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads and aircraft with nuclear-delivery capabilities.

In the background of this murky picture, and in the fight against the Islamic and ISI-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and elsewhere in India, it is necessary to reiterate a few well-known truths:

         Although the American resources available to the Islamic militants in Pakistan may have been choked off, huge financial and arms flows continue from the Arab countries. Arab men are also contributing physically to the ranks of the militants. Gen. Parvez Musharraf has accepted that 25,000 Arabs who came to fight the jehad against the Soviets during 1979-89 have not returned. [85] There is no possibility in sight that the growing Arab involvement will ebb. This would require either a renewed and more forceful diplomatic intervention in the Arab world or building up of a system of like-minded allies who see a joint Arab-Pakistani build-up as a matter of immediate concern. India is ultimately alone in its fight against terrorism and militancy. The recent experience with the Hizbul Mujahideen is an indication that, perhaps for some time to come, negotiations and statesmanship will have a limited role in this rather fuzzy scenario. In the light of stepped-up terrorist violence in J&K, resolution will have to be sought through highly professional counter-insurgency/terrorism campaigns wherever security is threatened or undermined by militants, Islamic or otherwise. The slaughter of over a hundred innocents on August 1-2, 2000, the car bomb explosion in Srinagar on August 11, and the explosives triggered on a Border Security Force (BSF) convoy on August 13, point to a slackening of surveillance which India can ill-afford. More than causing injury and death to members of the security forces (and some innocents), such incidents add credibility to the militants’ claim that they can strike anytime and anywhere. It also seriously dents the credibility of India's coercive measures.

         Pakistan may have earned the displeasure of the United States in recent times for a number of reasons including the nexus between Pakistan’s army and the Islamic militants and its inability to produce Osama Bin Laden for trial (or on the more pragmatic grounds of protecting the interests of American investors in the fast-opening market in India). It would, however, be dangerous for India to put total reliance on Washington’s pressure on Islamabad as “the virtual centrepiece of its strategy in relation to Pakistan.” [86] Putting all the eggs in the US basket is an unwise policy. A political analyst noted:

The danger in New Delhi’s increasing dependence on Washington to share its perspective of issues and events in the subcontinent is that it dilutes the Government’s credibility as a sovereign interlocutor in the context of building a peace process in Kashmir. Successive agreements between India and Pakistan – Shimla in 1972, the Joint Statement of June 23, 1997, and finally the much acclaimed Lahore agreement – have all acknowledged that both countries would have to resolve all issues 'including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.' For India to dodge the implications of this commitment and to continue to resist an engagement of the regime in Islamabad would be viewed by the alienated people in Kashmir as yet another instance of New Delhi’s bad faith. [87]

Both India and Pakistan have very often shown a somewhat unwarranted obsession with the ‘dangerously seductive illusion’ of the consistency of US support. But support from one powerful nation to a weaker one follows its own logic and its own patterns. Analogies and parallels are often dangerous; but they are very often relevant. It may not be out of place here to briefly recapitulate the history of US support to Israel.

During the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the US joined a UN arms embargo in the Middle East, when "700,000 Jews," in the words of David Ben-Gurion, were "pitted against 27 million Arabs – one against forty", despite the fact that the Arab armies had a clear advantage in terms of weaponry. [88] Even the CIA and the then US Secrertary of State George Marshall predicted Jewish defeat. The fledgling state of Israel was certainly on the brink of destruction, and would not have survived without a secret arms deal with (what was then) Czechoslovakia. Israel fought for a year and lost close to 70,000 lives in the war. Again, during the Suez Crisis in 1956, both the American Jews and the US Administration figured prominently in the international consensus against Israel. Eisenhower forced a virtually unconditional Israeli withdrawn from the Sinai. It was only in 1967 when Israel won the war that the US started treating it deferentially; “military assistance began to pour in as Israel became a proxy for American power – ‘Western civilisation’ – against the Arab hordes”. [89] According to Peter Novick, the Americans suddenly discovered the Holocaust – the genocide of over six million Jews by the Nazis - after the Israeli victory of 1967, and then proceeded to make it an industry. The Israeli victory “had given God a second chance.” [90]

There are lessons in this narrative that both India and Pakistan ignore at their own peril.



* V.S. Jafa serves in the Indian Administrative Service, and is a former Chief Secretary of Assam. He studied the Northern Ireland conflict as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford (1986‑87); as John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow and a Visiting Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1988‑89), he researched the revolutionary, ethnic and religious roots of violence, counter‑insurgency and counter‑terrorism in the context of the theory and practice of conflict resolution. While at the MIT, Jafa was a member of the MIT-Ford Foundation Workshop on The State and the Restructuring of Society in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. He is also a Consulting Editor with FAULTLINES.

[1] Times of India, New Delhi, July 7, 2000.

[2] Sunday Observer, London, April 25, 1982.

[3] See Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights, Vol. 1, South End Press: Boston, 1979.

[4] Henry Adams, History of the United States of America during the Administration of Thomas Jefferson, Library of America, 1986, p.132.

[5] Matthew Jardine, East Timor: Genocide in Paradise, Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1999, p. 8.

[6] Ibid. p. 14.

[7] Ibid. p. 47.

[8] Ibid. pp. 50-51.

[9] Ibid. p. 9 and p. 12.

[10] Ibid. p. 10, p. 38, and p. 41.

[11] Ibid. pp. 49-50.

[12] John Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, London: Pluto, 1999.

[13] Tara Kartha, Tools of Terror: Light Weapons and India’s Security, New Delhi: Knowledge World, 1999, p. 89.

[14] Interestingly, General Parvez Musharraf has recently borrowed this nomenclature from Pakistan’s earlier mentors in the fine distinctions that he proposes between terrorism and the jehadi 'freedom fighters' in Kashmir. "It's jehad in J&K, says Musharraf,", Times of India, July 4, 2000.

[15] While the US fought the wars in Korea and Vietnam largely on its own, the Afghan war and later the Gulf war saw many countries contributing to the war efforts and paying the bills while America took lead. When, during the Gulf war, Secretary of State James Baker solicited funds for the war effort, some American newspapers called it an act of beggary. Samuel Huntington described it as the behaviour of a hegemon eliciting tribute. See Fareed Zakaria, "The Challenge of American Hegemony," International Journal, 54(1),1998-99; and Samuel Huntington, "The Erosion of American National Interests," Foreign Affairs, Washington, 76, September/October 1997.

16 The Pakistan trained Uighur jehadis have joined the Muslim Uighur separatists in China, and have now become one of China's major headaches in the Xinjiang region, just as the Pakistani jehadis are emerging as a menace in Pakistan itself. Interestingly, Gerard Prunier writes that the story of the killing of 850,000 Tutsis by the Hutus in 1992-94 belongs in its technology and some aspects of economic globalisation entirely to the twentieth century: even the machetes used for the killings were mass-produced in China. Gerard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide, New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

[17] According to John Cooly, CIA Director William Casey had, during the Falklands War, secretly and (under US law) illegally delivered Stinger missiles to Britain, which were used to great effect against the Argentine aircraft. In return, Casey sought British participation in the Afghan adventure, which Margaret Thatcher readily agreed to.

[18] Kartha, in Tools of Terror, pp. 58-68, writes that a total of $8.7 billion was spent by the US and her allies on the Afghan war, most of which went for purchase of arms. According to Eqbal Ahmad says, in his article “Roots of Violence”, in Zia Mian and Iftikhar Ahmad, ed., Making Enemies, Creating conflicts: Pakistan’s Crisis of State and Society, Mashal: Lahore, 1997, $10 billion worth of arms aid was supplied to the Mujahiddeen. By the end of 1992, Afghanistan had enough small weapons to equip the armed forces of both India and Pakistan. With about 60 trucks a day moving around 65,000 tons of weapons through Pakistan’s frontier, the arms bazaars on both sides were overflowing with the latest in weapons as many actors, including Pakistani army officers, began to sell arms to the highest bidders. There were also unending convoys of mules entering Afghanistan from China with an amazing variety of weapons. Of the estimated 900 Stinger missiles supplied, about 300 are missing. Many of these are believed to be with the jehadis in Jammu and Kashmir and Pak Occupied Kashmir. After the Soviets withdrew, these arms were used by the warring factions in Afghanistan. Arms from the same source found their way into India – Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast, particularly Assam - to sustain the insurgencies in this country. It is believed that a majority of the arms seized (about 100,000 during the last 15 years) in various Indian States and many hundreds of thousands of arms still believed to be with the militants and insurgents in the conflict areas in India are part of the US and Chinese largesse during the Afghan war. They have come into India either as part of the ISI strategy or through illegal market channels. According to Hindustan Times, New Delhi, April 18, 2000, an estimated seven million illegal small arms are currently circulating in South Asia.

[19] The British never really controlled the Afghan territories, established a loose domination through three major expeditions into the region between 1838 and 1919. The last of these was a cursory affair, with the British simply marching in and out of the Hills, with little resistance. Thereafter, the British with the tacit approval of the Russians, designated the area a buffer state between their Indian Empire and Russia. An 'independent' kingdom was established at Kabul and its boundaries were drawn out by the two great powers.

[20] The Durand Line was drawn by the British in 1893 to define the boundary between India and Afghanistan, and from 1947 the Line separated the Pushtun and Baluch people between Afghanistan and Pakistan. No regime in Afghanistan, including the current Taliban, has ever accepted the legitimacy of the Durand Line as the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

[21] Department of State, Document No. 177, Washington, April 2, 1956, p. 232.

[22] Ram Rahul, Afghanistan, the USSR and the USA, New Delhi: ABC Publishing House, 1991, p.32.

[23] Speech by N. A Bulganin at a dinner in Kabul on 16 December 1955, in N. S Krushchev: Speeches During Sojourn in India, Burma and Afghanistan, New Delhi: New Age Printing Press, 1956, p. 175.

[24] The Quaterly Economic Review: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, London: Spence House, 1975, p. 16.

[25] The sole publicly acknowledged achievement of the second visit in 1968 was an agreement for the sale of Pakistani edible oil to Afghanistan at a concessional price.

[26] Washinton Post Weekly, January 28, 1985, p. 14.

[27] Eqbal Ahmad, The Roots of Violence, p. 13. Eqbal Ahmed adds: “Never before in this century had jihad as violence assumed so pronounced an ‘Islamic’ and international character. The twentieth was a century of secular Muslim struggles. The Ottomans fought their last wars in essentially temporal terms, in defence of a tottering empire and, at least in the Middle East, against predominantly Muslim foes. From the rise of Saad Zaghlul to the demise of Abdul Nasser, the Egyptian national movement remained secular and explicitly Arab and Egyptian. This was equally true of the Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian, and Lebanese national struggles.” About the use of the word Mujahideen, Ahmad says: “In the Maghrib, Algerian nationalist cadres who engaged France in an armed struggle for seven gruelling years were called Mujahideen, and their news organ was named El Moudjahid. This newspaper was edited for a time by Franz Fanon, a non-Muslim , and the struggle was led by a secular organisation, Front du Liberation National (FNL). In Tunisia, the national struggle was led by Habib Bourguiba, a die-hard and Cartesian secularist who enjoyed nevertheless the title of Mujahid-ul-Akbar….” Ibid. p. 12.

[28] According to Robert M. Gates, From the Shadow: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, the expensive new round of American spending on strategic forces was accompanied by a willingness to challenge the Soviet friends, allies and clients on the ground in Africa, Central America, and Afghanistan. Being a former Director of the CIA, Gates has understandably little to say about the bloodletting that resulted from these proxy wars. What he has revealed is that American support for the Contras and the Mujahideen increased the financial pressure on the USSR, already hard-pressed to meet the ballooning defence budgets of the Carter and Reagan administrations. The result was that by the time Gorbachev assumed control in Moscow in the mid-1980s, the Soviet budget-makers knew that the well was dry. Reagan and some of his aides – Paul Nitze, Richard Perle, and Richard Pipes – sometimes hinted in the early 1980s that they were deliberately challenging the Soviets to spend themselves into bankruptcy. Gates is not quite convinced that any of them really believed it, but he says this is exactly what happened.

[29] Eqbal Ahmad, The Roots of Violence, p.13.

[30] Najibullah took refuge at the UN office in Kabul when he was prevented by force from proceeding to the airport. He remained there until he was dragged out by the Taliban in 1996 and hanged.

[31] NSC Record of Actions – 229th Meeting, December 21, 1954 – Action Number 1290d, p. 2.

[32] NSC Operations Coordinating Board, Progress Report, March 19, 1957, p. 1.

[33] Report to the NSC pursuant to NSC Action 1290d, November 23, 1955, p. 4.

[34] Report to the NSC pursuant to NSC Action 1290d, September 7, 1955, pp. 6-7.

[35] For a critical review of US counter-insurgency policy, see D. Michael Shafter, Deadly Paradigms: The Failure of US Counter-insurgency Policy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. For a more trenchant criticism and analysis, see Alexander George, ed, Western State Terrorism, New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991; Noam Chomsky, Turning the Tide: The US and Latin America, New York: Blackrose Books, 1987; Michael McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft: US Guerrilla Warfare, Counter-insurgency, and Counterterrorism 1940-1990, New York: Pantheon Books, 1992.

[36] All information in this and the two succeeding paragraphs is from Dennis M. Rempe, “An American Trojan Horse? Eisenhower, Latin America, and the Development of US Internal Security Policy”, Small Wars and Insurgencies, London, 10(1), 1999, pp. 34-64. Also see, Melvin P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992; Douglas S. Blaufarb, The Counter-insurgency Era: US Doctrine and Performance 1950 to the Present, New York: Free Press, 1977; Stephen G. Rabe, Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anticommunism, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988; Albert R. Haney, Deputy Assistant to the Director of Security Affairs, ‘Observations and Suggestions Concerning the Overseas Internal Security Program’, NSC Staff Papers, 1948-61 - NSC 1290d , June 14 , 1957.

[37] The discovery of this report goes against the ostensibly moral stand that American policy makers have taken on the subject. George K. Kennan, At a Century’s Ending Reflection, 1982-1995, New York: Norton, p. 341, says: “The success of our diplomacy has always depended, and will continue to depend, on its inherent honesty and openness of purpose and on the forthrightness with which it is carried out.” (Incidently, one of Kennan’s greatest achievements as a diplomat was his very short tenure of four and a half months as US ambassador to Moscow in 1952 when he was declared persona non grata by Stalin and asked to leave. The provocation was what he called his “honest” comment to a reporter that living conditions of diplomats in Moscow were comparable to his five month of internment in Hitler’s Germany in 1941-42). In sharp contrast to Kennan’s claim is Murray Kempton’s view of the American foreign policy: “our foreign policy is made the property of campaigners who hope to win, bankers who hope to collect, and contractors who hope to sell until the assistant secretary for human rights can no longer hope to be heard.” See, the opinion of Murray Kempton in, The New York Review of Books, April 18, 1996, p. 68. He was commenting on the State Department Assistant Secretary Human Rights’s 1995 report that “Overall, in 1995, the Chinese authorities stepped up repression of dissent”, and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s rejoinder that “to complain when trading partners abuse their citizens is just a ‘feel-good’ policy, clearly useless and impliedly mischievous.”

[38] NSC 5906/1-Basic National Security Policy, August 5, 1959.

[39] The penchant of the intellectuals in the US to treat military coups in countries considered ‘useful’ to American interests from an academic rather than an ideological viewpoint is best demonstrated in Stephen P. Cohen, Policy Brief No. 55, Brookings Institution: Washington, January 2000. Cohen argues, “Pakistan is not a failed state, but its political and social institutions have been in decline for some time. The recent military coup is another “last chance” for Pakistan, an opportunity to move its institutions toward social and economic reforms and political coherence”. His prescription for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan is: US should restore US-Pakistan military training programmes and should “judge Pakistan’s present regime on its merits, not its uniform.” Forgetting that Gen. Parvez Musharraf had undergone a military training programme in the US, Cohen says, “Studying in an American institution does not ensure democracy, but the overall record shows that Pakistani officers who have been trained in the United States or Great Britain have a more balanced perspective on the role of the armed forces, a more secular outlook, and a better sense of the changes occurring in the wider world.” See,

[40] Matthew Jardine, East Timor: Genocide in Paradise, Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1999, p. 40. In South Vietnam alone, the war resulted in a million widows and 879,000 orphans. It destroyed 9000 out of 15,000 hamlets, 40,000 square miles of farmland and 18,750 square miles of forest.

[41] Thucydides’ (411 BC) description of the negotiations preceding the Athenian attack on Melos is an appropriate historical analogy:

"Melian: We see you come to be judges in your own case and that all we can reasonably expect from this negotiation is war, if we prove to have right on our side and refuse to submit, and in the contrary case, slavery.

Athenian: You know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power; while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

[42] See Julia Preston, Looking Back at the Revolution, The New York Review of Books, July 18, 1991, p. 13.

[43] For a detailed study, see Stephen Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War, New York: University Press, 1999; Ian Smillie, Lansana Gberie, and Ralph Hazleton, Sierria Leone: Diamonds and Human Security, Partnership Africa-Canada, 2000.

[44] See James Traub, The Worst Place on Earth, The New York Review of Books, June 29, 2000, pp. 61-66.

[45] Timely UN intervention in Bosnia could have saved hundreds of lives when the Serbs were carrying out ethnic cleansing for four years without let or hindrance. The reluctance to intervene has been called a betrayal on the part of western powers led by the US. See David Rohde, Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall or Srebrenica, Europe’s Worst Massacre Since World War II, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998; and Wayne Bert, The Reluctant Superpower: United States’ Policy in Bosnia, 1991-95, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. The CIA deliberately delayed its report on human rights abuses, as President Bush was desperate to avoid an European involvement in the election year. On August 2, 1992, a front-page story in Newsday documented the existence of Serb-run concentration camps in northern Bosnia. The report outraged the world, as did even more horrifying TV footage of slaughter from inside the camps. At that time, CIA analysts went back over the photographs taken by U-2 planes. According to a State Department official, “by the third week of September 1991 we had a very large, comprehensive list of camps with description, places, information on inmates, conditions, maps.” It was kept secret, even from the International Red Cross, and no reason was given. CIA turned it over only after the New York Times reported they had it, and Red Cross insisted that it should be handed over to them

[46] Foday Sankoh’s RUF sold $70 million dollars worth of diamonds in the international market in 1999. The civil wars in Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been financed by about $600 million worth of diamonds mined in West Africa and sold in New York, Antwerp and Tel Aviv. See Batuk Gathani, "Bloodied Diamonds," Hindu, New Delhi, July 16, 2000.

[47] Taylor’s leverage with the RUF is so strong that recently, before UN forces took armed action to free 232 UN personnel including 212 Gurkha soldiers of the Indian army, Organisation of Africal Unity, under pressure from UN and India, sent a special delegation to Taylor in Monrovia to seek his offices for their release. See Hindustan Times, July 16, 2000.

[48] See Anthony H. Cordesman, Iraq and the War of Sanctions:Conventional Threats and Weapons of Mass Destruction, New York: Praeger, 2000.

[49] On the ideological front, the Jamaat-i-Islami of Pakistan is providing the leaderhip to jehad in Kashmir in tandem with Pakistan’s armed forces and the ISI. It is surprising to note that “In 1948-49, its [Jamaat-i-Islami] chief ideologue, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi had rejected, on theological grounds, the notion of Jihad in Kashmir. Today, his party openly boasts of its militant involvement there.” Eqbal Ahmad, The Roots of Violence, p.16.

[50] Ibid., pp. 14-15.

[51] Mahdi Masud, "The Other side of Afghan Connection", Dawn, Karachi, March 1, 2000.

[52] Abid Ullah Jan, "Tangled in the American Web”, Frontier Post, Peshawar, September 22, 1998.

[53] M. B. Naqvi, "Front-line State Syndrome," Dawn, March 6, 1995.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Irfan Husain, "Riding the Tiger," Dawn, August 22, 1998.

[56] Friday Times, Lahore, March 10-16, 2000.

[57] As mentioned earlier, according to John Cooley, in Unholy Wars, writes, China agreed to letting the Americans build two electronic listening posts in the province of Xinjiang, near the Afghan border, but did not allow Americans to man them. These posts were manned by Chinese personnel trained by the American Intelligence. Writing on the subject of sovereignty in such matters, Fareed Zakaria in, “The Challenge of American Hegemony," says: “When Charles Krauthammer wrote in 1986 that respect for sovereignty was not a moral imperative and that there were goods worth pursuing even if their pursuit undermined sovereignty, he was considered a provocateur. This was, of course, in part because he was defending the Reagan Doctrine, but also because the idea of sovereignty enjoyed a high standing at that time. The Nicaraguan government’s victory over the United States in the International Court of Justice rested in large part on American violation of Nicaragua’s sovereignty.”

[58] See William Brands, India, Pakistan and the Great Powers, New York: Praeger, 1972, pp. 91-106.

[59] Roedad Khan, Pakistan – A Dream Gone Sour, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 16.

[60] In hindsight, the breaking away of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) from Pakistan could have been avoided if the United States had pressurised Pakistan into accepting the democratic electoral verdict of the 1970 General Election by making Shiekh Mujib-ur-Rahman the Prime Minister, rather than assuring Pakistan of diplomatic support and military assistance against India, a commitment they never fulfilled.

[61] Eqbal Ahmed observes that, Pakistani rulers turn to Islam whenever they find themselves in a political mess. “Throughout Muslim history, the infusion of religion into politics has been a mark of weakness and decline… Aurangzeb inherited a strong state and left behind a tottering one. This enormous failure was attributable largely to his theocratic disposition.” See, Ahmed, The Roots of Violence. M. Chengappa notes that Nawaz Sharif’s attempt to appease the mullahs was “paradoxical considering that both the leaders and the people of that country have nurtured political aspirations of the democratic rather than the theocratic type. The fact that Islamic fundamentalist parties have not had much electoral success over the years only proves the point.” Bidanda M. Chengappa, “Pakistan: Insight into Islamisation”, Strategic Analysis, New Delhi, 22(11), February 1998. Eqbal Ahmad writes further: “Pakistan’s is an ideologically ambiguous polity; here, political paeans to Islam have served as the compensatory mechanism for the ruling elite’s corruption, consumerism and kow-towing to the West. As a consequence, the ideologically fervent Islamist minority keeps an ideological grip on the morally insecure and informed power elite. It is this phenomenon that explains the continued political clout of the extremist religious minority even as it has been all but repudiated by the electorate.” See, Ahmed, Roots of Violence, p. 11.

[62] Roedad Khan, p. 203, p. 206 and p. 211.

[63] Mohammad Yousaf and Mark Adkin, The Bear Trap: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, Lahore: Jang Publishers, 1992. Captain Mark Adkin, a retired British army officer, has helped put the book together, which is understandable.

[64] Roedad Khan, an eminent member of the Civil Service of Pakistan, now retired, says: “It appears as if we are on a phantom train that is gathering momentum and we cannot get off. God seems to have turned his face away from our country. An historical parallel is to be found in the period of discord in India on the eve of Timur’s invasion when men also said that God was angry with the people of Hindustan and the saints were asleep. This is not the country I opted for in the Referendum held in my home province of the NWFP in 1947, and this is not the country I would like to die in.” Roedad Khan, Pakistani, p.202.

[65] Hindu, July 15, 2000.

[66] Ibid.

[67] “It is a miracle that the people of this country have continued to bear allegiance to a system of democracy. But we may now be at a turning point in this respect. The question is: are there sections of civil society and the state with the will and the ability to change the substance of democracy in Pakistan? … The short answer is that the ability may well be there but the will, so far, is clearly missing.” Rashid Abbas, The Politics and Dynamics of Violent Sectarianism, in Zia Mian and Iftikhar Ahmad, ed., Making Enemies, Creating Conflicts, p. 49.

[68] Addressing the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August, 1947, its 'founder', Mohammad Ali Jinnah said:

If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make. … We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of timeall these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community – because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vaishnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on – will vanish. … Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.

In his broadcast to the people of the United States in February, 1948, Jinnah reiterated: "In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state – to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims – Hindus, Christians, and Parsis – but they are all Pakistanis.” These statements created a good deal of controversy in Pakistan, as they were in sharp contrast to whatever Jinnah had said on this subject after his parting of ways with Mahatma Gandhi in 1938-40. Was it that, after achieving Pakistan on Islamic slogans, Jinnah had reverted to his liberal ideas, imbibed during a western legal education? See Sharif al Mujahid, Jinnah’s Vision of Pakistan, in Zia Mian and Iftikhar Ahmad edited, Making Enemies, Creating Conflicts, pp. 88-91.

[69] A 'grand alliance' of all mainstream political parties of Pakistan has been constituted to work towards the restoration of democracy and to prevent the present military rulers from changing the 1973 Constitution. According to the Pakistan Observer, the movement has been launched by Nawabzada Nasrulla Khan under the auspices of Pakistan Awami Ittehad. Hindustan Times, July 17, 2000. According to Hindu, August 9, 2000, the first-ever conference of all political parties of Pakistan was held in Lahore on 6 August 2000 with a view to launch a joint struggle for restoration of democracy in Pakistan.

[70] David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.

[71] Hafizullah Emadi, New World Order or Disorder: Armed struggle in Afghanistan and United States’ Foreign Policy Objectives, Central Asian Survey, New Delhi, 18(1), March 1999, p.50.

[72] Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 6th edition, New York: Knoph, 1985, p. 13.

[73] The terms ‘new world order’ and ‘new order’ have been used by different people to mean different things at different times. Hitler used the term during World War II to expand the sphere of activity of new German entreprenuers. See, Adolf Hitler, My New Order, New York: Reynal and Hitckcock, 1941. President George Bush used the term when he built a multi-national force to launch the Desert Storm against Iraq. It was used by oil-producing countries known as OPEC to justify the raising of oil prices in 1973. Nehru once described the post-colonial era as the ‘new world order.” Some friends have suggested that it was used by Lenin and Mao as well, and I am trying to locate the references.

[74] Edmund S. Morgan, Back to Basic, The New York Review of Books, July 20, 2000, p. 47. This article reviews Vincent Crapanzano’s Serving the Word: Literalism in America from the Pulpit to the Bench, New York: New Press, 2000, in which the author finds “literalism crippling American aspirations and progress today in a variety of ways.” Crapanzano defines “literalism” as a form of thinking or refusing to think, “a simple-minded acceptance of propositions that conceal unrecognised complexities”, and thinks that Americans are “resistant to the aspirations of generational independence”.

[75] See John E. Rielly, “Americans and the World: A Survey at Century’s End”, Foreign Policy, 114, 1999, pp. 97-113.

[76] See Daniel Pipes, “There Are No Moderates: Dealing with Fundamental Islam”, National Interest, 41(3), 1995, pp. 48-57; John Esposito, “Political Islam and American Foreign Policy”, Brown Journal of Foreign Affairs, 1(1), 1993-94; John Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995; Elaine Sciolino, “The Red Menace is Gone. But Here Is Islam”, New York Times, January 21, 1996, Sec. 4, p. 1; Judith Miller, “The Challenge of Radical Islam”, Foreign Affairs, 72(2), 1993, pp. 47-56.

[77] About 1.75 million Pakistani youth are being presently trained in nearly 7,000 madarsas across Pakistan, to wage Jehad in Kashmir and Chechnya, with the US as its ultimate target. More than 2,000 such students of a particular madarsa are already on their way to Kashmir. See Times of India, August 12, 2000, quoting a report published in Washington Times. Such reports have been appearing in the American media with increasing frequency over the past years.

[78] White House Press Briefings, August 20, 1998.

[79] "Remarks by the President to the Opening Session of the 53rd United Nations General Assembly",, September 21, 1998.

[80] For the text of President Clinton's speech, see

[81] Warren Zimmermann, Prophet With Honor, The New York Review of Books, August 18, 1996, p. 6.

[82] Noemi Gal-Or, Tolerating Terrorism in the West: An International Survey, London: Routledge, 1991, pp. 157-158.

[83] Narendra Singh Sarila, "Kashmir & the Great Game: Pawn in West’s anti-Soviet Strategy", Times of India, August 14, 2000.

[84] A possibility of that has been frequently expressed by Pakistan’s foremost intellectuals. Parvez Hoodbhoy observes, “It is increasingly common to ask if Pakistan shall survive its next fifty years. Of course, it will, for the land and the people who live on it shall always remain. The real question is: will we survive with or without dignity? Looking back at the last fifty years, it has been the latter. … If the future is not to be as bleak as the past or bleaker, then it is time the people of Pakistan summon their intellect and courage to speak, regardless of the consequences, of what must be done to save this country. … What we need is a vision of a civilised society. This is necessarily one that is pluralistic and democratic … Ultimately, in any society, it is the power of ideas that brings about real change. … Sadly, given the intellectual bankruptcy of our universities, and the virtual absence of free debate outside the narrow confines of a few English language newspapers and magazines, there is little discussion of substantive issues….” See Making Enemies, Creating Conflict, “Introduction”, pp. vii-viii.

[85] Hindustan Times, August 14, 2000, p. 12.

[86] Malini Parthasarathy, "Crafting a peace process", Hindu, August 14, 2000.

[87] Ibid. Parthasarathy adds, “If indeed as is definitely the case, cross-border terrorism is a major cause of the continuing unrest in the Valley, it becomes all the more imperative to engage Islamabad and make this issue a key condition to be adhered to or core principle to be respected if the peace process is to work. This would put the military establishment in Islamabad on the defensive and also yield more political space for India to turn its attention to the really relevant interlocutors in the Kashmir context. There is really no other way forward.”

[88] See Norman Finkelstein, "How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry", review of a book by Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life, London Review of Books, January 6, 2000, pp. 33-36.

[89] Ibid.

[90] Ibid.





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