Sunday, September 20, 2009

cost-effective US Afghan-War (PAKI VIEWPOINT)

AMAZINGLY candid! Must read (between the lines!)!!!!

US interest in an unstable Pakistan

Syed M Tariq Pirzada

Is Pakistan acceptable to US as an economic, and military power? Does the US global strategy clash with a stronger Pakistan. Why is the US opposed to a nuclear Islamabad. Is Pakistan ignoring the threats posed by the Indo-US strategic partnership. Neither it began with 9/ 11, nor has it ended thereafter. At the most, as it, quite certainly, seems to be, the US global interest goes no further than granting Pakistan, a very limited space, for it.s bare minimum survival on the map. History has a reminder that instead of opening it.s markets, the luring assistance i.e. limited aid, and low interest loans, have long been Washington.s ploy to consume Pakistan , sometimes, as part of cold war years bulwark against communism, and, sometimes, as the frontline warrior, which it is today in the endless war on terror.

With the US led markets purposely denied, the economic reverses, that Pakistan experienced under the failed civil and military leaderships, ceaselessly continue under the banner of economic mismanagement, lost markets, mounting debts, trimmed sovereignty, and threatened national security. The talk of access to US-led markets makes headlines only to be ditched by the dream aid- packages, offered, every other decade, to the successive Pak-regimes.

The strategy to ensure a debilitated Pakistan is yielding multiple political, financial, military, and strategic dividends for the US- led endeavor as follows : Political dividends: There seems no lapse in US- assessment, that, despite the fact that Pakistan is the sixth largest part of the world population, a nuclear power, and the biggest Muslim nation between South Asia, and the Atlantic, it will stay under leaderships that would allow US coercion to, unrestrictedly, dictate, and manage every thing from it.s security and, foreign policy, to it.s regime-change and political settlements, all of which have, over the years, grown to encompass a lot more, including , in particular, it.s ideological, educational, and social reconstruction. To solidify these gains, the US-established diplomatic pressure-bridge between Washington and Islamabad, keeps bringing in , besides the permanent Holbrooke factor, hordes after hordes of towering US Senators, Congressmen, higher officials representing the CIA, FBI, National Intelligence, CENTCOM , ,and above all, the Pentagon.s top brass, including, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, the regular US top gun to Islamabad, in addition, of course, to the Uncle Sam.s resident overseer, the US ambassador in the capital. What is, indeed, to the nation, a humiliating US intrusiveness , and a diplomatic terrorization, is, somehow, to the . victimized. US, just another maneuver to fortify the exhausted Islamabad.s focus on it.s war, leaving it, thereby, without the crucial assets of time, energy, and, resources, for it.s normal state-management.

Had the US-administration deployed as many as 150 thousand troops in Afghanistan, as it did in Iraq, the people, and the exchequer in Washington would have found themselves immeasurably bleeding in, and around the Hindukush from the early moments of war. But the rewarding Bush-threats , then, to Pakistan, the unwavering Musharraf co-operation over the years, and the US- guided regime in today.s Islamabad have, all, not only contributed before, but, are still, through the new faces, contributing, to what may be called a stunningly cost-effective US Afghan- war .

With just over 700 hundred US troops( roughly 80 per annum) lost in 8 years, the cost of the US- Afghan war( about an average of10 to 12 billion dollars per annum (with salaries etc included about $ 21 billion) until right before the recent new deployments), as opposed to the cost of the US-Iraq war( an estimated average of120 billion per annum, plus nearly 5000 dead), makes it highly affordable with the result that there is hardly , any serious public demand, or debate within the United States, for it.s troops-withdrawal, or for an end to the Afghan war.

The key to the low- cost US-war: over hundred thousand Pak- troops deployment along the Afghan border,( the equivalent of which could cost the US about a staggering 70 to 80 billion per annum) again, in return for as little as billion dollar a year , which, even with the promised conditional assistance of $1.5 billion, turns the US war, in fact, into a free Western crusade. Thus, with the help of Pak-regimes, both past and present, the prolonged US war in Afghanistan, that is choking Pak-economy, is hardly, any more than a minor military discomfort easily bearable for decades to come if the future US administrations so opt to continue.

The occupation of Afghanistan offers a wide array of strategic opportunities to the US, which include, but, are not limited to, the following: With it.s growing military might, and operations along the Pak- Afghan border, the US remains ideally located to exercise maximum containment-pressure over any further weaponization, or needed expansion within Pakistan.s limited nuclear program..

Also, based on the alleged possibility that some how Pakistan.s nuclear weapons, or, materials, could one day fall in to the hands of Alqaeda, or, the extremists, any US contingency plans, to, preemptively, seize or destroy, small Pak- nuclear arsenal, despite the difficulties involved, may never be ruled out. Again, amid growing silence, the question is, whether Pakistan has, failed, under US pressure, to respond, this time, to the mega threat posed by the Indian navy.s nuclear build-up.the launch of it.s Pak-specific first atomic submarine, SSBN, Arihant. in the Indian ocean? Don.t let, finances, or misjudgment deprive Pakistan of long range, sea- born strategic retaliatory strike capability, which, along with land based nuclear assets, would, certainly, operate to deter any future western adventurism against our otherwise routinely threatened republic.

The US is making it.s presence felt with an intense demand that Pakistan shift it.s convetional concentration from India to the US anti-terror war. Some of the Pak- troops deployments, away from the Indo- Pak border to the Afghan border , testify to the leadership.s capitulation. US defense secretary, Robert Gates, has, pointed, as late as Sep 10, to the need for such a change. Also, in the wake of Bush anti-terror-doctrine , the termination of Pak- support for the Kashmiris freedom, became even a greater fiasco in that New Delhi, the US strategic partner, quickly surged, and remains, to date, as the .unchallenged. occupier of Kashmir due to the US- forced exclusion of Pakistan from this sensitive issue, ironically, in an imposed war which it continues to fight, but, only to see, in so doing, the J&K. it.s supreme national interest. lost, for now, to India.

The US-backed huge expansion of India.s economic, political, and military influence in Afghanistan.a direct source of active interference, both, in the NWFP, and Balochistan. has already given NewDelhi a strong foothold, coupled with a strategic advantage effectively eliminating Pakistan from it.s historically secure backyard, which bears close similarity to the US-steered exclusion of Pakistan from the issue of Kashmir. The unchecked Indianization of Afghanistan, that goes on under the umbrella of US war on terror, could eventually witness, not only permanent Indian military presence near Pakistan.s Western borders, but, also divide and cripple, needles to say, it.s already fragile defenses in the east against India.

Thus the picture is clear that the US has vested interest in an economically unstable and militarily vulnerable Pakistan. An Islamic Republic whose economic and military strength must always remain so abridged as to prevent it from ever acquiring a major power status and from ever playing a major power role in the Indian ocean region and beyond

pakobserver.net/200909/14/Articles02.asp

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Noam Chomsky: The push to militarise Latin America

Noam Chomsky
19 September 2009


The United States was founded as an "infant empire", in the words of George Washington. From the earliest days, control over the hemisphere was a critical goal.

Latin America has retained its primacy in US global planning. If the US cannot control Latin America, it cannot expect "to achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world", observed then-president Richard Nixon's National Security Council in 1971, when Washington was considering the overthrow of Salvador Allende.s elected left-wing government in Chile.

Recently the hemisphere problem has intensified. South America has moved toward integration, a prerequisite for independence; has broadened international ties; and has addressed internal disorders . foremost, the traditional rule of a rich Europeanised minority over a sea of misery and suffering.

The problem came to a head a year ago in Bolivia, South America.s poorest country. In 2005, the indigenous majority elected a president from its own ranks, Evo Morales.

In August 2008, after Morales. victory in a recall referendum, the opposition of US-backed elites turned violent. This led to the massacre of as many as 30 government supporters.

In response, the newly-formed Union of South American Republics (Unasur), involving all South American countries, called a summit meeting. Participants declared "their full and firm support for the constitutional government of President Evo Morales, whose mandate was ratified by a big majority".

Morales said: "For the first time in South America.s history, the countries of our region are deciding how to resolve our problems, without the presence of the United States."

Another example: Ecuador.s President Rafael Correa has vowed to end Washington.s use of the Manta military base, the last such base open to the US in South America.

In July, the US and Colombia concluded a secret deal to permit the US to use seven military bases in Colombia.

The official purpose is to counter narcotics trafficking and terrorism, "but senior Colombian military and civilian officials familiar with negotiations" told the Associated Press on July 15 "that the idea is to make Colombia a regional hub for Pentagon operations".

The agreement provides Colombia with privileged access to US military supplies. Colombia had already become the leading recipient of US military aid (apart from Israel-Egypt, a separate category).

Colombia has had by far the worst human rights record in the hemisphere. The correlation between US aid and human rights violations has long been noted.

AP cited an April document of the US Air Mobility Command, which proposed that the Palanquero base in Colombia could become a "cooperative security location".

From Palanquero, "nearly half the continent can be covered by a C-17 (military transport) without refueling", the document said.

This could form part of "a global en route strategy", which "helps achieve the regional engagement strategy and assists with the mobility routing to Africa".

On August 28, Unasur met in Bariloche, Argentina, to consider the US military bases in Colombia.

After intense debate, the final declaration stressed that South America must be kept as "a land of peace", and that foreign military forces must not threaten the sovereignty or integrity of any nation of the region. And it instructed the South American Defense Council to investigate the Air Mobility Command document.

The bases. official purpose did not escape criticism.

Morales said he saw US soldiers accompanying Bolivian troops who fired at members of his coca growers union. "So now we.re narco-terrorists", he said.

"When they couldn.t call us communists anymore, they called us subversives, and then traffickers, and since the September 11 attacks, terrorists."

The ultimate responsibility for Latin America.s violence lay with US consumers of illegal drugs, Morales said. "If Unasur sent troops to the United States to control consumption, would they accept it? Impossible."

That the US justification for its drug programs abroad is even regarded as worthy of discussion is yet another illustration of the depth of the imperial mentality.

Last February, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy issued its analysis of the US "war on drugs".
The commission, led by former Latin American presidents Fernando Cardoso (Brazil), Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico), and Cesar Gaviria (Colombia), concluded that the drug war had been a complete failure. It urged a drastic change of policy, away from forceful measures at home and abroad, and toward much less costly and more effective measures . prevention and treatment.

The commission report, like earlier studies and the historical record, had no detectable impact. The non-response reinforces the natural conclusion that the "drug war" . like the "war on crime" and "the war on terror" . is pursued for reasons other than the announced goals, which are revealed by the consequences.

During the past decade, the US has increased military aid and training of Latin American officers in light infantry tactics to combat "radical populism" . a concept that, in the Latin American context, sends shivers up the spine.

Military training is being shifted from the State Department to the Pentagon, eliminating human rights and democracy provisions formerly under congressional supervision . always weak but at least a deterrent to some of the worst abuses.

The US Fourth Fleet, disbanded in 1950, was reactivated in 2008, shortly after Colombia.s invasion of Ecuador. It has responsibility for the Caribbean, Central and South America, and surrounding waters.

Militarisation of South America aligns with much broader designs.

In Iraq, information is virtually nil about the fate of the huge US military bases there, so they presumably remain for force projection. The cost of the immense city-with-in-a-city embassy in Baghdad is set to rise to US$1.8 billion a year.

The Obama administration is also building mega-embassies in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The US and Britain are demanding that the US military base in Diego Garcia be exempted from the planned African nuclear-weapons-free-zone. US bases are off-limits in similar zoning efforts in the Pacific.

In short, moves toward "a world of peace" do not fall within the "change you can believe in", to borrow US President Barack Obama.s campaign slogan.

[Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the author of dozens of books on US foreign policy. This article is reprinted from In These Times.]

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #811 23 September 2009.

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