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Saturday, July 31, 2010
Will India's diplomatic reversals get a short respite? Moin Ansari
Bharat (aka India) has been facing colossal reverses in its Foreign Policy. Will the orchestrated Leaks, and Cameron claptrap give Delhi a respite?
The recent happening in Delhi show that for a few Dollars of Pounds the leader of the "nation of shopkeepers" will say anything. While the Labor Foreign Secretary brought up the "K" word in Delhi a while back, Prime Minister Cameron has used the Delhi line to disparage Pakistan. Milliband was catering to the Labor constituencies in Leeds, Manchester, Bradford and Birmingham, and Mr. Cameron was kowtowing to the few Pound Sterling that his military would be able to scrounge from Delhi.
Mr. Cameron's immature remarks caused a furor in Britain. Mr. Milliband called Mr. Cameron a "Loudmouth", and many British conservative papers excoriated the Prime Minister for being undiplomatic. The reaction in Pakistan as expected was one of indignation and anger. Pakistanis were livid. There was tremendous pressure on President Zardari to cancel his trip to London. The PPPP wanted him to go. In the end the Foreign Office came up with a compromise--General pasha would cancel his trip, and Mr. Zardari would go. FM Shah Mahmud Qureshi called it unfortunate, and Mr. Basit the eloquent Foreign Office spokesman called it unfortunate. Shireeen Mazari and the Pakistani press was less diplomatic. Some even called for degrading cooperation with the British. The British High Commissioner was called and asked to explain the British position.
The Cameron statement was part of the orchestrated campaign to malign Pakistan. First came the Wikileaks, and then the Cameron statements. Obviously the rookie prime Minister had carefully weighed what he was going to say in front of a Pakistanphobic audience in Delhi. It had the desired affect. Of course the Bharati were elated. they had scored a diplomatic coup--in an otherwise arid foreign policy landscape.
While the UK may have sold some gadgets, the long term gains remain elusive for 10 Downing Street. Mr. Cameron will face an invigorated British-Pakistanis electorate in the next elections. If Pakistan decides to take any serious action against the UK--Britain can face serous hardships in Afghanistan.
While the Wikileaks were on a 96 hour news cycle, and most US sources after having discussed them threadbare are beginning to move on to new subjects--the Bharati (aka Indian) media is clinging on to them and the orchestrated immature statements by the British Prime Minister. Delhi is getting full mileage of the so called 90,000 "leaks". Only a few of them actually discuss Pakistan, but the Pakistaniphobic campaign led by the New York Times and the UK Guardian only focuses on the old and archaic news items filed by Afghan "agents". Till recently the Afghan Intelligence agencies were fully in the hands of the Bharati RAW. In the days gone by the RAW men were so powerful that in a well documented incident Mr. Karzai was scolded by the head of the RAW in Kabul.
Most of the old field reports were fed by Bharati intelligent agencies. These reports filed from Kabul have now become part of the Wikileaks--used by the New York Times to malign Pakistan and try to halt its growing influence in Afghanistan.
The way the news has been sliced, diced and presented by the New York Times, it ensures that the real story of the Wikileaks can be obfuscated by the sensational Anti-Pakistanism.
The Bharati elation at the Wikileaks will be short lived. However Bharat may stage a spectacular event to put pressure on Pakistan. Another Mumbai will create issues in South Asia, and push it back another decade.
Much of the Leaks deal with the targeted killings and murder of civilians by the US, ISAF and NATO forces. However the Sunday news shows and even Al-Jazeera did not focus on the human rights atrocities and the war crimes. Pakistan is the favorite whipping boy of the US media--especially the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Now that the US media is beginning to get tired of the Leaks, another batch will be released targeting Pakistan. The Leaks have tried to drive a wedge between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The usual suspects in Afghanistan--the Pakistanphobes are cropping up in Afghanistan making the same old noises as before.
The Bharati carping will continue.
The short term affects of the Leaks have been a lot of discussion in the media. However the Obama Administration has not shown an indication of a change in its Afghan policy.
The Europeans are leaving the Hindu Kush next year. The Americans will follow--Cameron's grandstanding not withstanding.
America has few options in Afghanistan. She has to work with Pakistan in order to get a face saving exit. The Leaks anger the very people that the US and the UK banks on to help them out. No foreign army can assist NATO, ISAF and the US forces--except the Pakistani Army.
Maligning the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani Intelligence Services (ISI) is counterproductive to American interests. While the US Administration has rushed to do damage control, with the White House and the State Department calling the Pakistani President and the Prime Minister--the Afghan president was forced to make some ugly noises which he will have to regret.
Pakistan demanded an explanation from Mr. Hamid Karzai, and the press heard some inaudible and incomprehensible gurgling noises which went something like this "the press has made something out of this".
Despite the media headlines in the Bharati press, the fact remains that most US officials have come out to defend Pakistan. The Bharati media of course is publishing the fallout by editing the statements and publishing only part that suit their agenda.
While India's recent diplomatic reversals get a short respite, the fact remains that in the long run, the Bharati machinations will create more enemies in Pakistan. Already the number of doves in Pakistan are becoming less and less. Even Mr. Zardari who started out as very accommodating towards Bharat has not turned hawkish. The Pakistan Ambassador to the US--often called the US Ambassador to Pakistan is incensed at the US and also at Bharat. If the most pro-India elements in Pakistan are now mad at Bharat, the hawks will have a field day. Bharati short-sightedness in the Wikileaks affair will have consequences for Delhi. An abrogation of any Afghan trade to Bharat is the most likely first casualty of the Wikileaks. There will be more negative affects for Bharat.
Those who want Bharat evicted from Afghanistan will be emboldened and become more firm in their resolve. Anti-Americanism will grow in the area, and this can never be good for America.
The long term blow back from the leaks will harm US interests in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. The leaks confirm the US stereotype--self-centered, untrustworthy and fickle.
The US has to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. The Afghans want to talk to the Afghan National Resistance (aka Taliban). All roads to peace in Kabul run through Islamabad. Mr. Karzai knows this.
In the end Mr. Karzai will kiss and make up, and the US will continue to bank on the only game in town called the Pakistan Army.
( Moin Ansari. The author is the Editor of the very popular sites called Rupee News and Pakistan Patriot .He is a Political Scientist, and an Expert on International Relations--focusing on South and West Asia).