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US-Pakistan Policy is Floundering
US presence damaging, possibly ineffectual
WASHINGTON - May 13 - Political commentator Aijaz Ahmad, in this second segment with TRNN Senior Editor Paul Jay, discusses the policy path that the United States should follow in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he concludes that "the only thing rational that the US can do right now is to get out."
The first step the US should take is a firm commitment to a two-state solution in Palestine and "and the withdrawal of Israel from all the territories it occupied in 1967. That will set the stage for a serious dialogue across the region. The second thing Mr. Obama has to do is set a firm date for withdrawal from Afghanistan, which most Afghans want him to do," Ahmad says.
After America removes itself completely from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the third step involves the US relying on the countries surrounding Afghanistan to work towards to a solution. Ahmad lists Iran, China, Russia, India, and Pakistan among the various countries.
"In order to to find a solution in Afghanistan, the United States has to rely on these people within the region. But in order to bring them into a serious dialogue...[the US will] have to normalize its relations with Iran; it will have to have a strategic dialogue with Russia, with China, with India; and also, take into consideration some basic strategic interests that Pakistan has in Afghanistan. It is only the powers in the region which can help the US to get out," Ahmad says.
In response to the concerns about the "Islamization" of Pakistan because of the current situation in the country, Ahmad insists that "Islamization has been going on in Pakistan ever since 2001, when the Americans invaded Afghanistan and the Taliban came and established sanctuaries in northern Pakistan."
He also says that a worsening situation has arisen out of US concerns about Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands. "Americans are creating a situation now where the state is becoming so brittle that there might, in fact, be in the future such a problem. But that is a result of what the American strategy has been. Pakistani government, Pakistani army has, in fact, been extraordinarily sober about its nuclear weapons here in Pakistan; [they] consent on these issues all the time. We all know that these nuclear weapons are spread into various places where there are all kinds of precautions that have been taken about those nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons that would fall into someone else's hands if the Pakistani army collapses."
"If Americans just dropped and left everything in Pakistan and Afghanistan, things wouldn't [get] worse than they are," Ahmad says.
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