The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sharmini Peries
Phone: 416-916-5202 ext 414

US-Pakistan Policy is Floundering

US presence damaging, possibly ineffectual


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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