The NATO conference in Chicago in Chicago is as irrelevant as NATO itself. A meeting to discuss the rearrangement of the chairs on the deck of the Titanic will not abort NATO’s inevitable collision with the iceberg called Afghanistan. The NATO ships are headed to oblivion and the rise in the rhetoric from Brussels and Washington cannot hide their frustration. The higher decibel level cannot obfuscate the facts on the ground in Afghanistan.
Threats to Pakistan are not a new phenomenon. Pakistan’s are used to them and see them for what they are worth–anger at being defeated in the Hindu Kush.
NATO an anarchism of the Cold war was unable to prevent a resurgent Russia in browbeating the Europeans to take a middle of the road policy viz a viz Moscow, NATO has been unable to justify its existence ever since.
NATOS accomplishments in Europe for the past two decades have been minimal, it’s performance in Iraq and Libya is dismal and it’s total defeat in Afghanistan spells its death knell.
Pakistan is already a Major- Non-NATO-Ally (MNNA) and that status means a hill of beans for most Pakistanis. The MNNA was a concoction of General Powell, but becoming a MNNA has not brought any advantages to Pakistan.
NATO has been claiming that the Supply routes from Pakistan are not so important because NATO is able to get its supplies from the do called Northern corridor which traverses a dozen or so countries. That has been a blatant lie. Pakistan is crucial and critical to NATOs survival in Afghanistan. If the routes through Pakistan were not important to NATO it would not be pressuring Pakistan to open the routes.
Pakistan has resisted the pressure to resume NATO supplies and has again asked the US to halt the drone attacks and tender an apology. This is not the first time that Islamabad has defied Washington.
Pakistan has faced 30 years of sanctions because it did not toe the US line in the sixties, seventies and nineties!
The Pakistani Army and the civilian leadership is again defying Washington and may again face sanctions! All this and the history of US-Pakistani relations have already been factored into the Pakistani demands to the US
The NATO conference and the seduction of an invitation to Chicago is as irrelevant as the “Final declaration”, dated July 21, 1954, of the Geneva Conference on the problem of restoring peace in Indochina.
The Chicago Conference on Afghanistan is as irrelevant as the conference in Bonn–if Pakistan is absent.
In the Geneva conference in 1953 the representatives of Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, France, Laos, the People’s Republic of China, the State of Viet-Nam, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States of America took part. What was missing were the real Vietnamese.
All the so called peace conferences after the “Final one” in 1954 solved nothing. France and the US lost and colonialism and neo-colonialism was banished from the Gulf of Tonkin.
“Vietnamization” meant the transfer of power from the Americans to the surrogate Generals who would have held the fort for the Americans. It didnt work in Saigon, and it wont work in Kabul.
Karzai is fretting the ominous clouds over most of Afghanistan. The Talibs are coming as sure ad the Vietcong came.
The French are withdrawing from Kapsia and the new French president who had campaigned on the issue of a pull out of NATO at the end of 2013–doesn’t want anything to do with Afghanistan.
The US flag and the French banners have come down in many parts of Afghanistan, and the keys to the city have been handed over to Mr Karzai. However the fact remains that Mr Karzai controls very little outside his palace. Mr Sarkozy thinks that the infiltration in the so called Afghan National Army (ANR) has been underestimated.
The fact remains that the ANR by day and Talibs by night control the Afghan countryside.
Flag ceremonies are transferring power to the ANR. The Times reports that “So far, about 20 such ceremonies have taken place across the country, part of the unfolding plan for all NATO combat troops to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.”
These ceremonies and the US commitment to Karzai are as ephemeral as those made to the Vietnamese Generals.
The Times reports that “In this region, for example, which borders Pakistan, the Taliban militants still have power bases in districts within an hour’s drive of Jalalabad, and just to the north, in Kunar Province, they have fought pitched battles with American troops as recently as November.”
This is the reality on the ground. Major US intelligence reports say that the situation in Afghanistan remains grim.
The Times is right “In the air was the unspoken question of how committed the United States and other Western countries are to Afghanistan in the longer term, beyond the troop pullout in 2014.”
The US needs the supply lines opened through Pakistan–not to send new troops, but to begin the massive withdrawal from Pakistan. Most of the mercenaries will have left by this summer. The Pakistan Army is rebuilding the Pakistan Railways to allow the US to withdraw. The US will be paying for the continuation of the supply chain through Pakistan.
Pakistan should not open the supply lines until and unless the US halts the drone attacks.
Attending the Chicago conference is no big deal. The future of Afghanistan will be defined on the battlefield and not around a conference table. In fact the future of Afghanistan had already been decided. NATO and ISAF are leaving, the Talibs are the enduring reality in Afghanistan and Pakistan has won!
There is a wind of change, and an air of defiance in the youth of Pakistan.
The lines have been drawn.The new Pakistan will be resurgent and non-compliant. Whether Imran Khan sweeps the elections or just gets 40 seats is immaterial. No government in Islamabad will be able to make or continue the shady deals that were made in the next decade.
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