Getting Involved With Pakistan: Will Russia Risk It?
[Friday Times] Interior ministers swearing that Pakistain is crawling with foreign spies who kill Pakistain's friends will convince no one in Moscow
| A walk through the byzantine process that is the Pakistani mind. |
Russian President Vladimir Putin
...Second President of the Russian Federation and the first to remain sober. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits he is the current Prime Minister of Russia. His sock puppet, Dmitry Medvedev, was installed in the 2008 presidential elections. Putin is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing something like the rule of law. During his eight years in office Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase, poverty decrease and average monthly salaries increase. During his presidency Putin passed into law a series of fundamental reforms, including a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes. Under Putin, a new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy has emerged, all of whom have close personal ties to Putin. The old bunch, without close personal ties to Putin, are in jail or in exile...
has postponed his Pakistain visit scheduled for the first week of October 2012 during which he was to attend a quadrilateral summit of the inter-governmental commission (IGC) on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation attended by Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistain.
The postponement was rather sudden with no credible reasons given which compelled conspiratorial headlines in Pakistain saying America had used Indian pressure to shoo Russia way from Pakistain. (India in fact may have triggered Russia's move to open up with Pakistain by embarking on the road of normalisation with Pakistain.)
China and Russia started the trend of looking to the 'troubled' regions of Afghanistan-Pakistain by inviting Pakistain to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in 2005. China is already engaged with Pakistain. Russia was to sign this October on its agreement invest $500 million in the CASA-1000 (Central Asia-South Asia) electricity transmission project, besides helping Pakistain in upgradation of Pakistain Steels Mills. Russian energy giant, the state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom, has been interested in laying the Iran-Pakistain gas pipeline.
BBC reported in June 2012 that with the US and NATO
| If Pakistain can take steps against home-grown extremism it will convince Russia and China that it deserves help to move out of the American orbit |
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants...
set to leave Afghanistan over the next two years, 'power in the region is shifting'. With decline in US influence in the region in sight, Russia and China are reaching out to Pakistain and Afghanistan in a bid to improve economic ties and to secure their southern borders against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Russia and China do not disagree with the US on fighting terrorism the same way Pakistain does.
BBC also reported Pakistain's signing of a strategic agreement at the SCO, elevating their relationship with China as China shops for raw material and oil exploration contracts in mineral-rich Afghanistan. China has already secured some oil and copper mining concessions as well as oil prospecting contracts in Northern Afghanistan. Russia, both through the SCO and bilaterally, is willing to offer major help to Afghanistan, such as improving the Salang Tunnel highway.
Both Russia and China remain non-confrontational when it comes to relations with the US, unlike Pakistain where the Army thinks in black and white and is determined to push its Afghanistan policy through Afghan Shura, the Haqqani Network and non state actors doing proxy jihad through acts of terrorism in Afghanistan and India. Russia is a supplier of gas to Europe through pipelines that connect Central Asia to the European Union
...the successor to the Holy Roman Empire, only without the Hapsburgs and the nifty uniforms and the dancing...
To prevent these pipelines from drying up, Russia opposes the Turkmen Afghanistan Pakistain India (TAPI) gas pipeline by aiding Pakistain to complete the Iranian gas pipeline to Pakistain which is stuck because of American sanctions. (China has already taken a big portion of Turkmen gas through one of the longest pipeline in the region it has completed recently.)
Pakistain needs to diversify its foreign policy after decades of fighting Russia's policies in its northwest. It has the right to straighten out its regional rivalries born of its 'Islamic jihad' policies that caused its ISI to back hard boyz to penetrate Central Asian states after they became independent and Russia where Al Qaeda now causes sleepless nights to President Putin and where an intense hatred of Pakistain among the newly Christianised Russian population is in evidence.
Syed Saleem Shahzad wrote on Asia Times Online (Mar 31, 2010): 'Monday's twin suicide kabooms by female bombers in the Moscow metro system in which at least 38 people were killed and 64 injured were most likely planned and executed by people trained in Pakistain's tribal areas'. And Russia knows how Saleem Shahzad was finally killed.
China has the potential of taking on the non state actors of Pakistain if they don't leave Xinjiang alone. To let Pakistain know what Chinese and Russian policies are all about, the Chinese leaders have warned President Zardari 'not to break with the US and to avoid taking hardline positions regarding the US and NATO in Afghanistan'.
| When Gazprom operates in Balochistan and Sindh, its personnel will be targeted by various sorts of terrorism flourishing in Pakistain |
This must have been music to the ears of President Zardari but not to a strategically manichean Pakistain Army and the madrassa network of Pakistain. While spearheading this move to diversify relations, President Zardari fears for his life for being 'an ally of America' in his own country, as demonstrated by the Memogate case.
While America is likely to finally deal with China as pragmatically as China treats America, after hearing the advice of Henry Kissinger in his book On China (The Penguin Press 2011), Pakistain might endanger itself.
Paks, who look at China as 'a friend against all enemies', are wedded to the conflictual paradigm that Kissinger wants America to eschew. Reports are that India, which is tacitly asked by Paks and sections of the US opinion to look at China as enemy, is thinking more like Kissinger and 'harmony-seeking' China itself. With everyone leaning to the wisdom of relativism in foreign policy, Pakistain may be out of the complex equation because of its strategic reductionism.
| Paks swear by Chinese friendship but on the ground they kill them wherever they find them. |
After the latest blasphemy madness, Paks may think only in terms of jihad. Some opinion-makers in the US and the establishment in Pakistain who want to see India and China as rivals in Asia are in for a surprise if Kissinger wins his argument.
If Pakistain can take steps against home-grown extremism it will do much to convince Russia and China that it deserves help to move out of the American orbit. But the truth is that Pakistain needs help to tackle the terrorism unleashed by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the non state actors with links within the establishment, the madrassa network and the armies of youth working in tandem with them in its highly Islamised universities.
It has set up America as enemy number one when asked to 'do more' about these elements. If it treats Russia and China the same way they will simply retreat and secure themselves strongly against its irredentism - something which the West in general and the US in particular might also do after 2014.
Therefore, 'both China and Russia will be happy to see US troops leave Afghanistan, but they are equally worried about the Taliban and other myrmidon groups penetrating Xinjiang province in southern China and the Central Asian republics, whose national security is very much in the hands of Russia'.
The Putin visit is off for the time being but not the visit of General Kayani
... four star general, current Chief of Army Staff of the Mighty Pak Army. Kayani is the former Director General of ISI...
to Moscow. Pakistain's foreign policy is run by him and he has recently put his life on the line by saying in Abbottabad
... A pleasant city located only 30 convenient miles from Islamabad. The city is noted for its nice weather and good schools. It is the site of Pakistain's military academy, which was within comfortable walking distance of the residence of the late Osama bin Laden....
on 14 August 2012 that Pakistain was threatened from within rather than from the outside. More dangerously, he said the war against terrorism (extremism) was Pakistain's own war.
It offended everyone including the Defence of Pakistain Council of non state actors linked to the Army; and offended the Haqqani Network he is sheltering in North Wazoo. The Army quickly denied that it ever wanted to attack North Waziristan to fight Pakistain's war against terrorism. But that doesn't wash with the terrorists.
Paks swear by Chinese friendship but on the ground they kill them wherever they find them. They have killed them in Balochistan, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...
and in the Tribal Areas. When Lal Masjid got after them in Islamabad, and the Chinese complained officially, the nation finally sided with Lal Masjid, not with China.
When Gazprom operates in Balochistan and Sindh, its personnel will be targeted by various sorts of terrorism flourishing in Pakistain in the shadow of Pakistain's Afghan policy. Interior ministers swearing that Pakistain is crawling with foreign intelligence - read CIA, Mossad and RAW - killing Pakistain's friends will convince no one in Moscow. Will Russia risk it?
Posted by: trailing wife