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America's great game
June 21, 2003
For the umpteenth time, India and Pakistan are making noises for 'a lasting and durable peace in the subcontinent.' This peace offer may be different from all those that preceded it because this may be India and Pakistan's last chance to resolve the issue bilaterally.
The reason for this is the United States of America. The US, led by a born-again Christian, is in an evangelist craze. As the world's most powerful nation, it thinks it is its duty to 'set things right,' which is a mere euphemism for a burning desire to remake the world on its own terms.
After civilising the barbarians in Afghanistan and rescuing the cradle of civilisation from the hands of a tyrannical despot, America is at a loose end. George W Bush is filled with an almost quixotic zeal to solve the problems of the world. But looking at it from a more real perspective, we perceive clearly that everything America has done is a calculated move to ensure the continuation of Pax Americana.
To ensure 'stability in the world' (read a unipolar world), the US has to ensure that no country is able to challenge its superiority. The war on Islamic terror is a mere eyewash. The true purpose of the war on terror is to establish a global American footprint and effectively shatter any desire China may have of filling the long-empty shoes of the 'evil empire' (Americanese for the Soviet Union)
Though India is by no means a threat to American hegemony (at least not in the next 50 years), north India, or more particularly, Kashmir, could serve as a convenient point for America to project its overwhelming military power in the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia.
In other words, Kashmir could be America's front line for a second Cold War in the future. This could explain the sudden American interest in browbeating India and Pakistan into talks at a time when neither side has anything new to offer.
India continues to hold Kashmir as a non-negotiable issue, and Pakistan nurtures fond delusions of militants taking over the Kashmir valley. Any attempt at finding a bilateral resolution to the imbroglio at this stage is bound to fail. Maybe this is why America seems so keen on an immediate dialogue -- to effectively destroy hopes of a bilateral resolution of the conflict, and thus firmly plant its foot in the door.
Over the past few years, America has managed to make Kashmir less and less of a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. This is clear from the fact that India pleads with big brother Colin Powell to stop infiltration across the Line of Control today. This may have been unimaginable a few years ago, as it would be tantamount to involving America in the Kashmir issue.
Today, the sad truth is America is inextricably involved in Kashmir, whether India likes it or not. America is merely waiting for the opportunity to pounce and hijack the entire Kashmir issue and resolve it under the auspices of the international community -- another American euphemism for the USA and its satellite state, the UK.
American interests lie not in a bilateral settlement (which is practically an impossibility) but in an American brokered peace, where American arms ensure freedom and peace in a nominally autonomous Kashmir.
This bodes ill for India and Pakistan, and for China too. India would lose the strategic autonomy it enjoyed for so long. The Indian Army would be encircled, what with American 'peace keepers' to the north and their base in Diego Garcia to the south. India would continue to be a peaceful and stable democracy, but a pliable one at that. American policymakers would love to add the world's second most populous country to the list of those it can arm twist into quiet submission. Such a scenario would sound the death knell for countless terrorist groups based in Pakistan.
Over the last two years, America has clearly proved that those Islamic terror groups which the American establishment considered terrorists could be decimated with ease and aplomb. So, once the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Tayiba actually turn against American interests, their survival could become extremely difficult indeed. As for the darling of the West, General Pervez Musharraf, he could well lose the trigger to his nuclear arsenal. How, for pity's sake, can a man in a not-too-stable nation be trusted with the power of a nuclear bomb?
This is not to speak of the threat to his survival posed by his own military and Islamic fundamentalists for having sold out to the Americans. Musharraf may end up depending on the Americans for survival, much like the erstwhile Shah of Iran. Another colony for America to manipulate…
America would have thus succeeded in re-colonising the Indian subcontinent and establishing a strong American presence in China's backyard. American policy has always tried to contain any competing power (or any power which could, at any point in the future, hope to compete with it), and in the 21st century, it could be China's turn.
Russia is another country which could lose, in such a scenario. But Russia has lost so much already, that it is almost irrelevant. Former Soviet republics have joined the European Union, have armed forces being trained by the USA, and in some cases have American troops on their soil!
So, the Russians do not have much more to lose, geopolitically at least. This nightmarish scenario could well become a reality if India and Pakistan squander this opportunity for peace. Otherwise, may we all be happy in Pax Americana...
Though this scenario may be rejected as implausible, one must acknowledge the immense might of American arms which makes anything possible. During World War II, the Americans went on to conquer the whole of Western and Southern Europe from two beach heads, one in Sicily and the other in Normandy. If America could then destroy Hitler's Fortress Europe and Tojo's ruthless ambitions, one shudders to think what they can achieve today...
Siddhu Warrier is a university student in Chennai