Pakistan, India and the Bi-Polar World Order

Daniel Crump

Image © Omer Wazir


Fukuyama’s ‘The End of History’ essay may not have correctly predicted everything it was supposed to, but one realisation certainly holds true to this day: Realist manoeuvrings and proxy inter-state wars have always been an inevitable feature of a Bi-Polar world. With the fall of the USSR, and the US’s securing of uncontested, top dog status, inter-state warfare has fallen to its lowest level since World War II, making this the most peaceful period of modern history.  The explanation being that in a world with two competing super powers, fragile alliances are held together by mutual enemies.

Although not yet a Bi-Polar world by most people’s evaluations, the rising influence of China will undoubtedly lead to nations asking serious questions of themselves and who they choose to associate with. This week, while the US ambassador to Pakistan stepped down for what Washington insisted was for personal reasons alone, The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan met with President Zardari to discuss matters of mutual cooperation and bilateral trade.

In recent years, Ambassador Munter may well have held the least coveted role in international relations. Following the arrest of a CIA contractor in Lahore and the US led mission to capture and kill Osama Bin Laden, Munter has had to deal with the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011 when the US strayed across the border from Afghanistan. His resignation may appear, after all this, to be the icing on a rather stale and crumbling diplomatic cake.

A Difficult Friendship

The most worrying aspect of these recent events is the fact that they do not come as much of a surprise to anyone. The US and Pakistan have quite a history of sharing mutual enemies and their relationship has, therefore, always been one of convenience and insincerity. Whether it was Nixon and Kissinger using Pakistan’s friendship with China to make Sino-US inroads, or Pakistani support of anti Soviet groups in Afghanistan, the US has always been able to find some beneficial reason to keep Pakistan within arm’s length.

The most recent chapter of this tale has certainly been the trickiest yet. Shortly after 9/11, President Musharraf ended his alliance with the Afghan Taliban while officially entering the Bush Administration’s War on Terror. Since 2001, Pakistan has handed over 5000 members of Al Qaeda to American authorities and received nearly $10 Billion in aid for its troubles. Despite this closeness, Pakistan has constantly been accused of ‘looking both ways’ when it comes to terrorism. Pakistan’s Inter-Services-Intelligence Agency (ISI) has been accused of training and sponsoring groups that the Americans claim to be fighting across the border in Afghanistan. Indeed, it was Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency that was instrumental in bringing the Taliban to power in Afghanistan in the mid 90’s with a view to setting up a favourable regime in a neighbouring country. With the US planning to withdraw a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan in 2014, all bets are off as to what condition Pakistani – US relations will be in if the Taliban were ever to re emerge in Afghan political life. Read more of this post

The Bradford Spring

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Image © David Martyn Hunt

As the morning dew fell from a Friday Spring morn, the political class awoke to one of the most sensational by-election results in modern history. George Galloway’s election vindicates those who have long argued that Labour’s opposition to the Tory agenda is, to quote Mr Galloway, “feeble to the point of paralysis.” Labour is currently the only established party of opposition, yet is finding no way to even begin to channel the fury voter’s feel about tax increases for pensioners, the privatisation of the NHS and savage cuts to public services to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Labour cannot channel this righteous indignation because it has, in government and opposition, acted as the Tories would. Even now they promise merely a sanitised dose of spending cuts as the answer to Britain’s ails. What of the ever widening gap between the have nots and the have yachts? What of the stagnation of working class wages and representation for the last 30 years?

Galloway’s Respect Coalition proved that by coalescing the united forces of the left, we can alter the corporate media narrative of a servile public willingly accepting the political fantasies of a government of, by, and for the rich. Just look to public opinion and it will show you that dissatisfaction with all three political parties is, quite rightly, at unprecedented levels. Furthermore, Galloway is correct when he contends that he didn’t merely win by tapping into Muslim anti-war sentiment. Rather, the British people at large are repulsed by wars that have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians around the world. People are crying out for radical change and waiting for an alterative to a future of misery, war, and austerity to be articulated.

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