The essay is a continuation and reproduction of the author’s evaluations of events of the past 25 years in The Nation, culminating in ‘The Devil’s Triangle’

The collapse of USSR in 1991 left the USA unchallenged. An aggressive policy of US global dominance formed durable alliances with Western Europe and Asia Pacific allies through strong military-economic blocks. Researchers went into overdrive searching for the next enemy. Post Kenya bombings, Islamic Jihadist (an abandoned leftover of the mock Afghan Jihad) were identified as guilty. Laden was shifted in Saudi C 130 from Sudan to Afghanistan under the CIA eye.  Afghanistan became the hornet’s nest. Disintegration of Somalia, Sudan, Serbia and Czech Republic, and regimes changes in, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Egypt reduced caution. Left leaning African nations painstakingly built by post-colonial 3rd world leaders imploded into chaos. Fredrick Forsyth’s ‘Dogs of War’ had a feast. Successes after the fall of Soviet Union led to squander. The world never became a better place.

A quarter century later, international politics has switched poles. Russian support of Ukrainian rebels and strikes in Syria signaled resurgence of multi polarity. President Putin with his policy of pluralism is emerging as a challenge. The Russian bear has become the Siberian Tiger. The shelf life of NWO has expired.

Had socio-political evolution been the priority, the world could have become more hospitable and democratic. There are neither tradeoffs between good and bad militancy nor good or bad dictatorships. Minimalists were pushed to the edge leaving no option but to fight. At least two initiatives to moderate Afghans by Benazir Bhutto (1996-2002) were rejected by USA. A romantic revolutionary like Mullah Omer was re-manufactured into an unseen monster to be lumped with Laden, the nexus of Islamic Jihadists.  Iraq was destroyed over sexed dossiers. Despite Arab hijackers, Afghanistan was to bear the “shock and awe’ of daisy cutters, uranium tipped bombs and US-NATO air power.

Despite moralistic jargon, it was a War of Hate and Broad Spectrum Dominance. By 2004, USA was firmly established amidst four nuclear powers. Permanent and temporary US allies in the Muslim world played minion in their advantage whilst India used terrorism to demonise the Kashmiri freedom struggle. The lofty principals applied to Eastern Europe were ignored for Indian held Kashmir?

In 1991, strategic theories lying in attics were dusted and rebooted. Despite technological and economic leap-frogs, strategists astride Atlantic showed decadence. With a weak Russia, Admiral Mahan’s theory of controlling Persian Gulf gained currency with the Southern Front. The objectives coincided with security of Israel, insecurity of oil rich Arab monarchies and their brand of religion. A union of Zionists, Neo Cons and Salafists pushed the world towards an Armageddon. The nexus funded and abetted the springs. Syria was a sore with its good relations with Iran and Russia. It also supported Hezbollah-Hamas to chagrin of Israel. Its pluralism challenged Salafist’s and their intolerant ideologies The onus of organizing, training and arming rebels fell on local dogs of war, Saudi Arabia, Gulf monarchies, Jordon, Turkey and Israel.  Every minion was looking for the crumbs falling from the master’s table.

It became known in 2013 that USA prepared a highly classified dossier on terrorist activities of Saudi Arabia but failed to dissuade the monarchy. The leaked contents showed Saudi foot prints in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan and Russia. A  Saudi royal decree condemned Islamic Jihadist with linkages to Al Qaeda by disowning thousands of disguised soldiers it pumped into Syria and Iraq. With families taken as hostage, they were to fight till death or face execution.  Prince Mohammed bin Nayef’s was made the new head of security. With this and much more information, Russia could embarrass USA could in UN Security Council. Egypt and Yemen proved that Saudi Arabia never backed off. So a counter nexus of Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq began to emerge. When Saudi Arabia sent feelers to Pakistan for recruiting, training and arming militants, Pakistan had to weigh its options in national interests. Iran threatened Pakistan with a border military raid while Russia was curt in caution. Despite a mysterious remittance of 1.5 Billion dollars, Pakistan declined twice.

Balochistan, Karachi and Line of Control heated up. Pakistan’s refusal caused its isolation in Middle East. India moved swiftly into the void with the famous hug (The Nation, The Saudi Shadow, March 01, 2014).

Crimea is a landmark. In post USSR era, a country (Russia) rather than non-state actors challenged US. The spring in Ukraine led by fascists and dons backfired. As commented by Michael Hirsh, “the United States and Russia have crossed a Rubicon in the Ukraine crisis, and Washington must now confront the likelihood that if the standoff continues, it will dramatically alter relations on a much larger map than Eastern Europe, inviting Russian recalcitrance in crisis zones as far afield as East Asia, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan.” Linking it with the unstable regions of Syria and Afghanistan, I summed up this paradigm as the “The Devil’s Triangle” (The Nation, March 22, 2014). The conflict has expanded to Syria and Afghanistan would be next. If USA and Russia fail at constructive engagements, a new era of a Cold War may have already begun.

Pakistan’s isolation in Middle East is temporary. Balochistan and Karachi are stable. The communication highways of CPEC are ahead of schedule. It’s a matter of time before other countries also join the project.   

On the eve of PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit to UNGA, this isolation was expected. Modi’s high profile photo-shoots made headlines. But the expected was eclipsed.

In the absence of the prime minister, Malala Yousafzai made a sterling case for Pakistan. Pope Francis with his moral and ethical authority touched across all divides. President Putin’s speech followed by his press conference reflected his moral and ethical ascendency. On the sidelines, US-Pakistan-Afghanistan-China summit excluded India. The stampede at Mina exposed Saudi skills. Pakistan’s fears evaporated away.

I would still argue that Pakistan with no homework was lucky. While taking hard decisions Pakistan ignored the political economy of the brewing conflict and gave India an advantage. Yet as events turned out, Modi the fascist knight will never gallop away with the princess.

But Pakistan has serious homework to do on its internal political economy. Pakistanis with abundant natural resources will never be forced to eat grass. Rather, with three years of hard work, Pakistan can feed the world. The rulers need a menu of grass to regurgitate personal desires and appeasement of overseas viceroys. Hopefully, the Raheel Factor will play its part.