PERCEPTIVE observers of the growing US involvement around the world have for long predicted that the foolhardy and costly adventures the Pentagon has been undertaking would one day compel the US to rethink the scope of its defence and foreign policies. That day draws nearer, sooner than expected because the country has accumulated an unsustainable debt of trillions of dollars in pursuit of aggressive designs, like the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. And, adding to the militarys woes has been the economic crunch that is impacting the lives of American citizens and, thus, would not permit of such reckless spending much longer. Defence Secretary Robert Gates proposal to reduce the size of the army by abolishing one of the ten commands to effect a saving of $100 billion over the next five years points to that compulsion. The recommendation, if accepted, would inevitably result in a reduced American presence in the region, apart from wider implications at the global political and military levels. Evidently, Washingtons commitment in Afghanistan would fall several notches lower, notwithstanding its declarations to the contrary, and so would its avowals of long lasting friendship with us. However, considering other developments that can be traced directly to American encouragement, there is not much ground for satisfaction for the people of Pakistan. The insistence on India playing a substantial role in Afghanistan as a stabilising force, once the US troops have left, forebodes more troubles for Pakistan. The plan is ill conceived; the Indian equation with the minority Northern Alliance would hardly please the Pashtun majority and would not be conducive to peace and stability in the country. For Pakistan, New Delhis attempts at muddying the waters in Balochistan and FATA would suggest constant threats to its integrity. Islamabad must underline these dangers in contacts with US officials. The only good for us under the circumstances would be for the foreign occupation in Afghanistan to end and let the Afghans and, if need be, its Muslim neighbours Pakistan, Iran and Turkey to come forward and help. Secretary Gates idea is based on the premise that the military has grown 'unwieldy and costly. It would eliminate the Joint Forces Command that employs 5000 people, reduce the strength of Generals and Admirals by 50 and cut down the number of support contractors by 10 percent. Its acceptance, favoured by President Obama, is contingent upon approval by the Congress where it is likely to encounter opposition from members to whose constituencies the bulk of the employees belong.