If it wasn’t for the imam zaamin of prayers and best wishes tied by so many Pakistanis to his arm, and the clarity of his resolve, I’d be concerned that the Army Chief is making another trip to the US. I still see it as a waste of his positive energy and valuable time. Besides, engaging with an array of crafty liars in the corridors of US establishment is actually the job of the Foreign Minister and his team of seasoned negotiators from the Foreign Ministry. Sorry, I forgot. We don’t have a Foreign minister to Begin with.

There are bigger problems, of course. The Nawaz government’s lack of capacity and vision in every domain is proving to be a serious hurdle in General Raheel’s sincere initiative to steer Pakistan away from disaster. This was brought up in the recent meeting between the political and military leadership and one day later, in the monthly conference of the army top brass. The shameful progress on NAP despite repeated nudges is glaring.

Actually, somebody in those meetings should have raised the crucial question: Is the Nawaz administration just incapable or, like the US, is it compelled to push Pakistan in the other direction? Off the cliff, that is. Why, after all, is the political leadership so disinterested in cutting off the roots of terrorism? Why is it not taking any meaningful action against members of banned organizations or to curb hate speech and the financing of terrorists and extremist outfits? Why are Madrassah reforms stalled? Why is NACTA still not functional? I could actually go on and on and on.

It would be naïve to ascribe this sluggishness on such important national matters to plain ineptness. More than a lack of capacity, it is clearly an utter lack of will to do what is not only necessary but also urgent. The government is doing worse than standing still, or even dragging its feet. It is pulling in the opposite direction, back to the world of imperial terror we barely survived. This is reflected not only in the lack of progress it has made on NAP but also the way it is managing the country’s economy, dragging us deeper into the whirlpool of indebtedness.

Game-changing new possibilities in the neighborhood are little more than side attractions for the financial managers of the government. Their dollar worshipping IMF-centric hearts beat primarily for the empire, allowing the interests of corporate imperialism to control our economic policy and giving the empire leverage to arm-twist us when needed. Won’t such economic dependence be a hurdle in following a foreign policy independent of the empire? Isn’t that our only chance of survival?

The real ugliness and evil of the terror-ridden world that was being unilaterally crafted by the empire is becoming more apparent every day. It’s now as good as an official statement from Obama: Terrorism is a tool in the hands of the US-led empire. The different brands of terrorists that it claims to fight here, there and everywhere are its creations. Along with its allies and vassals, it funds, trains, equips and aids them, giving them air cover and support when needed. It conceives, spawns and nurtures terrorists to unleash them on targeted communities and countries, creating pockets of lawless territories to breed some more. It moves them like pieces of chess into neighboring countries.

In Syria, a sincere Russian intervention to eliminate all terrorists from the sovereign territory of the country, has brought out into the open the dirty terrorist game being played by the US and its allies to change the regime of President Assad. It is the empire that has been categorizing terrorists as good and bad all along, using them for its military objectives. After partnering with it to create the Afghan mujahedin in the 1980s, we should know better.

Pieces of the jigsaw are fitting in to complete the larger picture. The destruction of Iraq and Libya and their descent into chaos was no accident. That’s how the empire meant it to be, to further expand its hurricane of terrorism to engulf other countries in the region. The continued occupation of Afghanistan has nothing to do with ensuring stability. It is aimed at further expanding the hurricane of terrorism to Pakistan, Central Asian states and the neighboring Muslim-majority regions of China and Russia.

Just like the Russian counter-terrorism intervention in Syria, General Raheel’s policy of eliminating terrorism and non-state militant proxies from Pakistan’s soil is sincere and across the board and it upsets the imperial game-plan of expanding the hurricane of terrorism beyond Afghanistan borders. There’s no point complaining to the US about India’s negative role or the lack of cooperation from the puppet Ghani government in Afghanistan. They are only following the imperial script.

We should know by now who our real partners are in the war against terrorism. It is other countries in Afghanistan’s neighborhood threatened by the empire-sponsored expanding hurricane of terrorism. It is countries like China and Russia who are sincere about fighting terrorism unlike the two-faced US and its two-faced allies who pretend to fight the monster with one hand while feeding it with the other.

We should devote all our efforts to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism, intelligence, security and economy with these neighbors and jointly work for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan. For that purpose, Pakistan should coordinate its strategy with China, Russia, Iran and SCO states neighboring Afghanistan. Instead of sending our army chief to dialogue with the devil one-on-one, we should bring the talks on Afghanistan within this regional framework.

The US is obviously not interested in a real dialogue. While it talks about peace negotiations and building stability with its lips, it continues to speak the language of war in its actions. It is used to having its way and unwilling to adjust to the new realities of the emerging international order. The US and its chamchas do not understand the meaning of accommodation. They must be defeated for the world to start breathing again.