The affairs of the world get critically affected by the plans and actions of great powers. Pakistan, unfortunately or fortunately (yet to be decided), lies at such economic, political and physical crossroads, that there is no way to remain oblivious and unaffected from what happens near and far away. 

Thus, the beginning of the formation of new political blocs is likely to suck Pakistan in the vortex of great rivalries willingly or inadvertently. In the clash of the titans, the smaller powers of the regions that are under spotlight usually suffer. We need top-of-the-line diplomats, economists and politicians to steer us clear of the gathering storm with portend signs. China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan seem to be coalescing into some sort of alignment, whereas US, India, UK, Japan etc are forging another alliance. Some European, South American and African countries are weighing their options. Middle East is generally in turmoil and totally embroiled internally with hardly any chance to make choices. 

Pakistan, with a bad historical legacy with India and time-tested good relations with China, kept on playing a fine balancing act with the US. But now, with the all-out leaning towards India, America has put us in a very difficult situation, leaving no option but to push us squarely in the lap of the China-Russia axis. This can result in placing Pakistan in a tight political arena. We are still struggling to carve out a breathing space that gives us the ability to remain strongly attached with China but still be able to not antagonise USA, as it still controls the major portion of world politics and international monetary institutions. 

In the present state of internal and external weaknesses, Pakistan’s heavy reliance on China, CPEC, nuclear assets and armed forces, is not sufficient to operate successfully at the domestic and international arenas. There is a dire need to further strengthen diplomatic ties, use CPEC to positively attract opposing entities, alleviate inter-institutional rivalries, and improve the economy. Until there is a significant progress in these vital areas, we need to tread a prudent path to ensure steering clear of any political, military and economic accidents. The remaining tenure of the present government is extremely important from this standpoint. 

LT GEN (R) NAEEM KHALID LODHI, 

Rawalpindi, December 13.