My dear Ali: You have been bombarding me with questions about the US and NATO attack on us. Look, son, they attacked us a long time ago. The only difference is that now they have escalated and exacerbated the situation by actually putting boots on our soil. Given Admiral Mullen's remorseless statement, its entirely possible that this will happen again. Given Bush's statement that the next president's biggest challenge would be Pakistan and if there were another 9/11 it would come from FATA, it is certain. Given General Kiyani's admirable response, it is also entirely possible that Pakistan will retaliate. Then America may escalate from helicopter gunships to F-16s or even stealth bombers. I hope this doesn't happen, for it spells near total destruction for us, or at least part of our country, all of which are equally dear to us. The situation is so dangerous that apparently European NATO has distanced itself from it, except Britain. They know that Pakistan will make Iraq look like a picnic and Afghanistan like a massage parlour. The New York Times, which reflects the US establishment's thinking, claims that Bush authorised entry of American military personnel into Pakistan. To discredit Kiyani, whom they were lionising only a few days ago, they also claimed that he knew about the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, allegedly by the ISI. Can we stand up to them, you ask, and cite the example of Iran? I have told you that Iran has the most potent weapon in the world. It's called Unity. They demonstrated it in their war with America's puppet Saddam's Iraq. They are undefeatable. So were the Vietnamese for exactly the same reason. Unity is one of the three words of our national motto, the others being faith and discipline. We have none of them. But if we can forge unity in our ranks, faith and discipline will inevitably follow. Then no power on earth can defeat us. Though we seem incapable, an American attack might do just that: bring us together as a nation like nothing ever has. I told you I am an incorrigible optimist in even the bleakest situations. So should you be. So should all young men and women. If we cannot forge unity, then we will face a situation far more dangerous than in 1971 when our country was rend asunder. We refused to respect the verdict of the people, lost a war against India and half our country with it. Why? Because we attacked our own people for the 'crime' of having voted for their choice so they were not with us when war came. Then India was backed by a the Soviet Union, while our great friend and ally the United States stood by twiddling its thumbs. Now we are being attacked directly by the sole and strongest-ever superpower, our old friend and ally America. And again the people of the Frontier may not be with us for the grievous harm that has been caused to them. There is still time to reclaim their emotional allegiance. General Kiyani's statement was the voice of the people, just what they wanted to hear. They have become sceptical over the years, and who can blame them? If American soldiers set foot in Pakistan again and Kiyani's words become bullets, the people will be galvanised instantaneously. It will then be for the government to mobilise a galvanised people, unify them and fire them with nationalist zeal. It will have to open many other fronts, diplomatic and media especially. Which means it will have to open the strategic communications front to manage perceptions in our favour before they are formed against us. The war will be won. So, finally, will real independence, for we would have paid a price for it. And that is when we will treasure Pakistan as more precious than our lives, not precious because it has been good to live off for a few. If we fail, then we are staring certain slavery in the face. Let's get down to brass tacks. The US wanted five things from Musharraf. When he wouldn't comply they engineered his removal. One: They want to distance us from our best and true friend China, especially from our strategic relationship with it, like Gwadar Port. Gwadar is a deep-sea port that can house nuclear submarines and is closest to the mouth of the Straits of Hormuz, the main shipping lane on which oil from the Middle East and the Caspian Basin goes to the world. Musharraf didn't agree. Result: every new prime minister of ours first goes to China on an official visit and Saudi Arabia on a religious visit to underline Pakistan's close relationship with these two countries. The new prime minister hasn't been to China yet on an official visit (the one to the Olympics opening ceremony was last minute and forced, when Musharraf couldn't go) and there seems to be no urgency to undertake one. Zardari said he would go to China immediately after taking oath as president. That has been cancelled and he is going to the UK instead, the country which started the rot. But China is mature and wise. It knows that this is an aberration caused by ideological confusion and lack of identity, purpose and direction. In any case, it will not simply stand by and watch Pakistan go down the drain and let its encirclement be complete after investing so much in it. Two: They want to question Dr A Q Khan and through him 'persuade' the UN Security Council to pass a resolution asking America to bring our nuclear assets under International Atomic Energy Agency (read US) supervision and control. They want to defang our nuclear programme. Musharraf didn't agree. The new government's slain leader had already said that she would allow the IAEA to question Dr Khan under certain conditions. Three: They want to castrate our ISI and place it indirectly under their control and then too our army in the War On Terror. Musharraf didn't agree. Result: the new government tried to place the ISI under the control of the Interior Ministry. There was a hue and cry. The notification has still not been rescinded. Remember, a handful of British controlled India through intermediaries, the class of Indians they had created, basically us, which was English in every respect except for the colour of their skins. Four: They want to be 'invited' to enter the Pakistani territory to hunt down terrorists. Musharraf didn't agree. Result: come the new government and they have already landed in three helicopter gunships in Pakistan's Angoor Adda, targeted a particular house and blown up part of it, and killed 20 civilians, women and children included. And while our foreign minister was fulminating and our corps commanders were meeting, their missile attacks continued. In short, they want to occupy Pakistan without bothering to conquer it and put a puppet government here to do it's bidding, as they have in Afghanistan and Iraq. Musharraf is gone and the popular perception is that the US has finally managed to install a government of its choice under the garb of democracy, its latest weapon, shamelessly forgetting how they used to support dictatorships to fighting communism. The re-visitation of its earlier weapons, the IMF and the World Bank with their inhuman conditions, through which America creates perpetual economic dependence, is already upon us. Soon food will also become a weapon: Kissinger said years ago, "Control the food and you control the nations." Is it symbolically significant that the running dog of US neo-imperialist capitalism was chief guest at the new president's oath-taking ceremony? Let's stop lamenting and blaming others and ask: what lesson do I learn from this? One: Never trust America. You make it your ally at your peril. You believe it at your risk. It is a standing hazard. It has every right to ask you to do things that are in its interest. You should agree if and only if it is in your interest too, not otherwise. More importantly, never agree on the basis of IOUs: get what you have to get first, or simultaneously, and then go ahead. They use us. That is their right. We get used. That is our stupidity. Learn to use them. That is our right. Israel does it to perfection, not because America loves it but because it fears as many as three million of them. They're brilliant. Two: Every single government in Pakistan has committed suicide. They are like Lemmings. They have a death wish. They don't work with pragmatism, consensus or wisdom. They always take things to breaking point. Three: Learn this most important of all lessons. It's all very well to blame others for your woes, but no one will help you, not even the Almighty, unless you start helping yourself first. No one will put your house in order for you. You have to do it yourself. Pakistan is crawling with extremists, militants and terrorists of all hues and many nationalities. Our compatriots in the Frontier give them refuge under a misplaced sense of 'hospitality'. We have millions of Afghans. Send them back now that their country has been "liberated" and they are enjoying the joys of "democracy". There are many others too, westerners included. Get rid of them also. Pakistan is rived with CIA agents everywhere, deeper and wider than you can imagine. Clean up your country in your own interest, not anyone else's. If you can't, or don't, please spare us the bellyaching. The writer is a senior political analyst E-mail: