The wishful thinkers should put themselves to bed. They must become acclimatised to the fact that this government of Asif Ali Zardari (not of Yousuf Raza Gilani) is going nowhere for the coming three years, and the same goes for its supreme leader. Having been installed by the mighty USA, Zardari is with us for as long as he does their bidding, which despite what he may publicly utter he is doing to the USAs utter satisfaction. That said, what do we, the helpless hapless citizens of this country have coming to us in the foreseeable future? Well, it is almost impossible not to be pessimistic. For sure we will continue on with a persistent leadership and governance deficit, with continuing loss of international credibility due to the political instability thanks to politicians who have no interest in anything but themselves. There will be no sustained growth, no dent will be made in poverty, unemployment, the population explosion (growing at the ridiculous rate of 2.7 percent) - in short, there will be an all-round across the board under-development. Come the end of the three years, and then what? It is impossible to visualise the various scenarios. As the political dominance of the civil over the army steadily weakens due to the civil lots own pathetic performance, there will be increased army domination (not military as the other two services are as much in thrall to the army as are the civilians). But, things being as they are, the army will find ways to avoid an outright coup (unless given the US go-ahead). So, where does that leave democracy? Nowhere, as democracy is not possible with the hold of the family fiefdoms which prop up the PPP-Z and the PML-N - at the best we can hope for a combination of damaging autocracy with a splattering of democracy thro-wn in for good measure and international consumption. Incredibly, no new leadership has been thrown up by the two main parties for over two decades. Where is the budding charismatic populist leadership, supported by our unregulated media? There is no sign of the emergence of even one new face. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto emerged 44 years ago, and his daughter 22 years ago. What does this tell us about the quality of politics in Pakistan - static, stale, soiled and sordid. Politically, the past is indeed another country. On the increase, as governance wanes, is the rabid anti-Americanism and the blame-the-outside-world attitude. The media has gone wild and all it is doing is to feed the public displays of hypocritical piety which now prevail, to fortify the religious right, the militants and the many offshoots of the TTP. All this in turn, can only serve to strengthen the armys partnership with the US, to prompt it to move against the disruptive elements created by the two partners 20 years ago. On this score, the past is far from being another country. And now we have the current mania of both military and civil that India, the traditional enemy which wont go away, has upped the ante, and that an enormous threat hangs over us. The Indian army chiefs war games rather than causing much hysteria should have been countered by our army chiefs war games covering both northern and southern borders. After all, we are told on a weekly basis that the Pakistan army can and will defend this country from all comers, even those from outer space. This hysteria and the anti-Americanism is likely to sprout and grow, if a recent frightening British Council survey of Pakistani youth is anything to go by. It was found that the larger majority of the youth of this country identify themselves as Muslims first rather than Pakistani and are all in favour of Sharia laws. To this pretty pass have the succeeding governments bro-ught this country - Indiap-hobic for sure and becoming more and more xenophobic through the use by those that pretend to lead of the blame-the-outside-world syndrome. The anti-Americanism, fue-lled on a daily basis, has much to do with chips on shoulders, the complex resentment against those from whom one begs and then receives. This is not likely to decrease with the ever-growing economic woes. Neither will the suspicions of the outside world about Pakistans commitment, despite its great strategic geographical advantage, because of the perceived ambivalence of the army towards the Taliban. The leap into a sustained serious campaign against what is now seen to be the worlds worst enemy is not complete - victory and defeat are blurred. The official Pakistani standing-up-to-the-US and telling it what is what is but official. Our bluffers and blusterers who flex their verbal muscles have all pleaded with the US to tolerate their rhetorical outbursts for Pakistani public consumption, a sort of lifebelt for survival, just one example being the recent telephone exchange between the Pakistani President Asif Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmed-inejad when both agreed to mutually defuse 'enemy plots against them - the un-named enemy obviously being the USA. Since the US sees no alternative replacement for the Zardari government, it has agreed to go along with it all. Whilst the firebrands spout, the US is trying to figure out how best to deal with a muddied and muddled Pakistan. Meanwhile, 2009 gave us 3,021 deaths due to militant activity, an increase of 50 percent over 2008, and 87 suicide bomber attacks, a 45 percent increase. What will 2010 bring? The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: