The good news is that the army chief was in Beijing earlier this week where he met the Chinese prime minister and military leaders. The media bazaar is obsessively buzzing these days with news about the parliamentary circus around Panama leaks, so this important visit didn’t receive the attention it deserved. The visit is bound to have significant ramifications, not only within the international context but also within Pakistan.

The frontiers between the emergent multipolar world led by the China-Russia nexus on the one hand and the old crumbling empire led by the US on the other are being drawn as we speak. A new twenty-first century curtain is visibly coming up between the two, a curtain that is far more complex than the bamboo and iron curtains from the Cold War days. The level of mistrust between the two sides is rising, and for good reason.

Despite numerous efforts on part of both Russia and China to engage with it constructively, the US is hell-bent upon unilaterally calling the shots on what goes on in the world, and pushing it to more war and mayhem. Rather than adjusting to emerging realities and reconsidering its menacing sole superpower status, the US has decided to employ every tool and weapon in its arsenal to maintain its murderous hegemony.

Across continents, wherever you look, the US is up to its no-good imperial tricks. It is fomenting violence and chaos through terrorist proxies while claiming to fight terrorism and destabilizing countries in the name of freedom and democracy. It is actively subverting regional cooperation by propping up mini-me regional hegemons to pit neighbor against neighbor and stifling national economies through illegal sanctions and blockades. Its badmashi is touching new heights.

The imperial enterprise of terrorist proxies continues to expand. Those in Syria are being reinforced with training and deadlier weapons and new havens to spawn some more are being established in Libya and Iraq. These nurseries of terrorism are designed as launch-pads for exporting militancy and chaos to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, quite like those in Afghanistan are designed to destabilize our region through similar tactics.

Rather than putting pressure on the Ukranian government to abide by the Minsk agreement, the US has sent military advisers to train the neo-Nazi brigades that target the Russian minority in the country. It has launched a missile shield in Romania and is building one in Poland, right next to Russia. It continues to provoke China with its brinkmanship in the South China Sea and exacerbating China’s disputes with its South East Asian neighbors.

In Latin America, it is destabilizing governments that refuse to follow its imperial diktat. After engineering the fall of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, it is eyeing the Maduro government in Venezuela for the kill. Its dark games of corporate plunder and engineered tribal violence continue across the length and breadth of Africa.

The vast network of corporate sponsored NGOs and local political groups funded through discrete channels are fanning racial, ethnic, sectarian and religious divisions, fragmenting societies through identity politics of every hue. It uses the exploitative dollar-based global economy and the fraudulent debt-driven international financial system to terrorize countries.

The deceptive and duplicitous imperial tricks are nothing new for the US and the empire it leads. The problem is that though the world is changing rapidly, they don’t want to change a thing. Clearly, before it accepts a place as one of the poles in a multi-polar world, the US would rather bring the whole house down along with its preposterous claims of being exceptional.

Faced with a relentless and remorseless evil empire such as this, a curtain of some sorts makes a lot of sense. Russia and China are both aware of the nefarious hybrid wars of the empire and, along with the requisite security measures, they are taking wide-ranging steps to protect their society and sovereignty from imperial incursions.

From curbing the activities of corporate-funded NGO and the corruption of state officials by corporations, from refusing aid for devious programs to by-passing the dollar in international trade, from coordinating their foreign policy on regional and world issues to fusing together their plans for regional integration, the two pillars of the emergent multi-polar world have created an empire-free space, separated from the shenanigans of the empire with a twenty-first century curtain.

The next step to strengthen the resistance against imperialism is to expand this empire-free space to include countries around the China-Russia nexus. We should be wary of the many tentacles of the empire and the various ways in which it pulls the strings of our state and society. We should follow in the foot-steps of China and Russia and cut off our links with the US-led empire through which it controls our future. The SCO provides the perfect platform for Pakistan to move in that direction.

India has as good as crossed over to the side of the empire, jeopardising the BRICS and betraying the SCO. This negative development should push other countries in the SCO to speed up the processes of integration. In Pakistan’s case, the CPEC is the bedrock on which this integration stands. It is not only a lifeline for our country targeted by the empire for destruction, but also a force multiplier for the multi-polar world. Little wonder then that this flagship project of regional cooperation is under a multi-pronged attack by the empire and its proxies in India and Afghanistan.

It is no secret how strongly General Raheel feels for the CPEC. His recent visit to Beijing bodes well for the project and means trouble for all those conspiring against it, whether they are agents of RAW orchestrating militancy in Balochistan or corrupt Pakistani state officials creating hurdles in its timely completion. The visit assumes critical importance when seen in the context of recent developments in the world and at home.

I know I’d be tarred by the champions of democracy for saying this but I’d still say it: Thank you General Raheel.