Restoring the balance of power

Islamabad – A whirlwind of changes is being witnessed all around. Trump’s America, assertive Putin, ever-expanding Chinese clout, Brexit facing Europe and the Middle East in turmoil.

And how can the Sub-Continent remain unaffected when a super power and a regional power have joined hands to teach Pakistan a lesson.

 In the face of this great imbalance of power in the region, what are we supposed to do and what are we actually doing? The theory of Balance of Power warrants that Pakistan should immediately recalculate its political, economic and military position to realign itself in the new power calculus. And it has to be done rapidly as events have already overtaken our lethargic reactions and snail-pace movements.  This was the time that internally we should have put up a consolidated front and externally carved out a crystal-clear policy. Unfortunately, we are faltering on both fronts, thus giving ample opportunities to our enemies to further batter and weaken us with impunity. Internally, our political forces are at each other’s throat; personal and party interests have taken the lead over national approach.

Mixed and confusing signals emanating both from internal quarters and lack of clear-cut policy statements is further confounding our friends and would-be friends.  Have we made up our mind to totally embrace Chinese offer of CPEC? If yes, then why voices of ‘East India Company’-like consequences are being spread? Are we so non-confident that we cannot handle simple or even complicated businesses and internationally-accepted norms of investments and economic cooperation? Why are we failing to engage Russians in a big way when their support is most required? Similarly, going slow in mending our differences with Iran and the people of Afghanistan is beyond comprehension.

American renewed efforts to discourage us from making the required tectonic shifts, thus not allowing Pakistan to restore the balance of power and allowing India-led actions to weaken us to an extent where we are forced to toe the line of the duo, is not being fully comprehended by our political and military leadership.  The requirement is that we clear our internal turmoil on priority keeping supremacy of Constitution and law above everything else. Higher judiciary be also sensitised about exigency of the situation.

A council of veteran diplomats be immediately formed to advise on foreign policy options.

A well-articulated policy should be promulgated with finance, internal and defence ministries on board after discussing sustainability of all possible decisions. All this should have been done yesterday.

-The writer is a former defense

secretary and corps commander.

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