Samson Simon Sharaf The visit to India was part of the APEC Arc that President Obama undertook culminating in November 19 NATO Summit at Lisbon. Many Pakistanis, who felt that India was accorded preferential treatment, need to acknowledge that it was as much part of the mission to garner support for the AfPak strategy, as it is to seal and contain the Asia Pacific Rim from Russian and Chinese influence or to parry the failures of US policy in Afghanistan. USA is fast losing its long-term allies in Afghanistan, while the talk of an imminent withdrawal with victory doesnt help to keep its army focused on fighting. As the days pass, the US sees no definite event that could truly provide a firm date of withdrawal. The 10-year old policy hinged on destroying Al-Qaeda has failed and now must be revised to routing out hostile sanctuaries in Pakistan. Hence, the present diplomacy can be seen as seeking greater support from the allies in the game of global domination, as also secure sufficient space to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the broader framework of global dominance, India is considered a long-term strategic ally to patrol and identify with US interests in the entire Indian Ocean Rim. The role of Pakistan is restricted to its perceived destructive potential in Afghanistan and to combat and tame the militant outfits in its border regions and rest of the restive country. This message is loud and clear in the intense diplomatic chatter, leaks and interviews. In words of Rick Rozoff of Global Research, President Obama took this whirlwind visit to: Receive the plaudits of 27 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and secure their continued fealty on issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan to a continental interceptor missile system, the continued deployment of American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, participation in the Pentagons cyber warfare plans and expanded military missions in the planets south and eastIn the first half of November, the quadrivirate in charge of US foreign policy - President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen - all toured the Asia-Pacific area.The Pentagon has, indeed, marked this as its Asia-Pacific century. While Obama toasted and danced in India, Pakistan was conveyed mixed signals meaning that all had not gone well in the latest Strategic Dialogue. The regional emissary Mr Richard Holbrooke was quick to support the civilian supremacy and belittle a dictator, who was once ranted as Americas most trusted and valuable ally. In his well planned interview, he credited USA with the restoration of judges and the rule of civilian law. In the process, he took credit away from Pakistans civil society and political activists, who forced the dictator into a comedy of errors and the legislators that combined to threaten the dictator with impeachment. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report on US Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan was blown apart by an article written by Arnaud De Borchgrave in Washington Post by calling Pakistan a bombshell. Why and at whose behest he did so is anybodys guess. He coupled his opinion with an earlier off-the-record interview of a Pakistani editor, who gave his own version of what Pakistans security establishment was up to, along with a Pakistani narrative that suits the majority against the rising militancy. Despite such bad accompaniments, the CFR Report is distinct in its implied threats to Pakistan, as also holding out a sign of hope for the people of Pakistan. The perceptions put forth revolve around three elements of insecurity. First, the like-minded Al-Qaeda type groups operate freely in Afghanistan and Pakistan posing a threat to USA, India and its allies. Second, prospects of a civil war in Afghanistan threatening the stability in Pakistan leading to an Indo-Pak conflict. Third, relates to exploitation of Pakistans prevailing conditions by terrorists to seize power and take hold of the nuclear weapons and threaten the entire world. As any strategist would understand, a threat analysis built on vulnerability is unrealistic and exaggerated. This is a scenario called ugly instability that has been war gamed by USA many times and whose author is no other but a US opinion maker of Indian descent. The fact that India is central to all the three insecurities manifests the importance USA is according to its newest ally in contrast to Pakistan. One Mumbai incident has become a perennial anti-Pakistan rhetoric eclipsing numerous such sieges within Pakistan for which Washington shows no concern. It also gives a peep into the intense US-India dialogue, in which threat from non-state actors to India through the freedom movement in Kashmir is pivotal and factorised. The fact is that USA is more sensitive to Indian security concerns than the fissures its policies create in Pakistan to breed a hate that could put the entire region in a tailspin. It is evident that as the US gets bogged down in Afghanistan, it considers Pakistan a liability to its Central Asian agenda. However, this liability is of USAs own making as it does not wish to annoy India by according Pakistan a befitting role in the post-US Afghanistan. In the ultimate analysis, the cost of shrugging off this unwanted, nuclear armed reluctant ally could far outweigh the benefits of appeasing India. The CFR Study has also considered options to deal with Pakistan. First, is a stick with no carrots and outrightly rejected. Second, a more hardline approach than is considered politically destabilising in the immediate and long-term US interests. Third, engage Pakistan through investments and partnerships more apt to produce desirable results. This is an option that most Pakistanis, including the recent US Survey in FATA, have been envisaging. Supporting this third option, the task force finds that: The US has two vital national security objectives in Pakistan: to degrade and defeat the terrorist groups that threaten US interests from its territory and to prevent turmoil that would imperil the Pakistani state and risk the security of its nuclear programme. It will be exceedingly difficult to achieve either of these objectives without the cooperation of the Pakistani state; this requires improving the quality of the US-Pakistan relationshipwhich includes the security of Pakistans population, the health of its economy, the capacity of its governing institutions, and the character of its relations with other states in the region (meaning India and Afghanistan). Diplomacy of the past few months indicates the crucial status of Pakistan-US relations with each side unable to convince the other of its sincerity and loyalty. Beyond the initial points of convergence and political exigencies, the strategic objectives of both countries are now marred by mutual suspicion and circumspection. These in turn prolong the conflict both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the time being Pakistan shows no signs of tearing apart; as the conflict intensifies so does the cohesion within the ranks and files of all Pakistanis galvanising around a new national agenda alien to the corridors of power. Some Pakistanis have already begun to consider such an informed upheaval as a better alternative to a bloody revolution. Michel Kreppon is an informed and learned opinion maker from USA. His note of dissent to the CFR report very aptly sums up the unrealistic assumptions of leaders both in USA and Pakistan. To hold out the expectation that, this time around, with such a heavy US military presence in Afghanistan dependent on Pakistani logistical support, Washington can coercively manipulate Pakistans orientationseems unwise. Pakistans security managers have to come to their own realisation that their policies have resulted in profound damage to their country. If they do not, the natural result, with no US manipulation necessary, will be the continued mortgaging of Pakistans future, its distancing from the West, and its economic decline. The writer is a retired brigadier and a political economist. Email: