It would be advisable for Pakistan’s security establishment to take the assurance given by the visiting US Centcom Chief last week, about cooperation on the Pakistan military’s recent initiative against terrorists, with a super-sized lump of salt. That’s what the US has been saying since it bombed and occupied Afghanistan but in action, it has done the exact opposite. It is high time we came out of the curse-filled shadow of the empire.

One thing should be clear by now: the US has not descended on Afghanistan to fight terrorism but to spread it. More than stability in Afghanistan, it is interested in its control of the country’s resources and, of course, territory to launch further mayhem not only in Pakistan but also in China and Afghanistan’s other neighbors. In the context of Pakistan, the military is the only tested and credible bulwark against the terrorists. Little wonder then that the empire is out to get it.

Not long ago, using the word ‘empire’ was enough to qualify you as a conspiracy theorist. Today, the violent signature of the US-led empire is sprawled across the globe in blood and debris. Total control is what the empire wants, and it will go to any extent to ensure that the whole world bows down to it; starting wars on cooked up pretexts and subverting regimes through agents of chaos and violence. From the Middle East to Africa, the Far East to South America, the dying empire is on a rampage.

Look at what’s happening on the streets of Caracas. Chavez refused to bow down to the greedy empire and worked for the welfare of the Venezuelan people instead. He inspired a whole generation of leaders in South America and was a big blow to the US hegemony in its ‘backyard.’ The empire did all it could to overthrow his elected government, including a coup that sought to bring back the old political oligarchy servile to the empire, but failed. It didn’t stop chipping though. Its assets in Venezuela, many of whom it directly funds, are now out to dislodge Chavez’s elected successor and roll back his pro-people legacy.

Given the strengthening of grassroots democracy under Chavez, the subversion of Venezuela’s elected government is unlikely to succeed. However, the Ukrainians might not be that lucky. Their elected President refused a deal with the IMF that would have brought the country’s economic policy under its control and was supposed to pave Ukraine’s way to joining the EU. Rightly scared of the repercussions of the IMF’s poisonous neo-liberal brew, he turned to Russia instead for assistance. Now the whole country is paying the price of his disobedience to the empire. Masked men have taken over Kiev and the President is missing. There is blood on the streets and talk of dividing the country.

This is how Paul Craig Roberts sees it: “The Ukrainian and Russian governments allowed this dangerous situation to develop, because they naively permitted for many years billions of US dollars to flow into their countries where the money was used to create fifth columns under the guise of educational and human rights organizations, the real purpose of which is to destabilize both countries. The consequence of the trust Ukrainians and Russians placed in the West is the prospect of civil and wider war.”

Aren’t we making the same mistake? What sort of cooperation can we expect from the occupation forces in Afghanistan? How much more evidence do we need to come to the obvious conclusion that the empire is out to get us, especially the military which could physically confront the tide of terrorism being blown our way? Haven’t we seen the imperial script unfolding with its violence and greed, its deception and hypocrisy, right before our eyes?

The clandestine working of Raymond Davis and Blackwater, the open campaigns in the US Congress and mainstream media regarding Balochistan and the safety of our nukes, the talk about the ‘rogue’ military and the provisions of the Kerry-Lugar bill to rein it in, the Abbotabad raid, the Salala attack. The list is long. Behind its deceptive rhetoric and the USAID, the IMF tranches and the Coalition Support Fund, the US has worked consistently to undermine the state of Pakistan and its security apparatus.

Obviously, the US-led empire is not interested in ridding poor people of brutal dictators like Saddam and Gaddafi. The governments in Venezuela and Ukraine are both democratically elected and there are dictators out there who are actually brutal but we never hear a squeak against them from the mouth-pieces of the empire. Obviously, the empire’s wars are not against Islamic extremism. In fact, it is no longer a secret that Islam is being used as a tool to destabilize Muslim countries by fanning terrorism in its name through proxies. The so-called Islamic terrorists are just one variety of agents of chaos and violence unleashed on the world by the empire. In Pakistan, you can see the entire range on display, from terrorists espousing ‘Sharia’ to a plethora of NGOs with their ‘enlightened’ fragmented agendas that are meant to distract us from the curse of the empire. The empire wants to shape the world as it wishes and to milk it the way it wants to. It does not like rivals and it punishes independence. It will not rest until there is no one left to resist it. It might change its tactics somewhat, but it will keep on chipping away towards its nefarious global goals.

To save ourselves from the gory future cooked up for us in imperial think-tanks, and for which ground has been prepared painstakingly over many years, the political and military leadership of Pakistan has to not only get on the same page but also recognize its friends and enemies. The old excuse for going along with the empire that states beggars can’t be choosers, is no longer relevant. No beggar would allow an alms-giver to murder him. Rather than banking on cooperation from a deceptive ally, our leadership should partner with China and the SCO to bring an end to the US occupation of Afghanistan. That would be the biggest blow to the curse of terrorism in the region.

n    The writer is a freelance columnist.