Hats off to Putin for standing up to the US-led empire! His wise and courageous moves against its unilateralist badmashi have been underpinned with the sense of urgency that was direly needed. His statesmanship has brought coherence to the fragmented anti-imperialist resistance and provided the required impetus towards a multi-polar world. A brave new pole has finally emerged, with China and Putin’s Russia at its center. And that is good news for Pakistan.

It’s not just the ships that Putin sent to defend Syria against the threat of tomahawks the US was preparing to rain on the country on a fabricated pretext or the naval base he saved by winning Crimea, protecting its citizens from the vagaries of the imperial regime-change operation in Ukraine. It’s not just the facts that Russia under his leadership has thrown out the USAID and banned GMOs. It’s not just the de-dollarization of the Russian economy or paying back western sanctions in the same coin. Putin is talking with conviction about fundamental flaws in the world order and showing through his bold actions how to reshape it.

These portentous developments right next door couldn’t have come at a better time for Pakistan. This is the mother of all crossroads. We could linger in the deathly embrace of a ‘lone’ superpower gone berserk; traveling the torturous road to hell in the company of a deceptive friend plotting our murder all along the way. Or we could take the road with some hope and a rainbow visible at the end by aligning ourselves with the new pole in our neighborhood that is offering a robust resistance to the hegemony of a barbaric empire. There are no middle ways. And if you ask me, there is actually no choice.

It doesn’t take an Einstein to decipher the hell that the US-led empire has planned for us. We are clearly a target for destruction if not annihilation. The tools are essentially the same as the ones employed in one Muslim country after another: proliferation of sectarian militancy and separatist guerrillas mouthing ethnic nationalism. These mercenary monsters are allowed to fester by our thoroughly-cultivated and compromised political leaders that refuse to challenge them meaningfully and, in some instances, practically support and protect them. The circus of free-market democracy is given legitimacy and respectability by NGOs wailing about human rights and democracy on cue from their donors.

Financial assistance through the IMF is used to fashion an economy that is not only dependent on foreign loans and grants but also designed to favor corporate plunder and wealth extraction. This provides the excuse for those posing as our national leaders to throw their hands up in the air and tell us that the economy would collapse without the IMF injections and, therefore, we must sit and watch the empire murder our citizens on our soil with drones. They say they can’t make the gas pipelines we need or hang convicted terrorists because it would upset those they depend upon for dollars.

So can we expect our servile political elite to break its multi-layered bond with the devil? Weaned for generations by the empire to serve it, can we expect them to say no to it? With their wealth and children invested in imperial capitals, can they take the risk of offending their masters? For clearly, there is no middle way. Our leaders can’t have their cake and eat it too. The empire is vicious when it comes to competition and it wants complete control. Look at what they did to Ukraine for not dumping Russia. You are either with the empire or against it. And those posing as our leaders seem wedded to the empire in a catholic marriage. Still, there is hope.

The politically correct democracy-lovers branding hollow theories about supremacy of civilian leadership might not like it one bit, but the perceptible and welcome shift in Pakistan’s strategic alignment is driven by the military leadership. Recent developments indicate that the much-needed shift is afoot. Pakistan’s military cooperation with China and Russia is growing and so is the convergence of views on regional and global matters. And though we don’t know the nitty gritty of what was discussed during COAS General Raheel Sharif’s US visit, it is obvious that, despite the medal conferred upon him, the hosts were not able to corrupt or coerce him into singing their tune.

This is unacceptable behavior for the empire. So upset was Emperor Obama, who obviously prefers docile prime ministers to promise to do more and do as told, that he called up his ‘reliable’ friend Nawaz Sharif while the COAS was still there. Again, the report about the phone call only regurgitated stock phrases and the usual rhetoric about friendly relations. Anyone who believes that this was all that they talked about is surely naïve. But if one were to go by what Nawaz Sharif’s Defence Minister had to say on Tuesday, it seems that the phone call didn’t serve its purpose.

Though Khawaja Asif said that it was his personal opinion and didn’t reflect government policy, his talk at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad that was reported prominently by the national media, cannot be taken lightly. He sharply criticized US policy in the region and held it responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. As if this was not enough, he also spoke favorably about China and Russia and the need for creating a multi polar world. In the context of developments in the region, these remarks can hardly be dismissed as the free-floating opinion of a minister. Let’s see what the prime minister has to say once he returns from Khatmandu.

By the look of things, the only institution alive to the threat posed by the empire is the Pakistan military. And though it has traditionally worked as an arm of the empire, it seems ready to move closer to the new pole around China and Russia. It is a move that is crucial for the future of Pakistan. And hopefully, the political leadership will hop on board without much fuss.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be contacted at hazirjalees@hotmail.com