Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The American Hand in Pakistani Politics

Hell hath no fury like a superpower scorned. America felt scorned when Imran Khan met Putin in Moscow on 24 February. Scorned America unleashed its fury, and on 10 April Imran’s government was gone. Imran is popular in the country, but the parliamentarians have voted him out of power. In his televised address on 7 April, he seemed to suggest that he suspected America’s hand in the “foreign conspiracy” to oust his government. 

Since the 1950s, Pakistan has been America’s most valued ally in South Asia. Probably because of Pakistan’s closeness to America, no Pakistani prime minister has completed a full term in office. The government of every Pakistani prime minister was overthrown by a military coup or through the loss of support in the National Assembly. America prefers to deal with military dictatorships, not democratic leaders. The democratic leaders tend to be populists, they get swayed by the demands of their voters, and are hard to control from Washington. The military dictators face no such problem—they will do whatever Washington tells them to do.

Since the 1960s, America has pursued a militaristic foreign policy that has weakened democracy in many developing countries. In the 1970s and 80s, the Americans used Pakistan to organize Islamic militant movements against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. But the Americans, and their Pakistani allies, could not control these movements which took a life of their own and began to execute violent missions all over the globe. Now it seems that the American Machiavellians are planning to become active in South Asia again—this is a nightmarish thought.

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