Trump’s new security strategy

By K.N. Pandita

Addressing his nation from the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, President Donald Trump has enunciated his administration’s new national security strategy. The strategy paper identifies four vital national interests, or “four pillars” namely (a) Protect the homeland, the American people, and American way of life; (b) Promote American prosperity; (c) Preserve peace through strength; and (d) Advance American influence.

The first two objectives have nothing new in them and the American Constitution is very clear about these duties of the State, However, the last two “pillars” could ask for clarification. How is the US going to explain the phrase “peace through strength”? Trump speaks of military strength and not moral strength. Actually, strength and peace are diametrically opposite to each other. All countries want to be strong and, therefore, opt for military build up. Military build up is negation of peace.

And advancing American influence is equally ambiguous and fraught with contradiction. China and Russia both have interpreted differently. Their contention is that it is not only retention of capitalist ideology but its expansion as well. Imperialism is a story of olden days but, of course, the US wants to sustain its influence thorough its military presence at sensitive locations on the globe. To reinforce that position is interpreted as advancing American influence.

This reflects the mindset of the Trump administration. Whether this strategy will work practically or not, is the fundamental question. At the same time, this statement also indicates the lurking apprehension in the American ruling circles that American influence may not be sustainable with as much of force behind it as is known to the world.

Though America’s first sign of military power being a bad instrument of sustaining influence worldwide could be gauged from the history of Vietnam War, yet the war in Afghanistan including its origin in Soviet incursion is a lesson from which the Americans ought to learn much.

American reaction to Soviet intrusion into Afghanistan in 1979 and subsequent events in that war-torn country exposed American inexperience of handling Asiatic people. This proved second debacle for America after Vietnam.

Apart from focusing on domestic front, the new strategy identifies two “greatest transnational threats” to homeland security: Jihadist terrorists and international criminal more on the organisations.

This is something that needs to be analysed objectively. Both relate to Islamic resurgence world over. While discussing Islamic resurgence, we cannot but bring in the US in the overall picture of that resurgence. The emergence of first formidable outburst of Islamic resurgence was noticed in the Khumeini revolution in Iran. In normal course of things Iranian revolution should not have assumed so acute a religious angularity as it did because Iranians are not of Semitic but of Aryan origin and strongly proud of their cultural heritage going to the days of Sassanian and Achaemenian Empires. The ruthless interference of CIA in Iranian progressive movement and the callous way in which Americans suppressed Mossadegh’s progressive uprising in 1953 convinced Iranians that they needed to employ the factor of religion for getting rid of pervasive American influence.

The second blunder which the Americans have made is that of supporting and sustaining Saudi monarchy just because of her oil interests and also to maintain wicked influence on Gulf States. The rise of Osama bin Laden and his militant group al-Qaeda owe a lot to American unbridled patronage of Saudi monarchy. In the strategy paper Trumps has spoken of huge financial assistance received by terrorist organizations. Very cleverly, the paper sidetracks the question of what is the major source of funding. Trump will never want to discuss that question.

The major terrorist funding source is the Saudi monarchy through its al-Rabita conduit. Enormous funding through this source to Sunni dominated terrorist organizations, more particularly in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine, Sudan and Bangladesh keeps terrorism active and kicking. Trump has accelerated pressure on Pakistan saying she is supporting Haqqani group in Afghanistan. The Pentagon and the CIA very well know that Haqqani terror is sustained by enormous funding from Saudi. Why does not Trump ask Saudis to cut off all funding to Haqqani terror chapter and why does it only go after Pakistan. Everybody knows that Pakistan is neither capable of funding Kashmiri insurgents nor Haqqani or Al Qaeda groups in Afghanistan. How can a pauper state provide enormous funding to these militant groups and for so long a period?

In the new strategy paper, Trump has shot warning to Pakistan. He has also remonstrated that refusing safe haven to the militant groups would be ultimately in the interests of Pakistan. There is absolute incongruity in what he conveys to Pakistan. Obviously, Pakistan has nothing but a good laugh at all the vitriolic exuded by Trump. His warnings are a non starter. Trumps laments that his country is pouring billions of dollars into Pakistan and, therefore, Pakistan is |obliged to cooperate with the US”. Nothing could be more cowardly and acquiescing. Pakistan is not only a nuclear power in South Asia she is the leader of the Islamic world that will be in the forefront in case Islam is challenged by an aggressive US or any other world power. Pakistan has admitted she has formidable Theo-fascist groups working on her soil. She banks on them and calls them the frontline of her defence against the aggression of enemy country. Former army chief and President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf says he will join the new party of Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed. Does it not mean throwing dust into the eyes of the US? It is the same Musharraf who, when asked by George Bush whether Pakistan stood with the US after 9/11 or not, he was proud to say that Pakistan was on the side of the US.

Trump’s warnings to Pakistan are hollow and superfluous and these will not have an iota of impact on Pakistan’s policy towards terrorism. Terrorism is the other name of the Islamic State of Pakistan. The US is also responsible for sustaining Kashmir insurgency by providing frugal annual financial assistance to Pakistan army in the name of “support for fighting terrorism” at home. Does the US know against whom Pakistan is fighting and for which she gives aid? Pakistan is fighting against those Pakistanis who want to dismantle the Pakistan army for supporting American interests in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf and other Islamic states. With the huge funds received from the US, Pakistan is sustaining Kashmir insurgency on the one hand and on the other she is keeping New Delhi in good mood that India is among her allies in the new security strategy.

Trump should not be in any dreamland that he can do any harm to Pakistan. The reason is that Trump has no power to dissuade either the Pentagon or the CIA from remaining in close confidence of Pakistan. One should read the history of CIA and ISI collaborating in Afghanistan during the Mujahedeen war against the Soviets and one will come to know the nature of bonds between the three. It is the world’s greatest and most powerful terrorist concord which none on earth can break. And, additionally, whatever deficit was there in the concord will be supplemented by China associating with all the three of them.

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