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Poor Branding Is Not Pakistan’s Biggest Problem

This incisive article from an expert on South Asia affairs got 27 comments, 22 of which are from Pakistani Muslims. I have responded to 20 of them. Please read.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aparna-pande/poor-branding-is-not-paki_b_8328442.html

Posted: 10/19/2015 12:27 am EDT Updated: 10/19/2015 12:59 pm EDT

PAKISTAN NAWAZ

In anticipation of the visit to Washington by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, scheduled for October 21-23, Pakistan’s public relations machinery has gone into over-drive to build expectations of a new partnership between Pakistan and the United States. Americans are expected to overlook everything that has happened in the past — from the notorious Dr A.Q. Khan’s nuclear proliferation to support for the Afghan Taliban to the discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad — and embrace this ‘important, valuable and strategic ally’ of the United States.

A recent piece on the Forbes website, titled “Pakistan-U.S. Nuclear Weapons Talks May Lower Chance Of Nuclear War With India” argues that Pakistan should be given a civil nuclear deal similar to the one given to India in 2005. The article builds upon a Washington Post column by David Ignatius who sought to remind Americans that they cannot afford to forget Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the process hinted at a civil nuclear deal, much coveted by Islamabad, as a means of winning over the trust of Pakistan.

The Ignatius piece was clearly an attempt to reignite interest in Pakistan at a time when Washington appears almost to have forgotten the nuclear-armed country where US marines located and killed Osama bin Laden only four years ago. But the Forbes article went farther in painting Pakistan as a victim of American foreign policy amnesia and was written by a University of Baltimore Professor, Charles Tiefer, who is not exactly known for direct expertise on South Asian affairs.

Forbes.com allows contributors to write and post directly on the website, which is whyan expert in government contracts, as Prof. Tiefer is described on the University of Baltimore website, could indulge his love for Pakistan without editorial scrutiny. In the last five months, Forbes.com has had four articles on Pakistan and all of them have been positively disposed -almost to the point of being puff pieces. That is absolutely the opposite of how other media outlets have been reporting on Pakistan for a while.

An earlier Forbes piece by Tiefer, in 2015 titled ‘Today’s India-Pakistan Armed Tensions – Will New U.S. Military and Nuclear Aid to Modi Inflame Them?‘ argued that the United States should not see India as a counterweight to China as that would “inflame India-Pakistan armed tensions.” Had the professor known as an expert in government contracts argued that it would be bad for U.S. government contracts, at least he would have been simply making a wrong argument about his own subject. In this instance, he only revealed his ignorance of the history of U.S.-Pakistan and U.S.-India relations.

The Americans provided Pakistan with weapons to fight communism from the 1950s to the 1980s. The Reagan administration hoped a militarily strong Pakistan would feel sufficiently secure to keep its promise of not building nuclear weapons. Instead, Pakistan used American weaponry to initiate wars against India in 1965, 1971, and 1999, failing to win any of them and running back to the US to ask for more assistance. Pakistan’s covert war against India continues unabated.

Since 9/11, Pakistan has received $23 billion in civilian and military assistance ostensibly to fight terrorists while the US State Department remains unable to certify to Congress that it is, in fact, acting against all terrorist groups operating from Pakistan’s soil. Unlike Pakistan, the US has no complaints against India of harboring global Jihadi terrorists or of exporting nuclear material to third countries. India’s bilateral trade with the US ($50 billion in 2014) is ten times the size f Pakistan’s trade with the US ($5 billion). Still Mr. Tiefer argues that the US should not give ‘military aid’ to India to keep Pakistan on America’s side.

Ironically, India has rarely sought or received American military aid, with notable exceptions like in the aftermath of the 1962 India-China war. India is not asking for and the US is not giving India military and nuclear aid. Instead India is purchasing American defense equipment that will help American companies and provide jobs to Americans. More importantly India has never used any weapon – bought or given- through a terrorist proxy ever, even against China or Pakistan.

Moreover, no Indian military operation has ever caused the death of Americans, whereas Pakistan’s policy in Afghanistan has led to numerous American deaths, both civilian and military. Mr. Tiefer nonchalantly writes that the various Pakistan jihadi groups like Lashkar e Taiba and Haqqani network “work with Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, ISI” but does not see that as reason for the US to shun Pakistan.

He argues that if the United States continues siding with India against China this will “antagonize Pakistan” and lead “the potentially scariest confrontation in the world.” In effect, he is saying that Pakistan’s sponsorship of jihadi groups should not come in the way of it being an American ally but the US must not ally with India because of Pakistan’s fear of India!!

The naiveté is hardly limited to the security arena. In August 2015, Forbes ran an article asking for a dramatic overhaul of US-Pakistan ties and pitching a US-Pakistan Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). Another Forbes article attempted to sell Pakistan’s threat of going deeper into China’s embrace, changing the entire region around it, and insinuating that the United States should compete with China in currying Pakistan’s favor.

The author of the first article, titled ‘Pakistan: The Next Colombia Success Story?’ Daniel Runde, too was a novice as far as knowledge of Pakistan is concerned. Had he worked on Pakistan for any length of time he would have known that Pakistan is the only American ally that has failed to sustain significant growth or human development even after receiving more than $40 billion in US aid since 1950.

Mr. Runde should have examined why US aid to Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and even Europe under the Marshal Plan catalyzed their economies into self-sustaining growth while the largesse towards Pakistan only increased Pakistan’s dependence. The reason lies more in how Pakistan spent that money, in how its military and intelligence service view their ties with the US and in how disproportionately large the military is to the size of the country’s economy and any real threats it faces.

Mr. Runde suggests, that Pakistan suffers from “a terrible country brand.” But certain harsh realities persist and are not just a ‘branding’ problem. The politicized Pakistan army may have conducted some military operations against militants responsible for attacks inside Pakistan but the Pakistani army is still following its old policy of sparing terrorists targeting India, Afghanistan and the United States. Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Premier Sharif on National Security and foreign affairs, has openly asked, “Why should Pakistan target militants that do not threaten the country’s security?

Despite dealing with Pakistan for decades some Americans still seem to believe they can change Pakistan’s behavior by giving in to its demands or responding favorably to its PR efforts. Pakistan needs to change its militarized national mindset and is more likely to reform under fear of international isolation than in response to praise based on falsehoods. Both the U.S. and Pakistan might benefit more from recognizing the history of the relationship and correcting their course substantively instead of obsessing only about appearances.

NATO Prepares Global War – Russian and Chinese Military on Highest Alert

http://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/nato-prepares-global-war-russian-and-chinese-military-on-highest-alert/

Posted on October 24, 2011 by nsnbc

At the International Security Conference (ISC) in Munich, 2007, Vladimir Putin warned western leaders, that the unprecedented aggressive expansion of NATO has brought the world more close to a third world war than it has ever been before. This stern warning came years before NATO´s aggression against Libya and it´s undeclared war in Syria and Pakistan. Following the recent deployment of US troops to Uganda, and military threats directed against Pakistan, the armed forces of NATO, Russia and China have never been as close to open and all out conflict as today. A recent and sobering report of the Russian Intelligence Service FSB, details the fact that the USA and NATO are currently planning and actively preparing for all out war on all continents. After the recent meeting between Russian P.M. Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Huan Jintao, both Russian and Chinese military forces have been placed on highest alert.             By Dr. Christof Lehmann

The speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 43rd International Security Conference in Munich in 2007, and Putin´s statement, that the aggressive expansionism of NATO has brought the world more close to a third world war than it has ever been before, was sobering in 2007. That an all out conflict has been prevented until now however, is not based on the fact that NATO has changed it´s aggressive policy of military expansionism. Putin´s speech from 2007 was sobering then, and few understood it´s full implications. The developments of recent months, however, are eliciting the urgent need to stop a cycle of aggression that can only be described as megalomaniacs insanity.

Since the middle of September 2011 Russian politicians at Russia´s State Duma began discussing that NATO must significantly reduce it´s military footprint in the former Soviet Republics. By early October, those calls had developed into demands that Russia should assert it´s interests in the former Soviet republics, and especially in the South. Since the discontinuation of the USSR, and NATO´s war on Afghanistan, it has significantly increased it´s military footprint in Russian and Chinese neighbor states such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and not least in Georgia. The fact that Russian and NATO troops came into open armed conflict when Georgi attacked Ossetia, and not least the US backed armed insurgency in Chechnya are eliciting the fact that Russia is increasingly threatened. A clear response by Vladimir Putin to the State Duma´s demands for policy changes came on 3 October, after Putin had received the sobering Intelligence Report, that warned of US and NATO preparations of a global war. On 3 October, only days before his meeting with Jintao, Putin announced his plans for a Eurasian Union.

When Russia´s Prime Minister, and most likely winner of the next presidential elections, Vladimir Putin, met Chinese President Huan Jintao on 12 October, the official narrative elicited mutually beneficial friendship and treaties, trade and other relations. The most important reason for the sudden visit however, did not make the headlines. Before leaving for Beijing, Putin received a sobering report from the Russian Intelligence Service FSB. The FSB report to Vladimir Putin supported reports from the Chinese Intelligence Service and China´s Ministry of State Security, MSS, which were among other based on intelligence received via the former Blackwater operative Brian Underwood. Underwood is currently held in the US on charges of espionage. According to reliable sources, China has attempted to warn Russia of US and NATO plans to initiate a global armed conflict. This conflict has reportedly moved from the drawing board to an activation stage.

According to both Chinese and Russian Intelligence Sources, the US and NATO plans include among other, the deliberate implosion of the US- and EU Economies, destroying the worlds financial systems, and the launching of a massive conventional war throughout North America, Africa and Asia, as well as the Middle East. The war plans include the release of biological warfare agents designed to kill millions if not billions of people. The NATO strategists rely on their ability to sue for peace when the coming conflict is at it´s highest, to call for the establishment of a “New World Order” under the pretext of preventing the destruction of the planet and civilization as we know it. One of the preparatory stages was reportedly doctrinal and strategy changes wherein the training of it´s soldiers shifted from counter insurgency to more conventional warfare and tank on tank battles.

The FSB Report states that the activation of the conflict is to be expected sooner rather than later, since the US and NATO have pre-deployed 2000  M1 Abrams Battle Tanks in Iraq, and another 2000 in Afghanistan. In the area between the Middle East and Asia, tens of thousands of other armored vehicles are deployed. The FSB evaluates the situation as so threatening, that it explains in it´s report, that the only thing needed to activate the war plan is a call for the full mobilization of 1.5 Million US Reserves. Their activation can come at moments notice, and needs no further authorization by the US Congress.

The US plans for global dominance date back to as early as 1998 and the “Project for a New American Century, PNAC. One of the think tanks members, former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, warned in September 2001, that if the war fails to significantly alter the worlds geopolitical map, the US will not achieve it´s aim to become the worlds only ad dominant superpower.

The war on Iraq was not only based on co-opting it´s oil. One of the main driving factors behind the decision to topple the Iraqi government was, that Iraq had begun trading the nations oil in Euro and not US-Dollar. The driving factors behind the aggression against Libya was the fact that Libya blocked for the development of the Mediterranean Alliance, lobbied for the establishment of a Pan-African, gold backed currency, and that it had supported the now ousted Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast in his attempt to get Ivory Coast out of the CFA agreement. The CFA is a French Controlled currency used in eight African states, and France´s control over the CFA is one of the major supports of the French economy. The only country that so far has succeeded to withdraw from the US Dollar is Iran, that ended all trade of oil in US-Dollars in 2009. One of the reasons why Iran has not yet been attacked may be the fact that it has acquired a number of X-55 missiles with nuclear capabilities from the Ukraine. Russian Intelligence analysts how ever, generally perceive it as extremely unlikely that Ukraine did not deliver the nuclear warheads together with the missiles. Another reason why Iran has not yet been attacked may be it´s current support of NATO´s narrative of a popular revolution in Libya. Why precisely Iran is playing this dangerous diplomatic game is puzzling many analysts. It may be that Iran, knowing about the US and NATO war plans, would perceive the tying down of NATO forces in Northern Africa as a short lived insurance policy that can buy much needed time to prepare a defense against an anticipated attack.

Both China and Russia are outraged by NATO´s unprecedented abuse of UNSC Resolution 1973 and NATO´s war on Libya. Both the Russian and the Chinese veto of a resolution on Syria must be seen within the context of Russian and Chinese awareness of US and NATO plans to initiate a global war. The fact that the highest US Representative to the UN Susan Rice left the Security Counsel meeting in protest after the veto is not a sign of diplomacy being the modus for solving problems of global security either.

Recently the government of India agreed to let 20.000 Chinese troops to enter the Indian administrated part of Kashmirto counter the expected US and NATO aggression. Afghanistan has is signaling that it would be fighting along side Pakistan in case Pakistan would be attacked by the USA or NATO. Both China, Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan discussed pressing security matters at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on 15 October. Most likely, the US and NATO preparations of an all out confrontation with Russia and China have been a central point of consideration in meetings behind the scenes. When the Russian Military was ordered on high alert, Vladimir Putin reportedly instructed high ranking military personnel to “Prepare for Armageddon“.

If the clock was 5 minutes to midnight in 2007, what time is it today. And will the people live up to their responsibility as citizens, to stop criminal governments. Failure to do so, may be failure to save ones own life and civilization as we know it.It is in deed high time that peace loving people throughout the world begin protesting against the mass murder that is planned against them, and support initiatives like those of former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahatir Muhammad, to criminalize war.

Christof Lehmann


Defend Muslims, Defend America- NY Times

In the following article, the author holds out the spectre of Muslims not cooperating with the national security agencies, if they felt discriminated against. He did not find any need to advise Muslims to introspect for reasons that have led many Americans to be suspicious of their motives.

Being an Assistant Professor of law he has tried to make a case for Sharia law, etc., but those who have suffered at the hands of Muslims across the globe, very well know that once given a foothold, they would take over the whole country and ruin it with their backward looking, savage, undemocratic mindset. We see what Afghanistan is, what Saudi Arabia is, what Iran is  and what Pakistan is going to be.

It is interesting to note that author has used the term Muslim-American twice, instead of using American-Muslim. This reveals the Islamic thinking where the loyalty is not to the nation but to the religion. The very concept of Darul Islam (or Dar al-Islam) and Dar al-Harb, i.e., “Land of Islam” and “House of war” (Land to be conquered  for Islam) is at the root of this thinking and reason for worldwide misery caused by its followers.

I am not a Republican and am opposed to many of their policies, but I think they are right when it comes to the caution against creeping in of the Sharia law.  Those Americans who mindlessly blabber about freedom of expression and freedom of religion, etc. are naive and do not understand that those principles apply only when everyone respects them. By and large, Muslims do not believe in either of those principles; look around the world where they are in power. They use it as a tool to come to the power. Once they have the reigns in their hand, rest of us, Hindus, Christians, Jews, etc. are going to be Dhimis, second class citizens living at their mercy. Democrats and media outlets like New York Times should smell the coffee and do a service to America by not supporting encroachment by Islam before it is too late.

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Blog Owner

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OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR, New York Times

By AZIZ HUQ

Published: June 19, 2011

WITH an eye toward the 2012 elections, legislators in six states have been debating laws explicitly prohibiting courts from considering or using Sharia law, with 14 more looking at wider bans on “foreign law.” They’re taking a clear cue from Oklahoma’s wildly popular Sharia ban, which voters approved as a state constitutional amendment last year by more than 70 percent.

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Such laws are discriminatory and pointless. Civil liberties groups are fighting them in court and calling on state legislators to abandon such bills. But there is an additional reason everyone, including would-be proponents of the laws and the federal government, should oppose them: they pose a significant threat to national security.

To begin with, the bans’ justifications are thin. Despite the worries voiced by candidates in the recent Republican candidates’ debate in New Hampshire, no state, county or municipality is about to realign its laws with religious doctrine, Islamic or otherwise. Nor does any state or federal court today in Oklahoma, or anywhere else, need to enforce a foreign rule repugnant to public policy. Under the legal system’s well-established “choice of law” doctrines, the courts are already unlikely to help out someone who claims their religion allows, say, the subordination or mistreatment of women.

Instead, the bans would deprive Muslims of equal access to the law. A butcher would no longer be able to enforce his contract for halal meat — contracts that, like deals for kosher or other faith-sanctioned foods, are regularly enforced around the country. Nor could a Muslim banker seek damages for violations of a financial instrument certified as “Sharia compliant” since it pays no interest.

Moreover, these bans increase bias among the public by endorsing the idea that Muslims are second-class citizens. They encourage and accelerate both the acceptability of negative views of Muslims and the expression of those negative views by the public and government agencies like the police.

Such indignities arise amid a pattern of growing animus toward American Muslims. Reports of employment discrimination against Muslims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which declined after a post-9/11 peak, have recently surged. Gallup, Pew and ABC polls confirm a new spike in anti-Muslim views. Most troubling, tallies of hate crimes collected by nongovernmental organizations show the same trend.

In this context, bans like the one in Oklahoma will serve to chill cooperation by the Muslim-American community with counterterrorism efforts. This makes sense: in such an environment, it would be fair for Muslims to pause before, say, passing on a lead to the police, worrying about whether the police would then look at them with suspicion as well.

But the likelihood of such a chill is also supported by four large, random-sample surveys that I conducted with two colleagues, Tom Tyler and Stephen Schulhofer. Our data, collected from Muslims and non-Muslims in New York and London, suggest that the experience and perception of private discrimination have a significant negative effect on cooperation.

This not only affects everyday public safety, but also the interaction necessary to gather information about self-radicalization and domestic efforts to recruit terrorists. After all, it’s simply impossible for the government to gather all that information. For that it must rely on the public, both as a filter and as an aid in interpreting it. If the government lacks strong ties to the Muslim-American community, that kind of filter falls apart.

To prevent the erosion of such support, the Justice Department should better publicize its support for a pending challenge to the Oklahoma amendment. It should also announce that it will challenge similar measures as violations of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion. Doing so would not only protect the rights of Muslim-Americans, but also send a signal that they can rely on the federal government’s support.

To be sure, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has taken steps against anti-Muslim bias, for example by supporting a California schoolteacher’s suit challenging her dismissal for taking time off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. But these steps are inadequate compared to the scope of public and private discrimination facing Muslim-Americans.

America has been here before. In 1952, Attorney General James P. McGranery filed a legal brief for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education, in part, he said, out of national security concerns. “Racial discrimination furnishes grist for Communist propaganda mills,” he said, and “raises doubts even among friendly nations as to the intensity of our devotion to the democratic faith.”

McGranery’s insight remains true today. The federal government needs to do more to defend equal access to the law regardless of faith. To do so is not simply to uphold our core values — it is also to work to improve our nation’s security.

Aziz Huq is an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/opinion/20huq.html

 A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 20, 2011, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: Defend Muslims, Defend America.
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