Time’s Up for Pakistan: America Must Side with India

by | Jun 5, 2002

The Bush administration seems to be twisting itself into a knot of confusion over the nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan, dispatching an array of diplomats to try to “ease the tensions” between the two countries — without doing anything to eliminate the cause of those “tensions.” The actual solution is quite simple. Bush has […]

The Bush administration seems to be twisting itself into a knot of confusion over the nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan, dispatching an array of diplomats to try to “ease the tensions” between the two countries — without doing anything to eliminate the cause of those “tensions.”

The actual solution is quite simple. Bush has the means to prevent this war, and he is probably the only person in the world who can do so. All he needs to do is what he should have done nine months ago.

He needs to take over Pakistan.

After September 11, as part of the so-called “Bush Doctrine,” the president declared to the nations of the world: “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.” But Pakistan has been with the terrorists for more than a decade — and it has not given up that allegiance.

Remember that Pakistan’s intelligence agency helped create the Taliban and put it in power in Afghanistan. Under American threats, Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf made a halfhearted about-face and cooperated with the United States in the war in Afghanistan. But Musharraf has been playing a double game. While he nominally cooperates against al-Qaeda, Musharraf’s government has supported the same kind of terrorists — including some members of al-Qaeda — as they wage a terrorist war against India.

That war started in earnest less than a month after September 11, when Pakistan-backed rebels set off a bomb outside the Kashmir-Jammu state assembly building. In December — finding that the world did not care about terrorist attacks on India — the rebels got more ambitious, staging a shooting attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi. Imagine if Osama bin Laden’s operatives stormed the capitol building in Washington, D.C., and you will get some idea of the seriousness of this attack.

Under U.S. pressure, Musharraf announced a “crackdown” on the terrorist groups he sponsored, and he rounded up 200 Islamic militants. This proved every bit as effective as the occasional crackdown Yasser Arafat announces against his terrorist friends. Musharraf kept the militants in jail until the world’s attention wandered — which doesn’t take long — then let them out again. Since then, they have bombed a bus full of women and children and attacked an Indian army outpost.

If you wonder what makes Musharraf think he can get away with this, consider President Bush’s most recent statement on the issue: “He must stop the incursions across the Line of Control. He must do so. He said he would do so. We and others are making it clear to him that he must live up to his word.” This is exactly how the administration has talked about Yasser Arafat — who, despite his continued support of terrorism, still gets U.S. funding and political support.

Like the war in Israel, the coming war between India and Pakistan is deeply connected to America’s interests. For example, how did the sponsor of Kashmir’s terrorism, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, react when an Afghan warlord declared holy war against the United States on Thursday? Hamid Gul, former head of the ISI, told reporters: “There is certainly a lot of sympathy for him in ISI, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into material assistance.” How reassuring.

A dictatorship whose powerful intelligence service is sympathetic to a holy war against the United States is not an ally in the War on Terrorism. To think that they are an illusion, and like all foreign policy illusions, this one has deadly consequences. Millions of people may die in a nuclear war that America can prevent.

America must come off the fence and take India’s side in this conflict. Pakistan’s leaders may delude themselves that they can survive India’s superior conventional and nuclear capabilities. But they will not dare to oppose the United States, especially now that American troops are stationed in Pakistan and American planes fly freely through its airspace. As former ISI chief Gul puts it, “The Americans are everywhere here right now.”

Pakistan’s time is up. It can no longer be trusted to fight against terrorism. The country should be thoroughly garrisoned with American troops; our military and intelligence apparatus should direct all efforts toward gaining control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons; we must subject the country to a de facto occupation. We must stop being “allies” and start giving orders.

The Bush administration launched its War on Terrorism by abandoning Israel to a massive wave of suicide bombings. America should not continue this policy by abandoning another victim of terrorism, India, to a brutal nuclear war.

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Robert Tracinski was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 2000 to 2004. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Mr. Tracinski is editor and publisher of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily, which offer daily news and analysis from a pro-reason, pro-individualist perspective. To receive a free 30-day trial of the TIA Daily and a FREE pdf issue of the Intellectual Activist please go to TIADaily.com and enter your email address.

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