Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mike Mullen, Why Are Americans So Unpopular?

Admiral Mike Mullen appears to hit the nail right! the "Intellectual " questions he asked about policy defecits and the issues to be put right and addressed in context of American defence policy and strategic issues are really their own dilemma. We in Pakistan need to describe, define, discuss, debate and then clearly implement these following issues;

  • The future strategy and policy direction after US, foreign troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan.We need to clearly discuss and debate these issues as of now with all stake holders like political parties, army, expert think tanks, civil society groups like human rights organisations, religious groups ,lawyers,educationists etc.The Pakistan government needs to take an initiative on this immediately and open forums and discussions and devise strategy.
  • We should develop consensus building on nation building like the future form of federation,provincial autonomy ,local government,etc.
  • We should completely do away with loopholes and constitutional flaws and intrusions where a non-democratic setup can take over government.The institutional implementation of constitution should be put in place solidly.Indian example should be studied.
  • We should solve this immediate Taliban issue amicably, without dislodging the present tribal system and pitting the tribes against Taliban fighters. This serves only the interest of anti Pakistan forces and will further enhance the Al Qaeda strategic interest. The Pakistani taliban should be seperated from Afghan taliban in a transparent manner and reintegrated in our society and not as a clandestine manouver by the army/ intellegence.
  • The establishment should remove it's cobwebs and try to re -integrate into the Pakistan Polity in a respectable way. This idea of conspiratorial ruling the country should be immediately abandoned.
  • The idea and actions taken in "National Interest" should be only done after open public debate.National interest should always be arrived after debate and consensus and not as a conpiratorial action.
  • The truth and reconciliation commission actions should be defined and we should have a permanent structure or judicial body or tribunal for this . The problem of destabilising the country by such activity when serious issues like mass murders, implementation of martial laws etc will be averted if a permanent body is there and issues have a constitutional cover for people to resort to.

Admiral Mike Mullen asked his own people as to how they addressed their policy direction issues.Why are they failing to devastate Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda, which is growing stronger inside Afghanistan. The US troops surge and presence will never really solve this problem. This is an administrative problem ,not an ideological one. He is right in stating that US thinkers have never really understood the undercurrents and the thinking in these muslim societies. The irony is that even the muslim population itself does not understand itself, what it wants, what really defines it's aspirations and desires.

On the one hand is the "Ummah" concept so easily used by such varied people like militants like Al Qaeda (if that is any whole organisation), kings like Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,religious leaders who identify with militants and the govt., both and on the other hand the ordinary people of all religious sects and countries who just want to live in the modern world practicing their religion of Islam as in their families and communities.(By the way there are 72 or so sects in Muslims now) Muslim countries and cultures are also vastly varied.The muslims are mainly poor and have low education.

If in an ideal situation where all muslims are one whole and there are no divisions that exist,exists will it help the larger world interests or not? Who's interest is the conspiracy theory amongst Muslims helping?Is it helping the larger world interests or a very small party whose interest lies in armed conflicts and who cannot exist without war.Do countries who spend billions of dollars in armed conflicts losing their money and men in the process gaining or losing? Does one particular country lose or gain in prolonged armed conflict?

Just as Americans are questioning their past actions/?follies, and trying to find answers and solutions to their dilemmas, we Muslim people also need to address the following issues:

  • Why are we confusing the concept of "Ummah" with the contemporary vested interest label of "Khilafat " .The concept of Khilafat has been presented by Islamic scholars such as Maulana Maudoodi in his seminal writings, and ideologically idolised by his various followers , mostly Pakistanis.The last Caliph of the Turkish dynasty also was a "Khalifa" for whom the Indian muslims also mistimed the Khilafat movement.The so called Al Qaeda view is also a "Khilafat" concept.( though I really have to see this organisation as such except a few still life pictures of Aiman Al Zwahery appearing with various statements on tv.) The Ummah is defined in the holy book as a whole polity of people. This is not an ideal state. Many scholars also look at it in a political state like Khilafat.Khilafat may also be taken as an ideological state as defined in holy book of muslims but in contemporary context of Islamic militancy it is taken as a political ideal.So now in Pakistan especially we need to clearly demarcate and decide whether we are in favor of Pakistan state or in favor of a militant ideology that is spread to wrest control out of the hands of the Pakistanis into an unknown,clandestine group.
  • We clearly need to address and understand our region,it's people and aim for a peaceful coexistence. For this we will have to clearly reorganise our thinking with regards to India. The entire Pakistani media, state, now sees India as the enemy number one and usually any action of violence occuring on our soil is blamed on India. The other militants benefit from this.We need to clearly define our policies regarding our posture towards India, shifting from a government and military centric focus to people centric focus, where we increase trade, cooperation in social sector development such as health( India has also improved it's class and cultural homicide issues).Only by seeing the people of India as our neighbors will we able to move forward.
  • We need to address the Afghan foreign policy also in the same people friendly context. This country has a very deep bond with Pakistan in the Pashtun context. We simply cannot operate with them in a military context only. Here also improving trade,helping rebuilding Afghanistan,improving relations with the people directly will help. Post foreign troops withdrawal and if we have already worked on this , we will stand a better chance of addressing the violence issue.

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