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US and NATO imperialism in South Asia: The developing Pakistan Quagmire

After some nationalist and anti-imperialist elements succeeded in defeating the elaborate US and British plans to install two of their puppets- Parvez Musharraf and the late Benazir Bhutto-in the highest government offices in Pakistan, another puppet, Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband-also known as Mr. Ten Percent, because of his corruption and demanding and taking systematic bribes on contracts with national and international companies- during Benazir’s premiership, in which he was one of the members of her cabinet, managed to substitute both of them and has proven that he is a bigger puppet than both of them combined. Both he and his wife were methodically groomed for their roles by various organs and representatives of US imperialism.

During their government, they had stolen an estimated one and a half billion dollars from the poor people of Pakistan and had deposited those in foreign bank accounts. When numerous cases of fraud and corruption were filed against them in the Pakistani and foreign courts, they fled the country and lived abroad for years, in aristocratic and lavish life styles, when overwhelming majority of Pakistani people were suffering ever increasing levels of poverty and deprivation. It was only after an incredibly illegal, unjustifiable, and crooked deal with the Musharraf dictatorship, which was a desperate and reckless move to save itself against the rising tide of opposition-pushed and supervised by the representatives of US and British imperialism-in which all the corruption charges were dropped and the cases withdrawn, that they dared to return to Pakistan.

Given the history of electoral politics, politico-economic sadomasochism and prostitution, and mass corruption in Pakistan-including those of the subjective, demagogic, and shallow “intellectuals” and politicians-Pakistanis managed to get a double-pleasure dosage of sadism this time. And, most of them deserved it too. As if the already existing double pleasure of being ruled by two governments and dictatorships, one in Islamabad and the other in Washington, DC, was not enough!

In view of the undeniable history of corruption, betrayals, and puppetry of Benazir and Zardari, it was incredible that her political party the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) continued to be the largest political party in Pakistan. It was a reflection of political ignorance of most of their lower class supporters and political opportunism of the higher class supporters, who wanted to jump on the bandwagon of her popularity. Now, the PPP has lost a large part of its popularity and support and overwhelming numbers of Pakistanis have turned against Zardari. However, much damage to the nation has already been done, in a very short period of time, as a result of the earlier blunders of Pakistanis in supporting Benazir’s feudal family and PPP.

Moreover, the alternative-the big capitalist family of Nawaz Sharif and his party, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N)-is only marginally less subservient to US imperialism than Zardari and PPP and has no effective plans or proposals to resolve the immense all round, interconnected, and comprehensive economic, political, regional, cultural, and religious crisis in the country. At this time, for Pakistan, there is no light at the end of the tunnel and the dark tunnel seems to get longer and longer.

The greatest damage to the country, nation, and its economy was inflicted by the new “civilian” and “democratic” government of PPP and its partners by far surpassing the dictatorial government of Musharraf in the subservience to the dictates of US imperialism and unleashing a devastating war of aggression against parts of its own population in Swat, Buner, Dir, Orakzai, and South Waziristan-and planning to do the same in North Waziristan-in which innumerable civilian non-combatants have been killed and wounded, their livelihood, crops, and houses destroyed by the US supplied gunships, bombers, and other armaments, forcing more than three million human beings-who, though poor, were living in dignity and harmony with their beautiful environment- to flee their homes and live in the unimaginably horrific conditions of the refugee camps, where even their most elementary needs are not being met and where they are being humiliated, mistreated, and abused.

The current Pakistani leadership has no real plans or abilities to deal with this gigantic human catastrophe that it has caused. Instead, it is using this crisis to beg for more and more foreign aid, most of which is likely to end up in the private bank accounts of the top civilian and military leaders. It is inevitable that all this will further fuel and swell the ranks of Islamic rebellion in the area. The government of Pakistan is also collaborating with the US drone attacks in the tribal areas, in which most of the casualties are again non-combatant civilians-producing the same intended or unintended results of fuelling the intensity and ranks of Islamic rebellion, hence providing the pretext of continued war of state terrorism in the area and beyond-and which, by any authentic international legal standards, constitute crimes against humanity.

Recently, the leader of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baitullah Mehsud, was killed, along with his wife and her parents, by a US drone attack. Instead of weakening the TTP, this has intensified its resolve and resistance, as exemplified by its successful attack on the CIA operatives in Afghanistan, in which eight of them were killed by a highly educated Jordanian double agent, who, at the moment of truth, in close association with the TTP, chose to act against imperialism, instead of for it, and sacrificed his life, career, and family life, and spat on the enormous bribes offered to him by the agents of imperialism. The inner voice of his soul was so strong that it drowned out all the lures and attractions of materialism.

In 2007, a very brave anti-imperialist fighter, Abdullah Mehsud, who had continued his fight against imperialism even after losing one of his legs and suffering the horrors of imprisonment at Guantanamo, was trapped into death by the Pakistan military. He had survived the horrors of Guantanamo but could not survive the assaults of Pakistan military forces. He was comparable to Che Guevara in his anti-imperialism and courage. But unlike Che, instead of allowing himself to be captured by the mercenary forces, he chose to blow himself up. And yet, there is hardly a whisper about that. Some forty years after his murder by the US imperialists and their agents, Che is still deeply revered and commemorated in Cuba and throughout Latin America, as the symbol and hero of all the anti-imperialist and progressive mankind. Not so in Pakistan. There, Che type people are regularly murdered and persecuted, in the service of imperialist masters, with impunity, and no one even whispers. Pakistanis were incomparably more motivated and impressed by some infighting between the ruling elites: between Musharraf’’s government and Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry. That says a lot about the mass psychology of Pakistanis. It is dominated by the ruling elites.

Another symptom of this highly-conditioned-ruling-class-dominated mass psychology is the large following the late Benazir Bhutto continued to sustain during her life, in spite of her total subservience to the Western, and particularly, US imperialism, treachery even to her own late father in that respect, and large scale criminal looting, corruption, and accumulation of wealth, when she was in power.

A major part of the problem in the development of such mass psychology is the educational, especially the so-called “higher education” system in Pakistan, which is mass producing “highly educated experts” of various types, overwhelming majority of whom are highly brainwashed by Western, and especially American, textbooks, written by advocates and apologists of capitalism and imperialism. This is true of all the so-called social “sciences” being taught in the country by brainwashed professors and other teachers, who are also, in effect, brainwashing their students, with “knowledge” and “information” that almost exclusively serve the interests of capitalism and foreign imperialism.

The situation in natural sciences is even worse. In these, the “highly educated experts”, just like their counterparts in the US and Europe, are almost totally devoid of any knowledge or information in the social, politico-economic, and philosophical areas. These latter are the ones whom the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset had called the “Learned Ignoramuses”, who know a lot about a tiny little area of natural reality but are ignorant of all the rest of natural as well as social reality. Such Learned Ignoramuses are being mass produced in Pakistan and are also being exported to the imperialist centres and other relatively rich countries, causing enormous damages to the national economy by such a large brain drain, on the training of which important national financial and other resources are spent.

The educational “elites” in Pakistan are, by and large, either ignorant of the problems of imperialism and capitalism or are active parts of them. This explains the paradox of why relatively less educated and uneducated people there instinctively understand Western and US imperialism much better and take incomparably more principled and strong positions on this matter- based upon their understanding of good and evil, just and unjust, true and false, and freedom and slavery-than the so-called “highly educated elites”. We are witnessing a powerful manifestation of this paradox in the Tribal Areas, where, in spite of low literacy and educational level, there is incomparably more understanding of Western and US imperialism-and its disastrous effects on the economy, politics, and culture of the country-than in rest of the country, where literacy and educational levels are much higher, and especially than that of the “highly educated elites”. As stated earlier, this is mostly the result of healthier instincts, intuition, and values in the Tribal Areas than rest of the country, in which human nature, instincts, intuition, and values have been greatly polluted and corrupted under the influence of many forces, including those originating in Western and US imperialism, especially in the form of cultural and educational imperialism. This situation is somewhat similar to that in the voting differences between Whites and Blacks in the US. Blacks, in spite of their lower educational levels than the Whites, routinely vote more intelligently and ethically in the local and national elections.

Related to the above topic is the totally false, deceptive, anti-factual, anti-logical, and anti-historical notion of “Extremist” and “Moderate” Islam, propagated by the think tanks of US imperialism, through their local agents, like Musharraf, Zardari, and the late Benazir, . Who can deny the apodictic truth, without making a complete idiot of himself, that the US imperialism is the most extremist and aggressive imperialism on this planet, and has been for a long time, and that the current focus of its extremist high tech aggression is the economically and strategically important parts of the Muslim world? Is submission to such an extremist and militarist imperialism, and becoming a tool in its plots for domination of Muslim peoples and their resources, “Moderation” or prostitution and betrayal of the worst kind?

On the other hand, is resistance to such an extremist and militarist imperialism “Extremism” or fulfilling the most important and sacred duty of protection and promotion of national liberation, freedom, dignity, resources, and culture from the imperialist onslaughts? And to begin with, who had created these forces during the proxy war against the revolutionary government of Afghanistan and its Soviet allies-at that time being characterized as the epitome of “freedom fighters” and now being labelled as “extremists”? Within the context of the invasions of Muslim territories by the US imperialism, first and foremost, the terminology of “Extremism” and “Moderation” must be understood and analyzed in its relation to US imperialism.

This is its primary definition and application and must be considered as such in any analyses and judgments. All the other applications of this terminology are secondary to this primary one. It is hardly surprising that the imperialists and their apologists and agents systematically exclude any mention or discussion of the primary definition and application and exclusively and selectively focus on the concoctions of self-serving interpretations and representations of some secondary aspects, e.g., struggle of the anti-imperialist Muslims to preserve their cultural identity and values, which they indiscriminately represent and label as “extremist” and “backward”. This is not to say that some of the cultural practices in some of the tribal areas are not backward and not in the need of change. But the US imperialism and its Pakistani agents have no right to dictate or enforce such changes.

Such changes can only come about as a result of cultural, educational, and historical developments in the tribal areas themselves. Tribal areas have been relatively free from the government administration and control throughout their history and that has been, and is, the most important part of their culture, tradition, and history. Even the British imperialists, during the heyday of their colonial power over the subcontinent, were forced to recognize the importance of that and had decided on the minimal interference in the affairs of the tribal areas.

Now, some political and military leaders of the US are, most arrogantly and ignorantly-in total disregard for the history, culture, and traditions of the area-pressuring the Pakistan government to fully incorporate the tribal areas into its system of legal, political, and economic administration, again most blatantly interfering in the internal affairs of a supposedly sovereign nation that they have become encouraged and addicted to treating as a neo-colony. They are unable to understand that not everybody in the world would tolerate such total administration of the mind, body, and soul that has developed in the advanced capitalist-technocratic society of the US and which the great German-American philosopher, Herbert Marcuse, had described and analyzed in great depth and detail in his major pioneering work, “One-Dimensional Man”. That analysis is even more relevant and important today than when he wrote it in 1964. And yet, very few people now are familiar with his name or work.

In that study, he did not mince any words. He considered the form of human nature that has developed in the US as mutilated and one dimensional and the form of existence of this society as unfreedom and slavery-sublimated slavery-in which people are conditioned to become instruments and things. He also showed that many so-called liberties and comforts, prevalent in this society, in fact, counteracted real freedom and wholesomeness of human nature. And that is the kind of totally administered and one dimensional human nature and existence that the ruling circles here want to export and impose everywhere they can on this entire planet, in the name of “civilization” and “democracy”.

Objectively-and contrary to what overwhelming majority of Americans believe-they are highly brainwashed and disinformed in politico-economic and international affairs, as well as about the quality of their humanity and existence. In general, such disinformation is much harder to correct than ignorance. As such, they repeatedly become structural parts of imperialism and its international crimes and plunders, even against their own self-interests.

The real universal dichotomy and opposition in the contemporary world is between imperialism and anti-imperialism, between the imperialist and anti-imperialist forces. From the perspectives of all the great religions and philosophies of the world, imperialism is an indescribably great evil as it stands for global injustice, exploitation, domination, plunder, robbery, wars of aggression, and mass murders. US imperialism and its allies are currently occupying two major Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan and are waging brutal genocidal wars of aggression, the most extremist forms of state terrorism, there.

US has built numerous military bases in many Muslim countries and is using them for its brutal imperialist wars against the Muslim peoples. Without these crucial bases and support of the government in Pakistan, it could never have waged its war in Afghanistan. Similarly, without its bases in Kuwait and other states in the Persian Gulf, it would have been much harder for it to invade Iraq and engage in the genocidal war against the Muslims and others there. The above-mentioned dichotomy and opposition between imperialism and anti-imperialism becomes fundamental in defining the nature of forces in situations where imperialist forces have invaded other countries and waged wars of aggression against them. All the other differences and variations fade into relative insignificance in face of the overwhelming importance of this great opposition.

The only real Islam in such a situation is by definition anti-imperialist. It cannot be anything else. Islam stands for justice, truth, goodness, freedom of Muslim peoples, and control of Muslims over their own resources, while imperialism is forcefully attempting to subject Muslims to injustice, evil, lies, domination and subjugation, and great plunder and robbery of their resources, which it also seeks to control perpetually. There cannot be any greater desecration of Islam than to put it in the service of imperialist forces in such situations by its local agents and puppets. This is precisely what the Pakistani governments, under President Parvez Musharraf and Asif Zardari, have done, under the guise of “Moderate Islam” and its practitioners as “Moderates”, and by labelling of anti-imperialist Islam as “Extremist Islam” and its practitioners as “Extremists”. By doing so, they have not only totally desecrated Islam and presented anti-Islam as Islam, but have violated all logical, factual, historical, and common sense reality. The only real Islam in situations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq is the anti-imperialist Islam. That is the only possible rational conclusion.

In Pakistan’s tribal areas, the US imperialism is using the Pakistan mercenary government and army to crush the anti-imperialist resistance there. To correctly understand the nature of that conflict, it is necessary to understand the nature of the main issue as well as the nature of the opposing forces. The main issue is the invasion and aggression of the forces of imperialism in Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the basic contest there is between imperialist forces and their local agents, on the one hand, and anti-imperialist forces, on the other. Now, it so happens that the anti-imperialist resistance there is almost exclusively organized around Islam and traditional cultural values. Leftists there are totally powerless and unable to do anything practical against the forces of imperialism. They have been in disarray since the destruction of the revolutionary government of Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s by the proxy war of US imperialism, in which Taliban had played a key role.

However, now the Taliban have transformed from a pro-imperialist force to an anti-imperialist one. That is the actual politico-military reality in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The left in the West in general, and the US in particular, has almost completely failed to comprehend this reality and has resorted to abstract idealistic positions, seeing it through the Western positivist eyes and censoring articles and analyses that represent the anti-imperialist Islamic positions.

As was totally clear long before the Obama presidency, he has, in fact, enhanced US militarism and imperialism, while, at the same time, making opposite and false statements about his policy and goals and putting a nice plastic smile on all that. Nowhere is it clearer than in his policies and actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Under his presidency, US is repeating and expanding the history of the state terrorist and genocidal war on Iraq in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In spite of possessing the most advanced and vast high tech military forces and having assembled the armed forces of fifty of its allies and client states in Afghanistan, it has been brought to a standstill and is now facing defeat there at the hands of resistance forces that are fighting with relatively very primitive and inadequate weapons and resources, on their own, without any help from any country. This war of national liberation is very different from that of Vietnam, in one of the most important aspects, which consists of the fact that Vietnamese resistance was getting very substantial and crucial military, political, and economic aid from the USSR, China, and many other nations, while the Afghan resistance is getting none. In fact, much of the world, including many Muslim countries, is aiding the US, at this most pervert and astounding stage of history.

Shortly after the invasion of Iraq-in April 2003-I had written a rather comprehensive paper, “War on Iraq in perspective: the developing US imperialism and demonocracy”, in which the particular facts of that invasion and war were placed and analyzed within the general theoretical framework of the US politico-economic system of imperialism-democracy complex. As its analysis and theory are also relevant to the war on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the web link to that article can be read here

Near the end of Marcuse’s very complex historical, dialectical, and philosophical analyses and ideas in the above work, one finds this insight and prediction, which has been repeatedly confirmed by the high tech politico-economico-military barbarism of US imperialism: “The facile historical parallel with the barbarians threatening the empire of civilization prejudges the issue; the second period of barbarism may well be the continued empire of the civilization itself.” (One-Dimensional Man, Beacon Press, Boston. 1964, p. 257).

Author, Dr. Fazal Rahman is an interdisciplinary researcher and writer. He has worked in many countries as a scientist and administrator of R & D programs, like Brazil, Lebanon, Zambia, US, and Pakistan etc. He can be reached at [email protected]