The Creation of a Security Community in South Asia

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Your essayist composed the first draft of this “remembered” article while on a train Los Angeles from Emeryville (S.F. Bay Area) to Pismo Beach (Calif.). The originator of this piece only hopes the shakiness of this train is not reflected in his text.

This composition comes from a proposed of one individual chapter of a book on South Asia security by many authors which were presented last spring at the University of Southern California in the largest city in this State. L.A., and the second largest in the United States.

The Subcontinent is violently fracture by the Kashmir imbroglio. (Since there have been recent violent clashes in the Vale between Indian forces and the Muslim majority there, this writer plans to examine the crisis in detail at a later date.)

The freedom fighters, non-State actors, here in the Vale (of Kashmir) were behind the exacerbating attack upon the Indian Parliament during December 2001 that led to a near-nuclear contest between the two major State actors of the region. That is why your reporter asserts that, after the Palestine conflict, the Indo-Pakistani argument over Kashmiris the second most dangerous flare for a major international nuclear confrontation as well as conventional warfare which could spread the major world powers.  As the Arab-Israeli confrontation has to be settle with justice and secure peace; so does the Kashmir conundrum!

The Indo-Pakistani living (contemporary) Partition is still a very Muslim one, for India — although in the minority in most of that country — has the second largest Islamic population in the world, and, curiously, like Israel for the displaced Jews, Pakistan was established for Muslims dislodged from their traditional homes after the demise of the British Indian Empire.

Constitutionally, Islamabad governs a Muslim majority (98% now) federation.

At first it was set up as an ungovernable bipartite entity to the West and East of the Hindu-majority Republic of India with a approximately a thousand miles of Indian Territory between. Of course, later, East Pakistan was to break away to form another Muslim majority Territory, Bangladesh, now, although its economy has expanded slightly through this recent recession, is one of the ten poorest nations in the world.

The chapter your scribe is to describe is by a Vedana Asthana. Thus, he feels that her discussion leans towards New Delhi.

Although security is of a high priority in the zone, it is scattered amongst the various South Asian nation-states with Pakistan a dominant and — for her — India the area-wide hegemon due to its n large populace.

The economic/political theory of the Three Worlds, developed in the 1960s by the African intellectual Franz Fanon, is now dormant due to the collapse of the Soviet Empire after their withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 (and that nation is currently threatening the stability of the “First” World) in 1989, and the subsequent defeat of Serbia’s Soviet-style Socialism in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, and the consequent demise of the Former Yugoslavia into its constituent factions; thereby, terminating the “Second” World. Viewing this happening, your observer predicted, then, that political Islam would arise to balance the Capitalist “First” World, and it has!

She, also, avers that the (traditional) balance of the Cold War where the Ricardian cluster has made a metamorphosis from the principle of “containment” of the presently defunct “Second” (Soviet) World to “Confinement” of the so-called Third World (more properly the developing s world. This includes other regions such as South Asia and the Islamic world and even sub-nationalities and even non-State actors represented by groupings like Al’Quaida.

Former (U.S.) President Jimmy Carter, whom your composer greatly admires for his moral fortitude; unfortunately, saw the Russian invasion of the Afghani kingdom in support of Kabul’s indigenous Communist take-over as an opportunity to confront the Soviet “Bear.”

The Pakistanis were manipulated successfully to achieve the American goals.

Rawalpindi’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence — one of the preeminent secret agencies on this globe) covertly supported the Mujahedeen to subdue the legendary mighty Soviet Army before it reached and transverse the Khyber (Pass).  (All this has a taste of the “Great Game” of the Nineteenth Century with the Russian Empire pushing towards its perennial policy goal of warm water ports; and, in so doing, splitting the British Indian Empire to reach the Arabian Sea.) In one sense, the two wars over Afghanistan in the Twentieth through Twentieth-first centuries only differ in the foreign actors.  (The Russian Empire had transpired into the Soviet Empire, but many of the same policy goals of its predecessors.)  The Americans had inherited the role of the British with the Pakistanis who are fighting to keep their own soil independent.

After the fall of the Red Afghani government and its Muscovy Crimson allies, the United States deserted their Muslim – both in Afghanistan and Pakistan — allies who had destroyed Washington’s worst enemy; and, in so doing, created a uni-polar political planet which lasted for about a decade, or the birth of the Twenty-first Century (A.D.).

This desertion is the reason why certain factions of Islam resented the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO.  The refusal of the States to give aid to their allies had much to do with the ensuing five-pronged civil war into which the Afghanistanis were plunged.  This post the post-Russo-Afghani mistakes by the Reagan Administration led to 9/11, and this current struggle with the Taliban and Al’Quaida. Further, the United States of America became involved in the perilous Indo-Pakistani imbroglio.

The District of Columbia has paid dearly for her covert undertaking in the that War in the Hindu Kush of the 1980s. The Pakistanis fought more for a the necessity of defense whereas the States perceived the prospect to expand its geopolitical and economic (a possible oil and gas pipeline from Central Asia) interests.

Ms. Asthana does not believe the United States’ interference in South Asia (Afghanistan can be considered part of either South Asia [historical], Central Asia [cultural] or the Middle East [strategic]) was/is beneficial to any party involved for it has failed to promote security in the region and amongst the major external powers, but rather American actions have led to the challenge of Al’Quaida, and the revitalization of the Taliban; and, therefore, to the current hostilities. Between Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, NATO’s adventurism in Afghanistan (Pakistan) has been incompetently contested, and has brought the two major regional participants to a near nuclear conflagration nine years ago.

Professor Asthana maintains, to have a status of superior security, material aid to those caught up in the middle between the two contending parties is important. (Incidentally, this is the position of General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander of the Afghan theater and your reporter [please see the latter’s “The Spirit of Terrorism”]). Yet, except for the Marshal plan after World War II, America Vedana declared “America is …adverse to doing good.” For Washington to betray Islamabad would be to deceive their most consistent ally — except for the British — since the birth of Pakistan as a sovereign nation.

Unfortunately, the “professional” counter-terrorist experts in the West are more negative on the value of the alliance, though. At the same time, a general progression in the discourse regarding the crisis in the Af-Pak zone is growing, and an emphasis upon the poor is evolving. This is something your reviewer has been advocating for over a decade. Most “terrorists” are young and poor. If they are confident of an honorable justice future with economic opportunities suicidal terrorism will become less of a personal option.

As your reporter brought out in a past paper on these pages, NATO’s War in the Hindu Kush has unbalanced the posturing of the district’s powers – particularly India and Pakistan by allowing Bharat (India) a presence in the Mountains above Peshawar. This has caused Rawalpindi to move troops from battling the revolt in the Northwest Provinces to the Indian border. This has impacted NATO’s efforts above the Durand Line, too. At the same time New Delhi perceives Islamabad as its chief foreign security threat; and, thus, they are taking advantage of this new-found hole in the Islamic Republic’s armor.

Your researcher has commented on two tentative chapters by various scholars from this yet to be named book. From what was heard and noted upon, these analyses will be a worthy contribution upon the subject, and will add to our knowledge of this un-secure expanse. Your essayist encourages any editor and/or publisher, who may be considering this collection, to be aware of the importance of its contribution to the field.

Your correspondent plans to come back to these proposed chapters from time to time.


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