Is America a destabilizing force in the world?
Does America’s foreign policy make us, to some extent, a destabilizing force in the world?
Giving us one perspective on this — looking at one facet of America’s policy and its results in the subcontinent — is Arundhati Roy in ”9 Is Not 11 (And November Isn’t September)“, Outlook India, 22 December 2008 — Hat tip to Tom Engelhardt’s TomDispatch. I strongly recommend reading this powerful essay in full, a valuable perspective on our world.
This is a third excerpt from Roy’s essay, the first being 4GW in India – more people who want to watch the world burn (19 January 2009) and India looks at the monster in the mirror (21 January 2009).
Thanks largely to the part it was forced to play as America’s ally, first in its war in supportof the Afghan Islamists and then in its war against them, Pakistan, whose territory is reeling under these contradictions, is careening towards civil war.
As recruiting agents for America’s jehad against the Soviet Union, it was the job of the Pakistan army and the ISI to nurture and channel funds to Islamic fundamentalist organisations.
Having wired up these Frankenstein’s monsters and released them into the world, the US expected it could rein them in like pet mastiffs whenever it wanted to. Certainly it did not expect them to come calling in the heart of the Homeland on September 11. So once again, Afghanistan had to be violently re-made.
Now the debris of a re-ravaged Afghanistan has washed up on Pakistan’s borders. Nobody, least of all the Pakistan government, denies that it is presiding over a country that is threatening to implode.
The terrorist training camps, the fire-breathing mullahs and the maniacs who believe that Islam will, or should, rule the world is mostly the detritus of two Afghan wars. Their ire rains down on the Pakistan government and Pakistani civilians as much, if not more, than it does on India. If at this point India decides to go to war, perhaps the descent of the whole region into chaos will be complete. The debris of a bankrupt, destroyed Pakistan will wash up on India’s shores, endangering us as never before.
If Pakistan collapses, we can look forward to having millions of ‘non-state actors’ with an arsenal of nuclear weapons at their disposal as neighbours. It’s hard to understand why those who steer India’s ship are so keen to replicate Pakistan’s mistakes and call damnation upon this country by inviting the United States to further meddle clumsily and dangerously in our extremely complicated affairs. A superpower never has allies. It only has agents.
On the plus side, the advantage of going to war is that it’s the best way for India to avoid facing up to the serious trouble building on our home front.
At least he ends this on a positive note.
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Posts on the FM site about national security:
- The Myth of Grand Strategy , 31 January 2006
- America’s Most Dangerous Enemy , 1 March 2006
- Why We Lose at 4GW , 4 January 2007
- America takes another step towards the “Long War” , 24 July 2007
- One step beyond Lind: What is America’s geopolitical strategy? , 28 October 2007
- ABCDs for today: About Blitzkrieg, COIN, and Diplomacy , 21 February 2008
- How America can survive and even prosper in the 21st Century – part I , 19 March 2007; revised 7 June 2008
- How America can survive and even prosper in the 21st Century – part II , 14 June 2008
- America’s grand strategy: lessons from our past , 30 June 2008 – chapter 1 in a series of notes
- President Grant warns us about the dangers of national hubris , 1 July 2008 - chapter 2
- America’s grand strategy, now in shambles , 2 July 2008 — chapter 3
- America’s grand strategy, insanity at work , 7 July 2008 — chapter 4
- Justifying the use of force, a key to success in 4GW , 8 July 2008 – chapter 5
- Geopolitical analysis need not be war-mongering , 9 July 2008 — chapter 7
- The world seen through the lens of 4GW (this gives a clearer picture) , (10 July 2008 — chapter 8
- No coins, no COIN, 6 October 2008
- The King of Brobdingnag comments on America’s grand strategy, 18 November 2008
- “A shattering moment in America’s fall from power”, 19 November 2008