Pakistan question part of a larger problem: By Rob Terpstra


Pakistan is headed for an implosion within and the West is the cause. They have stood by idly over the last six months and done little to nothing to aid in the situation that is slowly not just affecting the region, but the world.
With strong footholds in the al-Qaeda bastions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the West has retarded its movement in interceding in a country that could, and should, play a major role in stamping out the terror that has slowly engulfed this century of warfare.
Little can be done on a grassroots level with the Musharraf government in power, and as the West throws billions of dollars in the direction of a corrupt infrastructure from the bottom up and expects the equivalent of a resurrection in the area to occur is indeed wishful thinking.
Time, investment and energy in a serious diplomatic arena with talks between the UN, EU, U.S. and Pakistan will undoubtedly result in a plethora of potential positive outcomes. However, this has not been done in the past and history has proven that very point. If in fact high-level talks have occurred or been initiated by what many in the West regard as their vicar of statehood on Earth, U.S. Secretary of State, Condeleezza Rice, both Ms. Rice and her associates have underachieved in quelling the quicksand that has blanketed the region.
As an aside, the Middle East question is by all accounts less than 12 months from being ‘solved’. Several talking points over the last 60 years including, but not limited to the creation of a Palestinian statehood, the acceptance of Israel proper by the Middle East players as a rightful heir to the modern-day biblical Promised Land and the sharing of the city of Jerusalem as both factions’ capital, seem to be nearing their fruition.
What the Middle East colonial dispute has done to Pakistan, for the past couple of years, at least since Sept. 11, 2001 in particular, is unintentionally made its struggles less important, less worrisome and subconsciously engrained an optimistic belief that perhaps the problem will dissipate on its own.
Having the situation resolved is far from the case, but psychologically, this is certainly what has happened for those debating in academic circles, those in the situation rooms and most importantly the men and women with launch codes at their disposal and the ability to deploy thousands of unnecessary troops while forgetting a once invaluable ally in the war against terror in Pakistan.
Lately what has worked in the epicentre of land dispute stemming from the formation of Israel in 1948, preceded by the Nakba catastrophe or mass exodus of the Palestinians is the introduction of an incredibly talented and devoted statesman to the region in the form of Tony Blair.
The former prime minister of the U.K., unlike his predecessors, notably Henry Kissinger, arguably Jimmy Carter and without a doubt war hawks like Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon and Yassir Arafat, is that ultimately he has little to lose from his role as the UN’s special envoy to the region. Diplomatically, it would elevate him to beatification. In reality, he has little hidden special interests in the region as he has is now removed from his post in London. The crucial point is that this is what is required in especially, in all of places, Pakistan. The man that would be ideal for this post, and has been fingered for unique roles as these in the past, is former U.S. president Bill Clinton.
With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections almost a year away, Clinton, in reality, may be unavailable, and be able to provide help too late, as he aggressively campaigns for his wife’s nomination to the most coveted and powerful position on Earth. If Hillary Clinton were to somehow lose the general election, lose the Democratic nomination or end up in a vice-presidental role, Mr. Clinton can return to becoming an integral component to achieving stability to Pakistan, the tribal territories and more importantly getting Musharraf or whoever ends up heading Pakistan, committed to working against al-Qaeda and being party to progress.
Clinton still has excellent ties to the region and Musharraf, brokering stability during the Kargil and Kashmir crises as well as quashing the threat that was posed when duelling nuclear tests were launched by India and Pakistan.
With the recent news of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, it seems that the West has finally, after multiple, blatant stimuli in Pakistan, realized what type of danger the country’s stability actually poses to peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. Up to this point, the West has been either transfixed or brainwashed into thinking victory in Iraq and peacekeeping over the long term in Afghanistan is all that is necessary for terrorism to cease and desist. This is, without question, not the case, and to be blunt, the stance taken by the West is arrogant, nearsighted and incredibly problematic for Pakistan and the future of the next ten generations.
Not going as far as saying Bhutto’s martyrdom will bring about change, but inquiry into what is seriously and chronically wrong, both in a depleted country and the overwhelming mindset of the West may in the end be able to be achieved. The world can simply not afford to be held hostage to policies that are naive enough to discount the importance of a global threat while we celebrate New Year with glee and have absolutely no long term strategical resolutions in sight.

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