According to the New York Times – and it has always been close to the powers that be in Washington – US military planners are sifting through a range of options on how to deal with strife-torn Libya, even as its President Muammar Qadhafi has been killing his own people who are rebelling against him.
Over 6,000 Libyans, according to one estimate, have already been killed. Should the US get into the act and send its own – not to forget NATO’s – troops to Libya to oust Qadhafi, as even Qadhafi himself deposed the Libyan then monarch, King Idris in 1969 with the help of his tribal forces? There is apparently a growing feeling in the US that it would be wise to leave Libya alone. Defence Secretary Robert Gates and top US Commanders have apparently warned President Obama of a political fall-out if the United States again attacks a Muslim nation, even to support a popular revolt. If the United States goes for military action – which cannot be ruled out – it would only show that it has learnt nothing from history.
Right from the time of the Korean War (1950-53) when the US Army suffered 33,000 dead and the country itself suffered three million casualities, the US has been behaving irresponsibly. What did it gain in Korea? The country is divided. China continues to have its say in North Korea and could not be driven out. It didn’t pay the US to drive China out of Tibet, for which India has to suffer. Vietnam was supposed to be about to go completely Communist and Gen Eisenhower and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles then felt that if Vietnam was not controlled, other southeast Asian nations will turn Communist as well and the whole regional countries will fall like a house of cards. The US intervened militarily. It lost 58,000 of its own soldiers and 1.1 million North Vietnamese civilians got killed. As many as 1,170,000 civilians were injured. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than all the bombs dropped by all engaged countries in the Second World War, but to no effect. In the end Hanoi won.
For years the US supported Saddam Hussain because, like Qadhafi, he was willing to play the US game against Iran. The Iraq-Iran War (1980-88) cost one million lives. The US couldn’t care less. But when Saddam began to show independence, the US waged a war against Iraq in which 4,414 US troops were killed in addition to 864,531 Iraqi civilians. Lives did not count. As many as 1,690,903 Iraqi civilians were injured. How has that helped the US – or the world? In the on-going war in Afghanistan 8,587 Afghan troops have been killed. To what purpose?
Wars do not solve problems. Events have to take their own course. We should let them. It is not for us to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, be it Myanmar, Libya, Afghanistan or Egypt. And Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will do well to keep Pakistan at arms’ length. We don’t need to have any dialogue with Pakistan, composite, comprehensive or whatever. Let Pakistan stew in its own juice. It is steadily going down the drain. Let it, we can’t stop it. Indo-Pak talks make no sense. They only bestow respectability on Islamabad. We should, at best, have Indo-US talks on Pakistan which would be more to the point. The US is still pouring money into Pak coffers as it did-$ 2 billion every year – into Mubarak’s pockets and what did it gain?
Pakistan’s decaying political body is being eaten daily by fundamentalist worms and there is nothing that India can do. Events should be left to take their own course. Presently it has become dangerous even to be a ‘liberal’ in Pakistan. Fancy educated lawyers showering rose petals on the assassin of Salman Taseer when he was brought to trial! One can’t even have a second opinion on blasphemy laws in Pakistan, without being mercilessly shot as was Shahbaz Batti, Federal Minister for Minority Affairs and a Christian besides. The government in Pakistan is not run by Asif Ali Zardari but by the Army Chief, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, profiled by American experts as “the most anti-Indian Pakistan Army Chief ever” who has publicly stated that all his policies are exclusively “India-centric”! With whom does Dr Singh wish to have “composite” talks with: The ISI Chief Lt Gen. Shuja Pasha who has been given an extension of two more years of service to do his worst against India? What sort of barbarians does our gentle Prime Minister wants to have talks with? And to what purpose? Is he going to sell Kashmir to Pakistan so that it can turn Kashmir into another North West Frontier Province where no Hindu is safe and where every non-Muslim has to pack up and go? Its fundamentalist record is there for all to see.
Girls are prevented from attending schools; films and music are banned. Growing beards is compulsive for all men. Women, of course, have to wear burqa. In Punjab, as in Sind, the Lashkar-e-Toiba is active as ever. What is it that we are going to discuss with the leadership of such a country? Is Dr Singh so totally blind that he doesn’t see reality? Or is it, if things go wrong, that he’ll claim responsibility for any damage done to India, as he has in another instance, that of PJ Thomas? What are talks going to bring us? Peace? Will our so-called ‘intellectuals’ kindly tell us what sort of peace to expect – and at what cost? Pakistan must be told in the firmest language possible, that Jammu and Kashmir issue is not negotiable.
Holding talks with Pakistan is to give terrorists respectability. It is wisdom to let Pakistan sink in the pothole of its own making. We have enough work on hand right in own homeland. We can talk with Pakistan only when its ‘liberals’ come into their own. That may take another decade, perhaps even half a century. We can afford to wait. What we should be interested is in our own economic growth.
As it is, India’s economy is poised to cross the Rs 90 lakh crore or $ 2 trillion mark. We should work to increase it five fold to get even with China. We can – and we should. Talks with Pakistan can wait. Only it should know that if it tries to create trouble for India, it will have to face the consequences. Our desire to be accommodative has sent the wrong message to Islamabad. We are seen as a weak country that can be bullied. The best that India can do it to let Pakistan destroy itself which it seems so keen to accomplish. As matters stand the US seems unaware that it is unconsciously hastening the process. We can only wait and see. Meanwhile, let us mind our own business which is to grow in strength and prosperity.