Can Pakistan Afford Tense Relations With USA
Pakistan came into being at a time when the world, though apparently was celebrating the end of a long lasting war but in reality she was preparing herself for another long live, yet fierce but not direct conflict between the two major winners of the World War II, United States (US) and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), in the form of cold war. For new born Pakistan, it was a tough time as she had to join one of the camps to survive and this was also necessary because she was just lying under the belly of fast growing Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). At the time Pakistan was not in a position to maintain her neutral status and so she joined the western camp, leaded by the United States of America. Historians have pointed out many reasons behind this decision of Pakistanis leaders, some of which are given below.
- Political leaders preferred West because of their (West) believe in God
- Landlords and other rich political leaders of Pakistan were not in favour of communism
- Both China and USSR at the time were not in a position to help economically starved Pakistan
Some analysts also believe that Quaid-e-Azam was also in favour of joining the western block and they urged that he had given its indication in his several speeches.
Since then, Pakistan became the frontline ally of USA for the containment of USSR and communism and when USSR attacked Afghanistan in 1980’s, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency in collaboration of United States of America launched Afghan Jihad and finally collapsed the eternal enemy of the United States. After the Afghan war, the relations between the two countries saw no progress for a while till September 2001, when militants attacked World Trade centre. This event gave a new life to the relations between the two countries and so once again Pakistan became a major Non-NATO ally of USA in war against terrorism.
Over this long term association, the relation between the two countries saw many ups and downs but the relationship between the two countries in anyway survive but now unfortunately for the past one and half decade, the ties between the two nations is experiencing a regular downfall. And the situation became even worse when President Donald Trump announced his Afghan Policy in August this year, in which he blamed Pakistan by using harsh words, for not taking action against Haqqani network and other militants groups in the region. In response of this, a hard stance was adopted by both Pakistan’s government and general public. Some analysts and political experts in Pakistan even suggested to give-up relations with USA, as we have suffered so much loss in her war and still she is blaming us. They are right in their opinion to some extent but can Pakistan really afford tense relations with US?
To answer this question, let’s analyse it on the following grounds.
If Pakistan has to breakup with US, it is necessary that first she look for at least suitable, if not perfect, alternative of the United States. If we look around the world, we will find no perfect substitute; this is because USA plays a leading role on almost all major issues of the world. If we say that 21st century belongs to US, it won’t be wrong. So in such case, breaking up with USA might not be a wise decision. Some analysts considered the following states as an option, so let’s examine them as well.
Though the friendship between Pakistan and China is unprecedented in its nature but still China cannot be a perfect substitute of USA. China is still facing major problems within its boundaries so she will not be in a perfect position to help out Pakistan in any tough situation. Similarly she herself is facing many challenges from USA and her allies and also from Russia and India. Plus she at the movement has no such status in the world which America has.
Relations with Russia are in transition mode. We cannot call her our next best alternative of USA especially when both countries share some bitter memories of cold war era. But this does not means that we should not try to develop friendly relations with her. Luckily both the countries have learnt that their good relation is in their mutual interest and so they are moving step by step ahead towards close relations but still it will require some time to become trusted partners. We should also not forget the role of India, which will for sure try to keep Pakistan and Russia at tense relations.
Another mostly cited option is the Muslim countries of the Arabian Peninsula, but we know that most the Arab countries are in state of war for past few years and some of them are at the brink of total destruction. Similarly some leading Arabian countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt have their own problems and they like, Pakistan, are dependent somehow on west. The only reliable Non-Arab Muslim country that Pakistan can trust on is Turkey, but she alone is not sufficient.
Deteriorated relations with US mean the same relations with Europe because US is their leader and Pakistan cannot afford that, not because that it will not only increase the number of enemies but it will cost Pakistan huge economic loss. Almost 21.4 percent of Pakistan’s total exports go to Europe and this means a lot to a developing economy like Pakistan. Also Europe is home to millions of Pakistanis, who sends millions of dollars remittances each year to Pakistan that constitute a major portion of Pakistan’s economy.
IMF And World Bank
Pakistan, being a third world country, often faces budget deficit and thus to carry on her activities she often turned to International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank for loans. In case of breakup with the US, Pakistan may lose access to this source of financing as well.
Trade And Remittances
Just like Europe, US is also a dwelling place to millions of Pakistanis who sends millions of remittances back to their homeland annually which is a major part of Pakistan economy. Aside from this, a major portion of Pakistan’s total exports go to United States and according to United States Trade Representative’s report, Pakistan was the 57th largest good trading partner of USA in 2016. This means we may face a major economic loss in terms of exports if relations gone worse.
Call Of The Time
For stable economic development of Pakistan, it is necessary that we should learn from our past and should not repeat the same mistakes that we have done once in past. For economic development Pakistan needs stable relations, not only with USA but with every single nation of the world because this is the call of time. We should also learn from China and India’s foreign policies. China inspite of many odds with USA and India in past and even today keeps her trade relations stable with them and earn money with them. India did the same after joining the USSR camp. She did not fell herself into the war of others and kept her relations normal with USA.
Now as it has become crystal clear that if we want to survive both politically, socially and economically in international community, we have to keep our relations with United States steady. Every state has its own role in international political arena and one cannot replace another. To overcome all challenges, Pakistan needs to revisit her foreign policy and stop taking sides because such tactics have already cost us too much.