Pakistan

Is Pompeo turning Trump against Pakistan to target China?

By Imtiaz Gul

Former US spymaster Mike Pompeo is back to CIA’s dated song on Pakistan. In a radio interview, Pompeo listed terrorism and the possible proliferation of Islamabad’s nuclear program among the five big issues that presented a threat to the American security.

“Whether it’s the threat that we’ve talked about today from China, the nuclear proliferation risk that extends from Pakistan, through all those folks who have these weapon systems – places like North Korea where they can sell these weapon……” said Secretary of State Pompeo. He also listed China among the biggest threats.

In the same breath, Pompeo blamed Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists, adding that “no other administration but the current administration had taken some action against Pakistan on the issue.”

Is Pompeo out to ‘trump’ and sabotage his president’s ambitious plan of political reconciliation in Afghanistan? And is he trying to turn his president against Pakistan? If yes, what could be possible motives behind such an attempt?

Unsurprisingly, in a reference to the Feb 14 Pulwama terror incident, Pompeo said that the recent conflict between Pakistan and India “was initiated because of cross-border terrorism.”

How else would you describe such posturing; if not self-righteously strident? This implies that “old narratives die hard” and officials pull them out as and when they deem fit.

Does this not, by implication, lend credence to the theory that “hawks” in Pakistan describe as the US “geo-political agenda” aimed at countries such as Iran and Pakistan?

How does the perceived proliferation of Pakistan’s nuclear programme represent a direct threat to the American security? Or what terrorist havens is he talking about?

Does this include the terrorist and militant havens run by the Taliban, who are currently directly talking to the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad? Or is one right in assuming that the US establishment stokes unrest and imposes wars across the world, and follows up with economic sanctions only to feed and fatten its military industrial complex? 

Who will believe Pompeo’s narrative when it has become evident that the world currently is divided along two major geopolitical blocs; the US-led bloc comprising major NATO members plus India pitched against the China-led bloc comprising Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.

The real target is China and the obvious attempt is to cut and bruise its periphery; especially Pakistan. The western bloc has consequently indulged in a relentless campaign against China’s handling of its Muslim population in the western Xinjiang province. 

It also suspects that the western powers use soft bellies i.e. border territories in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran for support to anti-state terrorist outfits operating not only in these countries but also in China.

The latest salvo against China and Pakistan will likely further harden Beijing’s resolve in not only preserving its alliance with Pakistan at all costs, but also more vigorously pursue its counter-terror and Muslim-mainstreaming policies in Xinjiang.

The author is Executive Director, CRSS

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