Posts Tagged ‘AFPAK’
This is how Pakistan sought to convince the American public about its commitment in combating terrorism. The above poster was majestically placed on page 5 of the Wall Street Journal print edition on May 8, 2009. Two days after interacting with President Karzai and President Obama in the AFPAK strategy Summit, President Zardari addressed the concerns of the American public through this message. Here’s what the poster reads:
The U.S.A. and Pakistan can defeat terrorism together and bring prosperity to the Pakistani people. Pakistan is in the trenches; Pakistan is on the frontlines. Pakistan is protecting the entire civilized world. 1700 soldiers killed. 35000 civilians killed. Tens of thousands maimed. This is Pakistan’s war. This is Pakistani blood. But Pakistani should not stand alone. President Asif Ali Zardari has pledged to “wipe out the cancer of terrorism before it infects the entire planet.” The U.S.A. and the world must stand by Pakistan’s side in this decisive battle against the terrorists. The U.S. A. and Pakistan. Together in battle. Defeat is not an option.
The poster is sponsored/supported by AES Corporation, GE, Oil and Gas Development Corporation, Pakistan Electric power Company Limited, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Pakistan State Oil, PTV Global, Water and Power Development Authority.
This grand public diplomacy exercise throws up some questions:
1. Why has President Asif Ali Zardari pledged to combat terrorism? I thought Pakistan was a Parliamentary democracy where the Prime Minister represents the will of the people. This excessive emphasis of personalities rather than institutions is the most important factor impeding the growth of stable democracy in Pakistan.
2. Why is a cash-strapped country like Pakistan running half page ads in top of line U.S. dailies like the WSJ? The U.S. public will be better convinced of Pakistan’s commitment if the country’s resources are directed at acting against terrorists rather than publicizing intentions.
3. Finally, if Pakistan is protecting the entire civilized world then why is only 38% of NWFP and surrounding areas under full control of the Pakistani Government? Pakistan needs to get rid of this ‘global guardian’ psychology and combat terror more as a national survival priority rather than an international obligation.
Pakistan needs to understand that public diplomacy is an explanation for national policy, not a substitute.
As the AFPAK strategy session concluded in Washington arguments for and against providing aid to Pakistan dominated the op-ed columns and the blogosphere. The U.S. cannot deprive Pakistan of essential aid because there are fears that the Country might collapse. At the same time U.S. aid will not solve most of Pakistan’s problems. So what should the Obama Administration do? Can the U.S. merely feel sorry for the state of affairs in Pakistan or should the challenges facing the Pakistan be recognized and a cooperative counter-Taliban effort be continued? Or should the U.S. rationalize in terms of delineating the respective responsibilities of the Pakistani Government and the international community? Click to continue…
The Obama Administration before taking office was well aware that Pakistan would be the most compelling threat for the U.S, foreign policy in the coming days. President Obama’s AFPAK strategy was presented as an attempt to restructure America’s approach in dealing with the Al-qaeda- Taliban challenge. In terms of strategy and approach President Obama’s Pakistan policy appears sound, but it needs to be realized that the nature and degree of crisis confronting Pakistan is yet to be fully grasped. The greatest test for the Obama Presidency will not be to deal with the Taliban threat but to fully comprehend the Pakistan challenge. Click to continue…
There is a recent and overwhelming influx of the term “AFPAK” in jargon of international relations. The term owes it origin to the new policy approach adopted by the Obama Administration. The intragency review of the international strategy in Afghanistan headed by Bruce Riedel concluded that the counter-terrorism efforts need to focus on the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. So now we have the AfPak war. Though President Obama’s intentions can barely be doubted there are some serious concerns that the U.S. will have to contend with in dealing with “AFPAK”.
[Photo Courtesy: Reuters/Jason Reed] Click to continue…