Noam Chomsky is a noted linguist, author, and foreign policy expert. On April 26, Michael Shank interviewed him about relations between India and Pakistan. This is the second part of a two-part interview. The first part, on the Iraq War, the World Bank, and debt, can be found here.
Stung by a spree of suicide attacks, Pakistan’s military junta this week had to take in an unannounced guest bearing ill tidings. The United States wants General Musharraf to do more to crush al-Qaida, Vice President Dick Cheney told his host during a surprise secretive trip to Islamabad. After being defeated in Afghanistan, America’s bin Laden-led enemies are regrouping in Pakistan’s tribal region, said Cheney. He is reported to have warned Musharraf that if Pakistan does not produce more results, the Democrat-dominated Congress may review and revoke the American military assistance program resumed after September 11, 2001. The military’s status as a major non-Nato ally of the United States could also be in danger.
There is a whiff of Âregime changeÂ in the air these days, but not where you might expect it. Not in Iraq, where the conservative U.S.-backed Shiites are already in power. Not in Iran, where White House threats have served to unite, rather than divide, that country. But in Pakistan, where President Pervez Musharraf has recently fallen out of U.S. favor.
Pakistan’s government on March 30 began pulling troops out of South Waziristan following a 12-day security sweep of the area to root out Taliban and al Qaeda militants. The withdrawal was accompanied by an official admission that no Islamic radical leaders had been killed during the operation, as was earlier claimed.
Pakistan’s position as a key U.S. ally in the campaign against al-Qaeda has been particularly beneficial to the military-led government of General Pervez Musharraf, whose support is seen by the Bush administration as indispensable to U.S. “anti-terrorism” efforts in the region. Despite the country’s anti-democratic credentials and the army’s continued dominance of the political scene, U.S. economic and diplomatic support has provided Musharraf much needed international legitimacy—and funds.
Six years after they blasted their way into the Global Nuclear Club and dangerously heightened their mutual rivalry even further, India and Pakistan have begun a wide-ranging bilateral dialogue to resolve disputes and normalize relations. Since the new United Progressive Alliance government led by Manmohan Singh was sworn in six weeks ago, Indian and Pakistani officials have held two rounds of talks.
Are Pressures from the U.S., India, and Israel Too Much for Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program to Withstand?
Pakistan’s national defense strategy centers on protecting the country’s nuclear weapons capability from a threat by one or more of three states that are currently working very closely – the United States, India and Israel. That strategy includes a nuclear first-strike policy.
On Aug. 14 and 15, the 56th anniversary of the independence of Pakistan and India from British colonial rule, it is a sad commentary on the political condition of South Asia that even though the region has been independent for over half a century, it is still not free.
Resolution 1441 is more an alternative “legal” road to war rather than an alternative to war itself. Extrapolating from Saddam Hussein’s previous behavior, the Security Council resolution will lead to war as surely as a position of unilateral U.S. belligerence. The Iraqi ruler will need an unprecedented political and psychological makeover to eat the copious and indigestible helpings of humble pie that the UN resolution prescribes being shoveled down his maw.
Elections Without Democracy in PakistanBy Najum Mushtaq July 17, 2002