President Obama's election as the US President for the second term has rattled the Pakistani establishment. Yesterday, during a TV debate, two gentlemen from that country, both established in diplomatic circles, were found hitting out at Obama and the Indian participants on various points. Former Pakistani Ambassador to the USA Zafar Hilaly was particularly on the offensive. He once termed President Obama as 'callow' while at another time, he shot back at BJP's Seshadri Chari after the latter mentioned the 1971 war. "That's why we have the nuclear weapons. Try that again. You will see. Don't threaten us...," Hilaly said.
Nuclear weapons being shifted around in buses!
Former major general and close aide to former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Rashid Qureshi was the other Pakistani panelists, said India was making up stories after it was said that their nuclear weapons were unprotected and being moved around in buses and vehicles.
Pakistan's rising frustration
The Pakistanis' frustration was clearly visible. President Obama's re-election is not a happy news for Islamabad. In fact, the relation between Washington and Islamabad has only deteriorated since the Kargil War of 1999 when Bill Clinton, who was nearing his second term, began to exert pressure on Pakistan. During the days of George W Bush and Pervez Musharraf, both sides were influenced by a compelling situation but the Republican President's flawed plans allowed the crafty Musharraf to defy Washington and still bag huge American aid and favour.
Post-26/11, the situation has gone totally against Pakistan. The fact that many foreign nationals were killed in the attacks in Mumbai did what other terror attacks that took place before could not. An international pressure began to mount on Pakistan and events like Abu Jundal's extradition to India by Saudi Arabia, also a close US ally in West Asia, or the recent imposition of sanctions on the Haqqani group by the UN Security Council show that Pakistan is in a very vulnerable position in international relations.
The situation has been further aggravated by Pakistan's hopeless internal situation. The Americans follow a clear policy worldwide. In the name of promoting democracy and freedom, Washington actually backs incumbents who are favourable for it, even if they are dictatorial. President Musharraf was the 'stabilising face' that Pakistan had amid big chaos and President Bush was compelled to back him in order to safeguard American interests in and around Afghanistan during the post-9/11 war against terror.
US finds no ally in Pakistan politics today and hence dumps it
But now with that stabilising factor gone and no replacement ready to be hired, the US is not ready to jeopardise its interests and has taken up the responsibility to fight terrorism itself, that means attacking extremists on the Pakistani soil. Even Bush had approved entry of US troops into Pakistan without seeking the latter's permission towards the end of his stint. The continuing drone attacks by the US that have created such a huge uproar in Pakistan was also started during Bush's regime and was substantially increased under Obama.
The latter adopted a more coordinated policy towards Afghanistan by clubbing that country with Pakistan, saying an unstable Pakistan will undermine the success in Afghanistan and vice-versa. Pakistan feels by alienating itself, the US can not achieve its goal in Afghanistan and must correct its course.
But the fact of the matter is: With four years of experience at the highest level under his belt, neither Barack Obama is callow today and nor he will hesitate to force his foreign policy plan. Obama the Second has a powerful mandate and he will not care to defy the unreliable Pakistanis if he really means business. The termination of Osama bin Laden is a case in hand.
Death of Pakistani soldiers in NATO attack, Islamabad's closing down of NATO supply route or the Raymond Davis case have worsened the relation further.