An excerpt form Kolko’s 2002 book Another Century of War (New Press)
Communism’s virtual disappearance caused the geopolitical and strategic factors that produced alliances and coalitions after 1947 to decline and lose their justifications everywhere, but new ones have been more difficult to make. The situation in the entire Islamic world is too unstable, the outcome of the changes that are occurring within it unknowable. But
There are a number of ways
But no one could predict the sequence of events that brought
The frightening Pakistan-India confrontation revealed that the
Washington officials sought to court both Pakistan and India, and the Indians correctly pointed out that the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda trained many of the separatist guerrillas in Indian-held Kashmir; over half of those killed there since 2000 are of foreign nationality–mainly Pakistanis but also Arabs, some of whom gained experience while fighting Soviet troops.
Mushareef simply cannot afford to turn the Islamicists and their allies in the military against him, and in January of this year, even when on the brink of war with
These questions may be answered by time this book appears in print, but if not they will remain enduring and reemerge sooner or later. Meanwhile there will be acute, frightening tension between two nations that have often fought each other. What the crisis does confirm, regardless of any short-term settlements that may be reached, is that any dispute between nuclear powers can threaten the peace and stability of entire regions, and that as more nations acquire these weapons the world will become even more dangerous–and hence rational political solutions, compromises, and arms control become more imperative. Whether or not this occurs is another matter entirely.
Pakistan was much more important than India to the U.S. only as long as it fought in Afghanistan, but its tradition of coups–which is how General Musharraf came to power in October 1999–makes it all the more unstable and worrisome to the Bush Administration. But it sought to reassure
Its relations with
The ISI continues to be crucial in Pakistani politics and General Musharraf would not have come to power in a coup in October 1999 without the help of the ISI head, whom he fired in October 2001. And, more than ever, the crisis in relations with
Unfortunately for Musharraf, the
This is a major reason, once the war was largely won militarily, that
With good cause, the Pakistanis regard the
What was a tactical victory in
In this context,
Bin Laden probably has a greater influence and financial contacts in
It is a fact that the war in Afghanistan has weakened the regimes in both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, perhaps fatally, and the longer the war and its politically unstable aftermath takes then the greater the risks–especially to Pakistan. These potential dangers far exceed in strategic and economic importance the issues that were involved in finding bin Laden or removing the Taliban from power.
ZNetwork is funded solely through the generosity of its readers.Donate