GHQ Winning Like Never BeforeMarch 29, 2010
ISLAMABAD: What is so strategic about the strategic dialogue? Not too long ago, the Pentagon tried to play with the GHQ’s India-centric national security paradigm. Finally, the GHQ won, the Pentagon had to give in. Not too long ago, the US State Department tried to pressurise the GHQ into submission to civilian executive. Finally, the GHQ won, the State Department lost out.
Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, now says, “How can you have a strategic dialogue without including the military?” The New York Times announced, “Army Chief driving Pakistan’s agenda for talks.” The Washington Post declared, “Gen Kayani is driving the nation’s agenda.” Reuter’s announced, “General Kayani in Washington: Pakistan’s most powerful man.”
Within Pakistan, the GHQ won Operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat, Operation Black Thunderstorm in Buner, Lower Dir and Shangla and Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan. Over the recent past, the Pak Army successfully conducted the largest heli-borne operations ever undertaken in South Asia.
Strategically, within Pakistan, real power has already moved from Islamabad to Rawalpindi. The ruling politicians have failed to control events around them and are yet to exhibit any ability to control other powerful entities-one a mere 14 kilometres away from the Presidential Palace. And, unfortunately, the civvies have failed to put together coherent strategies to deal with state actors, the US, India and Afghanistan. On November 2, America votes to elect 435 members of the United States House of Representatives, 36 new members to the United States Senate and 38 governors.
The Obama White House needs the GHQ to mould American public opinion in favour of the Democratic Party. Jane Perlez of The New York Times wrote, “In a sign of the mounting power of the army over the civilian government in Pakistan, the head of the military, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, will be the dominant Pakistani participant in important meetings in Washington this week.”
Power, as a measure of an entity’s ability to control other entities, has slipped from the hands of our ruling politicians. Power, as a measure of an entity’s ability to control its environment, has slipped from the hands of our ruling politicians. Unfortunately, the PPP and PML remain ‘path dependent’-sticking to dynastic politics, internally non-democratic, not letting parties to evolve into institutions and remaining incapable of transcending individual human desires and goals.
The PPP and PML-N both shout at the top of their lungs that the army is ‘anti-democratic’. Imagine; a country where three of the most powerful of all forces – the army, PPP and PML — are all anti-democratic!
For the GHQ, beating domestic competitors has always been more like filling intellectual vacuums left wide open by the politicians. But, claiming victory over the Department of State and the Pentagon is a first. And, victory that comes without blood is a golfer’s masterstroke.