When war is expensive beyond acceptance a Trojan Horse is the best option. A Trojan Horse is economical, easier to manipulate and the strategic course less subject to the friction of war.
Lately, the USA has successfully applied this strategy in the Islamic world. The first Trojan Horse of note was Sadaat an ambitious man from a humble background who delivered the most fatal stab wound in the back of the Muslim world. This Trojan horse was delivered the coup de grace by a fearless Egyptian subaltern Islambouli. Another deadly Trojan Horse was the Shah of Iran.
The post 9/11 era is an era of Trojan Horses in the Muslim world. They rule in the name of sanity. In reality they are anesthetists employed to administer a strategic anesthesia to the core convictions of the Muslim masses. Usually men with little political clout, a minority ethnic status, avaricious, conceited, sons settled in the USA, and with little connection with Islam or the real aspirations of a Muslim.
Pakistan was created in 1947 and soon the Pakistani generals in league with British trained civil servants and feudal lords started a joint Jihad to destroy Pakistan’s democracy which finally succeeded in 1958. Since 1958 Pakistani military junta has ruled the country and used the Kashmir Dispute as a reason for gobbling up Pakistan’s 70 % budget. In the process Pakistani military miserably failed in 1965 war despite significant superiority over Indians in number and quality of equipment. The matter is discussed in great detail in my book The Pakistan Army till 1965 held at US Army Staff College and War College Libraries and also at Air War College Karachi Library. The Staff College Quetta had refused to accept it in their library.
All along Pakistani military junta used various pretexts to solicit Western military and financial aid, the ulterior motive being to consolidate its own position in the Pakistani power politics. First it used the Soviet threat to get US aid. Later it used Afghan war as an excuse for getting aid and now it is using the Islamist Threat as an excuse for getting aid. Even this earthquake is a golden opportunity for this avaricious and corrupt military junta.
When I was research aide with Ikram Sehgal in 2002 one day he told me to prepare draft of a presentation that he had been asked to deliver at the army’s National Defence College. The highlight of the topic given to him by the National Defense College (NDC) was that "Ideology is no longer fashionable"!. At that time the NDC had a commandant who in his book had made the Mogul Emperor fight at Panipat after he had died in his book India – A Study in Profile!. Ironically, the same general was the architect of the Kargil blunder as the divisional commander of Northern Areas. Interestingly, before Kargil he was in DC as Defense AttachÃ©!
Recently, General Musharraf has started another jugglery show claiming that he is the man of peace. A good move since Kashmir and USSR are no longer in vogue. Musharraf states that he wants friendship with India and Israel. We do not question his good intentions but taken in depth this signals Musharraf’s acceptance that 1947 partition of India was a faux pas. If so many Muslims were killed in 1947, 1965 and 1971 then what was the use of the whole exercise in futility. If Israel is now being engaged by Pakistan’s military junta – why it was not done earlier? Why this whole game? Seen in depth, Pakistan’s military junta has an institutional interest in peace now. It wanted war when it suited its institutional interests and it wants peace when it suits Musharraf. Seen in this context, Pakistani military junta may be initiating a process similar to the one initiated by Gorbachev that led to disintegration of USSR.
Surely, if India is not a threat, why have such a large army? Why not undo the federal structure and let Balochistan and Sindh and NWFP be states as initially hinted in the Pakistan Resolution of 1940. Why should Pakistan Army be building cantonments in Balochistan?
What Musharraf is indirectly signaling is that partition was a blunder? That war is good when it is good for Pakistani military junta and bad when it does not suit the Pakistani military junta? This is an indirect attack on Pakistan’s ideology. Who says that the last Mir Jafar was produced in 1757?
If Musharraf is to be believed then Three wars were fought for no reason. Afghanistan destroyed by pursuing an adventuresome and a genocidal foreign policy by all starting from Ayub, Zia down to Naseerullah Babar and even Musharraf as he stood before 9/11.
The West must not forget that Musharraf may prove to be a liability rather than an asset for the world in the long run. What must be understood is the fact that Musharraf’s appeasement of the West will lead to a massive Islamist backlash. Musharraf is far more fragile now than anyone can imagine. Cheap adventure-ism as well as cheap appeasement is equally dangerous. The Pakistan Army was a laughing-stock when they bogged down at Khem Karan. Now Musharraf has proved that all was a grand strategic fraud. If peace with India was good why did not the Pakistani generals did it earlier. Why, so that they could gobble 70 to 80 % of Pakistan’s budget every year since 1958? These are serious questions, which no Pakistani politician is asking. Why at least 50,000 Baloch killed since 1947? Why this aimless genocide? Why were 1 million Afghans killed from 1978 till to date just because the military usurper Zia wanted US money and Stingers to sell in the black market? Why is everyone silent?
Musharraf’s short-term theatrics need to be reviewed seriously. If all that he states is right then Pakistan will have to re-think its ideology. If Pakistan leaves its ideology then it is a state comprising nationalities, a multi-ethnic state. The Pakistani military junta must not forget that since 1958 Pakistan was an army with a state rather than a state with an army. If now Pakistani military junta makes grand claims of peace in order to please USA, Pakistan is on the road to Balkanization.
What Musharraf has initiated is a dangerous game. Paying in the short run – but – self-destructive for the Pakistani military junta in the long run. Possibly good for the region if a self-serving military machine is reduced to size. Possibly dangerous for the region if a backlash starts and Islamic extremism is the main beneficiary. Musharaff’s policies need to be questioned not only by the Pakistani people but also by the whole world.
In the Pakistani context following may be the implications:
- Pakistan’s smaller provinces may question the rationale for Pakistan. If India is not a threat and Afghanistan is a friend why not have an independent Baloch, Pashtun or Sindhi state. Why have a large army which has been involved in a dangerous foreign policy and in aggression against Pakistan’s neighbors. The Durand Line may have significance for the Pakistani junta but for the Baloch and Pashtun it is a Berlin Wall, which will become meaningless one day.
- Why should Pakistan have a nuclear program and a large standing army. Why should not the US insist that Pakistan reduce its army and dismantle its nuclear warheads.
- Conversely if the Pakistan Army is reduced – why should the smaller provinces stay with the Pakistani Federal State. It is only the coercive force of the army that has kept the Pakistani confederation together.
- Why should not Pakistan’s neighbors demand a redrawing of boundaries.
Musharraf’s policies and his petty opportunism are a grave danger for the region. It is possible that in the end his policies may prove to be seriously counter-productive for world peace. The Pakistani military junta needs to stop playing games, which it has been playing since 1954 when it entered Pakistani politics as a subversive force and since 1982 when it entered regional politics as a subversive adventurous force. The USA must understand that they are not dealing with rational good-natured men but with crafty opportunists who may prove to be a serious strategic liability.
Who has given the Pakistani military junta to decide what is good and what is bad for Pakistan, if their claims are to be believed as now Musharraf states Pakistan was a faux pas?
Now in order to divert the mass’ attention Musharraf has come up with a new diversionary scheme that he would build reservoirs. What he wants is to woo the Punjabis, emotional people that they are, but more fatally pitch Punjab against Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan. As an ex army officer, I am surprised where are the fabled corps commanders? Where is the ideology of Pakistan? Who has given a general dismissed by this country’s elected Prime Minister the right to do whatever he pleases to do? Musharraf’s strategic decisions are taken as if Pakistan is a Paan to be chewed. Sometimes a sweet one and sometimes a sour one. May Allah help Pakistan. Ranjit Singh imported Tejh Singh from Meerut with the hope that a non-Jat army chief would be a blessing. Tejh Singh destroyed the Khalsa at Mudki and Feroz shah in 1845. British historian Malleson recognized that had Tejh Singh not been treacherous the Sikhs would have been won. Alas! it is the tragedy of the Indus Valley that it never trusted its sons.
Some day Kargil and the post 9/11 Pakistani policy may be examined and more Tejh Singhs discovered.
Americans don’t trust Trojan Horses for they are really exciting the desire to atone and vindicate the lost honor in the whole Muslim World.
Or is it possible that Musharraf is USA’s Trojan Horse to deal with the "Final Solution" of the Pakistani WMDs. This is a matter which historians will decide.