Philosophy of Anti-West Syndrome


Anti-west in general and anti-America sentiment in particular is  manifest in our psyche and it keeps finding expressions in variety of  ways. Pakistani leadership’s decision to join the international  coalition against terrorism, essentially targeting Osama bin Laden’s Al  Qaida and Taliban’s regime in Afghanistan, came as almost a bolt from  the blue for the fundamentalist lobby in Pakistan. Although the majority  of the people did not share the views of the religious extremists with  the intensity demonstrated by the lobby, yet the stark reality is that  the general sentiment of the people does not conform to the line adopted  by the government leadership. It is intriguing to note that the  hostility to the American cause prevails in all segments of Pakistani  society. Only a very small minority, only of few liberated people, backs  the government. Practical manifestation of hatred against America in the  form of street agitation has though not assumed any worthwhile  proportions in the country but consensus surely points to a serious anti-American syndrome. 

In the heart of their hearts everyone condemns the atrocities of  September 11 against World Trade Centre  and Pentagon in the US. Also  everyone is convinced that these cruel acts that took over 5,000  innocent lives were un-Islamic and rather inhuman and, therefore, merit  reprisal against the perpetrators. When the reprisal is initiated, it is  termed as war against Islam and the people from all over the country  throng on the Pak-Afghan border to participate in Jehad against America  and its allies. The whole affair, therefore, becomes a very complex  heterodox meriting exposure of its logical underpinnings.

Every government set up in the country is viewed as an American  engineered dispensation. Most of these governments have been indulging  in highly corrupt practices. One over the other governments have been  stashing away tax payers money to the safe heavens of banks in Europe  and America, drowning the country deeper and deeper into the morass of  indebtedness. The touts of the political leaders in the government are  given free hand to plunder national coffers to buttress the corrupt  dispensations of sorts, now in democratic robes and then as ‘saviour’  dictators. Consequently, the rich have been becoming richer and the poor  poorer. At the international scene more horrendous inequities in the  third world and American highhandedness around the globe is discernible  every now and then.

Arm twisting tactics of United States regarding the major oil producing  countries to ensure guaranteed oil supply on the price tag fixed by them  is a classic example of American practice in manipulating oil production,  supply and price structure in the world. Despite being the biggest oil  importer in the world the United States economy is enjoying almost the  lowest prices of oil products in the world. Poor countries in the third  world have to maintain more than double the prices prevalent in the US.  The prevalent standards of US regarding democracy, freedom and human rights  make a mockery of justice and fair play that mimic the less favoured  countries in the third world. All the major countries supplying oil to  the US, have autocratic dispensations. These dictatorships are some of  the most favoured nations with America and their interests are  safeguarded around the globe, without question.   Economic sanctions are applied selectively against states like Pakistan.  That too is done arbitrarily. Pakistan remained the blue eyed of America  during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and was left high and dry after  the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, getting tough economic sanctions  in return. Once again Pakistan assumes the status of most important  strategic partner of America, in the aftermath of September 11 terrorist  attacks in the US. All economic sanctions evaporate in thin air, all  possible trade facilities are granted and diverse financial aid packages  are in the pipeline. The contours of this hide and seek are prominently  embossed in the hearts and minds of the people of the third world  countries in general and of Pakistan in particular. Working in the  national interests is all right as long as you do not trample over the  legitimate interests of the other side involved. The American  administration needs comprehending the essence of this jargon and would  be better advised to use it sparingly and with neat discretion.

The historical events of Killing Fields of Vietnam and the carpet  bombing of Ho Chi Min Trail, ruthlessly killing thousands of innocent  civilians also present a background of later American atrocities against  the weak. Selective application of the provisions of UN Charter,  characterize the UNO as the bully-boy of United States. UN resolution to  free Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation is implemented through the use of  American armed forces, mobilized from other side of the globe, not in  aid of democracy and freedom but for the oil of Kuwait. Ignoring the  implementation of UN resolutions in the case of Palestine, Kashmir and  elsewhere is justified with the pretension of upholding the principle of  laissez faire. All these matters relating to the well being of the  people and approached callously are registered by humanity around the globe.

These blatant injustices and callousness have frustrated the people of  weaker countries of the world. These phenomenal developments have  created helplessness and despondency. In the recent past, after the end  of the cold war, the focus of American highhandedness has mostly been in  the Middle East, which is predominantly inhabited by Muslims, the  reaction, quite naturally, had also to come from Muslims. Had the  population of the Middle East been anything other than Muslims, the  reactions of those people would also have been exactly the same.  Accentuated feelings of helplessness promote the sentiment of  revengefulness with no holds barred. Meaninglessness of life drives  people to suicide attacks. The institution of suicide attacks and  terrorism, otherwise, have nothing to do with the faith of Islam. In fact  this is the religion whose teachings specifically condemn these  phenomena. 

Investigations in the aftermath of September 11 attacks in New York and  Pentagon have established beyond doubt that the perpetrators of these  atrocities were mostly Arabs. Owing to their petro dollars, most of  these countries are economically affluent. That fact goes beyond poverty  and points out another equally important aspect of human society. That  is sovereignty and national dignity of a people. The ruling cliques of  these countries, playing second fiddle to America, to perpetuate their  rule, have over a protracted period, divested the people of these  countries of self-respect and national independence.

The case in the poorer third world countries like Pakistan though  technically different, ultimately results in creating the same  frustration and despondency. Though the common man cannot articulate the  causes of their revengefulness against America but their subconscious  verily registers the accumulative causes of American highhandedness and  injustices. Here in addition to the simple frustration of American  influence over the economic and political schemes of the governments,  the element of deprivation and jealousy, due to abject poverty, also  gets added to make things worse. Anti-American activism derives vitality  in the oil rich Muslim countries from the economic well being of the  people. Here in Pakistan this activism is virtually imported from those  countries. That is done in two ways. One is luxurious injection of  financial aid from those countries to the religious seminaries, which  act as the nurseries to bring up jehadis and accompanied fanaticism. The  other element is the physical presence of fanatic elements from Arab  countries in Pakistan, that act as a potent element of brain washing of  the illiterate masses here. Thus the vicious circle is put into  perpetual motion. 

It is hoped that the crackdown on Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al  Quaida outfit in Afghanistan, in collaboration with Pakistan, will pave  the way for the government to put effective checks on the proliferation of  religious seminaries and spread of fundamentalism in the country.  As far as the Americans are concerned, they must read the writing on the  wall that military invasions alone will not suffice to eliminate  terrorism. They will have to grasp the essence of the philosophy of anti-American syndrome in the Middle East and elsewhere in the third world  and undertake reforms with a fundamental change in their arbitrary  outlook about international terrorism.