Strategic depth by any other name

The Central Asian -stans look good where they are. They could do without Pakistani ‘leadership’

It works on little children. It is unlikely to work on a country like Pakistan. Maroof Raza’s contention that the United States should help Pakistan dominate Central Asia in order to shake its obsession with Kashmir is not unlike the babysitter’s favourite ploy.

This is because since it’s creation, the elite of Pakistan has found anti-Indianism – and the Kashmir issue – as their best bonding adhesive. The answer therefore lies in giving Pakistan’s establishment another strategic alternative to contesting India. And this is where the ‘Great Game’ can be revisited. If Pakistan was anywhere else on the globe, it would have been a regional power. It is the seventh largest country in the world, is a nuclear power and has immense potential. But placed as it is between China and India, it appears smaller than it actually is. What it therefore needs is a re-definition of its regional role. And that could be done by allowing Pakistan to lead the strategic bloc, called Central Asia.

If that happens then it appears that a classical reversal of history might now be taking place, wherein instead of Russia approaching the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Pakistan could be prepared by the US as a maritime power, to overwhelm the Asian heartland! [IE]

Right, and allowing a military-run, Islamic fundamentalist-prone, nuclear-armed, failing state to dominate over Central Asia’s natural resources is somehow in the interests of those who Raza thinks should back the effort. And after appeasing Pakistan’s ambitious rulers with the rich energy supplies of Central Asia what is to stop them from pursuing their old Kashmir campaign? Instead of nurturing such fantasies, Pakistan would be better off on devising ways it can save itself from remaining a borderline failed-state. The solution to the Kashmir problem, like the solution to the Pakistan problem, lies inside Pakistan.

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