December 5, 2010
Margashirsh Amavasya, Kaliyug Varsha 5112By Chidanand Rajghatta
Washington/New Delhi :
Many of the cables in the first lot of Wikileaks' expose of intricate and dodgy U.S foreign policy pertains to Pakistan, a country variously described as a "nightmare" and a "headache" for the international community. The cables do not paint a flattering picture of Islamabad or its rulers.
For instance, one cable has the Saudi King Abdullah speak contemptuously of President Zardari. He calls Zardari the greatest obstacle to that country's progress and is quoted as saying "When the head is rotten, it affects the whole body."
Another cable describes a "dangerous standoff" with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: In May 2009, U.S Ambassador to Islamabad Anne Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, "if the local media got word of the fuel removal, "they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan's nuclear weapons."
Implicit in the cable is the suggestion of a see-saw battle between Washington and Islamabad about Pakistan's nuclear assets and its safety.
Some of the cables highlight Israel's concern with where Pakistan is going. In one exchange, Mossad chief Meir Dagan and U.S counterterrorism honcho Frances Townsend share concerns about Pakistan's ability to withstand the challenge of Islamic radicals. Dagan characterizes a Pakistan ruled by radical Islamists with a nuclear arsenal at their disposal as his biggest nightmare. Al-Qaeda and other "Global Jihad" groups could not be relied upon to behave rationally once in possession of nuclear weapons, he says, as they do not care about the well being of states or their image in the media.
"We have to keep (President Pervez) Musharaf in power," he is quoted as saying.
In another exchange, Israel's President Ehud Barak describes Pakistan as his "private nightmare," suggesting the world might wake up one morning "with everything changed" following a potential Islamic extremist takeover. When asked if the use of force on Iran might backfire with moderate Muslims in Pakistan, thereby exacerbating the situation, Barak acknowledges Iran and Pakistan are interconnected, but disagreed with a causal chain.
Exchanges between the U.S and Turkey also show Pakistan's continuing fears about India's presence in Afghanistan. At a meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, William Burns, Turkish diplomat Rauf Engin Soysal, who then was the Turkey's Deputy Under-Secretary for Bilateral Political Affairs responsible for the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, discloses that Turkey had not invited India to the Afghan neighbors' summit in deference to Pak sensitivities.
"He (Soysal) said Turkey had not invited India to the neighbors summit in deference to Pakistani sensitivities; however, he claimed, Pakistan understands attempting to exclude India from the nascent South Asian regional structures would be a mistake," says the confidential State Department cable dated February 25, 2010.
While Pakistan's reservations to India's presence at the meeting was known, its assessment that excluding India from regional structures would be a mistake is a disclosure that will be well-received in New Delhi.Source : TOI
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