Reciprocating a closer embrace with China

November 19, 2010

Pakistan has been pursuing the mirage of US friendship far too long. Despite being jilted and let down on numerous occasions, Pakistan still yearns for the US embrace. At best Pak-US relations have been a marriage of convenience and that too of the US and not Pakistan; after the convenience is over, so is the relationship.

Even now Pakistan’s liaison with the US is faced with a serious trust deficit, despite the fact that both are on the same page as far as the war against terror is concerned. But the US media and its leadership tend to sow doubts about the sincerity of Pakistan’s efforts. However, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has admitted that the US had created the radical outfits and supported militants to fight the Soviet Union, but that strategy had boomeranged; it just did not work out so well for the US. She also believes that Pakistan is paying a “big price” for supporting the US war on terror.

Unfortunately, such “confessions” are meaningless because, at the end of the day, President Barack Obama visited Pakistan’s arch rival and enemy, India, while sermonising it to “do more”. Renowned columnist Eric Margolis, author of War at the Top of the World and American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World, has opined: “The catalyst for US-Indian amity was the 9/11 attacks that brought the US and India into an alliance of convenience against foes in the Muslim world. But the looming threat of China, and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal that worried Israel, also played a key role….America’s military-industrial-financial complex pushed Bush hard to make nice to India and pry open its formerly sealed gates”, but Obama has taken the relationship to fruition.

Under the circumstances, the President of Pakistan has made the right move to visit China. The Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad has expressed very eloquently in his article, China and Asia: closer than ever, published on the eve of the President Zardari’s visit, that the Chinese government and people over the years, have been providing unselfish and unconditional help and support to Pakistan. In the light of the great loss of lives and property inflicted by the floods, which have hit Pakistan since late July, Beijing has pledged a total of $250 million humanitarian assistance to it. The Chinese people have also been trying to help their Pakistani brothers in a variety of ways. A Chinese reconstruction survey delegation visited the flood-affected areas in Pakistan recently and assured its all-out support of the rehabilitation efforts of the brotherly country. Chinese PM Wen Jiabao too will visit Pakistan next month to “deepen strategic cooperation”.

It is no doubt high time Pakistan gives full credit to China and its unmitigated support for the people of Pakistan. Whenever Pakistan needed help, whether it was earthquake disaster, unprecedented floods, international sanctions, Beijing has responded wholeheartedly. What else could one ask for from a true friend? China has been willing to provide transfer of technology to Pakistan with no strings attached. In the same vein, its interest in the uplift of Asia has been tremendous, as is visible from its approach in the ASEAN or President Hu Jintao’s five-point proposal at the 18th Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to promote sound and fast economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

One needs to appreciate that China has come a long way since the 19th and early 20th century, when it was subjugated by various powers. Opium was smuggled by merchants from British India into China in defiance of Chinese prohibition laws. Open warfare between Britain and China broke out in 1839, in which the latter was defeated and forced to sign humiliating and unequal treaties, including the cessation of Hong Kong and Macau. During World War II, Japanese forces overran Mainland China and slaughtered thousands of Chinese.

India tried to usurp its territory in the early sixties leading to the Sino-Indo war of 1962 and continues to harbour dissidents and insurgents, who conspire to destabilise China. Yet, the Chinese have displayed tremendous patience and never harboured a vindictive attitude even towards the US, which is trying to nurture, arm and goad India and other countries that have territorial disputes with China, to hostility. Despite this, the economic crunch of the US has been partly absorbed by Chinese support.

If China has selected Pakistan to help overcome its economic difficulties through infrastructure development, then credit must be given where it is due. Civil nuclear energy, which the US has agreed to bestow upon India, has been denied to Pakistan. It is China, which has come forward to support Pakistan and provide reactors for civil nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards, yet the US finds fault with it. It is now up to Pakistan to recognise the virtues of its true friend and respond with equal warmth and give up chasing rainbows. S.M Hali. The writer is a political and defence analyst.


One comment

  1. It is an interesting game going on, the Pakistanis playing the China card with the Americans, and the Americans playing the India card with the Pakistanis.

    However the outcome is not hard to guess ….. no one in the right sense would dump India, for a moth eaten bankrupt nation that provides safe heavens to the terrorist of all kinds.

    The article ends with heaping praise on the authoritarian, undemocratic and expansionist China, as all these attributes the Chinese have are historically dear to the Muslims for ages ….. !

    The PAF, after failing to buy western avionics and missiles from the west, is settling for the Chinese electronics and SD-10 missile ……and consoling themselves by terming these Chinese stuff to be the very best in the world …. !

    The Pakistanis bet high on China, thinking that the silver bullet lies there ….. but the shrewd and pragmatic Chinese would not spend a dime on Pakistan without return.

    At the end of the day, Pakistan would remain where it is now … !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: