Apologists for US Imperialists

By: Dr Shireen M. Mazari

This is a cross post from The Nation and WWW.PAKNATIONALISTS.COM

In his latest write up for BBC, Pentagon adviser Ahmed Rashid proposes putting Pakistan under an international trusteeship. Too bad he forgot that Pakistan is not under US or NATO occupation. Ahmed Rashid leads the pack of pro-US and pro-UK activists in Pakistan, whose work is tailored to please a foreign audience. But he is not alone. There is Dr. Hafeez Shaikh and Dr. Nadeem ul Haq, Pakistan’s key economic managers. The United States does not need to invade and occupy Pakistan and execute a regime-change like it did in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Pakistan, Washington is using apologists in politics, media and intelligentsia who are willing accomplices without Washington having to fire a single bullet.

The more one observes the Pakistan-US relationship, the more one realizes that to understand fully its multiple dimensions, one really needs to look at it through a Gramscian [Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci] framework of hegemony where the hegemon has so entrenched its value system in the ruling elite of the subservient nation that it does not need to exercise the use of force or brute power. In other words, it has established its hegemony, which Gramsci distinguishes from power through use of force – to explain the depth of Gramscian thought in a simplistic but comprehensible fashion. That is, the ruling elite imbibe the value system of the hegemon – in this case the US – as its own and relate to it, rather than to its own indigenous influences and realities. Aiding and abetting this external value system’s adoption are of course the “organic intellectuals” in the Gramscian sense, who are linked to the ruling class and have to be won over by the hegemon since it is this group in a society that create an awareness not only of a class’s functions in the economic sense, but also in the social and political fields. But an even more important group of “intellectuals” are the “traditional intellectuals” who claim to be autonomous and independent of any class in society, including the ruling class but are not always so. If one now examines the extensive definition of intellectuals by Gramsci, it includes not just those who think in society – which he says everyone does – but who have “the function of intellectuals” and included in this are business managers, media persons, researchers, engineers, politicians and so on.
In Pakistan today, one can see a range of these groups of intellectuals – both organic and traditional – who are increasingly being co-opted by the external hegemon, the US, as it pours money into the media and other sections of civil society.

Leading the field in the co-opted intellectuals one can identify the likes of Ahmed Rashid who now specifically writes what the West wants to hear and his latest piece for the BBC as a guest columnist practically suggests handing over Pakistan and its governance to foreign technocrats controlled by the US. It is no wonder the US government is using him as an adviser for this region – but unfortunately he is totally out of synch with the ground realities of Pakistan and its people; or he would have realized how such ideas will not gel in Pakistan just as the US-loyal intellectuals are finding few takers within the nation as a whole.

However, the problem for us is that the US is willing to accept the bizarre advice of people like Rashid and act on it – thereby causing more damage to Pakistan. After all, we already have some of these people in key economic decision-making roles from Dr Hafeez Shaikh to Dr. Nadeem ul Haq in the Planning Commission – all with strong links to the US and IMF. But that is not enough for Rashid who suggests in the column on the BBC website that foreign technocrats should take over our economic and, clearly linked to that, political decision-making. Now how “foreign” these technocrats should be is not specified given how Shaikh and Haq by any definition are foreign enough in terms of linkages and time spent abroad as well as assets abroad – and we are not too sure about dual nationalities!

Anyhow, Rashid has suggested that a Pakistan Reconstruction Trust Fund be set up like the one operating in Afghanistan, especially to fund the government, army and police! Such a fund would not just monitor the “cash” but also “help” (in other words dictate) a supposedly “non-political neutral” reconstruction effort. Oh the phrase “non-political and neutral” which used to denote a pretext for military non-democratic rule at one time! Now we are seeing it to justify Neoimperialism. While the floods are the pretext for justifying such a move, the real agenda is clearly that of the IMF and World Bank because according to Rashid, such a body would also plan long-term economic reforms including future taxes!
Too bad Rashid has forgotten that Pakistan is not under US or NATO occupation, although judging from his earlier advice he may be wishing it were! To make this suggestion more acceptable he has advocated that “neutral” Pakistani technocrats should be included and of course where else can these be found but in the “NGO workers” for one! The fact is that in any social science field where there are value judgments, nothing is “neutral”. Clearly just as the British colonialists co-opted Indians into their running of British India, Rashid has the same idea for the neoimperialist masters of his – the US! The British colonists also felt they were more efficient than the Indian rulers – and perhaps they were considering that India’s Muslim rulers, the precursors to Pakistan, were in a decline after centuries in government – but the cost of this efficiency was colonization.
This is not to deny the sorry state of governance and the rampant corruption in the Pakistani state today but we have the capacity and capability to bring about change through our own resources and hopefully through democratic means. Incidentally, Rashid also continues to beat the bogey of the threat of “Islamic extremism” which has certainly served him well! Rashid tries to draw a parallel between the 1971 cyclone in what was then East Pakistan; but the fact is that the crisis there had begun way before the cyclone and secessionist forces and the ruling elite’s political obduracy were already on a collision course which was aggravated by the cyclone. This is not to say that things are not disastrous today as we look around a flood ravaged national landscape and an inept and corrupt government. But there are signs of hope also from the money pouring in from Pakistanis and private external donors to non-government sources as well as the exemplary relief work being done by the three Services (regardless of their other shortcomings). Pakistanis will reconstruct again – of this Rashid should have no doubts. Also, many Pakistanis are also seeing the floods as a wake-up call to restructure and reform their government and state institutions, but again not through the option of external rule and colonization. So there is a new political awakening; but the challenge is to bring change while strengthening democracy not accepting colonization.
Not that the US needs to colonize us overtly since it is already more than halfway there with a growing injection of money into the media and with its private and official covert operatives all over the country and in some of our sensitive air bases and other military outfits. In fact, the extent of the US presence in Pakistan is unknown but can be felt and seen to be extensive. What Ahmed Rashid is seeking is to find a legitimate way to make it all overt and therefore more legitimate. After all, as an organic intellectual of the hegemon he has to play his due role. But when will Pakistanis wake up and see this insidious agenda against the country?

(Dr Mazari is Editor The Nation. Shireen M. Mazari is a scholar and commentator on Strategic Studies and Political Science from Pakistan. She was Director General of Institute of Strategic Studies, a research think-tank based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Mazari”s views are considered to be a form of Pakistani nationalism. She has been critical of Pakistan”s dealings with other countries, including India and the United States. Mazari formerly was an Associate Professor and then Chairperson of the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad).

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Comments

  • Raheel Dogar  On September 21, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Dear Dr Mazari
    What a brilliant piece! But Ahmed Rashid is NOT the only one. Many of our pseudos fall in the same category.For them, a patriotic person is a “reactionary”. Being distanced & impersonal to your motherland,better: lynching your country is the lastest form of intellectualism.
    Or, they are simply on the take?

  • Laila  On September 21, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Tariq Ali in a seminal article has castigated Mr. Rashid and his nonsense. Those who the Gods want to destroy, they first make angry–or so goes one of the oldest Greek sayings, that depicts the raving mad rant of the Hoodbhoy’s Neocon clone called Ahmed Rashid. It was Mr. Rashid’s rant that has exacerbated the situation in Afghanistan, and led to the pushing over of the Indian mercenaries and insurgents into Pakistan. Mr. Rashid calls all this “conspiracy”. Parhaps he should read the latest news story in the Guardian which describes the deceit and lies that led to the war in Iraq. A quick browsing of the Times of India will also show him how the BJP used the Babri Masjid demolition to enhance its electoral win.
    Despite the announcements by General Kiyani, Prime Minister Gilani, Interior Minsiter Rahman Malik, and Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi about Indian involvement in FATA and Balochistan—Mr. Ahmed Rashid describes all this as “conspiracy”. I suppose the entire government, people, media, army, ISI and press are involved in some conspiracy to propagate conspiracy theory—”awaz e khalq ko naqara khuda sumjho”. Mr. Rashid the great America lover, and believer in democracy, doesn’t really care what the people of Pakistan are saying. This epitome of “knowledge” who teaches at a third rate open admisison party university in Islamabad knows it all. Mr. Rashid castigates the “illiterate” talk show hosts who invite guests ‘with long beards”. This line from his article duly published by the paragon of veracity the BBC–was so funny that I still cannot hide my smile.
    Mr. Rashid thinks that Hamid Mir, Mr. Abbasi, and Shahid Masood are illiterate, and General talat Masood, Hamid Gul and ohters have beards.
    What utter garbage and nonsense. Mr. Rashid is an anomoly. He is a plant in Islamabad University which is now fast becoming a nest of spies led by Mr. Hoodbhoy and Mr. Rashid.
    Both have to be challenged intellectually and exposed for this lies, deciet and Anti-Pakistan activities.
    L

  • HABIB  On September 21, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Good one from Shireen Mazari, especially where she so aptly explains our current state of international relations in the light of Gramscian [Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci] framework of hegemony …,.
    Ahmed Rashid once again gets huge boost of (negative) publicity, and come to think of it, which is exactly what he was aiming at?
    The assault on us is too strong to do anything about .
    hh

  • Zafar Akhtar  On September 21, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Articles like these depicts the frustrations of pakistani who are genuninly concerned about the current plight of mismanagement of the affairs of the country.There are clearly two school of thoughts, one who believes that the solutions to the evils lies with the powers outside the country and the other group feels it can be resolved indigeniously,it seems to me that these people are getting frustrated with no solution in sight.I believe that these propakistanis should instead of getting frustrated should propose solutions which could be implememted to get pakistan out of its various crises.Personally to me the biggest challange for pakistan is to tackle its economic crises which hugh depts( more than $ 50 bill).I have yet to see any suggestion from our so called analyst and well wishers of pakistan which could describe with a road map to overcome this depts issue.All the other issues in the country are minor.
    Zafar Akhtar

  • Tarun  On September 21, 2010 at 4:55 am

    I salute Ahmed Rashid & Hoodbhoy for the work they are doing.
    Imran Khan had come to blows nearly with Mr. Hoodbhoy, when the Khan accused him of being an “Advisor to the US’. Mr. Hoodbhoy never actually denied the charge, but was very belligerent with Mr. Imran Khan. Mr. Hoodbhoy later accused Mr. Khan of assault.This I saw on a Paki channel.
    I do not like Imran Khan for being rude to our good friends!

  • Rashid Inam  On September 21, 2010 at 4:58 am

    We think of Professor Hoodbhoy as an enemy agent, a spy, and a 5th column. Finally, others have begun to respond to his claptrap. Professor Alam recently wrote an article exposing Mr. Hoodbhoy. The expose really irked the spy who works at QAU in Islamabad.The victory of Native Orientalists – the ones which the late Edward Said had warned us about – is nearly complete in Pakistan. It has been led by “the minions of Western embassies and Western-financed NGOs” and includes the likes of “Ahmad Rashid, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmad, Irfan Hussain, Husain Haqqani, and P.J.Mir”. Thus declares Mohammad Shahid Alam, a professor of Pakistani origin who teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachussetts. [CounterPunch, 2 Dec 2009]

  • Summaya  On September 21, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Whenever anti-Pakistani lobbies in the West and India need a Pakistani to promote their propaganda, no one does a better job for them other than people such as Asma Jahangir, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Ahmed Rashid, Ayesha Jalal and many others like them.

    Take for example this public letter written to Pervez Hoodhboy by what appears to be a Pakistani expatriate in Oman.

    The self-hatred and anti-Pakistan propaganda of these influential speakers is slowly being echoed by provincial separatists in Pakistan, who see this as a perfect opportunity to defame the Pakistani government and the state.
    They blame the ISI for every terrorist incident in India, Afghanistan and the world (sometimes even the 911 attacks themselves!) while they praise every small great thing in India and highlight every small bad thing in Pakistan without mercy.
    Some go as far to denounce the so-called “partition”.

    So in the end, what we have is a group of Indian pawns who offer no solutions to our problems and fill our peoples minds with self-hatred and worship of the Indian government, and are quick to aid the Indian propaganda machine against Pakistan; called for whenever needed like obedient stooges.
    In the post 911 era, a new “blame Pakistan game” has been launched in the West, where every failure of the West in Iraq and Afghanistan is somehow always the fault Pakistan for “not doing enough” or “secretly supporting terrorism.”
    This blame Pakistan game has become a popular one especially in India and is aided by self-defeatists in Pakistan as well as the provincial separatists.

    And unsurprisingly, amongst the most outspoken people against this growing Middle Easternization of Pakistan (particularly Arabization) and rise in religious fundamentalism are the pro-Indian self-defeatists themselves such as Pervez Hoodbhoy.

    Many readers at this point can see a clearly established pattern over here. Pro-Indian, self-hating defeatists who offer only regret after regret in being Pakistani and support for the enemy which seeks to destroy us.
    On the other hand a rising Islamist movement with an inferiority complex towards the people of the Middle East and a hatred for other religions, indigenous interests as well as indigenous history and culture.

    Both sides frequently outspoken against one another and their horrific ambitions/ideologies.
    Both sides frequently distorting history to suit themselves and promoting hatred in being Pakistani.

  • S U Turkman  On September 21, 2010 at 6:32 am

    There is a Ruling Elite just like in Pakistan?
    I have lived in USA since 1973 but its a news to me. She is wrong that Ahmed Rashid is saying, what USA wants to hear because this is what ordinary Pakistanis want because under British, their ‘ChaaDer’ and ‘Chaar divaari’ was protected and they could file an FIR without paying a Bribe.
    * Government is now a 100 times more corrupt than British Government.
    * There was no Ethnic Bias or discrimination like we have now in Pakistan. Army was not declaring every Minority Agent of any Enemy and killing them in Military Operations like East Pakistanis, Mohajirs, PushToons, Sindhis, Baloch and people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
    * There was no discrimination against any Ethnic or Religious Groups in Army, Police and Civil Government jobs like it is now in Pakistan.
    * The Nation was run so effectively that it was only next to USA in Foreign Reserves after WW II and owed no Loans to any country. Britain actually owed Money to British India. It tells, how honest and competent they were and how incompetent and dishonest our Ruling Mafias have been.
    .
    Rashid is wrong. Pakistan, a failed state, a country living off Charity of US and other Aid since 1953 and Loans since 1955 that she has not paid back a penny, where Taliban can kill thousands of us every year, where Army and Police can not protect themselves, who’s so boasted fastest friend of her, China can not trust her and had to deploy 11,000 Troops near her border so, Pak Army would not be able to train her Moslim Dissidents, arm them give them money to cause trouble in Western China, should be given back to Britain or at least leased to her.
    Mazari is saying, what Punjabi Army thinks. Her thinking capacity is same as of Pak Army Generals, who live in 16th Century world. Just like Pakistan had occupied Baluchistan and has been stealing her Natural Resources, they think, USA invaded Afghanistan for the same reason because their brains can not get out of 16th Century world. Since they live off stealing from poor of Pakistan and retiring filthy rich, they think, same goes on in USA. Just like people of Ruling Mafia become filthy rich by stealing money Mazari thinks same goes on in USA and Europe.
    This is why she is accusing USA (that has GDP of $ 14 trillion, exports $ 700 billion a year) of trying to take over Pakistan (that has a GDP of just $ 170 billion, exports $ 14 billion). She doesn’t know, Budget of Toyta is bigger than GDP of her country. Why would so rich USA want to occupy Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan?
    US Army is still in Japan, U.K., Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark since WW II and in S Korea since 1953 besides in Bosnia and Kosovo. Are these countries also under US Occupation and not free?
    Is USA stealing their Natural Resources or stealing their money for last 65 years?
    Are they poor countries like so free Pakistan?
    Is not USA poorer than Japan, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Denmark instead?
    If its not so, why whenever USA wants to reduce her Army there, these countries beg USA, not to do so?
    Its shameful for Mazari to say foolish stuff against USA, when Blood running not only her Veins but also her Parents is being produced by Charity of American Wheat to Pakistan since 1953 and USA has been biggest Charity and Loan Giver to Pakistan for more than a half century. Not only that but Pakistan still exists because USA has saved her existence 4 times 1965, 1971 when India had tried to take over West Pakistan also, 1998 when because of Pak Army’s infiltration in to Kargil India had wanted to attack, 2003 when India had wanted to attack again because her National Assembly was attacked.
    There are 193 countries in the world but Pakistan is the only one that USA had to save 4 times but I guess, she shouldn’t have because thankless imbecile ‘Monaafiqeen’ the Pakistanis do not deserve that all since they hate, who they have been living-off all their lives.
    “Fabay ayi A ala RubbekomaN tokozsibaan?” … Qoraan.
    Translation: And of what else gift of Allah you would deny, Liars?

    • Tarun  On September 21, 2010 at 7:12 am

      Jai shi Krishan Turkman Maharaj.
      Tusee kamal kar ditta.
      Jug jug jeeo-
      Jai Ram ji ki.

      • Shehkar  On September 21, 2010 at 7:13 am

        Terrific note Turkman.Good job.I was waiting for your input.You do us PROUD!

    • Ratan Singh  On September 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      Wah Bhraoo Turkman. Dil khush keeta nai.
      Balay Balay .

  • S. Khalid Husain  On September 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    The Pakistanis themselves are providing all the reasons for the growing thinking in the world that Pakistan is incapable of governing itself in any area, be it politics, police, civil admin, cricket. In the present set up the fountainhead of all ills related to governance is the Head of State.

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