Murphy's Law: April 6, 2004


Pakistan has been one up on its military strategy versus the rest of the world during the last few decades. This small nation has been able to subdue not only its big neighbor India but also subdue the mighty United States. 

Since the early 1980s, Pakistan has adopted a clever military strategy that entails adopting un-conventional warfare and acquiring strategic position. Since its humiliating defeat in the 1972 at the hand of India, leading to the dismemberment of the country and creation of a new nation Bangladesh, Pakistan has decided to cleverly avoid conventional warfare. 

In the early eighties, Pakistan co-opted the Americans by raising the Soviet bogie. Thus it was able to overtly acquire American military technology and stealthily acquire the technology for making nuclear weapons. After the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Pakistanis took over by creating the Taliban and thus gaining a strategic foothold in Central Asia. The Americans left the region concentrating instead on the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The arms and ammunition left behind by the CIA helped the Pakistanis to foster militancy in Kashmir and bleed India in the near future using the same un-conventional warfare successfully tested in Afghanistan.

In the 1990s looking ahead into the future, Pakistan co-opted China to acquire the means to test and deliver these nuclear weapons by supplying the Chinese with American technology (such as the F-16) it acquired. The Chinese helped the Pakistanis with regards to Missiles such as the M11s.

In the late 1990s and early 21st Century, it fostered Al-Qaida via its proxy, the Taliban and also spreading the nuclear bogey to countries such as Libya, Iran and North Korea to the extent that it can close the tap when it wanted. 

The same strategy was adopted with regards to India. It supported the Kashmir insurgency and nourished only those militants that favored Pakistan. This helped it to embroil Indias conventional armed forces and divert its attention in fighting an un-conventional warfare. The highlight of this was the humiliating surrender to  militant hijackers in Kandahar, Afghanistan in December, 2000, when Indias foreign minister accompanied released militants to secure the release of its hijacked airline and passengers. And the world did not bat an eyelid when the released militants roamed around Pakistani streets in frantic jubilation. 

When 9/11 dawned, Pakistan closed the tap on the Taliban and increased its strategic importance by becoming the front-line nation in the War on Terrorism. While it closed one tap, Pakistan opened another tap by proliferating nuclear weapons to North Korea, Libya and Iran by creating another proxy in the form of its Nuclear God Father, A.Q. Khan and his confederated smuggling network. 

As the hype on the War on Terrorism waned and America got involved in Iraq, Pakistan probably selectively leaked information about its own scientist and diverted attention to itself and its concerns. 

The amazing thing about Pakistan is no matter what it does, it gets excused. By closing the proliferation tap, Pakistan has showed to the world what will happen if it ignores its local concerns. This has helped it bring India to the negotiating table on Kashmir and gain financial and military aid from the Americans. 

Considering, the small size of Pakistan in area, natural resources and population this is by far a commendable achievement. When we look at other countries such as Israel which is technologically superior to Pakistan, its emphasis on fighting a conventional war against the un-conventional tactics employed by the Palestinians has only led it to desperation. The same can be said of the Americans who in their conventional effort to fight the Terrorist Bogie have only created more of the same.

The lesson to be learnt from Pakistan is that to fight an un-conventional war, one needs un-conventional tactics not missiles and aircraft carriers maneuvering around the world.


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