Will the U.S. succeed in countering China in Pakistan?


The growing rivalry between China and the U.S. is harming Pakistan adversely. Despite close friendship, partnership, and ally for Seven-Decades between Pakistan and the U.S. has been forgotten by the U.S., and Trump-Administration’s anti-China policies are dominant.

The Trump-administration has unveiled a decidedly more grave view of China’s infrastructure initiatives in Pakistan, one aligned with Washington’s stricter posture in the global competition with China.

Whereas the Barack Obama-administration, initially voiced a welcome to Chinese infrastructure investments in Pakistan as a means to advance the shared aim of developing Pakistan’s Economy and, over time, delivering economic opportunities to its people that the argument went, would undercut the appeal of radical ideologies. Instead of opposing CPEC, U.S. officials even sought ways to harmonize initiatives from the United States Agency for International Development in Pakistan with new Chinese-sponsored ones.

Under the Trump administration, a senior official in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Ambassador Alice Wells, took the stage at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, and delivered an irrational, irrelevant, and unrealistic critique of CPEC. Wells, based on assumptions, expressed several U.S. concerns about CPEC, which Pakistan does not agree, nor China. Rather than seeking to harmonize U.S. and Chinese development efforts in Pakistan, the Trump team now seems intent to counter and oppose CPEC. Ambassador Wells is also trying to attract Pakistan, with better offers from the U.S., like more business and investment from the U.S.

Although Washington’s policy shift as articulated in the 2017 National Security Strategy and the 2018 National Defense Strategy documents reflects a toughened line concerning China. Trump administration officials have expressed extreme views in other instances as well.

The U.S. is working on multiple prongs strategy in Pakistan to counter China. On the economic front, the U.S. has convinced Pakistan to surrender to IMF – IMF is a tool in the U.S. foreign policy to coerce any country. A media war has been launched against Pakistan-China, the spread of fake news, scams, propaganda, and misunderstandings, on print media, as well as on electronic media. The social media has been used extensively to achieve their goals against China-Pakistan relations.

They have been using Afghanistan to exert pressure on Pakistan by providing “Safe Heavens” to anti-Pakistan terrorist groups and facilitating India to launch terrorist attacks on Pakistan from Afghanistan. However, the U.S. is assisting India to boost and improve defense capabilities, by providing them the classified technology. Lethal Weapons and advanced training to counter China, but India is using all this assistance against Pakistan. The U.S. has the responsibility to control India not to use American weapons and technology against Pakistan but for keeping its eyes closed deliberately to build pressure on Pakistan.

The most misery is that the U.S. is not assisting Pakistan to face the challenges of its ailing Economy and development, yet not allowing Pakistan to seek assistance from any other country.

Although, for Seven-Decades, being a close ally, the U.S. has penetrated deep into Pakistani society and established a strong network to protect its interests. Last several Governments, were all pro-America and were subservient to their masters in Washington. But, Prime Minister Imran Khan was a different personality and was difficult to fall into American influence. PM Imran Khan is a bold, brave, and visionary leader and may not an easy target.

The U.S. opted for an alternate approach and installed pro-America lobby around him. Either in the form of advisors, or Ministers, or close friends, PM Imran Khan is encircled by a pro-American lobby. His cabinet consists of expatriates directly landed into his cabinet, foreign nationals, dual nationals, or elect-ables with a track record of corruption and dishonesty, but joined his political party PTI as baptism. Unfortunately, PM Imran Khan is surrounded by the pro-American lobby, who are more loyal to Washington or their vested interests. PM Imran Khan, makes decisions on the advice of his advisors and cabinet; if the feedback is bais, the decision can not meet the merit. It is termed as a new phenomenon that the U.S. hijacked the PTI government through its front men. Yet, the Pakistani nation is the most resilient and will not allow anyone to succeed against the wishes of masses. The CPEC and China-Pakistan relations may not be harmed. After victimized for four-decades in the Afghan War, Pakistan has learned a bitter lesson, that it is the people of Pakistan to decide their future. Outsiders may fail in their evil-agenda. People of Pakistan stand united against any outsider’s conspiracy and will struggle to revive its traditional spirit and lost status.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.


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