On October 13, 2022, during a Democratic Party event in California, US President Joe Biden commented on US foreign policy and said, “I think Pakistan is one of the most dangerous nations in the world, and there are many questions regarding concerning Pakistan’s nuclear program.” It means that this program is not safe in the eyes of the United States.
In order to evaluate this statement of the US President, it is necessary to know the context of this speech. In fact, President Biden expressed these views while reviewing the global political concerns facing the world. Here, he first criticized Russia and China and then expressed insecurity over Pakistan’s nuclear program. America’s main objective is to distance Pakistan from China and increase its dependence on America, which is contrary to Pakistan’s interests and national security.
As we know America cannot keep Pakistan directly under its shadow, for that, it brings the countries of the Middle East ahead. At this time, the US believes that the political and economic instability in Pakistan along with the mutual silence of the institutions is an excellent opportunity to increase the pressure on Pakistan. Moreover, the recent internal chaos and foreign exchange deficit in Pakistan are providing favorable conditions for all kinds of interference by external powers.
When we study history, we find that this is not the first time that America has had reservations about Pakistan. Here, we can divide Pakistan-US relations into two parts. There was a Cold War era when Pakistan and America formed an alliance through SEATO and SANTO based on common needs. But at that time in the 1950s, Pakistani rulers were rewarded for developing good relations with China despite being in an alliance. Pakistani politicians understood then that China is a rising power and our neighbor, so we desperately need to strengthen our mutual relations. Particularly during the 1970s, China-Pakistan relations improved further under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Even then America was not happy but we proved that we will not let the relations with China deteriorate under any circumstances. Although there have always been groups in every institution of Pakistan, whose sympathies have been with America. These groups are not only active but also strong in these matters.
The main objective of the recent US statement may be to impose some sort of sanctions on Pakistan’s nuclear program, i.e. to seek sponsorship through the United Nations Security Council. In order to temporarily relieve Pakistan from economic problems, the US can also saddle Pakistan with more debt with the help of the IMF and other financial institutions. Weak and self-interested Pakistani rulers can easily fall into this trap of America. Here it is important to say that America’s weak grip in Afghanistan is forcing it to look for other regional opportunities.
This kind of planning of the US is also because despite being in Afghanistan for 20 years, it faced the worst defeat. However, he also had sophisticated weapons and surveillance equipment. Not only has America used its taxpayers’ money to fight an “unnecessary” war in Afghanistan, but it has also failed despite calling itself a superpower and being poorly trained and almost unarmed. Compared to the Afghans. In this situation, someone had to be blamed for the US to exonerate itself, and it was a bit easier to blame Pakistan.
Pakistan also needs to understand that the US has chosen India as its strategic ally in the region and that is why both countries are included in the QUAD and I2U2 alliances in the region. The main objective of this is to create a joint economic and defense strategy against China. This means that Pakistan has to go with China for its defense and economic interests. However, unity does not mean that you should establish bad relations with other countries. For example, despite not being an ally, China’s trade volume with India and the US is significant. The most important point is that if a country is stable in terms of economic growth and institutional strength, other negative regional trends can be overcome. But if your finances are in dire straits and outside financial aid becomes your last hope, then you will be further away from your true freedom.
An important point in this whole discussion is that as long as a political party is replaced by an external conspiracy instead of being replaced by elections after completing its term, political stability cannot come. Because of respective economic crisis also occurs, as we are seeing in Pakistan today. It should be like the former prime minister demanded that quick, transparent, and free elections are the only solution to our problems, a decision should be made by the will of the people, which will bring political stability, and then we can also improve the economic conditions.
Currently, Pakistan is passing through its most sensitive period, which requires a comprehensive fiscal and foreign policy strategy. Rather than being financially dependent on any country, it should give priority to generating resources from within. An IMF bailout package or financial assistance from another country is always a temporary solution, forcing a state to compromise on national issues.
In these circumstances, the best strategy for Pakistan would be to forge alliances with its friendly neighbors, including China, Iran, and Turkey. These ties can eventually free Pakistan from dependence on the US and other international financial agencies.
Finally, it is important to know that in order to avoid a financial crisis and achieve a foreign policy based on national interest, we have to make political stability possible by announcing elections first. This will also remove the economic crisis. Whichever party wins, it should be allowed to complete a five-year term, so that a lasting government can create a stable society.
Dr. Zamurrad Awan is an associate professor at the Forman Christan College (A Chartered University) Lahore.