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Fleeting moments

December 2, 2019

Source of instability


December 2, 2019

When China’s top diplomat said at a G20 meeting that the United States is the biggest source of instability in the world, it was neither breaking news nor did it surprise anyone.

From 2001 to date, it can best be summarised as recent history in which the US launched unprovoked military attacks on independent countries. So nobody can possibly contest the Chinese ambassador’s opinion about the US’s acts of destabilisation and aggression against weaker states.

There is a stark difference between how US and China pursue their economic interests in other countries. US policy is based on wanton aggression against a country whose resources it wants to exploit; China in a similar situation promotes its economic interests by developing infrastructure and transport network by peaceful means.

China is likely to invest $400 billion in Iran to develop its metro train network and oil exploration projects by 2025. It will also end Iran’s international isolation which is a result of high-handed US scheming. Similarly, China’s trade with African countries increased by 700 percent during the 1990s. China is now Africa’s largest trading partner.

On the other hand, the US as superpower targets weaker states in a manner which Arundhati Roy aptly described in her book ‘An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire’: “There isn’t a country on God’s earth that is not caught in the cross hairs of US cruise missile and the IMF chequebook.” And where the IMF chequebook didn’t work, US cruise missiles did, for instance, in Iraq and Libya.

In 2003, the US invaded Iraq on the concocted intelligence reports that it maintained arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Then Britain’s premier Tony Blair played a proactive role in manufacturing evidence. Tariq Ali, in his book ‘Rough Music’, wrote: “In Blair they [George Bush and neo-cons] found the perfect cross-dresser. Blair has some thespian talents, and can perform in a range of different registers, from the blokeish ‘I’m just an ordinary guy’ to the army chaplain, speeding the troops to their death, to his trademark, ‘I honestly believe’. How crafty indeed.

Renowned defence analyst Eric Margolis recently wrote in his article ‘Plundering Iraq’: “We hear nothing about the billions of dollars of Iraqi oil extracted by big US oil firms since 2003. For the US, Iraq was a treasure house of oil with 12 percent of world reserves. It was OPEC’s 2nd largest producer. Wherever it may be, oil is as American as apple pie.”

Then came Libya’s turn in 2011 when it was attacked by the Nato forces, and Moammar Gaddafi captured and cut to pieces. Libyan oil too is being plundered as is the Iraqi oil.

The US economy is based on wars. The superpower must occupy small countries to plunder their resources while China exercises its influence by trading and developing infrastructure of those countries. Both powers adopt different policies towards smaller countries – America employs coercion and aggression, while China uses assistance and development.

US policy is to foment uprising in targeted countries, support dictatorial regimes and rule by proxy. Muhammad Morsi’s genuinely democratic government in Egypt could not survive for a year before Gen Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took over in 2014 and has since remained president. Morsi died in captivity; Trump called el-Sisi ‘a great guy’.

We know first-hand how the imperial power used us to fight its ‘war on terror’ for so long and has since coerced us ‘to do more’. We lost 60,000 of our citizens and suffered loss of $120 billion since 2001 when the so-called ‘war on terror’ began. What did we achieve by fighting this war? Our society stands more divided now than it was before 2001. Our way of life has changed. Our schools, colleges, university campuses and government buildings are walled with barbed wires running on the boundary walls. We were an open society but not anymore.

Nevertheless, we now have a golden opportunity to develop our economy and create jobs for the ever-increasing population through CPEC, termed as a game changer not only for Pakistan but also for the entire region. Thanks to our time-tested friend – China. We must look East without caring for warnings by the economically dwindling superpower over the game changer.

The writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore.

Email: [email protected]

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