June 4, 1980 | Backgrounder on Russia
F 122 June 4, 1980 I PAMSTAN 7HE RISNG SOWET 7HREA T AND DECUNING US. CREDIBIUTY INTRODUCTION Southwest Asia is currently a highly volatile region engulfed by kalei doscopic political turmoil, widespread economic malaise military insecurity, ethnic separatism and resurgent Islamic fervor. In addition to these internally-generated destabilizing forces, it faces the long-term external threat of expanding Soviet militar y power, political influence, and coercive, subver sive pressures. Ironically, while the Soviet shadow has lengthened over Southwest Asia the pro-western Worthern Tier" alliance has disintegrated and its members have drifted, in varying degrees away from t h e western orbit. Turkey, on'the verge of economic collapse, is becoming an increasingly polarized polity plagued by chronic terrorist activity. Iran remains convulsed by its ongoing Islamic revolution, the centrifugal pressures of ethnic separatists along its periphery and its single-minded obsession with vengeance against the Shah. Pakistan, alienated by the perceived neglect insensitivity and undependability of the United States, has developed a more intimate working relationship with the Islamic petropo wers and the People's Republic of China (PRC).
While the pro-western CENT0 nations have drifted, by and large, into nonalignment, the one nonaligned nation in Southwest Asia Afghanistan fell under Soviet influence in April 1978 succumbed to direct military control in December 1979, and is rapidly being transformed into a Mongolian-type garrison state which shows signs of becoming a permanent, albeit reluctant addition to the Soviet bloc. The Soviet invasion and continuing occupation of Afghanistan is a piv o tal geopolitical event which threatens the internal and external security of both Iran and Pakistan. It has reawakened Iranians to the potential threat of Soviet subversion and forced the United States and Pakistan into an awkward, mutually embarassing, s t rategic embrace. In early March, the Pakistanis jolted Washington by flatly rejecting the 2 400 million aid proposal which the Carter Administration had hurriedly pressed upon them, thereby serving notice on Washington that any strategic embrace would be a ccomplished on Islamabad's terms or not at all. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the threat which the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan poses to Pakistan to explain why, in spite of this threat, an insecure Pakistan saw fit to turn down the American a i d package, and to examine the twists and turns in U.S. foreign policy which led the Pakistanis to the conclusion that the United States was an insensitive unreliable ally PAKISTAN'S DOMESTIC POLITICS Since its formation in August 1947, Pakistan has led a t roubled existence. The partition of the Indian subcontinent into two states gave rise to large-scale Hindu vs. Moslem violence in which the death toll is believed to have reached up to 1 million, with up to 12 million refugees dying amid a massive two-way migration. The embryonic state of Pakistan contained the poorest areas of the subcontinent, cut off from the industrial centers, markets and the former seat of government administration.
This state of affairs led one observer 10 write "India suffered at p artition; Pakistan was devastated Not only was the new state of Pakistan plunged into economic chaos, but it was also plagued by sharp ethnic, linguistic and cultural cleavages among its heterogenous population crosscurrents of ethnic nationalism, Islamab a d has historically relied on two unifying forces of national integration Islam and the Army In order to offset the divisive Islam was the raison d'etre of the Pakistani state, and the prime component of the national identity, a reality underscored by the n ame of the capital (Islamabad ad of the state itself Pakistan means "land of the pure in Urdu Since the explicit purpose of the creation of Pakistan was to provide a homeland for the subcontinent's Moslems, Islam has been the primary source of legitimacy f or the state of Pakistan, as well as various ruling regimes, and Islam has exerted an important influence on domestic politics and foreign policy. The founder of Pakistan Mohammed All Jinnah, known as the Qaid-i-Azam (Great Leader), was also the secular g u iding force behind the Muslim League. While successive Pakistani leaders interested in modernization opted to tone down the Islamic content 0.f Pakistani politics, Pakistan's faltering economy and simmering political discontent have recently prompted-Gene r al-Zia ul-Haq to-fall back on Nizam-i-Mustafa, the system of the prophet to consolidate the power, legitimacy and appeal of his regime 1. Keith Callard, "Pakistan and its Origin," in George Kahin, Major Governments of Asia (Ithaca, New York: Cornel1 Unive r sity Press, 19631, p. 431 3 Since seizing power in 1977, General Zia has declared Pakistan to be an Islamic Republic subject to Sharia (the Islamic religious law), prohibited the practice of interest'payments in banking instituted a zakat (wealth tax) of 2 5 percent on all savings-and the collection of ushr (agricultural production tax) at a 10 percent rate. Although General Zia, the son of a mullah, is known to be a devout Moslem, the lfIslamizationll of Pakistan is derived not only from his personal prefe r ences, but also from the search for a new national identity following the secession of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the rising influence and attrac tiveness of the Islamic oil producers, the spillover effects of the Iranian Islamic revolution, and the Pakistanis? sense of abandonment by their western mentors the United States and Great Britain fIslamizationlf is symptomatic of a general turning away from the West and a return to Pakistan's traditional Islamic roots.
Pakistan together, has ruled the coun try for more than half of Pakistan's thirtptwo year history in three separate periods of martial law. At independence, the Army stood alone as the only viable institution capable of dominating the Pakistani political arena and the situation remains substa ntially unchanged today.
Pakistan has yet to develop a durable set of reliable political institutions capable of surviving intact a transfer of power at the top. Pakistani politics are dominated by personalities political parties are built from the top dow n around major politi cal figures and lack cohesion due to the fickleness of "weather vane politiciansaf at their periphery. Not only have political parties been fragile and weak, but "elections, when not avoided altogether, have been preludes to disaster ; succession has general ly come about through mass agitation and military takeover rather than through the ballot box and no Tler civilian or military has relinquished power voluntarily i The Army, the second major binding force which has held Pakistanis a rgue that their political system has suffered from the traumatic death of Jhah only months after partition and the subsequent assassination of his successor, Liquat Ali Khan, three years later. These unfortunate events created a leadership vacuum, which t he Army eventually moved in to fill first under General Mohammed Ayub Khan in 1958, and then under General Yahya Khan in 19
69. Discredited by the loss of Bangladesh in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, the Army gave way to Zulfiqar All Bhutto, a charismatic, b ut mercurial secular populist, who elevated economic issues over Islamic issues, thus earning the lasting enmity of the Islamic right. Bhutto's foreign policy accomplish ments contrasted with an abysmal domestic record. His autocratic rule was notable for institutionalized cormption, the terroriza tion of the opposition through l?political thuggery," and economic 2. William Richter, "Persistent Praetorianism: Pakistan's Third Military Regime," Pacific Affairs, Fall 1978, p. 426. 4 policies which discourage d business investment, accelerated inflation and eventually resulted in a stagnant economy. Bhuttols attempts to rig the 1.977 elections (which most observers felt he would have won anyway) provoked widespread urban unrest, which the Army reluctantly suppr e ssed. When it became apparent that the opposition Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) would never accept the results of.the election, and in fact, had launched a movement to overthrow Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party PPP General Zia, the army Chief of Staff, led a bloodless coup against Bhutto on July 5, 1977 The coup against Bhutto (code named Vperation FairplayMf initially enjoyed widespread popular support claimed that it was a "ninety day operationtf to restore order hold fair elections and return to civi l ian rule. However, the resiliency of Bhutto's grassroots support in rural areas held open the possibility of a political comeback for the PPP which would inevitably lead to reprisals against the martial law admini strators. The specter of Bhutto seeking r e tribution deterred Zia from fulfilling his pledge of October elections. Instead, Zia set about deflating Bhutto's popular appeal in order to remove Bhutto as a focal point for opposition. On September 3, 1977 Bhutto was arrested for the November 1974 poli t ically-inspired murder of the father of .one of his political opponents. On October 1, Zia postponed elections indefinitely until a "process of accountabilityMf could be set in motion. Bhutto was convicted in March 1978 and was hanged in April 1979, in sp i te of the threat of domestic political unrest and highly-publicized appeals for mercy from numerous world leaders (including President Carter As a political martyr -a Sindhi hung by a Punjabi regime Bhutto remains an important factor in Pakistani politics . Not only have thousands made the pilgrimage to his grave, but his wife and daughter have assumed control of the PPP. Although he no longer poses an active threat to the Zia regime as a potential catalyst for dissent, the issue of Bhuttols execution remai n s a Sword of Damocles over his successorfs head military government with a broader, more permanent mission, the objectives of government reform have shifted from the restoration of law and order to a more basic restructuring of Pakistani society and polit i cal culture. In the course of dismantling Bhuttols power structure, Zia has shed his early role as neutral arbitrator among contending elite groups and assumed the role of Ilauthoritarian architect of a new Islamic society.Il In October 1979, Zia postpone d national elections for the second time disbanded all political parties, prohibited civilian political activities, imposed strict censorship on newspapers and placed the Bhutto women under house arrest. In defense of his crackdown Zia declared that democr a cy was a ifluxurylf which Pakistan could not immediately afford and maintained that Itno responsible person can allow, as was done in the past, the destruction of democracy in the name of democracy and terrorism in the name of politics General Zia pro I A s Ziafs caretaker regime has evolved into a full-fledged 5 By the end of 1979, Zia's regime was troubled by economic decline, inflation, tensions between segments of the student population and the army, restive ethnic minority groups and an inefficient and often corrupt bureaucracy. Significantly, the regime had proven itself incapable of exorcising Bhutto's ghost the outlawed PPP. While the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan seems to have bolstered Zia's domestic political position in the short run by enhancin g the legitimacy of his martial law regime, a Soviet-occupied Afghanistan poses several ominous threats to Pakistan in the long run IMPLICATIONS OF TBE SOVIET INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN The Soviet Trojan Horse-style invasion of Afghanistan was an unprecedente d postwar exercise of Soviet military power beyond the confines of the Soviet bloc. It represents a qualitative change in the balance of power in Southwest Asia, a manifestation of the self-serving Soviet concept of detente and a possible turning point in S oviet relations with the Islamic world. Afghan istan is a stepping stone both for the Soviet strategic penetration of the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea region and for Islamic religious penetration of Soviet Central Asia. In effect, it is a domino that could fa ll either way. The Soviets could not afford a humiliating defeat on their own doorstep, because such a defeat might revive latent national/religious opposition movements among their own Moslem citizens and in Eastern.European satellites.
Confronted with an intractable client regime which had proved itself incapable of. suppressing the Islamic tribal insurgency yet stubbornly resisted Soviet domination, the Kremlin ruthlessly overthrew the maverick Amin regime and replaced it with the more pliable Parcham f action he+d in cold storage in Eastern Europe for just such an occas.ion.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan poses several long-term threats to the national defense, territorial integrity and internal security of both Iran and Pakistan occupation of Afghanistan, the Soviets have, in one stroke turned Iran's flank, doubled the l e ngth of the Iranian-Soviet frontier, expanded the perimeter of the Soviet bloc to within 300 miles of long-sought warm water ports on the Arabian Sea and established a common border with Pakistan. While these disturbing developments are bound to complicat e defense planning in both states, the Afghan garrison state poses a relatively low-risk military threat to its neighbors in the short run, given the fact that the Soviet forces are preoccupied with their counterinsurgen cy campaign against the Afghan rebe l s extremely reluctant to mount a major military operation against By virtue of the military The Kremlin would be 3. For an in-depth analysis of the Soviet intervention see The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 108, Janu a ry 9, 1980 James Phillips, 6 Iran or Pakistan as long as its lines of communication through Afghanistan remain vulnerable to interdiction at the hands of the insurgents. Instead the Soviets quite likely will Itpause and digesttt Afghanistan in order to de v elop it into a secure'forward base which will constitute an adequate springboard for possible future operations The Kremlin is in no hurry to extend its military domination beyond Afghanistan for several reasons First of all, the Soviets are anxious to co n solidate their control of the country and quarantine, if not eliminate, the insurgency in order to halt the Islamic resurgence at the Hindu Kush and insulate their fast growing Moslem population of 45 million from the "green menancelf which has engulfed I r an, Pakistan and Afghanistan The color green traditionally is associated with Islam Secondly, the Soviets seek to avoid another act of blatant aggression in Southwest Asia hard on the heels of its invasion of Afghanistan because such an assault would push Iran, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf states into a closer relationship with the United States This would further discredit the Soviets and their allies in the eyes of the nonaligned movement, accelerate the souring of the placebo of East-West detente, and r epair the disarray in the Western alliance generated by differing perceptions of the Soviet motivation for invading Afghanistan and exacerbated by the Soviet peace offensive.tf Finally, as General Zia lamented in mid-January Events in the region are movin g toward greater Iran is in the process of institutionalizing and exporting an Islamic revolution in the face of ethnic disaffection, economic stagnation and persistent internal pressures to sustain "progressivett momen tum by pressing on into a Marxist If s econd stage" of revolution Pakistanfs Islamic revolution has been directed from above in an effort to broaden the political base of a precarious regime which faces severe political, ethnic, economic and social challenges Since both states are beset by gla r ing internal weaknesses, which may grow worse in the future with or without Soviet meddling, the Soviets can afford to bide their time and pick their openings Moscow will therefore rely on a strategy of intimidation rather than invasion. Instead of resort i ng to a high-cost frontal assault on another target state it can fall back on a low-cost covert coercive program of subversion and the manipulation of separatist movements. Occupied Afghanistan constitutes a well positioned fulcrum which affords the Kreml i n the potential leverage to pry dissident ethnic groups away from the peripheries of both Iran and Pakistan. By fomenting dissent and exploiting existing political, ethnic and social cleavages in the region, the Kremlin can gradually weaken Teheran's and I slamabad's control of disgrun tled provinces and eventually create situations in which a local ally calls for Soviet military assistance (this is precisely the modus operandi used in the 1920 Soviet invasion of Armenia The Brezhnev Doctrine has for all pr a ctical purposes been extended to include Afghanistan. Given the appropriate circumstances, it is not difficult to imagine it being broadened in the future to include Azerbaijan or Baluchistan 7 TEREATS TO PAKISTAN rl Except for the British, all of the his t orical invaders of the Indian subcontinent have struck through the Khyber Pass linking Afghanistan with Pakistan. While the 85,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan do not pose a major threat of invasion in the short run, as long as they are compelled to' func t ion in an occupation/counterinsurgency mode, there is a real and growing danger that the Soviets may be tempted .to penetrate Pakistani territory in hot pursuit of rebel bands or mount cross-border military probes to strike at rebel refugee camps inside P a kistan if they prove to be incapable of strangling the insurgency from within Afghanistan. Afghan Air Force planes, possibly piloted by Soviets, have repeatedly violated Pakistani airspace since early 1979 In March 1979, the Afghan army allegedly shelled a refugee camp located just across the border. Significantly, in March 1980, the Pakistani Air Force intercepted for the first time a plane with Soviet markings and escorted it back across the border.
Such incidents are likely to continue in the immediate future, as the Soviets attempt to drive a wedge between the Pakistanis and rebel tribesmen by manipulating the threat of low level Soviet Pakistani military clashes to deter Pakistan's direct support for the rebels For their part, the Pakistanis seem to h ave discounted the threat of a large-scale Soviet military action and remain obsessed with their archenemy to the east, India, which has defeated them in three wars since 19
47. Although the military governor of the Northwest Frontier Province has publicly warned that the western defenses built by the British to contain Russian expansion in a past era have deteriorated to such an extent that the Soviets could attack "with impunity, If Islamabad continues to concentrate four-fifths of its army on the Indian border, and has neglected to build up significantly the estimated 10 percent of its forces deployed along the western frontier, possibly out of fear of provoking a Soviet counter-buildup. The 40,000 troops stationed in the northwest (two infantry division s and 18,000 paramilitary forces armed only with rifles) are handicapped by poor communica- tions, no radar coverage, a critical lack of anti-tank and anti aircraft weaponry, and poorly maintained roads and bridges which are often too narrow for modern tan k s. Although the 400,000 man Pakistani Army is the largest and most experienced army in South west Asia and its troops are widely respected for their endurance discipline and tenacity, the armed forces have suffered from the effects of three separate arms embargoes at the hands of Washington.
Equipped with an awkward mixture of largely obsolescent weapons systems imported from the United States, Great Britain, the PRC, France, the Soviet Union, Sweden and Argentina, the military would be confronted with a l ogistical nightmare in the event of conflict, When viewed in the context of the pressing needs of the Pakistani armed forces for modernization, Islamabad's recent rejection of the U.S. military aid package is a startling develop ment which is an ominous i n dication of the degree to which Washing ton's Derceived reliabilitv, effectiveness and steadfastness havea been put in doubt by the chaotic drift in American foreign policy in recent years THE TBREAT OF ETHNIC SEPARATISM: PUSHTUNISTAN AND BALUCHISTAN For t he foreseeable future, the prime threat to Pakistani national security is likely to be the challenge posed by disgrun tled Pushtun and Baluchi tribesmen in the western part of the country who may be tempted to secede from Pakistan, possibly with Soviet ai d , if their demands for greater local autonomy are not addressed. Pakistan is a nation of combative tribal and ethnic groups whose loyalties constantly shift between ethnic and national centers. Pakistan's 78 million people belong to four major ethnic grou p s: the Punjabis (57 percent of the population), the Sindhis (22 percent), the Pushtuns (13 percent) and the Baluch (3 to 4 percent The Punjabis, who have historically provided the bulk of the'manpower of the Army, have also achieved a position of dominanc e within the government bureaucracy, a reality which has aroused the resentment of the three other groups.
I I The Pushtuns comprise the largest tribal group in the world I with 14 million of them divided almost equally between Afghanistan and western Paki stan ethnic group in both Afghanistan and Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, they have been an important factor in Islamabad's relations with Kabul on.most of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province and considers the present boundary, derived from the British-imposed 1893 Durand Line, to be an anachronistic vestige of British colonalism.
Since 1947, when Afghanistan was the only country to oppose Pakistan's bid for U.N. membership, Kabul has sporadically revived demands that Pushtuns within Pakistan be allowed to exercise self-determination and become part of a "Greater Pushtunistan.I While it is by no means clear that Kabul would allow its own Pushtuns to become part of such an entity, the Pushtunistan issue has historically been an effective device t h at simultaneously weakened Pakistan and strengthened the Afghan government's popu larity among its own Pushtun tribes. Although the Pushtuns have earned a well-deserved reputation for being fiercely contentious according to a Pushtun proverb The Pushtun i s never at peace except when he is at war their.ardor for a Kabul-sponsored Greater Pushtunistan" is likely to be constrained for the indefi nite future by the brutal treatment which their fellow tribesmen are enduring at the hands of the Russians and thei r Afghan clients i Because they constitute the single largest Afghanistan has historically-based claims The principal focal point for separatist sentiment within Pakistan will undoubtedly remain Baluchistan for the immediate future. Baluchistan, although i t is the largest of the four provinces, is by far the leastpopulated. Its population of 2.5 million is composed of approximately 1.25 million Baluch 500,000 Pushtuns and 750,000 llsettlerstf drawn from the rest of Pakistan The Baluch, divided into some 60 tribes, generally consider the state of Pakistan to be a failed experiment, and most believe a 9 charges, persisted for four years until General Zia reached an uneasy truce with the rebels in November 19
77. At the peak of major uprising to be possible, but not necessarily probable.
They resent the dominance of the Punj'abi elite, the Punjabi !'Big Brother" mentality, the central government' s apparent neglect of economic development within their province, and the suppression of Baluchi culture and customs.
Although General Zia' issued a general amnesty to the rebels hundreds reportedly retreated into the hills or across the border into Afghanistan, where they are building a s.keleton guerrilla organization to renew the struggle, if and when a favorable op portunity should arise. According to one rebel leader inter viewed at a base camp in southern Afghanistan It will never again be like the last time Next time we will choosg the time and place, and we will take help where we can get it Kabul will be only t o o happy to provide such help, as evidenced by the fact that the recently installed Parcham leader, Babrak Karmal pointedly referred to the Iflegitimate aspirationsll of the Baluch and Pushtuns in his first public speech. While Kabul's support for the rebe l s has been extended in an indirect fashion on a limited basis in the past, it is likely to be significantly escalated in the future as the new regime seeks to maximize its bargaining leverage vis-a-vis Pakistan in an effort to reduce the freedom of action which Afghan insurgents currently enjoy in their base camps within Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province TEE SOVIET INTEREST IN BALUCEISTAN The Soviets will also be a major source of support for the Baluchi rebels. There are up to 8,000 Baluch being trai ned in 4 5. Ibid p; 140 Selig Harrison, "Nightmare in Baluchistan Foreign Policy, Fall 1978 p 139 10 6 the U.S:S.R. and there are rumors that part of this education includes guerrilla warfare training by Cuban military instructors.
Although the Soviets did not play a "directly manipulative roleit in the unsuccessful 1973-1977 uprising, according to a prominent western expert on Baluchistan, this would change Itif political development in the borderlands made an adventurous policy appear prornising.l' Since those words were written in the fall of 1978 the Baluch have been stirred by the successful Iranian revolution By late 1979, even before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Pakistanis evidently had amassed reliable intelligence that young tribesmen we re being exfiltrated across the border to Soviet operated camps in southern Afghanistan for political indoctrination and advanced weapons training. Today there are an estimated 308 Soviet agents working among the Baluchis, chiefly in Aghadstan.
While the S oviet invasion of Afghanistan has undermined the attractiveness of Soviet aid in the eyes of many of the.Bifluch and led some rebels to defect from the Soviet-run camps, to many of the Baluch, particularly the younger generation, the Soviet intervention i s more of an opportunity than a threat. The Baluchi intelligentsia and student population contain significant Marxist followings which would welcome Soviet ltliberationlt from what they perceive to be Punjabi occupation. In April 1978 Baluchi students gree t ed Kabul's I'Saur Revolution1' by parading through the streets of the provincial capital of Quetta carrying called in to quell pro-Soviet demonstrations in Quetta and other towns, a dangerous sign that the Soviets will continue to enjoy the support of lef t ist Baluclzi separatists possibly molded into the role of Fifth Columnists regardless of what happens in Afghanistan pictures of Nur Mohammed Taraki, the first leader of the pro-Soviet Khalq reghe. In January 1980, the Pakistani Army was reportedly I I At present, the small but significant group of committed separatists is overshadowed by the ambivalent old guard of Baluchi sardars (tribal chiefs), who are wary of communist involvement and are willing to settle for local autonomy rather than push for outri g ht independence moderates vis-a-vis the separatists, defuse separatist appeals and assure himself of powerful tribal allies by undertaking a meaningful devolution of decision-making which would give the Baluch more control of provincial economic developme nt and local government. However, President Zia is unlikely to do so since President Zia could strengthen these 6 7 8 9 10 MOSCOW'S Next Target in its Move Southward," Business Week, January 21 1980, p. 51.
Selig Harrison, op. cit p. 147.
Cord Meyer Pakistan's Sea of Troubles," Washington Star, December 1 1979, p. A9.
Drew Middleton MOSCOW'S Goal in Afghanistan: Encircling Iran New York Times April 6, 1980, p. 16.
Washington Star, January 22, 1980, p. A7. 11 that would not only tend to dissipate the power of the central government (and by extension his,own power), and encourage other ethnic minorities to agitate for similar concessions, but would also probably anta g onize the Iranians, who would have to contend with the heightened aspirations of their own Baluch. Given Zia's limited willingness and ability to make concessions to the Baluchi sardars many of them are likely to come eventually to the conclu sion articul a ted by an anonymous Baluchi in a conversation with a western correspondent in February superpowers are interested in Baluchistan, so why shouldn't tribal people take advantagflof the situation and go with the side that offers the most?f1 All 0f.a sudden t h e two In the long run, the Soviets would be the side that could offer the Baluch the most, simply because the Soviets would gain the most from an independent Baluchistan (although India might be a close second The secession of Baluchistan would deprive Pa k istan of almost half of its territory, virtually destroying its viability as an independent state, especially if a Baluchi war for independence precipitated an Indian intervention and/or occupation of Kashmir. India eagerly participated in the 1971 secess i on of Bangladesh and might have snatched Kashmir at that time, if not for the U.S. toward Pakistan. Until the Pakistanis acquire a nuclear capability, it is by no means certain that the Indians o.nce again led by pro-Soviet Indira Gandhi could resist the t emptation to finally neutralize their long-term rival, this the with Soviet assistance. Not only could Ganahi hope to realize New Delhi's long-established goal of recovering Kashmir, but she might seize the opportunity to annex the.province of Sindh also. India contains more than 80 million Moslems (more than any country in the world except Indonesia) and as a nation of 650 million, it could afford to absorb a few million more. In any case, the Sindhis might learn to prefer Hindu rule to Punjabi rule, espe c ially if it entailed Q guarantee of immunity from future Soviet pressures. Gandhi could tap the latent irredentist sentiment of "-and Barat" (undivided India) to strengthen her own domestic political position as well as strengthen the position of the cent r al government vis-a-vis ethnic insurgencies, such as the revived Naxalite guerrilla movement and the Tamil separatist movement in the south. Finally, Gandhi could hope to preserve as a buffer zone a truncated Pakistan consisting solely of the province of P unjab Kabul could be expected to make good its historic claim on the Northwest Frontier Province, if only to deprive Afghan rebels of their sanctuaries The dismemberment of Pakistan would serve MOSCOW'S objectives by demonstrating the limitations of Pekin g as an ally, severely embarrassing both the PRC and the United States, and coercing Pakistan into entering the long-espoused Soviet collective securi ty system for Central Asia- More importantly, the secession of 11. William Mullen Baluchistan Ready to be Pawn to Gain Freedom Chicago Tribune, February 17, 1980, p. 6 12 Baluchistan would state which would offset the enmity give the Soviets an depend on long-term extremely grateful client Soviet support i.7 order to of Iran and Pakistan. In return for Soviet protection, the Baluch would probably be only too happy to grant the Soviets base rights at the excellent, though undeveloped natural harbor of Gwadar only 400 miles to the east of the Straits of Hormuz, through which passes 40 percent'of western oil impo r ts Not only would an independent Baluchistan serve as an excellent platform for the projection of Soviet naval and air power into the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea region, but the Afghanistanfialuchistan land bridge would afford the Soviets a direct outlet on t he Indian Ocean, a factor which.would vastly improve Soviet access to their isolated outpost in South Yemen, perceived by many including the Saudis) to be the back door to the Saudi oil fields. Clearly an independent pro-Soviet Baluchistan would not only t hreaten the viability of the Pakistani state, but in the long run would threaten the oil lifeline of the industrial West and ultimately the balance of power in the crucial Persian Gulf region TBE U.S. AID OFFER Given the critical nature. of the security t h reats to Pakistan posed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the precarious state of the Pakistani economy, the outright rejection of the U.S. aid proposal must be seen as one of the most ignominious blunders in postwar American diplomatic history. T h e full depth of'the fiasco is only plumbed when it is repembered that the entire episode was set in motion as an American initiative. The morning after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter telephoned President Zia to offer U.S. aid. Zia wa s reportedly surprised and aloof, as might have been expected given the extent to which Pakistani-American relations had deteriorated in the previous two years. While President Carter needed to mount a prompt and resolute response to the Soviet interventio n for strategic international as well as domestic political reasons the Pakistanis were reluctant to rush into anything from the first, having been bitterly disappointed by American foreign policy on several occasions in the past. When Washington proposed a high profile visit by Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher in early January to demonstrate its new-found concern for Pakistani security, Islamabad turned it down flat, apparently anxious to avoid hosting Chrisopher in the immediate aftermath of h i s meeting with NATO officials in London, an action which would have created doubts about the authenticity of Pakistan's self-proclaimed nonaligned status Two weeks were to elapse before Islamabad responded to President Carter's offer, sending foreign affa i rs adviser Agha Shahi to Washington with a shopping list which reportedly included 1 billion to replace three squadrons of obsolete U.S.-supplied F-86 jet fighters with 60 modern F-16s and $1 billion for a military buildup in the western part of the count r y. The Carter 13 Administration, with one eye on India, refused to provide the jets and suggested that Islamabad redeploy some of its army units stationed on the Indian border to its western border in order to reduce its aid requirements. Not only were th e Pakistanis insul ted by Washington's brash presumption that it was in a better position to judge Pakistan's security needs, but when the terms of the $400 million U.S. aid package ($100 million in economic aid and $100 million foreign military sales cred i ts in FY 1980; the same in Fy 1981) were finally made known to Islamabad, it was handled (or mishandled) in an extremely insulting manner. Although both parties had purportedly'agreed beforehand that the aid consultations would be kept secret until an agr e ement had been reached, the total sums of aid were leaked to the international press in Washington before President Zia had even been informed by his own officials, yet another example of how the White House's half-hearted consultative efforts and its pro p ensity to conduct foreign policy by press leak have undermined the diplomacy of the United States On January 17, President Zia denigrated the $400 million aid package as "peanuts, If complaining to the international press corps, which apparently was bette r informed at the time than the President himself about the contents of the proposed aid package that If this is true, it is terribly disappointing. Pakistan will not buy its*security with $400 million. It will buy greater animosity from the Soviet Union, w hifg is now more influential in this region than the United Statesoff Zia was also unhappy with the terms of the 1959 bilateral defense agreement which served as the legal underpinning of the U.S. defense commitment to Pakistan. The Pakistanis had been al ienated when the United States balked at coming to their assist ance during their wars with India in 1965 and 19
71. These disil lusioning experiences led them to believe that the 1959 defense agreement was subject to too much interpretation by Washington and they wanted the agreement to be upgraded into a defense treaty. President Zia was fond of contrasting the United States which narrowly interpreted its commitment to Pakistani security to mean security from Soviet (as opposed to Indian) threats, with t h e People's Republic of China, a loyal friend which "has stood by Pakistan in all critical events i.e in conflicts with India Zia pointedly noted that We do not have to ask our Chinese frfyds for military assistance because they have given it to us However , while Islamabad persistently pressed for a new defense treaty which would lend it some protection against its greatest nightmare that a Moscow-New Delhi-Kabul axis would be formed for the express purpose of dismantling Pakistan Washington continued to de fine its security commitment in terms 12. Stuart Auerbach Pakistan Seeking U.S. Guarantees in Formal Treaty 13. Stuart Auerbach Pakistan Warns Soviets, Afghanistan to Keep Out,"
Washington Post, January 18, 1980, p. 1 Washington Post, January 16, 1980, p. A15. 14 of the global bipolar competition rather than in a regional context- A full-fledged treaty was ruled out as being unnecessary in view of the recent reaffirmation of the 1959 agreement and the Pakistanis were told that congressional approval of the aid package would serve notice of the depth.of the U.S. commitment TBE BFCZEZINSKI MISSION When the Pakistanis continued to drag their feet on the aid offer and remained skeptical about the strength of the U.S security commitment, President Carter dispatc h ed national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Islamabad from February 1-4 to reassure President Zia about U.S. intentions. The Pakistanis once again seemed reluctant to host an American delegation, fi n ally agreeing to meet with Brzezinski only after the conclusion of the January 26 Islamic summit, Lord Carrington's visit, and the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua. Brzezinski's mission was one of reassurance and clarification. He sought to red u ce Pakistani unhappiness over the limited scale of the aid proposed by suggest ing that the $400 million should be seen as part of a larger international effort and as the first step in a long-term U.S aid program the actual U.S. aid would be much higher t han might be expected since the weapons offered would come directly from Pentagon inventories at a discount of as much as 40 percent off the cost of armaments purchased from companies President Zia, apparently unsatisfied, notified the NSC adviser that he was giving the aid proposal careful consideration and that Washington should not take further action on the matter without his approval (which never came Brzezhski reportedly assured Zia that the value of The Brzezinski-Christopher mission must have disap p ointed President Zia in several ways. First of all, Zia apparently believed that'a high official of Brzezinski's stature would not have come to Pakistan without an offer of additional aid. Second ly, in reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Pakistan's defens e spelled out by the 1959 agreement, Brzezinski spoke of a Ilfirm and enduringtf commitment against !'the danger from the north,If significantly avoiding any public mention of the danger from the east or from within. In private, Brzezhski purportedly maint ained that the U.S. would respond in the event of a major Soviet/Afghan attack, but that the Pakistanis themselves would be expected to handle low-level Soviet cross-border raids and internal rebellions.
Finally, the flamboyant style of Brzezinski's media- oriented diplomacy must have distressed the Pakistanis interested in securing the maximum amount of aid with a minimal amount of fanfare. Emphasizing the W.S. connection" would only serve to strain Pakistan's relations with the Soviet Union possibly provo k ing the Soviets to escalate their own aid to Pakistani dissident groups. Unfortunately, Brzezinski arrived trailing a sizable segment of the international press corps behind him and proceeded to stage what amounted to a three ring Islamabad was 15 media c i rcus complete with a Ifphoto opportunity session1' at the Khyber Pass where the NSC adviser playfully pointed an automatic rifle at the Afghan border. In Pakistani eyes, such belligerent posturing must have appeared to be .a cynical public relations gimmi ck, in view of the fact that it was not backed up by any concrete measures that would immediately strengthen Pakistani security .
When the Brzezinski mission departed from Pakistan, it evidently left the Pakistanis somewhat confused about.the nature of the U.S. aid offer. Islamabad was interested in the economic portion of the proposal (Pakistan's foreign debt of over $10 billion is roughly half of its annual $20 billion GNP but not in the military portion, which was perceived to entail significant risk wh i le providing minimal benefits. Nonetheless, apparently operating under the assumption that the economic and military aid grants were inseparably linked as part of a package deal, Islamabad rejected both. While ffsourcesff in the Brzezinski delegation left reporters with the impression that component parts could stand alone, the Pakistanis maintained that they were told that the entire package was to be submitted to Congress as a unit. Regard less of what was actually said in the couse of Brzezinski's talks , it would seemto be an inescapable conclusion that there was a communications breakdown somewhere along the line an all too familiar experience in recent U.S. diplomatic efforts across a wide spectrum of policy issues TBE PAKISTANI REJECTION OF THE U.S. A ID OFFER On March 5, a month after Brzezinski's departure, President.
Ziafs.foreign policy adviser, Agha Shahi, rejected the U.S. aid proposal in a public speech with no advance notice an act that stunned U.S. diplomats. Shahi explained that acceptance of the 400 million offer of assistance would have detracted from rather than enhanced Pakistani security and proclaimed that Irit.will not be prudent on our part to be dependent for our security on any single power From Islamabad' s standpoint, the proffered aid would not have improved Pakistan's defenses significantly and could legitimately be considered to be lfpeanutslf when viewed in the context of Pakistan's perceived defense requirements (a leading Pakistan newspaper, The Muslim, estimated that a Ifmean i ng ful update" of national defenses would cost $4 billion The Pakistanis were lobbying for an aid program on the scale of the U.S. effort in Turkey, if not Egypt. After all, Pakistan was a long-term ally confronted by Soviet power at close range vated Isl a mabad's bid for large-scale U.S. aid, but also deterred it from accepting the U.S. of.fer once it became apparent that the aid in question would not appreciably improve Pakistan's defense but would serve only to elicit the animosity of the Russians. As th e Soviet shadow has lengthened over Southwest Asia in recent years, the Pakistanis have come under increasing pressure to Paradoxically, the proximity of Soviet power not only moti16 develop their own independent modus vivendi with the Kremlin.
While it to ok the late December invasion of Afcrhanistan to "drasti cally" change President Carter's opinion of the Russians, the Pakistanis have not been saddled by any such illusions eyes, Afghanistan fell under Soviet domination not in December 1979, but in April 19
78. When their cries of alarm fell on deaf ears in the West and Washington failed to mount an effective response to rising Soviet influence in the region, the Pakistanis engineered a sea-change in their foreign policy and sought to improve relations wi th Moscow, not.only to reduce the possibility of confrontation with a Soviet-backed Afghanistan, but also to counterbalance Soviet support for India. In December 1978 Islamabad transferred its most capable diplomat, Sahabzada Yaqub- Khan, from Washington t o Moscow, a move filled with symbolic overtones. At his last diplomatic function in Washington Yaqub Khan noted the events in Afghanistan and grimly warned 1 fear that historians will look back at 1978 as a watershed yefg when the balance of power shifted against the western world.1f In their While this remains to be seen, Islamabad apparently has been operating under this assumption for over a year now spring of 1979, Pakistan withdrew from the crumbling CENT0 alliance a largely symbolic action which pave d the way for its acceptance into the nonaligned movement has been accompanied, even in the aftermath of the occupation of Afghanistan, by tentative efforts to accommodate Russian power in Southwest Asia. In recent months, President Zia has hinted vaguely o f a new "working relationship with Moscow which would entail the "pragmatic" acceptance of. the Soviet military presence in neighboring Afghanistan as an irreversible political fact of life. According to Zia You cannot live in the sea and [incite the] enm ity of the whales. You have to be friendly with them.
The Soviet Union is of50ur doorstep. The United States is ten thousand miles away In the This backpeddling from the West Moscow has consistently tried to exploit the Pakistanis sense of isolation by res orting to a psychological warfare campaign aimed at neutralizing Pakistan and undermining its relations with both Washington and Peking. In recent months, the thrust of Soviet diplomacy seems to have been focused on pressuring Islamabad to resolve tension s in Southwest Asia through bilateral talks with the Kremlin. To this end, the Soviets have mounted a gradual ly intensifying war of nerves. First came low level complaints that the Pakistanis were allowing Afghan rebels to use bases along the border. Then came charges that ltimperialistlf agents of Pakistan trained by the CIA were raiding across the border In early February, the accusations became more strident as Pravda denounced Pakistan for "more and more becoming a base for 14. Newsweek, January 1, 197 9, p. 39 15. William Borders Pakistani Leader Appeals for Aid Without Strings,"
New York Times, January 16, 1980, p. Al 17 interventionist forces air space,I1 and even Ifusing itf6armed forces to prevent Afghan refugees from returning home In mid-February, Foreign.Minister Andrei Gromyko visited India and accused Pakistan of permitting itself to be transformed into a "seat of tension1' and a "base for further upholding of aggression against Afghanistan In early March, the Soviets flexed their military musc l es in support of their coercive diplomacy by concentrating troops along the border for an offensive in the Kunar valley, a rebel stronghold resorting .to open violations of Afghan MOSCOW~S campaign of intimidation occasionally punctuated by calls for a re s olution of outstanding issues through bilateral negotiations, seems to ,have paid off which he rejected U.S. aid, Agha Shahi extended an olive branch to the Kremlin, saying The Soviet Union is capable of playing an important role in ensuring peace and sta b ility in our region and, by virtue of its enormous resources, of making a positive contribution fqwards the prosperity and well-being of the people of Pakistan Islamabad has also grown increasingly accommoda tive with regard to Soviet demands for noninter v ention in Afghan istan's internal affairs (i.e., noncooperation with Moslem rebels who have taken sanctuary in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province In the very speech in Although Pakistan officially disassociated itself from the Afghan rebellion early o n , it turned a blind eye on the activities of rebel bands on &e frontier, claiming that it was incapable of halting their movements along the estimated 3500 trails traversing the border, especially since the rebels enjoyed widespread support among the more than 600,000 Afghan refugees living in Pakistani supervised camps Peshawar, a city 34 miles from the Afghan border, became the principal bivouac area and nerve center for the rebels, who continuously streamed across the border in small groups in search of weapons, ammunition, fo.od, rest and medicine.
After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Pakistanis grew increasingly nervous about antagonizing Moscow and took pains to prevent journalists from crossing the border into Afghanistan and reportedly conf iscated rebel weapons in at least one of the larger refugee camps. While the Pakistanis sympathize with the plight of the rebels, they were reluctant to arm the rebels for fear that the arms provided would eventually fall into the hands of their own dissi d ent tribesmen this reluctance became an outright refusal. After announcing the rejection of U.S. aid in his March 5 speech, Shahi went on to assuage Soviet anxieties about Pakistan's relations with the rebels Let it be stated categorically that Pakistan i s deter mined not to allow itsel8 to become a conduit for the flow of arms into Afghanistan. I' That same day, President Zia'offered to pexmit'a neutral international organization to inspect the Under continued Soviet pressure 16. Strategic Mideast and Afr ica, February 25, 1980, p. 8 17. Washington Post, March 7, 1980, p. A28 18. New York Times, March 6, 1980, p. All 18 camps in. order to verify Islamabad's contention that it was only providing the Afghans with humanitarian relief.
While Soviet pressures pl ayed a major role in Islamabad's decision to rule out aid to the rebels as well as aid from the United States, there were several other important considerations from the Pakistani standpoint. Given President Zia's persistent wooing of the revolutionary Ir a nian regime in order to obtain Teheran's help in refinancing Pakistan's foreign debt and financ ing Pakistan's $1 billion annual oil import bill, Zia could not afford to offend the Iranians by moving closer to Washington in the midst of the protracted con f rontation over the fate of the American hostages a folk hero in Pakistan, and enjoys the support of the small but influential Shi'ite community as well as the admiration of Pakistan's Sunni majority. The ayatollah is already known to be suspicious of Pres i dent Zia's close links to the Shah. If Zia appeared to be sliding back into the U.S. camp, Khomeini might very well be tempted to use his own prestige within Pakistan to undermine the Zia regime. The Iranians therefore have considerable leverage over Isla m abad, a reality which led one Pakistani diplomat to admit over our shoulders at the Ayatollah The Ayatollah Khomeini has become somewhat of With every move we make regyging the U.S., we must look U.S.-PAKISTANI RELATIONS Pakistan's refusal of U.S. aid is n either surprising nor unreasonable when viewed against the background of policy disap pointments which the Pakistanis have suffered at the hands of the United States. Americaxi"po1icy towards Pakistan has been notably erratic over the last two decades. Si n ce the U.S. began arming Pakistan in 1954, it has adopted seven different arms supply policies for South Asia, a diplomatic record which is not likely to inspire confidence iri"the constancy or reliability of U.S foreign policy. Much of the chronic tensio n which has clouded Pakistani-American relations is derived from the fact that the two countries were drawn together for substantially different reasons. While the United States was looking for a local ally to help contain its archrival, the Soviet Union, Pakistan was looking for a powerful patron to help restrain its archrival, India.
During the height of the Cold War, Pakistan was considered to be IfAmerica's most allied ally in Asia." It joined the CENT0 and SEAT0 alliances and signed a 1959 bilateral defense agreement with the U.S. which required the U.S. government to "take such ap propriate action including the use of armed forces, as may be mutually agreed upon in the event of aggression against Pakistan."
Islamabad allowed the United States to establish several military 19. William Borders For the U.S Pakistan is an Unsteady Pilla r New York Times, January 20, 1980 p. E3 19 bases in its territory, including the giant airbase at Peshawar from which Gary Powers took off on his ill-fated U-2 reconnaissance mission in 19
60. In the early sixties, the Pakistanis became disillusioned wit h what they considered to be the pro-Indian bias of the Kennedy Administration. They were especially outraged by Washingtonls extension of emergency arms aid to India during the Sino-Indian border war of October 1962 and protested.that they had alienated the Soviets and lost prestige in the Third World by joining western alliances only to have the United States come to the. aid of their prime enemy.
Pakistan's 1965 war with India over the status of Kashmir precipitated a U.S arms embargo of both countries, an action which hurt Pakistan more than India since the United States was at that time its preeminent source of arms. The arms embargo was a bitter experience which embarrassed Pakistani leaders in front of their domestic critics and regional rivals. It p ermanently scarred Pakistani-American relations and led the Pakistanis to question the value of their ties with the United States similar U.S. arms embargo imposed on Turkey at the time of its 1974 partition of Cyprus led one Turkish general to complain T h e trouble with having the U.S. for an ally is that you never know when they are going to turn around and stab themselves in the back.lI) Because of displeasure over the embargo, Islamabad closed down the American military bases in Pakistan, refused to sup p ort the U.S. position in Vietnam, and called for a normaliza tion of relations with the Soviet. Union. Realizing that they A could not. count on U.S. support vis-a-vis India, the. Pakistds gradually entered into a strategic embrace with the PRC, their ene my's enemy.
During the Nixon Administration, relations between the two countries improved moderately due to the fact that President Nixomand his NSC adviser, Henry Kissinger, were viscerally more sympathetic to Pakistan than to India, whose foreign policy intentions they distrusted. Although the Nixon Administration refused to totally lift the 1965 arms embargo, it did pedt the transfer of U.S.-supplied jets from Iran and Jordan. The Nixon Administration also developed a relatively close relationship with P resident Yahya Khan, who played a Itcourier role" in the covert contacts with the PRC. In December 1971, the outbreak of the third Indo-Pakistani war triggered a "tilt towards Pakistan which led the United States to side with Pakistan in the U.N. and disp a tch a carrier task force to the Bay of Bengal in order to deter the Indians from launching military operations against West Pakistan in addition to East Pakistan. The subsequent coming to power of Zufiqar AJ.i Bhutto, an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign p o licy, placed a chill on U.S.-Pakistan relations which has yet to be lifted THE CARTER ADMINISTRATION AND PAKISTAN Under the Carter Administration, the deterioration of America's relationship with Pakistan has been accelerated, not only due to 20 the conte nt, but also due to the style of U.S. foreign policy.
Several of the basic tenets of Carter's foreign policy the emphasis on human rights, the halting of nuclear proliferation and the restriction of anus sales were bound to generate fricti in U.S.-Pakistan relations, but the insensitive and often inept brand of diplomacy practiced by the Carter Administration serred to exacerbate tensions above and beyond what might be prudently deemed to have been necessary. Not only did Carter's proclivity to dwell on th e normative rather than the security components of U.S. foreign relations tend to downgrade Pakistan's importance as an ally, but the righteous moralistic tone of U.S. diplomacy chafed against Pakistani sensibilities, long since rubbed raw by what was perc e ived to be Washington's patronizing attitude toward I s 1 amabad on The Carter Administration further aroused Pakistani resent ment by its apparent "tilt" towards India. Washington's revival of its obsessive courtship of India left Pakistanis with the sou r impression that they were being taken for granted under the assumption that their fear of India locked them into the U.S embrace. Significantly, Jhny Carter became the first U.S president to visit India without also touching base in Pakistan This slight, combined. with Washington's public recognition of Indian domination of the subcontinent, was a serious blow to Pakistan's pride and a contributing factor which undermined Islama bad's confidence. in Washington. The State Department's recommen dation in ea rly May that the U.S. resume the export of uranium fuel to India's Tarapur nuclear reactor was yet another affront to Pakistani sensibillties in view of Washington's strong disap proval of Pakistan's own nuclear efforts.
Washington's opposition to Pakistan 's ongoing nuclear weapons program is perhaps the single most disruptive issue complicating U.S.-Pakistan relations. Pakistan's conventional military inferi ority, lack of indigenous defense industry, and inability to secure a reliable source of foreign a r ms supplies prompted it to seek a nuclear option to deter India, which had already detonated a "peaceful nuclear device" in 1974.. When Pakistan refused to give up efforts to procure a French-built nuclear reprocessing plant which was central to its cland e stine nuclear weapons develop ment program, President Carter announced in June 1977 that he would withhold the sale of 110 A-7 Corsair long-range fighter bombers which had been approved by both the Nixon and Ford Admini strations. Having failed to dissuad e the Pakistanis, the Carter Administration proceeded to put pressure on the French, and succeeded in forcing the cancellation of the reprocessing plant contract in August 1978, much to the ire of the Pakistanis it became apparent in the fall of 1978 that I slamabad was continu ing its quest for an llIslamic bomb" by secretly acquiring the required technology with Libyan financial backing, the U.S. offered Pakistan 50 F-5E fighters and help in developing a non military nuclear program, if it would suspend it s nuclear weapons could have stayed in power if it had accepted the terms laid down When drive. When the Pakistanis refused (no Pakistani government 21 by Washington), the United States cut off $85 .million worth of economic,aid in April 1979 under the ter ms of the lfSymington AmendmexkIf to the 1977 Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits aid to countries that appear to be developing nuclear weapons.
U.S.-Pakistan relations continued to deteriorate throughout 1979 at an alarming rate. In November they reac hed a low point when an enraged mob, incited by false reports of U.S. complicity in the seizure of the Grand Mosque, sacked the U.S. embassy and killed two Americans while the Pakistani authorities made no effort to intervene. Although the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan late in December gave rise to a thaw in the U.S.-Pakistan relation ship, the Pakistanis understandably remained cool to the U.S. offers of military and economic aid due to their past experience with American attempts to use such aid as leve r age in obtaining Pakistani compliance with American goals which were incompatible with Pakistants national interests. A high Pakistani official complained that The U.S. is tough with its friends and timid with its adversaries. We're sick of depending on t h e political whims of the United States and U.S. public oganion, which from time to time puts Pakistan in the doghouse.I' In mid-January President Zia echoed these thoughts when he said that Pakistan could not afford to accept U.S. aid unless it was sure o f the l'credibility and durability1' of the aid offer. Zia was concerned that Washington would once again backslide on promised aid in search of some future Pakistani concession once it had grown to accept the Soviet presence in Afghanistyland he added: If I hope these two words make my position clear Unfortunately, the words in question were apparently unintelligible to the Carter Administration and Washington was dealt yet another If surprising1 foreign policy setback CONCLUSION The Soviet occupation of Af g hanistan constitutes a threat to Pakistani national security insofar as it provides the Kremlin with a fulcrum for maximizing Soviet leverage over Islamabad, a forward base for the subversion of dissident ethnic minorities and political groups within Paki s tan, and a springboard for a possible future intervention in Baluchistan. The Kremlin will probably not push immediately to fully exploit the strategic potential of its new lfsouthern tier" satellite because it has not yet consolidated its control over th e Afghan countryside. Moreover time appears to be on its side, given the continuing disarray of the western alliance and the continuing domestic political insta bility of Iran and Pakistan. In the short run, Moscow will 20. William Branigin Pakistan Seeks Billions in U.S. Aid Washington Post 21.
January 23, 1980, p. A25.
Stuart Auerbach Pakistan Ties Arms Aid to Economic Assistance Washington Post, January 14, 1980, p. A14 22 probably fall back on a strategy of intimidation rather than invasion. Already, P akistan has manifested a preference for dealing with a predictable enemy, rather than an unpredictable ally In view of the seriousness of the external and internal threats to Islamabad's authority, President Zia's rejection of the 400 million U.S. aid pro p osal represents a monumental blunder in American diplomacy and a critical indictment of recent U.S foreign policy vis-a-vis its allies in general and Pakistan.in particular. Washington's aid offer was tailored to U.S. needs rather than Pakistani sensibili t ies. The Carter Administration's domestic political requirement to do something dramatic in South west Asia via a high profile, limited commitment aid program proved to be incompatible with President Zia's need for a low profile, long-term guarantee of ex t ensive economic and military aid. Islamabad ultimately rejected the proffered aid because the marginal economic and military benefits of the offer did not equal the prohibitively high domestic and international political costs of accepting such an offer, g iven the tenuous grip on power of the Zia regime and the precarious nature of Pakistan's relations with Iran and the Soviet Union. The style and content of recent U.S. foreign.policy vis-a-vis Pakistan gave Islamabad little incentive to put faith in the r eliability or durability of U.S. aid.
The aid offer itself was developed with minimal consultation with Islamabad, apparently under the implicit assumption that the Pakistanis had no alterantive but to defer to Washington's better judgment. The offer was p oorly tendered, leading the Pakistanis to the apparent conclusion that it was extended on a take it or leave it basis.
Carter Administration's proclivity for '!policymaking by pronounce ment its preference for manipulating symbols rather than wielding pow er, and its tendency to solve problems in an ad hoc manner within a historical vacuum, bereft of any overarching strategic vision. President Carter's lack of a consistent political philo sophy or worldview has precluded the development of a central organi z ing principle which would generate a coherent, comprehen sive, sustainable approach to foreign affairs. As a result Washington is prone to set incompatible policy goals which ulti mately produce self-defeating policies, take sudden lurches in strategy and send confusing, often contradictory, signals to allies as. well as rivals The entire episode was a prime example of the The Carter Administration's unpredictability, irresolution and inconsistency leave America's allies with a poor basis for planning. In t he course of a number of "Carter shocks,I' the White House has seen fit to reverse its policy at a moment's notice in response to considerations of tactical expediency without manifesting an adequate appreciation of the national interests of its allies or a clear assessment of how those national interests would be affected by the policy reversal. Carter's vacillation over the neutron bomb issue was a classic example of 23 the Administration coaxing its allies out on a limb, only to saw the limb off. In vie w of this and other past slights at the hands of the White House, it is not surprising that many Western European states have been noticeably reluctant to follow Washing ton's lead in the course of the Iranian hostage confrontation or conform to President C arter's program of sanctions against the Soviet Union in retaliation for the invasion of Afghanistan The primary function of an alliance is to enhance the national security of its members by combining their strengths to reduce the uncertainties that each m ust face in planning for the future. All too often, however, the Carter Administration has increased rather than decreased the uncertainties of America's allies through indecisive, half-hearted actions of an ambiguous or even ambivalent nature. U.S. forei g n policy is currently so compart mentalized that secondary policy considerations are allowed to override much larger, more basic security considerations, with minimal or even. counterproductive results In Iran, for example, Carter's human rights policy wa s a contributing factor which helped to undermine the Shah and pave the way for the rise of the vitriolic Ayatollah Khomeini, whose fanatical supporters have repeatedly violated the human rights of Iranian minority groups, not to mention those of the Ameri c an hostages. In Pakistan, the Administration's nuclear nonprolifera tion policy led Washington into a head-on collision with the self-proclaimed national security interests of Islamabad. Ironi cally, Carter's sanctions against Pakistan have merely confirm e d in Pakistani eyes the need for developing an independent nuclear tlequalizerll vis-a-vis India due to the unreliabilaty of foreign support in the event of another Indo-Pakistani conflict. Clearly President Carter has been far from a good friend to Ameri c a's traditional allies in Southwest Asia In the final analysis, one of the chief victims of the Pakistani aid fiasco is likely to be the Carter Doctrine. After all, how can the United States expect the Gulf states, which today consider a military relation ship with the United States to be anathema, to request American assistance in a low level crisis whenPakistan, a much stronger military power which has been linked to Washington by military ties in the past, has chosen to refuse U.S. assistance?
James A. Phillips Policy Analyst