The misplaced faith in Pakistan exhibited by many in Washington is not new; it has been going on for fifty years, ever since the first early infatuation, by various Dulles brothers and American generals, with fly-whisking ramrod-straight terry-thomas-moustachioed generals who kept assuring the Americans that “Islam is a barrier to Communism” and allowed themselves to be compared — favorably — with bandung-conferencing, new-left-book-club-subscribing, Krishna Menon (India’s foreign minister) and supercilious Jawaharlal Nehru.
It started with Pakistan as part of that farcical military alliance, CENTO, with Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan as the stout defenders of the West against atheistic Communism. That West, represented by Great Britain and the United States, supplied all the arms and all the money. The thing collapsed in 1958, having hardly existed, with Qassem’s coup in Iraq, and “strongman” Nuri es-Said’s body being dragged through the streets of Baghdad for further mutilation.
But the love affair, entirely unrequited, with Pakistan continued. The Americans sold weapons and even advanced planes. But Pakistan took those weapons and used them to threaten, or even to make war on India in repeated campaigns, and Pakistan military’s support for terrorism in Kashmir did not begin yesterday, or the day before.
The misuse of American aid, and the dawning understanding, among some in the Senate, led to the Pressler Amendment. But unfortunately, those who had over slow time begun to really understand Pakistan’s treachery, such as Senator Glenn, did not have a way to pass on that understanding to their successors. The Senate had no institutional memory, and lessons learned by some in Congress were forgotten when they left the scene.
And the Pressler Amendment itself was largely ignored by the Executive Branch, and the State Department as part of that branch, as those who consult the Congressional record and read the outraged words of Senator Glenn and others will soon discover.
But what happened? Pakistan was a friend of America and hence a friend of the West. This led to the naive acceptance of A. Q. Khan into laboratories in Germany and then the Netherlands, where this metallurgist was given access to all kinds of nuclear know-how secrets, secrets which he systematically stole and brought back to Pakistan, where the Pakistani military and intelligence worked with him hand-in-glove. (Or are we to believe that A. Q. Khan did everything himself? Built “the Islamic bomb” by the dozens himself?) Pakistan could divert resources to bomb-building because of American aid. American taxpayers helped to build, helped make possible, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. You helped, and so did I. But we didn’t know we were helping. We trusted our government to be properly mistrustful, assumed our government did not consist, at the highest levels, of people so unbelievably ignorant of Islam and naive about such people as the Muslim generals and zamindars who run Pakistan. You see that we were wrong.
And the comedy continues. The Bush Administration trusted Musharraf. His manner, his affect, was so straightforward, so trustworthy, that the Americans, who take so long to grasp when they are being fiddled, trusted him wholeheartedly. Americans seem to have an especially hard time realizing when they are being fiddled when those doing the fiddling are Arabs and Pakistanis or other Muslims well-versed in the arts of outward pleasing (while inwardly, there is murder in their hearts) of powerful Infidels who can supply them with all the good things — money and weapons, chiefly — of this earth. These are the very things that the Camp of Islam, with its permanent backwardness the result of Islam itself, cannot easily supply, or could not, at least for the Arabs if not the Pakistanis, until the manna of oil revenues (which owe nothing to Muslim endeavor) arrived.
Pakistan is a Muslim state where Christians are discriminated against, humiliated, persecuted, attacked and even murdered at will. The Americans have done nothing about this. Pakistan is a Muslim state that has for decades supported, and continues to support, groups that conduct terrorist attacks in Indian-held Kashmir, and in India itself. Hindus themselves, who at Partition constituted a very large proportion of the population of the land areas that became West Pakistan (now Pakistan), have been steadily harassed, and persecuted, and even killed, so that their numbers in Pakistan, both relative and absolute, have greatly diminished. Pakistan is a country whose people have Islam, and only Islam. They take no interest in, have no knowledge of, their own Hindu ancestors. They have no interest in pre-Islamic India, for example in the civilisation of Mohenjo-Daro (ignored by the Pakistanis). Non-Muslims are perfectly capable of taking an interest in previous civilizations — the Christians did not stamp out, or forget, the pagan world of classical antiquity, and the Renaissance is associated with a new and sustained interest in that pre-Christian world. Even some Muslims have a history that has made them unusually aware of their pre-Islamic past, such as Iranians, whose historic memory is sustained both by the physical obviousness (the ruins and remains of that world, at Persepolis and elsewhere) of a great Persian Empire that predated the “gift of Islam” imposed by Arab conquerors, and by the memory of the successful rejection of Arab linguistic and cultural imperialism, in which Persian poets are believed by Iranians to have played an important part.
But Pakistan is unlike Iran. In being indifferent to the history of pre-Islamic or non-Islamic India, the Pakistanis have no history, have no alternative identity or past to look to. They have Islam and only Islam. And that is what has so impoverished them, far more than, for example, the Indonesians. Old maps call the East Indies “India extra Gangem,” because these islands were largely Hindu and Buddhist. They were regarded as part of the civilization of India, in the way that Sicily, for example (think of the Greek temples at Agrigento), was known as Magna Graecia. It was only in the 14th and 15th centuries that any significant Muslim penetration of the East Indies occurred, hastened through the conversion of the rulers of Java and Sumatra and the application of the principle of cuius regio eius religio.
By now it is well-known — there is so much testimony even by some Pakistanis — that Musharraf was determined to extract as much money and weaponry as he could from Bush. And Bush, who believed he could look into someone’s eyes and tell if that person was trustworthy (he famously declared his belief in Vladimir Putin, for example) was fooled by Musharraf. For Western leaders so often cannot grasp just how easy it is, how natural it is, in the Muslim world to lie, and lie. It is not a skill that has to be learned late in life. Deception of all kinds, practiced with members of other sects or tribes or factions, or even with members of one’s own family, learning to please the powerful or all those whose good will is temporarily needed, learning to be smooth — all this comes so naturally to Muslims, and has been remarked upon by so many Western travelers, over so many centuries, that it gave rise to the brutal truth of the British saying that summed-up this behavior: “At your feet, or at your throat.”
This doesn’t apply universally. In Afghanistan, for example, among tribes whose vocation and avocation, whose pastime and sport, is making war on other tribes or other peoples, the description of these warlike and inexhaustible tribes might need to be modified: “at your throat, or at your throat.”
It is known that Musharraf would do all kinds of things, but that he did not effectively or wholeheartedly fight Muslim terrorists or, more importantly, do anything to suppress the Muslim groups that support terror. He couldn’t, and his successors can’t or won’t do so, either. Musharraf would deliberately, ostentatiously, and intermittently, have some Pakistani military attack a terrorist base, usually most ineffectually, and only in order to please the Americans and keep that aid coming. The same policy continues today. And much of the aid continues to be diverted for another use: to further build up Pakistan’s nuclear bomb arsenal. The F.B.I. and C.I.A. still cannot quiz A. Q. Khan, who has recently admitted, and in public, that he worked hand in glove with the Pakistani military and that if they dared to turn on him, he had plenty on them that he could reveal — and in the course of his speech, mostly did, in its essentials, reveal. Why no mention of this in the American press? And did anyone in Congress take notice, bring to the notice of others, this amazing admission?
Now Pakistan has managed once again to fool the Americans. Or rather, Hasan Haqqani has managed to do so. He is a smooth man, with his elegant and reassuring wife (those blue jeans, that easy Wellesley-girl manner that the jeunesse doree of the zamindar class put to such good use when they are abroad. But it was Radcliffe-and-Oxford-educated Pinky Bhutto who pushed the nuclear program and who can be seen shrieking about Jihad in Kashmir on Youtube. So Pakistanis fool the Americans, time and time and time again.
As to the latest aid, why should it be given at all? The argument that Pakistan must have it, or collapse — well, what’s wrong with Pakistan collapsing, or at the very least, being forced to spend all of its efforts simply staying afloat and not disintegrating into internecine warfare? Ordinarily, one wishes one’s enemies, the members of the enemy camp, to have as much internal strife as possible, in order to divert the aggressive impulse, and the size of the threat. Why should American money go to Pakistan, especially since again and again it has been shown that the attempt to distinguish “non-military aid” from military aid is a false one, for the government of Pakistan, that is, the real government of Pakistan, the Pakistani military, will always find ways to divert funds freed up by aid to buy more weapons or support more weapons projects.
And even if one thought a little aid might do a little good, why is it to come from the Americans, or other Infidels? Why isn’t it coming from the government of Saudi Arabia, drowning in hundreds of billions of dollars, or the governments of those statelets with vast unearned wealth and so few people to share it: the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and all the others? Why aren’t they asked — pointedly and repeatedly — to share just a little of that vast wealth, some twelve trillion dollars having been received by the Muslim members of OPEC since 1973 alone, with fellow members of the Umma? They could start with those in Pakistan whose economic backwardness may be directly attributed to two things: the inshallah-fatalism of Islam (that fit in perfectly with the mores of the early Arabs, who lived on raiding, on seizing the property of others, including those who, like the Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, did till the soil, did work), and the hatred of bid’a, or innovation.
Since the Arab Muslims are supposed to be loyal to fellow members of the Umma, why has that loyalty been shown mainly in Saudi aid to mosques and imams who have wahhabized or are wahhabizing, that is, becoming even more extreme extremists than Islam itself had made them? And why should the Western world, why should the Americans, support these Arab Muslims? Americans have spent (or committed) two trillion dollars in a vain effort in Iraq to produce a prosperous, democratic, unified country (and take with a grain of salt, preferably sel de Guelande, the recent breathless stories in The Times about how “the Iraqis” are suddenly getting beyond sectarianism). Americans still spend hundreds of billions on ungoverned and ungovernable warlike tribes in Afghanistan, and still shell out money by the billions for every Muslim polity or people — Egypt, Jordan, the “Palestinians” (the local Arabs who are the shock troops of the Lesser Jihad against Israel) — that forgot to be born with billions of barrels of oil reserves. Those polities and people might actually be expected, were the people in question non-Muslims, to work for a living, rather than make war, or play tric-trac and smoke hubble-bubble pipes, or whatever else it is that the Arabs do all day, because they certainly do not have a work ethic (see Wafa Sultan’s upcoming book on this very subject). They live either on the manna of oil and gas — which requires no effort on their part — or on the increasing manna of foreign aid from the West.
And inevitably, as I have noted so many times, the psychological attitudes that naturally arise when Infidel governments give aid to Muslims, reduplicate exactly, in both Infidel Donor and Muslim Donee, the attitudes exhibited in Islamic-ruled societies by the dhimmis offering up their Jizyah to their Muslim masters. For a brief period, roughly the sesquicentury from 1800 to 1950, Muslims were not only weak but understood themselves to be weak vis-Ã -vis the Westerners, who were viewed as the inhabitants of Frangistan, the lands of the Franks (“Franks” being a generic term for the Crusaders and, by extension, all European Christians). The American government, and European governments, seem to be afraid to cut aid to the Muslim countries and peoples, even though again and again, information has come to light about the diversion of that aid to malevolent purposes that can only harm the non-Muslims of the world (that Pakistani nuclear project, for example), or the appropriation of that aid by corrupt rulers (see Mubarak and his Friends-and-Family Plan). Such corrupt rulers are kept afloat by such aid, and can therefore continue to divert other moneys to military uses, both those that threaten Infidels (e.g., Israel, or even Ethiopia over Nile waters), and those that can be used internally to squash dissent. Who pays, ultimately, for the mukhabarats, or Secret Services, and the police, of Egypt, Jordan, the “Palestinian authority”?
But no one dares to suggest that it would be far better to cut off all aid to the Muslim lands, forcing them to go to the Saudis, and other rich Arabs, for such aid instead. For if they were to do so, one of two things could happen. They would receive such aid, but the poorer Muslims they would not be grateful for it but demand, and expect, ever more. Any such using up of funds in this way would diminish the amount available for the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Kuwaitis, the Qataris, and others, in promoting Islam, either by building mosques and madrasas all over the Lands of the infidels, or conducting vast propaganda campaigns on behalf of the Arabs and Islam. Those campaigns often employ well-connected Western hirelings, including former diplomats and intelligence agents who were once posted to the Muslim world, Western businessmen angling for contacts, journalists and academics on the make and on the take (google “MESA Nostra” for more), and the usual assorted well-placed fixers in Washington and London and Paris. Clark Clifford and the BCCI scandal come to mind. Money also goes of course to pay for campaigns of Da’wa. Any such diminishment in the funds available to spread, and promote, and protect from prying minds, Islam, is to be welcome. And the donor Arabs would resent this, and this would create more friction within the Camp of islam, among the members of the world-wide Umma, between the oil-and-gas-rich states, and those that depended on handouts from them.
And the alternative — that the rich Arabs would stiff the Pakistanis, and the Jordanians, and the Egyptians, and the Indonesians (whose own oil is running out), and even the shock troops of the war against Israel, the “Palestinians” — well, that would certainly raise sky-high the friction, the envy, the resentment, felt by the poorer Muslims, who would wonder where the loyalty to fellow Muslims had gone. Was it merely expressed as a shared hatred of Infidels, or did it also imply the impulse to take care of, to be truly charitable towards, Muslims who forgot to be born with oil deposits anywhere in the vicinity? The internecine resentments and envies can only be bad for the coherence and unity of the Camp of islam. And that is a good thing.
Just look at the American aid to Pakistan. Now, despite a half-century of meretriciousness, more of that aid — another $7.5 billion of it — has been awarded by a Congress inveigled by the Administration, and insufficiently aware of what Pakistan has been doing, or not doing, with that money. It’s not hard to find out about. Pakistani commentators themselves have noted the double-game of Musharraf and the men who succeeded him (in the army and in the civilian government). A. Q. Khan has made things even easier by his recent, apparently-hushed-up recent admissions or rather revelations. We see every day, in every way, the determination of the Pakistani military not to close the border to the Taliban, for the Taliban, after all, are the creatures of the Pakistani military, who helped to form them, to nurture them, to supply them, and then to help them return to Afghanistan and to install their regime, a regime that the Pakistanis recognized diplomatically and gave support to in every other way. The fact that in a spot or two — say, the Valley of Swat — the interests of the local rich are threatened by succursales of Al Qaeda, and so the Pakistani military are willing to go after them and perhaps a very few of the Taliban most deeply implicated in collaborating with Al Qaeda, means nothing when it comes to ending all support for the Taliban, much less actually attacking their sanctuaries all over the place inside Pakistan. It won’t be done, and it can’t be done by the Muslim military of Muslim Pakistan.
And just look at the graciousness of the Pakistani government. It pockets this aid, and then whines, and asks for more, and more. And it keeps playing on the theme that “you don’t trust us” and “if you trusted us you would give us the most advanced military aircraft” and “if you trusted us you would give us night-fighting equipment” and “if you trusted us you would give us…oh, what about some of those fine long-range missiles we hear so much about”? You get the picture. Pakistan pockets what it treats as Jizyah from the Americans, as its due, as what it deserves, and then never stops complaining, never offers thanks, but asks and asks and asks for more. And it’s not even a Dickensian “please sir” with the bowl held out for refilling. No — it’s a scowl, and a “is that all?” and “where’s the rest?”
O God in Heaven, please give our rulers — those who think they know best how to protect us — some sense. Or some semblance of sense about Islam. Or something. Please. It’s not much to ask.