Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Pakistan: the epicenter of instability in South Asia?

Strategy Page points out that Pakistan's own internal instability is destabilizing South Asian nations around it.  It's not a hopeful picture for US involvement in Afghanistan.

Imran Khan, the newly elected prime minister of Pakistan, has proved himself very much a tool of the Pakistani military. Khan openly and enthusiastically supports the Islamic terrorist violence in Indian Kashmir and denies any Pakistani responsibility for it. The Pakistani military can now do whatever they like without any risk of criticism from Pakistani politicians. The new head of the ISI is noted for his enthusiastic support for Islamic radicalism and the use of Islamic terrorism against India. There is a dark side to all of this, even for the Pakistanis. Indian leaders are running out of options and are seriously talking of raids and air strikes against Islamic terrorist facilities just across the border in Pakistani Kashmir. If that happens Pakistan says it will also escalate and that is the direction this is headed.

Pakistan also carries out even more undeclared military and terrorist operations against Afghanistan. Opposing Pakistani meddling in Afghan affairs is a popular issue among most Afghans and a growing number of Afghan leaders are calling for a declaration of war against Pakistan. Such a status has existed, in practice but unofficially, for years but Afghanistan refused to accept that reality and tried to reason with Pakistan and that has never worked. This shift in attitude, and openly discussing it, is more acceptable now because Pakistan has lost much of the support it once had in the American military and State Department (the diplomats).

The Pakistani military has stopped trying to pretend and interfered decisively in the recent Pakistani elections to get a government elected that does what the generals want. The Americans have cut all military and economic aid. Pakistan was hoping the Chinese would replace the American economic and military aid but that is not working out. The Chinese don’t give aid, they provide loans which they insist be repaid. In 2023 Pakistan has to start making payments on multi-billion dollar Chinese construction loans. This is a problem as Pakistan goes to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for the 13th time to obtain billions in loans to avoid economic collapse.

The main cause of these frequent appeals to the IMF are by now widely accepted; the Pakistani military gets too much of the government budget. The American decision to cut military aid to Pakistan is a big deal because over the last decade that aid has accounted for nearly 20 percent of the Pakistani defense budget. The U.S. aid has declined since 2010 (when it was $2 billion) but was still significant because the current annual Pakistani defense budget is nearly $9 billion. So an extra billion or so from the Americans makes a difference. While Pakistan can turn to China or Russia for all its weapons needs it won’t have access to the best nor will it get any gifts. China and Russia expect to be paid for military goods. Meanwhile, the Pakistani Army gets 47 percent of the defense budget, the Air Force 20 percent and the Navy 11 percent.

. . .

The Pakistani government tries to justify the high defense spending by pointing out that since 2011 Pakistan has suffered $57 billion in economic losses because of Islamic terrorism. That is tragic but the neighbors (and the United States) point out that those losses are largely because Pakistan has supported Islamic terrorists since the 1970s and continues to do so even though many Islamic terror groups have declared war on Pakistan. The IMF is well aware of all this and Pakistani Finance Ministry officials cannot expect much help (unless you count the usual threats) from the military in persuading the IMF to look the other way and bail out the profligate Pakistani military once more.

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading.



HMS Defiant said...

They sowed the wind and reap the whirlwind.

The Pakistani military and intel service did this to Pakistan.

Nobody can trust them for anything and their nuclear weapons program just made the case in gold.

What they did to Afghanistan 30 years ago is a major crime and what they do to India is twice that.

I'm pretty sure that our SIOP includes Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi come the nuclear apocalypse.

We wouldn't want to leave a stain that ugly on the planet if we go down.

Old NFO said...

Agree with HMS!!! Dammit!

Anonymous said...

China will use Pakistan's instability to play India. Specifically to wrest Assam and Nepal from India's sphere of influence and then use those countries to thwart India from ever challenging China.
And should the Indians not get the message, then China will give Pakistan the green light for a final solution to the Kashmiri question.

So the chicoms assume they'll come out on top and win bigly. But who knows? The Indians are better organized then the 65 IndoPakistan war and learned its lessons. So everyone could be in for a shock