Diplomatic Straight Talk on Pakistan, the Taliban, and Afghanistan?

-

This is a guest note by General Asad Durrani, who previously served as the head of Pakistan’s ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence. Durrani later served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany and to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
durrani_web.jpg
Double or Quits
A soldier can do better than dying on the battlefield in pursuit of paradise — he can send his adversary to hell.
That at least was once the unofficial American doctrine. Diplomats too occasionally dispatch each other to hell; the British traditionally in a manner that the adversary looks forward to the journey. The subtlety was lost on Pakistan.
Though often persuaded to go to hell, at times all expenses paid, the country keeps turning back from the brink. The British Prime-Minister therefore decided that the time for diplomatic equivocation was past and this enfant terrible had to be told in no uncertain terms that it was playing a “double game”.
We were indeed not amused, but can now be blamed for “double standards”. Earlier we had applauded David Cameron when he fired the first shot from his double-barrel: blamed Israel for turning Gaza into a prison. It was more than a diplomatic gaffe. For him it could be politically fatal. We should make amends and encourage the young Prime-Minister to carry on catching the bulls from their horns.
It is not because I wish him more trouble with Israel or with his political opponents. I also must acknowledge that but for the diplomatic mambo-jumbo we may at times be in serious trouble. If you have to convey a piece of your real mind about your nemesis, it was better done with a preamble; like “how highly we admire him or her”. And just in case you had no idea about the status of a case in your charge, “it is under our active consideration” would save many a blush. I still believe we would be better served with some straight talk; Pakistan more than all the others.
If we, for example, were to wish the Afghan Taliban — our best bet to get the region rid of the US-led Alliance — all the luck, anyone believing in stating things “as they are” would be much impressed. If we could also add that since many of our troubles began with the arrival of the foreign forces, we were now willing to facilitate their departure, some of them would jump at the offer.
And just in case we did not have the courage to convey that a number of groups targeting us were sponsored by our so called allies, we could always leak an odd document to the Wikileaks. Indeed, it would be nice if countries like China, Russia and Iran also expressed their discomfiture with NATO’s meddling with the New Great Game.
The Brits too would be delighted. They would dump all the debris of the last decade on the senior partner, hang some of its poodles now under trial (like they used to execute generals and admirals who lost wars in faraway places), and make up with their old friends, the Afghan Tribesmen.
The Americans too could benefit. They will finally get a chance to get even with “Big Money” that has run the country to bankruptcy, mortgaged its future to China, and created the most expensive war machine in history that routinely loses to ragtag warriors in this postmodern warfare.
And who knows, India may also concede that the real reason it was dragging its feet on reconciliation with Pakistan was that the price for peace exceeded the cost of status quo.
On second thought, this conversion to the true faith does not seem to be a good idea. It would deprive us of all the fun in conducting international relations, of running with the hare and hunting with the hound, and in letting our emissaries run wild in pursuit of refining diplomatic doublespeak.
In due course, Mr Cameron too would give up his new found enthusiasm for calling a spade a spade; latest, when the former US Defense Secretary William Cohen reminds him of the lesson he learned from an illustrious British diplomat, Lord Robertson: “now that you have joined the circus, learn to ride on two horses”.
When the Prime-Minister was admonishing us for looking “both ways”, his Indian hosts should have recalled what their own “showman of the century” taught them about life: “it is a circus, in which one must move and look in all directions”.
Double-crossers!
— Asad Durrani

Comments

13 comments on “Diplomatic Straight Talk on Pakistan, the Taliban, and Afghanistan?

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    Raise the stakes. You burn notice Colin and company for the money before 9-11, and the USA lets some Bhutto SIGINTS fly to airwaves.
    Everyone loses?

    Reply

  2. chumanist says:

    The fact of the matter is that the use of the double game theory against Pakistan’s ISI cannot befittingly defend the charges that the coalition forces seem to have been facing regarding the ongoing failures of the war in Afghanistan.The merit of the case of the Afghan war must not be shrouded in a mystery. In my opinion, the political correctitude must be sustained by the international analysts & writers while looking into the real causes of the emerging failures of the Afghan war- – that has been intrinsically sponsored or engineered by both the US and the UK policy managers.

    Reply

  3. Poodle-Faker says:

    The good general does obfuscate too much & is historically incorrect on a number of point.
    ISI originally became the quartermaster AND gained the purse strings of the US’s support to the Mujahideen in the very early 1980s.
    And therein began the problem that started the internecine fighting between Hezbi Hekmatyar and Massoud/Jamiaat [later Northern Alliance] that begat civil war from which emerged the Taliban.
    Had the US demanded more accountability & control over the shenanigans ISI was up to in the early years, we would not be in the position we are in today.
    As ISI is still playing a double game, again on Uncle Sam’s dime -whilst Zadari plays kabuki politics- when the generals are still truly in charge. The US needs to be less diplomatically timid for both Pakistan’s future & the US’s ability to depart the stage in a timely fashion.
    The ISI might finally learn the lesson’s of ‘blowback’ that the Brits, Ruskies & now the US are experiencing, only that in Pakistan the ISI don’t have a fallback position.

    Reply

  4. chumanist says:

    The fact is that Mr Durrani has used a good sense of wit and humour in his attempt at showing the political truth. The comments_ offered by the British premier Mr Cameron about Pakistan( during his visit to India)_ indicate that he has to learn much about the dynamics of international relations and diplomacy.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “In her statement, Clinton called the killings a “despicable act of wanton violence” that demonstrates the brutality of the Taliban. She said she was heartbroken by the loss of the aid workers…”
    Gee, how convincing is this sputtering wretch? She’s got the boogie man thing down pat, doesn’t she? She’s a regular Dick Cheney, with boobs.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2010/08/09/aid-group-doubts-taliban-role-in-medical-teams-killing/
    Aid Group Doubts Taliban Role in Medical Team

    Reply

  6. sanitychecker says:

    Brilliant!
    charlie writes: “Mr. Cameron’s wisdom in
    deciding to side with India rather than with a bunch of losers.”
    Wrong charlie! Cameron is still siding with America.

    Reply

  7. observer says:

    Steve Clemens:
    Scathing irony from a man who knows what he is talking about.
    Yes, the foreigner started the troubles but Pakistan did not have to enlist in their cause.
    And the foreigners have to pack and go – it is not their country, their region, their religion, their civilization. They can have no lasting effec.

    Reply

  8. charlie says:

    Dear DC Pundit;
    You need to spend more time in South Asia. I think the primary
    problem here is Mr. Durrani is showing his roots — as an
    uneducated goat herder trying to speak English.
    (that is a joke, by the way)
    Non-sequitors may not always be wisdom. They may be sign of
    imbelcity. Try renting “Being There” on netflix.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Clinton Condemns Slaying Of Aid Workers
    Tags: AFGHANISTAN ISRAEL
    In her statement, Clinton called the killings a “despicable act of wanton violence” that demonstrates the brutality of the Taliban. She said she was heartbroken by the loss of the aid workers…
    continues………
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129067111&ft=1&f=1001
    But she doesn’t have jack-shit to say about Israel gunning down American citizens engaged in peaceful protest, does she? Who the hell does this woman represent, anyway? Crocodile tears for Neda, and these aid workers get her attention, but if Israel murders or maims Americans, not one fuckin’ peep. If this shrew runs for President, I hope her opponent will rub her face in this. But its doubtful, because if you ain’t a whore for Israel, you don’t stand a chance of getting anywheres near the Oval Office.

    Reply

  10. samuelburke says:

    Yeap, Thanks Steve.
    interesting at least.

    Reply

  11. DC Pundit says:

    Steve,
    Your general is witty and lucid. Kudos to getting perspectives such as
    this on the blog. Charlie, sorry, your note comes off much as the
    way you accuse Durrani of being. Re-read the piece. I think it’s
    brilliant, multilayered, and exactly the kind of thing I would expect
    from an ISI chief who wanted to acknowledge important issues of the
    day.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    “On second thought, this conversion to the true faith does not seem to be a good idea. It would deprive us of all the fun in conducting international relations, of running with the hare and hunting with the hound, and in letting our emissaries run wild in pursuit of refining diplomatic doublespeak.”
    Too good!…too true.
    G.O.D F.O.R.B.I.D one ever calls a spade a spade.

    Reply

  13. charlie says:

    I really hope this was a sophomoric attempt at humor from some
    intern at New America.
    If this passes for serious thinking by ex-ISI generals, we should be
    ashamed for even pretending these jokers could help us.
    I could criticize Cameron’s statement by showing he inserted
    himself into a very old fight with a very silly charge (double-
    dealing). All nations, to some extent, are two faced.
    However, if anything, this post shows Mr. Cameron’s wisdom in
    deciding to side with India rather than with a bunch of losers.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *