Friday, January 9, 2009

Barack Obama’s Real Test

By Saeed Qureshi

Obama’s historic victory with an unprecedented voters’ turn out in his favor puts him into a situation of double jeopardy. He is a redeemer but a black redeemer. If he cannot deliver and rescue the American nation from a colossal decadence that has set in during the past 8 years, he would be doubly castigated. His detractors would say “look we knew a black man cannot deliver”. Let us not forget that the Jesus Christ was not a white guy: he was a non- white apostle of God from the land of Palestine. He foreboded the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth towards the end of time. He was put to death on the gallows. The subsequent generations of Christians to this day still live with the hope of Kingdom of God, where absolute peace and happiness would prevail. President Obama, in these troubling times and in face of the enormity of challenges, is like a mini Jesus Christ. He is expected to restore the lost dignity, glory and splendor of the American Kingdom of decent humans.

Obama’s real test as a 21st century redeemer, when the whole world is in turmoil, does not lie in ameliorating the internal social and fiscal chaos. It hinges on a retreat from military engagements in which it has remained entangled after the World War II. During the first decades, following the end of the second world war, America remained obsessed with chasing communism that it euphemistically called the cold war, although essentially it was a hot war whether fought in Korea, Vietnam or in Afghanistan.

The results of Korean and Vietnamese wars were not conclusive and those bloody wars ended with the division of both united Korea and Vietnam and the perishing of millions humans as well. However, the decisive victory for US and the Capitalist West came with the retreat of Soviet Union; the global patriarch and guardian of international communism, in sheer humiliation from Afghanistan in 1989. China was the runner up of the Communism all along during the cold war period although there were ideological differences between these two paramount communist states. China, however, remained unscathed from the American global onslaught against the Communism.

But with an interregnum of absence for ten years’ from the Afghanistan war arena, United States staged a come back against a new enemy. The Islamic radical militants, in the intervening period, succeeded in clamping their sway over this hapless country after overpowering the tribal war lords. The shrew and untamable human race called Taliban with a barbaric relgious agenda were finally driven out of Afghanistan in late 2001, by Allied forces of NATO, America and Northern Alliance. Encouraged by such a stunning victory, the war drunk administration of president Bush decided to stage a somewhat similar show in Iraq. Iraq in the final countdown had become a millstone in the neck of Bush administration. The financial and human loss is unimaginable, with no tangible dividends. United States is currently bogged down both in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in the no man’s land known as Tribal region, between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The war against Taliban or terrorists entities is going to be a long haul. The president elect’s intention to withdraw the military from Iraq is a rational and right decision that would, to an enormous degree, lesson the unnecessary baggage America is carrying for five years now. The pioneering military incursion in Iraq was to capture and find weapons of mass destruction, although as is widely known now, it was a ploy to invade Iraq and remove the ferocious dictator, Saddam Hussein. The motive was later ludicrously converted into democratizing Iraq. Iraq now has a sham democracy headed by a puppet regime.

The Bush administration’s stick and carrot policy with North Korea and arm twisting approach towards Iran too backfired. North Korea has, defiantly, rebounded to the nuclear reactor development while Iran is assiduously embarked upon harnessing its nuclear capability.

It is, therefore, quite transparent a scenario that apart from creating a specter of fear around the world in the aftermath of 9/1, America has gained nothing except loss of image and a devastating economic back-lash rightly termed as Tsunami not only for America alone but also for the entire world. It cannot be fairly predicted how long America and its allies would keep their military warfare on the soil of Afghanistan and adjoining Tribal areas of Pakistan.

But keeping in view the untoward outcome in Iraq and the lingering impasse in Afghanistan with an alienated puppet government, the results are not expected to be salutary. The terrorists cannot be completely eliminated by drones or wanton bombing of civilian habitations.It has generated a generational anger and hatred against America which will not subside unless Obama reverses baneful policies of Bush era.

The Obama administration whose logo is hope and change for a demoralized American nation, must understand that the anti American terror is the product of two global issues. The first is Israel versus Palestinians over creation of a promised state for the native uprooted Palestinians. The six decades struggle of Palestinians for a state against Israel and America’s complete support to Israel has led to the creation of individuals and groups who take recourse to punitive violence that America interprets as terrorism. The second is the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, although this dispute is not directly connected to anti American brand of terror or militancy. Now Afghanistan and Pakistan with foreign occupation forces in and around have become nurseries for all kind of terrorists.

The New American administration led by a resilient and enterprising president Obama will have to rationalize the reasons as to why AlQaida that fought for the free world in Afghanistan for a decade and drove Russians, along with others, out of Afghanistan, later turned into a furious band of anti American terrorists. In all fairness it is America that first labeled the Islamic group as a terrorist organization and refused to have any truck with them. The Arab countries had their own share of militancy for Israel’s refusal and America’s total support for her in not fulfilling her promise with regard to a Palestinian state. But more provocative was the global American offensive against the Islamic world by branding them en-bloc or the non compliant nations as terrorists.

Now the extended military offensive to tribal areas of Pakistan has not only escalated the tension and expanded the embattled war zones, but is also intensifying the anti American activities with more extremists volunteering for suicide bombing. The question that how long would America and NATO forces keep killing the mushrooming militants and terrorists and thus incurring the collateral loss, has no ready answer?

It is, therefore, incumbent upon the new administration to take a fresh stock of the fast deteriorating situation and America’s military involvement in different parts of the world. The time for military actions and turning various hot spots into killing fields is over. Even with the mightiest of army and war machine, it is becoming increasingly difficult to annihilate an enemy however small in numbers because all now have access to deadly weapons and also because of the new paradigm of guerilla warfare

Let America stop frittering away its energy, time, resources and manpower on wars that are useless like a wild goose chase. The security of America should be ensured within the boundaries of America. It does not lie in foreign lands or in bounty hunting. Let America wind up its wasteful war efforts all over the world and give a breathing space of peace to its own people and the rest of the world. Diplomacy and peaceful endeavors, mission for eradication of global hunger, poverty and disease should be the objectives of American new leadership that would restore its distorted image and endear it to an estranged and apprehensive world. We hope that the new president would turn over a new leaf in the book of American foreign policy by switching from war mongering to peace making and from aggression to pacification.

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