The US should treat Pakistan as a “rogue state” like North Korea and create a “super alliance” with India to combat extremism as Islamabad has “blackmailed” America into providing aid to combat terrorism but continues to harbour terrorists, a former Republican Senator has said. “Unless Pakistan changes its ways with respect to terrorism, it should be declared a terrorist state. Several leading foreign policy experts besides me have urged as much. Indeed, the first Bush administration seriously considered doing so in 1992,” Larry Pressler, the former US Senator from South Dakota, writes in his latest book ‘Neighbours in Arms: An American Senator’s Quest for Disarmament in a Nuclear Subcontinent’. “Pakistan should be treated like North Korea – like a rogue state. The only reason Pakistan is not a totally failed state is because countries like China and the United States continue to prop it up with massive amounts of foreign aid,” Pressler, 75, writes. As chairman of Senate Arms Control Subcommittee, Pressler advocated the now-famous Pressler Amendment, enforced in 1990. Aid and military sales to Pakistan were blocked, including a consignment of F-16 fighter aircraft, changing forever the tenor of the US relationships with Pakistan and India. The book, that hit the US market today, reveals what went on behind the scenes in the years when the Pressler Amendment was in force. “Pakistan’s leaders have essentially blackmailed us into providing aid for the war on terrorism with threats to cease assistance in rooting out terrorists in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, we know full well that Pakistan harbours terrorists, and many military leaders believe terrorists have infiltrated Pakistan’s ranks,” says Pressler, who served in the US Senate from 1979 to 1997. “We let Pakistan use US taxpayer money to build their nuclear weapons programme. Why do we now let them use US taxpayer money to harbour terrorists? Without our money and military supplies, Pakistan would be powerless. Why do we continue to call Pakistan an ally? Why do we continue to be blackmailed?” the three-term Republican Senator asked.
The book exposes the enormous power wielded by the military-industrial complex, which he terms Octopus, and how it controls significant aspects of the American presence in the Indian subcontinent. Pressler advocates a strong India-US relationship and recommends creation of a “Super US-India Alliance”.
Today, the state of India-US relations has become almost entirely that of a military relationship. The war on terrorism, the fight against Islamic militants worldwide, are consuming the foreign policy agendas of both the US and India, and dominating bilateral dialogue of both countries, he observes. “With the dark shadows of 9/11 and the Mumbai attack still looming large on our collective consciousness, America and India are forced to engage together and with all our shared allies in this fight. The military relationship the US has with India is one of necessity,” he argues.
“We share a commitment to democratic values in a continent where democracy is scarce. We also share a fear of China’s increasing aggression and are committed to developing a strong, joint naval posture to counter this threat. But the alliance between our two nations could be much, much more than a military one,” Pressler said.
“We must decisively choose India as our nation’s most favoured ally in the world – on a par with the special relationships we have with Israel and the United Kingdom. The world’s largest democracy deserves a special relationship with the US and a favoured status with free trade agreements and massive foreign development aid,” Pressler asserts. Pressler also gives an insight into the undocumented lobbying efforts of Pakistan in the US.
“On paper Pakistan has not had lobbyists since 2013. This is misleading,” Pressler said, adding that everyone knows fully well that Pakistan continues lobbying in Washington. “The ISI just finds unregistered individuals and organisations to do it,” he writes.