More than a year after that deadline, the study hasn’t been released and its status remains unclear. [Editor’s note: In June the state released the executive summary of the report.]
After repeated efforts to pry loose the document through Freedom of Information Law requests, activists are urging Cuomo and local officials to do something. Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), formed as the pipeline plans took shape, is among the groups that will take part in an “interfaith climate vigil” for Feb. 25 outside Cuomo’s Mount Kisco home.
Known as the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, the 42-inch pipeline began operation in January 2017 despite opposition from environmentalists and scientists who argued that a high-pressure pipe cannot be safely snaked through 2,300 feet of a nuclear power complex, much less one, like Indian Point, in an earthquake fault.
Although Indian Point is scheduled to close by spring 2021, critics contend that dangers of a pipeline accident will remain because spent radioactive fuel will be stored at the facility indefinitely.
Constructed by Spectra Energy, AIM is a link in a system to carry natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania into New York, beneath the Hudson River, and across Putnam County into Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the pipeline, although critics contend that its decision was based on erroneous data.
On Feb. 1, Philipstown resident Paula Clair asked the Town Board to call for the study to be released, saying that “we who live close to the nuclear plant have a right to know” of the hazards. Clair, who sits on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, said that the proximity of the gas pipeline to spent nuclear fuel means that “if there was an explosion or a fire, it would be a catastrophe.”
A draft resolution she proposed noted that a radioactive release caused by an explosion could “render Philipstown uninhabitable for generations.”
Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea agreed that the study, paid for with taxpayer funds, should be released, and promised that the board would consider passing a measure soon. “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem” approving it, he said.
Susan Van Dolsen, co-founder of SAPE, said her organization has been attempting to get a copy of the study through FOIL and other means since mid-2016, without success. Instead of the study, the state sent stacks of emails and other items, often of dubious relevance, she said, with large portions blacked out.
Sandy Galef, who represents Philipstown and Beacon in the state Assembly and serves on the task force looking at the impact of Indian Point’s closure, also wants the assessment released.
In a Jan. 19 letter to Cuomo, she reminded the governor that she had previously asked to see the document, which, she said, becomes especially important as the task force looks at possible re-uses of Indian Point after its nuclear operations cease. “I don’t think we can move forward without all possible information,” she wrote.
As of Thursday (Feb. 22), the governor’s office had not responded to questions posed a week earlier by The Current about the study. The state Office of General Services, which oversaw the contract for the study, on Feb. 14 referred inquiries to the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, which also did not respond.
Yahya Sinwar (C), Palestinian leader of Hamas in Gaza Strip in Gaza City, Gaza on December 14, 2022 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]January 19, 2023 at 11:39 am
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has stepped up its efforts to kidnap Israeli soldiers to use as additional leverage in any future prisoner swap with the occupation state, it has been claimed.
“Hamas is trying to step up kidnapping attempts as it is growing desperate after the negotiations have been halted over the group’s demand to release Palestinian terrorists [sic] from Israeli prisons,” claimed Israel’s public broadcaster Kan. “The movement is ready to face a possible devastating response from Israel to the kidnappings in the hope of gaining extra bargaining chips to force Israel to meet its conditions and regain its fading support among [Palestinians in Gaza].”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recognised that the video is genuine and showed Mengistu. He claimed that the hostage is suffering from a psychological disorder, and blamed Hamas for the deterioration in his health.
On Tuesday, i24 news reported that Israel has sent letters to Pope Francis and senior officials of UN bodies, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as Red Cross President Gail McGovern and World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, requesting their help to obtain the release of Israeli citizens and the bodies of soldiers held in Gaza.
An independent, bipartisan commission is recommending the U.S. and South Korea begin “pre-decisional” discussions about what it would take to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons to the region should tensions reach a point where such a move is warranted.
Members of the panel include retired Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, former commander of U.S. Forces Korea; Randall G. Schriver, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs; Richard L. Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State; and Katrin F. Katz, former director of Korea, Japan, and Oceanic Affairs for the National Security Council.
Brooks offered a cautious outlook at a virtual event for the report’s release. “Under the present circumstances, especially given the second purpose of extended deterrence, which is to prevent proliferation,” Brook said, “nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula…is not helpful at the present time or needed.”
But as part of a series of recommendations for bolstering extended deterrence, the commission did include “one door that was left open,” Brooks said.
“The allies should consider tabletop planning exercises for the possible redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea,” the recommendation states. “This planning should be explicitly pre-decisional. The timeline and scope of weapons … should be left deliberately ambiguous. Decision-making would be calibrated to shifts in the security environment and the North Korean threat level.”
Planning exercises should consider factors such as storage facilities for nuclear weapons, joint training on nuclear safety and security, and “certifying Korea-based U.S. F-16 units or F-35 replacements for combined exercises and nuclear missions,” the report adds.
Considering logistical steps for supporting nuclear arms in South Korea is necessary to ensure preparedness for all possible contingencies, Katz argued.
“I think it’s somewhat irresponsible to not think about those things and talk about it fully in the abstract,” Katz said. “So I don’t think we should be fearful of talking about the thing itself, and I think there’s a little bit of that right now.”
The commission also recommended the U.S. consider shifting its strategic and nuclear posture in the region, such as whether it would make sense to maintain a “continuous presence of … either U.S. submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles or strategic bombers, or investing in infrastructure in South Korea to [support] U.S. dual-capable aircraft.”
The Air Force regularly deploys bombers to the Indo-Pacific through its Bomber Task Forces, typically basing those deploying units in Guam and flying missions to Australia and Japan. Recently, however, B-52 nuclear-capable bombers and a B-1B Lancer flew with South Korean fighters near the peninsula, in response to North Korean missile tests.
President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Wednesday that if nuclear threats from Pyongyang grow South Korea would either build nuclear weapons or ask the US to deploy them again on the peninsula
South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol warned on Wednesday that if the nuclear threat from Pyongyang grows his country would either build nuclear weapons or ask the US to deploy them again on the Korean Peninsula, according to a report by the New York Times, which noted that the US withdrew its nukes from the south in 1991 as part of arms reduction efforts.
A transcript of Yoon’s comments released by his office said nuclear weapons were not an official policy yet as it had signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but with the US and Seoul expecting the North to conduct a seventh nuclear test shortly, South Korea was prepared to reintroduce them, and “we can have our own nuclear weapons pretty quickly, given our scientific and technological capabilities”, he was quoted saying in the report, which added that surveys in recent years supported such a move and some analysts argued that giving Seoul such an option would make things safer for the US as well.
Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.
Sadr further told Etemad: “[President Ebrahim] Raisi told me that he has ordered his men to go ahead and further the negotiations, but he also said that there is serious opposition to the JCPOA in Iran by some security forces, those who benefit from the sanctions, and those who do not understand foreign relations.”
Accusations that those who make money from sanctions by illicit trade or money laundering are not new, but it is the first time that Raisi has reportedly admitted it.
Both political figures also talked about the impact of Iran’s involvement in the war in Ukraine. Sadr said: “Iran’s impartiality in the war in Ukraine has been questioned. Peoples and governments in other countries are opposing Iran. Iran’s foreign policy has not been successful, and the country’s international status is weakening.” Sadr added that “Iran should watch out for further diplomatic and international sanctions. The situation for Iran is very dangerous at international level particularly after the executions that have taken place.”
Mesbahi Moghaddam on the other hand said that Iran should seek concessions from Russia as Moscow needs Iran to open a corridor to facilitate foreign trade as a country that needs to circumvent international sanctions.
Sadr noted that the United States has even accused Iran of committing a war crime by giving drones to Russia. At the same time, he added that the continuation of protests in Iran and the execution of several protesters has led more foreign pressures on Tehran. All of this, he said, has made an agreement with the West harder than ever before. Sadr further described the situation as an all-out economic, political and propaganda war against Iran.
He also pointed out that the regime needs to bring about a series of reforms, otherwise, it would be hardly able to properly respond to the ensuing consequences. Sadr added that Iran needs to adopt a realistic foreign policy. He pointed out that Tehran’s negotiating team has lost many precious opportunities because of the wrong policies it has pursued so far.
Politicians in Iran who criticize the government hardly ever mention that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has the last word in all major decisions, especially in foreign policy.
Sadr further pointed out that if the sanctions continue, the economic situation will worsen, and officials should stop the rhetoric about solving economic problems without an agreement over the nuclear program.
“I have talked about this with President Raisi and he is aware that a heavy pressure will be exerted on him if the problem of the JCPOA is not solved,” he said, adding that some 30 percent of Iranians are already living in poverty. Some Iranians can no longer afford buying milk and fruits as inflation rises on a dayly basis.
He also warned that if executions and violation of human rights continue a dangerous international situation may occur for Iran and many countries might deport Iranian diplomats and recall their diplomats from Tehran. Meanwhile, the world public opinion has never been as seriously against the Islamic Republic as it is now.
On the other hand, Mesbahi Moghaddam charged that despite all the problems, the government in Iran has no plan or way out of the crisis. Explaining that some of his previous comments about this had annoyed government officials, he said: “What I meant was that the Raisi administration lacks a strategic vision.”
GAZA, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Gaza’s ruling Hamas Islamists are building ties with militant groups in the West Bank, seeking to attract support beyond the enclave by backing Palestinians involved in near daily unrest that Israel’s new hardline government has vowed to crush.
The initiative reflects a degree of caution on the part of Hamas, which is still rebuilding the enclave following a 2021 war and appears unwilling to pursue a head on confrontation from Gaza with the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, analysts said.
New hardline ministers like Itamar Ben-Gvir, a settler from Hebron, will be in charge of police as national security minister, while Bezalel Smotrich, another far-right politician, will have wide control over policy in the West Bank.
But for Hamas, still rebuilding in Gaza after a costly 10-day war more than 18 months ago, the main battleground is likely to be in the towns and refugee camps of the West Bank, where its rival Fatah has faced increasing challenges from younger militant groups.
“We see that the prime mission that we are doing is to reinforce resistance in the West Bank and support it with what it needs to pursue its work and develop it,” said Zakaria Abu Maamar, a member of Hamas’s political office.
“The more we make things harder on the occupation, the more we confront it and hurt it, the more we can foil its policies.”
Last year saw some of the worst violence in over a decade in the West Bank as the army conducted a near-daily series of raids in cities like Nablus and Jenin following a spate of deadly attacks by Palestinians in Israel.
More than 160 Palestinians were killed as Israeli forces stepped up their operations and young fighters, disillusioned with old-style Palestinian movements like Fatah, formed new groups like the “Den of Lions” in Nablus.
Footage of teenaged gunmen in combat gear firing into the air at funerals or brandishing their weapons at impromptu rallies became a familiar sight last year as resistance to the Israeli crackdown hardened.
Rivalry between a myriad of armed militant groups has long hampered Palestinian hopes of taking on Israel’s powerful army but there have been increasing efforts to overcome or at least paper over the differences.
“Fatah sons, Hamas sons, sons of the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front are working together within unprecedented resistance formations,” Maamar said.
“Den of Lions, Jenin Brigades, formations where people from all Palestinian factions are working together,” he said.
Behind such declarations is the reality that the moment is not ideal for Hamas, which analysts say is busy wrestling with tough economic challenges in Gaza, an overcrowded coastal enclave cut off by both Israel and Egypt where unemployment runs at more than 50%.
Under Israeli policies designed to create economic security incentives, 20,000 Gazans are allowed to cross into Israel for work. “These people will not forgive Hamas if they lose their jobs,” said Gaza analyst Talal Okal.
“Hamas’s theory, I believe, is to relatively maintain calm in Gaza in return for (economic) improvements while escalating resistance against Israel’s occupation in the West Bank,” he said, referring to possible improved access to jobs in Israel and an easing up of the economic blockade.
With Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas now well into his 80s, Hamas also has an eye on the future in the West Bank, where it has been largely excluded from a formal political role.
Born out of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the late 1980s, Hamas assumed power in Gaza after defeating Fatah in elections in 2006.
However it stayed out of a brief conflict last year when Israeli planes bombarded Gaza over an August weekend, hitting the smaller Islamic Jihad group but avoiding strikes on Hamas.
“We don’t deny that we work according to a vision and calculations that take into consideration the interests of our people and the interest of the resistance and that doesn’t shame us,” Maamar said.
For its part, Palestinian Authority officials say Hamas is funding some armed cells in the West Bank, in part to weaken the PA, and Israeli officials say they are also closely watching Hamas’ moves in the West Bank.
Ram Ben-Barak, an opposition lawmaker, who last year ran the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, said Hamas’s end goal was to seize control of the West Bank and wage conflict from there and Gaza against Israel.
Israel should “weaken the Hamas militarily as much as possible” while helping to improve conditions for Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank to reduce the potential for conflict, Ben-Barak said.
Miscalculation or provocation from either side could end the fragile calm, risking Israeli-Palestinian friction at flashpoint sites such as the Al Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews who know it as the Temple Mount.
“If we face a duty we must do and if we saw that the interest of our people requires us to act, we will not hesitate,” Abu Maamar said.
By expressing an interest in acquiring nuclear weapons, South Korea is demonstrating an urgent determination to secure enhanced security assurances from the United States as the nuclear threat from North Korea grows, experts say.
While South Korea has discussed over the years the redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons, this marked the first time a South Korean president had expressed an interest in the arms since the U.S. withdrew them from the Korean Peninsula in 1991.
Yoon’s remarks came after Pyongyang’s New Year’s Day call for an “exponential increase” in the country’s nuclear arsenal. North Korea launched more than 90 ballistic and cruise missiles last year, a record.
“One interpretation of Yoon’s recent remarks is that they suggest a desire for more than merely a U.S.-ROK ‘alliance’ in the way that they have existed up to now, from the perspective of the South Korean administration,” said Edward Howell, a lecturer on North Korea at Oxford University in England. South Korea’s official name is the Republic of Korea (ROK).
The remarks “epitomize a sense of frustration that he wants more than simply a ‘security guarantee’ from the United States,” Howell said.
South Korea is protected by the policy of extended deterrence, under which the U.S. promises to use a range of its military assets, including nuclear weapons, to provide a so-called “nuclear umbrella” to defend the country against threats, including ones from North Korea.
Evans Revere, a former State Department official with extensive experience negotiating with North Korea, told VOA Korean that Washington and Seoul have already been engaged in dialogue about security assurances against North Korean threats “as a matter of urgency.” These were discussed in a recent Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group meeting.
The tabletop exercises, launched in 2011 and held annually but only twice during the 2017-22 administration of Moon Jae-in, are aimed at responding to North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons. A table-top exercise is a discussion-based session “where team members meet in an informal, classroom setting to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation,” according to ready.gov.
In February, the U.S. and South Korea plan to hold tabletop exercises “on operating means of extended deterrence under the scenario of North Korea’s nuclear attacks,” followed by “more concrete and substantive” exercises in May, said South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup on January 11, according to a Reuters article.
When asked at a press briefing on Tuesday whether the U.S. and South Korea plan to use U.S. nuclear assets in the extended deterrence drills next month, Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said, “We will continue to focus on training and making sure that we can be interoperable when it comes to working together.”
‘United States needs to do more’
Some experts think Washington should do more to provide nuclear security assurances to Seoul. Their suggestions range from discussing plans for employing and operating nuclear weapons to considering a nuclear-sharing option, which would allow Seoul to jointly operate U.S. nuclear weapons with Washington.
“Although I think it would be a bad idea for South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons, the United States needs to do more to make sure that Seoul is comfortable with America’s extended guarantees,” said Zack Cooper, former special assistant to the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy at the Defense Department during the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush who was interviewed by email.
Cooper continued to write, “That could take the form of more engagement on nuclear planning, but it will also require that the United States talk in detail with South Korea about why an independent nuclear capability (or even nuclear sharing arrangement) would be counterproductive.”
On the other hand, Daryl Press, director of the Institute for Global Security at Dartmouth College, thinks nuclear sharing or South Korea having its own nuclear weapons could add to its deterrence.
“Giving South Korean leaders meaningful control over their country’s own deterrent force, through Korean nuclear sharing or an independent ROK arsenal, would substantially reduce these credibility problems and strengthen deterrence,” Press said.
Mirroring the nuclear sharing option used by NATO, South Korea’s would entail joint planning and using U.S. nuclear weapons deployed to bases in the country.
It would also involve joint nuclear exercises because both South Korean and U.S. aircraft and pilots would bomb enemy target areas when necessary. The U.S. would transfer control of the nuclear weapons to South Korea if North Korea crossed an agreed-upon nuclear threshold, Press said.
An option to deploy nuclear weapons to South Korea would not involve joint drills. The weapons would be delivered by U.S. aircraft and pilots for South Korea to drop on an adversary, according to U.S. plans after both countries agree their use is necessary.
South Korea is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bans countries from pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.
Thomas Countryman, who recently served as acting undersecretary of arms control and international security under the Biden administration, said, “It would not be appropriate for the U.S. to give the ROK military experience in handling nuclear weapons.”
He continued, “But there’s no limitation on what the good allies can discuss” on nuclear weapons although “there are certain limits to what can be done physically” to utilize the weapons jointly.
Countryman also said that although others might disagree, redeploying U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea would not contradict the NPT. But the redeployment would “not make a significant military difference” or add much deterrent value.
By initiating a nuclear program, however, Seoul would violate the NPT, damage its international reputation and ties with Washington, and hamper U.S. efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, Countryman said.
Scott Snyder, director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, said, “It is not clear if South Korean nuclear capabilities would reduce the actual threat or expand it.”
“The common aim here,” he continued, “is to take actions that reduce the risk of miscalculation.”
Normality cannot be achieved without Pakistan itself becoming a normal country, and Washington shifting its focus of interest to the people, from the ruling elite.
Pakistan-US relations are on the mend. How far they will go and where they are headed is not yet clear, but the keenness to move forward is evident on both ends. However, one roadblock could possibly limit large-scale progress: anti-Americanism.
The fact is, in today’s world, no state relationship is sustainable without public support. A deep dive on anti-Americanism will, therefore, help Pakistan understand the facts of the relationship to avoid failed expectations and unfair blame in the future, and Washington to not repeat policies that have caused harm to both Pakistan’s interests and its own.
Anti-Americanism exists in Pakistan for both right and wrong reasons.
The 1957 Joint Resolution states only one eventuality of the US coming to the aid of a country under aggression and that is in the event of communist aggression. Regarding the US attitude towards the Central Treaty Organisation (CTO), it never perceived the treaty as a military alliance.
Another unjustified instigator of anti-Americanism in Pakistan is the myth that nothing happens in Pakistan without US approval. The reality is that in Pakistan, political dynamics have nearly always functioned fairly autonomously, and the primary — though not always the sole — stimulus for the rise and fall of governments has been domestic, not external.
Yes, the US has previously had the reputation of causing regimes to rise and fall. But reputation is not proof. The world has changed, for better and for worse.
There is no doubt that the US still acts to gain and maintain influence in other countries where its vital interests are at stake but it is no longer in the business of secretly making and breaking governments. Instead, it has gone to war, used the weapon of economic sanctions and supported mass movements for change that serve its strategic interests, all in full view.
There is no denying that there are genuine reasons for anti-Americanism as well. The elitist, army-led and feudal-dominated ‘organising’ idea of Pakistan has long had the US as its external pillar. To its credit, from 1954 to 1965, the US strengthened Pakistan’s defence capabilities and potential for economic development, and helped launch the platform for progress. But the partnership with the US strengthened the army, enhancing its political profile in the country.
American aid and political support helped unrepresentative and inefficient governments sustain power who benefitted from the relationship at the expense of the people. The American connection thus became complicit in Pakistan’s troubled democracy, causing public contempt against the US. This added to the widely-held view that the US had not been a reliable ally.
And then came another thorn in the relationship — the nuclear issue where America’s attitude was viewed as discriminatory by the public and government alike. It piled yet another layer onto the existing anti-Americanism.
Meanwhile, the 1979 Iranian revolution and unfolding of decades-worth of Iranian-US tensions began feeding anti-Americanism across the Islamic world. Pakistani and Iranian anti-Americanism came to reinforce each other, providing the nucleus of a broader sentiment against the US in the Islamic world.
A decade of Jihad in Afghanistan during the 1980s made Pakistanis more vulnerable to fundamentalist Islamic rhetoric than ever. This came in the backdrop of the larger Islamisation project set forth by General Ziaul Haq. Thus, as the Cold War drew to a close, the vast majority of the public, particularly the intelligentsia, harboured varying degrees of anti-Americanism.
The US response to the 9/11 tragedy, along with the ill-conceived war on terror, set in civilisational terms as a war of ideas, came to be seen as an attack against Islam by a vast majority of Muslims. As a consequence, anti-Americanism exploded uncontrollably.
Pakistan suffered greatly at the hands of the spill-over of the war on terrorism and the Afghanistan war. It came to threaten Pakistan’s stability — on one hand with the creation of the TTP, and on the other, by spreading anti Americanism among the wider population, making it vulnerable to radical influences.
The Pakistan Army had its own issues with the Afghanistan war. The war ended up creating an Afghanistan that was not consistent with Pakistan’s strategic interests. It resulted in an increasing amount of power and influence from India in Afghanistan, and India’s enhanced role in the region was attributed to Washington’s support.
Anti-Indian sentiments and anti-Americanism merged. Religious, nationalist rhetoric was co-opted by secular and liberal circles who affixed it to their existing unhappiness with the wars on account of how Pakistan was dragged into it by a dictator leading to a prolonged undemocratic rule.
So, democracy, Islam, honour, sovereignty and nationalism all came to provide a common platform — anti-Americanism — to a wide cross section of political opinions, religious beliefs, and social statuses.
After being in the political wilderness for years, Imran Khan realised he must first create a base in one part of the country. The opportunity came his way with the increased anti-American sentiment following the exponential rise in drone attacks, failing Afghanistan war and its continued horrendous spill over in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The consummate politician that he is, Khan tapped into anti Americanism, Pashtun nationalism, resistance against a big power, and Islamism with a single stroke — support for the Taliban.
More than an expression of support for the Taliban, it was a symbol of opposition to America. He created a base in KP from where he could now expand his appeal to the rest of the country. He did so by stoking long-standing public anger and feelings of injustice at the hands of the country’s established political leadership, and a sense of victimhood, incited by America’s post 9/11 wars.
The strategy was to malign his political opponents and the system on one hand, and the US on the other, both in the worst possible terms. And then to connect his opponents and the US in a relationship that he described in the worst possible way — slavery.
It had a powerful appeal to the aspirations of the young, educated class and the Pakistani diaspora, especially in the West, whose increasing economic status was struggling to find social recognition due to the country’s negative image which they had hoped Imran would change.
Mostly well off, for them, the economy was not a priority, but the image, honour and nationalism. For the poor struggling for their survival, he tagged the “Riasat-e-Madina” label. So some he courted with hope, others with illusion and some with a choice of being better than his rivals.
Anti-Americanism not only helped him to come to power but also rescued him when he lost power. The cipher was a God-sent opportunity. Diplomatic language in the hands of a non-diplomat can be interpreted in diverse ways, and being a classified document, cannot be shared with the public.
An ideal situation for a politician to exploit its contents to political ends without being accused of falsehood. The document was seen as proof, validating his supporters’ long held negative perceptions of America and giving unquestioned credence to Khan’s entire political rhetoric.
And by highlighting the army’s shared interests with the US, he implied its involvement in the alleged conspiracy, broadening his appeal among those opposed to its domination of politics. The strategy raised his stock enormously.
As we look to the future, people need to recognise for the good of the country that Pakistan has had serious problems of governance, social change, democratisation and development, for which we ourselves are primarily responsible. The US has not created these conditions but merely exploited them.
The bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the US needs to become normal if it is to move forward; and it should move forward. A strong relationship is beneficial to both parties. But this normality cannot be achieved without Pakistan itself becoming a normal country, and Washington shifting its focus of interest to the people, from the ruling elite.