News Release

Trump’s War Presidency: * Pakistan and Geopolitics * Ellsberg’s “Stalemate Machine”

JUNAID AHMAD, junaidsahmad at gmail.com
Now in Pakistan, Ahmad just appeared on The Real News: “Is Trump Threatening Pakistan?” discussing Trump’s speech on Afghanistan and the geopolitics of the region.

Ahmed said: “This does nothing for the Afghan people. I think the only solution was something that has been explored over early this year. The Russians tried to get together the regional actors in the region because it must be a regional solution. Every regional power has a horse in this race, which makes this complicated and so unending. They knew that they have to have a regional solution. The Americans didn’t come and their response was to unleash the mother of all bombs in Afghanistan. That was their response to the type of diplomatic negotiations taking place between the regional powers.” See from April 14, 2017 in the major German news outlet DW: “U.S. skips out on Afghanistan-Taliban conference in Moscow.

Ahmad continued: “A very important point was in March 2015, when the Pakistani military, for the first time ever, had the courage to say no to the Saudis in being willing to, being willing to participate in their war against Yemen, which is an excellent decision they made to not participate in this murderous war. …

“These are interesting developments and I think that the Pentagon and the CIA realize this. This is why they’re kind of going all out in making India their frontline state. We have been now witnessing border skirmishes between India and China, which are also reaching some dangerous levels, over the past few months. … I’m half my time based in Malaysia and if you see it from there, where you have U.S. naval ships and military bases encircling China, you understand fully well why the relationship with India right now is so crucial in the geopolitics of the region and why they want India to play that role in Afghanistan. It’s the only kind of trusted ally. From China’s part, one thing people fail to realize. The most powerful ally that China probably has in the world, closest ally, is Pakistan. It’s a mutually dependent relationship.”

Ahmad is the director of Center for Global Dialogue and professor of Middle Eastern politics at the University of Lahore, Pakistan. He is also the Secretary-General of the International Movement for a Just World based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and a visiting fellow at the Berkeley Center for Islamophobia and Ethnic Studies Graduate Center. He recently wrote the piece “Coloniality and Liberal Angst in Pakistan.”

JONATHAN MARSHALL, jvmarsha1 at yahoo.com
Marshall is an award-winning journalist and author of five books on international affairs and national security. See his recent pieces at Consortium News.

He recently wrote the piece “The Goal of ‘Not Losing’ in Afghanistan” — which notes that in 2012, Trump said: “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense!”

Marshall makes a parallel with U.S. government decision making about the Vietnam War: “As former Defense Department official and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg argued in a seminal 1971 essay, ‘The Quagmire Myth and the Stalemate Machine,’ U.S. leaders knew full well, every step of the way, that their successive escalations of that war would not bring victory. Instead, their goal was to prevent defeat — and with it, a repetition of the political traumas that followed the ‘loss of China’ and the rise of McCarthism in the early 1950s.

“‘If I tried to pull out completely now, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands,’ President John F. Kennedy told Sen. Mike Mansfield in 1963. The assassination of Kennedy that November precluded any possibility that he would pull out after his reelection. Two days later, President Lyndon Johnson told a White House meeting, ‘I am not going to lose Vietnam. I am not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.'”

Marshall also just wrote the piece “The New Trump: War President,” which notes: “One of Steve Bannon’s last declarations before being fired by the White House was that no ‘military option’ exists for dealing with North Korea, because of the extraordinary damage a war would cause.

“As I’ve discussed before, however, another influential Washington figure, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has lobbied Trump to order an all-out attack if Pyongyang continues testing missiles capable of reaching the United States — even if a war turns South Korea and Japan into wastelands.”

Marshall writes: “What the United States desperately needs now is a mass movement to resist not only racism and plutocracy at home, but endless militarism abroad.”