Posted by The Template News, Current Affairs and Sport Website | Filed under Politics
SOUTH CHINA SEA – China has deployed surface to air missiles on Yongxing(Woody Island) in the Parcels. The island is claimed by Taiwan and Philippines. China regards South China Sea as it’s territorial waters – a claim contested by Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Philippines.
ANALYSIS – Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo last week angered many – friends and foe alike.
Predictably, China for whom the men that are honoured as men that died for the sacred Japanese nation in the second world war are nothing more than war criminals.
The same is of course true for South Korea with whom Tokyo is allied with, in fear of the rise of China.
And on that score, there is also Vietnam.
So, what was America’s position, as the Japanese internal affairs minister made the trip to the house of the dead souls yesterday?
Well, the state department has urged calm and called for dialogue.
Those who are predicting future conflict in Asia between China and the US may point to such visits by senior Japanese ministers to the site denounced by the world – that includes China – as the starting point for a conflict that could embroil all the key powers of South Asia.
America had “run out of patience” with Pakistan, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said during an unscheduled visit to Afghanistan.
The Pentagon Chief was speaking to troops gathered at the airport in Kabul. The comments brought to an end Panetta’s week-long trip to Asia during which he explained the new US military strategy, which calls for a shift in strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are reaching the limits of our patience here, ” Panetta said.
“It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan.
“It is very important for Pakistan to take steps. It is an increasing concern, the issue of safe haven.”
“..we have every responsibility to defend ourselves and… we’ve got to put pressure on Pakistan to take them on as well”.
American marines moving into Australia, British Prime Minister David Cameron visiting Japan to sell weapons, and talk of a British warship moving into the Asia-Pacific region to support Japan, and with South Korea also being reported to be concerned about the rise of China, many in Pakistan may feel vindicated.
For a long time now, Pakistanis have long claimed that America’s strategy in their country was to downgrade their’s nation’s military capability through seizing its nuclear arsenal.
If that also meant the break-up of Pakistan – Baluchistan now appears to be the favoured area for some American politicians – that would lead to more friendly governments allowing their soil to used as a base for launching strikes against China.
If that seems far-fetched, so did any talk in 2001 immediately after the invasion of Afghanistan of a strike against China.
Now in the year 2012, if China does indeed overtake America within six years as the world’s leading economy will Washington accept this state of affairs.
If America’s actions to contain Tehran in the Middle East – where it has backed a Sunni alliance of Gulf states headed by Saudi Arabia against an Iranian block of Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas – are anything to go by, then the answer is no.
So with attention focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, could Islamabad be once again at the centre of a future conflict with Pakistan, allied to Iran, China, North Korea on one side and the US allied to India, Japan, Australia and South Korea on the other.
With the ‘phony’ war on terror well and truly over, could a new strategic landscape be emerging in which Samuel Huntingdon’s Clash of Civilisations has become a chilling reality?
Rest in Peace…Qaid-e-Azam
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan will be 64 years old on the fourteenth of August.
The world’s sixth most populated nation, and the second most populated Muslim one after Indonesia, has seen periods of civilian and military rule that have translated into little investment on education or regeneration of its infrastructure.
Over the last sixty three years, four military regimes have ruled the country for some thirty years, whilst periods of civilian government have been marred by accusations of inefficency and corruption.
Those who have been ‘elected’ owe their position to the system of hereditary families that have dominated the country from its birth, a fact brought home by the recent announcement that the inexperienced son of the late Benazir Bhutto intends to contest the 2013 election.
So little surprise that reports reveal a Pakistani youth that is very cynical about democracy in their country.
Pakistan matters because of her strategic position between China and India. She also shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran which make her a crossroads state, a link to the oil and gas fields of Central Asia as well as that of Persia, with the means of transporting these resources, as well as her own, through her port city of Karachi.
Today, of course the word terrorism is commonly associated with this country, and as her people have often pointed out it is they who have been its greatest victims.
The emergence of the Tariq-e-Taliban have led to fears that the country’s nuclear arsenal – which makes her the only nuclear state from the Islamic World – twinned with continued instability particularly in her north west frontier may result in that extremists seizing the Atom bomb.
This is of course nonsense, and such talk have to led to suspicions inside Pakistan that the real intention of the war on terror is break up the county with a view to seizing her nuclear arsenal.
Neverthless, whilst political instability continues – the government of Asif Ali Zardari is not popular or well respected, few have forgotten the sight of him on business trip as floods swepted through Pakistan – and there is even more conflict – apart from the war on terror, there is of course the dispute with India over Kashmir, as well as drone attacks in the North West Frontier and a still unexplained raid by America into Islamabad to kill Osama bin Laden – this still young nation will not be able to realise her full potential.
For this is a nation which is rich in minerals and gas in her Baluchistani province, with a cosmopolitan centre at Lahore, an extremely vibrant capital at Islamabad, all which are tied into a dynamic and resilient stock exchange at Karachi.
Recent projects with China to create a properous Baluchistan all point to a bright future.
This however, will not happen unless more money is spent on education – which currently stands at around 2 per cent of the budget – with a more even distribution of the country’s potentially enormous wealth to the poor.
Another neglected source of revenue is of course tourism, afterall this is a nation that is blessed with a rich history both Islamic and non Islamic in the ancient Indus Valley.
For all this to happen, the country would need a sustained period of stability, free of violence with a civilian rule achieved though a democracy that results in a child from the poorest family becoming prime minister, so that long term decisions can be made in investing in the country’s greatest asset – namely her people.
And as for those who dismiss the importance of this nation, they may want to consider this – the most important relationship of this century will be between America and China, a relationship that was forged through Pakistani diplomacy in 1971.
One man who would have loved to seen that and to have been present for Pakistan’s forthcoming birthday is of course her founder, the brilliant lawyer, Muhammad Ali Jinnnah who announced her birth on the fourteen of August, 1947.
Tragically, the Qaid-e-Azam died a year later.