Wikileaks did not do as much damage as was first speculated. Unlike the Iraq war logs and top-secret information leaked concerning the war in Afghanistan, these cables did not hold any information that could harm innocent civilians. Wikileaks did however tell us what we already knew about everyone – the Arab dictators do not like Iran because they are Shia’, and because they symbolize freedom from tyrannical rulers. They also managed to shed light on Pakistan, revealing that the government is very uneasy with sharing any information about their nuclear program with the United States, and of course emphasizing the infighting that reminds us all of how sad the state of a nation in 185 million people call home really is. It also reminded us that the elite only cares about expanding their own power whilst gaining American approval. Like Arif Rafiq pointed out in his article for Foreign Policy, the only protagonist from the Wikileaks story in Pakistan’s case is certainly Anne Patterson.
Patterson is quite blunt about the situation in Pakistan, claiming that any American solution must include the broader question concerning Indian influence within the region. The situation between Pakistan’s elite is quite pathetic to be honest. Patterson does though do a pretty darn good job of juggling a military general, who in reality is in control of the country, a paranoid president (for good reason), and American military ambitions within the region.
Speaking of Pakistan, it seems the cables do a good deal of showing how paranoid the nation is concerning American influence. Almost everyone has subscribed to one conspiracy theory or another, and they all involve (at least for the most part) America and its ability to control Pakistan’s leaders for the worst. But that’s not really the case; Pakistan did gain nuclear weapons amidst severe American opposition and they continually refuse to share any information concerning their nuclear weapons program. Chinese influence is also growing, and plans of building more nuclear reactors have gone ahead even with European and American disapproval.
So why is there so much paranoia and why does America get more credit than it might deserve? Even Patterson is surprised, “The fact that a former Prime Minister believes that U.S. could control the appointment of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff speaks volumes about the myth of American influence here.”
I do not want to sound like Fatima Bhutto, but a lot of the problems are down to the military and political elite, and their inability to, for even a second put their own interests aside for the betterment of the nation. American paranoia and hegemonic oppression in Pakistan is because of the incompetence of Pakistani leaders. These leaders instead of realizing that they must fix themselves blame the problem on external forces, ex. Afghanistan, America and Indian spies. Pakistan as a community of people has become so disillusioned that we will go to such great lengths to prove that it is the fault of others and not our own infighting that is causing such troubles. A prime and absolutely embarrassing example this is the fresh of the stand false publication of Wikileak cable documents stating that India was supplying funds to rebel groups in Balouchistan. This may be true, but what is not true and has been easily caught by the Guardian is that this was not written in any of the cables that Wikileaks has released.
Wikileaks has embarrassed Pakistan, because at the end of the day the ruling class in Pakistan is waging a puzzling civil war when the disintegration of the nation should be the only priority. But corruption and the lust for power are a bad combination – as is in Pakistan’s case, they can have such an effect on people.
So Patterson is no longer the American Ambassador to Pakistan, but it seems Pakistan still has the same problems. Unfortunately Assange cant solve these problems by just leaking diplomatic cables that are, if only, just as interesting as Upper East Side Manhattan and Gossip Girl.
As the title states, Pakistan’s problem are much worse than what Wikileak could ever tell us; a lack of proper revenue (that should usually come from income tax), a constant militant problem in FATA, the high possibility of another suicide attack (which seems to have become a norm for that country) are just some of the problems. The list can go on, and Pakistan is quickly running out of solutions, and its proponents, if there are any, are running out of excuses. The United States has to find a solution to the war in Afghanistan, and quickly, as Pakistan’s external problems can only decrease once that happens. The Taliban are (unfortunately?) here to stay – even Obama has changed his mission plan in Afghanistan to “disrupting, dismantling and defeating Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies.” The Taliban could well be part of some sort of power sharing deal in the future.
It will be really ironic if the Taliban do come to power, because like I have said in previous posts, Pakistan would be right all along, and it could add another check to the (growing) list of issues in which they have defied the Americans and succeeded.
Yet Pakistani leaders still vie for American support… Ironic indeed.