ISLAMABAD, Sept 27: Pakistan is a victim of America’s ‘benign neglect’ and the latter wants Islamabad to do all unreservedly in its war against terrorism, observed an eminent American scholar here on Thursday.
Professor Marc S. Ellenbogen, who is also the chairman of Global Panel Foundation, was speaking at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).
He said the US regarded Pakistan as a security state and wanted it to commit itself to its war, disregarding Islamabad’s constraints and requirements. “America considers Pakistan as a Muslim country in contrast to its approach towards other nations which it recognises as normal members of the international community.” He elaborated that the bias in relation to Muslims was something that could not be denied as majority of Americans shared it, particularly after 9/11. The professor noted that world politics had become polarised and was getting complicated. He said there was realisation in America that its supremacy in world politics was not going to last as emerging countries like China, Russia and India pulled their weight around in world affairs.
Responding to a question about the treatment Pakistan was receiving for its sacrifices, he ascribed to what he called America’s ‘benign neglect’. In response to another question, he conceded that groups which wielded influence in Washington did not share Pakistan’s perception of its national interests. They expected Pakistan to commit itself to anything unreservedly as America’s ally.
Prof Ellennbogen said the US was engaged in redefining its relationships with the world and trying to adjust to the changes taking place in the Muslim world.
He explained the growing American closeness to India on the perception that the latter was a more stable and less corrupt country. China, of course, occupied a central place in American policies, yet world politics today is a constant juggling act between challenging and often contradicting possibilities that America, with its short-term approach to fixing things, find difficult to handle. He said America was basically an isolationist society and had never been a colonial power. At present, there is a strong urge in the public opinion there to return to its pre-world war shell.
Jens Geitmann, vice-president of Prague Society, who accompanied the professor along with the ambassador of Denmark in Pakistan Ole Moesby and Mustafa Kamal Kazi, a former ambassador of Pakistan, attributed the current explosion of Muslim wrath over the blasphemous video to the proliferation of the social media. Had the film been made 20 years ago few would have noticed that, and there would have been no such reaction. He said the social media had changed the entire information system of the world which made it difficult for nations to devise long-term policies. Human beings are now living in a moment to moment world to which the older generation was finding difficult to adjust.
Mr Geitmann explained that the new generation of leadership that was going to take over would be more concerned about the internal issues of their societies than external affairs. He said the media was not sending good and positive messages about Pakistan to the outside world despite a lot of good things that could be projected. He stressed the need to give more space to the human side of life in the country and the works of philanthropy and social help in which the country was not behind other societies. There is no other way to correct the misperceptions about Pakistan.
Mr Ellenbogen agreed with the IPRI scholars that the US should understand Pakistan’s position vis-a-vis the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s concerns about the post-withdrawal scenario.