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Whisper View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01 August 2005 at 9:22am

No quid pro quos


Henry Kissinger’s famous declaration that relations between states are driven by mutual self-interest, not morality, is famous because it’s true. But when the interests of states are not mutual, it should be understood that there are no quid pro quos for past mutual self-interests. There is only national interest and if it isn’t in accordance with the demands of other states, so be it. The national interest is supreme, or should be, something Tony Blair forgot. So when George Bush was asked at the G-8 summit in Edinburgh whether he would support Tony Blair’s proposals for African debt reduction and safeguarding the environment in return for Britain’s support in occupying Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush replied that what Britain did was in its national interest. There are no quid pro quos in this business.

Ruthless? Brutal? Cold blooded? Yes, but absolutely true.

Similarly, it should be understood that what we decide is also in our self-interest, even if sometimes it doesn’t suit certain states, no matter how powerful. We decided to support the USA in Afghanistan because it was in our national interest. No point in inviting US military and economic state terrorism, especially when our economy had just started stirring out of its grave. And we want to be rid of terrorism in our midst because we have been its victims since 1987 after America’s abandonment of Pakistan and Afghanistan. America thought, erroneously as it has turned out, that abandonment was in its self-interest. As far as the Americans were concerned, we joined them in driving the Soviets out of Afghanistan in our self-interest: to deny them access to our warm waters.

No argument with that. America joined battle with us for its self-interest: to accelerate the collapse of the USSR. No argument with that either. We didn’t become allies in that venture because we loved each other but because it suited us. Being offended at America dumping us afterwards was our childishness. Most unpalatable were the sanctions slapped on us under the Pakistan-specific Pressler Amendment. While the Afghan Jihad was on, we took advantage of America looking the other way, which was in its self-interest, to advance our nuclear programme, which was in our self-interest, and quite right too. We always forget that we have historically been America’s temporary tactical ally, never a long-term strategic ally. When our tactical need disappears, so do the Americans. After 9/11 our tactical need reappeared. So did the Americans. But when Bush wanted us to send troops to Iraq to give his non-UN sanctioned invasion and occupation legitimacy and relief, we refused to join his Coalition of the Coerced. It was not in our national interest. 

Likewise, now that a mealy-mouthed Tony Blair wants us to take the flak for the London bombings to divert attention from his own culpability in needlessly endangering his country by unnecessarily joining America’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, we have hit back. President Pervez Musharraf told him in no uncertain terms to take a brush and pan and clean up his own house instead of trying to deflect attention towards us. Joining America in Afghanistan and Iraq was not in Britain’s national interest, but Blair went ahead because he wanted to be counted amongst the big boys. Britain still hasn’t reconciled itself to its loss of imperial status. Tony Blair reminds one of that cloned midget ‘Mini-me’ in the Austin Powers movie ‘The Spy Who Shagged Me’.

Blair’s attempt at trying to persuade the world that anyone who touches a Pakistani madrassah becomes a terrorist has fallen flat on its face. Only one of the alleged 7/7 terrorists visited a madrassah briefly. The British-Jamaican didn’t; there are no madrassahs in Jamaica, but there are recruiters in Britain. Two of the alleged perpetrators of the botched 21/7 outrages have turned out to be from Eritrea and Somalia. Another was nabbed in Rome. The ‘mastermind’, Haroon Rashid Aswat, is an Indian, caught in Zambia, where there are no madrassahs either. None of these places are in Pakistan, though I wish Jamaica and Rome were. By the way, India’s Aswat had set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, USA, not in Pakistan. The British media made a huge hue and cry that Aswat had been arrested in Pakistan but we weren’t admitting it.

How can their other claims be believed after such nonsense?

How did they get to the alleged perpetrators of both terrorist incidents and find their pictures from miles of CCTV footage so quickly? Why are there no people or passengers in the pictures of the 21/7 perpetrators. They guy in a white vest is standing in an empty bus. Another is running in an empty tube station tunnel. A third is in an empty tube. They all seem to be posing for photographs. Where are the passengers, the hustle bustle? Makes one wonder. The only thing common between them is that they are Muslims, which takes us right back to the injustices against Muslims, in many of which Britain is a party.

If Blair expects us to run tanks over our madrassahs, he has another thought coming. Madrassahs are as old as the hills. For centuries they have produced poets, intellectuals, writers and leaders. Only during the Afghan Jihad were a handful turned towards indoctrination. Their products were taught guerilla warfare in training camps. Then they were armed and funded. Who did all this? The US-led coalition including Britain, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt. The other 11,000 or so madaris certainly produce outdated products, but definitely not sophisticated London bombers. Yes, recruiters from extremist organisations visit madaris and mosques to enlist cannon fodder and foot soldiers. Just like KGB recruiters took Philby and Blunt from Cambridge University. That too is an institution of learning, like a madrassah. 

The Briton Omar Saeed Sheikh was an LSE student. Does this mean that Cambridge and LSE produce terrorists and should be forcibly closed? It is not in our self-interest to close our madaris and throw 3 million children out on the streets to ‘prove’ Tony’s false contention and save his face. But it certainly is in our self-interest to bring the madaris into the mainstream. We have asked them to register. Those that don’t should be closed down. Those that do should be enabled to produce students equipped to face the modern world and earn a living in it, not become half-baked clerics. The government should give them annual funding, computers, desks, chairs, the entire wherewithal that a modern school requires. 

Most importantly, while they must continue to teach correct Islam, they must also adopt a modern syllabus with modern teachers, not semi-literate mullahs. All madrassah students must have written permission from their parents authenticated by their local DCO. They must join madaris nearest their homes so that their families can keep an eye on their welfare and prevent abuse. All foreigners have been asked to leave our madaris, including dual nationality holders. If Afghanistan has indeed been liberated and has a democratic government now, it should take its millions of citizens back on a fast track basis. We have hosted them for 26 years now, and mostly got ingratitude in return. They should not strain our hospitality.

Britain’s self-interest demands that Tony Blair takes his head out of the sand, now that it is patently obvious that Britons originating from many countries were cannon fodder of some people as intelligent as top flight intelligence agents. This is far more serious, better organised and thought through than anyone imagined. Britain should stop giving refuge to criminals and terrorists of other countries in the guise of political asylum. British governments should reach out to the Muslim community and find genuine leaders from amongst them, including imams, instead of making peers and knights of pretenders to community leadership just because they have given donations to political parties. They waste most of their time and ours in Pakistan anyway.

Egypt too should face reality in its self-interest. Immediately after the Sharm el Sheikh bombs, Egypt, in a copycat knee-jerk reaction, placed suspicion on some Pakistanis who had disappeared. Now it transpires that the perpetrators were Egyptians and that the Pakistanis, according to some Western newspapers, had disappeared into Israel. Israel again? You just can’t get away from it. Pakistanis like these are illegal migrants who use countries like Egypt as staging posts to get into Europe for jobs. They are easy prey for recruiters of terror and of intelligence agencies pretending to be something else. Sometimes these recruiters are MOSSAD or RAW in Jihadi clothing. Egypt should remember that it provided the intellectual wellspring of today’s extremism. Its ideologue is Egypt’s Syed Qutb, whom President Nasser imprisoned, abused and tortured for 15 years and turned from a moderate into a radical. Then he hanged him. Then it started. Egypt’s Akhwan al Muslaimeen, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Dr Ayman al Zahweiri, all belong to the Qutb school, not the Wahabi school.
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Yusuf. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yusuf. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 August 2005 at 9:40am

Assalamu alaikum,

National self-interest is the foundation upon which all nation-states build their policies, but unfortunately the leaders of these states often judge this self-interest badly. For example, the United States decided in the 1950s that it was in their national self-interest to engender a coup in Iran to overthrow the legitimately elected Mosadegh government because of that government's intention to nationalize the petroleum industry, thus causing financial loss to American oligarchs. However, the reaction to this action was the Iranian mullahs' decision in the 1960s to elect the most radical, anti-American imam they knew of as the next Ayatollah: Ruhollah Khomeini. This has led to a very unfortunate situation for the Iranian people (which, of course, is of no interest to the architects of American policy), but also has created a more unfortunate situation for US self-interest than would have been the case had Mosadegh been left alone.

Likewise, when Reagan decided to accelerate the propagation of radical Islamic literature in Pakistani medresas to create a fanatic generation that would combat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, this as deemed to be in America's self-interest. However, once the Soviet Union ceased to be a threat, the beast that Reagan helped create turned against the US.

Edited by Yusuf.
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