“What was more important to the history of the world.. the Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet Empire??.. Some stirred-up Muslims.. or end of the Cold War???”
These were the words by Zbigniew Brezinski, the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, when asked about the revival of Islamic extremism. The Cold War dynamics had such great influence over the US foreign policy makers that they had completely lost their far-sightedness. They were partially successful in giving the Soviets back their ‘Vietnam’, as Afghanistan had become a bleeding wound for Soviet Union. But the tactics US employed to deal with this were much more dangerous. The medicine proved to be more hazardous than the disease!!!
The encouragement to Mujaheddin groups, revival of the age-old concept of ‘jihad’ and cries of ‘Islam in danger’, all backfired against the Americans, who are still paying heavy price for it. ‘Some stirred-up Muslims’ have made life miserable for the whole human race. These non-state actors have posed serious ‘non-traditional security threat’ to world.
The eggs of Cold War started hatching immediately after the end of Bipolarity. But US was so in the mood of celebrating its victory over the Soviet Union and emergence of a myth called ‘unipolarity’, that it completely ignored developments of Islamist revivalism. Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 1996 and still had cordial relations with the Americans. US neither supported the ‘Northern Alliance’ (a bulwark built by the people in north Afghanistan against the Taliban and were aided by Russia, India, Iran and Tajikistan), nor did it itself came forward to curtail this menace.
Islamist extremists had already started spreading their wings in various parts of Europe and Asia. It was evident from the terrorist activities in Kashmir (India), Chechnya (Russia), Xinjiang (China), Ferghana valley region in Central Asia and also in Bosnia and Kosovo, the break-away republics of former Yugoslavia.
After 9-11, US declared ‘global war on terrorism’ and attacked Afghanistan, with the help of its NATO allies. But, this so-called ‘global’ war never became a global fight in the real sense. There was ‘trust deficit’ in US’s dealing with other Asian big powers like Iran, Russia, China and also India. On the contrary, America trusted its ‘ally’ nations unconditionally.
No non-state actors can function effectively without the support of the concerned state-actors. Pakistan continued with its double standards. On one hand, it provided support in ‘war against terror’, but on the other hand, it kept providing safe heavens to the terrorist networks on its soil. US appeasement of Pakistan was so strong that they never said a word about Pakistan’s weapons of mass destruction. Nor did they pay attention to India’s complaints about Pakistani support to terrorist groups operating in various parts of world.
Two days back, US killed the so-called face of terror, Osama Bin Laden, who was staying in peace near a military Academy of Pakistan, in Abbotabad. This incidence has brought up several issues. US, while celebrating the victory, has come to know about Pakistan’s true face. It is in the mood of withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan. But, this is certainly not going to end the complex issues.
It is very easy for a far-away nation to jump in a region and after 10 years of chaos, to withdraw from there. But the regional dynamics cannot be addressed in such a manner. A vast Muslim-majority regions in Asia; from west Asia, Af-Pak, Kashmir, Caucasia and Central Asia to South East Asia have been stirred by these dangerous extremist factions. Islamist revivalism has inversely affected the peace and order in this region.
Killing of Laden is not likely to make any difference as far as functioning of Al Qaida is concerned, as the organization itself is based on decentralization, and operates from its thousands of centers spread across the globe.
The way ‘war on terror’ has been handled would not certainly lead to restoration of peace and stability. Instead it might lead to some serious consequences.