National Security

US & Fighting for Peace

By Rana Athar Javed

Misstep aside, the US and NATO should remain committed to stabilize Afghanistan because whatever the fluctuation in international security policy occur between now and 2014, the capacity of dialogue and negotiation cannot be ignored. The question is how policy of installing Special Operation Forces can be countered by negotiation processes and point out the long-term risks of only responding through military strategies. Although Americans/NATO nations are painfully aware of effected by wars (i.e. Vietnam/Korean/Iraq/Afghanistan, WWI & II),  and waging wars away from America and other Western capitals would eventually misalign the international relations, and thus transferring risks to respective societies. Fighting for peace may well become both cause and effect, and would therefore conveniently create further economic dependency for the developing world.

Conversely, the nations involved in wars have greatly suffered, and allowed major powers to create their own “antithesis”, by arousing private armies, resistance movements and thereby clinically attaching the youth of these countries in “multibillion dollars conflict project”. No assessment of Western vulnerabilities represents disregard for a harmonic international society, and further disdain for American/NATO foreign and security policies. A realistic evaluation of how next generations of Western societies would sustain the economic and psychological pressures of wars, is also pertinent to the basic social fabric of the developed world.

Yes, it is too significant to abandon “energy security” drive for the developed world, but the concept of strategic objectives is being used to rationalize battles that are based on contradictory principles of: destroying regular ways of human life and, winning “hearts and minds”. According to Sun Tzue, “one should avoid battle unless one is absolutely certain of winning”. This realization perhaps characterizes the importance of objectivity between operational strategy and ground realities in war zones. One example of the way the current wars are being perceived by the Muslim population. Their thinking is that employment of highly modern weaponry and Special Forces against grossly backward and under trained armies cannot be a characteristic of modern military planning against handful of extremists. Thus in the final assessment, the current American/NATO/French led military operations are considered about creating possibilities to maintain control over local population/resources through small contingent of armed forces. The permanent engagement of Western troops in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and now Mali show that assembly of foreign troops feeds on the rise of vengeance and extremism, and hence consequences for combatant as well non-combatant entities.

Comparatively, the advance loss of future generations of the Third World is really a threatening policy of socioeconomic paralysis to the majority of world population (e.g. Africa, Iraq, Syria, & Afghanistan). A clumsy argument to fight for peace has also complicated state-society relations in every Muslim country. By being closer to the US policies for instance, the governments in war zones appears to be losing strategic opportunities to establish a unanimous peace. However, the current US strategy in promoting bilateral peace talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan are welcoming development because from rational perspective, a victory in Afghanistan is inconclusive, and negotiating with Taliban believes to be a different rationality, but still less dangerous than continue to fight the local population. The US and NATO will need to remember that not all sociopolitical structures are immune to occupation, therefore thinking beyond perception is certainly an option to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan. The challenge is that how the US establishes its credibility as sponsor of peace as well as fulfilling the demands of an appropriate response to roots causes of terrorism. In this perspective, talking, rather than fighting should have a fair chance of outmaneuvering the extremists sections of major societies because this is actually the important element of avoiding homegrown terrorist networks.

To be concluded, the focus on ‘cyber warfare’ to penetrate the critical systems of information and, building of drone-bases in North Africa and the “permanent” presence of French troops in Mali carries powerful strategy of achieving national security objectives of Western powers beyond South Asia. Against the backdrop of tough US rhetoric against Iran and the necessity to negotiate peace – just as there had been attempts to compromise the potential negative consequences of long wars by other superpowers, demonstrates the complexities of armed conflicts and invasions. The core of fighting for peace therefore should be to address the challenges that Western military leadership and decision-makers are facing, rather than portraying definitive evil to a major population of the world. There ought to be some upper limit to how the US conducts its future war strategy as fundamentally flawed and faulty intelligence assessment – reinforcing peace with war cannot restore world peace, and there may be nothing more to be gained by fighting low-intensity wars in various parts of the world.

Also, International laws have outlawed wars – in fact it might always have been the case that laws dealing with wars have poorly dealt with negotiating capacity of the weak nations. This is of huge consensus among a majority; however, not so powerful states, that the modern age and technological advancement warranties application of Western access to global resources. It is on this count that still the US leadership can help design “new” benchmarks and procedures to strengthen the concept of conflict resolutions and help negotiate the peace between different nations of the world. It is all about process of making the role of US more attractive and “real” to differently judge implications of aggressive foreign and security policies.

Most of the time the conclusion has been that poverty and illiteracy possess the tendency to further confrontation between the civilizations of this world, but, the peace and stability have rarely been the appealing values of modern diplomacy. The US will probably solve the problem of assessment and may also guarantee that stability will prevail – [because] “a positive peace would restore relationships, meet the needs of the whole population, provide ways to manage conflicts constructively, and hence be widely regarded by Afghans as legitimate, fair, and worthy of support”.