Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Pakistani military mindset

A.H Amin
While third world military figures , in power or retired make impressive speeches at various forums and think tanks , very few outside their countries understand their mindset and motivation , which by and large is driven by highly personalized and ulterior motives !

Keeping this premise in view it is important to understand the mindset and the personalities of the third world military juntas , most important in this case being the Pakistani military junta !The British Indian Army which gave birth to Pakistan and Indian armies in 1947 was essentially a colonial army designed for internal security and limited defence of India against external threats .

The British ensured that all Indians who came to this organization were from the politically most docile and loyal classes ! In order to keep the Indian officer corps slavish they kept a 50 % quota for Indian Army rankers in Indian Military Academy Dera Dun right from its foundation in 1930-32 .Layman readers may note that the " lower middle class" as well as the " middle class" by and large are the politically most conservative classes ! Social climbers by orientation , intensely careeristic in outlook and extremely conscious of personal benefits , having none or little of the pride or spirit de corps that made the Prussian junker officer defy Hitler !

In the Russian Civil War many major reactionary White Army leaders including Denikin,Kornilov etc were from humble background ! Similarly all of Pakistan's military rulers less Yahya Khan were from humble background and all brought with them the intense greed and ambitiousness of a man from humble origins with none of the ideological idealism that distinguishes a man of ideology from a social climber !

Now the mindset of the military junta :--
1- Personal motives having priority over all other motives :-- You would find no Manstein or Guderian in them but highly ambitious men who practiced sycophancy with their seniors , hole punchers in US terms , yes men ,masters of personal manouvre in order to get the right report from the right boss at the right time ! They pleased their seniors and they know how to handle balls of any benefactor may it be Bush or Reagan where aid is concerned ! They have no ideology less personal interest !

2- View Wars and International Geopolitics as a means of personal benefit:-- The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a divine and phenomenal lottery for Pakistan's military rulers ! Zia the son of a humble tailor , and many of his generals Akhtar etc siphoned millions of US dollars in private accounts , from the US aid meant for Afghanistan. Knowing the Americans well , they must have also earmarked good retainers for Zia and his ISI chief in any case.
Serious observers like Selig Harrison and Cordovez have concluded that the Pakistani military junta never wanted that the Soviets should withdraw from Afghanistan since that would have meant stoppage of US aid. Similarly, 9/11 is a heaven sent opportunity for General Musharraf since it enabled him to get US aid and the much needed US boost to stay in power !

3- Can be coerced and bought if the Bigger players know how to drive them:--
These leaders have price tags and can be manipulated to a significant extent without risking wars like the Iraq war. This is so because their vision is personal , has none of Khomeini or Osama's ideological agenda. Thus if the USA sensibly deals with them with carrot and stick they can be made to conform to US policies.

4- Ulterior motives in prolonging conflicts to get aid :-- These leaders have an ulterior motive that their benefactor super power, i.e, USA is kept occupied in its war against terror , not because they have any love for Islam , but simply because this would bring them more aid , an important part of which is siphoned into private fortunes. Thus, at a certain covert level these leaders are interested in the terrorist's cause also. Thus, the third world intelligence agencies have many irons in the fire whether it is initiating a terrorist outrage or encouraging one.

5- Increasing reliance on coercive power of state :-- Since these leaders have little or no contact with national aspirations of their masses , they increasingly rely on the coercive power of the state which leads either to a Shah of Iran like situation or strengthening of a Saddam like totalitarian regime. In both cases it was the fault and mishandling of US policy makers !

6- Role of the Intelligence agencies :--
To buy judges , to blackmail politicians , to start wars of low intensity to get aid , to manipulate low intensity war players for specific ends to please or disturb their super power benefactors.

We are dealing with sharp social climber third world leaders who know how to please and how to practice sophisticated ball lifting. These men have no ideology and can withstand a tremendous amount of kicking as they did while pleasing seniors in their military careers. It is simpler to deal with these tinpot dictators than Osama or Mullah Omar. If policy makers in the USA understand this fact their task would be simpler.


Taban Khamosh said...

Brilliant post! You nailed it! I think this is precisely why the mandarins in the American Empire engage in machinations to bring about a dictator in Pakistan (especially) every time a new fangled bout of geo-politics is in the offing.

Zia just _happened_ to overthrow bhutto in the same year that the Reaganites decided to lure the Soviets into Afghanistan.

Similarly, Nawaz sharif just happened to make the wrong move (like firing his stupid COAS) which was prompted by the wreckless actions of none other than the COAS himself!

This is the only reason that leads me to believe sometimes that 911 was an inside job.

The fix to bring their man (Mush) was in as soon as Nawaz Sharif decided to pop 5 crackers. He had to be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

Great analysis of a monster we are faced with.