Prof. Gidh Chorbazar, chairman of the department of international relations at Swineberg University, and Dr. Chuck Hawtayer, chairman of the Institute of American Exceptionalism are speaking on the panel on “Peace in Afghanistan and the Future of American Exceptionalism” at the Institute.
Hawtayer leads the discussion, “Professor Chorbazar you know that since 1776, America has been at war 93% of the time, which is 222 out of its 329 years. So what do you see from the peace talks in Afghanistan?”
Chorbazar, re-adjusts his glasses, and offers, “Chuck, do you trust anything that Pakistan does? All we see is that the Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan is pushing his point that he had been calling for a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict for more than decade.
“We know that President Trump seems to be looking like he is ready to cut and run, but I don’t see any negatives for our American weapons producers. With the money saved from Afghanistan, he surely has a war or two up his sleeve. I am sure that there is plan to his madness. He has had 2020 on his mind since the final election results were called on November 8, 2016. He won’t leave his financial arm, the arms makers in the lurch.”
Hawtayer asks, “Could we talk a little more about Pakistani cooperation here?”
Chorbazar, quickly jumps on this question, “First… Chuck, first, let it be clear that this Pakistani ‘support’ for the Taliban talks in nothing of Pakistan’s doing. I mean see how Pakistan keeps arguing with India over Kashmir.
“You should lay all this on Trump’s doorstep. The way he cut off all aid to Pakistan and launched those aggressive tweets… his tweets were not all off the cuff. All this put pressure on the Pakistanis to be more accommodative of American interests.
“I am still at a loss to find why the Trump Administration has not involved India in this project. India is the biggest in the region, and the Afghan government is close to India and not Pakistan”
Hawtayer interjects, “But professor, the Afghan… the Ghani government is nowhere near these talks…”
Chorbazar offers, “But India would have insisted that the Ghani government should be there. Ghani is India’s ally. And Imran Khan has helped the Taliban cut off Ghani and also India. Pakistan has nothing to offer and their prime minister is tweeting about Pakistani losses of 75,000 people in the war against terror and their key role in maintaining NATO supply lines to Afghanistan.”
Hawtayer quickly adds, “Indeed, Pakistani lives… Aren’t they concerned about their overpopulation?”
Chorbazar continues, “India’s greatest concern, and let us note here that India has the money to buy American weaponry… is that peace in Afghanistan will provide Pakistan the luxury of diverting its Taliban partners to Kashmir.
“Chuck if you note that Pakistan was not playing ball… we… I mean India… have much influence in the Trump Administration, much beyond Nikki Haley. But you know with Trump ill at ease in Afghanistan, the United States had to go along with Pakistan, and talk to the Taliban only.
“I am still skeptical about this peace deal. Trump could have easily brought in India.
Pakistan is running short of foreign exchange reserves and it cannot afford to see Afghanistan slide into chaos just as Pakistan is trying to attract foreign investors to shore up its own economy.
“This is not in India’s interest. You know Chuck, the moment Pakistan gets healthier, they will start bothering India.
“Not only the Taliban, but also the United States are lauding Pakistan’s role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. I read somewhere that a senior U.S. official, who declined to be identified, said of Pakistan’s role in the talks, that they know it just wouldn’t be possible without their support.
“India will not stand idle and cut any positives built by Pakistan.”
Hawtayer asks, “Professor, you know both Nawaz Sharif and Zardari administrations were always accommodative. They have their interests in the United States, and whenever we said do more, they would bend backwards to follow our command. But this Imran Khan tweeted that now we will do what is best for our people and our interests.”
Chorbazar adds, “I am still amazed that the United States did nothing to assure a more resilient government in Pakistan and elections were held there last year. But at least I see some action. Both the United State Institute of Peace and Harvard’s Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Institute invited Zardari’s son, Bilawal, to give talks. The United States has a handle on the Zardaris with their extensive real estate and financial holdings in our country. But till that time, Washington should remain hesitant to become too hopeful about Pakistan’s change in posture.
“I am sure that Trump will see that India is not sidelined. He knows that America’s best friends are those who buy American arms. He knows that India has the funds to buy the most beautiful American arms. He knows that the future of American exceptionalism lies in selling the maximum quantity of arms.”