Pakistan Signs Iran Gas Pipeline Deal
"By connecting itself with the world's second largest gas reserves, Pakistan would guarantee reliable supply for decades to come," U.S. energy analyst Gal Luft told UPI.
Pakistan is not alone in snubbing the world's sole superpower. Just last week, the Israelis did the same when they announced plans to build 1600 new units in occupied East Jerusalem during Vice President Joseph Biden's visit there. Subsequent denunciations of Israeli actions by the Quartet (UN, Europe, Russia and US) and angry rhetoric in Washington has only served to strengthen the Jewish state's resolve to go ahead with the settlement construction on Palestinian land.
Turkey, Brazil and China have in the past month each delivered timely snubs of Washington's push for sanctions against the Iranian regime, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. Russia joined the list of snubbers when it surprised the U.S. delegation this week by announcing that it plans to help Iran launch its first nuclear reactor by July just as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up her Moscow visit.
Strangely enough, a country like India which prides itself on its independence in setting foreign policy, is out of tune with the rest of the world in its decision to pull out of the Iran-Pakistan-India gap pipeline project under intense US pressure. It seems India is quite satisfied with the access to US nuclear technology in exchange for obeying Washington on Iran.
The US has so far rejected any civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan. But there are some US analysts, like Christine Fair, who see the benefits of such a deal. Here is how Fair put it in a recent Wall Street Journal op ed:
"Pakistan terrifies the United States because it is a unique nexus of nuclear proliferation and Islamist militancy. But with success in Afghanistan elusive, Washington needs Islamabad more than ever, and vice versa. The two countries have never been able to achieve a durable relationship based on mutual trust. That could be fixed, however, if the U.S. were willing to consider a radical new approach: a policy centered on a conditions-based civilian nuclear deal.
Nuclear cooperation could deliver results where billions of dollars of American aid have failed. Pakistan has long benefited from Washington's largess—including more than $15 billion in aid and lucrative reimbursements since 9/11—while only marginally delivering on U.S. expectations. Islamabad has refused to work against the Afghan Taliban and homegrown terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, or provide Washington access to A.Q. Khan to verify that his nuclear black markets have been dismantled."
Fair argues in her Op Ed that "In the long shadow of A.Q. Khan and continued uncertainty about the status of his networks, it is easy to forget that Pakistan has established a Strategic Plans Division that has done much to improve safety of the country's nuclear assets."
The United States no longer enjoys the kind of unchallenged superpower status it did immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In spite of the fact that the US economy is still the world's largest accounting for 27% of global GDP, and its military is the most powerful with the ability to project American power around the globe, there are increasing challenges to its authority by many nations. In fact, the current US situation is best explained by its parallels to that faced by the Vito Corleone character in the classic movie "The Godfather", as described by "The Godfather Doctrine", a foreign policy parable by John Hulsman and Wes Mitchell. It appears that the US has lost its perceived power to make offers that no one can refuse.
It seems that the elaborate framework of international institutions that US helped architect and build after WW II, such as UN Security Council, NATO, World Bank, OECD, WTO, IMF, and IAEA, through which America exercises tremendous power and control, are being weakened partly due to America's own missteps, and my guess is that these alliances and institutions will not survive beyond the next few decades. There will be a huge realignment of nations, as the powerful new players, including China, Russia, Germany, Japan, Brazil, India, South Africa will demand greater say in the affairs of the world. So will the Iranians, the Koreans, the Turks, the Pakistanis and the Arabs. With their growing economic power, the Chinese are already starting to take steps to replace the US dollar with the Chinese yuan as a major reserve and trade currency in the world.
The US-India nuclear deal, and India's decision to abandon the IPI gas pipeline, and the growing India-US ties appear to be part of a larger realignment in Asia and the world. There is an effort by the US to "co-opt" India as a close ally in the emerging new world order.
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