The Hil­lary Lec­tures

Madame Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton was on a lec­ture tour to two im­por­tant coun­tries in South Asia re­cently, preach­ing the Amer­i­can gospel.

Southasia - - Cover story - By S.G. Ji­la­nee

Lis­ten­ing to Amer­ica’s lec­tures, ad­vice and ad­mo­ni­tions is noth­ing new for weaker na­tions. There have been strong and cruel women be­fore as US sec­re­taries of state, such as Madeleine Al­bright and Con­doleeza Rice. But Hil­lary is dif­fer­ent. She is a former First Lady as well as “pres­i­dent man­qué.” There­fore, she sports more than just or­di­nary hau­teur.

Re­mem­ber last Oc­to­ber when she headed a del­e­ga­tion of top US Gen­er­als to Islamabad? Hil­lary de­manded that Pak­istan de­stroy Haqqani net­work’s safe havens in North­ern Waziris­tan and squeeze the Haqqani lead­er­ship to sue for peace at Amer­ica’s terms. She had rounded off her de­mands with the strict warn­ing that she wanted re­sults “within days and weeks, not months and years.”

Ms Clin­ton must have felt like a woman scorned when Islamabad took no ac­tion on her diktat. And as Con­greve has said, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Her re­cent choice of In­dia for vit­ri­olic at­tacks against Pak­istan should there­fore be an­a­lyzed against this back­drop.

In Bangladesh, she lec­tured her coun­ter­part Deepu Moni on con­trol­ling do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and while with Prime Min­is­ter Hasina, lob­bied for her friend, the No­bel lau­re­ate Dr. Yunus.

But her star per­for­mance was re­served for In­dia. There­fore, im­me­di­ately af­ter land­ing in Kolkata for an overnight so­journ on the first leg of a two-day visit, she went on a charm of­fen­sive, with a pow­er­ful broad­side at Pak­istan, whin­ing be­fore a re­cep­tive me­dia that Pak­istan was not do­ing “enough” to bring key ter­ror sus­pects to jus­tice.

This was clearly her re­ac­tion to Pak­istan not obey­ing her Oc­to­ber de­mand to de­ploy its en­tire army in or­der to de­pop­u­late the tribal belt of North and South Waziris­tan. How else could the lady for­get that the Pak­istan

army has lost more than three times the num­ber of US troops in fight­ing Amer­ica’s war and that, in re­turn for these sac­ri­fices, Amer­i­can troops mowed down fur­ther 24 Pak­istan of­fi­cers and men?

Yet, for Clin­ton and oth­ers of her ilk, “do­ing enough” means that Pak­istan should be­come a US clone - look with Amer­i­can eyes and think with an Amer­i­can mind. They are miffed there­fore when Pak­istan balks be­cause of the dread­ful after­math of un­der­tak­ing such reck­less ad­ven­tures.

Dur­ing her speech, the sec­re­tary of state men­tioned two key per­son­al­i­ties: present Al-Qaeda leader Ay­man al Zawahiri and Ja­maat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief, Hafiz Saeed. About Zawahiri she claimed, “There are sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant lead­ers still on the run. (Ay­man al) Zawahiri who in­her­ited the lead­er­ship from (Osama) bin Laden is some­where, we be­lieve, in Pak­istan. So we are in­tent upon go­ing af­ter those who are try­ing to keep Al Qaeda op­er­a­tional and in­spi­ra­tional.”

Ev­i­dently Clin­ton in­tro­duced Hafiz Saeed just to im­press her au­di­ence be­cause Zawahiri and al Qaeda are Amer­i­can headaches with which In­dia is not di­rectly both­ered. It was also a clever ploy to lay the foun­da­tion for a fruit­ful meet­ing with her In­dian coun­ter­part S.M. Kr­ishna, later.

The Sec­re­tary of State bent over back­wards to demon­strate the tide of Amer­i­can so­lic­i­tude for In­dia, of­fer­ing some rare gems of ad­vice on com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism. “The net­work of ter­ror­ism which In­dia knows all too well from your own ex­pe­ri­ences is more broad-based than any one group. I think you have to do three things – you have to have the very best pos­si­ble in­tel­li­gence; law en­force­ment; ju­di­cial de­fense re­sponse – so that you can pro­tect your peo­ple,” she lec­tured.

Clar­i­fy­ing the US po­si­tion on the bounty an­nounced for Hafiz Saeed’s cap­ture and con­vic­tion, she once again high­lighted the iden­tity of views be­tween US and In­dia, vis-à-vis Pak­istan. “These re­wards are for in­for­ma­tion that can lead to bring­ing some­body to jus­tice. We are well aware that there have not yet been steps taken by the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment to do what both In­dia and U.S. have re­peat­edly re­quested that they do. And we are go­ing to keep push­ing that point,” she said, adding, “So it’s a way of rais­ing the vis­i­bil­ity and point­ing out to those who are as­so­ci­ated with them

Ev­i­dently Clin­ton in­tro­duced Hafiz Saeed just to im­press her au­di­ence be­cause Zawahiri and al Qaeda are Amer­i­can headaches with which In­dia is not di­rectly both­ered. It was also a clever ploy to lay the foun­da­tion for a fruit­ful meet­ing with her In­dian coun­ter­part S.M. Kr­ishna, later.

that there is a cost for that and it’s a cost that they them­selves will have to pay go­ing for­ward.”

To clinch US con­cern for In­dia’s se­cu­rity, Clin­ton re­minded her hosts that she has au­tho­rized the US $10 mil­lion award for “one of the peo­ple we be­lieve was the mas­ter­mind of the at­tack in Mum­bai…that killed 166 peo­ple in­clud­ing six Amer­i­cans and we want every­body as­so­ci­ated with this brought to jus­tice.” She also re­as­sured her au­di­ence say­ing, “It could take some time be­fore jus­tice is done, but we are go­ing to be stand­ing with you to make that hap­pen and that thirdly though you have to change the way the peo­ple think. In­dia and U.S. are the great­est re­bukes to re­li­gious ex­trem­ism.”

But why this colaveri di; why this venom-spit­ting against Pak­istan on In­dian soil? The an­swer is quite sim­ple. Clin­ton knew that tra­duc­ing Pak­istan would be mu­sic to In­dian ears, soothe their wounded feel­ings and make the ground ready for the suc­cess of her real mis­sion.

The cat jumped out of Clin­ton’s bag in New Delhi as it tran­spired that the surge of sym­pa­thy for In­dia was not nat­u­ral, but crafted in the White House. It was pred­i­cated by In­dia cut­ting its oil im­ports from Iran. Fail­ure to obey the US diktat, would in­vite sanc­tions.

In­dia gave a sub­tle mes­sage in re­sponse by host­ing an Ira­nian trade del­e­ga­tion at the same time as it was lis­ten­ing to the Clin­ton lec­ture.

The fact that Amer­ica, in the blind pur­suit of its self­ish in­ter­ests, ig­nores is that In­dia faces a $185 bil­lion trade deficit. It would there­fore nat­u­rally wish to keep trade flow­ing. More­over, Iran is not only is a ma­jor sup­plier of oil which ac­counts for two-thirds of In­dia’s im­port bill, but it has also agreed to re­ceive pay­ment in In­dian ru­pee and, above all friendly re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Iran have ex­isted for many cen­turies be­fore the United States was born. Such re­la­tions can­not be sun­dered on a whim, par­tic­u­larly when Amer­ica can­not of­fer a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive.

Mean­while In­dia has re­duced oil im­ports from Iran by about 15 per cent. That should be enough of a pal­lia­tive for the White House. Fur­ther pres­sure could be counter-pro­duc­tive.

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