For God And Country! Geronimo!

By Sunil Kumar

Nearly fifteen years into the twenty-first century; the world is a dramatically different place. 2001 and 9/11 altered global opinion; India’s economic power grew along with frequent terror attacks; and the Chinese are on their way to become bigger.

Today; the blog’s going to be about “Obama‘s Confront and Conceal Secret Wars”. The insightful ideas presented in the narrative talk about how America’s strategies have altered in the five years that Obama’s been in power.

The NSA and the ISI also figure frequently in the spy-vs-spy tale. Shuja Ahmed Pasha; the ISI head and Ashfaq Pervez Kayani; the chain-smoking general recruited by Musharraf make for interesting contrasts in character.

When Obama authorizes the Osama strike at Abbotabad; coupled with Lockheed Martin RQ-170 surveillance; he is stepping into the dark. The author implies that the President, the Secretary of State; and the West Wing were apprehensive about the strike that actually killed Bin Laden. Coupled with the fact that the West Point trained Pakistani generals and establishments would take offence was something that played a peripheral part in their strategic equations.

Other interesting snippets; United States and Israeli efforts in the scuttling of nuclear centrifuges provided to Iran. The rogue Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan’s role is also mentioned. The CIA’s assets in Iran; similar to that in “Homeland” could have been responsible; is what the author asserts. Internal bickering in the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland and other coordinated agencies regarding some geopolitical decisions is mentioned.

According to the author; Obama’s years in Asia had tempered his outlook; leading to a difference from previous American Presidents and their bluster. Visibly; the President is more media-savvy; in his interactions with people around the world; from California to Mumbai or Shanghai.

America was responsible for Afghanistan changing; a fact correctly noted. But; when the country pulls out, as in Iraq; the impact could be very different. The blood-stained dictators of Pakistan and the Haqqani network are more likely to have a greater role; rather than the generous and benevolent influence of India.

The author makes a similar claim when he mentions what a top American functionary told him; “Our interests are not in consonance with our values”; a situation that they face everyday. Domestic political compulsions are important; but could the Obama era be noted for more introversion; rather than the blatant interference the country is more famous for.

The book also mentions the Chinese testing a J-20 stealth jet on the day America’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates makes a visit. Apparently; according to the author; there is a disconnect between the more hardline hawkish generals and the Communist leadership. But; again what goes on in Beijing is mere conjecture by Western commentators; and cannot be known for sure.

In the past few days; the Chinese have tested a Stealth combat drone and a 110,000 ‘super aircraft drone’ to counteract American power. As far as the country believes; China’s cyber espionage also poses a threat to their establishment as well as other nations.

In talking about the Arab Spring; Syria and other global events where the United States plays a role; the author claims that the American administration and the President routinely discard humanitarian values in favour of narrow self-interest.

He gives the examples of the Bahraini protests and Syria to make his claim more believable. Obama cleverly leverages some of his ancestry when he visits Egypt during the earlier part of his Presidency; but backtracks on the same things when he attacks countries like Libya that are not strategically important; and can be dealt with easily. In fact; the book is revealing about America’s legendary flip-flopping; courting dictatorial regimes worldwide; while at the same time talking about democracy and human values.

In the global jungle; the game is still skewed; and what happens is going to be as dramatic, unpredictable and unbelievable as life itself. Bye Bye For Now!



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