The U.S. and the making of Pakistan’s crisis

Socialist Worker, May 13, 2008
David Barsamian

David Barsamian has been working in radio since 1978 and is the founder and director of Alternative Radio, the independent award-winning weekly series based in Boulder, Colo. He is the author of several books, including Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky and The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting.

The following is a speech Barsamian presented in April at The Attic, a “space for the living arts” in New Delhi, India.

PAKISTAN IS routinely quoted in the American media as “the world’s most dangerous country.” You can turn to Newsweek, USA Today, Business Week and other magazines and newspapers, and it’s always described in those dire terms. How it became that way is never explained. It just happened. It may be something in the genes of Pakistanis, that they are naturally inclined to be dangerous.

But I think it’s important to talk about U.S. involvement in Pakistan. Because that explains a lot of why Pakistan is the way it is today. According to the Human Rights Commission of that country, which just issued its annual report, Pakistan is a nation that is “half alive.” And 2007 is called “one of the worst years in Pakistan’s history, if not the worst.”

So I think it’s crucial to know a little bit about the background of the country. And it’s interesting how India factors in this and especially the U.S. When Pakistan was created out of British India in 1947, the U.S. was at that time kind of dividing the world into different regions that it would seek to dominate. South Asia was part of that focus. The major focus was West Asia for obvious reasons: oil. But South Asia was also of great interest to Washington.

Continued . . .

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