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  1. #1
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    Why didn't Pakistan ally with the Soviet Union after independence?

    I have long held the belief that Pakistan's diplomacy has been well below par throughout the course of its history. Two particular highlights in this has been their close relation with the USA, and later, with Saudi Arabia.

    Both of these have spelt nothing but trouble for Pakistan and Pakistanis, and if you give the opportunity to Pakistan's generals to step into a time turner to veer in the other direction in 1947, they would have gladly done so.

    Hence, my question is: why didn't Pakistan 'choose' the USSR after independence? They had first mover advantage, when both the USA and USSR invited the people that matter in Pakistan in 1947. Pakistan snubbed the Soviets and headed to America. The rest is history, including the Mujahideen, Wahabi mosques around town, sanctions, and everything else that causes Pakistan a headache today.

    The Indian - Soviet relation didn't come with half the baggage and was purely a transactional relationship that didn't betray the supposed non-alignment foreign policy we had at the time.

    That doesn't work with the US of A though: you don't just buy their F-16s, you also get them packed with the US foreign policy that is to the US's advantage, not explicitly Pakistan's.

  2. #2
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    To add to this, if Pakistan went the Soviet way early on - India would have inevitably tried to cozy up to the USA and the associated chaos would have ensued East of the border rather than the West.

  3. #3
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    it would also have prevented the influx of afghan refugees who have been a big headache for the country

  4. #4
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    Because we are the only country who never adapts their policies when it comes to the changing landscape. Its still mind boggling how we chose to back the USA instead of USSR when the latter was right on our door-step.

  5. #5
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    i am not a historian but i think it is because islam opposes communism

  6. #6
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    I used to think the same thing. And was naive to think that Pakistan;s problems would have been averted.

    However people give the Soviets too much credit

    You think they wouldnt have cause a million more problems for Pakistan?

    And beides the Soviets were godless people whose economic system existed on a failed ideology. Do not see any tangible benefit to a relationship with them over the US

    Also I think for most of the 70 year history, Pakistan's foreign policy has blown away India's.


    #MPGA

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    You think they wouldnt have cause a million more problems for Pakistan?
    You need to elaborate on this to add weight to your argument.

  8. #8
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    When India/Pakistan became independent:

    USSR:
    * Communist
    * Ruled by Stalin
    * Economy in a mess.
    * Ravaged by and still recovering from WW2

    USA:
    * Thriving economy
    * The biggest economy in the world, with the most powerful military.
    * The leader of "the 'free' world"
    * Democracy.
    * Helping Europe and Japan to recover from WW2

    Coupled with the Cold War, and risk of WW3, between the USA plus it's Western European allies, versus the USSR plus communist Eastern European states under the control of the USSR.

    Now on top of that, look at the economies and freedoms for citizens in the Western countries allied to the USA versus those for USSR citizens and citizens of the Eastern European states allied to the USSR.

    Looking at it objectively, which would you think was the better bet if you were back in the 1950's and 1960? The USSR or the USA?

    And don't forget, even though India inherited virtually all of the industrial base that existed during British India, Pakistan's economy was actually growing much faster than India's during the 1950's and 1960's.


    “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule”

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post

    Also I think for most of the 70 year history, Pakistan's foreign policy has blown away India's.
    True. Pakistan has always outsmarted India on foreign policy.
    Congress is disaster for foreign policy.
    Modi has so far being right on money as far as foreign policy is concerned.

  10. #10
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    I recommend leaving the typical India - Pakistan sludgefest out of this thread. At best, feel free to refer to India and Pakistan's respective relationships with the USA and the USSR, but that's all.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talented View Post
    True. Pakistan has always outsmarted India on foreign policy.
    Congress is disaster for foreign policy.
    Modi has so far being right on money as far as foreign policy is concerned.
    India owes its sovereignty to its foreign policy. It was Russia which stopped China from jumping in the 71 war and it was Russian submarine which helped ward off the threat posed to India by USS Enterprise task force in the Indian Ocean.


    Dravid's remarkable career is proof that nice guys don't finish last - Steve Waugh

  12. #12
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    India didn't aligned with USSR till August 1971, just before the war. Before that time, it was "cordial" relationship between both countries. India was world leader for NAM and USSR stood against western imperialist nations. That was the only common plank.

    I think what happened with Pakistan was they needed immediate economic aid post Independence, hence who ever came first became ally.


    Left Handed Batsman for Arch Nemesis

  13. #13
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    What's done is done... History is correcting itself with India aligning with the States now and Pakistan forming a bloc with China and Russia.

  14. #14
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    USA is a better ally to have compared to USSR ,it's just about how capable countries are to deal with them,South Korea and Japan have proved that,would say even Chinese have shown how they can benefit well while ,while dealing with USA people/leaders have to be smarter ,imo diplomatically Pakistan was better initially in dealing with USA somewhere along the way they lost the plot.

  15. #15
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    Pakistan was created with the tacit understanding that the country and its territory would form a frontier against the Soviet Union for the West. Simple as that.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahid87 View Post
    Pakistan was created with the tacit understanding that the country and its territory would form a frontier against the Soviet Union for the West. Simple as that.

    This is the truth. The USA and UK supported the Pakistan movement expecting the new Pakistani state to align with them .The chances of India under pro-socialist leaders like Nehru allying with the USSR was pretty high. It was either USSR or NAM for India, aligning with the UK was always out of question.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahid87 View Post
    Pakistan was created with the tacit understanding that the country and its territory would form a frontier against the Soviet Union for the West. Simple as that.
    Yes the frontier to defend the West from Soviet was Pakistan when at that point there was no inkling Soviets would come anywhere near South Asia.


    #MPGA

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    Yes the frontier to defend the West from Soviet was Pakistan when at that point there was no inkling Soviets would come anywhere near South Asia.
    And the small matter of the US and the Soviets being allied in WW II, two short years before 1947.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varun View Post
    You need to elaborate on this to add weight to your argument.
    well im not in a mood to write an essay now. but few points:

    - you cant singularly say that the problems caused by aligning with US wouldnt have happened if Pakistan had aligned with USSR. USSR would have brought its own set of problems for Pakistan that much is for sure. Unlike India, Pakistan did not have the luxury to remain neutral in this case and had to pick a side. In the early years by many people's estimations Pakistan wasnt going to last long as a country so it had to align with a superpower to ensure its territorial sovereignty. India tilted towards USSR though. And btw it hurt India economically. The economic boom India saw from 1990s could have perhaps been achieved much earlier if failed socialist policies under USSR blessing hadnt been followed. India didnt need either USSR or US for territorial sovereignty but even then soft USSR alignment hurt India imo

    - Pakistan had zero manufacturing base and a hungry population it could not feed. The US and its technology was crucial in the agricultural revolution in the 60s. Also under Ayub they were also good with aid helping set up somewhat of an industrial base. It was Pakistans own fault that the wealth was disctributed to just 22 families hence leading to the population being alienated. As far as a foreign country could help, the US DID do that! Dont think the USSR was in a position to be of much use in that regard. All they ever did in 70s when we did sort of have a tilt towards them under Bhutto was set up a steel maufacturing plant. The USSR itself was no match to the US economically.

    - Most importantly, you are discounting the fact that aligning with the USSR would have meant that Pakistan would have been technically an 'adversary' to the US. And God knows what shenanigans they would haved pulled in Pakistan and how would they have harmed us if they actually set up doing so. CIA has a long history of toppling governments to install governments frendly towards them and did so in many countries at the time. And the USSR was generally helpless to stop that.

    - Finally. Ideologically Pakistan aligned with the US. There is no doubt about that. For a country founded for religious freedom aligning with godless people who look down on religion was never a realistic proposition esp for a country just founded. The tilt towards China in the '60s was by default and after Pakistan had been established.


    #MPGA

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varun View Post
    And the small matter of the US and the Soviets being allied in WW II, two short years before 1947.
    they were never allied as such. It was an alliance of convenience against a common threat. Many Russians still curse US for letting hundreds of thousands of their people die in Stalingrad (?) before the US finally entered the war. The leadership of both powers were clear that this was no long term alliance and both had different ideals, way of life etc


    #MPGA

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahid87 View Post
    Pakistan was created with the tacit understanding that the country and its territory would form a frontier against the Soviet Union for the West. Simple as that.
    I always felt this was the purpose, and to be honest it probably still serves that purpose, not to mention give the west a staging post in the east which is pretty crucial logistically. I think historically it made absolute sense to side with the USA at the time, now I am not so sure. Seems to me that all the other countries in the east are in alignment with Russia. India, Iran, China and increasingly, Turkey. Those are powerful countries to be on the wrong side of for the sake of the USA/NATO block.

    But on the other hand, if Pakistan wasn't tied to the US it would probably have gone the way of Syria and Iraq by now.


    I for one welcome our new In____ overlords - Kent Brockman

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    What's done is done... History is correcting itself with India aligning with the States now and Pakistan forming a bloc with China and Russia.
    Russia is an Indian ally.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahid87 View Post
    Pakistan was created with the tacit understanding that the country and its territory would form a frontier against the Soviet Union for the West. Simple as that.
    A lie propagated from the misinformation idiots on the net. Pakistan wasn't even aligned to any of the superpowers just before the cold war started. We were about to join Soviets but the US president at the time sent a letter to Pakistan right before we were about to send a delegation and we decided to go there instead. Easy to say in hindsight that it was a bad decision. But understating the geopolitical situation of the time meant that this was a trivial situation. It was US over the Soviets any day of the week at the time. This wasn't the mistake that has led us astray. It was the fact that we remained aligned with the lunatics that the US became and joined them on their 'war on terror' which has decimated Afghanistan and hence with it Pakistan too. Our incompetence and lack of self pride led to all of this. We can't even fence the stupid border with Afghanistan right now.
    Last edited by Muhammad10; 14th September 2017 at 16:53.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricketjoshila View Post
    Russia is an Indian ally.
    Yes Russia will sit back and applaud while India warms the bed with the States


    Inzi is the best selector in the world

  25. #25
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    This is how Pakistan treated USA.








    Looks like Marlon Brando with his consigliere.

  26. #26
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    And this is how India treated USA




  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    Yes Russia will sit back and applaud while India warms the bed with the States
    May be you should tell that to Putin.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricketjoshila View Post
    May be you should tell that to Putin.
    Didn't you say a while back that Russia will never sell military hardware to Pakistan because it will weaken it's "alliance" with India.


    Well guess what, 4 Russian attack helicopters got delivered to Pakistan last week


    Inzi is the best selector in the world

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    Didn't you say a while back that Russia will never sell military hardware to Pakistan because it will weaken it's "alliance" with India.


    Well guess what, 4 Russian attack helicopters got delivered to Pakistan last week
    If you look in history Russia has always supplied such light weight military equipment even in past.The helicopters PAF bought from Russia, Mi 24s (NATO export version reporting name Mi25/Mi35 are being phased out of IAF and being gifted to Afghans by Indian airforce.

    Good luck if you think Russians are selling you topshelf armaments.They know what Indians will object to and what Indians will be ok with.

    Lets be honest here,Anything Russia sells to Pakistan cant be ever sold to India.And India buys billions of russian equipment each year, Pakistan cant do that.

    Putin himself said this year that Russia can never have "tight" military relations with Pakistan.

  30. #30
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    A recap of Soviet-Pakistan relations

    IN response to my column of January 9 there came an email message from a Russian friend resident in Pakistan. He stated that contrary to Pakistan’s fears, the Soviet government “never had any intentions to walk into Pakistan”. He also pointed out that even when the Soviet Union had a “military presence in Afghanistan Pakistan remained beyond our strategic plans. The reason for such an approach is that historically we had partnership relations with India”.

    The narrative taught in Pakistan starts with the assumption that the Soviet Union was anti-Pakistan right from Pakistan’s creation, just as our media is now busy trying to convince us that the United States is out to get us. Such was the Pakistani aversion to the Soviets that the process to set up diplomatic relations took over seven months even though Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan’s foreign minister, and Andrei Gromyko, Soviet deputy foreign minister, met on the subject of diplomatic relations in April 1948.

    Pakistan saw relations with the Soviet Union from the prism of relations with India just as these days it sees ties with the US. In May 1949 Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru announced his plans to visit the US in October 1950. Pakistan’s leaders were keen to have the US on their side and actively sought an invitation from Washington. They were disappointed that Nehru was invited before their prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan.

    Soon thereafter it was announced that Liaquat would visit Moscow, becoming the first Commonwealth head of government to visit the Soviet Union. The Moscow visit never materialised and instead in December 1949 it was announced that the prime minister would visit the US in May 1950.

    The real reason why the US was chosen over Soviet Union became apparent in a background paper written by the Study Group of Pakistan Institute of International Affairs in 1956: “There are important divergences of outlook between Pakistan, with its Islamic background, and the Soviet Union with its background of Marxism which is atheistic … Pakistan had noticed the subservience which was forced upon the allies of the Soviet Union … Furthermore, there was the question whether Russia could supply the aid, both material and technical, which Pakistan so urgently needed.”

    The main reason why Pakistan sought friendship with the US and joined the American camp during the Cold War was economic and technical assistance. That the Pakistani government and policymakers cloaked the rationale for this assistance in ideological terms is not surprising.

    After decades of assumptions and speculation, we now have access to the Soviet archives to find definitive information on Soviet intentions towards Pakistan. But Pakistanis do not delve into these archives because rather than searching for the truth, they prefer to live in a make-believe world.

    Out of all the declassified Soviet archives related to the military intervention in Afghanistan there are only a few which even mention Pakistan. Those that do, mainly talk about the need for talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan. None mention the “push towards warm waters” cited by Gen Ziaul Haq as the explanation of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and as justification for the US-backed jihad that haunts Pakistan to this day.

    According to documents in the Soviet archives, the Soviet ambassador to Afghanistan Alexander Puzanov advised Afghan president Nur Muhammad Taraki in June 1979 of the need for meeting Zia to resolve problems. It was proposed that in exchange for Afghanistan’s support for Pakistan’s entry into the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), Pakistan would ban political activities of Afghan refugees and refrain from sending armed groups into Afghanistan.

    In a meeting held the following month, July 1979, while Taraki insisted that Pakistan was not helping, Puzanov stressed the need for Afghanistan to do its best to initiate a dialogue and resolve pending issues with its neighbour.

    Documentation from December 1979 highlights disagreement between Soviet military and civilian leaders on the decision to intervene militarily in Afghanistan. Soviet chief of general staff Nikolai Ogarkov is on record as arguing, “We will re-establish the entire eastern Islamic system against us and we will lose politically in the entire world.” He was overruled by the Communist Party ideologues.

    In July 1980 Zia put forth a proposal for holding talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran under the aegis of the Soviet Union. Soviet archives reveal that in correspondence with East German Chancellor Eric Honecker, the Soviets reveal their suspicion of the “seriousness” of Zia’s “intentions”. Yet they agreed to go ahead with the proposal and offered themselves as mediators. The talks never took place because of Soviet and Afghan refusal to accept Pakistan’s demands that president Babrak Kamal be replaced and also because Iran backed out from these talks as well.

    Out of the entire declassified Soviet archives available these are the only ones which discuss Pakistan. While not pleased with Pakistan’s support for the Afghan resistance movement and while often labelling Pakistan an American or western stooge, at no time and in no correspondence is there evidence that the Soviet Union planned an invasion of Pakistan.

    My Russian friend is, therefore, right in pointing out that contrary to Pakistani belief and narrative, an invasion of Pakistan was “beyond our strategic plans”. While militarily intervening in Afghanistan for various reasons, Soviet strategists never contemplated invading Pakistan. They had a strategic relationship with India and did not wish to threaten a close ally by extending their military presence to India’s borders.

    Pakistanis need to examine the Soviet archives and we need to review our entire unreal narrative of history. We must know where we deceived ourselves to avoid being deceived again. Russia is one of our close neighbours and could be an important economic partner.

    https://www.dawn.com/news/612610
    An article in The Dawn from a few years ago.

  31. #31
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    I think there are three reasons why Pakistan did not ally with Russia
    1)Quaid e Azam preferred USA over Russia.He envisioned a modern democratic Pakistan which made USA a natural ally for Pakistan since USA stood for democracy as opposed to USSR.
    2)Pakistan,due to hostile relations with India,needed an ally who was prepared to give military aid.USA,being economically stronger than Russia,was in a better position than Russia to cater to this need of Pakistan.
    3)Pakistan government thought that Stalin would be the next Hitler,who will export the communist ideas to other country and support dictatorship in Pakistan.

  32. #32
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    This photo makes one cringe.

    Regardless whether you're an Indian or a Pakistani, seeing Trump condescendingly treating (yet another) foreign leader as if they were a child to be petted and consoled.

    That's why it was so heartening seeing the Canadian Prime Minister and French President not falling for Trump's "I'm the Boss" handshakes.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Trump asked for that photo to be hung on the wall in the Oval office. It makes Trump look even superior, with Modi looking as if he's trying to cling on.

    Quote Originally Posted by CricketCartoons View Post

    Last edited by UN talkz; 16th September 2017 at 13:57.


    “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule”

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
    This photo makes one cringe.

    Regardless whether you're an Indian or a Pakistani, seeing Trump condescendingly treating (yet another) foreign leader as if they were a child to be petted and consoled ("There, there, don't be upset, Daddy Trump doesn't hate you ...) is painful to look at.

    That's why it was so heartening seeing the Canadian Prime Minister and French President not falling for Trump's "I'm the Boss" handshakes.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Trump asked for that photo to be hung on the wall in the Oval office. It makes Trump look even superior, with Modi looking as if he's trying to cling on. "There, there now, of course Daddy Trump loves you ..."
    You will see what you want to see, and given your reputation of being someone who hates india, it is not surprising you will come up with such an interpretation.

    What I see is the bromance of two great leaders who throw away the rule book in diplomacy and meet like long lost brothers.

    So carrying on cringing while we only look at it with pride.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
    This photo makes one cringe.

    Regardless whether you're an Indian or a Pakistani, seeing Trump condescendingly treating (yet another) foreign leader as if they were a child to be petted and consoled ("There, there, don't be upset, Daddy Trump doesn't hate you ...) is painful to look at.

    That's why it was so heartening seeing the Canadian Prime Minister and French President not falling for Trump's "I'm the Boss" handshakes.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Trump asked for that photo to be hung on the wall in the Oval office. It makes Trump look even superior, with Modi looking as if he's trying to cling on. "There, there now, of course Daddy Trump loves you ..."
    You'll tend to see it like that if you regard Trump as a superior individual.

    To the rest of us, it's just another still photograph that means nothing.

    Btw: Trump is awesome.

  35. #35
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    There, there now, of course Trump loves you too .....



    Quote Originally Posted by CricketCartoons View Post
    What I see is the bromance of two great leaders who throw away the rule book in diplomacy and meet like long lost brothers..
    Quote Originally Posted by Varun View Post
    You'll tend to see it like that if you regard Trump as a superior individual.

    To the rest of us, it's just another still photograph that means nothing.

    Btw: Trump is awesome.
    Ok."Trump is awesome" because "Trump is a superior individual". Good to know that Indians have such a high regard for Trump.
    Last edited by Muhammad10; 17th September 2017 at 00:31.


    “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule”

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    Pakistan tried and sent delegate to Russia. .but SU showed little interest.

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    Pakistan should see its own interests.

    This country should have never supported USA/Afghani Mujahideen. Look at what Pakistan earned from it!: Chaos and Taliban destroying Pakistan.

    Pakistan should remain neutral and prosper. As Chinese have been doing for some decades now.

    And India should do the same!
    If USA-Russia (even China) wanna start conflicts, then let them do it and remain away from mess.

  38. #38
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    Pakistan-US relationship has been greatly beneficial to both countries. I think its the Pakistan-Saudia Arabia relationship which has been the root of all evil. Post partition, we got protection from being attacked by our neighboring country much bigger to us who inherited a lot more arms and military than us. Not sure if USSR would have favored us over India whose socialist ideology was very much in alignment with them. We also helped US with serious efforts at detente towards China. The secret meetings between Kissinger and China's leaders pre-Nixon visit could not have happened without our support.

    The US-China alignment has turned out to be one with the most historical consequence in the 20th century. USSR ended up disintegrating with our help and is now considered a renegade state involved in election fraud the world over, covert murders and state wide oppression. No good would have come out of this relationship.

    Yes, Faiz sahib got a big award from Russia for his contributions and some socialist policies would have greatly helped our people but as far as international alignment goes, it was not worth the trouble.


    “I am not young enough to know everything.”

    ― Oscar Wilde

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhenSultansBowled View Post
    Pakistan should see its own interests.

    This country should have never supported USA/Afghani Mujahideen. Look at what Pakistan earned from it!: Chaos and Taliban destroying Pakistan.

    Pakistan should remain neutral and prosper. As Chinese have been doing for some decades now.

    And India should do the same!
    If USA-Russia (even China) wanna start conflicts, then let them do it and remain away from mess.
    Supporting the Afghan mujahideen was fine

    Allowing entry of afghan refugees and giving them free rein was the wrong decision. We should have restricted them to camps


    #MPGA

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    Supporting the Afghan mujahideen was fine

    Allowing entry of afghan refugees and giving them free rein was the wrong decision. We should have restricted them to camps
    You cannot restrict them to the camps after you've let them loose in the wild. Especially, in order to garner support for the mujahideen, Pakistan had to show them in a positive light. Once the connection between Taliban and Pakistan was clear, they were going to bite you in the back one way or another. In any case, this was all a by product of General Zia ul Haq and the Russian invasion.

    I am not sure though how the Russian invasion could have been countered (something other than Taliban?) or avoided? Possibly better relations with the USSR would have helped.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
    There, there now, of course Trump loves you too .....



    Ok."Trump is awesome" because "Trump is a superior individual". Good to know that Indians have such a high regard for Trump.

    Trump is a very important to me personally. How else would I get my daily dose of comedy?

  42. #42
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    Its easy to use the benefit of hindsight to say an alternative Cold War alliance should've been formed but one has to look at the political realities post-Partition when Pakistan was dominated by a pro-Western civil bureaucratic and military elite. They suppressed democratic processes and opposition whilst accumulating power for themselves claiming to uphold the national interest. The biggest supporters of the US alliance in this elite were commander in chief Ayub Khan, Defence Sec Iskander Mirza and Finance Minister Ghulam Mohammad.

    Pakistan faced financial bankruptcy within months of its creation so looked to the global financial capitals London and Washington. With Britain an unlikely benefactor with its postwar economic troubles, Pakistan turned towards the US for economic aid. With less than 10% of the military stores of undivided India, there was also a need to build up the military and Washington again represented a lifeline. Pakistan also wanted American help in resolving the Kashmir issue.

    When the time came for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to appoint the first Pakistani commander in chief, the two main contenders Iftikhar Khan and Sher Khan were killed in a plane crash in 1949. Their deaths cleared the way for the preferred Western choice - the Sandhurst trained Ayub Khan. After the 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy where a leftist, pro-Soviet coup plot was foiled, led by General Akbar Khan and some officers railing against the Kashmir ceasefire, Ayub and the pro-Western Defence Sec Iskander Mirza further expunged anti-Western elements.

    The Americans had a growing strategic interest in forming an alliance with Pakistan. They would have military bases in the Indian Ocean when Britain was increasingly retreating from West Asia. The US military attache in Karachi noted the loss of Pakistan's airfields "might be the balancing weight between victory or defeat at the hands of the Soviets."

    Ayub was at the forefront of the alliance. He didn't bother consulting the cabinet or parliament before making pledges to Washington. Ayub said he simply told the politicians to "make up their mind to go wholeheartedly with the West" and that he'd "take no nonsense from the politicians" on this.

    The alliance was unpopular in Pakistan. The writer Saadat Manto believed it was an attempt to arm the mullahs against godless communism. He could imagine "the mullahs, their hair trimmed with American scissors, their pajamas stitched by American machines in strict conformity to the Sharia sitting on prayer rugs made in America."

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    Good thread. I have always had this question in my mind. And i somewhat agree with markhor's post on this

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    Its easy to use the benefit of hindsight to say an alternative Cold War alliance should've been formed but one has to look at the political realities post-Partition when Pakistan was dominated by a pro-Western civil bureaucratic and military elite. They suppressed democratic processes and opposition whilst accumulating power for themselves claiming to uphold the national interest. The biggest supporters of the US alliance in this elite were commander in chief Ayub Khan, Defence Sec Iskander Mirza and Finance Minister Ghulam Mohammad.

    Pakistan faced financial bankruptcy within months of its creation so looked to the global financial capitals London and Washington. With Britain an unlikely benefactor with its postwar economic troubles, Pakistan turned towards the US for economic aid. With less than 10% of the military stores of undivided India, there was also a need to build up the military and Washington again represented a lifeline. Pakistan also wanted American help in resolving the Kashmir issue.

    When the time came for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to appoint the first Pakistani commander in chief, the two main contenders Iftikhar Khan and Sher Khan were killed in a plane crash in 1949. Their deaths cleared the way for the preferred Western choice - the Sandhurst trained Ayub Khan. After the 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy where a leftist, pro-Soviet coup plot was foiled, led by General Akbar Khan and some officers railing against the Kashmir ceasefire, Ayub and the pro-Western Defence Sec Iskander Mirza further expunged anti-Western elements.

    The Americans had a growing strategic interest in forming an alliance with Pakistan. They would have military bases in the Indian Ocean when Britain was increasingly retreating from West Asia. The US military attache in Karachi noted the loss of Pakistan's airfields "might be the balancing weight between victory or defeat at the hands of the Soviets."

    Ayub was at the forefront of the alliance. He didn't bother consulting the cabinet or parliament before making pledges to Washington. Ayub said he simply told the politicians to "make up their mind to go wholeheartedly with the West" and that he'd "take no nonsense from the politicians" on this.

    The alliance was unpopular in Pakistan. The writer Saadat Manto believed it was an attempt to arm the mullahs against godless communism. He could imagine "the mullahs, their hair trimmed with American scissors, their pajamas stitched by American machines in strict conformity to the Sharia sitting on prayer rugs made in America."
    Outstanding summary of the first decade. Particularly important to note are the economic and military imperatives outlined above, which serve as the crucial context in understanding Pakistan’s quest for US sponsorship.

    I would add that there was a Bengali faction, led by Khawaja Nazimuddin, that favoured an approach to foreign policy with an emphasis on pan-Islamic links. But ultimately the faction led by Ghulam Muhammad, Ayub Khan and Iskander Mirza, which sought close ties to the USA, prevailed. Their job was made easier after the death of Liaquat Ali Khan. It has been suggested that just before his demise, Liaquat was seriously reconsidering the government's pro-Western foreign policy stance.

    It should also be stated that the US, although recognising early on that Pakistan could serve as the site of US bases in the context of the developing cold war and that Pakistan’s nearness to the Persian Gulf meant it could be useful as an ally in defending oil routes, it was in fact initially quite indifferent towards Pakistan, and it was only really after 1954, that military and economic assistance on a large scale was offered.

    Finally, Ayesha Jalal has also stressed the international connections made between bureaucrats and military officials and Washington, helped the army achieve pre-eminence in the cold war context and ultimately destabilised civilian rule. In her words, “the political system did not simply break down. Senior civil and military officials with British and American blessings broke it down.”

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