Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What is Pakistan?

*STATEMENT OF MR. RALPH PETERS, MILITARY ANALYST AND AUTHOR*

Mr. Peters. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate this opportunity, and I am sure you will agree with me, as will Congressman Carnahan, that such an important problem cannot be approached in a partisan manner, and we ought to act as Americans with our American values and bring those to bear, not an ideology of any kind. Let us start with the incontrovertible fact and that is that Baluchistan is occupied territory. It never willingly acceded to Pakistan, does not now wish to be part of Pakistan. If a plebiscite or referendum were held tomorrow, it would vote to leave Pakistan, as would every province and territory west of the Indus River. We have a fundamental problem in that we refuse to see Pakistan for what it is. We imagine or pretend that it is a legitimate state, really in our own image, a democracy, but it is a democracy only as long as its military rulers allow it to be a democracy. It is, in fact, a miniature empire, a last artifact, along with a few other countries around the world, of the imperial age, with artificial borders which we defend, as we do elsewhere, and I find it a travesty that our State Department obsesses on the inviolability of borders around the world drawn at Versailles or in Berlin in the 1880s or in the late 1940s. How is it in the year of our Lord 2012 we send our troops to bleed or die to defend the residue of the European world order? And let me be clear. I do not argue that we should actively campaign militarily to change every border in the world. I argue that when the train is coming down the tracks toward you, you are wise to step off the tracks. In the last two decades since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America, the greatest force for freedom in human history, every war and conflict in which we have engaged has been triggered by or exacerbated by these flawed European borders. How can we send our soldiers and Marines and Navy corpsmen to die for that? That is not who we are. What is Pakistan? Pakistan is bisected by the Indus River. To the east of the Indus River is metropolitan, core Pakistan, the Punjab, and to a great extent the province of Sindh. It is the world of the subcontinent. It is a different civilization from that west of the Indus River. West of the Indus River in the occupied territories you have the culture of central and mid Asia. When you cross the Indus River either way, even the food is different. And we look at this occupied territory of Baluchistan specifically where people who simply yearn for fundamental freedoms, for the right to determine their own future, whether or not they have a battery of qualified teachers ready to go. We must admire their determination to sacrifice everything against enormous odds in Pakistan and Iran for the simple right to say, I am a Baluch; I will decide my own future. Instead, we face--we support Pakistan, their oppressor, a state that actively supports and arms terrorists and insurgent movements in Afghanistan that kill and maim our own soldiers. The Pakistani Government is not our friend. It is not the friend of the Baluch or the other subjugated peoples west of the Indus River. The Durand line, of course, which divides Pakistan and Afghanistan is artificial. It divides people who want to be together. Mr. Chairman, my time is running out, so let me simply say this last thing. Two hundred years ago, one of our greatest Presidents faced a problem. The Barbary pirates refused to let our ships pass in peace, so we paid tribute money to let our goods pass. Thomas Jefferson put a stop to that. Today, we are paying tribute money again, this time to the Pakistani pirates to let our goods pass to Afghanistan. Mr. Chairman, I am looking for a Thomas Jefferson.

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