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Cold War on the Periphery
When hearing the words "Cold War," what normally comes to mind are the events between the U.S.S.R. And the United States following World War II including the arms race. Competition for the Third World was included in this period, but receives little exposure in comparison. In the book Cold War and the Periphery, Robert McMahon explores in detail how the United States' alliance with Pakistan increased the tension between India and Pakistan and encouraged the Soviet Union to establish closer ties with India.
In the 1940s, almost all of the Central Intelligence Agency's strategic studies showed that the Indian territory including Pakistan was of considerable importance to the U.S. because it consisted of one-fifth of the world's population, had a land mass as large as Europe, and was located in a significant geographical area. The CIA also concluded that the resources were numerous: "It ranks first or second in world production of such critical materials of war as cotton, mica, manganese, monazite (a source of thorium), and beryl, and is a major source of raw materials, investment income, and carrying charges for the UK, thus strengthening the UK's and Western Europe's efforts toward the economic recovery essential to U.S. security" (13).
In 1947 when India and Pakistan were formed from former British colonies in South Asia, Pakistan took the majority Muslim part of British territory, and India the mostly Hindu part. Jammu-Kashmir, with a majority Muslim population but a Hindu ruler, decided to join India. Many Muslims, as well as Pakistan, considered this illegal. Almost immediately, a war broke out between India and Pakistan. In 1949, the countries signed the Karachi Agreement establishing a ceasefire line. The ceasefire was supervised by U.N. observers, but still left many questions in the air.
Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India who followed the Socialistic Pattern of Society, visited the United States in 1949. President Truman and his administration had looked at both India and Pakistan as possible partners. Not surprisingly, they realized that the former country offered much more clout than the afterthought of Pakistan. Special Advisor Philip C. Jessup judged India "the most solid associate in the Asian area." He called the Indian prime minister "outstandingly the most vital and influential person for the accomplishment of U.S. objectives in Asia" (35).
However, India was making this potential partnership difficult. Nehru made it clear that India needed help, but not at a political cost. In 1948, he had also definitively explained his disdain for the Muslims when he said to then Secretary of State George C. Marshall that India's position toward Kashmir was morally, legally, and practically right. He denounced the so-called "gangsters from Pakistan" who had aided the tribal invasion of Kashmir and compared "the backward and theocratic nature of Pakistan" with the secular, democratic orientation of India. "India wished to develop a country wherein all elements of the population could share," he said, "whereas in Pakistan the underlying idea was the advancement of the most bigoted group of Moslems" (29).
Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, the United States saw actions that added to their concerns of a Red Scare. The Soviet Union had its first nuclear test and the Communist Party took power of the Chinese government.
Pakistan Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan sought to counter Nehru's trip to the United States by accepting an invitation from Josef Stalin to visit the Soviet Union. U.S. Assistant Secretary McGhee was very concerned of a Pakistan/USSR agreement and suggested that Pakistan visit the U.S., as well. Unlike India, Pakistan was very appreciative of the U.S. plans for South Asia. Because of India's refusal of alignment with the West and Pakistan's geographical location, America began to seriously consider Pakistan as the second-best choice. However, it did not want to cut ties with India or give arms to Pakistan.
The beginning of the Korean War in 1950 significantly impacted the U.S. way of thinking about the Asian area, since here was another incidence of Soviet Union support and aggression. The U.S. quickly moved in its troops and dispatched the U.S. Seventh Fleet to the Taiwan Strait. The fighting on the Korean peninsula further aggravated Indo-American tensions. India did not want to actively support South Korea and considered ways to end the problems in the East including recognition and negotiations with China. Further, when the U.S. sent grain to India, Nehru once again did not want political ties attached. Then, India boycotted the Japanese peace treaty convocation at San Francisco. Yet, America continued to be schizophrenic in its decisions regarding India and Pakistan.
The Korean War continued to weigh on the U.S. In regard to having support for India or Pakistan. The latter had showed many instances of help: Pakistan supported the initial Security Council resolutions condemning the North Korean invasion. It also accepted the Security Council's decision to aid South Korea "knowing full well what its implications are," Liaquat remarked. He predicted that Pakistan and the United States "will come even closer together in the troublous days ahead" (124). However, Pakistan was not willing to send troops as long as the U.S. did not support it in Kashmir.
The fragility of the Middle East and movements of the Soviet Union were another concern the U.S. faced in addition to Korea. In 1951, Admiral Robert C. Carney, commander of U.S. forces in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, recommended that defense officials appraise Pakistan's military potential to support the Middle East issue. The U.S. took steps to once again consider the issues in Kashmir. Change did not come quick enough. Liaquat was increasingly losing political authority in his country because a growing number of opponents who scorned the empty promises of Pakistan's pro-Western foreign policy. Further, the concern of another war with India was too much to accept. Liquat was assassinated.
When Truman left office, the issue of India and Pakistan remained undecided. President Eisenhower also saw the Soviet Union as a danger. India was leery of the new administration, which may not be as flexible. In addition, Nehru and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles did not have a peaceful past history. In fact, the administration's initial behavior regarding South Asia showed a much greater affinity for Pakistan than for India.
Pakistan Ambassador Mohammed Ali Bogra soon requested that the United States supply 1 to 1.5 million tons of grain on an emergency basis for his ailing country. The State Department quickly recognized the opportunities -- and risks -- presented by the Pakistani request. "The political importance of assisting Pakistan in this matter is of a very high order," Assistant Secretary of State Byroade wrote Dulles (158).
The situation with both India and Pakistan continued to be inconclusive, with concerns such as Nehru's reaction, the immense degree of need for aid by Pakistan, and the questionable value of Pakistan with the Cold War issues. It appeared to some that Ambassador Horace A. Hildreth's advice on Pakistan, as noted below, was one of the most forthright, balanced, and penetrating assessments to date of the emerging Pakistani-American relation:
Pakistan, seemed "a tolerable risk," especially in view of its decidedly pro-Western leadership. "However, we believe our investment should be scrutinized with unrelenting care. . . . Prospects of returns must be compared with those expected from India and from Pakistan's Middle Eastern neighbors." .. "Let us carefully appraise what we can and should do in Pakistan over a several-year period." 188
Hildreth was certainly correct concerning the need for the Eisenhower administration to carefully decide the degree of importance Pakistan was to America in relationship to global interests and how much the U.S. could invest in this very poor nation. The growing of complaints in Pakistan about U.S. military aid should have alarmed Washington. "That portent, together with Pakistani pleas for more economic help, did not bode well for the future" (189)
In 1954, however, the two countries did enter into a partnership with America providing economic and military aid, and Pakistan agreeing to assist with military bases, prepare to be the frontline in a possible war with the Soviet Union, and support the United States in international meetings. Yet from its first days, ambivalence, miscommunication, tension and unfulfilled expectations plagued the relationship. Major problems included the vague agreement between the two countries, but especially Pakistan's political and economic problems. Within three years, the U.S. partner already felt completely burdened. At the same time, Washington had to once again review its relationships with India. Yet how could the U.S. build a partnership with India when it already had one with Pakistan? A final pathway had to be chosen.
In the mid 1950s, there was a growing fear of the Soviet Union having a stronger handle on India, and more individuals in the administration and congress asked for greater India interaction. In addition, after a U-2 pilot was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, Pakistan began thinking twice about supporting U.S. militarily. Within a year, the Soviet Union had negotiated with…[continue]
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