WASHINGTON: Former US Secretary of Defence, Jim Mattis, termed Pakistan as the “most dangerous” country for its nuclear capabilities and radicalisation and said the tragedy for Pakistani people is that they do not have leaders who care about their future. The 68-year-old veteran, who resigned as US defence secretary last year, says in his new book “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead” that Pakistan’s political culture has an active self-destructive streak.
“Pakistan was a country born with no affection for itself, and there was an active self-destructive streak in its political culture,” he said. “Of all the countries I’ve dealt with, I consider Pakistan to be the most dangerous, because of the radicalisation of its society and the availability of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said. The fastest-growing nuclear arsenal in the world cannot fall into the hands of the terrorists breeding in their midst, he said, warning that its result would be “disastrous”.
Mattis, also slammed Pakistan’s obsession with India, saying it “views all geopolitics through the prism of its hostility toward India” and that has also shaped their policy on Afghanistan as the “the Pakistan military wanted a friendly government in Kabul that was resistant to Indian influence”.
“The tragedy for the Pakistanis is that they don’t have leaders who care about their future. As an illustration of the lack of trust, when we believed we had identified Osama bin Laden’s hiding place deep inside Pakistan, President (Barack) Obama sent in a team to kill him without informing the Pakistanis,” he said. He went on to castigate Pakistani leaders, in an indirect comment on the current Imran Khan government, saying “they don’t have leaders who care about their future”.
Mattis writes in his book about the changes he made on the lines of communication to Afghanistan when he was Commander of the US Central Command. “I was uneasy that more than 70 per cent of NATO’s logistics lifeline depended upon one route, via Pakistan. I took one look at the map and decided we had to change the pieces on the chessboard,” he notes.
“Quid pro quo. Pakistan could episodically choose not to be our enemy, but it chose not to be a trusted friend or ally of the United States or NATO,” he commented on the faltering relationship between US and Pakistan. “Ultimately, it was in our common interest that we maintain a cautious, mindful relationship, with modest expectations of collaboration. We could manage our problems with Pakistan, but our divisions were too deep, and trust too shallow, to resolve them. And that is the state of our relationship to this day,” he writes.
Mattis has long years of experience dealing with Pakistan and South Asia, first as a top US Marine Corps commandeer in Afghanistan, head of US central command and then as secretary of defense. He had led the US forces into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.