Beyond War: A Marshall Plan for Pakistan: Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany
Is it now, finally, time to set aside war and adopt a strategy on the same order of magnitude that revived Western civilization after World War II? This editorial from the Frankfurter Rundschau of Germany suggests turning this moment of environmental and political catastrophe in Pakistan into an opportunity to remake the region – not with violence, but with a massive and unprecedented program of development that could offer a real chance to change the underlying dynamics in one of the world’s most troubled areas.
The Frankfurter Rundschau editorial says in part:
And as hard as it is to lapse into politics when confronted with the suffering millions, that is precisely what needs to happen, primarily because of these people. It is they who need a future, and certainly not one that looks like the past. For in many parts of the country, that past consisted of mostly of being innocently caught up in the spiral and war on terror, which meant only one thing for the majority: oppression and violence.
“A Marshall Plan”, said the Pakistan ambassador. And whether he knew it or not, that’s a good approximation of what Pakistan needs right now. The American Marshall Plan after World War II was a completely successful mix of carrots and no, not sticks, but rather an index finger. “You Germans are still worth something to us, despite being Hitler’s subordinates and having been defeated by us. We won’t leave you hungry. We will help you rebuild. But in return we expect from you a political system that will not degenerate back into a threat.” And the Germans in fact developed – perhaps first less out of conviction than gratitude for the help – a resistance to anti-democratic, even terrorist machinations.
What does this have to do with Pakistan? The country and the entire region have been repeatedly pillaged by wars small and large, open and covert, military and propaganda – between the major powers and their ever-changing enemies. Especially the West, led by the U.S., has done all kinds of things to undermine its own credibility.
So now – the U.S, Europe, and Russia – have a chance to take political action with real meaning to the flood victims, while also being in their own interests. Not with loans, that come with future liabilities, as has been suggested by the World Bank (did anyone hear that we’re actually demanding money from Afghanistan for their military “liberation”?); and not with the pittance of a half a billion dollar global donation, which would only allow reconstruction and not hope for better things.
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