Why the U.S. should pay attention to Balochistan
Dr. Richard L. Benkin, President
The Balochistan Project
During his campaign for the American Presidency, Donald Trump often said that once in the White House, he would help bring about improved relations with Russia. This was such an important theme, that his adversaries still allege that the government of Russian Premier Vladimir Putin worked to help him win the election. Just as frequently, Trump called out China as perhaps the greatest foe of the United States: a “currency manipulator” and a military expansionist. Events in April, however, seem to have turned things on their head. President Trump has said of late that US-Russia relations might be at an “all time low,” and on April 12 said that “Right now we’re not getting along with Russia at all.”
The week before, at the same time that U.S. cruise missiles were raining down on Russian ally Syria, the President was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping and talking about the start of a “very, very great relationship.” The following week, China threatened the North Koreans with “unprecedented ferocity” if they went ahead with a planned nuclear test. Though the North Koreans shoed off their military hardware on its most important national holiday (the birth founder Kim Il Sung), they nonetheless refrained from the test.
This does not mean that Donald Trump now “hates” the Russians and sees the Chinese as allies. To conclude as much would be naïve and miss the very nature of this American President. What it does signal is that Donald Trump will not be locked into any positions. Rather, he will continue to evolve as events do and assess them through a single prism of what he believes is best for the United States. He is willing to change as that assessment does.
And where can he find support for his America First agenda than in Balochistan.
The occupied nation of Balochistan straddles Pakistan and Iran; two nations that are high on his enemies list and occupy key geo-political positions. Iran is the foremost exporter of radical Islamist terror; and Pakistan for years has been taking U.S. money meant to fight that terror and using it instead to attack India and its own minorities, including the Baloch. Iran likes to pose as a nation united by the mullahs, however it is rife with divisions and ripe for revolution. Iran is only about 40 percent Persian, and much of the remaining 60 percent is composed of restive minorities, including the Baloch. How well could they concentrate on foreign adventures and supporting terror attacks if Iran was facing wholesale revolt by its minorities?
Returning to the United States-Russia-China ménage-a-trois, a passive and quiet Balochistan is critical if China is to complete its western expansion through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). CPEC also cuts off the Russians from access to South Asia, especially with traditional ally India now ruled by a conservative and effective Prime Minister in Narendra Modi. Pakistani planners also expect that once completed, CPEC will relieve their nation of any dependence on U.S. largesse; and that will curtail U.S. influence in the region.
Finally, the Baloch are living proof that an uncompromising fight against terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda is consistent with the sentiments of many Muslims—a message that will resonate worldwide and elevate the image of both the United States President and the Baloch; a message that the Western World has been dying to see in action perhaps above all others.
As President of The Balochistan Project, I urge President Trump to meet us, work with us. It will be clear that supporting the national aspirations of the Baloch is at the same time supporting the advance of freedom and prosperity worldwide.