Interview with Brigadier Nadir Mir (R), SI (M) ndc, afwc, fsc (T), psc, qsl…

By D.S. Hurrell
Dallas College

Q1: Your book ‘Gwadar on the Global Chessboard’ outlined the economic and strategic potential this port has for Pakistan. For those who have not read your book, could you elaborate on this strategic port?

A1: A vision of the planet’s pivotal geography in fusion with Pakistan is the concept– a geo-economical concept, potentially becoming one of the most important city in the world. “Gwadar is the next Dubai”. Many think-tanks are of the opinion that the imminent control of the Chinese spells the creation of a new Dubai in Pakistan. Or as the American author Robert D Kaplan writes, “At the intersection of Empires, the Port City of Gwadar could become the new silk route nexus”. My aims of writing this book: ‘Gwadar on the Global Chessboard’ are Firstly
•To project Gwadar’s great potential – a major economic alternative, to begging for funds.
•Gwadar Concept is not limited to the Mekran Coast. It is in fact an Economy Changer for all of Pakistan. A Bonanza for Baluchistan.
Secondly
China the world’s second biggest economy needs to be fully linked to Gwadar.
•Pakistan needs an economic and cultural bonding with multi-regions. This includes China, Central Asian States, Russia, West Asia- Iran, Saudi Arabia – Gulf States, Turkey and Africa.
Thirdly
•Gwadar though vital has been neglected – victim of negative politics and hostile Geopolitics.
•Baluchistan’s problems (Exploited by India and foreign powers) demand attention and resolution.
•The Geo-Political indicators favour Gwadar Development.
The Gwadar Concept
•The Global Chessboard is dynamic and evolving. Global economic balance is shifting. Pakistan should initiate a pro-active Geo-economic policy.
•Optimize Pakistan’s Multiregional Geography for Geo-economics gains. Pakistan’s economic bonding with China, Central Asian States – Russia, West Asia – Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States and Africa.
•Gwadar Port is concept based. The concept is to synergize Pakistan’s multiregional (Geo-Strategic) location, Open Sea Board for Oil – Gas Pipelines, Energy Centre, Transshipment, Transit, Trade, and Finance Generation.
•Gwadar is the Future of Pakistan.

Q2: Is there a link between unrest in Balochistan, the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and the Gwadar Port?

A2: There is a clear Geopolitical link between unrest in Balochistan, the Iran Pakistan gas pipeline and the Gwadar Port.
Firstly, the Balochistan unrest is Pakistan’s internal problem. This issue must be solved as per Pakistani (including Baloch) aspirations but without foreign meddling. Secondly, reportedly, USA is chiseling a West Asian Strategy. This includes war against Iran and destabilizing Pakistani Balochistan and Irani Seastan. In my article ‘Balochistan and Geopolitics’ published in Pravda ru (Moscow) and Nation (Pakistan), I had highlighted some of these aspects. The Americans want to sever Pakistan Iran (including gas pipeline), block China from reaching Indian Ocean at Gwadar. With Pakistan’s new friendship with Russia, even curtail Moscow’s influence at Gwadar in future. Recent American writings betray their Geo strategic designs. One article is quoted below:
‘To counter what China is doing in Pakistan, the United States should play hardball by supporting the movement for an independent Baluchistan along the Arabian Sea and working with Baluch insurgents to oust the Chinese from their budding naval base at Gwadar. Beijing wants its inroads into Gilgit and Baltistan to be the first step on its way to an Arabian Sea outlet at Gwadar.’
Selig S. Harrison “Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis”
The Indians have been trying to destabilize Balochistan for ages. If India was not so hostile, it would have remained in the Iran – Pakistan – India (IPI) gas pipeline project, despite American pressure. A quote below is self-evident; Stable Pakistan Not in India’s Interest

“Baluchistan will achieve independence. For New Delhi this opens a window of opportunity to ensure that Gwadar Port does not fall into the hands of the Chinese. In this there is synergy between the political objective of the Americans and the Indians. Our goodwill existing in Baluchistan requires intelligent leveraging. ……………………….. Today the collapse of Pakistan as a state is almost certain ……………………….. looking ahead, New Delhi should formulate an appropriate strategy for ‘Post Pakistan Scenario’ to secure India’s interest in Central Asia.”
Bharat Verma ,Editor, Indian “Defence Review“

The fact is that there is no need for confrontation. Pakistan seeks peace and prosperity of which Gwadar is one manifestation. If the Chinese and Americans can do business in Dubai, USA and China, then why not at Gwadar? A global consortium can be proposed by Pakistan, addressing US concerns and Chinese requirements. As my book ‘Gwadar on the Global Chessboard’ highlights that Gwadar is not a zero sum game. Gwadar can connect South Africa to China, Russia through the shortest routes and can bring peace and prosperity to dozens of nations. All can benefit from this gift of nature.

Q3: We have seen Property prices in Kabul drop as a result of the expectations that chaos will follow the withdrawal of American forced from Afghanistan in 2014. How do you think the withdrawal will affect Pakistan?

A3: The fall of property prices in Kabul may be an indicator of future events. In fact Afghanistan needs peace like the rest of the world. Consider the fact that the last three decades have seen only war. First the Soviets then the Muhahideen, later Taliban and now Americans/NATO. The Americans are withdrawing but plan to leave behind between 10,000 and 30,000 troops. (Mostly Special Operation Forces). The war will continue, at some level. The Afghanistan War will not end till all foreign military forces withdraw and the majority Pakhtoons (including Taliban) are part of the solution. This implies a negotiated settlement, which leads to durable peace. This is possible but only if Pakistan is the peace maker and sponsor. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and peace prospects are ideal for Pakistan. A tiny fraction of the elite has prospered from the Afghan War. The rest of Pakistan has suffered enormously from the war next door. Over 40,000 causalities estimated 80 billion dollars in losses suffered, National fiber weakened and Pakistan destabilized. US Drone strikes act as a catalyst for extremism and radicalism. Therefore, in essence US military withdrawal followed by peace should be very welcome in Pakistan and the region.
A new leaf should be turned. US Geo strategy should be replaced by Geo-economics. Landlocked Afghanistan should be linked to Pakistan’s – Gwadar. The Americans are welcome as investors – businessman (they are even welcome in Vietnam where they fought a long war). Pakistan and America were friends before the US War in Afghanistan. They should remain friends after America leaves Afghanistan.

Q4: A lot of mention is made of Pakistan’s weaknesses, the enormous strains pulling the country apart. My impression of Karachi when I visited in 2011 was that of a city under siege, perhaps a symbol of the country as a whole. Can you tell us about Pakistan’s strengths?

A4: Pakistan’s strength is the most pertinent question, but often neglected. Thank you for asking it.
•Firstly Pakistan’s Geography
Its location is super. The location is globally pivotal. If North of it Is the famed Mackinder’s Heartland, itself a part of Spykman’s Rimland. It is located on the Cross Road of Empires. It joins Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia and Indian Ocean. Geo economically it is a ‘Bridge State’ between multi regions, Geo strategically, it is the ‘Interposing State’. West of it is oil rich Gulf, North West energy rich Caspian Sea/Caucasus. River waters, glaciers in the north, Arabian Sea – Indian Ocean in the South.
For a medium sized state, it has all kind of terrain, deserts plains, coast, hilly, snow mountain regions and all four weathers. Its natural treasures abound (though mostly untapped or utilized so far). Reko Dik Gold Reserve in Baluchistan estimated over $ 1 trillion. Thar Coal Reserves in Sindh have energy estimated equal to Saudi Arabia – Iran oil energy output combined. A lot else to follow. Only Kashmir and its river waters occupied by India is the problem.
•The second is demography
By 2015 Pakistan’s population will be 200 million of which 65 % or 130 million will be youth. This energetic – nationalist youth bulge is Pakistan’s future and strength. Pakistan’s national character includes ‘faith in Islam’, ‘love for Pakistan’, ‘courage and spirit of freedom’.
•Thirdly, Military and Nuclear Strength
Pakistan’s Military is strong, professional and motivated to defend Pakistan. Its nuclear strength is robust and sophisticated. This is to ensure deterrence as Pakistan believes in peaceful resolutions of all disputes. Pakistan cannot be conquered by anyone.

Q5: What advice would you give the young future leaders of Pakistan?

A5: My advice to young future leaders of Pakistan is as under:
•Firstly, unite all Pakistanis on one nationalist platform and achieve consensus for national interests.
•Secondly, a reformist agenda to rid Pakistan of major ills. Build Gwadar and revive a national economic cycle.
•Thirdly, a pro people welfare system for ensuring decent basic living to the nation.
•Fourthly, stressing on all forms of education for human resource development of the youth bulge.
•Last yet not least, ensuring national sovereignty and security at all costs.
Pakistan Zindabad!

Brigadier Nadir Mir author of ‘Gwadar on the Global Chessboard’ is a veteran of the Pakistan Army.
His blog is Pakistan and Geopolitics (wwwpakistangeopolitics.blogspot.com/) and his next book Geopolitik Pakistan (A Global and Futuristic Outlook) is being published
Nuclear Discourse (A Nuclear Discussion at Two Tiers – South Asia and Global) is being revised and updated.

2 Responses to Interview with Pakistani Brigadier Nadir Mir (R)

  1. GSummers says:
    August 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Mr Mir has touched on an important geopolitical goldmine here, but one that will take decades to realise. I would like to know the Brigadiers perspective on the Indian built Chabahar Port in Iran, some say it has a greater future for the region?

    Reply
  2. Chengez K says:
    August 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Excellent interview….No wonder Pakistan army is a top tier army when they have officers like Brig Mir.

Reprinted by request of Nadir Mir…

Dear Kyle Keeton,
Hope you and Sveta are doing fine. I am sending you an interview by D.S. Hurrell Dallas College South Africa. I would request that this interview be published on Windows to Russia and is followed by an interview with you as you know President Putin is visiting Pakistan in October. I further request that if you can send this material also to Russian Embassy in Pakistan, so we can forge even better friendship.
With best wishes
Brigadier Nadir Mir

GEOPOLITICS.CO.ZA

Windows to Russia…

Pentagon is like the Vatican: US Civilian Leadership Fears US Military by John Stanton…

Only 17 percent of the all-volunteer force serves for more than 20 years, and they are endowed with a lifetime benefit. The current US military retirement system does not compensate for those in high risk situations or extenuating circumstances (e.g., combat duty, hardship tour, and separation from family).. The current military retirement system is unfair.  For example, 83 percent of those serving in the US military will receive no retirement benefit.  US military personnel serving 5, 10, or 15 years will depart from service with no benefit or pension.  This cohort includes the majority of troops who have engaged and will engage in combat.  Retiree healthcare (TRICARE) is significantly more generous than civilian programs. For those serving more than 20 years, the retirement contribution is 10 times greater than the private sector: average private sector pension contributions range from 4-12% per year; military retirement benefit equates to 75% of annual pay per year for those who retire; and immediate payout after 20 years has no comparison in the private sector. In light of the budget challenges DOD is currently facing, the military retirement system appears increasingly unaffordable.” Defense Business Board

How times have changed since General George C. Marshall (1880-1959) walked the Earth. Chances are he would be appalled by the current-day US military leadership that has allowed (and taken advantage of) a national security/militaristic thinking to penetrate deep into the American political and social arenas. Marshall, no doubt, would be taken aback by the revolving door between the Pentagon and the private sector, and the hyper-privatization of the US national security machinery.

Particular pain for Marshall would come from watching many Flag Officers (generals, admirals) reaching the 20 year mark in their professional military careers and then jumping ship to private sector employment with defense contractors and defense associations. With them goes a lifelong and comparatively hefty federal pension and benefit package. Combine that with their newly minted private sector salaries and, well, the rich get richer. Indeed, some defense associations in the DC Metro Region are paying their presidents—former Flag Officers with 20 or more years of government employment–nearly $1 million dollars (US) in compensation and benefits. One can only imagine what private sector defense contractors or corporation boards are paying its retired Flag Officers with 20 plus years of government employment.

Occupy Wall Street may have its 99 percent ruled by 1 percent of wealthy Americans but its mirror image is reflected in the US military pension system. There, it is the 83 percent that are ruled by the 17 percent of 20-or-Bust personnel whom, upon retirement, have pensions/healthcare packages that are untouchable, even sacrosanct.

And Marshall would surely grimace at the current crop of US civilian leaders—and American citizens—and chastise them for assisting in turning his respected “priesthood”, as he called it, into so many ornamented Popes and Bishops who assert near-divinity and truly believe that “freedom” only exists because they “serve” or command. The United States of America lives in this purgatory as its civilian leaders have forsaken their constitutional responsibility to actually think and challenge military assumptions and projections (this includes scores of civilian military “experts” in think tanks and academia) while designing national security strategy which, of course, drives national military strategy. And they have put other countries’ interests far ahead of the American homeland which is in dire need of repair. The logic of “fight them over there before they get here” is irrelevant in the globalized world. Haven’t Americans been told the battlefield is everywhere?

The Popes and Bishops of the Pentagon-Vatican hide/classify cost overruns, casualty rates (increasing on the African Continent), gang activity, poor soldier/sailor/airman care, and the near poverty that many enlisted personnel and families around the US live in. The Pentagon-Vatican proclaims that budgets must always be increased and never reduced, or even pegged to the GDP of the USA. More cathedrals and chapels around the globe must be built (military bases large and small) they say. The Pentagon-Vatican portrays challenges to its budgetary or military acumen as thorns in a collective crown placed upon their heads by the civilian novices/brothers in the executive and legislative branch.

Indeed the national security machinery subtly promotes the “serving” soldier/commander as a sort of suffering Christ-on-the-Cross figure. This is dangerous stuff.

What is the soldier/commander suffering for?

A Detroit urban dweller watching as his/her city crumbles to the ground? The 20 plus year civilian retiree who has no military clout to save their pensions and health insurance? The returning soldier with PTSD who gets a 1-800 telephone number with a distant voice telling him/her to calm down? That small percentage of active military personnel (and their families) who actually engage in combat or direct combat support and receive little notice except when they need to be rolled out to stop budget sequestration (because civilians can’t get it together)?

The only command that actually takes care of its personnel and families is the US Special Operations Command. But they are a rarity.

So as the US economy continues to stagnate (trucking, rail, ports, dry-bulk indicators all down or with marginal improvement) and US infrastructure crumbles, the thought is to increase not to cut the national security budget (military, intelligence, homeland, etc.). A trillion dollars (US) will just not do, say the Popes and Bishops. We need to chase AQ, druggies, gangs, anarchists, vandals and that’s expensive says the chorus of Novices and Brothers who design national security strategy and control the treasury.

And all the propaganda and myth gets pumped into the American publics’ collective mind through the media, most of which is owned by approximately 10 corporations, and the many speeches/testimony given around the US by the Popes, Bishops, Novices and Brothers and the collective intellectual Remora that they carry with them.

Charles Brower encapsulated best the qualities of George C. Marshall that are so very absent in these times.

“He did not attempt to advance his cause through leaks to favored journalists. He did not attempt end runs of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the president’s congressional critics. And he did not publish in the New York Times or Washington Post op-ed pieces articulating alternative solutions to the administration’s policies. Instead he privately provided his commander-in-chief independent and candid advice, not partisan advocacy of alternative policies, and he loyally supported and actively assisted their execution once the president had decided.

He believed that military men had a duty to explain the needs of their services and the requirements of their forces to carry out assignments directed by the commander-in-chief. A responsible officer had the right to question a policy he considered wrong or mistaken and to discuss thoroughly a proposal. But there was no right to challenge publicly the wishes of the commander-in-chief. Refusal to accept that rule on the part of an officer meant the destruction of his own power to command. To Marshall, such resistance of the armed forces to the president weakened the fabric of a democratic society.

[The American Armed Forces] have a great asset,” Marshall observed, “and that is that our people, our countrymen, do not distrust us and do not fear us. They don’t harbor any ideas that we intend to alter the government of our country or the nature of this government in any way. This is a sacred trust….We are completely devoted, we are a member of a priesthood really, the sole purpose of which is to defend the republic. We concentrate our time and attention on that subject. That doesn’t mean that we don’t understand other things, but it simply means that we devote our time and attention exclusively to this. I don’t want to do anything…to damage the high regard in which professional soldiers in the Army are held by our people…”

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com