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U.S.A. averted india-pak war last year

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    U.S.A. averted india-pak war last year

    US claims to have averted India-Pak war
    By Aziz Haniffa

    WASHINGTON: United States National Security Adviser Samuel Berger has
    said that Washington helped avert what could have been a "catastrophic"
    war last year between India and Pakistan who both possess nuclear

    In a speech titled 'A Foreign Policy for the Global Age,' delivered on
    Thursday at Georgetown University, Berger said that one of the
    principles that had guided the Clinton foreign policy is that "conflicts
    can have global consequences."

    In saying that the US prevented a "catastrophic war" between India and
    Pakistan, Berger was referring to Clinton's summoning then Pakistani
    prime minister Nawaz Sharif on July 4, 1999, to Washington and
    prevailing upon him to withdraw Pakistan's troops, which along with
    bands of mercenaries had encroached into Kargil in Kashmir and started a
    low-intensity conflict with India.

    Clinton has also made subtle and not-so-subtle claims - and also to
    justify his stopover during his trip to South Asia in Islamabad to meet
    with military leader Gen Pervez Musharraf who deposed Sharif in a coup -
    that he was able to lower the temperature in the tensions between New
    Delhi and Islamabad that each side would eschew armed conflict,
    especially a nuclear confrontation.

    Berger said in his address, "We have worked for peace but we believe
    that the challenge of foreign policy in any age is to defuse conflicts
    before, not after, they escalate and harm our vital interests. It is
    with that in mind that we have worked for peace in the Middle East, in
    the Balkans and in Northern Ireland."

    He went on to say that the Clinton administration "has helped Turkey and
    Greece move further from confrontation. We have helped pull
    nuclear-armed India and Pakistan from the brink of what might have been
    a catastrophic war."

    Berger noted, "We have never pretended we can solve all the world's
    problems." But he said -- obviously taking a swipe at some in the
    Republican leadership and even the presidential campaign of George W
    Bush that the US cannot be the world's policeman -- the administration
    totally rejected the idea "that because we can't do everything, we must
    for the sake of consistency, do nothing."

    Berger's speech was initially permeated by references to the Middle East
    conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the role Clinton
    has played in his efforts to defuse the situation.

    He then went on to rattle off a list of foreign policy initiatives and
    achievements both in Europe and Asia by the administration. Berger also
    spoke at length of the US acting in concert with NATO to control "the
    out-of-control war in Bosnia," and preventing genocide there and then
    later in Kosovo.

    Berger also said another principle that has guided the foreign policy
    "is that peace and security for America depends on building principled,
    constructive relations with former adversaries, Russia and China."

    In this context, he strongly defended the administration's successful
    lobbying to grant China permanent normal trade relations and described
    it as "representing the most constructive breakthrough in US-China
    relations since normalising them in 1979."

    In his speech, there was no forgetting proliferation either. "For 50
    years," he said, "we faced vertical proliferation -- two nations piling
    up nuclear arsenals higher and higher. Today, we face horizontal
    proliferation, with arsenals at a lower level, but spread more around
    the world."

    Without mentioning any nation in particular, Berger said, "For some
    nations,weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles have become
    as much a source of legitimacy as has a national airline."

    Berger also spoke of the resources the administration had mobilised
    along with its friends and allies internationally to fight the scourge
    of terrorism and vowed to track down the perpetrators of the terrorist
    attack against the American destroyer USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, which
    killed 17 American soldiers. (IANS

    What an ambitous declaration on US foreign policy from an administration whose 8 years of Middles East "peacemaking" is now in tatters!