By Shehroz Kaleem
Pakistan is a Nuclear power. It has the 6th largest army in the world at – 617,000 personnel approximately. To maintain the security of its borders, Pakistani government maintains a large budget for its defense spending. Pakistan’s high ranking is fuelled by its active military personnel, and a respectable fleet of aircraft, and tanks. It imports great quantities of military weapons from Turkey and China and continues to develop new technology to fight off enemy threats.
Pakistan is far more populous than Iraq, and it’s had sparring practice with its sparring partner India. Which, be it noted, seems to be the more agile and better muscled of the two.
But even so, Pakistan is just plain big. The US doesn’t have an army sufficient to do to Pakistan anything along the lines of what was done in Iraq. Neither does it have the shipping to supply a bigger force, if it had it.
Any war between Pakistan and the US would either be a nuclear war, or it would be a messy tangle where the US would be lucky to just manage an organized withdrawal from the whole area, and Pakistan would be lucky to avoid radically disproportionate casualties.
But some kind of hypothesis just doesn’t make sense. What if Thailand invaded Kenya? There is simply no prospect of any such thing happening.
Iraq was weakened by an 8 year conflict in the 80’s against Iran, couple that with its defeat in the First Gulf war which further eroded its capability. Add a decade of Sanctions and you will see why Iraq was relatively easy to Defeat in the second Gulf War. Iraq had a population of 25 million compared to Pakistan’s population 193.2 million (2016)
You then have to consider the topography of Pakistan. It’s a rugged mountainous country. America has spent the better part of the last 16 years in Afghanistan with little to show for its blood and toil. Invading a populous relatively modern well equipped army who would be motivated in defending their homeland. It won’t be a cakewalk. The consequences would be a devastating nuclear war.
Besides the army every civilian of Pakistan knows who to shoot a gun so it is impossible for America to invade Pakistan. The local Pakistani people have a hell lot of weapons, you cannot imagine how many guns and weapons the people have especially the people Of Baluchistan, Peshawar and the Northern Areas.
We have seen these Locals in the past fight against India in 1947; where they successfully took over 40% of Kashmir; in 1965; where they successfully helped the army defend Lahore, and most importantly these locals took part on fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan
So having Local people especially in the North and northwestern areas that have grown up with guns and have been taught about fighting and defending themselves and land is a massive Advantage for the country.
Russia and China, already greatly displeased at US’s military presence in Afghanistan, would no longer act as bystanders upon US’s assault on Pakistan. Pakistan has deep military and political alliance with China, which goes much deeper than government level, and China has recently been making a lot of investment in infrastructure in Pakistan (along with leasing some ports for up to a century).
The core asset of China in Pakistan is the Gwadar port, which has a lot of opportunities for China. An assault upon Pakistan would mean that not only China’s billions of dollars of investment in Pakistan has gone to the wolves, but also Gwadar’s port would now no longer be available for Chinese trade and (possibly) naval base activities.
An assault upon Pakistan would thus not just result in stinging criticism from China but most probably a direct military reply from China, with potential Russian support (as Russia engages NATO forces on other fronts, cutting them off from the Pakistani front). Iran would also get to covertly test some of their military products against US, if it does not directly enter the war in support of Pakistan.
And all of this would be in the optimistic assumption that this chain of events does not lead to an all out, full throttle world war with nuclear missiles flying around the globe and the flames of hell do not start erupting everywhere in the form of telltale mushroom clouds. This would have the potential to turn into world war 3.
In short, it will be a bloody mess for both countries: Pakistan with a horrendous number of casualties and destroyed infrastructure, and U.S. suffering a lot in international prestige, foreign relations, a new wave of recession and potentially a civil war.