Triggered by East Pakistan's (now Bangladesh) quest for independence, the 1971 crisis quickly raised human rights issues because of what White House officials characterized as a "reign of terror" (Note 3) orchestrated by Pakistani forces. While consular officials in Dacca, East Pakistan privately criticized the U.S. government's "failure to denounce atrocities," (Note 4) Nixon and Kissinger did not want "to get [the] West Pakistanis turned against us," in part because President Yahya was providing a secret communication link for their quest for rapprochement with China. (Note 5) The close China-Pakistan relationship was central to Nixon's wish to "tilt" U.S. policy toward Pakistan in part to show Beijing that Washington would support its allies. (Note 6) With Pakistani refugees fleeing into India, the crisis quickly turned into a clash between India and Pakistan. Quickly defining and dramatizing a regional national/ethnic crisis in geo-political terms, Nixon and Kissinger saw India as a Soviet client state that was determined to weaken Pakistan fatally. China, however, had a close relationship with Pakistan and Nixon wanted to "tilt" U.S. policy toward Pakistan to show Beijing that Washington would support its allies.
As the crisis turned to war, Nixon and Kissinger saw the event as a Cold War confrontation which could involve a China-Soviet conflict and U.S. confrontation with the Soviet Union. "
Most observers in the West view the Afghanistan conflict as a battle between the U.S. and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on one hand, and al-Qaida and the Taliban on the other. In reality this has long since ceased to be the case. Instead our troops are now caught up in a complex war shaped by two pre-existing and overlapping conflicts: one local and internal, the other regional.
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