American elections have always had an element of importance in terms of the influence it can make upon world events and vice versa, too. This happens as soon as Primaries start-or the prior period to it. While America supports the idea of freedom and justice at home, her policies tend to be of dual standards when it comes to Middle East; although, the Syrian ceasefire has been a positive step. The bombing on Aleppo's hospital has caused a strong, imminent reaction against Assad regime by activists and Arabs around the world – particularly, protests were staged at the UN Headquarters in New York. Though, the only legitimacy the oppressive Assad regime has is the opposition to the Zionist State of Israel. Aleppo bombing occurred at a time when America is focused on the US Presidential elections. Before the start of American primaries on February 1 the Saudi-Iranian rivalry had reached a vicious point-of-no return after Sheikh Nimr's execution which then culminated with the Syrian ceasefire plan in the last week of February.

The events unfolding in the Middle East for the last one year cannot be ignored. Iranian Nuclear deal and Anti-Saudi bill is only a limited manifestation of why, what, where and how? What strikes most is how the situation in Middle East is marked by America, Europe, Russia, China and world powers; and, how will it ensue further in the context of pre and post World War Scenario. The pattern involves American-Russian rivalry. Putin intends to pursue a line of action that reinforces world values and uphold International Laws. The unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin has led to re-emergence of Russia that has attached great value to the slogan, Highest Law is the Moral Law. This is evident in Russia's military strategy, economic policy, diplomatic endeavors and not the least- the legitimate resistance to Homosexuality. Both America and Russia are trying to define their proper role in the world. The American-Soviet rivalry in 1950s and 1960s divided the Arabs in sides in opposition to each other; whereas Israel exploited the opportunity to develop her credentials and extend her support base among both rival sides in the event of Arab incompetence and arrogance. In contemporary era of uni-polar system falling into oblivion, the idea of New World Order has emerged which is based on slavery and subjugation. How has the western civilisation emerged as a unique one that almost poses as the universal idea of civilisation?

Russian foreign policy under Vladimir Putin has undergone a substantial evolution. Putin a reasonable policymaker, whose goal is to bolster Russia's status as a world player rather than simply accept a supplicating or subjugative role in international relations or negotiations. The strength of the Russian National economy lies in capitalizing on advanced technologies and exporting competitive sectors of the defense industries. Putin is now in a position to defy the oligarches' control over the country.

Russia walked away from the unfavorable conditions stipulated by IMF negotiations which were influenced by the U.S., where the Russians consider it as a denouncement of the "unreasonable" compromise programs. Wallander, Obama's adviser on Russia, states:

"By declaring [U.S. terms] desirable, but not essential, [Russian leadership] has removed the single most important lever of influence that the West, and the United States in particular, had and wielded over Russian foreign and security policy in the 1990s."

This stand is a prime indication of Putin's strength as a leader, Wallander stated. In changing the means by which economic prosperity is reached, Putin has begun to take advantage of Russia's geopolitical location, seeking a multi-polar world in which Russia is a great Eurasian power.

Before delving into subject of American-Russian rivalry in 2016, it is imperative to mention that aside from the factor of Saudi-Turkish alliance against Assad; events have been influenced and maneuvered for the benefit of Israel – whether by hook or crook. Egyptian-Saudi Island passage deal was done after Israeli ratification. The balance of power in the Middle East is in disarray and conflicting sides are continuously acting upon narrow, self-interests. Ethics that support the fair view of 'Highest Law is the Moral Law' is no more a genuine concern – let alone a cause. Gaza has become world's largest open air prison – as the fire in Middle East has consumed all except Israel and her handful Arab allies like Jordan. The establishment of Egypt will rise in opposition to Assad regime in order to seek legitimacy from West, Fateh Al-Sisi will use it to balance position as a strong Arab ruler and to silence the voices of discontent and dissent. In such scenario, the current dissatisfaction with Aleppo Hospital bombing will serve as an ignition to an adventure engine that will travel down the road of chaos. What will replace Assad? It will be nothing different from open-air prison Gaza or destroyed Iraq. What Syrians need is peace and justice.  The Syrian ceasefire is the silence before a system/storm – as American elections are reaching a point of climax towards final vote between strong candidates, Trump and Hillary. International Organisations and West would support Dictator Sisi as they have Phd in deception regarding International affairs.

In time, it will be realised that the strange development of sidelining Israel at hands of US/UN Security council members in the Iran Nuclear deal was part of International politics intertwined with complex nuclear politics. Ahead of 2016 US Presidential elections, South Asia (or more accurately, AfPak) region will be treated as part of the Greater Middle East. These 2016 US Presidential Elections will be about security of Israel. The 2012 US Presidential Elections major debate was regarding the AfPak region. Iran Nuclear deal 2015  ahead of 2016 US Presidential Elections are identical to UBL fiasco 2011 ahead of 2012 US Presidential elections in the sense that both serve the same purpose.

Whoever wins the Presidential elections, the case for a global military dictatorship to emerge is in its final frontier. In order for this to happen,  either the world has to reduce in size  or Israel has to expand her territory to assume the role of Pax Judaica; be it proceeded through electing Protestant Presidents in America or contending for power in the Pax Judaica era; it would require  maneuverabilities to revolve around Israel. U.S. has viewed Putin's foreign policy to date as motivated by anti-Americanism. If the U.S. instead chooses to adapt to the new arena, and focus on economic cooperation and profit, it stands in a much better position to benefit from Putin's approach to Russian foreign policy. The Kremlin has been following a policy of “reasonable sufficiency” in Syria, which means using just enough force to convey that Russia still has significant influence in Syria, but not so much that it got pulled into a messy war. To ensure the right balance between using too little and too much force, Moscow used a combination of diplomacy and military intervention in Syria, an approach that falls under a doctrine known as “New Generation Warfare.” Moscow understands its military and diplomatic operation in Syria is far from over, but its overall assessment of its intervention is positive, given that it has reversed the course of the war and met most of its initial goals. By taking action in Ukraine and Syria, Russia has made clear its intention to restore its status as a major international player. What remains unclear is how long it will be able to maintain its recent gains. Hence, balance in Middle East or Western Asia is intact and can further be built upon the Syrian ceasefire plan. India-Pakistan balance of power in West Asia aside from Israel-Arab and Iran-Iraq balance of power poses as a continuum American strategy to vest control over resources in the region through divide and rule.

In order to keep the India-Pakistan balance of power; a number of steps have to be taken. Firstly, Pakistan needs to improve her relation with Afghanistan. Secondly, Iran and Central Asian States should be included into the socio-economic and political fold of CPEC and One Belt-One Road program. Like minded states have to be approached for mutual benefit and interests. The Panama Papers has led to a political crisis in Pakistan. In my recent article Convergence, resurgence, deterrence and the rule of law I have discussed how Pakistan's ruling party can turn this political mess into a positive message, from a hard test to a triumphant testimony and from being an easy victim to final victors. Ayaz Sadiq and Vladimir Putin have identical struggle patterns. Chief Justice has visited Turkey after the Civil-Military relations faced a strain in concern to Panama Papers. It will prove extremely important and beneficial for the Chief Justice AND Speaker of Parliament to visit the Russian School of Constitutional Economics in order to reach terms of agreement that will support actions propping democracy in Pakistan. Putin has declined the offer to visit Pakistan on the inauguration of Lahore-Karachi Gas pipeline. This is a sign that speaks volume about Russian Leadership and its priorities: Russia does not only endeavour a strategic alliance but one which is based on spiritual alliance with Pakistan. To add further, a fact that has to be put upon the table is that Pakistan is going to the region's most water stressed nation by 2030-2035 and this needs to be dealt as an emergency situation.

It remains the case that when an acute international crisis breaks out, Russia and the United States are often the only actors able to resolve it. A new, multipolar world has brought more uncertainty into international affairs. Rising powers, international institutions, and regional organizations frequently cannot do anything—or don’t want to. It is noted that despite Moscow’s and Washington’s hostility and contempt for one other, when it comes to shared interests and common threats, the two powers are still able to work reasonably well together. However, western analysts consider post-Soviet Russia to be a failure in attempt to integrate itself as a regional power in the Washington-led postwar liberal international order. Russians, of course, see things differently. In their view, Russia’s subordinate position is the illegitimate result of a never-ending U.S. campaign to keep Russia down and prevent it from regaining its proper status. Though, a “new world order” no longer meant an arrangement between equals; it meant the triumph of Western principles and influence. The project began in Europe, where the transformations were mainly peaceful and led to the emergence and rapid expansion of the EU. But the U.S.-led 1990–91 Gulf War introduced a new dynamic: without the constraints of superpower rivalry, the Western powers seemed to feel emboldened to use direct military intervention to put pressure on states that resisted the new order, such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Soon thereafter, NATO expanded eastward, mainly by absorbing countries that had previously formed a buffer zone around Russia. According to Fyodor Lukyanov, for centuries, Russian security strategy has been built on defense: expanding the space around the core to avoid being caught off-guard. As a country of plains, Russia has experienced devastating invasions more than once; the Kremlin has long seen reinforcing “strategic depth” as the only way to guarantee its survival. But in the midst of economic collapse and political disorder in the immediate post-Soviet era, Russia could do little in response to EU consolidation and NATO expansion. European Commission President Romano Prodi expressed this formula best in 2002: Russia would share with the EU “everything but institutions.”

For quite a while, Moscow essentially accepted this proposition but neither Russian elites nor ordinary Russians ever accepted the image of their country as a mere regional power. And the early years of the Putin era saw the recovery of the Russian economy—driven to a great extent by rising energy prices but also by Putin’s success in reestablishing a functioning state—with a consequent increase in Russia’s international influence. Suddenly, Russia was no longer a supplicant; it was a critical emerging market and an engine of global growth. In Russia’s opinion, the United States and its allies had convinced themselves that they had the right, as moral and political victors, to change not only the world order but also the internal orders of individual countries however they saw fit. The concepts of “democracy promotion” and “transformational diplomacy” pursued by the George W. Bush administration conditioned interstate relations on altering any system of government that did not match Washington’s understanding of democracy.

The Russian leadership came to the conclusion that Western expansionism could be reversed only with an “iron fist,” as the Russian political scientist Sergey Karaganov put it in 2011. Moscow’s operation in Crimea was a response to the EU’s and NATO’s persistent eastward expansion during the post–Cold War period. Moscow rejected the further extension of Western influence into the former Soviet space in the most decisive way possible—with the use of military force. Russians had always viewed Crimea as the most humiliating loss of all the territories left outside of Russia after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Crimea has long been a symbol of a post-Soviet unwillingness to fight for Russia’s proper status. The Kremlin has clearly concluded that in order to defend its interests close to Russia’s borders, it must play globally. So having drawn a line in Ukraine, Russia decided that the next place to put down the iron fist would be Syria. The Syrian intervention was aimed not only at strengthening Assad’s position but also at forcing the United States to deal with Moscow on a more equal footing. Putin’s decision to begin pulling Russian forces out of Syria in March did not represent a reversal; rather, it was a sign of the strategy’s success. Moscow had demonstrated its military prowess and changed the dynamics of the conflict but had avoided being tied down in a Syrian quagmire. What is the final end-game scenario in Middle East and what role will Russia play? Russians may have outmaneuvered the rivals in Syria and Ukraine but the challenge is long-term where it needs to find and most importantly, maintain a credible role in the multipolar world. Russian and Israeli ministers have met for the third time since Russian intervention in Syria began. The last meeting varied on topics from terrorism to Golan Heights. Disagreement on Israeli occupation of Golan Heights was a significant development. It only highlights the game plan in action with French-Turks and GCC as front firepower of NATO and American allies, respectively. This will instigate Russian aggression on Istanbul in order to have direct access to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Historically, Moscow has viewed Central Asia as a chessboard and has seen itself as one of the players in the Great Game for influence. China has invested massive amounts of money into its Silk Road Economic Belt infrastructure project and is emerging as the biggest player in the region. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for Moscow. Simply put, when it comes to its role in the world, Russia is in the throes of an identity crisis. It has neither fully integrated into the liberal order nor built its own viable alternative. To accompany this shift, the Russian leadership has encouraged the idea that the Soviet disintegration was merely the first step in a long Western campaign to achieve total dominance, which went on to encompass the military interventions in Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya and the color revolutions in post-Soviet countries—and which will perhaps culminate in a future attempt to pursue regime change in Russia itself. This deep-rooted view is based on the conviction that the West not only seeks to continue geo­political expansion in its classical form but also wants to make everyone do things its way, by persuasion and example when possible, but by force when necessary.

Vali Nasr states in his book, The Dispensable Nation, that Holbrooke's attempt to rebuild American-Pakistani relations by attending to development and helping the political house get in order was tolerated by the White House for a while but soon, the end policy shifted towards coercion and confrontation. That approach failed. With the UBL fiasco, the mood in America turned dark. Political scientist Stephen Krasner specified the change in approach through Admiral Mike Mullen's words i.e. from regarding Pakistan 'a steadfast and historic ally' to 'groups like Haqqani network serve as proxies for the government of Pakistan attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as US Soldiers.' Such observations, Krasner argued, should lead us to treat Pakistan the same way Iran and North Korea are treated – as a hostile power. This led to increase in drone attacks after 2008. Obama administration, in time, pursued a positive and effective policy-making that served purposes of mutual benefit and interest. Pakistani-American cooperation led to decrease in terrorism and Obama could achieve success in order to call his troops back home. It was a relationship of frenemies that could've moved towards the 'friend' column. Post 2011 saw a dent into the US-Pakistan relations. Relations went into deep freeze, and a real rupture, for the first time since Pakistan's creation in 1947 became a distinct possibility. Bush-Mush love affair had no real standing in both countries but it only led to more disastrous outcome – paying off in later years. It was in Zardari's era when Pakistan has started to take a stand that instilled values of sovereignty and freedom as a civilian government was the decision-making authority. Washington did not see Pakistan as an integral part to Taliban problem but in time Obama was told that the explanation arising out of the violent situation prevailing in Afghanistan and the energised insurgency was the result of dual policy of Musharraf. But the problem for Holbrooke was not to prove what Pakistan was up to – that was easy – but how to get Pakistan to transform its ways. As Vali Nasr puts it, ' there is only one constant in Pakistan: fear and envy of India.' This is how Pakistan sees Afghanistan through the prism of Indian challenge. It is the Durand Line. Furthermore, it is essentially better for Pakistan to have Pashtuns thinking of Islam and fighting against Tajiks and Uzbeks in Afghanistan and Central Asia than to have Pashtuns dreaming of nationalism and looking south and east with the visions of a homeland crafted in no small part out of Pakistani territory. Aggressive Pashtun nationalism to the north is a danger to Pakistan, especially when New Delhi is lending irrendists a helping hand.

The crucial reality was that the Taliban helped Pakistan face down India in the contest over Afghanistan. It did not worry Pakistan that the Taliban were laying waste to Afghanistan, closing schools, brutally punishing people for owning TV sets or having insufficient long beards, nurturing a drug economy, and sheltering Al-Qaeda. These '' Islamic students '' served a larger purpose by keeping Pashtuns out and India busy. At height of Taliban power, Pakistani Army Generals spoke confidently of the ''strategic depth'' that proxy control over Afghanistan gave Pakistan in the great game against India. The official story was that the peace they imposed on Afghanistan, which had been caught up in instability and civil war since soviet departure, would help secure the building of roads and gas and oil pipelines that Pakistan needed in order to make itself a key conduit for trade between Central Asia and Indian Ocean. Countries can do dangerous things in pursuit of national interests, and in Pakistan's case, unsupervised generals were allowed to decide what the national interests were. Indeed, Pakistan was the first among Afghanistan's neighbours to suffer blow-back from the fires it stoked in Afghanistan. The PPP-led civilian government’s effort to dislodge Taliban from Swat valley and other infested areas sparked a brutal terror campaign against the Government and the people of Pakistan that in 2009 alone claimed lives of 33,318 Pakistanis. This was up from 164 lives in 2003.

The Obama administration came into office with eyes wide open; understanding that for Pakistan- controlling Afghanistan was a fundamental strategic objective and that the Taliban were Pakistan's weapon of choice for realising that goal. General Ahmad Mahmood, right hand of Musharraf, should be brought before the court of Justice to be indicted and punished for his mismanagement and corruption. To solve the Afghan perplex, Americans had to deal with the Pakistan complex. The question was how. The Obama administration on the advice of Holbrooke changed Bush policy of treating Iraq and Afghanistan as one part and Pakistan the other. They coined the term AfPak. Seeing through this policy lens made sense. The problem with Afghanistan was Pakistan and without a solution to Afghanistan, Pakistan would explode into an even bigger problem than Al Qaeda and Taliban, combined. The key to ending war was to change Pakistan. It was realised that it was Pakistan's strategic calculus that had to be changed, not the number of troops in Afghanistan. That was according to Vali Nasr, the argument of Richard Holbrooke.

Holbrooke regarded the plan to change Pakistan's strategic calculus a long shot or that Pakistan can be made to realise that they did not need Taliban to realise their objectives. If we don't set Pakistan on a different course, he would say, in twenty years the place will be a vast 300 million people Gaza: out of energy, out of water, radical, and nuclear-armed to boot. Pakistan's double dealing was in part a symptom of its bitterness over having been abandoned and then treated as a rogue state after a previous Afghan war, against the Soviets, had been won. Pakistan was so deeply insecure about India's meteoric rise and growing strategic value to the west. Pakistanis were playing things very close to the vest. They had to open up in time as Civilian rulers replaced Military dictators. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif supported President Ashraf Ghani's Government citing the reason that Afghans need democracy to define their interests: where they would decide according to their own conscience. It was for this purpose Pakistan's civilian government decided to hold Heart of Asia conference that supported Afghan democratic, development and reconciliation process. It was during the same period of civilian-rule, India and Pakistan were given the status of membership of SCO through Russian and Chinese cooperation. Kulbhushan Jadhev's arrest during Irani President Rouhani's visit to Pakistan symbolises the relationship intended and signaled a road map to coordination and cooperation. PM Nawaz Sharif has been silent on this issue. Now, Americans have also denied F16 fighter planes to Pakistan. Though at one time, Kerry Lugar bill had made a dent into suspicious Pakistani attitudes.

Holbrooke suggested that America needs a more aggressive diplomacy: America has to talk to Pakistan more frequently and not only about Security issues but also about a host of Social and Economic issues they cared about. Holbrooke convinced Clinton that a strategic dialogue would lead to strategic partnership based upon water, energy, social and economic issues aside from security views. In her visit to Lahore, she was capable of capturing attention of Pakistanis Highs and Lows but the White House was not at all taken by the diplomatic effort, and would not shore it up when the actions of the military and CIA undermined it. After Abbottabad, Washington was in no mood to soft-pedal what it saw as Pakistani duplicity. Pressure started to build on Pakistan. Gone were the promises of aid and assistance, strategic partnerships, and deep and long-lasting ties. The administration threatened to cut aid and halt extensive cooperation programs and shamed and embarrassed Pakistan through public criticisms and media leaks. The Pentagon and CIA came now clean to say that they did not need relations with Pakistan, just Pakistani coordination. After Holbrooke died, the White House kept Clinton and State Department on bay over AfPak policy. It was Holbrooke who got the more out of the cooperation as soon as there was positive trajectory to the relationship. The blame was put on Pakistan after 2011 where administration and media said that it was Pakistan that decided to blow up the relationship, beginning the way it reacted to Raymond Davis affair. Though, it was the boot-polish lousy ISI General Ahmad Shuja Pasha who worked the 'blood-money' solution to the case. The fact that Army had acted the same way they brain-washed Pakistanis against American bias made no difference. If it had been a military regime in Pakistan, Raymond Davis would never have made it to the news. It was the Punjab government that had to face the brunt. Though, Vali Nasr remarks that it was mistake on the part of administration to respond to Pakistan's reaction by abandoning a policy that was at least, working to keep a relationship.

In time, Kerry was carrying what Holbrooke started and had left off. However, it led to no solution. NSA Tom Donilon, Marc Grossman and AfPak representative, General Lute; met Kayani in the follow-up meeting. The Pakistani leader was handed a list of apprehensions to which he responded:

'If you are leaving Afghanistan, then I may need Haqqani network even more. And you are forgetting that you need my roads to get out.

Pakistan did not reward 'coercion with cooperation.' The Salala incident with the policy of 'no apology' aggravated the situation as it was a clear violation of Pakistani sovereignty. Drone strikes were suspended but Americans came back at it. At that time, Pakistan allowed but there were no leverages for cooperation for the Americans. No aid program existed nor any bilateral ties; nor was any long term strategic relationship  program on American table. Pakistan had started to openly object to Drone program and moved closer to enforcing their objection. This development towards self-determination took place during a Civilian government era. The Pakistani view was that you cannot threaten to take away a relationship that was not there. Americans assumed that threats and diplomacy would do what aid and diplomacy had achieved in the past. However, Americans relied on Pakistan for everything from fuel to drinking water; needing Pakistan's cooperation to gather intelligence to make drone strikes effective; and above all Pakistan was needed to make Afghan strategy work. Without Pakistani roads, the US will not be able to get its heavy machinery out of Afghanistan in time or in budget. If Pakistan remained off-limits, the US would have to rethink its entire exit strategy from Afghanistan.  Pakistan could also close the airspace between Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.  It is imperative to mention that American-Pakistani relations have saturated in terms of natural order.  Clinton tried to improve relations but the fruits bore were limited in time.

As months passed, Clinton told that enough was enough; she was taking charge. She gave simple direction to Tom Nides, 'I want you to fix this.' The result was Nides arriving in Islamabad to meet Kayani in order to give an apology. Not only Pakistan policy of White House failed but Obama realised that the main beneficiary of Pakistan's spat with Washington was Vladimir Putin. The alternatives to Pakistan's supply route were Central Asia and Russian land and air routes, which gave Putin leverage. Obama decided that he preferred apologising to Pakistan than depending upon Putin. It was a critical realisation that threat to America does not come from states like Pakistan but powers like Russia. As the business community and affluent Middle class started to write off America, China started to make up for the reduced business with America. Pakistani hotels in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore are filled up with Chinese businessman and diplomats offering trade and development opportunities. The Chinese option buffers Pakistan from US pressure, but in long run it will also chart a different future for Pakistan. US-Indian civil nuclear deal and idea of joint US-Indian effort to contain China's influence in Asia and Indian Ocean pose as great-power rivalry; where Pakistan is a strategic asset to China. By effectively conceding Pakistan to China, Americans have set themselves in the far more important rivalry with Beijing. Americans never liked khakis rattling against India but they needed military rule to safeguard Nuclear arsenal, keep jihadis at bay and help the West against threat of extremism. Though, humiliating and weakening a military that is choking democracy is not a bad thing; that is the only way to change the balance of power and give democracy a chance. The Pakistani military created problems and seemed to be the only solution at that time. The combinations of ethnic tensions, sagging economy, extremist revolt, political gridlock with next-door neighbour and no real institutional alternatives meant opening door to the unknown. It is possible to envisage the gradual growth of democracy as the military's control over politics fades – where the transition needs stability, time and positive governance.