The American-led sequence of wars is not about Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or any Clash of Civilisations. It is purely about economic advantage for the sole superpower that believes it can now freely impose its 'imperial' will. It is about removing obstacles that stand in the way of the Bush neo-conservatives New American Century project; and Intelligent Imperialism as defined by Brezinski, who is tipped as Obama's foreign policy advisor or mentor. Both schools of thought aim for Pax Americana The centre of gravity of the world's economy is shifting to Asia, mainly because of larger manpower and resource base. After the collapse of USSR and the 'opening up' of China; the earlier USSR/USA satellite countries of Asia were free to link up their economies. This was not acceptable to a population and resource deprived US led 'imperial' alliance that plans 50 or 100 years into the future. The focal point/crossroad for Asia's large economies to link up are the area in which Afghanistan and Pakistan lie. The heartland that has seen the Great Game played out many times. Denial of this focal point would slow the rise of Asia and resultant relative shrinking of US/European economies. This relative shrinkage would result in loss of control over the world financial and trade systems further eroding the economic advantages that USA and Europe enjoy today. The US led occupation of the 'Asian link routes/heartland' would provide a bridgehead to destabilise the larger Asian powers. The 'spin' cover for the wars to be launched in Asia to occupy the hydrocarbon rich areas of the Persian Gulf and Caspian, and the focal/crossroads of the 'stans' was 'WMDs', fundamentalist Islam, terrorism of the Al-Qaeda and Taliban, and the urgent need to spread democracy. These 'spin' facades allowed for taking partners such as Israel and India on board. The 'spin' demonised the 'enemy' to make war appear morally acceptable. All organs of state power (diplomacy, media, military, commerce, industry etc) were used to pursue this aim of economic advantage for the lone superpower and its allies. The strategy to establish Empire is clear and supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The differences lie in the neo-conservative 'shock and awe' approach using the Department of Defence as the spearhead for execution; or the Intelligent Imperialism approach using the CIA and Department of State as the spearhead for execution. The former was used in Iraq and Afghanistan, where brutal force was used to bring anti-government forces to power to disguise occupation. The latter is being used in Pakistan and Iran where covert CIA operations, and State Department sponsored deals and blackmail are more effective in the face of established and professional military structures. The current apparent convergence of interests of Israel and India with USA and Europe lies in their short-term aims of weakening Iran and Pakistan respectively, which both have strong armed forces and in the case of Pakistan, credible nuclear deterrence. The process of weakening Iran and Pakistan military forces is being undertaken in Balochistan and the NWFP. The sweet nuclear deal with India to pull it into the fold will sour quickly USA and Europe will extract their pound of flesh when they set-up India as their proxy to destabilise China. The crunch decision making time for India and Pakistan is about to come when the SCO (China, Russia, ex-soviet Central Asian States) ask us "are you with us or against us?" We will have to stand with Asia because our long-term economic and security interests can only be served by linking our economies with Asian economies. That will be the time when USA and Europe will have to decide if their aggressive war mongering against a vastly superior Asian coalition (on home soil) will be worth the expected losses. Hopefully they will choose to engage Asia rather than suffer a rapid economic decline. Currently the Eastern giants Russia and China (and their satellites) are quite happy to wait it out, in case the US led coalition bleeds itself to a point of no return. Wars do cost money and national will/cohesion. There are already signs that the European powers want to review their tactics claiming that the war in Afghanistan is 'not winnable'. The Saudi government is brokering a dialogue with the Afghan Taliban. The American public is expected to make its voice against the war heard in their coming elections. The economic impact of rampant and over-stretched 'imperial' capitalism is affecting markets. All countries engaged in the so-called War On Terror have stopped calling it a War On Terror and are re-appraising their policies. The shape of international relations is undergoing a major shift. The Government of Pakistan must also now re-assess its policy, and not wait to re-act when it is too late. Pakistan's security situation is confused because there are a number of players acting for divergent goals. US led forces are aggressively violating Pakistani sovereignty, and infiltrating groups on the ground. The Afghans and Afghan Taliban are fighting an illegal occupation. There are many from Pakistan, especially in Waziristan, who are sympathetic to their cause, noting that the Afghan Taliban have never been anti-Pakistan in their military operations. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan is essentially fighting for sharia, promised to them by General Ziaul Haq and Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto. There is external support available to them. The demand for timely justice expected from a sharia based judicial system, finds resonance throughout Pakistan where people have resoundingly supported the Lawyers Movement for the independence of the judiciary. Inter-tribal and sectarian local wars are also being waged undercover of this confused environment. The time has come to unravel these various layers of violence. The US led occupation of the Asian heartland is destabilising and destroying the economic and social fabric of the region. The essential first step is that US led forces must vacate the occupation of Afghanistan, so that those fighting the occupation can lay down their arms and work for the re-construction of their country. Step two is a dialogue with the real Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (not the infiltrated external power agents) to lay down arms so that the establishment of a sharia based judicial system can be put in place. Relevant amendments to the constitution for such a system in given geographical jurisdictions of the federal and provincial governments to be expeditiously passed, by Parliament to demonstrate sincerity. The third step is to pull the army away from local tribal and sectarian violence, leaving this to the traditional system of law enforcement practiced in the tribal areas. The fourth step is to start a sincere dialogue with exiled Baloch leaders. The 'elimination' and forced exile of Baloch leaders has created a vacuum of political leadership resulting in violence and infiltration of external powers. Removal of these layers of violence will obviate further presence of external power agents on the ground, or at least make it easier to neutralise them. The War On Terror is not Pakistan's war. The government should refrain from advertising it as such through the local press. A government does not go to war against its own people. Groups within a country only resort to violence when their genuine demands are suppressed by violence, or their exclusion from mainstream politics. The Frontier tribal population of Pakistan has been in the forefront of defence of the homeland since the first Kashmir war. Weakening of this citizen based defence through army action can irretrievably weaken the security of Pakistan by alienating and pitching tribes against the state that will endure even after the departure of the US led forces. The relationship between a government and its people finds strength from the people. US sponsored regime changes have occurred often in the past, because governments have not retained policy roots in the aspirations of the people. Regime changes, on change of US policy, have not been possible where the people have stood behind their leadership. Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea etc are examples. Pakistan is a democracy, a nuclear power, and is not without friends in Asia. The time to cut the politico-military umbilical cord to Washington, and firmly integrate our security and economy with our regional neighbours has arrived. Peace in the region and security at home are foundational requirements without which an expansion of the economy cannot be sustained. A peaceful Pakistan is needed by our Asian neighbours as much as Pakistan needs its peaceful neighbours in Asia. A dialogue with SCO, ECO, and our SAARC partners (especially India) must be initiated to back the demand for the withdrawal of US led forces from Asia. Pakistanis are not anti-American. They hold similar views as more and more Americans, who are turning against the anti-human wars their government is waging to establish 'imperial' economic dominance. We must continue to engage the USA and Europe but only as economic partners for a future that is based on peace and prosperity for all. The writer is a former chief of naval staff E-mail: