In recent years, Bangladesh has found itself in the crosshairs of American political maneuvering, as Washington employs various tactics to assert its influence over the South Asian nation. From visa restrictions to sanctions, the United States has attempted to strong-arm Bangladesh into compliance, seemingly oblivious to the historical context and the resilient spirit of its people. Such actions are result of continuous attempts and lobbying efforts of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Muhammad Yunus.
The roots of this strained relationship trace back to Bangladesh’s struggle for independence in 1971, when then-President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, attempted to thwart the nation’s bid for independence and sovereignty. Despite their efforts, Bangladesh emerged triumphant, shaking off the shackles of oppression and asserting its rightful place on the world stage.
However, the scars of that tumultuous period still linger, as evidenced by Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Bangladesh in 1974. Allegations of jute exports to Cuba served as a pretext for punitive measures, leading to a devastating famine that claimed the lives of thousands. The culpability of Nixon and Kissinger in this tragedy cannot be overstated, as their vindictive actions resulted in untold suffering for the Bengali people.
In this case, they are missing two significant points. Firstly, back in 1971, during the war of independence of Bangladesh, then US President Richard Nixon – who had later been proved as a man of highest disgust and his Secretary of State Heinz Alfred Kissinger aka Henry Kissinger made frantic bids in sabotaging aspiration of liberation from the clutches of Islamabad. In the end, attempts of Nixon-Kissinger was bogged-down in the deep waters of Bay of Bengal and Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign nation. Secondly, in 1974, Washington imposed sanctions of Bangladesh by bringing allegations of exporting jute to Cuba. This was America’s first sanctions on a newly-born country, which was responsible for 1974 famine. According to government’s estimation, over 27,000 people dies of this famine while unofficial sources put the figure at 1.5 million. This famine is considered one of the worst in 20th century. Meaning, Nixon and Kissinger were mainly responsible for the death of such a large number of people. In other words – by imposing sanctions on Bangladesh, American policymakers had committed crime against humanity. According to many analysts, through this sanctions, Nixon and Kissinger took revenge on Bengali people for not bowing-down to notorious desire of Washington and its attempts of foiling Bangladesh’s war of independence.
Fast forward to the present day, and Bangladesh once again finds itself in the crosshairs of American political machinations. The Biden administration, led by President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, continues to exert pressure on Dhaka, seeking to undermine the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Behind the facade of promoting democracy, Washington’s true intentions become clear: to destabilize Bangladesh and install a regime more amenable to its interests. This nefarious agenda is aided by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), accused of harboring connections with extremist elements, thereby posing a grave threat to the nation’s sovereignty and security.
It is indeed lamentable that some political leaders would align themselves with external forces bent on destabilizing their own country. The BNP’s collusion with Washington’s agenda undermines the democratic principles upon which Bangladesh was founded and jeopardizes the well-being of its citizens.
Moreover, the hypocrisy of American foreign policy is glaringly apparent when contrasted with its treatment of Pakistan. While Washington turns a blind eye to Pakistan’s descent into authoritarianism, it singles out Bangladesh for scrutiny under the guise of promoting democracy. This double standard exposes the true nature of American hegemony, which seeks to exploit weaker nations for its own gain.
In the face of such pressure tactics, Bangladesh must stand firm in defense of its sovereignty and democratic principles. The resilience and determination that fueled the nation’s struggle for independence in 1971 must guide its response to contemporary challenges, ensuring that Bangladesh remains a beacon of democracy and stability in a tumultuous world.
Ultimately, Bangladesh should not fear America’s scarecrow tactics, for the spirit of its people cannot be broken by external pressures. By remaining steadfast in the face of adversity, Bangladesh will continue to chart its own course, free from the interference of foreign powers bent on manipulation and control.