Opinion: US Policy In Nepal

by Ambika Joshi 

U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, His Excellency James F. Moriarty, in a program organized jointly by the US Information Center and the Ganeshman Singh Foundation said that the Maoists cannot be trusted. Therefore, the king and the political parties should reconcile and work together, he further emphasized. This is not the first time he has expressed his feelings this way. He has been repeatedly showing his strong doubt towards the Maoists. There are reasons for his reservations. He is afraid that once the Maoists take control of the army and armed police, they will run the country the way they want. The seven political parties would not be able to protest as the Maoists will have guns with them. Then there will not be anyone to stop them from forming the type of government they want.

The situation has gone far beyond than His Excellency thinks. He is more worried about the future problem than the present situation. The king is trying to muster as much power as he can and is not speaking the language of peace and reconciliation. The army is out from the barrack to the road and has become violent killing people left and right. Nepali people think that the army is more terrorizing than the Maoists. The king still thinks that he can crush the Maoists especially with the help of the Ranger Battalion, also known in Nepal as “Royal American Army”.

The king requested for a hundred days time when he had a meeting with His Excellency immediately after Feb. 2, 2005 takeover. What happened to that hundred days promise? In the past half a century, Nepali kings have shown their characters of not abiding by the agreement they make with the people of the country. People think that they can’t trust the king any more.

Nepali people now are different than the Nepalese of 1961. They will go for the Democratic Republic rather than letting the king continue the autocracy the way he is running the show now. People are loosing their faith in the king. The longer the king continues his autocracy, the more the people of Nepal will go towards Democratic Republic.

To have the king and the seven political parties reconcile now and not include the Maoists in this process will be a futile mistake. The history of Shining Path and other extreme leftist revolution is different. Nepali Maoists leader has shown their flexibility by saying that they are willing to accept whatever verdict the Nepali people will give them through the Constituent Assembly. The Maoists has realized that the country has changed and they want to change according to the need of the country and the people. They have realized that they will never succeed if they do not change their goal and if they do not compromise according to the current situation of the country and the verdict of the people of the country.

If the king and the political parties reconcile and do not work with the Maoists, Nepal will be another Vietnam or Afghanistan. The Maoists will go back to the jungle and continue the so-called “peoples’ war”. As of now, we have lost only fourteen thousand people, but if we don’t have a negotiation between the three forces (the king, seven political parties and the Maoists), Nepal will have to pay very heavy price for it. Think about what happened in Iran. Was not it mainly the US Embassy who forced the king to exile from Iran? Was not it the U.S. ambassador who forced Raja Shah Pehlevi not to accept the moderate demand of the people of Iran?

One thing for sure is that the seven political parties must have a very clear agreement with the Maoists. “ Peoples’ Liberation Army” could be a big headache if they don’t have a very clear understanding of how they will be used during and after the formation of Constituent Assembly. The UN or the European Union and/or other international bodies should also be either the signatories or the witnesses of the agreement. In case the Maoists change their mind and try to have it on their own way, there must be other forces to put pressure on them.