The J factor

The great unacknowledged strategic factor of our time

The morning after the terrorist attacks on Mumbai started, the better half of this strategic analyst declared that “they did it because they were jealous.” In the feverish telephone conversations and email exchanges during that week, the J factor came up a few times. Now Ralph Peters (whose redesign of the map of Asia caused some excitement) points out that “jealousy is the great unacknowledged strategic factor of our time.” (linkthanks: MS). Mr Peters argues

One of the grievances shared by Islamist extremists throughout the region and Pakistanis in general is jealousy of India’s remarkable progress from economic basket case to a sparkling center of yuppie consumerism…Apart from being the world’s largest (if raucous) democracy, India shares a trait with the United States that infuriates Islamists shamed by the abysmal failures of their own societies: India is a success story.[New York Post/Exile Street]

There were reports that Indian intelligence agencies had intercepts of celebrations in the ISI after Mumbai was attacked. Whether the celebrations were congratulatory or merely driven by schadenfreude, the existence of the J factor is palpable. Yet, the worse half of this strategic analyst finds it difficult to accept that jealousy can be the primary strategic motivation behind the attacks. If cast in realist terms, though, “an acute concern over the pace of change of relative power” seems very plausible.

16 thoughts on “The J factor”

  1. Certainly, Pakistan is a COVETOUS nation. If you look at some of the writings of Moghul historians/philosophers/poets/etc, they glorify the Islamic conquest and looting of other peoples.

    Meanwhile, look at the lies from Hamid Gul, who is attempting to pin the blame for 9/11 on the US, calling it an “inside job”:


  2. Nitin,

    Jealousy is definitely one of the factors. Just look at Imran Khan and Rashid Latif. Imran Khan recently had said, when WI, AUS canceled their cricket tours to Pak because of the security situation there, terrorists will not target cricketers. Now after the Mumbai attacks, he is advising the English team not to tour India! Rashid Latif is angry that England is touring India despite Mumbai attacks. He says it is because of commercial interests!
    This is the mindset of the large part of Islamic society in Pak.

  3. Sanjay

    Thanks for the links. I’d seen the raw transcript and was unable to find the interview.

  4. Once at my workplace, there was a bomb-threat phoned in, and the police SWAT team came in. They were heavily armed, and had full gear including flak-jackets, etc. Contrast this with what our police back in India were armed with, including at the Oberoi & Taj Mahal hotels:


  5. Nitin, Mrs Strategic Analyst and Mr Ralph Peters stated a truth. I became aware of this angle to Pakistani animosity towards India when I read a news report in the communist newspaper The Hindu recently, in which the Pakistani media was sympathetically quoted lamenting that Indian media is projecting India as an economic success story.

    Coming to think of it, our desi commies don’t like it either to picture India as on the path to economic progress. They would rather that they, along with the rest of the world media, talk only about farmer suicides in India (with exaggerated numbers and ill-attributed causes) while gushing about the giant strides that China made.

  6. Sometimes I think our commie media is doing us a good job. When it projects a bad picture, the world would continue to think India is a shit hole and the jealous quotient may not be high in jehadi hinterlands. While we continue to grow and our numbers may also be same minus the advertisements, we may not make the jehadis jealous.. it cud prevent an attack or too…

    Do I sound like I report to N Ram? 🙂

  7. This reminds me of an article I read in The Hindu after Benazir Bhutto became prime minister.

    Apparently, when Benazir was studying at Harvard, whenever some one asked her as to where she is from, she would say, Pakistan.The person would then say: that the country next to India on the world map? Benazir says she used to feel jealous about India being so well known and Pakistan being a non-entity.And vowed that some day she would get into politics, and work for Pakistan’s development, and make it a great nation..blah blah.

    About desi commie journalists: I don’t care for their politics.But I think when they bring out instances of corruption, or under development or disproportionate/non-sustainable development, they are doing their job.As long as they do their job with a sense of perspective, and have the national interest in mind, their political ideology is their business.After all, it is a marketplace of ideas in a free society.

  8. The way forward is to excerbate the J factor within Pakistan. While our resident commie-friendly media is all out to play up ‘class tensions’ within India, one look at Pakistan provides a hopeless picture- the Baloch regarding energy reserves and royalties; the Sindhis regarding water resources and immigration by non-sindhis; the pushu regarding pushtu subnationalism and the insufficiently islamic orientation of the Punjabi elite and the Northern Aeas which have every one and more of these grouses coupled with sectarian tensions to boot. And then there’s the ordinary pakjabi who resents the military’s stranglehold on national resources.

    The J factor can and should be brought into play by Delhi. Why isn’t Delhi raising the water rights issue on behalf of the long oppressed Sindhis, for instance? Just wondering onlee.

  9. Somewhat off thread –

    how about referring to Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, by their official names: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Islamic Republic of Pakistan? This is the least that we can do to inform the uninformed, when the MSM is hell-bent on not using the M or the I word, when referring to terrorists spawned by these countries.

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