The Indian hand

Misled by theory

Obviously, the enemy has to be India, the United States and Israel. So it is hardly surprising for the Pakistani people and the media to deal with its cognitive dissonance over the Taliban by blaming it on the Indian and American hand.

How bad is the dissonance? Well, take a look at the editorial section of today’s Daily Times, this blogger’s favourite Pakistani newspaper. Its unsigned editorial laments the myth-making tendency of the media and government spokesmen and warns that immediately attributing terrorist attacks to the Indian or American hand “is a self-damaging policy as it will finally derail our national direction and let the terrorists go scot-free.” But the same page has an op-ed by Ejaz Haider (a follow-up piece on the borders-and-troops discussion) that says:

One Indian reader, a former army officer, wrote saying that “Z”, the internal threat, is more pressing and unfolding. True. I never said it was not and have written repeatedly about it. But addressing Z [the Taliban —ed] does not mean taking one’s eyes off X [India —ed]. Also, if indirect war is the game in town, X may find it opportune to worsen Z for Pakistan even as Z is not X’s creation.

There is increasing evidence of that now.

That completes the circle. Pakistan faces Z threat; Pakistan also faces X threat. There are linkages between X and Z. So by fighting against the Z threat, Pakistan is also addressing the indirect threat from X.

Nothing to grudge X for. If the model is conflictual and if X thinks that it now has the opportunity to pay Pakistan back, so be it. Only, that makes a hash of arguments against lowering the guard and using cooperative strategies. [Daily Times emphasis added]

Now, realist calculations would suggest that the enemy’s enemy being a friend, the Taliban and India should be bedfellows. But it is entirely a different matter to assert that they are bedfellows. The latter requires evidence. If there is ‘increasing evidence’, then it ought to be produced, not least because it would delight many people in India who’d like to believe that Pakistan is being paid back in its own coin.

Yet the reality is that while New Delhi might have been supportive of the idea of a Pashtunistan born out of a sense of Pashtun nationalism, the idea of a Talibanised nuclear neighbour doesn’t really warm the cockles of many in India. And even those who argue that Pakistan’s capture by the Taliban won’t make much of a difference would hardly advocate throwing resources and taking unnecessary risks when Pakistan is demonstrating that it can implode without their help.

Indeed, the realist logic can be applied differently: the Pakistani government could make peace with its rear enemy (India) to conserve its energies for the battle against the forward enemy (Taliban). This would, however, require Pakistani strategists to adopt new thinking. There’s hardly any evidence of that.

5 thoughts on “The Indian hand”

  1. The fight with taliban of the paks is not a real one, Why beat them if you can join them against the Kafirs?

    I wonder what the americans and the huns have in mind with AfPak? Nukes to Pakis, nuke tests in N korea, China is challenging the might of Unkil sam? Have the paks moved on from being americans 1st poodle, to being China’s? Doesnt bode well for Bharat at all.

  2. Ejaz Haider used to be a rational human being. Now he’s a born-again Pakistani in the worst sense of the term. His mental gymnastics – nay mental contortions – make my little brain hurt. I take solace from that fact that little I can glean indicates that the heavy stuff is full of sh*t.

    As for the “Pakistani strategists” adopting new thinking: these are the same geniuses who consistently discard the facts when the facts don’t fit their theory. The facts don’t count when God is on your side, you see. So if the dream is that little green flag on the Assembly in Srinagar (and then on top of the Red Fort in Delhi) the fact that they’ve had their asses handed to them on a plate in each war they initiated does not deter them from trying again. But to their credit, in their drive to the Red Fort, they came close enough with the Red Mosque 🙂

  3. *LOL*

    Good one libertarian.

    Wonder if there are any honest, decent English columnists left in Pak who don’t shame the word ‘integrity’. Ardeshir Cowasjee and Irfan Hussein are two names that come to mind.

  4. Sud: Ardeshir Cowasjee and Irfan Hussein are two names that come to mind.

    Cowasjee seems to have been personally conned by Jinnah into staying back in Karachi. He keeps repeating Jinnah’s Aug 11 1947 speech about a secular Pakistan. Guess he bought that line from our duplicitous Hindu-Muslim ambassador. He seems to refuse to acknowledge that Jinnah may just have been attempting damage control from the riots he set off.

    Irfan Hussein has roots in the UK and in Sri Lanka. Probably gets doses of reality each time he leaves PureLand. Also he’s likely Shia – even more reason to be in touch with reality.

  5. Hi,

    Agreed that new strategic ideas are rare and meet a good deal of resistance in Pakistan. Of course, to judge from some of the responses to the suggestion that India pull back troops from its border with India, new strategic ideas are also rare and meet a good deal of resistance in India. That said, coming from the US, I am in no position to criticize either Pakistan or India on the subject of reluctance to consider new strategic ideas:-).

    Think I’ll stop here, before I totally insult everybody. If you want more from me, please consult my blog at the URL above.


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