Tag Archives: pakistan


There seems to be some symbolism in General Shinsheki being named to be Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Habor, but I am unable to enunciate it.

Perhaps Shinsheki is a clearer thinker than me:

Shinseki, in 2006, began traveling around the country as a spokesperson for the “Go For Broke National Education Center,” an organization dedicated to preserving and educating about the contributions of Japanese American soldiers in World War II. The 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans who fought in World War II, adopted the motto, “go for broke.” “There is no other story in the history of the U.S. Army like this one, and given the conditions that gave rise to the extraordinary valor of Japanese American soldiers, there may never be another story like it again,” stated Shinseki.

Other transitions are afoot in the world, too.

The past is always dying, and the future is always being born.

Moving forward, we should work with our ally China to disentangle ourselves from our mutual historic friend (and increasingly, psychotic basketcase) Pakistan. China and the United States should work together to accommodate India as a major power in Asia, and find ways to mutually project power into Central Asia in a way that defeats terrorism and prevents any rogue energy suppliers from overturning the peace.

Pakistan in Collapse

The Indian State will survive this, and other, crises. The Pakistani state already does not control its own defense establishment, is not able to limit the export of violence from its borders, and (in a desperate attempt to remain relevent) may pull soldiers who are now monitoring the Taliban.

Stratfor has a good take:

Strategic Motivations for the Mumbai Attack | Stratfor
Now, step back and consider the situation the Mumbai attackers have created. First, the Indian government faces an internal political crisis driving it toward a confrontation it didn’t plan on. Second, the minimum Pakistani response to a renewed Indo-Pakistani crisis will be withdrawing forces from western Pakistan, thereby strengthening the Taliban and securing al Qaeda. Third, sufficient pressure on Pakistan’s civilian government could cause it to collapse, opening the door to a military-Islamist government — or it could see Pakistan collapse into chaos, giving Islamists security in various regions and an opportunity to reshape Pakistan. Finally, the United States’ situation in Afghanistan has now become enormously more complex.

By staging an attack the Indian government can’t ignore, the Mumbai attackers have set in motion an existential crisis for Pakistan. The reality of Pakistan cannot be transformed, trapped as the country is between the United States and India. Almost every evolution from this point forward benefits Islamists. Strategically, the attack on Mumbai was a precise blow struck to achieve uncertain but favorable political outcomes for the Islamists.

Rice’s trip to India now becomes the crucial next step. She wants Indian restraint. She does not want the western Pakistani border to collapse. But she cannot guarantee what India must have: assurance of no further terror attacks on India originating in Pakistan. Without that, India must do something. No Indian government could survive without some kind of action. So it is up to Rice, in one of her last acts as secretary of state, to come up with a miraculous solution to head off a final, catastrophic crisis for the Bush administration — and a defining first crisis for the new Obama administration. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once said that the enemy gets a vote. The Islamists cast their ballot in Mumbai.

It is foolish to trust the Pakistani government, because the Pakistani government is not powerful enough to control what happens in Pakistan.

We should do what we can to strengthen neighbors (Iran, India, China, etc), while coming up with smart policies that will allow us to firewall ourselves and our friends off from the worst of Pakistan’s exports.

Not Cold, just processing a politically bankrupt state

Courtesy of Tom, this great news on US outreach to see what Muslim troubles Saudi Arabia can stir up within the decaying Russian Federation. Really, this is great news, and one of the countermeasures I suggested earlier. It seems that the Bush Administration is ably playing a double game, on one hand saying crazy things in an attempt for the Russians to save their own face, while at the same time decoupling our efforts from Putin’s petrothugs.

U.S., Saudi Arabia: Holding the Chechen Card | Stratfor
But after watching Russia’s recent power surge in Georgdia, the Saudis now share a common interest with Washington in keeping the Russians at bay. And with the Saudis now making roughly $1 billion a day on oil revenues, Riyadh has ample cash to spare to revive its links with Islamist militants in the Russian Federation.

Saudi support is not only limited to Chechnya, however. The republic of Tatarstan also is a prime candidate for a covert strategy that aims to inflame Russia’s Muslim minorities. This Muslim belt is key because it separates the ethnically Russian portions of Russia from sparsely populated Siberia and runs through all of Russia’s transport networks (road, rail and pipeline). If Tatarstan, which has become more independent in developing its vast oil wealth, revved up a resistance movement against Moscow, Russia would have no choice but to focus its efforts on quashing the rebellion at home rather than spreading its influence abroad.

There is no chance of a renewed Cold War with Russia, simply because Russia is unable to sustain a Cold War. People who believe in a new Cold War with Russia are guilty of legacy thinking. We are not dealing with the politically bankrupt Empire built on the blood of peasants on workers: rather, we are dealing with a politically bankrupt state that reminds us of nothing so much as a nuclear version of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Some may object to helping Chechen, Dagestani, and Tartari “freedom fighters” because of the trouble it may cause in our war against terrorism in Afghanistan-Pakistan. However, we cannot let Pakistan’s civil war dictate our foreign policy. To do so would be to put the Pakistani ISI in charge of the State Department. The battle for the leadership of Pakistan between the army, the ISI, Islamists, socialists, and al Qaedais of no concern for us, except for making sure that al Qaeda loses.

Indeed, supporting Islamists parties in Chechnya, Dagestan, Tartarstan, and elsewhere in Russia may well help is in our battle to punish + destroy al Qaeda, by allowing us to more convincingly partner with “moderate” Islamists elsewhere in the world.

Our Diverted War Against Pakistan

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

We promptly invaded Tunisia.

A wise is war is fought where it’s advantageous to fight. There is no need to be fair in war, or to fight where an enemy expects. We responded to Japan’s attack by joining Great Britain and the Soviet Union in changing the whole world system.

On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda attakced the United States in New York, New York.

We promptly invaded Afghanistan, and within a few years Iraq.

In Afghanitsan and in Iraq, like in the North African campaigns of World War II, we fought where it was easy. Actually attacking the state that supports, trains, protects, funds, and fights along with al Qaeda is hard.

Pakistan, after all, has nuclear weapons.

Greater Pakistan
Greater Pakistan

The situation is complicated by Pakistan’s economy, which is growing by at a good clip, but falling further behind India’s. Our future actions Pakistan must focus on separating the tribal areas — where Pakistan funds Taliban insurgents and thus protects al Qaeda cells — from the economically productive areas, where eventual integration with India should be our aim.

Some naive commentators believe that the Taliban had pacified Afghanistan by 9/11/01, though of course this is not true. The Taliban are not an Afghan insurgency, but a Pasthun/Baluchi movement supported by Pakistan. Pakistan is behind the Taliban.

Our way forward will be difficult. Liberals will soon turn against the War in Afghanistan. Within a generation of 9/11 — which means within the next 13 years — al Qaeda will be a fashionable cause on college campuses. We have been unable to change Pakistan’s support of the Taliban, so (assuming regime change is not an option), that leaves destroying Pakistan’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy.

Uppity Muslim Woman Killed (Someone is surprised)

Robert Paterson thinks all is lost — we’re on the brink checkmated. (Zen has a more balanced summary.)

The cause of this suspicious death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who suffered bomb blasts and bullets. There’s now a riot, possibly martial law, blah blah blah.

My question: Why is anyone surprised this happens in a Muslims country?

Broadly, most of the world “works.” Aside from troublesome campesinos near the Andes and racist Pacific Islanders, if you are not in the continuous geographical Gap that stretches from the Cape of Good Hope to frontier of Russia, things are going pretty good for you. The chances of you becoming the victim of a suicide bomber, a mass rape, or good ol’ fashioned genocide are remarkably small. Regularly there’s really bad news from the Gap, such as a camapign of rape fully understandable by our chimpanzee ancestors or today’s assassination of a talkative woman, but really, it doesn’t effect our lives.


So, what next?

The Gap is actually composed of two distinct regions, an Islamic Gap in the later stages of civilizational collapse and an African Gap that never progressed far enough to collapse in the first place. We do not know how to pull off large-scale social engineering, but we do know that most of our attempts to do so have failed. So firewalling ourselves off from the Islamic Gap, doing what needs to be done while strictly limiting human migration from the Islamic Gap to the globalized core, is the best policy. Likewise, we should move away from what Muslim allies we have, as seen in American and Chinese movements away from Pakistan and toward India.

The African Gap, by contrast, needs large-scale engagement. A complete lack of inftrascuture means major opportunities — both for profit and for power — for those able to impose such an infrastructure.

Chinese in the Gap

Perlez, J. (2007). Militant students capture masseuses to make a point.” New York Times. June 24, 2007.

Chinese Prostitutes Masseuses

If there’s anything that illustrates how screwy Pakistan, and for that matter the rest of the Islamic Gap, is, it’s this:

“There were about 25 Chinese women, dressed only in underpants and bras,” recalled Ms. Okasha, 24, a muscular high-school badminton champion who had shed her black garb for soft mauves, her face uncovered, during an interview inside the women-only confines of the school. “They scattered, but we managed to grab five.”

Though a concluded paragraph isn’t bad, either:

Ms. Hassan, her face absent of makeup but her fingernails and toenails varnished with red, said she was proud of her raiders.

“I said to the students before they went off, ‘The Chinese are masters at karate; you don’t know how to make one kick.’ But they were able to manage.”

And for completeness sake:

His college-age students asked “many times,” he said, about the legitimacy of suicide bombing. Suicide bombing was justifiable against American soldiers. “It depends on the circumstances,” he said. “In a supermarket I will say no. Suicide bombing against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, I will say yes, yes. It’s not suicide. It’s a mission, then it’s allowed.”

Two take-aways from this article:

Girl, decapitalized

First, it’s interesting that the New York Times describes what are obviously prostitutes as “masseuses.” The reason is clear: opposition to prostitution should be an intellectual, liberal exercise, and not a goonish one. The Times is clearly embarrassed to be intellectually on the same side as madrassa-studying reactionaries, though this isn’t surprising. Both the New York Times and the Islamists prefer prostitution to remain in the informal, depriving many women of a natural capitalization vehicle. Both the the Pakistani extremists and the old liberals of the New York Times share the disdain for market exchange, Hernando de Soto-style capitalization of private wealth, and liberty. Both share a sentimental opposition and a thuggish adoration of enforced virtue.

Secondly, the story highlights the transition of China from the Gap to the Core. China is in the unusual condition that while she is becoming a global leader, she has a large reservoir of very low paid citizens. This means that while the United States, Europe, and Japan find their capital flowing oversees in a process of creative destruction, China finds her people innovatively moving abroad for profits. This creates friction, and while the the typical American “downside” is lost capital, the increasingly typical Chinese “downside” is lost lives.

China: On the Frontlines of the Gap

China and the West share a common interest, not only in energy resources, but in a better administration of the Gap.

Pakistan Failing

A commentator posted a well-thought-out comment in response to a revised discussion of Core India and Gap Pakistan. His comment was long enough, and had enough points deserving response, that I am upgrading my response into this post.

Mark, thank you for your excellent comment. It really adds to the discussion.

Its fashionable to say that pakistan is an about to fail state in indian and jewish/zionist circles.

I’m sure, though I am neither Indian nor Jewish –nor do I know how the existence of Pakistan in South Asia threaten the integrity of Israel. I think it may be closer to say that talk of the failures of Pakistan is fashionable among those who enjoy news.

It is very true that the international boundaries in south asia are imaginary. Why because they were drawn by the British when they were in a hurry to leave the subcontinent and were not interested in what heppens next.

Besides saying that the British left before any Pakistani nation could be built, does this say anything? Certainly, the same failure is true throughout much of Africa, but Britain was ousted from the United States, and essentially forced out of South Africa, and in both places those states have real borders.

Blaming Britain for Pakistan’s failures might explain Pakistan’s failures, but does not turn those failures into successes.

Pakistan has been able to defy all predictions about its failed status and lumbar on for 60 years.

Well, not really. If one had predicted that Pakisatn would conduct a genocide against an ethnic minority, one would have been correct. If one would have predicted that as a consequence of that Pakistan would be split in two, one would have been right. If one would have guessed that Pakistan’s abandonment of public education would have created a radicalized and violent populace, one would have been correct. If one would have predicted that Pakistan would lose every war against India, and be forced out of the North-West Frontier, one would have been correct. If one would have predicted that Pakistan’s search for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan would result in a hostile, anti-Pakistan government in Afghanistan, one would have been correct.

It is very nice to say that Pakistan will break up, but will it? I dont think so.
Why? because the people in pakistan are united in their misery and depriviation.

Did this prevent the split between Pakistan and Bangadesh? Or are you suggesting that the Pakistani government would use nuclear weapons against its own citizenry?

There is a single rallying point in the whole of Pakitan and that is their religion.

Perhaps, but a similar Islamic fervor did not prevent mass violent in Afghanistan, betweens groups of fundementalist Sunni Muslims.

Add to the quagmire the interest Chinese are taking in this neo-great game of the sub-continent, and the things take a whole different shape.

Well, not really. Pakistan was a client of both China and the United States throughout the late Cold War, because of India’s work with the Soviet Union. However since then Russia has retreated from strategic projection, and the United States

Once again the big nations of the world are playing each other in the mountains and valleys of the greatest playing field of the world.

I like Ahmad Rashid as well. Taliban and Jihad are good books on power-politics in Central Asia. It’s a good lesson about how countries act in a part of the world they don’t really care about.

In the meantime to think that Pakistan will implode and fall under its own weight is dreaming of the most wishful kind. Pakistan will not break without a war with an external aggressor (read india). But with economic growth raising the stakes of losses I doubt that it will ever happen in the near or far future.

A more likely future of Pakistan is that of a large ghetto, like so many African and other failed states.

So dream on untill you wake to the reality

If you enjoy dreamquests

India’s Near Abroad

A “near abroad”is an area outside of a country which that country claims as her own. One example of a near abroad is the western hemisphere, which the United States (through the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary) has protected for ages. Other “near abroads” are simply parodies of the concept. Russia (through the old Soviet Empire) and China (with her nemesis, the democratic state of Taiwan) pretend they are able to control areas which they are too weak too.

Recently, some ultranationalist statements have hinted that many citizens of India also wish their country to have a near abroad.

A Chicago Boy recently informed me of this post at Cynical Nerd, an Indian blog:

We consider the sale of advanced weapons systems by the United States to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is an hostile act against a democratic India. The U.S. Government is well aware that the target of such weapons is none other than India as it has happened in the past. More advanced conventional arms to the terrorist state creates more security room for them to increase their terrorist activities inside India and her neighborhood.

In the comments section, another poster opined:

The real solution for India is to pursue development of indigenous defense technology and focus on becoming an economic powerhouse. The only language Americans understand is money. All India needs to do is to impose a very high economic cost of supporting Pakistan on Americans and they will quickly get the message. For example, if India were to reciprocate Us gift of $5B worth of weapons to Pakistan with denial of $10B worth of business to GE and Wal-Mart, how long do you think this will go on?

Another post on another blog, relating to the discussion

Dan tried to focus attention on the cold war history. He pointed out that India was on the wrong side during the cold war and America was only hedging its bets by playing both sides and watching and then decide later on about which side they should be on. I pointed out to him that America does not have the luxury of playing on both sides of the Tennis court.

However India defines her near abroad (to mean maybe only Pakistan, maybe all the states of the former Indian Empire that prospered under benign British rule), it’s clear she not capable of acting as a regional hegemon. Let’s review

Current Internal Status: Military-dictatorship, with substantial portions of the country ruled by al Qaeda affiliates

Sri Lanka
Current Internal Status: Bloody civil war (Ethnic)

Current Internal Status: Military-dictatorship, a media “black hole”

Current Internal Status: Bloody civil war (Maoist)

Compare this not just to a functioning regional hegemon such as the United States (almost all of whose wards are democracies), but even laughable ones such as Russia (none of whose wards are in a hot civil war).

Now, perhaps the Indians are claiming that their country should have a near abroad. But unless India is somehow claiming they have the capacity to enforce their will — or at least a shade of it — on Pakistan, it is insane for them to pretend to the title of sheriff.

India is not now able to act as a regional hegemon, even with formerly subject states of the old Empire. Maybe one day India can, when she grows up.

India on Pakistan’s Toy Planes

India Quietly Welcomes U.S. Decision to Sell Arms to Both South Asian Nuclear Rivals,” NTI, 29 March 2005, http://www.nti.org/d_newswire/issues/print.asp?story_id=732AE955-80D2-4B11-ACD2-F1B05AFA24A5 (from Dawn’s Early Light).

Dawn’s Early Light’s Bill Rice was kind enough to email me a startling article. It looks like DEL’s improbable suggestion, that the sale of F-16s to Pakistan is a sign of improving ties to India, is right after all

Indian officials have publicly said only that they would consider the U.S. offer, but, ‘Even India, with a long tradition of making foreign policy self-goals, will find it hard to say ‘no’ to the extraordinary offer the Bush administration has put on the table — a promise to assist it in becoming a world power in return for resumption of arms sales to Pakistan,’ said longtime South Asian commentator C. Raja Mohan.

Mohan expressed doubt that India was genuinely concerned about seeing more F-16s in Pakistan.

‘Today, no one in India can credibly argue that additional F-16s in Pakistan’s hands will alter the military balance in South Asia,’ he said.

India has already acquired more-advanced Su-30 combat aircraft from Russia and is shopping for additional aircraft from other countries as well, AFP reported (Agence France-Presse I).

Huh. I wasn’t that optimistic. Or that observant. Congrats Bill.

My only issue is with Bill Rice’s closing paragraph

While the article quotes an analyst and not a government official, I think it lends support to the DEL prediction that Secretary Rice cut a deal with the Indian government on her last trip that was too good to pass up, and that the F-16 deal with Pakistan is part of the overall US plan. If India does buy US aircraft, whether it is F-16s, F-18s or a combination of both, it will be a sign that the US has struck an alliance with India to contain China.

Who are we allied with to contain Japan? To contain Britain?

China’s opening-up is transforming. If it goes well, war between Washington and Beijing will be as unthinkable as war between Paris and Berlin. Already it is as unthinkable as such a war was in 1910.

We must hedge and deter. But we do not “contain.”

Cross-Blog Conversation on the Pakistan F-16 Sale

A post at Dawn’s Early Light is hosting an emerging discussion on America’s planned arms sale to Pakistan. Pakistan, a truly terrible country, has its army working under rules of engagement that allows it to kill Americans. South Dakota’s own Larry Pressler condemned the sale earlier. In this blog, DEL’s Bill wrote:

The US agreement to sell F-16s to Pakistan is the opening public gambit in the US bid to strengthen Indian-US relations. I know this sounds completely backwards, but if you would indulge my argument I think you may find it interesting (http://dawnsearlylight.blogs.com/del/2005/03/del_makes_a_…)

Counting an update, there are already three comments. My first thoughts:

  1. Nitin is right that the China-Pakistan angle is important, but he misunderstands it. PRC-IRP-USA have an old working-alliance going back to Nixon. During the closing decades of the cold war the three worked together to check Soviet power. Nor is America overly concerned about Chinese acquiring technology — Israel regularly works with China as an American proxy. I think Bush’s care for Pakistan relates to this, and particularly the concern that if America abandons Pakistan it will reinforce a Beijing-Islamabad axis.
  2. Robert is right that Rice is courting regional powers. But this was Powell’s aim too, and he was very successful at it. Under GWB America never had better relationships with Russia, India, China, or Japan. It’s this tradition which makes the Pakistan sale otherwise puzzling.
  3. We have to be careful with talk of “containment.” Bush is clearly trying to create a sustainable balance to China. But China is emerging as a force for good. Hedging our bets is not containment.
  4. Bush’s generally pro-democracy push also makes the sale strange. Pakistan is a terrible country, combining North Korean proliferation with Saudi repression with BS Saudi-style diplomacy. If America would be able to secure nuclear installations an Islamist government would be a step up from Musharraf.

Go there now.

Update Asia by Blog’s Simon agrees with me. Imagine if Cicero came down and shouted, “Mad props on your whack statesmanship.” That’s what this is like for me.

I’m with Dan. The first assumption that needs addressing is whether China is a competitor or a potential ally. It’s early days but the latter is more likely, especially given the closer economic ties betweent the two. Next is dealing with “rising India” – in that you’re right that Rice is playing the next decade’s game. Also China and India recognise each other’s rise and our currently undergoing a rapid rapproachment over such issues as the border and Tibet. It’s not about containment, it’s about strategic balance.