Sunday, March 11, 2007
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 dream-quests...
"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."
A rather poor descriptor of the Durand Line. Actually about 180 degrees incorrect.
Posted by: mark safranski | Sunday, March 11, 2007
They you for the correction. Of course, you are correct.
Indeed, Pakistan has "luckier" borders than most states. The frontiers with Afghanistan and Iran have long been defined, and the Indo-Muslim population transfer of the 1940s created a nation-state-like border with India.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, March 11, 2007
Dan (and Mark,)
Pursue this line of thought in light of US/NATO operations in Afghanistan. Entertain the affect of Cambodia during the Vietnam war and the "triage" aspect regarding both Afghanistan (possible failure) and Pakistan (political instability [or collapse] within a nuke state) as operations move east across the border (as they, strategically, must.)
Posted by: Jay@Soob | Sunday, March 11, 2007
They must cross over the Durand though for the political expediency of Islamabad, it must be done in a plausibly deniable way. Some kind of fig leaf, no matter how ridiculous, should be used, as we blow up and kill al Qaida-alled Pushtun tribesmen.
The region should be strategically thought of as Southern pan-Turkestan, Pushtunistan, Northern Punjab and Baluchistan that just happen to be located inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. Political realities flow in in the aforementioned subnational units, not the states, except in terms of Pakistan vs. India ( Islamabad's overriding concern).
Posted by: mark safranski | Sunday, March 11, 2007
Interesting also is former PM Bhutto's impassioned plea for democracy in today's Washington Post. I'm horrible with HTML, it can be accessed through the site's front page in the editorials section.
Your description of Pakistan as a ghetto certainly contrasts with Bhutto's optimism. If democracy were truly to come to Pakistan, without any sustainable economic development I don't see how Baluchistan and the west are stablized and de-Talibanized. Instead perhaps they are captured by warlords who get seats in Parliament, much like Afghan democracy.
Posted by: Steve Pampinella | Monday, March 12, 2007
I hope Stratfor was correct that Pakistani nukes are under US control. I really, really, really hope that is true.
Pakistan's combination of a 0GW/4GW hybrid power in the tribal north was a 2GW/3GW goliath to the east is a terrible hand for a state to play.
Our problem with Pakistan is really our problem with Islam , but with nukes thrown in. (See above.)
de-Talibanization should focus on strengthening the 0GW, tribal, elements in the region at the expense of the 4GW, ideological ones. The government system of Afghanistan is a good example of how such a war can be fought.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, March 13, 2007