Rat's Nest
Bloggage, rants, and occasional notes of despair

The Raj Reborn

Scott Palter at a senile cow's rightwing rants has an interesting NYT article on the Pakistani nuclear network, and some comments on it.  I pretty much disagree with the preferability of the options he offers.

The 1947 partition of India by the British Laborites was of a stupidity and vileness that went unnoticed only because it happened in the wake of WWII.  The economy and military might of India has grown absolutely and relatively to that of Pakistan to the point where, if there is a fourth Indo-Pak war, Pakistan will become extinct.  The only thing that could save it would be direct U.S. intervention, and I do not see the U.S. doing that in any foreseeable future, even to prevent nuclear war (especially as that intervention would more likely to trigger than to prevent it).

That war wouldn't be at all fun.  Leaving out such unlikely scenarios as U.S. and/or Israeli special forces managing to secure all of Pakistan's nuclear weapons before they can be used, the war will go nuclear.  The result would likely be 200 million dead, either direct casualties of the war, or dying of starvation or disease in its aftermath, due to destruction of the subcontinent's infrastructure.  However, India would survive it; there would be a badly damaged but still viable political and economic structure afterward.  Pakistan would not; I would estimate that 65-80% of its population would die as a result of that war, directly or indirectly.

Musharraf is caught between the rock of Islamism and the hard place of American demands for co-operation against al-Qa'ida, but that is less his fault than ours, and it is because our political and cultural élites refused to countenance either empire or autarkic isolationism.  Some concessions of textile tariffs and the promise of a bolthole for Musharraf personally could have bought far more pro-Americanism, but we're good little democrats who don't play those games.

His scenario #2 is merely hoping that the horse learns how to sing, putting off the evil day until it is, perhaps, immensely more evil.  A stable, moderate Pakistani government that shuts down the madrassas, the ISI, and the barely-covert nuclear technology sales is possible -- in the sense that it would not violate the laws of physics.  It is possible in the same sense that a delegation will arrive from the U.N., informing me that I've been elected king of the world...but I do not sit on my doorstep with crown, orb, and sceptre, awaiting the glorious day.

I would argue that U.S./Indian relations in the past, which admittedly have ranged from bad to chilly, were largely a product of Cold War, a/k/a "World War 2½", compounded by Congress socialism, the ambition of the now extinct Nehru/Gandhi dynasty, and the pernicious myth of republican isolationism so pervasive in American politics.  India will not be the good little puppet of the U.S.  It could be a junior partner -- and could even grow in strength to be the senior partner -- of a serious international alliance that includes both nations.  Such an alliance, however, must by its very nature exclude Pakistan as an independent polity.

John "Akatsukami" Braue Friday, January 09, 2004