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« If you can't say something nice ... redux | Main | A semi-righteous book (prasad) »

April 24, 2012


Omar, you always speak sense. But is anyone listening? As for India extending a helping hand towards Pakistan to preserve her own stability and safety, I couldn't agree more. But there is a peculiar human psychology at work sometimes, especially when the parties involved are joined-at-the-hip twins as you have depicted in your images. Medical history is full of instances of Siamese twins who depend on each other to stay physically alive but hate each other with a passion otherwise. I have a fair idea of how India is perceived by most Pakistanis (and the politicians may actually be the least prejudiced). Pakistan is indeed in the midst of an existential crisis and with Uncle Sam no longer its guaranteed sponsor, the paranoia is acute. (Uncle Chin does nothing for anyone except for Uncle Chin)

If in this situation, India is seen as acting as the benefactor in any manner, I am afraid the gesture may be seen more as benevolent "dadagiri" rather than dispassionate real politik. I think Pakistan will find India's "friendly" gestures even more befuddling and therefore suspicious than its hostility. Pride also plays into this. Getting assistance from the west is far more palatable than from your next door neighbor whom you have been taught to hate. Such is the narcissism of small differences. And nowhere may this sense of alienation be more acute than between these erstwhile twins who were surgically separated at the time of their artificial birth. I think the mutual co-operation scenario will be far more effective if Pakistan were to initiate the idea of reconciliation in the areas that you suggest. Can it happen? Very hard to predict in the absence of any impressive leadership on either side of the border.

India may find it more pragmatic to mind its own business (and as you said, it has its own messy internal business to tend to) and take a wait and see attitude rather than make any unilateral moves that may be seen as meddling.

Despite the dire predictions, I wish both nations well.

I don't know if this is the best example, but Nixon's surprise opening of relations with China in the early 1970s, prepared by Kissinger's secret negotiations, was a stunner and proved successful beyond his wildest dreams. I know nothing of the talents and aspirations of South Asia's political leaders, so I ask, "Is there anyone with vision?"

The tragedy of Richard Nixon is that he could read the international landscape as few could, and see into the future, but he couldn't deal with his own demons. Demons or not, is there a Nixon out there, somewhere?

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