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thoughtsnips
Saturday, May 31, 2003
 
This is a much-delayed response to Carl's argument that the dismemberment of Pakistan is the only long term solution to South Asian problems.


> Your post seems to say: "No point splitting Pak. Only way is to bare fangs. But we can't do that either".
Yes, I do not see how splitting Pakistan is going to help. May be talking abt it helps many Indians work up an orgasm. But that is just it. I am saying that if Pakistan does in deed split, it does not follow that we will have influence over all or any of them. We will be have to counter powerful entreaties from US and China and even Iran and Russia to do that. One other option is to "bare our fangs"., which is what I say will be difficult.

To put it succintly, to me, the proper approach seems to be
1. Box them in, form strong relationships with states around them AND the US. India has been trying to do this for a while now. It looks like there might be some success. During Kargil, even China told them off. There was a lot of wailing in the Pak press later about how every one of their friends, even China, had deserted them in need.
2. Engage them, use our best carrot, trade. There is a selfish reason why the establishment is Pak is resisting talking abt trade. They know they will lose a lot of leverage if Pak is forced to tone down the aggressive stands they have taken, which will be a big consequence of increasing bilateral trade. In essence, it will threaten their legitimacy. We have to learn the tricks of using trade as both carrot and stick from the US.
3. Seek out US support - it is very important that India builds strong ties with the US. I do not mean being a slavish yes-man. But yes, we need support here, and we need to support America when they undertake a worthwhile operation, which, most importantly, will not involve violence. Now, most people who are gung-ho over US-India ties seem to be intent on using it against Pak as a nation. I think we lose focus there. We need to target Pakistan as a state.
4. There are a lots of indications that US, the Bush admn, has decided to get its hands muddy in reforming Pakistan. We need to aid this effort. If not anything, help them with the carrots. This will strengthen the Indo-US ties, while at the same time, achieve our goals with Pakistan.

> Firstly, it has taken Bangladesh a while to come under the sway of fundamentalists, and then it has been able to summon the courage to act aggressively against India because of the way we have shown ourselves to be a soft state against aggression from Pak and others.
Sorry for saying this - This is sheer baloney. Bangladesh became overtly hostile to India under Zia-ur-Rehman, back in 1975 - a mere 4 years after we dismembered our neighbor. Those were teh times when Indira Gandhi was worshipped as Durga. She was, in essense, the powerful state. To counter B'desh's support to NE movements, India tried to aid Shanti Bahini in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Nothing came of it. To now say that we were a soft state and after watching us for a long while, BD is roarign is just misrepresentation of history.

> You are absolutely right in saying that "baring fangs" is the key, because "the people are the same" and will always be so. You are wrong in suggesting that it is too difficult for India to bare fangs. And even more incorrect in concluding that dividing Pak into smaller states is futile.
Look, you are not interpreting what I said correctly here. As I said in our talk the other day, baring the fangs should not be in the form of, say, fomenting trouble in Karachi. That is just flailing the arm wildly and hoping u will sqaure the opponent's jaw. What I mean is that we need to go after pointed targets. Blow up Syed Salahuddin. That sends across a direct message. Instead, there is a lot of talk among Indians of redirecting Indus and what not. People who argue for such solutions have no idea how much construction efforts, and money and time it takes to do that. Drawing curves on map sounds fun. Taking a mighty river like Indus is not that easy.

> I don't know where to begin, but it is politically, militarily and economically a more appealing task to deal with several small enemies than one large enemy.
> Yes, there are new complications too, but the net effect is greater space to maneuver. You can think about this yourself. And history itself provides umpteen examples of this being successfully used. Eastern Europe for the whole of last century, C.Asia, S.E.Asia. Even the tommies partitioned our country before leaving, though not to the extent they would have liked.

Give me an example where there is an instance of some population, dvided among themselves, but sharing some qualities and a common anti-someone agenda, were beaten by that someone individually. As far as I know, in almost every instance in history where is happened, the groups came together to face up that someone, especially if that someone is a lot more powerful than them. It's basic schooling behavior.
None of the examples u have given fits this mould - except, possibly, Central Asia. And even there, CA states were lilliputs compared to the mighty Russian empire of Ivan. In fact, Europe in 19th Century is an example to buttress my argument. The way every European power, themselves fighting over the umpteen colonial possessions, came together to beat Russia in Crimea is an awesome example.

--R

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