Comments on: When there are no people in Pakistan Perspectives on Pakistan Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:31:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: American213 Mon, 15 Aug 2011 04:12:17 +0000 Beautifully written.

By: sensiblepatriot Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:33:07 +0000 Nehru understood that sadly Geo-politics has become more important and building enough industrial and defense infrastructure was important in case of confrontation with China than anything else.

By: sensiblepatriot Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:17:36 +0000 Nehru followed socialistic policies because, he was either a dreamer, or he feared communist resurgence in India and believed a soft socialistic state or welfare state serves the purpose, or he feared that becoming a blind ally of west would reallow the colonialism India suffered in preceding centuries.
He maintained equal distance from Soviet and US. His political philosophy was that of west, while his economic philosophies were based of USSR. And the most important reason he took a strong socialist route was because America (with tacit support of Britain) refused to transfer technology in low end labour technolgies like manufacturing steel. Soviets offered it to us and one pre-condition was to follow their policies. Nehru understood Geo-politics was more important and building enough industrial and defense infrastructure (and for that Manufacture of steel was pivotal in nature) was essential. India Gandhi prior to 1971 war went ahead with Indo-Soviet pact only after it was abandoned by US who was mindful of its own interests regarding China.

By: sensiblepatriot Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:06:05 +0000 Keith,
Just to add to kpsing01’s comments, Most Indians at that time wondered why a Democratic West and its political counterpart in South Asia did not become natural allies after 2nd world war, but it seems West at the time thought more of Geo political game play to be more important than assisting a vulnerable and fledgling ally in the form of India. For them, it seems Human Rights,Democracy, Liberalism or multiculturalism didn’t matter what mattered was their single purpose of defeating soviets and in their obsession they may have created a cure worse than a disease.
The Reason we now know is Geo-politics and everything was turned into this binary view of ‘Us against Them’ attitude of the US. US believed Pakistan was a better bet because it was in a much worse position and desperate to bow before western demands than a large and independent minded India.

KP Said:”And the Soviets never tried to turn us into a banana republic. I am still wondering how they let us be and evolve into a nation on our own efforts”.

They did not try to make their poodles because we were from the beginning too big a nation to be nudged in any direction the super powers deemed fit. And the Soviets know of it.
Later in early 70’s America aligned with China with single purpose of diverting the attention of Soviet and to open a front with the help of china. They didn’t mind supporting a Genocidal military in pakistan as this military was a friend of China and was an arbiter to their first attempt in improving their bilateral relations. Well this is all known history.
And in hindsight, The soviet state would have withered away in any case even without a afghan front to wage a war against soviets. Soviet-Afghan war had only hastened the process a bit and nudged the Soviets off the cliff.

I hope we have cultivated enough tolerant attitudes to take criticism about our nation’s policies. I am sure just like Average Americans didn’t care about South Asia (what mattered, in fact the only thing that mattered was soviets defeat) ,they didn’t care for South America which helped in bestowing strong power in the hands of CIA which resulted in alienating entire South America whose results you can see. Can Americans say it is not important because South America is relatively distant to say Canada. And I agree that we Indians made an ass of ourselves by not condemning the soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It ended in strengthening the hands of pakistan in the end.
Finally KP is a normal Guy like any of us and his opinions doesn’t affect anybody, but the case is different with America and its policy makers. These people must have taken decisions after a long thought because it had affected the world in profound ways. And its really really sad that charlie’s suggestions for Afghan aid after war was completely disregarded.

By: KPSingh01 Sun, 14 Aug 2011 14:55:49 +0000 KeithZ,

No denying of your viewpoint here. I understand your logic that we Indians see global matters from our local perspective. However, if our local issues had been left to ourselves, we could have handled it better. Unfortunately, the global power interference in the region to settle their global rivalry has caused tremendous imbalance and drag to our efforts. Because of the US involvement against its counterpart, the USSR, Pakistan was allowed to steal technology and get the knowhow for making nuclear bombs, which their military and its supporters have been itching to drop on our infidel population.

Though we are a nuclear armed nation, we have not engaged in bold activities of proxy wars and subterfuge using the nuclear barrel as our backing. We developed our nukes to create a deterrence against the Chinese and once that was done, we have not tried to create tension and strife inside China to unsettle them. They have become a huge power without much interference from their neighbors. The US and its allies turned a blind eye to Pakistani military’s post Afghan war Jihad in our country. This was entirely a result of what the US had done in this region.

Charlie Wilson couldn’t care a rat’s ass when it came to Indian concerns. And Indian concerns finally became a global concern because the ignorant Western leaders assumed that the fire they set in South Asia would just stay there. Now they are on the brink themselves trying to put this fire out. I know a lot of understanding has occurred over the years between us and the Western powers of late, by seeing things from the same perspective. We welcome that. However, I cannot help looking at things from our point of view because we have had to lose a lot from all this. A lot. This is something you may not care much about.

Our leaning towards the Soviets happened not because of choice, but because of geo-politics. And the Soviets never tried to turn us into a banana republic. I am still wondering how they let us be and evolve into a nation on our own efforts. In this regard, I am thankful that we did not align with the US during the cold war era. We probably would have had brutal dictatorships ruling us now.

My comments here were about dramatizing an event to provide a skewed perspective of what happened. The author here has criticized the NY times article for that reason. Fiction more than facts can sometimes tilt perspectives. I agreed with that view and quoted Charlie Wilson’s war which did the same thing.

By: kEiThZ Sat, 13 Aug 2011 21:02:47 +0000 kpsingh01,

I’ll take exception to your view of Charlie Wilson’s war. It was written from his perspective. It’s not meant to be some universal view of how the US political class as a whole saw the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, etc.

For him, he was convinced by a rather religious socialite he was sleeping with to help the Afghans through Pakistan specifically because she thought the “godless” communists were far more dangerous than what was viewed to be as very-religious Muslims.

You can state that you consider that a greater evil was used to destroy a lesser evil. It’s amazing how much clarity people have when staring in the rear view. But from the point of view of the US and the rest of the West, which doesn’t share too many borders with Muslim countries, the “godless” communists were far, far more dangerous than Islamists in a far-away land.

This is why it was so easy for the US Congress to be lied to. They weren’t going to dig too deeply about far away lands. And given other missions, the budget was actually relatively small. What was spent on keeping the Soviets tied down in Afghanistan was a pittance.

But people forget that Charlie Wilson never called for an end to engagement with South Asia. He did call for aid to Afghanistan and for disarmament. The world might have turned out to be a different place, if all his policies had been followed through on. Unfortunately, those calls fell on deaf ears.

Indians also forget at the time, how Soviet aligned India was at the time. It was non-aligned in name only. Sitting in the West, India pretty much seemed like a paid-up member of COMECON.

My Indian friends and relatives always have similar comments. They seem to lack the ability to see how India and Pakistan and the conflicts in South Asia appear to the rest of the world. They are important to you because you are in the thick of it. Unfortunately, they aren’t of the same importance or even the same understanding to somebody in another part of the world. Nor is opinion uniform in the West. For example, in today’s conflict, Canada and Australia have held a much tougher line on Pakistan and Afghanistan than the USA and the UK. But then, our countries don’t have the same history in the region that the Americans and Brits do.

All this to say, that your black and white portrayal of the world, does a serious disservice to a world that is full of shades of grey.

By: Mortal1 Tue, 09 Aug 2011 03:31:48 +0000 Pakistan is the undisputed “conspiracy theory capital” of the world. So, the story (about all witnesses of the OBL dying in the recent copter crash) floating in Pakistan does not surprise me at all. Anyways, the piece in the New Yorker by Nicholas Schmidle, is quite gripping.

By: MarkValdas Mon, 08 Aug 2011 15:16:10 +0000 The absence of Pakistani citizenry serves both America and Pakistan (well, the kleptocracy of Pakistan, anyway). I noted in my years in Lahore that despite daily violence, nobody was ever named unless they either a. carried out the attack, or b. were wealthy/influential. It has always been in the interest of an aggressor nation to minimize the humanity of the ‘enemy’, and it’s genuinely distressing that the US media so often fails to acknowledge the full scope of emotion and tragedy of Pakistanis, Afghanis, Iraqis and others in our ongoing conflict. But in Pakistan, most of those 180 million mentioned in the article are not really citizens at all, but rather property of the ruling classes, and THAT’S the real tragedy.

By: Umairpk Mon, 08 Aug 2011 15:01:15 +0000 Only a fool could ignore the 180 million people, military, Air Force, intelligence agency of Pakistan. Yes, people here gossip, talk, share ideas and information, criticisize, appreciate, express opinions. It is when these centiments are ignored where problems arise. Same is the case in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ordinary Americans are told their troops are in Iraq to ‘liberate’ the ‘oppressed’ people of Iraq from the ‘tyranny’ of a ‘dictatorial regime’. Lies always remain lies.
As with Afghanistan, the SEAL chopper crash resulted in loss of life, which is regrettable. More regrettable is there seems to be no end to the pointless war in Afghanistan.

By: KPSingh01 Mon, 08 Aug 2011 02:32:48 +0000 History is always written from the eyes of the conqueror. Charlie Wilson’s war is yet another example of dramatizing events and burying facts to project the whole mission as some Divine service. All the lies told to the Congress by the US President about Pakistan’s nuclear bomb building, retro-fitting by Pakistan of F16 fighters to deliver nukes etc were completely window washed in that book. If someone who does not know anything about South Asia read that book, he or she can be entirely be misled into believing that everything done was some kind of a holy mission against the evil. The fact that evil was created and used to destroy a relatively lesser evil was completely hidden in that book. But that one was presented as a novel based on historic events. Joann Herring in that book says Zia Ul Haq was not involved with the murder of Bhutto. Religious fanatics were projected as some disciplined and devout angels. Haqqani, who the US now is trying to hound out is called as a good man by Wilson. Media can be manipulated to project anything any which way. But the NY times article made a thrilling reading, just like Charlie Wilson’s war. I wonder what Gust Avrakotos is doing now.