The Excess of Error

For almost a week now, I’ve been enduring (along with all of you) the absolutely sensationalist coverage of the Mumbai terror strikes, in Indian television media. As if that’s not enough, I keep on finding American takes on it.

It’s amazing, how single minded the US perception of the problem is. First of all, the only reason they’re bothered (as I wrote here), is that it upsets their war plans against Afghanistan… oops, was it against terror? Yeah right. I keep on forgetting.

Another gem:

Look at the finality of the vision — look at how it starts with a declaration, not of a possibility, but a certainty.

No matter, Islamist terrorists have been bleeding India for years now, before Zardari, hell even before Mushy. Before Afgan war, before 9/11… “Undermine rapproachment” is the explanation of it all? Really?

How about this then? The Al-Qaeda wanted to undermine Iraq’s modernist government, and that’s why they attacked US? And US “fell” into their trap? Sounds so much believable, no?

Instead of rallying behind Singh’s government, the BJP has instead called for its resignation and accused Singh of being soft on terror. These tactics may well backfire, but based on the BJP’s history of populist, anti-Muslim rhetoric, we should be concerned about its return to power.

Yes, BJP’s behavior is disgusting, given its timing. But for all it’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, Mushy was given recognition and grand welcome in BJP’s regime. I can understand some third-rate Pakistani newspaper making such blanketly idiotic statements, but sadly, the mainstream US perception seems so colored by its (short term) political interests.

Cranking up the pressure on Pakistan may fit the public mood in India — and it may be smart politics for Singh and his ruling Congress Party — but it is folly as policy.

This, when there is zero International pressure on Pakistan to clean up its act (what act? you ask)? What options does India have? To wait for American war with Afganistan to end, by when Pakistan will be able to concentrate more on co-operating with India? That, I guess would not be a folly?

Who benefits in Pakistan when tensions with India rise? Precisely the anti-democratic hardliners in the military and intelligence services, and the Islamic hardliners who are their sometime allies, that India should want to see marginalized.

Well India have been wanting to see them marginalized for fifty years now. Or sixty? Well we’ve lost count. Why will it suddenly happen in the near future? Given the short-sighted foreign policy that US has specialized in, in the past, and present? This myth of a Pakistan that is suddenly going to transform into a democratic state, and marginalize its rouge elements (including ISI and army!), is the figment of western imagination.

As one South Asia analyst told Reuters, “The forces that are threatening the West, the forces that are threatening the civilian democracy in Pakistan and the forces who are acting against India are all interlinked to each other.”

What an insightful comment! Only the tense is the problem. And that tense betrays a lot: yes. They “have been” interlinked, all this while. Only now, post 9/11, there is even an accpetance of that.

If you can’t help us, leave us alone with our follies.


5 thoughts on “The Excess of Error

  1. IW says:

    Asuph, soon you are gonna become filthy rich collecting all those gems.

    Here’s more for your gem collection :

    “In any case, the Mumbai carnage has clearly put the spotlight where India likes it: on terror and away from Kashmir. With the Mumbai outrage the Obama administration’s quest to use the resolution of Kashmir to cement India-Pakistan ties in order to fight terrorism more effectively would probably have to wait.”

    But this is from a 3rd rate Pakistani newspaper “Dawn”, so it’s quite understandable. They do have a knack of finding a silver lining to a dark cloud. Look at the immense benefit and milege that India has got from putting the spotlight (sic) on urban terror ! Holy Baloney.. What a master stroke.. Maybe all of this was self-inflicted carnage afterall the jihaad’s were spotted with red threads on their wrist. Aahh what a damning evidence.. The pieces are all falling in place now.

  2. Harish Alagappa says:

    I might be wrong here and if I am, tell me but… are advocating that the government of India should attack Pakistan?
    Are you advocating open war with a country that has a standing army as large as ours and is armed with thermo-nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles that can quite easily take out India upto, say, Lucknow in the east and perhaps Hyderabad in the South?
    Are you advocating a war against a volatile nation that will have nothing to lose from such a war and will easily garner the support of Islamic fundamentalists, both inside India and from the oil-rich counties of the Middle East, who have very quietly acted as venture capitalists for such groups?
    Are you advocating we start a war – which is a violation of our foreign policy – at a time when the world is heading for the biggest global economic collapse since 1930?
    Do you realize what can be the consequences of such a move? Yes, most of what the media is bullshit. But the people of this here fair nation aren’t exactly behaving rationally either.
    Then again, I have a headache and might be misunderestimating what you are trying to express. In which case, just paste this comment on a blog which IS advocating such a thing.

    @ IW: Dawn is not a third-rate Pakistani newspaper. It is blatantly anti-India and has consistently switched sides on it’s views on the Taliban and ISI, but it is their Times of India or HT… which are 2nd-rate Indian newspapers.

    I feel that more than anything, these attacks have only underlined how the forces on which a successfully functioning democracy depend – an active proletariat, governments that are forced into action out of concern for the people or fear of backlash, a press that is informative and an intelligentsia that acts as the voice of reason – are compromised in India. We are acting like a mob-state. Fighting against a nation controlled by extremism, ignorance and terrible English. I need my Swiss visa!

    • asuph says:

      Yes you’re wrong. I’m not advocating that at all. But then if that isn’t clear from the writing, then I’ll have to take some blame.


  3. asuph says:

    It’s good old chest-thumping. I think everyone knows there is a less than zero chance of we going to war, and that’s why some of the war mongers can safely keep on asking for it.

    In fact, even precision strikes into POK, forget rest of Pakistan with militant hideouts (assuming POK as a Paki territory — after all, successive Indian governments have more or less resigned to LOC as IB prospect, even ready to push for it, if that is going to solve the issue).

    Truth is India’s options are very limited. Maybe build and *sustain* international pressure through incessant lobbying, diplomatic stand-offs … hardly anything that’s going to change Paki response. The truth is they have more bargaining power with the US at present (just as the past, and recent future), than India. And even these current face saving measures, are more for saving a US face, than for anything else (if it were anything but cosmetic, Mazood Azhar and the likes would have been handed over, and Pak wouldn’t have taken refuge behind no mutual treaty umbrage).

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