The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Richard Fernandez of the Belmont Club presents and interesting analysis of the recent Islamic terrorist atrocities in Mumbai:
The attackers are exploiting the fact that both India and the US need Pakistan’s cooperation to fight terrorism based within its borders. With Obama planning to send 20,000 more men to Afghanistan, Islamabad’s cooperation shipping military supplies through its ports is more important than ever. And because India is unlikely to seek war with Pakistan, New Delhi also needs Islamabad’s help in suppressing terrorists. In an article in Foreign Affairs, Obama outlined his Afghan/Pakistan policy:
I will join with our allies in insisting — not simply requesting — that Pakistan crack down on the Taliban, pursue Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, and end its relationship with all terrorist groups. At the same time, I will encourage dialogue between Pakistan and India to work toward resolving their dispute over Kashmir and between Afghanistan and Pakistan to resolve their historic differences and develop the Pashtun border region. If Pakistan can look toward the east with greater confidence, it will be less likely to believe that its interests are best advanced through cooperation with the Taliban.

In other words, Obama had hoped India would mollify Pakistan by making concessions in the East so that Islamabad would agree to crack down on the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the West — even provide money to boost the economies of the NWFP. Now that the “teenage gunmen” [Fernandez’s allusion to the politically-correct newspaper characterization of the Islamofacists who perpetrated the Mumbai attack] have made Indian concessions to Pakistan politically impossible, we can expect those overtures to be suspended, but they will resume the moment public anger subsides. Over time, this sort of policy will come to resemble that existing between Palestine and Israel, with India playing the role of Israel. Diplomats will keep hoping that if India makes enough concessions to Pakistan then the “moderates” will gain the upper hand, crack down on the “extremists” and conclude a grand diplomatic bargain. The absence of a viable alternative means that the diplomats will keep trying this formula, however often it fails, because they have nothing else up their sleeves. Those “teenage gunmen” have got New Delhi and Washington over a barrel and know it. The events in Mumbai are unlikely to change the situation in the region. On the contrary, they suggest that such attacks will become depressingly common, much as the rockets raining down on Israel have ceased to become news.

And so, diplomacy, negotiations, and concessions with barbaric fanatics who themselves are incapable of meaningful negotiation or concession move forward.

Those who value “peace” feel better with this approach, but in the end, peace is never achieved. Instead, we rely on the hope that “the ‘moderates’ will gain the upper hand, crack down on the ‘extremists’ and conclude a grand diplomatic bargain.”

Sound familiar? Maybe ‘futile’ is a better word.