Real world interruption….

December 2, 2008 at 3:25 pm (Politics) (, , )

Sorry, folks, but gmarriage part 2 will have to wait (I know, I hear your collective weeping… just don’t tell me whether or not they’re tears of joy.)  The real world has interrupted, presenting me with a topic of particular frustration.  In particular, Pakistan vs India, Mumbai, and the US trying to keep India from turning Pakistan into a glowing crater.

And, of course, Laura Flanders.

“…when it comes to advising caution, urging diplomacy and discouraging reprisal attacks, it’s hard to imagine that Bush’s Secretary of State will be able to do any of that with a straight face. ”

Go ahead and read the whole piece, but the short version is that the current administration has no place urging restraint to another nation when they themselves haven’t demonstrated it.  There’s one problem though.

The US didn’t irradiate Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Pakistan.  Yes, we’re bombing suspected terrorist sites.  Sadly, sometimes we end up catching civilians in the blasts – often because the terrorists are very, very good at standing in the middle of a bunch of meat shields civilians so we won’t shoot at them.

But just because you do something that isn’t right, doesn’t mean you can’t tell people not to do the worse version of what you do.

We’re (allegedly) targetting Pakistani locations where there are terrorists.  With conventional weapons.  And we’re already catching flak for it.  India… well, to be polite, there’s a very good chance that they (1) won’t care about catching flak or (2) use conventional weapons.

India and Pakistan are both nuclear-capable countries, just like the US.  Unlike the US, they both have a centuries-old hatred of each other that reaches very, very deep.  It’s not (just) about religion.  It’s not (just) about Cashmere Kashmir (okay, so my brain wasn’t in the right place when I wrote it the first time…).  It’s not (just) about tribal tensions.  It’s a dislike that has led to war before, and probably will again eventually.  And, with both nations being nuclear, it could lead to a nuclear war.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what Secretary of State Rice is hoping to prevent.  Regardless of what you think about our nation’s foreign policy, can you please at least shut up long enough to let the woman keep a subcontinent from being turned into a glowing rockpile?

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3 Comments

  1. Vorex said,

    I really think the problem with Dr. Rice’s mission isn’t one of moral authority (which has never stopped any US government in any case) and more one of credibility. It very much will be a case of telling them that it’s fine for the US to bomb terrorists in Pakistan but not for India to bomb terrorists in Pakistan, and that it’s fine for the US to have taken stupidly disproportionate action in entirely unrelated territories but that India should take a deep breath and have a bit of a lie down. Just from a perspective of being able to put your case strongly and being taken seriously that’s not a great starting point. Of course there should be a message sent to India that breaking out the nukes isn’t the best thing to do here, but there’s every chance that this particular messenger will diminish to some degree the weight of the message.

  2. wolfemann said,

    I suppose my question there, really, becomes this.

    Should the US, because of its foreign policy mistakes (and don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of them *are* mistakes), just be quiet and let India respond however it pleases?

    I dislike hypocrisy as much as the next guy, but like I said – we’re a lot less likely than India to nuke somebody here.

    As for the ‘entirely unrelated’ – again, the question becomes just how unrelated they are (especially re: Mumbai). I don’t think that Pakistan backs the Taliban or Al Qaeda – however, that’s where they are, and they’ve been particularly stubborn about letting us find them the safe way. What to do about that… that’s where the policy question comes in.

    BTW – thanks to Vorex for pointing out my spelling mistake above.

  3. wolfemann said,

    Clarifying (memo to self – caffeinate, *then* reply!):

    Urging restraint is not a bad idea, no matter who’s saying it. Scolding Condy Rice for trying to get India to hold off on their response isn’t going to help anything, even if you think she’s being a hypocrite about it. It might not be the most credible person saying it, but at least somebody is. Further, just because Rice is going over there and saying it doesn’t mean that the rest of the world can’t join in the chorus – I haven’t heard much about the international response to this, so I don’t know how they’re handling things. If you’d like to pipe up on that end, please do – our news services aren’t that good about reporting foreign events, obviously.

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