Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pakistan After the Karachi Airport Attack


Do you make anything of the latest kerfuffle in Pakistan? Will the Army finally decide that India is not its biggest problem? Will Pakistanis finally decide the US is not their biggest problem?


Alas, I am dubious on both counts. The military would have to work much harder to justify its completely voracious appetite if it lets go of India, which is so much bigger; everyone else would have to recognize--and take responsibility for--terrorism, corruption, the leadership's tepid commitment to democracy, and taking care of their own business if they let go of the view that the U.S. and its "aid" is the source of all their problems.

What could well happen instead is that they continue to throw themselves into the dubious embrace of the Chinese and wake up a bit later to realize that it can get much worse than it is now.

What happened in Karachi makes me despair. I despair in order not to feel fury. When you live as well as the ruling elites do in Pakistan (both military and civilian) a bit of noblesse oblige is in order, I think.


I would especially extend my rant to say that perhaps the most insidious of the governmental bodies is the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), who put out contracts on human rights workers and journalists with almost complete impunity. They--and the rest of the military--seem to believe that they have the right to operate without the risk of being publicly criticized (or even identified). This, rather than electoral processes, is where democracy is perhaps the weakest in many countries, and I wish that political scientists and other scholars would pay more attention to it.

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