I’ve been debating on whether to post this link, as it is likely to ruffle feathers, but I believe the author has a very valid point. I also believe that we need India as a political ally, not just an economic one. The history of the relationship between the US, Pakistan, and India is founded in bitterness and old grudges, and it is high time that we re-evaluate who we view as ideological partners and who is diametrically opposed to our values and way of life. The answer is India, and NOT Pakistan. Pakistan’s current regime is duplicitous at best, and at worse, an active enemy working to undermine our efforts to create an open and free society in Afghanistan.
…But the point is that even Saudi Arabia will be a little more worried than it already is. Now imagine if Pakistan’s missiles were capable of reaching Japan, Russia, Western Europe and, err, the continental United States.
India’s leaders have been scared of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons for three decades now. They are already beyond the point where they can be further scared. But the more Pakistan’s behaviour scares the leaders of other countries, not in indirect ways like a subcontinental war or through the export of terrorism, but in direct ways, the more they will see a need to tackle the military-jihadi complex that lies at its source. Few countries of the world, whether they admit it or not, are oblivious to military-jihadi complex’s use of nuclear weapons to shield its jihadi terrorists. If a direct nuclear threat is a high threshold risk, a nuclear blackmail has a relatively lower threshold of probability. (See That’s Washington’s problem)
The effect of all the stockpiling and all the launching by Pakistan will be to spread the risk among a wider group of nations. The quantum of risk India faces doesn’t change…but it will have others sharing similar risks albeit at a lower level. If the men in khaki in Rawalpindi think scaring the important powers of the world is in their interests then, to use a phrase I heard from Arun Shourie (but attributed to Napoleon) we must not interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake.
So let’s join them in cheering the Pakistani military-jihadi complex on the successful launch of Hatf-4/Shaheen1A missile—incidentally a gift from the Clinton Administration—and encourage them to acquire missiles with ever greater ranges. (There’s a small question of whether China will sell them this stuff, but let’s not be curmudgeonly and discredit the scientific talent in Pakistan.)
Recently the third US-India Strategic Dialogue took place, and the relationship between India and Pakistan will be a key part of that dialogue, although I doubt anything of substance will result, as they are as likely to cooperate as the Palestinians and the Israelis. Then again, why should they? How can you cooperate with an opponent whose only goal is the absence of you, in the universe? As with most conflicts, it isn’t the populace that pose a threat, it is those in control: the religious extremists, the military, and the autocracy. Whether it is Iran, North Korea, or Pakistan, the people do not have freedom of knowledge, much less freedom of speech. Pakistan is notorious for allowing its religious minority to make policy and control the direction of the country, and that direction veers farther and farther from representative government of the people, for the people, and by the people.
India has had numerous incidents of terrorist activities, and most are attributed to Pakistan. We, the US and India, both have a vested interest in seeing Pakistan’s militant extremist removed from power and discredited. There is a small but vocal group of expatriate Pakistanis who desperately want to see Pakistan become a modernized and free country. I believe it should be the goal of every nation, but then I am an idealist.