Red dog/white dog

Anatol Lieven GPF2010

Anatol Lieven GPF2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The USSR was the red dog; the US is the white dog. From Pakistan, A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven.

“And indeed, the view of the mass of the Pakistani population on Afghanistan was summed up pretty well by Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, leader of one faction of the JUI:

If a dog fell into your well, would you remove the dog or would you empty the well? Once a red dog fell into the Afghan well, and the international community helped to get the dog out. Now, a white dog has fallen in, and what are they doing? Trying to empty the well, one bucket at a time. Haven’t they learned anything from Afghan history? But our people, the Pakistanis, support those who are trying to remove the dog.”

Pathan facts

帕斯顿人 / Pashtun People

帕斯顿人 / Pashtun People (Photo credit: Tianyake)

From Pakistan, A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven. The Pathan tribe in Afghanistan represents about 40% of the total Afghan population, and they are a sizeable minority, about 20 million, in Pakistan. Most Pathans live in the contiguous area separated by the Durand line which is the western border of Pakistan. The British created the artificial Durand line in 1893.

“The religious theme has therefore long flowed together with tribal yearning for freedom from authority–any authority, but above all of course alien and infidel domination. Or, as a Pathan saying has it: ‘The Afghans of the frontier are never at peace except when they are at war.'”

“As in Somalia, all the elements would seem to be in place to create a modern ethno-linguistic nation-state; and yet the Pathans like the Somalis have never generated a modern state-building nationalism; and have indeed played a leading part in tearing to pieces whatever states have been created on their territory.”

And these are the people we are trying to help with our nation building in Afghanistan. Time to withdraw completely.

India, Pakistan and Kashmir

Import from 26 July 2008 English:

Import from 26 July 2008 English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pakistan, A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven is an excellent introduction to the subject, and I recommend it highly. But no one book is adequate to explain the complexities of the Indian subcontinent, so don’t stop there.

Some experts believe that the border between India and Pakistan is the most dangerous place on the planet because of the dispute over Kashmir where both sides have nuclear weapons. Since the partition in 1947, the question of who owns Kashmir has been an intractable one and three wars have already been fought over the question. I cannot offer a step-by-step solution, but I do think that the ultimate solution or goal must be reunification of Pakistan and India, undoing the partition, and subsuming the Kashmir question. If Pakistan and India are reunited in one country, the ownership of Kashmir becomes a moot question.

Bangladesh is not part of the Kashmir problem, but I believe that it too should reunite with India to form one nation on the Indian subcontinent, not two or three as exist now. With global warming raising ocean levels during the present century, I believe that Bangladesh will be better able to cope with flooding from the Bay of Bengal as part of India than it would by itself. The victims of flooding in Bangladesh will need somewhere to go, and Bengal seems to be the most logical place.

I am not suggesting that the process of undoing partition and reunification will be easy, but I am suggesting that it is the only viable long-term goal.

Charity

Anatol Lieven GPF2010

Anatol Lieven GPF2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charity (zakaat) is one of the five pillars of Islam. Good Muslims are required to give 2.5% of their income to charity as good Mormons are required to give 10%. In Pakistan, A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven I was surprised to learn that pakistan has one of the highest rates of charitable giving, 5% of GDP, of any country in the world.