Home > Random Thoughts > Ignore the Idiots, Focus on the Fanatics

Ignore the Idiots, Focus on the Fanatics

The fanatics first.

There has been yet another terrorist attack in Lahore today. While discussing the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, I had surmised that Pakistan had ceased to exist as a sovereign state. Every new attack serves to reinforce my opinion. In between these two, there was another terrorist attack at a police training centre in Lahore itself.

During the last attack, the coverage on Geo TV was peppered with comments about the attackers not being “real” Pakistanis. Nothing has changed since then. Not that any change was expected:

RAW agents in Taliban guise
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is with reference to Mrs Nasreen Khalid’s letter (May 22). For her kind information the Taliban were not the cause of these bomb blasts. The Taliban are true Muslims and a Muslim can never dare to do something like this. Actually our enemies and RAW agents in the guise of the Taliban are doing all these things because they want to snatch our beloved country from us.

Maria Javed Chaudhry
[The News]

The threat to world peace and stability from Pakistan-based terrorists warrants decisive action. The US must call Pakistan’s bluff about using the fear of an Indian attack as an excuse to not relocate Pakistani forces away from its Eastern border to the task of fighting the terrorists.

So long as the US continues to sit on the fence regarding the issue of forcing Pakistan to dismantle the terror infrastructure on its soil, Pakistan will continue to move on a path to eventual dismemberment. This is not a hypothetical scenario, but a real possibility that the world might one day (in near future) wake up to. And then, it will be too late.

And now, the idiots.

North Korea has embarked on a missile and nuke testing spree in recent days. It should be quite obvious that North Korea is not really asking to be attacked. Had they wanted to start a war, they would have done so without issuing warnings. Why? Because they know quite well that the US is unlikely to engage itself in another war while it is committed over the medium to long term in Afghanistan and Iraq. Other permanent members of UNSC are also unlikely to intervene militarily. The only two countries that North Korea would end up fighting against in such a war are South Korea and, possibly, Japan. If North Korea had the capability to fight a war against these two, it would have done so already.

But if North Korea doesn’t want war, what does it want? If you ask me, the answer is simple: more concessions. Years of more or less self-imposed isolation have resulted in pushing North Korea to the brink of starvation and complete breakdown (plenty of parallels with USSR on these counts, except with ethnically uniform people). These tests are desperate acts of a desperate regime.

Ignore it, and North Korea would be forced to come back to the negotiating table in due course of time. And then, it will perhaps be forced to stay. Meanwhile, it may not be a bad idea to get the UNSC to issue a “strong condemnation” and get countries to impose more sanctions. Not doing so will risk signalling that such acts do not have consequences, but starting a war is not a good idea either because it will lead to avoidable (in my view) destabilization of the region.

It could be, however, that North Korea has simply been waiting to develop a credible nuclear weapon and delivery mechanism before starting a war. I do not doubt that they are trying, but I doubt that they are anywhere close to achieving a credible deterrent. Stricter sanctions should help delay such an eventuality, while the world deals with other, more imminent, threats. And if North Korea starts a war, with or without a credible nuclear deterrent, then the international communicty would do well to help and support South Korea in every manner possible.

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