Atanu Dey On India's Development

Why Pakistan is Useful Just the Way it is

The Acorn says that now is the time to drop trade barriers with Pakistan.

Pakistan’s economy is in a tailspin. Since the second last thing that the international community wants in Pakistan is an economic meltdown, Friends of Pakistan are coming together to provide emergency foreign aid.

The “Friends of Pakistan are “Britain, France, Germany, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Italy plus the United Nations and the European Union.” Among these are nations — US, China, the Arab states, France, Britain — that give aid to Pakistan. The military component of the aid is what Pakistan uses to initiate and fight bloody wars with India. India, a desperately poor country, cannot afford these costly wars but it has to fight them because the Friends of Pakistan want that India bleeds. Pakistan is the instrument.

I can see the reason why the economic meltdown of Pakistan is certainly not in the interests of the Friends of Pakistan. The biggest dagger stuck in India’s rib would be pulled out and with it will disappear the prospects of selling arms to India, of keeping India engaged in 1,000-year jihads which Pakistan regularly declares against India. The Friends of Pakistan more certainly do not want Pakistan to fail. You too would get worried if the pit bull you have trained for years to attack suddenly is in danger of dropping dead.

The Friends of Pakistan have an interest in keeping the conflict between India and Pakistan alive. Why do I say that? I use the revealed preference argument. Basically it says that by freely choosing something, you reveal what you prefer. If you have the power to choose a “Pakistan Friendly to India” but instead choose a “Pakistan as a Sworn Moral Enemy of India”, you have revealed that you prefer that. I take it is obvious that the Friends of Pakistan could have easily enough told Pakistan that it should stop its belligerence towards India and concentrate on economic development. But they do not and that is why I believe that they have an interest in keeping Pakistan dependent on their money because Pakistan does their bidding.

Absent the conflict, the Indian subcontinent will develop differently and could in fact become economically prosperous and consequently exert an independent influence on the world. That independent influence could potentially alter the current power structure. As it is, controlling China is out of the question. They have had to make space for China. But they will be damned if India also becomes powerful.

Here’s how I imagine the Friends of Pakistan reasoning:

“Sure, there is a lot of talk in India about India becoming a ‘super power.’ (snigger, snigger.) We are fine with India deluding itself into thinking that it is an economic superpower just because it has a lot of software coolies and call center operators. Good for them. It keeps them distracted.

“But let’s not forget that without Pakistan as a mill around India’s neck, India could have a decent shot at actually developing. We cannot afford the disintegration of Pakistan. To keep Pakistan in business is not such a costly affair, in any case. We’re rich enough to chip in a few billion dollars and they will do what we want them to do. The generals are not very expensive anyway. If we had to keep the civilian population happy, it would have been more expensive. But this is much cleaner. We buy the generals and give them shiny new fighter planes and even help with getting them a few nukes to jerk off over. In turn, the generals have the politicians eating out of their hands, and rule the starving population with an iron fist.

“Now let’s just pull together, shall we? The last thing we need is Pakistan disintegrating. We are not always on the same side of the table. But on this one we are as one. Even China needs to be — has to be — on our side. China especially sees the need for containing India. For the greater good, we all, we the Friends of Pakistan, have to make sure that we give just enough to keep the pit bull alive. It should be kept hungry. That dependence on us keeps it obedient to us and savage against India. Remember, not too much though. It should be hungry and mean, not fat and lazy.

“We have plied Pakistan with lots of military hardware. The economic collapse of Pakistan would be disastrous because the same hardware in the hands of the factions within Pakistan would be totally useless against India. It bloody defeats the bloody purpose. That cannot be allowed to happen.”

So yes, I do understand why Pakistan’s economic meltdown is not a good thing for the Friends of Pakistan. But is it good for India?

Now, India is not an enemy of Pakistan, as far as I can tell. From Mohandas to Jawahar to Inder to Atal to Manmohan (the sweetest name of all), they have been kissing Pakistan’s behind to make nice. Sadly, they all got knifed in the back for all their kissy-kissy.

Pakistan defines itself in opposition to India and has made India its mortal enemy. That is nothing that Pakistan has much of a choice over since it is the most important part of the ideological foundation upon which Pakistan was created. The moment Pakistan decides that it wants to be friends with India, it commits ideological suicide. That is not permitted although a battle against an infidel state in which Pakistan itself dies is ideologically permitted. Suicide bombers and those who get killed in battle against infidels do go to paradise.

Anyway, so back to the question: Is the meltdown of Pakistan good for India? My thesis is that it is. It will weaken the state that has sworn to destroy India — and if it cannot do it in one fell swoop, it will do it with a war of a thousand cuts (over a 1,000-year jihad, I presume.) So if Pakistan were to stop existing as an entity and fracture into a number of small warring states, it would be good for India.

What about the nukes? Did you know that the US was not born yesterday. Sure it did not actually give Pakistan the nukes as a Christmas gift. It merely allowed Pakistan to have them. And Pakistan’s possession of the nukes is at the pleasure of the US. Anytime that the US doesn’t want Pakistan to have them, it will bloody well take them away.

What having a big destabilized country on India’s western borders? Well, to begin with, India is not exactly having a fun time with a “stable” Pakistan, is it?

But I want to know how can one tell the distinction between a “stable” and an “unstable” Pakistan from an Indian point of view. Is it that a stable Pakistan wages wars against India once every 10 years and an unstable Pakistan wages wars every 10 months? How is one sure that a “stable” Pakistan is not more dangerous for India?

So back to the point that The Acorn raised. Should India liberalize trade with Pakistan? My answer is no. Not just that, my answer is that India should have NO trade with Pakistan. Trade with Pakistan is not practical, it is immoral, and last but not the least it makes no economic sense.

I should explicitly state that I have the greatest sympathy for the people of Pakistan. Caught between the devil (an ideology) and the deep blue sea (the powerful advanced industrialized countries who use it as a tool), they have little hope of escaping pain and misery. No wonder so many are willing to die and kill for the promise of a virgin-filled paradise. I wish it were otherwise but such is life.

It’s all karma, neh?

Related posts:
Dollar Auctions and Deadly Games.

The Looking Glass War.

  • http://acorn.nationalinterest.in Nitin

    Atanu,

    I make a distinction between stable relations and peaceful relations.

    It is possible to achieve stability through the use of instruments and shock absorbers. As for peace, well, that requires a lot of change in a lot of places among a lot of people, and as you point out, there is little reason to be sanguine about it.

    The problem is that because most people conflate the two, we end up without having any meaningful “instruments and shock absorbers” that can help manage stability. Trade is a very good one for several reasons.

  • sagarone

    The meltdown of Pakistan is good for India for another reason as well. Internal squabbling among the residual states formed by the disintegration of Pakistan will result in a reduction in cross-border terrorism and a reduction of material and ideological support for our homegrown terrorists, if not stopping it altogether.

  • http://the-redpill.blogspot.com vakibs

    Friends of Pakistan are not necessarily Enemies of India.

    We Indians need to grow up and stop looking at our back every single moment. Nobody is out here to get us.

    Agreed, we have been raped and pillaged for several hundred years. But the world is changing.

    In the current era, nobody has a dire need to keep India poor. If we are poor, it is of our own choosing (you will agree with me here :) . It is not because of Pakistan. In fact, most Pakistanis are dead tired of terrorism, and they would like to have friendly normalized relations with a prosperous India. This is why we should encourage an economically strong and stable pakistan – the best bet to have a democratic state there.

  • http://www.sundarmail.com Sundar

    Atanu,

    Failure of Pakistan and disintegration into multiple countries will also be a jolt to Arab world especially UAE and Saudi Arabia. They pump in lots of money, if not more than the West.

  • anuj

    I agree, India shouldn’t take any unilateral steps to increase trade with Pakistan.
    If despite receiving billions of dollars in aid from the Americans and help in fighting the cancer of terrorism, Pakistani public, army and politicians still hate the Americans more than the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
    Then, why would Indo-Pak trade, persuade the Pakistanis to change their minds towards the dark skinned Hindu banias, who they once lorded over.

  • pankaj

    India should not take any unilateral steps for friendhship or trade with pakistan,as they are taken as a sign of weakness,pakistanis think rightly that indians are cowards.If a unstable pakistan is able to make such mischief what will happen when it becomes a rich country.