2 Jun 2011

An Analogy on Pakistani International Relations

Reading Declan Walsh's article on Islamabad in today's Guardian, I am struck by the social system between countries.

As he observes, Pakistan's first nuclear explosion signalled 'it's entry into the global nuclear elite'. Yet having big bombs doesn't guarantee your social status alone.

There are many analogies, but let's go for the school yard favourite of mine. If a school boy pulls big punches, it does not mean he is going to pass his exams. Countries, and social status, is far more complex than this.

If it were just about the biggest bombs, Pakistan wouldn't have been embarrassed by America's brief operation to kill Osama Bin Laden, nor would they be disspirited by the snubbing of the international community.

Rather like the poor relative at a wedding, it is Pakistan's desire to be an elite that shapes how the others receive them. The aspiration alone singles them out for equal shares of sycophancy and snubbing.

And lo, the cracks in Pakistan's apparent delusions of grandeur begin to show. With the reduction of their army by Taliban bombers, the persistent threats from the same all the time and the posturing of the West in response all add up to one thing. If you want to play with the big boys, you need all the mercurial advantages you can get. Just guns won't get you anywhere.

There is a reason why Japan, China and India don't descend into this poor excuse for international relations; there is no point in trying to be accepted by 'the cool gang'. Instead they solder on as individual countries with individual aspirations that have no ideology imposed upon them from the West.

But Pakistan isn't in a position to discuss competition at this time. Attempts to compete with the trendy kids have resulted in a dire economy, little sustainability and no civillian spirit. Looking at the balance sheets, it appears the government thought they were running an army, not a country.

Pakistan would be well advised to spend less time and money desperately trying to be a super power and more on developing it's civillian infrastructure.

IMO, of course!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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