And since I'm in a prognisticating mood, I'll further predict that the spark that
will ignite that particular region (Pakistan) will be Kashmir. Right now al-Qaeda
appears to be most active in Yemen, but I think eventually we'll hear more about
their activities in Kashmir. The problem in Pakistan is that the elite is
basically dedicated to democracy and depends, as the lesser of two evils, on the
military to protect the country from the Islamists, who are the real enemy to
democracy. However, when the military conducts sham elections, as just happened
(and in spite of their efforts have lost two provincial assemblies* to Islamist
parties, and seen the representation of Islamist parties in the national
parliament grow to the point where they are power brokers between the two
mainstream parties), it weakens the roots of democracy. Thus the cycle spirals,
downwards and downwards. I'm afraid we'll soon see an Islamist state with the
bomb, already tested and demonstrated in the Baluchi desert.

*Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier, iirc. -- in other words, the two
provinces bordering Afghanistan. Their capitals are Quetta and Peshawar,
respectively. Again, just going from memory, so I'm subject to correction.

My question is: why? It didn't have to happen this way, but every country
conducts their foreign policy in their own direct, short-term interests. One
could hardly expect otherwise. But what some see as my "anti-Americanism" is
merely pointing out that when a hyperpower conducts foreign policy in this way
(and again, why shouldn't they? The British, the Turks and the French all did
before them), it will have unforeseen consequences in the long run that will be
adverse not only to that country's interests, but to the world's interests,
simply because of the power they yield. Pakistan is a case in point. As early as
the first war over Kashmir, in 1971, the USA chose to back Pakistan, albeit
covertly, against India, even though India was (and remains) the world's largest
democracy (a messy one, but a democracy nonetheless). They did this, I think, for
ideological reasons. I can't even remember who was in the White House then.
Nixon? Ford? Whoever...but J. Nehru looked to Moscow for aid since it wasn't
forthcoming from the west (another case of the right wing creating a vacuum for
the left to fill, as with civil rights in the US). In all fairness, Nehru was a
nationalist and also a statist in any case, so was predisposed to look to Moscow
if he had to choose. The war forced him to choose. Since then the US has
historically backed Pakistan, even when Pakistan's ISI (their secret service),
patterned partly after the CIA and Mossad and the NSA, trained a cohort of
anti-Soviet fighters known as the "Afghan Arabs." This cohort, which took the
name "Taliban", meaning "teachers" or "scholars," iirc, came from all over the
Arab world, and even the non-Arab world, but never really were of much help to
the US or to Afghanistan in their fight against the USSR. At most several tens of
thousands were in Afghanistan, as opposed to what we now call the Northern
Alliance (a loose grouping of disparate elements, including war lords answerable
to no one but themselves), who had hundreds of thousands of well-trained
soldiers. It was they who defeated the USSR, not the Taliban. However, so as not
to dry up the funding, Pakistan kept making the Taliban look good, and the US
depended on Pakistan for information about Afghanistan (the US pulled out of
Afghanistan, iirc, in the mid-70s -- its embassy remaining empty until it was
blown up in the mid-90s, so it had little choice but to depend on Pakistan for
intelligence).

The West should have been backing India, not Pakistan, imo, despite Nehru's
policies -- India has moderated its centralist policies considerably over the
decades. But I think the current administration is too committed to the
single-power status model, as opposed to the multi-power model (see
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2002/01/schwarzlayne.htm) that I believe would
be in the USA's and the West's and indeed the entire world's best long-term
interests. As long as short-term interests are allowed to predominate, this
(multi-power) model will never happen. One saw this discouragement in action a
decade ago when Europe tried to take responsibility for its own defence, by
creating the EU strike force. The US insisted that it not duplicate anything NATO
(which the US dominates) does, effectively emasculating the force from day one.
It doesn't even trust Europe, let alone India. And many US intellectuals claim
Europe is indecisive and ineffectual. No wonder!

<off-the-subject rant> On a personal note, I visited NATO's procurement office
once, which is located, of all places, in a sleepy little town, an ex Luxembourg
army base, just west of Luxembourg City, and talked to three procurement
officers, including the office head. The office head was Canadian, the two people
who reported to him were U.S. All three complained that it was difficult for any
major procurement for NATO to go anywhere except to the US, and suggested that my
company seek a U.S. "big brother" to partner with if we wanted NATO business. The
US even intervened in small matters, like the replacement of the far superior FN
7.62 mm rifle that I myself trained on at Officer Candidate school back in the
70s (at CFB Chilliwack), with the M-16, because the FN was a Belgian rifle. That
was the only reason (the ammo wasn't compatible with the M-16, so one or the
other had to go). I kept hearing this complaint, even from USAmericans, who were
frustrated that superior technology from the French, the British, the Germans,
was being quashed by US companies operating through the US military attaché's
office in Brussels, located about 5 km west of Zavendam Airport, along a main
avenue that leads into downtown Brussels (I've been there, too). The M-16's now
been replaced by another US-designed and made weapon (The "C"-something; I can't
remember its name), which my son trained on when he did his training for the
militia. He said his superiors despise it. It jams in the cold, the rounds
tumble, instead of "rifle", and it depends on laying a "wall of lead" instead of
encouraging marksmanship. </off-the-subject rant>

Just one little warning about the article John references: the Guardian is a
notoriously liberal (and I use that in the US sense) newspaper.

"John W. Redelfs" wrote:

> http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,2763,834287,00.html
>
> It looks like Marc may be vindicated in his predictions that the Taliban
> will come to power in Pakistan.  Why we are planning a war against Iraq
> when the Taliban is coming to power in a nation that already has nuclear
> weapons is a complete mystery to me.
>
> John W. Redelfs                       [EMAIL PROTECTED]

--
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“The first duty of a university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not
technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we don’t want
a world of engineers.” – Sir Winston Churchill (1950)

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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