Current situation and the thief analogy

Last updated on Dec 5, 2008

Posted on Dec 5, 2008

This article from TOI has an analogy – and a brilliant one – of the situation between Indian and Pakistan and where US comes in.  It shows how, in the past few decades, India has landed in a situation of check mate against the chess laid out by Pakistan’s Army and ISI.  In this regional chess, India has really traded all its pieces for nothing!

Imagine your pocket has been picked. You see the young pickpocket running away but can’t chase him down with a sprained ankle. There’s
a constable on the other side of the road but he’s got a potbelly and you’ve heard that he is mixed up with criminals. Just then a police officer you know is driving past.
Seeing you’re crying yourself silly, he stops and listens to you sympathetically. “I’ve has been summoned by the boss,” he tells you. “If I find the chor on my way, I’ll catch him and get back your purse,” he adds helpfully. Meanwhile, the constable on the other side has vanished.
It’s a wretched situation. You can see the thief and yet can’t do anything about it. You only have a number of non-options and this leaves you virtually paralyzed. You curse your luck that the purse contains the month’s salary. Now magnify this crime a hundred times over.
It’s not just that you’ve lost your money. It’s a matter of your life and security. The killer has already mowed down hundreds and is coming towards you. You may have ways of stopping him but each option will come with scary side effects. You face the same paralysis-inducing dilemma, leading to a sense of helplessness.
That’s really the predicament of the government in the wake of the Mumbai carnage — it knows the killers, knows where they were trained, who were the trainers, their links with sections of the ISI, and much more. Yet it doesn’t know what to do next


The article goes into how the US is responding and how Pakistan is responding.. as well as what may be happening behind the scenes – preparation for another coup.  A coup, I believe is still a “good option”… .I am seeing a Taliban/Al Qaeda/Islamist takeover of Islamabad through the “friendly” groups within and out the Pak Army and ISI.  So, in my view, for India its more of a war of attrition.. but for Pakistan its close to the end of the road!!  One thing will prove CRUCIAL – the Nukes.  And Israelis and Indians should be thinking seriously about that.  US can’t care less.

Ask any top government official and he or she will say, “We want outcome, not statements.” But they don’t really know how to secure that outcome. Should it turn to the doubtful constable — in this case, the Pakistan army — for help? Not really. Should it insist with the friendly officer — in this case, the US — to make his boss wait and catch the thief first? It’s of no use, he won’t.
So, India waits staring at the various non-options, waiting for a bright idea to strike it. Meanwhile, the thief is at the safe distance, from where he is now thumbing his nose at you.

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