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Leave from sanity

26 237 93

Heaping ridicule on President Trump and calling him crazy as a way to explain his threatening tweet might be cathartic. But is it an intelligent response to the imminent breakdown of Pakistan-US ties?

We have a unique ability to shut down our cognitive processes when we need them most. Trump has a well-deserved reputation of shooting from the hip. But on Pakistan being part of the problem in Afghanistan and not the solution there seems to be across-the-board consensus in the US and most of the world. Shouldn’t this be some cause of concern for us?

The instinct of defending oneself when under attack by someone larger is natural. But shouldn’t one stop to consider why the attack is being mounted, and if mindlessly taking on a Goliath will be in one’s self-interest? We keep rehashing the rhetoric of the innumerable sacrifices we have rendered to fight terror – as if to convince ourselves that we are a good lot. If the world isn’t buying into our narrative, is there a problem with the product we are selling or with the way we are selling it?

Our argument on why the US is mad at us is as follows: it is fighting a losing war in Afghanistan and needs someone to pin the blame on. There are other conspiracy-laced variants of this too. But the bottom line is that the US is pushing its security interest at the expense of ours and we have no option but to fight it out. Let’s break this down further. The US wants us to deny the Haqqani Network and the Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. It believes US-led forces in Afghanistan can’t gain advantage against the Taliban till such time that we are patronising them.

Our public response is that we have nothing to do with the Haqqanis or the Taliban. Privately, we argue that working with the Haqqanis/Taliban brings us leverage in a war-ridden Afghanistan where all other actors are tilting towards India. The linked argument is that we might not be able to bring the........

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