This Could Get Ugly
November 17, 2011: India and Pakistan have agreed to eliminate most of the prohibitions against trade. For decades, the two countries sharply limited trade, which was especially harmful to the economies of border areas. The new trade policies are the result of recently resumed peace talks, which were interrupted in 2008 after Pakistan-based Islamic terrorists, attacked Mumbai and killed nearly 200 people.
When Pakistan agrees to move against the Taliban in the tribal territories, they often know exactly where to go. That's largely because of new reconnaissance and targeting pods available for their F-16 fighters over the last few years. The pods enable pilots to zoom in to see individuals, and if they are carrying weapons, or zoom out and see what is happening over a large area. The U.S. will sometimes supply satellite or UAV photos indicating where Taliban or terrorist camps are. What angers the United States is how frequently the Pakistanis refuse to go after terrorist targets. But Pakistan has been more willing to hit terrorist targets this month, after the Pakistani Taliban refused to take part in peace negotiations, and instead announced that there would be more terror attacks, and not just in the tribal territories. The Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was badly injured by an American missile attack last year and is out for revenge. The Americans are constantly seeking a second shot at Mehsud. This is particularly important because Mehsud has made himself popular with many of the Pushtuns on both sides of the border because he wants to eliminate the Durand Line, a colonial era border between Afghanistan and Pakistan that was never accepted by many tribes that straddle the border.
The U.S. suspects that Pakistan has changed its nuclear weapons security measures since the U.S. raid last May that killed Osama bin Laden. The new procedures emphasize trying to hide the locations of the nukes from U.S. intelligence. This is to make it more difficult for a larger American commando operation to seize Pakistani nuclear weapons. The U.S. fears that pro-terrorist Pakistani officials may be convinced or bribed to let terrorists have nuclear weapons or radioactive material (for a "dirty bomb.")
The U.S. is not the only foreign aid donor who is fed up with Pakistani support for Islamic terrorists. An increasing number of donors are pressuring Pakistan to suppress terror groups, or lose foreign aid. Pakistan has a difficult time refuting these charges, because so much evidence of this cooperation has piled up over the last decade. The presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, where he hid out for years, was particularly revealing.
In Pakistan, Karachi remains the source of most terrorist violence in the country. Not so much bombs, but ambushes and assassinations of political rivals. Increasing numbers of border patrols troops were brought in over the last few months, and the political terrorists were killed, captured or forced off the streets. Winter weather is slowing down terrorist activity up in the Afghan border areas as well. But Pakistan is still much more violence than India.
In Kashmir, Indian security forces continue to kill or arrest the remaining Islamic terrorists. The Pakistani border remains tighter than it has ever been, keeping out most terrorist reinforcements sent from Pakistan. The renewed peace talks between India and Pakistan have largely ignored Kashmir. While still a volatile issue in Pakistan, years of unsuccessful terrorism in Indian Kashmir has left Pakistan without many options other than to move on.
The Indian offensive against Maoist rebels in eastern India is getting a lot of bad publicity because the police battalions, unfamiliar with the areas they are operating in, are treating civilians badly, and being outmaneuvered by local Maoist groups. The Maoists also gain followers because the government offensive has not been accompanied by much improvement in the social justice situation. Local gangsters and corrupt politicians are seen as friends of the government, and are not being pursued for all the harm they do to local people.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.