Michael KreponThe Flood

The clearest thinking and writing I’ve ever done was under the influence of chemo drips. The prospect of death can be life affirming… or not.

The Soviet Union was on a chemo drip for the decade before it died, but few took serious notice. Sovietologists in the United States were too threat-oriented to recognize grave weaknesses. And those who benefitted so much from the perks of state in the USSR were, for the most part, disinterested or incapable of reversing negative trend lines. To be sure, the Nomenclatura knew that new energy was badly needed at the top, which accounted for the elevation of Mikhail Gorbachev. But the rot was so far advanced by that time that Gorbachev’s attempts at reform unhinged the state.

All of the nuclear weapons and fissile material accumulated by the Soviet security apparatus – stockpiles so large that no keeper of this treasure had an accurate count – helped not one bit to change this outcome. These surpluses were more than sufficient for deterrence, but worse than useless for what ailed the Soviet Union. Nuclear weapons could not reform a culture of corruption, political institutions or the agricultural sector.

Pakistan now faces an existential crisis that requires, for starters, clear thinking.

A country in desperate need of water has been deluged by it. A political system that justifiably receives low marks for governance in the absence of crises could not cope with a natural disaster of this magnitude. President Asif Ali Zadari, now emblematic of what ails Pakistan, chose not to let the onset of flooding interfere with his travel plans to France, where he reportedly checked on his real estate portfolio, and Great Britain, where he planned to choreograph a public appearance by his son, recently graduated from Oxford, to help secure another family inheritance, one of Pakistan’s major political parties. This seminal event was shelved in lieu of a fund raiser for disaster relief. [Product endorsement: Readers can make earmarked charitable contributions to help Pakistan recover from this disaster via the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders.]

For Pakistan, as well as India, the future now holds a million mutinies. Indian security forces are used to managing mutinies; Pakistan’s security forces are not. With an economy in decline, croplands and power grids destroyed, and a ruling class that does not believe in load sharing, micro-level revolts over land and electricity are likely to pile on to the macro list of Pakistan’s woes. Sectarian violence has not taken a holiday during Ramazan and the flood; militant groups are threatening U.S. aid workers, and the hollowing out of Islamabad’s writ over the country is accelerating. As if this weren’t enough, the pride of Pakistan – members of the national cricket team – have been credibly accused of fixing matches.

Disease gets a blank check when existential threats do not prompt a re-thinking of root causes. Pakistan’s military leaders now face very hard questions, the result of poor decisions made at earlier, critical junctures. Pakistan’s Kashmir policy, which was once viewed as a low-cost way to keep India off-balance and foster national unity has done far more damage to Pakistan than to India. Military takeovers have stymied political development without promoting sound governance. The Army’s expansion into economic domains has restricted economic growth and entrepreneurship. [Ayesha Siddiqa, in Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy (2007), estimates that Pakistan’s military accounts for 7% of the nation’s GDP; runs one-third of Pakistan’s heavy manufacturing; owns 59% of all rural, arable land and 65% of it in Punjab.] It is hard for Pakistan’s military to prepare to defend national territory when it is trying to run Pakistan’s government, agriculture and economy.

The cost of defending Pakistan would be significantly less if Pakistan pursued reconciliation and economic trade with India, but movement along these lines in the past has been stymied by assaults on iconic Indian targets by young men trained and equipped in Pakistan. New Delhi’s political leaders should have the wisdom to understand that seizing and holding Pakistani territory would be like trying to swallow a porcupine, but continued mass casualty attacks by militant, Islamic groups based in Pakistan beg the question of New Delhi’s continued forbearance. India’s armed forces have the responsibility of developing punitive plans and are acquiring the capabilities to execute them if given these orders.

Pakistan’s military is therefore caught between a rock and a hard place. The conventional balance is tipping more and more in India’s favor, which means relying increasingly on nuclear weapons that, if used, would be Pakistan’s ultimate disaster. (In the midst of current travails, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Zamir Akram, reaffirmed his country’s veto on starting FMCT negotiations.) Militant groups remain a double-edged sword. The Army is taking on one group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan that has blown up mosques, markets and military installations, at significant cost. Other outfits, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its parent organization, are inconvenienced only after major explosions in India. They are poison to Pakistan’s political and economic development, posing a threat to the state that Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned — but they are also likely to become the Pakistan Army’s allies in the event of an Indian attack triggered by their actions. The longer this dilemma continues, the harder it becomes for the Pakistan Army to address. Taking over governing functions would only add to GHQ’s headaches, but it is once again evident that Pakistan’s political leaders have done well for themselves and poorly for their country.

So what, in current circumstances, does it mean to defend Pakistan?


  1. FSB (History)

    Thank you Michael for an thought-provoking post.

    You say:

    “The Soviet Union was on a chemo drip for the decade before it died, but few took serious notice. Sovietologists in the United States were too threat-oriented to recognize grave weaknesses.”

    I believe the same now applies w/r/t Iran.

    Regarding Tehrik-e-Taliban and the rise of other militants in Pakistan, it is impossible to analyze the situation without confronting the fact that US actions in the GWOT has made the situation in Pakistan much worse.

    As Graham Fuller, the CIA station chief in Kabul for many many years, writes:


    “The situation in Pakistan has gone from bad to worse as a direct consequence of the U.S. war raging on the Afghan border. U.S. policy has now carried the Afghan war over the border into Pakistan with its incursions, drone bombings and assassinations — the classic response to a failure to deal with insurgency in one country. Remember the invasion of Cambodia to save Vietnam?

    — The deeply entrenched Islamic and tribal character of Pashtun rule in the Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan will not be transformed by invasion or war. The task requires probably several generations to start to change the deeply embedded social and psychological character of the area. War induces visceral and atavistic response.

    — Pakistan is indeed now beginning to crack under the relentless pressure directly exerted by the U.S. Anti-American impulses in Pakistan are at high pitch, strengthening Islamic radicalism and forcing reluctant acquiescence to it even by non-Islamists.

    Only the withdrawal of American and NATO boots on the ground will begin to allow the process of near-frantic emotions to subside within Pakistan, and for the region to start to cool down. Pakistan is experienced in governance and is well able to deal with its own Islamists and tribalists under normal circumstances; until recently, Pakistani Islamists had one of the lowest rates of electoral success in the Muslim world.

    But U.S. policies have now driven local nationalism, xenophobia and Islamism to combined fever pitch. As Washington demands that Pakistan redeem failed American policies in Afghanistan, Islamabad can no longer manage its domestic crisis.

    The Pakistani army is more than capable of maintaining state power against tribal militias and to defend its own nukes. Only a convulsive nationalist revolutionary spirit could change that — something most Pakistanis do not want. But Washington can still succeed in destabilizing Pakistan if it perpetuates its present hard-line strategies. ”


    The increasing number of militants in Pakistan are a direct consequence bad US policies in response to 9/11.

    Ahmed Rashid has written the same:

    “Despite US military aid, anti- Americanism has flourished in the army, public opinion, and the press and television, fueled by the idea that Pakistan was being made to fight America’s war, while the Americans were unwilling to help Pakistan regain influence in Afghanistan. The US is accused both of helping India gain a strong foothold in Kabul and of declining to put pressure on New Delhi to resolve the Kashmir dispute. Bush’s signing of the nuclear deal with India last year was the last straw for the Pakistani army. In military and public thinking, Pakistan was seen as sacrificing some two thousand soldiers in the war on terror on behalf of the Americans, while in return the Americans were recognizing the legitimacy of India’s nuclear weapons program. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons got no such acceptance. ”




    Some time ago William Dalrymple reviewed Rahid’s book Descent into Chaos in NYRB


    He wrote:

    “hese events dramatically illustrate Ahmed Rashid’s central contention in his brilliant and passionate book Descent into Chaos. Throughout the book Rashid emphasizes the degree to which, seven years after September 11, “the US-led war on terrorism has left in its wake a far more unstable world than existed on that momentous day in 2001”:

    Rather than diminishing, the threat from al Qaeda and its affiliates has grown, engulfing new regions of Africa, Asia, and Europe and creating fear among peoples from Australia to Zanzibar. The US invasions of two Muslim countries…[have] so far failed to contain either the original organization or the threat that now comes from its copycats…in British or French cities who have been mobilized through the Internet. The al Qaeda leader…is still at large, despite the largest manhunt in history….

    Afghanistan is once again staring down the abyss of state collapse, despite billions of dollars in aid, forty-five thousand Western troops, and the deaths of thousands of people. The Taliban have made a dramatic comeback…. The international community had an extended window of opportunity for several years to help the Afghan people—they failed to take advantage of it.

    Pakistan…has undergone a slower but equally bloody meltdown…. In 2007 there were 56 suicide bombings in Pakistan that killed 640 people, compared to just 6 bombings in the previous year….

    In 2008, American power lies shattered…. US credibility lies in ruins…. Ultimately the strategies of the Bush administration have created a far bigger crisis in South and Central Asia than existed before 9/11.

    It is difficult to disagree with any of this. Eight years of neocon foreign policies have been a spectacular disaster for American interests in the Islamic world, leading to the rise of Iran as a major regional power, the advance of Hamas and Hezbollah, the wreckage of Iraq, with over two million external refugees and the ethnic cleansing of its Christian population, and now the implosion of Afghanistan and Pakistan, probably the most dangerous development of all.

    Ahmed Rashid’s book convincingly shows how the Central and Southern Asian portion of this tragedy took shape in the years since 2001….”


    Lastly our own Pentagon knew about this trend in 2004! Why did they not change course in the GWOT? Why do we still carry out counter-productive policies that ultimately harm Americans — and a lot of muslims?

    Here is a Pentagon document from 2004:



    “American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.

    American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.

    • Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies.

    The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.

    • Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that
    “freedom is the future of the Middle East” is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.

    • Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim selfdetermination.

    • Therefore, the dramatic narrative since 9/11 has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars. American actions and the flow of events have
    elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims. Fighting groups portray themselves as the true defenders of an Ummah (the entire Muslim community) invaded and under attack — to broad public support.

    • What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide movement of fighting groups. Not only has there been a proliferation of “terrorist” groups: the unifying context of a shared cause creates a sense of affiliation across the many cultural and sectarian boundaries that divide Islam.” ”


    Another CIA officer has written on the misunderstanding of why we were attacked on 9/11, and why our response has been harmful to the US and Pakistan. The CIA’s ex-head of the Osama bin Laden desk explains the consequences of our misguided policies —


    “–More than a trillion dollars in federal expenditures on war and counter-terrorism with no end in sight.

    –The establishment of a widespread presence of radical Islamists inside the United States and a now-increasing tempo of planned and attempted domestic attacks.

    –The steady undermining of Pakistan as a stable, cohesive nation-state, a process which raises concerns about the security of that country’s nuclear arsenal.”


    So the internal workings of Pakistani militias and their relation to India cannot be examined without zooming out a bit and examining what we have done and how that has contributed to the failures in Pakistan and the rise of extremism there.

    What can _we_ do? Respond to terrorism with heavy law enforcement, not the military as suggested by Andrew Bacevich and Hillary Mann Leverett: e.g.


    • Sir_mixxalot (History)

      Thank you — the Defense Science Board report is excellent. First time I’ve seen that in a govt document — excellence.

      I suggest we all read it:

      “Thus the critical problem in American public diplomacy directed toward the Muslim World is not one of “dissemination of information,” or even one of crafting and delivering the “right” message. Rather, it is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none — the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam. Inevitably therefore, whatever Americans do and
      say only serves the party that has both the message and the “loud and clear” channel: the enemy.

      Arguably the first step toward mitigating and eventually even reversing this situation is to better understand the values and worldview of the target audience itself.”

  2. Azr@el (History)

    With all do respect, what is Pakistan? Would you die for it? Would anyone die for it? The Pakistanis, i.e. all the constituent elements of population that make up Pakistan, are willing to die for Islam, because for them the alternative: living under Hindu nationalist, is far less palatable. But I’ve never come across a Pakistani who speaks of Pakistan in the sense of nation, a state yes, a nation never.

    The military of Pakistan faced with this crisis of primary loyalty has had no choice but to step into the gap and create institutions that prop itself up in the absence of a nation state. Pakistanis may not hold a loyalty to the concept of Pakistan, but a vast chunk of the population, Punjab, does recognize the legitimacy of the Pakistani military. The flooding, which hit the core recruitment grounds of Punjab, and the abysmal response time may undercut this legitimacy but many Pakistanis simply have no other choice to ward off the chaos of a general dissolution save for the military.

    With respect to India, it is not a regional player; hamstrung at home by a growing insurgency, loss of rural legitimacy, endemic corruption in North, it is merely reacting to regional events, like a wind gauge. India is incapable of formulating a coherent foreign policy over any practicable span of time. At best if it is able to prevent a north-south split as the rural insurgency intensifies; that would be a miracle, anything more and I fear you made need to get a few more gods involved.

  3. irshad (History)

    1 – Force India and Pakistan on to the negotiating table regarding Kashmir and resolving this thorny issue for once nd for all, even if the Kashmiris agree to become independent from both, like the way the USA has forced both the Isrealis and Palestinians to sit and talk.

    This will drain the attractiveness of poor Paksitani males to join the “Jihad” against India in kashmir

    2 – Encourage grass root democratic groups and parties to challenge the status quo of the Zardaris, Sharifs, etc. and increase political participation

    3 – Revise and revamp the education system and ensure everyone has got access to it and also encourage setting up Polytechnics to train people in specific areas

    4 – Clamp down on corruption – e.g. arrest Zardari!

    5 – If there is peace in Kashmir, this should reduce the need of maintaining a large army – so cut back military spending

    6 – Force both India and Pakistan to renounce the use of nukes and in to the NPT

    7 – Work to reduce the foreigh debt

    8 – USA & Nato to negotiate a peace in Afghanistan and withdraw, otherwise, militants will continue to believe in their divine right to expel the “infidels” from Muslim land and hence udnermine central govt.

    9 – Greater rights for ethnic groups and minorities and allo adequate resources to them, e.g. Sind.

  4. CL (History)

    Pakistan’s economic security would be vastly enhanced by reforming their tax code. The Asia times has a useful discussion of the problem (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KK20Df03.html) which boils down to the fact that some of the richest individuals and industries in Pakistan are tax-exempt or can get away with declaring “no income” because tax enforcement is toothless. As a consequence the government is entirely dependent on external handouts from the U.S., borrowing, or further taxation of their poorest and their dwindling middle-class both of which shoulder the burden of financing the state.

    It is, just as is Greece, an illustration of how “trickle down economics” can fail and imperil state security by sowing disaffection among the poor and deficits at home.

  5. George William Herbert (History)

    Practically? Either modernizing Pakistan out of its current morass – in the social improvements and economic improvements and political improvements sense – or coming to a peaceful endpoint with India, which would take half the external and internal stress off, and let them deal with the problems without a complete makeover.

    Odds of either of those succeeding in the near to mid term? …

  6. neel123 (History)

    @ krepon,

    In spite of all that you have described about the current state of Pakistan, the bottom line for you Americans is, you desperately need Pakistan to survive as a viable state, as it is the most useful tool in American Eurasia strategy.

    So, keep pouring in the billions of dollars to keep it from collapsing. And if possible, take a fresh look at the American policy of ambivalence on Pakistani state sponsored terrorism in the region.

    My advise to you would be, not to waste time speculating India’s future. India will chart its own destiny, regardless of what you Americans would wish.

  7. Magoo (History)

    Michael, my compliments on a thought provoking analysis that has generated meaningful responses. My only quandary is – why do you always draw India into an exposition of the US-Pakistan travails? I fully agree with Neel 123’s conclusion, provide whatever succor that the US may feel fit to bolster their strategy with Pakistan, but “not to waste time speculating India’s future. India will chart its own destiny, regardless of what you Americans would wish.”.
    This has already been demonstrated in Delhi’s pursuit to generate a ‘nuclear deterrent’; its rapprochement with Iran; the passing into Law of the ‘nuclear Liability bill; and its refusal to provide military forces to bolster Washington’s demands in Iraq. Each of these policy decisions were based on Delhi’s unwavering efforts to safeguard its own national interests – US national interests notwithstanding.

  8. MarkoB (History)

    These are all good observations and the link with Russia and nuclear security can be made even tighter, I feel. Pakistan got caught up in the third world debt crisis and international organizations, largely controlled from Washington, did what they do best (esp in the 1990s); use the debt crisis to enforce neoliberal structural adjustment on Pakistan. This has been done in the usual Latin American mode, i.e. in alliance with a rapacious local elite that benefits from rising inequality. During the Great Recession this has been repeated, with Pakistan having to adopt contractionary macroeconomic policies (like Greece), according to Dean Baker. Islamic extremism in Pakistan, partly, follows on from a Washington-Islamabad elite alliance going back to what appears to be your favourite dude, Ronald Reagan.In Russia in the 1990s society was smashed by the harsh neoliberal “shock therapy” programmes supported by Washington, the IMF etc. Doubtless this was not good from a nuclear security perspective, although you will struggle to find references to this dynamic in the work of Matthew Bunn etc. Some things, like fleecing the poor to serve the rich, just have higher priorities. Keynes pointed out that social democracy is good for peace. It’s also good for nuclear security, with apologies to Joe the Plumber.

  9. Mark Lincoln (History)

    The Soviet Union was only capable of putting 100,000 men in Afghanistan, right on it’s border; while we had put 500,000 men in Vietnam on the other side of the world.

    Yet the hysteria of the Committe for the Present Danger led to Ronald Reagan backing his ‘Freedom Fighters,’ now known as Al Quaeda and the Taliban. Those forces were financed by pumping funds through the Pakistani ISI and basing those units in the Tribal Areas of Pakisan.

    The same sort of mentality is still at work, where we fund the ISI and fight the consequences.

    Yes, the greatist nuclear threat to the world is Pakistan and has been for decades.

    While the US wishes stability in the region, it’s actions feed both sides of instability.

    Crazy is as crazy does.

    • George William Herbert (History)

      Pakistan is literally only a nuclear threat to India. And, really, entirely defensively – they have no delusions about any offense against a multiple times larger neighbor.

      And it’s really all over Kashmir, and India’s having intervened in splitting Pakistan and creating Bangladesh as an independent country. Mostly the latter… I don’t blame India under the circumstances, but Pakistan’s perception was that India invaded them and broke their country apart, which would be pretty traumatic to anyone, much less someone who perceives Kashmir as having been the equivalent of that at the two countries moment of founding…

      And India got nukes, and started flexing its muscles, in response to China getting nukes and flexing *its* muscles…

      Gordian knot.

    • Alan (History)

      And the Indian occupation force in Kashmir is something like 500,000, and the number of deaths there is something like 4 times those in Iraq.

      Not to mention that India is now one of the biggest investors in Afghanistan and strongest supporters of Karzai, and are widely held to be supporting the Pakistani Taliban’s fight with the Pakistani army/government. Hence Pakistani support for the Afghan Taliban.

      Kashmir is fought out on both sides of Pakistan now. If the US want to settle down the region to the point where they can get out, it will be impossible without settling Kashmir first.

    • FSB (History)

      Why is it so hard for the US to press for a referendum of what the Kashmirs themselves want to do?

      a. Join Pak
      b. Join India
      c. be independent

      That is the fairest thing I can think of.

    • neel123 (History)

      @ George William Herbert,

      You have correctly observed that Pakistan-India-China tangle is a gordian knot.

      My qusetion to you is, what is the fu**ing business of the Americans in this regional conflict ? Will it not be better to leave it for the three involved, to work (fight) it out ?

      You may say that Al Qaeda is a good reason, but that is only a pretext, an excuse to meddle in another part of the world, you know that better than anyone else. How long do you think you Americans can get away with this policy of throwing your weight around ?

  10. FSB (History)

    I have to agree with you. Not sure if you read Coll’s book “Ghost Wars” — radicalization of the tribal regions implicates the CIA, the Saudis and the Pakistanis.

    I thought you may like how the CIA printed Korans to radicalize the muslims (p. 104 Ghost Wars on google books)

    The root of militancy in Pakistan has nothing to do with islam or the failure of the tribal administration system and everything to do with foreign meddling and greedy Pakistani officials with their own pet projects.

    If we weren’t so hyper-paranoid about the Soviets (who, as Krepon says were anyway on “chemo-drip”) then we could have had smarter policies.

    The raises the question if we are again being hyper-paranoid about Iran, terror (new regions of terrorism produced by US “anti-terror” policies: East Africa, Yemen, East Asia, and counting).

    Again, I can only suggest we follow the sound advice of Andrew Bacevich and Hillary Mann Leverett: e.g.


    and others who have actual experience in the field like Fuller and Scheurer quoted in my post above.

    Anti-terrorism is not a job for any military, of any nation.

  11. irshad (History)


    “The Soviet Union was on a chemo drip for the decade before it died, but few took serious notice. Sovietologists in the United States were too threat-oriented to recognize grave weaknesses.”

    Why do you think this applies to Iran?

    Do you really think the Islamic Republic is nearly on its way out?

    (sorry Michael for diverting it to Iran!)

    • FSB (History)

      Why? Since Iranian regime is surviving by being a police state and was nearly overthrown a few months back. It’s economy is crap.

      Most definitely Iran is no possible threat to the US or Israel.

      Here is a recent CRS report:


      quote: “There continues to be no evidence that Iran has diverted any nuclear material for a nuclear weapons program.”

      So why the threat?

      Since nuclear material diversion to nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices is needed to report Iran to the UNSC under Art 19 of its CSA, that referral was wrong. The “international community” is in the wrong.

    • Scott Monje (History)

      I was going to let this go by because it wasn’t really the topic of the post. But American Sovietologists didn’t foresee that the Soviet Union was falling apart ten years before it happened because it wasn’t. It was stagnating, it was throwing about 25% of GDP into the military, and it had other serious problems, but it wasn’t falling apart. It could have schlepped along for a long time the way it was. It was Gorbachev who destroyed it. He evidently thought that if a centralized command ecomony stopped receiving orders from the center, it would become a market economy; instead, it became a centralized command economy that didn’t work at all. He topped that off with half-baked reforms that gave factory managers incentives to canabalize and sell off parts of their state-owned factories and allowed people with connections to borrow $1 million, buy up oil at subsidized domestic prices, and sell it abroad for 200-300 times as much. (That’s where the oligarchs came from.) Having created economic chaos, he then allowed people to vote for the first time. The result was that the Soviet Union fell apart, but I find it difficult to fault American analysts for not foreseeing that the system was suicidal. (Some may want to note that Ronald Reagan and SDI don’t play much of a role in this saga either.)

    • Scott Monje (History)

      Sorry, I mean “canniballize.”

    • Scott Monje (History)


    • FSB (History)

      btw, it appears that most of the “international community” supports Iran’s position now:


  12. irshad (History)


    i respect your views a lot, however I think you point on the “people” tried to topple the regime after last years elections is wrong and not true.

    Certain sections of the population went on to the street to protest at the news that Ahmednejad re-election as they believed Musovi won – these people at that time were not protersting against the system – only after Khamenie’s intervention did things change, and that movemenet was given a name – “Green movemeent” – which has evolved and changed over time as to what it actually want.

    Millions of people from the middle and working class did not protest against Ahmednejad or the system, as they are happy with that.

    I will refer you to http://www.raceforiran.com which covered this topic in muche more details.

    In terms of economy – that could be said about a whole host of countries in the Middle East and across the world – Pakistan been a clear e.g. as explained by Michael.

    BTW, Michael, I pray you are getting better

    • FSB (History)

      Irshad —

      I actually agree with you that the “Green Revolution” was not as big a deal as it was portrayed to be in the West. It was mostly the upper classes and the urban residents.

      Nevertheless the regime is jittery, lacking real legitimacy, resorting to totalitarian methods, and a centrally planned economy, more or less. The last is probably the most dangerous. e.g.



      The regime is ruling with an iron fist but is unsustainable. The sanctions do not help. Thus my comparison with the Soviets. It is probably also true of much of the middle east and Pakistan — I believe we will see major changes in the next 2 decades in this region.

      Iran must have a much more open economy to function properly but that is difficult to do with a central elite who wants power over everything — but maybe they can pull it off like China. However, I bet against it.

    • MK (History)

      Many thanks. Have passed four CT scans with flying colors.

    • Sir_mixxalot (History)

      Irshad, regarding whether Iran should be considered a serious threat, you may also be interested in an Opinion piece being carried by the Christian Science Monitor:


  13. Alan (History)

    As I know you are all dying to know, I am delighted to report that Pakistan have just beaten England in a cricket match in London tonight.

    Led by the irrepressible Shahid Afridi, a Pashtun from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Great stuff.

    • FSB (History)

      Are we sure there was no fixing in these matches?

  14. M A Hameed (History)

    It is shocking that Krepon, despite being quite familiar with Pakistan, makes several outlandish statements:
    a) He claims that the army “owns 59% of all rural, arable land.” Where did he get this absolutely wrong figure?
    b) He gives an impression that Pakistan has been refusing to have good relations with India for no visible reason. Has he never heard of the Indian occupation of Kashmir?
    c) He seems to be quite ignorant about Tehrik Taliban, Pakistan, which is organized, armed and funded by the CIA, Indian RAW and the Israeli Mossad. Its only objective is to destabilize Pakistan.

  15. RAJ47 (History)

    FSB wrote of referendum in Kashmir? Why only Kashmir? Why not referendum in J&K which incls Jammu, Rajouri, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, POK, NA and the Aksai Chin and areas illegally ceded by Pak to China?
    The first requisite for plebiscite in J&K is pulling out of Pakistan Army from POK to incl GB and NA. Will Pakistan ever say yes to a pull out?
    What the Pak, ISI, Islamic separatists and other anti-India elements want is that we separate Kashmir from rest of the J&K in all our discussions.
    BTW, I sincerely hope all Pak nukes and the uranium and plutonium stockpiles are safe and sound.
    What is the damage in Naushera army ammunition depot? Anyone can throw any light on it?
    What about the Hyderabad nuke depot? I hope the contents are safe?
    Who is doing the damage assessment?
    Gen Kayani already has his hands full, to think of taking over the government as suggested by MQM and many others.

    • FSB (History)

      Superb idea. And similarly in Assam also.

  16. neel123 (History)

    @ FSB,

    And in Balochistan and Tibet too …. !

    • FSB (History)

      And Texas and CA! 😉

Pin It on Pinterest