How to get India and Pakistan to sit down and talk.

I’ve heard on the news all day that Pakistan wants discussions with India over their present situation. Russia is offering to host a summit, but India is declining. Given the fact that the entire world will feel serious repercussions from a nuclear war between the two nations, shouldn’t we (every nation) step in and force them into dialogue? Do we have too much to lose to just sit back and wait? The humanitarian disaster of an estimated 17 million people destroyed should be enough of an impetus, not to mention the geo-economic, environmental, and political impact of such an event.

Could the world place India and Pakistan inside of an economic bubble, shutting off all commercial and financial interaction with the world outside that bubble? Would the immediate enaction of that plan be enough to get the two nations to open discussions? If initial discussions occurred, could the world continue sanctions until the two sides came to a long term agreement of peace?

What nations do you believe would denounce such a united world effort for peace, and on what grounds? It is rather heavy-handed, does the situation warrant it? Are there any nations which stand to gain from the aftermath that would result from a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan? North Korea perhaps, feeling precedent had been made, might jump over that long toed line at the DMZ? Iraq may take the opportunity to steal some land it’s had its eyes on, cause a little devastation and try out their own weapons of mass destruction?

Hmmm, too many questions for one thread?

You do have a lot of questions in the thread, but then the issue is a very complex one with many questions to be answered.

2 things:

  1. I think the reason that it is so hard for the nations to reach some kind of agreement is because their problems are much more deep-seated. It’s as if their anger has been increasing since the partition in the late 1940’s, and now its time for “the pot to boil over”.

  2. I think there are many countries that stand to gain large sums of money from a nuclear war. There is no shortage of countries in the world that are eager to offload some weapons for some serious cash.

Although both countries are very tense, it seems unlikely that they will enter into a war, both countries not only know the amount of lives that stand to be lost, but they would both be crucified by the rest of the world for using weapons with such massive capabilities.

So would crucifying them before they destroy themselves and disrupt the rest of the world be legitimate? Are there quarrels between nations that are so bad that the rest of the world has to give them something painful in the here and now to think about? A nuclear exchange seems short sighted at best, fatalistic at worst, for a government to consider. Even if one nation “wins” a nuclear war with the other, they will most likely be severly dealt with by the rest of the world. Why wait until millions are dead and the environment is fucked?

Why are the people living in Kashmir not allowed to decide their destiny for themselves? Why do both nations oppose this, they being a democracy themselves? Do these voters really believe that land is worth all they are willing to risk over it? Are their governments representing them the best they can, or are their feathers just too ruffled to stand down without some outside influence?

Would world sanctions give them both a way to ‘save face’ so they can begin talking? I realize their differences go all the way back to their creation as nations in 1948(?) and that they are fed up with each other. Perhaps they do need to duke it out, but not nuke it out. The issue goes beyond these two nations. What if Israel and Palestine were considering this? What if other nations reach this point in the future? There will only be more and more nuclear capable governments in the future. Is the world just supposed to but out of these types of affairs, and suffer the consequences of someone else’s aggression?

Just a note, Pakistan is not a democracy. In 1999 General Musharraf led a military coup overthrowing the democracy and suspending the constitution. The world factbook at is a good place to look for that info.

And as for war, my understanding is that yes, the citizens support the government on this. India has suffered numerous terrorist attacks, one of the recent ones actually at their capital building. IIRC one terrorist actually made it to the door of the Indian Parliament.

Of course Pakistan is willing to go to a negotiating table, they support the terrorist attacks on India. Avoiding open conflict is to their advantage, not to mention the fact that they’d probably lose even if the war didn’t go nuclear.

Suddenly people seem to think that Pakistan is our friend, when really if you were to go after terrorist nations Pakistan would be one. They recognized the Taliban government and lent them training and support. Now I’m not saying we should invade Pakistan, just that we should realize who are allies are.

It should be pointed out that Musharref may not be totally in control of the situation. There are reports that al-Qaida is involved in the terrorism in Kashmir, with the explicit goal of starting a war. In that case, there no one to ‘talk’ to.

The only thing that will probably diffuse this is for Musharref to agree to disconnect a military response from India’s attack on the terrorists in Kashmir. And I don’t believe he can do that.

This is a really tough situation.

The main problem with the current crisis is that there just isn’t enough in it for the powerful Western States to commit themselves to any significant intervention. The spoils just aren’t there (apart, of course, from arming both sides to the hilt with conventional weapons as the UK is still doing). Also, it is properly a matter for the United Nations, however, without the will of the ‘Big 5’ and particularly of the ever gung-ho United States the Security Council cannot do a great deal. This is a point of real concern given that the threat posed to international peace and security in this crisis is far greater than that posed by Hussain in Iraq or al-Quaida in Afghanistan. You may wish to question the true motivation for any intervention in foreign affairs past or present.

Sanctions (which the Security Council would have to authorise) would, as usual, be a mistake. Ensuring compliance is a costly and time consuming business and in any case the citizens of both nations would bear the impact not the elite groups causing the problem. Just look at Iraq - it still trades (legitimatly and otherwise), the “troublesome” leadership is still in place, still rich, still powerful and sanctions have only crippled the general population which is increasingly hungry and disease ridden. Sanctions are mainly a political tool used for “drawing lines in the sand” and suchlike, “you’re either with us or against us!” (yawn).

Should “we” step in and force dialogue? As mentioned it is a matter for the UN Security Council to determine and resolve all threats to international peace and security, the competence of which is compromised by political realities. However, it is worth reflecting upon the history of other nuclear States. Would the US or USSR have tolerated anyone “stepping in” during the Cuban Missile Crisis? At the time the threat of nuclear warfare was a greater possibility than that posed by India and Pakistan today. Moreover the US is the only State to have ever used such weapons (remember Japan? Not even an apology!" and furthermore the US has recently confessed that it is prepared to attack Iraq, Iran, Sudan and N. Korea (all non-nuclear powers) with pre-emptive nuclear strikes. Point is, who are we in the West to tell anyone anything?

If the Security Council isn’t strong enough to deal with it alone (and it isn’t) who should “step in”? Does anyone have that right? It is really a matter for those nations who are close enough to be caught up in the direct consequence of any nuclear strike more than it is any concern of the West, for whom foreign intervention has rarely had little to do with morality. Western intervention, should it become likely, will draw criticism from the developing world and be denounced by many in the muslim and Arab nations. Such nations are increasingly concerned about the self determined jurisdiction of powerful Western States and fear that their own day in the spotlight will come when it suits Western interests.

The real solution to the problem lies in denying both India and Pakistan any claim to Kashmir, which could, if only the outside world would support it become a small State in its own right. No one pushes this idea too far and the mainstream media passes over any real opportunity to discuss it.

Also, be wary of reports that focus heavily on issues of terrorism. This conflict has been going on for years and years but it is only recently that terrorism has become a significant issue. It is subtefuge aimed at drawing a line between acceptable terror and non-acceptable terror. Fact is, both States are terroristic and our governments and media will eventually come down in support of the side which is most congenial to Western interests. Attempts to bring in al-Quaida complicity should also be viewed with cation (though not necessarily dismissed).

Finally, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. There will be no nuclear war (unless, perhaps and only perhaps, Pakistan suffers devastating losses in a conventional war). Though some level of conflict is likely, if not certain, both countries (particularly India) want too much to be a part of the wider international community to let things get too out of hand. Also, though both countries have nuclear weapons they are not in the same league as those held by the US or any other nuclear State (even Israel). Devastation, while considerable at a local level, would not endanger the world at large.But things won’t go that far. It just won’t happen.

They have a constitution, a parliament, and just recently had a direct election to confirm Musharraf’s position as president. I think your point though was, if the military could assert itself through a coup before… it could do it again, right? Plus the chilling news that their military back in '99 had equipped nuclear warheads without the consent of the president.

They would have had no choice but to tolerate it. What would they have done, forced other nations to buy their goods and make other nations sell their goods to the US and USSR? Would they have gone into every other nation and stocked their shelves with their goods? I know I’m being simplistic here, both the US and USSR might have been very upset at the world for taking such a stance, or, they might have woken up earlier from their mad race. Did you catch my point about giving the nations an avenue to save face? What do you think about it? Is it not enough?

Again, the threat of world sanctions would give both sides a way to back down without losing respect from their populaces, wouldn’t it? Kind of like ‘the team’ breaking up a fight between the quarterback and the center. We pull them off of each other, then the coach makes a new rule that says any teammate who comes to blows with another teammate will immediately be thrown off the team. Now the quarterback can say, “man, I’d kick his ass if I wouldn’t get thrown off the team for it, but what can I do? Guess we’ll just have to settle this some other way ( rickin frackin grumble grrr ) .”

So let’s assume that this current situation never comes to boil, no nukes are exchanged. It’s bound to happen again sometime in the future, do we ( the world ) have a plan in place to deal with it? I’m guessing not. Is the common world opinion that nuclear wars are none of their business? If the underlying opinion is that any nation that initiates a nuclear exchange will become a pariah afterwards, why not just come out and make that the expressed collective statement? Charter a resolution? Make it perfectly clear what the consequences will be beforehand.

I understand that most of their nukes are less than 200 Kiloton capacity, compared to the hundred or so Megaton variety that we have. I am less concerned with the devastation from a Pakistan-India nuclear war as I am with the precedent it will set.

Ha, my stance here is funny when I stop and think about it. When I was in the 101st and we were training in the California desert at NTC in '98, I was pulling guard duty manning the 50-cal post. Someone had written on the ammo can, “No NBC(Nuclear, Biological, Chemical weapons), Fight like a Man” . Underneath that I wrote, “Use NBC, Fight like a God!!!”

It’s amazing what a pacifist I’ve turned into on this issue. They must have been putting 'roids in the water or something. Or maybe now that I have a wonderful girlfriend and I am so close to finishing my Bachelors degree, I just don’t want my future getting fucked up by a bunch of nimrods.

Whatever happened to that beautiful New World Order everyone was so scared of, I was really looking forward to it.

Yes I understand the need for someone to create a face saving opportunity for both sides. The point is that the developing world does not particularly like or trust Western powers (especially US and UK) whom they view as hypocritical and self serving, which is about right (not that many 3rd world regimes are much better). To be succesful the West and particularly the US would need to either offer some incentives (reluctant to do so) or intervene directly (unpopular and no personal gain).
Sanctions or the threat of sanctions could provide some incentive for both sides to back down, but this has seldom worked in the past and such a move would require widespread support to be effective. Sanctions do not work and previous cases have shown the States concerned to be dismissive of such steps and dig in their heels. Anyway there seems little international support for such a route. Furthermore any attempt to pursue widespread sanctions without UN Security Council approval would be illegal and further undermine its already weak (outside of US and to some extent UK influence) authority.

This really is a matter for the Security Council which, in view of the gravity of the situation, should be doing a lot more. The fact that it isn’t further shows that the US (which is torn between short term specific goals with Pakistan and long term wider goals with India) is reluctant to get overly involved.

Dialogue is the key (independence for Kashmir would resolve this mess), but, as mentioned, without incentives (positive or negative) to both sides niether State will take much notice of the unpopular West. You’d think China would become more involved, but I’m not (yet) aware of their position or role in all of this. Other threads are addressing this issue with a greater degree of knowledge than I have.

NB during the Cuban Missile Crisis there is little evidence that either the US or the USSR did tolerate any significant outside interference. The allies and clients of both sides did little more than offer their support for their chosen superpower and attempts to mediate were handled dismissivly or rejected. Even back then (particularly the UK and Europe) most nations were heavily dependant upon the investment, resources and security that the superpower rivals offered / forced upon them.

I’ve stated a number of times that I did not expect this to be a unilateral action by the US, but rather involve ** the entire world, or the UN at least**.
Why does the UN Security Council’s inaction reflect a reluctance of the US? There are fourteen other nations on the council. I say it reflects on Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Russian Federation, Singapore, Syrian Arab Republic, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Columbia, Guinea, Ireland, and France to the same degree. I see only two or three “Western Powers” on that list and the entire UN is certainly not synonymous with “the west”. Once again the US gets blamed for not doing anything, when there are other nations perfectly capable of getting off their asses and acting. All it would take is for one of them to bring the matter before the council, they don’t have to go to toe all on their own.

I guess all of the world’s leaders back during the Cuban Missile Crisis couldn’t see beyond their noses. What the hell was the point of lending support to either side when nobody would have survived the global conflagration that would have ensued had the Russians not stood down? “You go USA! After the earth cools down we’ll run some string over there and get some tin cans and talk about how you kicked some ass!” I just can’t believe how our leaders are so willing to gamble EVERYTHING like that. One of these days somebody is going to call somebody elses bluff and push the button. Then for a few nanoseconds everybody will stand there going “H…” (oly shit)

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