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The US’s terrible twins — Pak and Israel

Tuesday, 20 July 2010 - 12:25am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

In a normal world, Pakistan would have been rapped on the knuckles for its display of bad manners during 'peace' negotiations with India last week.

In a normal world, Pakistan would have been rapped on the knuckles for its display of bad manners during 'peace' negotiations with India last week. Instead, its chief benefactor and guardian has come flying in with gifts.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton brings in her basket of goodies as much aid as she can get away with without making it look like Pakistan is being rewarded for its, what, encouragement of terrorism on its land, inability to deal with said terrorists, help to the Taliban in Afghanistan… have I left anything out? Attacks on India, perhaps?

But there’s no clear indication that India’s problems really bother Big Daddy America — apart from some mandatory lip service. And especially not when the perpetrator is its little, favoured problem child, Pakistan.

Two of the most frightening nations today are Pakistan and Israel. Both have a lot more in common than their apparent religious indoctrination would indicate. The US and the UK attacked Iraq with much less evidence than any schoolchild with access to the internet can gather against Pakistan.

Israel’s disgraceful behaviour with aid ships heading to Gaza attracted worldwide condemnation but not from the US. Other nations must respect international borders and treaties or get treated as rogue states except, of course, Pakistan and Israel.

Both are, strangely enough, almost mirror images of each other. They were born around the same time as nation states — 1947 for Pakistan and 1948 for Israel. They both use religious identity as their basis to create a nation — Islam for Pakistan and Judaism for Israel.

Ostensibly, Pakistan and Israel are on opposite sides of the fence because of the current face-off between Islam and the rest. Tied into the problem of Palestine is a general view that Islam and Judaism are somehow also at loggerheads.

Let us ignore history and fact for now. At face value, this “enmity” actually shows how close the two are. When Pakistan and Israel use religion as a form of national identity, they are actually using religion to further a cynical political end. The tenets of the religion are less important than the fact of having a religion at all.

Both claim to be democracies. Both have very strong and powerful secret service agencies which operate as laws unto themselves. Both take their armed forces very seriously. And both have learnt the fine knack of how to bleat constantly about being victimised.

There seems to be little doubt that as far as the current threat from Islamist terrorism is concerned, Pakistan is the fount. The Pakistan government claims that it also suffers, but it cannot deny that it encouraged and funded those who it now says has turned against it.

The US cannot completely take Pakistan on here because the formation of the Taliban with Pakistani help happened with US knowledge — when it was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. The terrorism monster thus unleashed has threatened the whole world, included those who once nurtured it.

Israel lies at the heart of the Middle East crisis which has threatened the world since the end of WWII. No peace-making attempt has led to Israel even acknowledging that Palestinians have rights or may even be human. As the problem has escalated and Palestinians have also taken to arms, the whole conflict has got caught up in the Islam-versus-the-rest argument and somewhere at the bottom is the world’s shame about the awful treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. Israel, through all this, has asked constantly for the world’s sympathy but then behaved as a law unto itself.

But the biggest problem of all is that both have the seemingly endless support of the most powerful country in the world. By encouraging Pakistan and Israel in their questionable and damnable activities and refusing to make them pay the price, the US has consistently put the rest of us at risk.

The US and its terrible twins — how in the world are we to survive them?

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