Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gilani declares "victory"

After the then JCS Admiral Mullen made his remarks about Pakistan's support for the Taliban, there was a bit of a diplomatic dust-up. Then, e.g., here,

Prime Minister Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani has claimed “victory” in the recent stand-off with the USA, saying he has received a message from Washington that America needs Pakistan's support to win the war on terror.

Mr Gilani made the remarks while addressing a gathering in Bili Wala near his hometown of Multan in Punjab province yesterday, amidst tensions between Islamabad and Washington over ISI-Haqqani network links.

“It is due to the all parties' conference as well as the unity of Pakistan's political leaders that the USA has sent a message that they need Pakistan and that they cannot win the war (against terrorism) without Pakistan,” he said.

“They have also distanced themselves from the statement of (former US military chief Admiral Mike) Mullen. This is the victory of the Pakistani nation, political parties and the government's policy of reconciliation,” he said.

He did not say when the message was conveyed to Pakistan.

With that backdrop, this morning I read Peter Singer's review of Steven Pinker's new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature

Peter Singer observes the following:

[quote]That morality can be grounded in some commitment to treating others as we would like them to treat us is an ancient idea, expressed in the golden rule and in similar thoughts in the moral traditions of many other civilizations, but Pinker is surely right to say that the escalator of reason leads us to it. It is this kind of moral thinking, Pinker points out, that helps us escape traps like the Cuban missile crisis, which, if the fate of the world had been in the hands of leaders under the sway of a different kind of morality — one dominated by ideas of honor and the importance of not backing down — might have been the end of the human story. Fortunately Kennedy and Khrushchev understood the trap they were in and did what was necessary to avoid disaster. [/quote]

I'm pondering right now whether one of the problems is that India and Pakistan are differently gripped by this morality "dominated by ideas of honor and the importance of not backing down", and that is one reason for the utter failure to meaningfully communicate.

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