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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pakistan and the Gandhi Nobody Knows

Pakistan should scare us all a little more than it actually does.   If it weren't for Iran hogging all the attention, it probably would.  (For some reason, Americans never remember the US Embassy burning in Islamabad that occurred in 1979--an event at least as scary as the Tehran hostage crisis.)  After all, it is a huge country with unstable governance, nuclear weapons, and a permanent chip on its shoulder.   Pakistan always has to be "managed" by us.  Many people believe its intelligence service was wittingly harboring Osama Bin Laden.  The Maya character summed up Pakistan pretty succinctly in "Zero Dark Thirty," if you'll recall. 

So, what went wrong since 1947?    Here's a pretty good article from FP explaining that Gandhi and the Congress Party set it up to fail:  Why is Pakistan Such a Mess   This might be a good book to read.  Pakistan might be "exhibit A" to the argument that breaking up countries is not always a good idea.  (Unless of course you break up Pakistan:  see Bangladesh.)  

It is unusual to read a piece in the western English press that doesn't describe Gandhi as a Perfect Human Being.  Our image is of the saintly Ben Kingsley in the movie Gandhi.  He was a Hindu nationalist his whole life and a proud member of a caste system.   (Cognitive dissonance:  We worship Churchill in America, and we admire Gandhi, but Churchill hated Gandhi....?!?!)

This took me on a trip down memory lane to a piece written by the late Washington Times columnist Richard Grenier, which I consider to be a classic:  the-gandhi-nobody-knows  It's long, but it's worth the read.  You will never think about Gandhi in the same way.  It may even lead you to question the reality of other secular saints. 

Personal note:  I had a enjoyable evening chatting with Grenier years ago, which later prompted me to read his interesting book "Capturing the Culture."  That night I gave Grenier a lift home because his shoe had literally fallen apart and he couldn't walk.  Obviously a man more focused on other things than quality footware.
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