The Corner

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Pakistan is not Canada


David Broder’s column on India and Pakistan today seems awfully naive. Broder happens to be in India right now, seemingly a good opportunity to get an up-close South Asian perspective on events in Pakistan. The trouble is that Broder takes Indian concerns about Pakistani democracy at face value. Broder says that “to gauge the impact here of the turmoil next door in Pakistan, Americans would have to imagine their own reaction to a military coup or the imposition of martial law in Canada.” Well, if we’d fought several wars with Canada, had opposing armies constantly massed at the border, been embroiled in a sixty-year dispute over the status of Minnesota, been to the brink of a nuclear exchange a couple of times, and were continually concerned about Ottawa’s nuclear targeting of New York and Washington DC, Broder might have a point. As it stands, his comparison, and his column, are awfully misleading.

Broder’s Indian friends are cleverly trying to get him to distance America from Pakistan, pulling out every argument they can think of to undercut any support we might offer Musharraf. Clearly Indians understand how to push an American journalist’s buttons a whole lot better than this American understands India’s strategic rivalry with Pakistan. In general, the American press during this crisis seems to me to be uncritically relying on self-interested South Asian sources.


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