Better Late Than Never

The editors of the New York Times finally squeeze in a mention of the gravest news story of the day:

The current focus on North Korea’s growing arsenal obscures the fact that the most likely trigger for a nuclear exchange could be the conflict between India and Pakistan.

Long among the world’s most antagonistic neighbors, the two nations clashed again last week before, fortunately, finding the good sense to de-escalate. The latest confrontation, the most serious between the two nations in more than a decade, gave way to more normal pursuits like trade at a border crossing and sporadic cross-border shelling.

But this relative calm is not a solution. As long as India and Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of Kashmir — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying, consequences.

I think the editors have the wrong end of the stick on this. Kashmir is only a pretext. The root of the problem is that Pakistan is a country at all, is barely holding onto statehood, and has nuclear weapons.

That is not an accident. All countries with Muslim majorities barely hold onto statehood. That is true both for doctrinal reasons as well as persistent efforts at radicalization, mostly emanating from the Gulf. I don’t think that there is any permanent modus vivendi for India and Pakistan. There are only temporary cease-fires.

What then is to be done, other than waiting for nuclear conflagration? Start chipping away at the problems not starting with Kashmir but with the support for violent radical Islam In Paksitan being funded by Saudis.

9 comments… add one
  • Guarneri Link

    We tolerate the Saudis in large part because of oil, and the fact that its a world market. But if instead of an inane New Green Deal we (and Europe) pursued small scale nuclear, and domestic gas and oil, with the same zeal we would strip the Saudis of a lot of leverage. Then you could bend their behavior.

  • TastyBits Link

    With N. Korean nukes, Russian nuclear hypersonic ICBMs, and India & Pakistan ready to kick-off WW3, there may be a resurgence of “under the desk” drills. On the positive side, the nuclear winter will solve the AGW problem.

    Burn, baby burn.

    (The purpose for getting under a desk, table, or doorway is to avoid falling debris. This assumes that you have not been vaporized or had your eyes burned out.)

  • Gray Shambler Link
  • Jimbino Link

    The root of the problem is that both Pakistan and India are sectarian religious countries rather than secular democratic states. Religion poisons everything.

  • TastyBits Link

    And, they breed like rabbits.

  • steve Link

    “We tolerate the Saudis in large part because of oil, and the fact that its a world market.”

    We, kemosabi? “We” do the sword dance with the Saudis because we want them to keep pumping oil so that “our” economic program looks good. Unfortunately, while the Saudis did their part, the program is doing just OK.

    A bit OT, but what the heck. We have not eliminated every bad regulation on the books. We had the biggest tax cut in our history, maybe anywhere in the universe. We still didn’t make 3% growth. Wages for non-supervisory workers are still stagnant or negative. Trade deficits are still growing, and so is our debt. What next? I predict that the GOP/Trump will call for another tax cut. I realize I am going way out on a limb here making that prediction, so would be glad to se other predictions.


  • We still didn’t make 3% growth.

    What actually did happen further supports my policy preferences. The cut in the corporate income tax rate resulted in business investment above trend as well as repatriation of money retained abroad. The cut in the personal income tax rate did not result in consumer spending above trend or personal savings rate above trend.

    In other words the cut in the personal income tax rate was ineffective pump-priming.

    I would have preferred leaving the personal income tax where it was while cutting the business income tax more and adding measures to ensure that businesses used the additional revenues to invest in the United States and for no other reason, in particular not for stock buybacks. To whatever extent the Democratic leadership is allowing an anti-business mood to take hold among the rank and file Democrats, I think they’re wrong.

  • steve Link

    In my sentence above about regulations not should read as now. Otherwise, Think I pretty much agree while noting that the increase in business investment was not very large. Oil prices may have been a factor.


  • About two points—roughly 50% above trend is nothing to be sneezed at. It’s worth adding that it might well be that part of the increase in imports that some are complaining about could be a consequence of capital repatriation. And even if it’s small we need more of it not less.

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