All the diplomatic language like confidence building measures and ministerial talks, foreign secretarial talks as well as awkard meetings at international conferences between our two leaders at the helm of affairs were shown the door under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif. They appealed to their respective public’s primal instincts of hope and faith. Even the years of systematic fermenting of mutual distrust between the public on either sides by their respective ruling classes was easily eclipsed by the euphoria caused by this ray of hope.
Had this succeeded, it would set a dangerous precedent. The contagious nature of such incidents could not be risked by the super powers of our time. What if leaders in other regions of conflict decided to follow the lead and sell peace on the basis of hope and faith rather than bartering on paper-terms, beckoning cold hard logic. Who knows, the bitter conflict between the theocracies in the middle east could have transformed into something more positive by now. Same with the two Koreas. Why go that far? Even the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute over Belgaum and the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka dispute about water flowing through the Cauvery could have been resolved.
Would this impending outbreak of peace have made the super power’s quake in their boots? After all, weren’t they the one’s to loose the most in the event of peace? If leaders around the world could mutually settle differences in such an honest and transparent manner, how would they be allowed to wield their political stethescope, prescription pills and in some cases even the scalpel. Isn’t the conflict between India and Pakistan (as well as the Koreas) a horrible mutation, a result of such an intervention?
It would seem that managing conflict in a distant land is the only way the super powers know how to maintain peace in theirs. Without this it would be difficult for the politicians to provide justification of their international super power status to their citizens. Also, how can they sustain the huge industrial military complex which had to be developed in order to attain their super power status. With peace in their land the only option to fuel this complex is by creating demand elsewhere. They have realized since long that the the suffering population of any region in conflict will force their leaders to boost it’s military defense. And whom do these leaders go to with the cash of their taxpayers? There is no surprise answers here. The super powers have, in essence, stumbled upon the genius of a plan to have foreign governments subsidize their arms race.
Movie buffs would like this parallel from a movie to illustrate another salient point. “The International” is, true to it’s name, an international crime thriller. At a particularly critical juncture in this movie the Interpol agent sits in front of an Italian weapons maker and in a moment of rare enlightenment, captured in poignance that is typical to celluloid, the weapons maker reveals that ‘the true value of a conflict lies in the huge debt it creates. Control the debt and you control the conflict. ‘. For the super powers, having the very same foreign governments now indebted to them, thus giving them another leverage – the financial one – to control this conflict, is the devilish genius of their plan.
8th August, 2010, Mumbai.