Wednesday, October 23, 2002

In reply to Ambu:

Correction, they are (possibly) the elected representatives of those who chose to vote and were not coerced or threatened into doing so by India's 'benign' security forces. Despite the lies being perpetrated by India's government and its media, most people there would rather not have anything to do with this state, its election or its politicians. It might potentially be suicide to want an independent state, but that's what they want.

Not necessarily entirely true, I think more people are leaving the violence behind them than at any stage in the last 10 years, and there is a genuine desire for change. An election did take place in Kashmir, with reasonable voter turnout, and whose fairness and genuineness has been validated, not just by the Indian media, but by the international media and independent observers. Sadly, however, it is not driven by any change in the desire for an independent state, but more because of the TINA factor. If
they want to bring any sort of normality into their lives, these elections looked like the only option that moved forward, there was no alternative.

I don't agree however, that the PDP is not representative of the popular will of the people of Kashmir. For all the coercion by the Indian security forces, there was an equal
amount of equally strong coercion by the militants, aimed at scaring people into not voting. I'd assume that the number of people who wanted to vote and couldn't is as large as the number of people who didn't want to vote but were forced to. To claim that the PDP only represents a section of the people who voted, and not all Kashmiris is simplistic and misleading, as well as being a viewpoint that doesn't take into account the sum zero impact created by the militants counter-threats. Keeping in mind that sum-zero effect, the PDP was still overwhelmingly chosen by the people in an election, that had a more than decent voter turnout, a turnout almost at par with the last US Presedential elections and the first round of the French general elections.

Why not bomb India while you are at it? If posessing nuclear weapons is a crime then all the permanent members of the Security Council should bomb themselves. The answer is that its not a crime (although double standards are a dime-a-dozen). Neither India nor Pakistan have signed the CTBT or any treaty affirming that they wont develop nukes (with good reason) and therefore have broken no law. Neither has North Korea because a sovereign state has the right to withdraw from any treaty that it signed in the past, and they have just done so. Iraq however, IS in breach of international law. It agreed to UN resolutions in return for a ceasefire in 1992.

I agree with the first part completely. I disagree with the US's right to unilaterally take armed action against a following an independent policy based on a preventive defence system, based on the assumption that at some stage these weapons could be used against them. If the same criteria were to be applied uniformly and fairly, every nuclear country in the world would be bombed, and it gives a North Korea or Iran as much right to bomb the USA as the USA has to bomb Iran.

I also agree that Iraq has been in contravention of UN resolutions in the past. However, it has been punished for it by the most effective and brutal embargo in UN history. Today, when Iraq offers UN inspectors unconditional access to all facilities including the Presidential palaces, what we should say is that yes, they were wrong, they were punished, and consequently they now appear to be turning the page and doing the right things, and it's now time to try and get then job done properly. If they break the terms of the agreement again, the UN will once again decide the appropriate punishment, and it is more than possible that there will be a military response if a global threat is perceived.

However, the US proposal calls for the right for any UN member (read the USA) to unilaterally attack Iraq if it perceives any breach in conduct or in the execution of the
inspections, without getting it cleared by the UN first. This trigger-happy desire to attack Iraq without waiting for world opinion, and possibly even in a situation where the rest of the world doesn't believe that a military response is warranted, is sheer vindictiveness.

The Blah