India today countered the renewed call by US for resumption of talks with Pakistan, asking why military action was resorted to against Iraq and Afghanistan instead of dialogue to resolve the crisis confronting the two countries.
….He was asked about remarks made by US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher in Washington that “violence will not solve Kashmir’s problems. Dialogue remains a critical element in the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan.”
There’s a lot of justice in these remarks. Just as Ronald Reagan insisted that Britain and Argentina should settle the Falklands contretemps via negotiation but then launched a preemptive strike against Grenada a year later, George Bush seems endlessly dedicated to talking out world problems ? unless they happen to affect the United States. India’s dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir has been simmering along (or boiling over) for half a century now, but when Iraq reappeared on W’s radar screen he decided that six months of diplomacy at the United Nations was more than any Christian man should be asked to bear.
Yesterday I criticized Erwin Chemerinsky for suggesting that illegal U.S. behavior toward prisoners at Guantanamo might encourage Saddam Hussein to violate international conventions. But this is a case where the criticism is on a bit firmer ground. Extreme thugs like Saddam don’t much care what the world thinks of them, but democracies like India do, and when they see that the United States feels free to disregard world opinion it’s just one more nudge in the direction of disregarding it themselves.
If talking is good for India and Pakistan, then talking ought to be good for the United States and Iraq, and it ought to be good for Israel and Palestine. If it’s not, then we have no right to lecture India that violence will not solve their problems.