Poor Baluchistan- so close to Pakistan and so far from liberty.
But while the Baluchis do deserve and need our full sympathies, it might be possible that Indians- at least the Nationalists among us- are getting too carried away with our enthusiasm. In a way, the intellectuals are right- though not for the reasons they are suggesting.
One thing that is being forgotten within all the bonhomie these days is this- Pakistan is a failed state. With nukes.
Moderners often forget, even underestimate what nuclear power really represents. This is not merely confined to Indian Nationalists- most of whom are young and, as such, drunk with the headiness and invincibility of youth. The game of military brinkmanship being played by the highly educated, vastly experienced, and highly motivated generals of both NATO and the Eastern powers are playing right now put even the most gung-ho, war-loving Indian nationalist to shame.
It’s like the Cold War never even happened…
Frankly- the only person who has deserved, really deserved, the Nobel Peace Prize in history was Robert J Oppenheimer- if only for scaring this species into peace for 50-60 years. The story is fairly well-known in right-wing Indian circles, of course, if only for the Gita quote Oppenheimer used. The problem seems to be that few ever bother to consider the meaning of the words. Said words are not a boast. They are not a tribute to ‘ancient Indian wisdom’. They are not a prelude to victory or an ode to righteousness.
If there is one over-arching theme of the Bhagavad Gita, it is of the impersonality of Duty. It was immaterial whether Arjuna decided to fight or not, the War would’ve gone on with or without him. It was immaterial whether there is any cause to labour or not, to strive is the nature of existence. It was immaterial as to what the results of one actions are, to do one’s duty is absolute. And if one carried this eternal burden of interminable despair to the very end- one would see Truth.
‘I see you with blazing fire coming forth from your mouth, burning this entire Universe with your radiance. Thou are one, yet spread throughout Space and Planets and all within. All Worlds quake at thy wondrous and terrible form…My mind is perturbed with fear. No longer can I maintain steadiness or equilibrium… I see you, Lord, devouring all beings in all sides… covering all Worlds with thy effulgence, you are manifest with terrible scorching rays… I want to know about you, lord, for I do not know what thy purpose is…’
‘And HE said: I am Kala (Death/ Time), the destroyer of Worlds, embarked to destroy all creation.’
If tomorrow the Human species became extinct, it would make absolutely no difference to the Universe- or Brahmand. ‘The Warriors before you have already been Slain. You are simply the instrument I have chosen for this purpose.’
From the very beginning, no one- absolutely no one– doubted the power of nuclear weapons- so much so that the only fitting comparison to them Oppenheimer could think for them was the very idea of God itself. Back then- at no point of time had been there any doubt whatsoever- that they WOULD wipe out all life. During the Korean War when Mao was questioned regarding the prospect of nuclear warfare upon China by the UN (so much for Human Rights, lel), the only response he had was quiet acceptance: ‘Even if Nuclear weapons are so powerful as to destroy China or even the whole World, it would mean nothing to the Universe at large.’
Mao was the greatest nation builder in a century of great nation builders- Ataturk, Sankara, Nehru, Lee Kwan Yew, Stalin, Ho Chi Minh. He had been born in a shattered China- and he spent his life in bloody, brutal struggle to give his ancient nation strength. He took the most bitter, most divided, most cynical people in the world and have them cause. He cemented over the rifts of a thousand torn generations and forged a Chinese nation for a Chinese people. His shadow loomed over all Asia and entire nations quaked in recognition of their own mortality- and still do.
As the cliché goes- he did great things. Terrible, yes, but Great.
And his entire reaction to the mere idea of nuclear warfare was quiet acceptance of prospect of the extinction of the Chinese people.
There are enough nuclear weapons on Earth right now to turn it into a lifeless burning cinder. Truth is- we don’t even need 99% of them.
A few dozen- maybe even less- would be enough to turn the Jet Stream and the Upper Atmosphere into soup- upon which the World would begin to represent a Mad Max-loving nihilist’s dream- lots of sand and oil and space but too few people left alive to either go jaw-jaw or play war-war, as Churchill put it.
Nuclear weapons terrified practically every giant of the Cold War- Stalin, Mao, Kennedy- and these were men who had been in the blood and steel of the World Wars. Even at the height of the Cold War with half the World a glorified military camp, not once did either side press the button- such was the terror inspired by these god-like- nay- God weapons. And every day on Social media, there are armies of liberals and nationalists whining about the prospect of nuclear war with Pakistan. The World has steadily gone less and less rational since the days of the Cold War- and the Human Race faced the prospect of extinction every day back then. The lords and so-called leaders of NATO are intellectual pygmies. The Chinese have forgotten the meaning of Empire. The Russians drown in their own immoderate vastness. And Indians are degenerates.
The common refrain that MAD and the sceptre of thermonuclear war has ensured peace is the refrain of the Screwtape. These weapons should’ve NEVER been created, and now that they have been created mere game theory ensures that they WILL be used.
The creation of Nuclear weapons may have stalled World War III, but the entire theory of nuclear deterrence had been built on the idea of rationality of human actors and as Machiavelli tells us- ‘whoever builds on people, builds on water’. World leaders have forgotten the horror of these god-weapons. The military-age youth have mistaken the necessity of such weaponry for legitimacy of usage. The Islamists see nothing but just another ticket to their non-existent virgins ‘with breasts like pomegranates’, to quote a very popular preacher we hear of these days…
Even if there was a way to ensure the integrity of Pakistani military-controlled weapons, there is simply no method to address tactical nuclear weapons- as are being tested by the Pakistanis now- or the so-called Dirty bombs. Neither is there any method to address these issues at present. The idea of the much touted missile-defence is ridiculous; despite any and all successes under controlled conditions, there is absolutely no way to analyze how real-world ballistic missile detection and interception will happen. And given that the distant between Delhi and Islamabad can be covered within half a day in a fast car, the mere idea of ‘missile defense’- for missiles that travel far beyond the speed of sound- is an utter absurdity.
Even worse are the prospect of the so-called tactical nukes. First proposed as a last ditch resort by NATO if Warsaw Pact forces broke through the Fulda Gap, they seem to have become the go-to strategy of the Pakistani forces. These weapons are an active danger not only to India, but to the human race in general. In case of Total War- real total War, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the days of World War II- Indian defences along the border would be meaningless. There is no force on Heaven or Earth that can defend against tactical nuclear weapons- neither pillboxes nor bunkers nor tanks nor artillery. The use of even one would blight the soil for millennia and rend apart the very Pakistani soldiers who’d be invading- but these would be fanatic Islamists at any rate.
Most worrisome, though, and something we will NEVER be able to combat fully. The Pakistanis have already demonstrated an appetite for sea-borne terrorist attacks on India’s cities. Imagine how easy it’d be to sneak Nuclear weapons aboard a cargo ship or a yatch meant for an Indian port. Mumbai alone has a GDP equivalent to all of Pakistan; any loss would hurt us far more than it does them- and what if Islamabad plays coy as usual? “But it was a RAW conspiracy! But it was by non-state actors! But it was by bad Taliban!” Hell- what would even be the guarantee that such an attack would even originate within the Sindhu valley- and not in the defence meetings of a first-rate power or the private rooms of a particularly devout and motivated officer across the border?
Even proving anything would be a nightmare. India’s GDP would be gutted; a massive portion of its tax base (a mere 4% of the population) is based out of its big cities. Its defence systems will be ruins. Capital flight would’ve brought us to our knees. And it doesn’t even have to be a Pakistani nuke! At the height of the Cold War, the Soviets had over 15000 Nukes pointed at the West- 15000 God-weapons capable of ending time itself. One- even one- that might’ve slipped through their hands into ISI’s during the destruction of the Soviet Union represents a nightmare from which we cannot wake.
A common trend these days is that of ‘alternate’ global tourism; Western families sailing yachts around the World. They often sweep close to the pirate-infested waters near the Horn of Africa or the Straits of Malacca- and so cozened they are by the Western miasma of ‘Human Rights’ that to thwart them would be suicide for Indian forces.
A single hijacking and a single nuke secreted in the holds- and the Indian coast guard would be helpless!
Even then, there would be no lack of liberals pontificating for ‘Aman ki Asha’. Even then there would be no lack of condemnation by foreign Human Rights organizations if the Indian army sends but one bullet across the border. Even then, there would be, there is no lack of Jaichands within New Delhi and elsewhere.
Great Empires are not maintained by Timidity- and if there’s anything that has defined the Republic since its birth, it is utter and total timidity.
If Pakistan falls– for whatever reason, be it the prospect of Baluchistani independence or Islamist warmongering or even mere private corruption- there will be thermonuclear war. Desperate establishment officers, Islamist centres of power, ‘good’ Taliban- any of them would be a nightmare to face.
If Pakistan doesn’t fall– and instead, grows from strength to strength on the gifts of the holy river Sindhu- there will be thermonuclear war.
A successful Pakistan would merely serve to confirm their supremacist idea of domination over kaffir India- and encourage adventurism.
Whatever India does, there doesn’t seem to be any right answers. The Republic is thwarted at every stage- by the weakness of our economy thanks to decades of Socialist corruption, the fractiousness of its people thanks to Communism and Islamism, the lack of anything even resembling a National creed. The Americans have a dream of Manifest Destiny. The Chinese, that of the eternity of Heaven and Earth. What do we Indians have? Bollywood? Cricket? Absurd! Sachin Tendulkar was great but Sachin Tendulkar is retired and, even at his prime, Sachin Tendulkar would’ve inspired nobody to go to war.
The Middle class is content to be a herd of nameless drones in nameless offices across the land- and yet the military grapples with lack of officers and there are not enough entrepreneurs creating jobs. The study of English has become popular- and yet, as far as can be seen, vast numbers waste this learning not in study of the Classics and History nor in meditation over Mathematics and Sciences- but in meaningless debate over post-modernist nothings and contemplation of the bottom of a coffee cup in some posh urban cafe.
And the only comfort we do have?
‘Even if Nuclear weapons are so powerful as to destroy China or even the whole World, it would mean nothing to the Universe at large.’