A Lesson in U.S. Foreign Policy for India: With Friends Like Us …

by | Dec 24, 2001

India is beginning to learn what Israel has learned, brutally, over the past year: the U.S. State Department loves to betray our friends. It is now more than a week since Pakistan-backed Islamic terrorists shot up the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, killing 12 people and leaving the Parliament building pocked with bullet holes — […]

India is beginning to learn what Israel has learned, brutally, over the past year: the U.S. State Department loves to betray our friends.

It is now more than a week since Pakistan-backed Islamic terrorists shot up the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, killing 12 people and leaving the Parliament building pocked with bullet holes — yet India has so far received zero support from the nation supposedly leading an international coalition against terrorism.

Nor is it the first time these militants have struck since the United States formed its coalition. They popped into the news immediately after Sept. 11, when they issued a threat to shoot any Muslim woman caught without a veil in the northern Indian province of Kashmir. A few weeks later, they set off a bomb outside the Kashmir-Jammu state assembly. What did the United States do? We urged restraint, because we didn’t want to upset Pakistan. So India registered a complaint with Pakistan’s government — which did nothing. The natural result was that the terrorists broadened the scope of their ambitions.

The attack in New Delhi is as serious as terrorism can get. It was an attack on the very seat of India’s government, a threat to its existence as a nation. The attackers were members of two groups based in western Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. It’s not important to remember these names; just think of them as the Kashmir words for “al-Qaeda.”

The response from the government of Pakistan should sound familiar. It has asked for more evidence of the charges, expressing shocked disbelief that the terrorist groups it harbors would actually engage in terrorism. Pakistan’s more telling defense is the one summarized in a Dec. 14 Reuters report: “India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the guerrillas. (“Guerrillas” is the Reuters euphemism for “terrorists.”) Islamabad denies this, saying it gives moral, but not military, support to people it calls ‘freedom fighters.'”

In short, Pakistan has responded exactly the way it responded to Sept. 11: with stonewalling, lies, and sympathy for the terrorists. Yet the United States has taken its usual stand, familiar and habitual from years of urging Israel to surrender to Palestinian terrorism. We called for restraint on both sides and an end to “escalation.”

This is the same contemptible hypocrisy that the Israelis have encountered in America’s “War on Terrorism.” We attack Afghanistan, half a world away, because it serves as host to terrorists — then we tell Israel it cannot attack the terrorists just down the street. Even now, it looks as if we are about to urge Israel to re-embark on the disastrous Palestinian “peace process” merely because Hamas has ordered its terrorists to suspend their attacks “until further notice.” Israelis no doubt find it very reassuring to know that they won’t be slaughtered “until further notice.”

Now we are doing the same thing to India, urging them to allow an assault on their capitol — and demanding that they do nothing to expunge the source of that terrorism.

One would think that the first rule of foreign policy is to help, to support, to stand behind our allies — especially when their cause is identical to our own. But that is not the philosophy of our State Department. Why?

It would be easy to blame this on U.S. selfishness — that we are sacrificing India and Israel in order to support our own campaign against terrorism. But such a strategy is patently not in America’s self-interest. It undermines the moral basis of our anti-terrorism campaign, making a mockery of our justification for the war in Afghanistan. It also undermines our goal materially, allowing terrorist enclaves to flourish in Kashmir and the West Bank.

No, I’m afraid the answer is much worse: we are betraying India because we don’t have the courage to stand up for our own interests. Our military goal may be to wipe out terrorism in Afghanistan — but our State Department’s goal is to placate and appease our enemies everywhere else. And what better way to appease our enemies than to sacrifice our allies?

There is an easy way to force Pakistan to do the right thing, the same method we used in September: the threat of total destruction. Those who saw President Musharraf’s speech, when he agreed to let America operate from Pakistani air bases, will remember the atmosphere of raw fear and his repeated references to the “survival of Pakistan.” It is time to withdraw America’s protection, let him fear for his nation’s survival again — and then demand that he root out Pakistan’s terrorists.

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Robert Tracinski was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 2000 to 2004. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Mr. Tracinski is editor and publisher of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily, which offer daily news and analysis from a pro-reason, pro-individualist perspective. To receive a free 30-day trial of the TIA Daily and a FREE pdf issue of the Intellectual Activist please go to TIADaily.com and enter your email address.

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