I guess the American media have to make a horserace out of the Iowa caucus, the preoccupation of recent news reports, but as a consequence a lot has been ignored, as if what goes on elsewhere is less significant for the American people. Consider the situation in Pakistan, a nation with which we are engaged in the war against the Taliban/Al Qaeda. It still seems to be on the verge of some kind of melt-down. Akbar Ahmed [Al Jazeera, Jan 2, 2012], a Pakistani anthropologist, seem to think the situation is serious. In his recent comment on the problems Imran Khan will face if he succeeds in becoming the Prime Minister there he describes the situation [with each point bulleted separately]:
- [Pakistan’s] biggest province Baluchistan, which comprises almost half its territory, is in a state of open revolt. Baluchis complain about government’s policy of “kill and dump”.
- An entire generation of journalists and professors is being systematically killed.
- The Tribal Areas of the former Frontier Province is a theatre of war, involving thousands of Pakistani troops.
- Suicide bombers terrorise Pakistan with impunity.
- There is no end in sight to the violence. . . . No one is safe. Kidnapping and killings are commonly reported.
- The tensions between the military and civilian authorities are barely kept under the surface and the two are often pulling in different directions.
- Add to this, the woes of the ordinary Pakistani facing unemployment, high prices, shortage of electricity, gas and water who sees his rulers plundering the country and sending their ill-gotten loot abroad and you have Pakistan today.
A nation in such an internal state of confusion and decay, holding nuclear power, engaged rather ambiguously in a war in which Americans put their lives at risk every day – this situation merit’s virtually no notice in the American media. Try as we might, we cannot avoid being part of an ever compressing world, in which what goes on virtually anywhere can have consequences elsewhere. And Pakistan’s woes bear directly on what becomes possible for the American government, whoever becomes its President this year.