In search of common humanity


In search of common humanityI woke up this morning to the news that Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, had directly accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the insurgents who attacked the US Embassy in Kabul last week.

The New York Times called it “the most serious charge that the United States has leveled against Pakistan in the decade that America has been at war in Afghanistan.”

The geopolitics of such matters are analysed ad nauseum by Very Intelligent People in think tanks from Washington to Islamabad. The careerist participants in that debate are largely talking past each other, because each of them starts from the tendentious premise that the state that represents his or her society is the one that’s in the right. I don’t intend to contribute to that tedious and largely pointless conversation. I intend to do an end run around it, by reminding myself and anyone who might read this of our shared humanity.

Part of the problem is that both Pakistan and America are hyper-political cultures that, for historical and ideological reasons, both suffer from a damaging tendency to conflate the society with the state. Hence the unexamined terms “the United States” and “Pakistan” – the impoverished vocabulary of conventional journalism – in the quote above from the New York Times.


Categories: Americas, Pakistan, Psychology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.