Tuesday, May 06, 2003

HONORARY VON HOFFMAN AWARD: Tom Tomorrow's weekly syndicated cartoon cynically predicts that India may shortly use America's succesful liberation of Iraq to justify its own pre-emptive strike against Pakistan:

And yet, two days before his strip was posted on Salon, India appeared to be moving in exactly the opposite direction:

On Friday, [Prime Minister Atal Bihari] Vajpayee ended a two-year impasse by saying India was ready to name an envoy to Pakistan and resume air links. Islamabad responded by swiftly agreeing to talks and restoring diplomatic ties.

Days later, India and Pakistan are virtually sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G:

Pakistan will get rid of its nuclear arsenal if rival India does as well, a Pakistani official said Monday.

"As far as Pakistan is concerned, if India is ready to denuclearize, we would be happy to denuclearize," Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan said.

And in a follow-up report:

Pakistan restored transportation links and full diplomatic ties with rival India on Tuesday, and pressed for peace talks to include discussion of the two countries' nuclear arsenals.

Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali also said he hoped the South Asian rivals could resolve their decades-long differences over Kashmir, the divided Himalayan region that has been the cause of two wars between them.

"I am hopeful a good solid solution should be coming forward on all issues, of course including the Jammu and Kashmir issue," Jamali said, referring to the disputed territory.
Besides announcing the resumption of cross-border air, bus and train service, Jamali said he wanted the two nations to reopen sporting ties. Except for a World Cup game in March, Pakistan and India have not played a cricket match since 2000.

Jamali also sought to increase trade between the two countries by reducing customs and tariffs on more than 70 unspecified items.

The prime minister also said Pakistan, as a goodwill gesture, would release dozens of Indian fishermen held for illegally entering Pakistani waters. Both Pakistan and India routinely arrest each other's fishermen.

Honestly, I do genuinely enjoy Tom (Dan Perkins) Tomorrow's strip as well as his his blog -- and I'm generally compatible with his politics on most issues. His passionate arguments against the war, during the run-up, were no doubt sincere -- but ring strident and hollow after-the-fact, when nearly every fearful prediction about the possible aftermath has either been proven wrong or has yet to be proven right.

Is Tom genuinely comvinced that macho American chest-thumping imperialism has set an awful example for conflict resolution in the region, despite every promising bit of evidence to the contrary? Or is this really about the Florida election results?


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