Sunday, October 09, 2005

An open letter to India and Pakistan

The shocking loss of life and devastating damage in the Kashmir region should be used as a starting point for serious peace talks between India and Pakistan. Both nations are now in the "nuclear club," which means it's time to find a peaceful way to settle your disputes. Sure, you could send the dazed remains of your army to try to kill the dazed remains of their army, hoping that they don't go nuclear, but in the mean time there can be no meaningful rebuilding on either side of the Line of Control.

India has already reached out with a hand of assistance, and Pakistan has at least not turned it away. That's progress. The need is to find a way for India to give help to Pakistan and Pakistan to India, to forge ties of common cause that could lead to friendship or at least civility. It's the best hope for creating an atmosphere in which all the people of Kashmir can rebuild and prosper.

President Musharraf, Prime Minister Singh, surely you can find something that India can do to help Pakistan, and something else that Pakistan can do to help India. You can establish some sort of cross-border coordination for relief efforts in Kashmir, in the hopes that, once the rebuilding has begun in earnest, the cross-border cooperation can expand into peace and demilitarization.

Please, look beyond today and act in the long-term interest of both of your nations. Kashmir peacefully divided is worth more than Kashmir united under a pile of rubble and corpses.

As an added bonus, your bold vision will stand in sharp contrast to the insane policies of the United States and the United Kingdom. Peace in Kashmir would position India and Pakistan to rise to new levels of international prominence in the 21st century.