Looks like the Indian press wants the same rights to bomb other countries the US has been claiming, and they’re trying to use Obama’s words to justify it:

Sovereign nations have the right to protect themselves, US president-elect Barack Obama said on Monday, when asked if India could follow the same policy he advocated during his election campaign — of bombing terrorist camps in Pakistan if there was actionable evidence and Islamabad refused to act on it. 

The Times goes on to note that Obama carefully caveated his remarks, noting that India should only act unilaterally if the association is proved beyond a doubt and if Pakistan doesn’t deal with it themselves.

Nonetheless, this is a particularly ominous development.  US bombing and incursions into Pakistan are already destabilizing the country, and the Pakistani military and intelligence services have become unreliable instruments, using them to crack down on Pakistanis at the behest of outsiders has caused a great deal of dissent.

Pakistan will doubtless do something, but whether it will be sufficient for the Indians is another question.  But I can think of nothing more likely to either cause a war or cause Pakistan to implode than India bombing inside its territory.  The long history of distrust between the two countries would make this the equivalent of Russia bombing a terrorist camp in the US.

The American doctrine that it’s ok to bomb other countries if you invoke the word "terrorism" is a very dangerous one.  Combined with the breaking up of Serbia, it is an assault on the over 350 year old idea of Westphalian internal sovereignty.  The consequences could be war between Pakistan and India, just as Georgia’s breakup by the Russians was justified by the example of Serbia.  "If the West can break up an ally of ours, why can’t we break up an ally of the West’s?"

"If the US can bomb Pakistan whenever it feels like by using the justification of terrorism, why can’t India?"

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh was the Managing Editor of FireDogLake and the Agonist. His work has also appeared at Huffington Post, Alternet, and Truthout, as well as the now defunct Blogging of the President (BOPNews). In Canada his work has appeared in Pogge.ca and BlogsCanada. He is also a social media strategy consultant and currently lives in Toronto.

His homeblog is at http://www.ianwelsh.net/