(THE FEDERALIST) — The Kashimiri pandits are known for their dark humor, quite similar to Soviet dissidents during the 1980s. Pandits say when there is an Islamist minority, they go on TV and demand human rights against genocide. When there is an Islamist majority, there are no human rights.
For the uninitiated, Kashmiri pandits are Hindu minorities who used to live in the northern Indian side of Kashmir, bordering Pakistan up until the late 1980s. The state of Kashmir is a point of contention ever since India and Pakistan got independence from the British, with both claiming it. During the 1980s, and after three lost wars, the Pakistani government understood that there’s no military solution to Kashmir and no possibility to win or capture the Kashmir region from a mightier Indian conventional army.
Pakistan then started to supply arms to the jihadist groups in Kashmir. That morphed into an insurgency, which led to the severely under-reported ethnic cleansing where thousands of Hindus were killed and raped in the region, leading to hundreds of thousands of them fleeing deeper into Indian heartland. India in the 1980s was incapable of dealing with such early instance of jihadist violence and hybrid warfare, especially with a porous Himalayan border and steady stream of Islamists and sophisticated arms pouring in. As a result, the demographics of the region changed permanently, and we now have one of the most intractable geopolitical conflicts of the region.
This brings us to the latest flare-up of the historic Rohingya problem in Myanmar. Recently, violence has flared up in the northern Rakhine region of Myanmar, where government forces are battling an Islamist insurgency with the Rohingya Muslims. Needless to say, the government forces of Myanmar are extremely brutal, although in the fog of war accusations of genocide and massacres are often uncorroborated, with zero independent media sources present in the field. Nonetheless, it is an important problem, precisely because with the collapse of ISIS, Islamists are now returning back to their home countries, with a bunch now back in Philippines waging a war against the Filipino government.
The Narrative Is One-Sided
However, a quick glance through the media would show the lament of the liberal interventionist ideologues in full force, presenting a one-sided narrative of persecuted Muslims. Reality is rather more complicated. The Guardian and Al Jazeera weep that this is a crime against humanity, as CNN joins the Taliban, Turkey and Ramzan Kadyrov in denouncing “a massacre” going on in Myanmar, almost completely ignoring that this is a vicious, both-sided conflict.
Some random creative writer and blogger in Huffington Post even advocated a humanitarian intervention to bring “justice” to the Rohingya. Others took to Twitter to signal their virtue, and suggest to the standard fallback option of taking in thousands of refugees.
Let us forget for a moment the puerile fantasy that there will be a Western-led military and humanitarian intervention in Myanmar, backed by a United Nations mandate. While superficially similar, Myanmar is not the Balkans in the early ‘90s. Myanmar borders both India and China, two nuclear armed states, the former an ally of the west, and the latter a geopolitical adversary. Both the powers have strategic and military interest and ties with Myanmar, and both suffer from regular Islamist insurgency, thereby naturally aligning themselves to Myanmar.
None of them are like a weakened impotent Russia in the early nineties, and the idea that it is possible to overstep their interests right in their backyard is frankly juvenile. Let us also momentarily ignore that there are zero Western geo-strategic interests in Myanmar other than those which are purely humanitarian, and therefore defy strategic logic.
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