If founding leaders have declared, in uncertain terms, Pakistan a secular state, would Pakistan be different today? Brief thought by F. Sheikh

I do not think it would have made any difference. Pakistan’s religious leaders would have played the same role to exploit public opinion and force even the most secular leaders to move towards extremist positions to garner their support. Zulifqar Bhutto is the prime example to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims and bowed to their pressure. Military dictators were no different.

Regional Geopolitics played a major role to cultivate religious extremist groups to gain influence in Afghanistan and fight a proxy war in Kashmir to keep pressure on India. Russian occupation of Afghanistan further helped to fuel this militancy with the support of USA and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

KSA needs orthodoxy to suppress its masses and maintain their hold on power. It also needs other Muslim countries to maintain orthodoxy so that it does not influence its own public with liberal ideas. It also needs Sunny power to suppress Shia because most of the oil fields are in Shia occupied area in KSA. KSA has exported this orthodoxy and militancy to other Muslim countries, especially Pakistan, with petro-dollars. Pakistan is joined by hip with KSA ( due  to its financial support) and even has loaned its ex-Army chief to fight its wars of personal interests-and not for the benefit of Muslims at large.

Despite all the outcry of terrorism and Islamic militancy by the West, they continue to support KSA and other middle east monarchies to keep oil wells running and billions of dollars which these monarchies spend to buy weapons (which they may not know how to use) from West and bank roll their secret military missions. Our defense economy in USA needs a continuous state of war to keep it humming.

According to recent reports Russia and Iran are now supporting Taliban and supplying weapons against USA. This is a role reversal. When Russia occupied Afghanistan, USA supported Taliban. Now Russia will be supporting Taliban against USA. It will further inflame militancy in the region and Pakistan cannot stay out.

Considering current geopolitics, bringing secularism in Pakistan cannot be taken in isolation. It is not just Religious extremists in Pakistan but outside forces also needs to be addressed. KSA is the major link that needs to be severed first, then military interests and lastly movement within Pakistan for secularism-only then it may have a chance to succeed.

 

 

“Virginia White Supremacist March & American Nations” by F.Sheikh

Recent White Supremacist march in Virginia is not a surprise and most likely it will be repeated more frequently in the future. To understand the core mindset of Deep South and why they want to continue civil war and treat confederate era statues as their shrines, you have to read book by Colin Woodard , American Nations. Dr. Shoeb recently wrote a great book review (http://www.thinkersforumusablog.org/archives/9452/comment-page-1#comment-10549) on our site.

Deep South states, since colonization period, believed that white is a superior race and it is in the best interest of other inferior races, especially blacks, to accept this and white masters can take care of them better than they can do on their own. The Southern Methodist Church sanctified this ideology. They believed in hierarchy, aristocracy and individuality as compared to communal living and common good. These believes were driven by economics interests of racist whites on the backs of free black slave labor. These believes and economic interests were threatened with the election of Abraham Lincoln that led to secession campaign and civil war by Deep South and its allies.

New England states, led by Massachusetts, were colonized by migrants from East England who were mostly educated and believe in community and common good instead of individual interests and good. They built schools, Universities ( Harvard) hospitals, churches and other infrastructure. They were forceful opponent of slavery and advocates of liberal ideas. After American-Mexican War they were joined by California and Western coastal states in advance of this ideology.

Deep South lost the civil war, and later 1960’s civil rights’ success gave another blow to these racists believes. After victory at civil war , New England and their allies were successful in implementing their liberal ideas at federal level but Deep South always resented it and considered it imposed ideology at them and never gave up their core believes.

Since the independence, there is continuous struggle between two competing groups (Deep South and its Allies Vs New England and its allies) that is trying to control Federal resources to advance their agenda.

Mr. Woodard explains in his book that there are overall eleven different nations in USA and their core thinking has not changed since colonization despite more immigration in those areas. Other nations end up supporting either Deep South or New England group at federal level depending on their own interests.

Polarization between these two groups is increasing and it is not farfetched that in the future it may come to a head and lead to a disintegration- especially if there are increasing numbers of angry economically depressed middle-class ready to be exploited and always quick to blame the other group for their ills. As Dr, Shoeb also writes in his review, that if it can happen in Soviet Union, it can happen in North America. If that happens, I think you are better off living in one of the New England and its allies states than in Deep South.

 

 

What is American Identity? Brief thought By F. Sheikh

Few days ago, Andrew Sullivan, a conservative British born American author and blogger, lamented in a TV interview that Britain will have about 600,000 new immigrants in 2017 and British identity is being lost. He further complained that we are losing American Identity. I was hoping the host, Chuck Todd, will ask “what is American Identity?”. But unfortunately he did not. What is American Identity? I have hard time defining it myself. Is being ‘white’ first requirement to fit into American identity? Mr. Andrew Sullivan himself immigrated from Britain, but he has no problem in claiming American identity, but on what basis?

There is similar hot discussion in Germany and other western countries about losing identity of their respective country due to immigrants, but no one is clear about what this identity mean?

Anna Sauerbery, a German journalist, wrote an article in NYT on losing German culture and identity. Muslims are the main focus in such discussion. She writes;   

Germany should finally do away with its “neutrality laws” and allow judges and teachers to wear head scarves. Germany should accept that putting your hand on your heart can be as much a gesture of respect as a handshake. Germany will have to accept that respecting the law is enough. Germans will have to accept habits and thoughts that are unfamiliar or even disturbing. Not because we accept them, but because we probably won’t change them.

In accepting pluralism, we will truly live up to our constitutional values. A guiding national culture that grants room for dissent and deviation within the boundaries of the law would be strong and convincing — to the newly arrived and the dog-tired. It is the German lack of liberalism, not mashed potatoes with spinach and eggs, that constitutes our Piefigkeit.

In my opinion ‘American Identity’ is to be faithful and loyal to country above everything else, follow its laws and fulfill civic responsibilities. Everything else falls into personal matters. Same is true about British, German or any other western country who claim to be liberal democratic country.

Fayyaz

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/opinion/we-are-not-burqa-what-does-german-culture-even-mean.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0

 

” Iran & President Trump” Brief Thought By F. Sheikh

Iran & President Trump

After symbolic sanctions imposed by Mr. Trump for firing of Ballistic Missile by Iran, the Iranians defiantly fired another missile. It seems egos are flaring up. No one was surprised by Mr. Trump’s escalation of the situation, but Iran’s firing of second missile is puzzling. What Iran is thinking? Can it militarily stand up to USA? The wise course is to lay low and not escalate the situation otherwise it may end up like Iraq. There are some hawks in President Trump’s inner circle who desperately want to confront Iran militarily and this escalation may give them an excuse to do so. Israel might be looking for the same window. The check Mr. Obama kept on Israel is no longer there.

Iran may be doing it intentionally to blow up the nuclear deal thinking that it will be hard for Mr. Trump to get Europeans, Russia and China on his side to re-impose the sanctions. It may be true, but it is still a highly risky move as Mr. Trump and Israel may decide to go it alone to use military. If it happens, Europe may not have much choice but to join them also.

It is better to stay low. Iran cannot out bluff Mr. Trump. He will continue to put more chips on the table, no matter what the consequences for anyone.

F. Sheikh