Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Ginormous and Lingweenie

This post is in honor of two friends. :)

'Ginormous' Tops Non-Dictionary Word List

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - The response from the "vocabularians" was so "ginormous" that the lexicographers let out a "whoot."

"Confuzzled?" You must be a "lingweenie."

The editors of Merriam-Webster dictionaries got more than 3,000 entries when, in a lighthearted moment, they asked visitors to their Web site to submit their favorite words that aren't in the dictionary.

"It was a lot of fun," Arthur Bicknell, a spokesman for the Springfield-based dictionary publisher, said Monday. "We weren't expecting so many. They only had two weeks."

Some of the proposed words even gained multiple submissions so the editors came up with an unofficial Top 10 list.

First place went to "ginormous" - bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous- followed by "confuzzled" for confused and puzzled simultaneously, and "whoot," an exclamation of joy. A "lingweenie," a person incapable of making up new words, placed 10th.

Besides the Top Ten, some loyal Mary Poppins fans submitted "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," which is in the Oxford English Dictionary, Bicknell said. He also spotted "a number of Harry Potterisms" among the entries.

"We will have to see about those," he said.

I'm an avid user of ginormous, am intruiged by 'confuzzled,' despise 'whoot' because of the one person I know that uses no matter how fun they might be, and have been a huge fan of lingweenie for almost the past three years...hehehe.


Blogger Michael said...

Here is my senior thesis for political science, in case anyone ever finds this- let me know what you think!

The Stabilizing Effect that the Introduction of Nuclear Weapons Had in the Ethnic Conflict of Kashmir

Prepared for
Professor XXXXXX
Political Science 384.W
May 25, 2005

Written by:


I. ETHNIC TENSION FROM THE START...……………………………………………3

II. RECENT HISTORY……........…………………………………………….8

III. ANALYSIS……………………………………………………………..11




WORKS CITED…………………………………………………………………………24

In August of 1947, Kashmir’s autocratic ruler, His Highness Maharaja Sir Hari Singh Indar Bahadur Sir Har Singh, was faced with a critical decision. The British government, as long as it was the imperial ruler over India, had always allowed some major landowners some level of autonomy and Kashmir had never been a part of British India anyway. The Maharaja’s ancestors were given the right to govern some of their own affairs by recognizing the British government. This was based on a symbolic gifts of one horse, twelve goats, and six shawls or pashminas that the Maharaja had to provide the British Crown with each year.
When the British left, the Maharaja had three options: Kashmir could become an independent state, join India, or join Pakistan. The rulers of the other 550 Princely States had to make the same decision but it was much more delicate in Kashmir. This was because Kashmir’s population and proximity to both China and Russia gave it considerable strategic significance. The issue was still further complicated by religion: Kashmir was one of a handful of Princely States in which the ruler did not practice the same religion as most of his people. While the Maharaja was Hindu, over three quarters of his subjects were Muslim. The fact that Kashmir was not only predominantly Muslim but also congruous with Pakistan convinced Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, that the Maharaja’s decision would go in his favor. In fact, Jinnah compared Pakistan’s conquer of Kashmir to ripe fruit falling into the state’s collective lap. He was sorely mistaken.
The Maharaja’s ancestors had been blessed with great political acumen. The state of Jammu and Kashmir had been established in the first half of the nineteenth century by a relatively minor Jammu chieftain, Gulab Singh. A combination of adept military victories and astute financial deals allowed him to create one of the largest Princely States on the subcontinent. By 1850 he had moved on from Jammu with its Hindu majority population and the Kashmir valley with its Muslim population majority. In the last half of the nineteenth century Gulab Singh’s successors extended their control to another Muslim majority area, Gilgit.
Gulab Singh’s successors were Hindus ruling over a multiethnic state and their Muslim subjects were especially hard-pressed. In 1929, one of Maharaja Hari Singh’s officials, Sir Albio Bannerji, even resigned his post because he felt that the Muslims were illiterate, poverty-stricken, and governed like driven cattle. Elsewhere in India, Gandhi and his colleagues were campaigning against the British. In Kashmir, however, the Muslims focused most of their animosity towards the Maharaja, who responded with lethal force. The first significant crisis came in July, 1931 during the trial of a radical Muslim activist, Abdul Qadeer, who advocated a violent uprising against Hari Singh’s royal household. When protesters gathered outside the prison in which he was held, the police killed over twenty demonstrators.
By 1941 the Muslims’ situation had not improved. A Hindu writer reported that Muslims in Kashmir were serfs working for absentee landlords and that the extent of their poverty was appalling. The maharaja himself hardly ever met his subjects and his son even commented that the extent of his father’s interactions with his Muslim subjects was mostly limited to the gardeners on his property and shooting and fishing guards. It is clear even before the Kashmir conflict erupted between India and Pakistan, the foundation for future tension and hatred had been laid many years before in the governance of the state even under British rule.
When the British left the region in 1947, the Maharajah wanted to stay independent but his hopes of remaining neutral were erased after Pakistan took matters into their own hands by dispatching their own Muslim tribesmen to the state. He pleaded to the Indian government for assistance but eventually chose to accede to India in exchange for a referendum and military aid. Notably, historians and citizens on both sides of the conflict continue to argue as to when and how the Instrument of Accession was signed. India and Pakistan subsequently fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48. India sent the conflict to the United Nations in an appeal for intervention and, on January 1, 1948, a cease-fire line was created. Additionally, Kashmiris were promised a free and fair plebiscite that would permit them to decide their future.
In May 1948, Pakistan’s army was deployed to protect its borders in May of 1948. During that year, the fighting dragged on between the Indian army and Pakistani troops. Jaunnary 1, 1949 brought a new cease fire agreement which left 65% of the land under Indian rule with the remaining one third remaining under Pakistani control. Both states were to keep to their commitment of holding a referendum in the state. A United Nations peacekeeping force UNMOGIP - (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) was established. However, the referendum was never held.
1957 saw Kashmir formally incorporated into the Indian Union. Kashmir was granted special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Since then, India has considered the portion of the state that it controls an integral part of India.
After the Sino-Indian war in 1962, India and Pakistan held talks from 1962-1963 under the leadership of the United States and Great Britain, as they tried to finally work out their differences over Kashmir. These negotiations, however, were fruitless and the ethnic conflict continued, with India and Pakistan became warring states once again in August 1965. However, after a mere three weeks of battle, both India and Pakistan agreed to a new cease-fire, this one brokered by the United Nations.
The two governments met in Tashkent in January of 1996, where they signed a declaration reaffirming their intent and commitment to resolving the dispute through peaceful means. Additionally, they both also agreed to pull their forces back to where they were before the August battles.
Indian-Pakistani relations had deteriorated significantly by 1971 when once again civil war erupted in Pakistan. This conflict saw the West Pakistan army fighting against East Pakistanis demanding autonomy and, later, independence. Because of the battles, approximately 10 million East Pakistanis fled to India and in December of that year, India declared war. It proceeded to invade East Pakistan in a show of support to the East Pakistani people. Soon thereafter, the Pakistan Army surrendered at Dhaka and its 90,000 member army became Indian prisoners of war. More significantly, on December 6, 1971 East Pakistan was officially known as the independent country of Bangladesh.
The Simla Agreement of 1972 helped to reduce tensions. In the Agreement, both India and Pakistan affirmed their commitment to working out outstanding issues bilaterally. On the issue of the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, both India and Pakistan agreed that the cease-fire line, which was christened “The Line of Control” (LOC), would be recognized by both sides without prejudice to the recognized positions of either side.
The Kashmir state government reached an agreement with the Indian government in 1974 in which it affirmed its status as a constituent unit of the union of India. But this did little to work out the outstanding issues as the Simla Agreement called for. Not surprisingly, Pakistan summarily rejected the agreement out of hand.
Armed militants against Indian control broke out in Kashmir in 1989 as some groups called for Kashmir and Jammu’s independence while others called for the states to join with Pakistan. Significantly, Pakistan lent its moral and diplomatic support to the movement, calling for the issue to be resolved via a UN-sponsored referendum.
The government of India argued to the international community that Pakistan was supporting the militants and adding fuel to the conflict by training militants and supplying them with materiel. In stark contrast to its position in 1948, when it favored a plebiscite, India was now completely against all attempts at UN or third-party mediation. Militants and political activists claimed that they had never been able to exercise the right of self-determination, and the issue of a plebiscite was raised once again. However, India argued that the Simla Agreement of 1972 negated the earlier need for a UN-sponsored referendum or plebiscite. Still, there was a division between those who demanded a plebiscite to determine allegiance to Pakistan or India and those who wanted a third option to be added: independence.
II. Recent History
To help alleviate the escalating tensions between them, India and Pakistan established a series of low-level meetings. The celebrations in 1997 of both countries’ half-century of independence were joined by an encouraging flurry of diplomatic activity. First, the foreign ministers of both states met in Delhi. A second round of talks followed in Islamabad and an eight-point plan for peace talks was proposed, one that included the issue of Kashmir.
Tensions increased again in May of 1998 when both sides conducted nuclear tests. The United States and several other countries punished both India and Pakistan by ordering sanctions or withholding aid loans to both countries. Both were also heavily criticized by the international community as fears of a nuclear confrontation grew. These events will be discussed more thoroughly below.
Interestingly, and perhaps because of the introduction of nuclear weapons to the conflict, ties between India and Pakistan improved again in February 1999. It was then that Indian Prime Minister, Atal Vajpayee, visited Pakistan to meet its Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. The fruit of their meeting was the Lahore Accord in which the two sides pledged to intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
In May 1999, however, conflict again erupted as India claimed Pakistani-supported forces had infiltrated into the mountains in Indian-administered Kashmir, north of Kargil. India responded by using its own armed forces. Pakistan, for its part, insisted that the militants were merely "'freedom fighters" fighting to liberate India-administered Jammu and Kashmir. The International Red Cross claimed that at least 30,000 individuals were compelled to flee their homes on the Pakistan side of the Line Of Control while other reports claimed approximately 20,000 individuals became refugees on the Indian side. India and Pakistan both claimed victory and that round of the conflict finally ended when Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif told the infiltrating forces to withdraw.
General Pervez Musharraf led a military coup in Pakistan in October of 1999 and assumed power. His takeover was validated over three years by the state’s Supreme Court but was condemned widely in the international community; one that called for new elections and a civilian government.
President Musharraf visited Delhi and Agra in the summer of 2001 to hold talks on the ongoing conflict with India but no agreement was reached. Then, the events of September 11, 2001 ushered in a period of reconciliation of sorts between Pakistan and the United States. However, tensions remained along the Line Of Control and, in October of 2001, there was an attack on the Kashmiri Assembly in Srinagar, killing 38 people. The Chief Minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, requested that the Indian government launch a retaliatory war against to destroy the militant training camps across the border. However, on December 13, 2001, 14 people were killed in an armed attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi. In the aftermath of that attack, India blamed Pakistan-backed Kashmiri militants again. The dramatic build-up of troops along the already-tense India-Pakistan border and exchanges of fire between the nuclear rivals raised the possibility of an escalation of the conflict, perhaps including the use of nuclear weapons.
President Musharraf pledged in January 2002 that Pakistan would not permit militants to operate from Pakistani soil and said that the resolution of the Kashmir conflict is the joint responsibility of both countries. He also called for a renewal of diplomacy with then-Indian Prime Minister Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee and also banned certain Pakistan-based terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Significantly, he condemned the attack on the Indian Parliament, calling it a terrorist act, and vowed to take swift action against any group based in Pakistan responsible for the act.
On November 26, 2003 a cease-fire was announced by President Musharraf along the Line of Control and two months after that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit convened in Islamabad. There, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and Pakistan President Musharraf agreed to resume the stalled diplomatic dialogue and to finally resolve, peacefully, all outstanding and contentious issues, including Kashmir. One month after that, in February of 2004, India and Pakistan announced the development of a "roadmap" for peace talks on the disputed region. In that spirit, foreign secretaries of both India and Pakistan met in Islamabad to examine modalities and the timeframe for discussions on all subjects on the agenda of the "Composite Dialogue."
Following Indian elections in the spring of 2004, the new 13-party coalition administration declared that it would pursue dialogue with all groups and with different shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir on a sustained basis while remaining committed to tackling terrorism, militancy and insurgency in the Northeast.
Concurrently, discussions continued between India and Pakistan and, in mid-June 2004, they reached an understanding on a series of nuclear and strategic confidence-building measures, as well as the creation of a nuclear hotline between their foreign offices. In the same month, the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers met and agreed to increase their diplomatic staff in each respective New Delhi and Islamabad missions, and to reopen consulates in Karachi, Pakistan and Mumbai.
III. Analysis
Following the testing of nuclear capabilities by both India and Pakistan, there has been much progress in returning to the negotiating table and restoring dialogue between the two nations. Both recognize that, given the nuclear capability of each side, the time has come to end this ethnic conflict once and for all.
To be sure, India was reluctant to begin its nuclear program in the first place. It felt that the only fair security policy is one in which there is equal and legitimate security for all. After the Cold War, instead of aligning itself with either the West or the Soviets, India rejected the Cold War paradigm and chose the more difficult path of nonalignment. Its foreign policy was based on the desire to attain an alternative global balance of power that was structured around universal, nondiscriminatory disarmament. Its nuclear policy was that a world free of nuclear weapons would enhance not only India’s security but also the security of all nations. In the absence of universal disarmament, however, it could not accept a regime that arbitrarily picked the nuclear nations from the nuclear “have-nots.”
In the 1960’s China attacked India on its Himalayan border and the nuclear age reached India’s doorstep when China reached nuclear capacity in October 1964. In the following year, in 1965, the second ethnic war between India and Pakistan broke out. Then, in 1968, India reaffirmed its commitment to disarmament but decided to not sign the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. In 1974 it conducted its first nuclear test, Pokharan I.
India felt that in the aftermath of the Cold War there was a new Asian balance of power with corresponding new alignments and power vacuums. It believed that it was acting to correct an imbalance and fill a potentially dangerous vacuum by becoming a nuclear power.
Another reason India sought to become a nuclear power was because it could not find satisfactory answers to the following questions: if the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council increases security, why would India’s possession of nuclear weapons be dangerous? and If deterrence works in the west, as it appears because more and more western nations insist on continuing to possess nuclear weapons, why would it not work in India?
India debated the pros and cons of becoming a nuclear power for a full 35 years. In fact, India was the first to call for a ban on nuclear testing in 1954, for a nondiscriminatory treaty on nonproliferation in 1965, for a treaty on nonuse of nuclear weapons in 1978, for a nuclear freeze in 1982, and for a phased program for complete elimination of nuclear weapons in 1988, but these were not widely accepted.
On May 11, 1998, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced that New Delhi had conducted three nuclear tests, one of which involved the detonation of a thermonuclear device. As the shocked world community struggled to respond to the news, India announced a mere two days later that it had conducted two more detonations that allegedly completed its series of underground tests.
These tests demonstrated India’s abilities, which up to that point had only been suspect. But they had not been directed against any country. However, they were most definitely a signal to their ethnic rival Pakistan, neighboring China, and the rest of the world at large that they were now a power to be reckoned with.
In the aftermath of India’s nuclear tests, Indian officials took a markedly more hawkish position toward their neighbors. They felt that they finally had military and weapons superiority over their enemies (Pakistan, in particular) and, as such, could flaunt their new power to Pakistan and the world community. In fact, Indian Home Minister L.K. Advani threatened to deal firmly with Pakistan if it did not roll back its proxy war in Kashmir in light of the change in the geostrategic situation in the region. Further, the Indian Minister of State for Science and Technology, Murli Manohar Joshi, announced that India’s new missiles would be armed and deployed with the country’s new nuclear weapons.
At this point the world took notice of the escalating tension in the region. And it was at this point that there was a great deal of instability in the region. One side of the ethnic conflict (India) finally had a distinct and significant advantage over its ethnic adversary (Pakistan) and, judging by Indian public official statements, India was poised to use their new weaponry if necessary.
The comments instilled a sense of fear in Pakistan and its former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, fervently pleaded with the West for a preemptive strike on India. The Indian announcement had caught their ethnic rivals and the world off guard. After all, this was India; a nation with a long and proud record of advocating disarmament. Pakistan was rightfully upset about the new imbalance of power in the region and pleaded to the world for assistance.
Despite sanctions imposed on India and the feverish diplomatic dialogue between the world community and Pakistan in an attempt to persuade the latter not to follow India into the elite nuclear club, Pakistan sought to validate its nuclear designs and buttress the credibility of its deterrent towards India. On May 28, 1998 it announced that it had conducted five nuclear tests of its own. This announcement was followed by claims of yet another two tests on May 30, 1998, suggesting that Pakistan’s total of seven tests against India’s history of six signaled Islamabad’s own political confidence and perhaps even its technological superiority.
Altogether, a cacophony of rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims emerged from both India and Pakistan in the month of May, leading one reporter to conclude laconically but accurately that confusion dominates the arms race in South Asia. But miscalculation, often a result of confusion, is what causes war and the world was watching with baited breath to see if war would, in fact, be the result of the nuclear showdown. In a conventional conflict in such a scenario, one side expects victory at an affordable price, while the other side hopes to avoid defeat. But a nuclear conflict, such as the one that had developed between India and Pakistan, called for different calculations. If countries armed with nuclear weapons go to war, they do so knowing that their suffering will be unlimited. In a nuclear conflict, once a state is uncertain about surviving or being annihilated and if force is used and not kept within limits, catastrophe will result. Nonetheless, neither the Hindu Indians or Muslim Pakistanis wanted to flinch first. However, the nuclear deterrent achieved an easy clarity because a wide margin of error in estimates of damage one state may suffer does not matter. This is because when there are pertinent questions about the success of an attack, each side stops thinking about running severe risks and starts worrying about how to avoid them. Therefore, confusion is not a time to use nuclear weaponry and both India and Pakistan were forced to reassess the new dynamics of the conflict before traveling down the dark road of “mutual destruction.”
It can be said that there are two ways to protect a nation from enemies. One way, the defensive ideal, is to build a defense so strong that your own forces look forbiddingly strong and that no one will even try to destroy or overcome them. Another way to counter threats is to build retaliatory forces able to threaten unacceptable punishment upon the would-be aggressor. It frightens the enemy from attacking because of the expected reaction of the opponent. Deterrence is achieved not through the ability to defend but the ability to punish.
It is this line of thought with which both India and Pakistan became nuclear powers. China had become a nuclear power in October of 1964 and India, which has had a long-standing land conflict with China and was constantly being harassed by its ethnic rival, Pakistan, along with the latter’s supported insurgents within Kashmir, felt that the only way to assure its own security was to become a nuclear power.
After India tested its nuclear weapons, Pakistan became quite fearful of its ethnic rival. Indeed, according to the former Indian ambassador to the United States, Pakistan’s drive for nuclear weapons stems from its fear of its bigger neighbor, India. Once Pakistan leveled the playing field by getting its own nuclear weapons, it helped remove the fear of their neighbor and opened up the possibility for a less worried and more relaxed life from then on.
Residents in the region should feel comfortable knowing that, in general, states are unlikely to run major risks for minor gains. Considering that Kashmir, in the larger scope of the religious and ideological conflict, is not that large a piece of land, it is unlikely that either India or Pakistan will use nuclear weapons on each other to win it over. In fact, when states fear that the repercussions of their actions will outweigh the benefits of their actions, de-escalation becomes likely. War remains possible, but victory in war becomes far too dangerous to fight for. For example, while Kennedy and Khrushchev were bitter enemies, neither actually used the nuclear weapons they had available to them. After all, why fight a war if you can’t win much and might lose everything?
Additionally, the proximity of India and Pakistan would seem to add a layer of deterrence because of the vulnerability to nuclear fallout on each country’s citizens from a nuclear attack by either country.
Another reason that nuclear weapons will continue to increase the stability of the conflict is that nuclear powers do not need the security of more land that non-nuclear powers do. India and Pakistan are now secure and don’t need to fight military wars to gain land because each knows that the other can launch a nuclear strike against the other if they do try to another land grab.
But the underlying assumption that creates the stability is not that the attacked will retaliate but that the attacked will retaliate with even greater vengeance than the attacker ever expected. It can be reasonably assumed that the will of the attacked, striving to preserve its own territory, can be presumed to be stronger than the will of the attacker. Therefore, while India might have had the capability to attack Pakistan in mid-May of 1998 and try to end the conflict that way, it chose restraint and used it nuclear capability as a deterrent rather than as a first-strike weapon.
To use the conflict between Japan and the United States as an example, Japan could only have beaten the United States in World War II had the series of events it was banking on actually occurred. Japan was hoping that by attacking the United States it would gain resources sufficient to continue its war against China and then dig in to defend its perimeter while the United States and Great Britain would have to deal with Germany. But the Americans, using the atomic bomb which can be equated with today’s nuclear bomb, reacted with more resolve than the Japanese anticipated. And the lesson was learned by Japan and the world as a whole. Not since those atomic bombs were dropped has such weaponry been used again.
However, there is a downside to a nuclear arms build up. The state may become more authoritarian and even more given to secrecy. If potential nuclear states are not strong politically, neighboring hostile nations (which India and Pakistan probably do consider each other) will fear attack by each other. This leads to the arms race, as exists today. Excessive spending on the state’s military deprives citizens of basic goods and may prove to be counterproductive because it might inspire more political unrest within the states. So far, however, this has not happened in India, where military spending has more than doubled over the last decade.
But the danger of an internal coup is significantly more dangerous. Nonetheless, the nuclear deterrent remains intact in the ethnic conflict of Kashmir. This is because Pakistan has already successfully survived a coup by Gen. Musharaf; an event in which weapons are often the main object of struggle and the leaves the key to political power hanging in the balance.
But it is clear, despite considerable appropriations for military spending on both sides and despite the Pakistani coup that both sides survived without any nuclear incident, that the introduction of nuclear weapons has had a stabilizing affect on the ethnic conflict in Kashmir. Compared to the previous fifty one years of conflict that has occurred in the region, the last few seven years since nuclear weapons were tested by both sides have been comparatively more quiet and peaceful.
An editorial in The New York Times urged that something be done to decrease the nuclear arms race in the region. The newspaper felt that it would require both India and Pakistan to address their insecurity by building mutual confidence and decreasing the risk of war. These are precisely the effects that mutual possession of nuclear weapons produces; it helps put both sides on equal ground and allows each side to forget about the threat somewhat and focus on building confidence and resolving the issues, as some Indians and Pakistanis have come to realize.
While one country having a nuclear bomb creates instability, as India felt when it was facing a nuclear China and as Pakistan felt after India tested its weaponry on May 11, 1998, when both nations have the same capabilities they are put on equal footing again and the tension tends to decrease. There certainly are significant risks, depending on who controls the weapons and the potential for political unrest to thrust the entire region into instability at best and a massive morgue at worst, but so long as both nations have equal capabilities and are generally stable internally from a social, economic, and political perspective, I believe that the nuclear weapons in the region have made the conflict significantly more stable. The two sides, while still bitter ethnic enemies, have been able to come back to the bargaining table because of certainty and uncertainty that is now present concurrently. The two sides now have open political dialogue because each side is certain of which military “cards” the other side is holding. At the same time, though, the uncertainty of what a nuclear battlefield will look like is enough to keep the weapons locked because for now, at least, it does not appear that either side is looking to find out, especially on a strip of land in which a strike would harm citizens on both sides.
It is important to note, however, that while both sides having small nuclear arsenals does act as a deterrent to enemies, if one side has many more nuclear warheads than its opponent, the situations deteriorates back into an unstable and very tense conflict because any strike by the weaker side will be met with an overwhelming number of nuclear warheads, while the weaker force may be impotent to respond in the face of an attack from the mightier force; a reality that the stronger power might exploit at the weaker power’s expense.

The stability that exists now that nuclear weapons were introduced to the ethnic conflict in Kashmir cannot be said to exist for other global ethnic conflicts. Indeed, it is precisely because the world views Kashmir and the conflict raging inside it as remote and lacking the immediacy of conflicts like those in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and the Middle East that the two sides felt compelled to do take matters into their own hands to finally settle the score in the first place.
One key to stability in the nuclear Kashmir conflict was the ability of Pakistan to successfully weather internal political turmoil in the aftermath of Gen. Musharaf’s coup. While the military assets, especially nuclear weapons, are often the main objectives of the incoming and often corrupt leaders, Musharaf and his men did not start a nuclear war as they took over.
Certainty of similar results after coups in other ethnic conflicts cannot be similarly assured. For example, if, hypothetically, the Palestinian Authority was able to match the State of Israel’s presumed nuclear power, both sides would theoretically be on equal footing and that ethnic conflict would have the opportunity to become more stable like the conflict in Kashmir has become.
Yet the conditions are not similar. Over the past few years there have been numerous incidents of Palestinian militants capturing and taking over government buildings within Palestinian Authority-administered land. If Hamas or Fatah militants can take over government buildings out of rage with a Palestinian Authority policy, can the world community be guaranteed that the Palestinian Authority will do any better of a job at protecting its hypothetical nuclear stockpiles? If one militant group felt that its autonomy or leaders were being threatened – either by the Palestinian Authority or by Israel – they might be incensed enough to take control of a nuclear warhead and detonate it in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Worse, if nuclear weapons research is actually being conducted in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory, these groups would only have to gain entry to a laboratory, get a small amount of nuclear material from the laboratory and smuggle it into an Israeli population center to cause terrible devastation. And, given the Palestinian stated desire to erase the State of Israel from the map, if a radical scientist is doing the research, (s)he might not be so quick to alert the authorities about the missing fissure material etc.
Further, in ethnic conflict where one side acts irrationally but depends on its possession of nuclear weapons to act as deterrent, even possession of nuclear weapons will not necessarily prove to be effective. For example, Iran supports Hezabalah militants that are stationed in Lebanon. They are also, with Russian assistance, actively pursuing the construction of a nuclear reactor, purportedly for peaceful energy use. However, the fact that global intelligence does not seem to be certain of where Iran is conducting its research, Iran has created just the right amount of ambiguity surrounding its program to deter would-be invaders. The fear that, if invaded, irrationally and spontaneously Iran would send nuclear weapons towards its ethnic enemy, Israel, or against Western troops stationed in the region, let alone the invading force, creates a significant deterrent. This is because, like the Iranian example, in a situation where one side’s claim that resorting to nuclear weapons and war-fighting constitutes an essential part of its strategy, it may not only use its nuclear weapons as a deterrent for retaliatory measures. However, India has stated that they will only attack for retaliation so, once again, the ethnic conflict in Kashmir is not comparable to other ethnic conflicts.

The problem of Kashmir, unresolved for nearly five decades, is a darkening stain on India, Pakistan, and the world community at large. Kashmir is an area between Pakistan and India in which a twelve million Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists reside. Kashmir has been a hotly contested territory even before India and Pakistan gained their independence from Britain in 1947 and it was the battleground of three wars between the two nations from 1947 to 1972. Since 1972 Kashmir has been controlled mostly by India and Pakistan while China retains a small section as well. However, both India and Pakistan continue to lay claim to the land. Tensions have remained high from the day of each nation’s independence and, in 1998, the conflict became nuclear as India and, thirteen days later Pakistan, tested nuclear weapons. Since that month the region has seen a drastic decrease in violence and tension and the two sides are now closer than ever to ending their ethnic conflict permanently. In fact, General Musharaf stated that with due diligence, he believes that the conflict can be solved within the next twelve months. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by both sides in the conflict has put both sides on equal footing, both sides are aware of the high stakes involved, and neither side wants to use the conflict to escalate by using their nuclear options. Thus, the introduction of nuclear weapons has had a stabilizing effect on the ethnic conflict in Kashmir.

10:20 AM  

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