The Mumbai bombings and the U.S. stake in an India-Pakistan deal

Hard to imagine that the bombings weren’t designed to stop the peace initiative.

The important context for the Mumbai bombings must surely be the peace initiative launched by the Pakistani President earlier in the week and seemingly moved forward by a meeting of the two foreign ministers yesterday. That makes the obvious suspects the folks who have the strongest interests in keeping India and Pakistan at daggers drawn: the Pakistani ISI (which Zardari had already stripped of its role in domestic politics) has to be the prime suspect, and apparently India has such suspicions. But there’s also the Pakistani military, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Hindu nationalists.

Of all the things that might conceivably happen in the next few months, it’s hard to imagine one that would be a bigger win for U.S. long-term interests than a rapprochement between India and Pakistan. I like Jonathan’s proposal to send Biden to Mumbai or Delhi, but he shouldn’t just go on a schmoozing mission; he should carry the message that the new administration is prepared to be at least as generous in supporting an India-Pakistan deal as the U.S. has been in supporting the Egypt-Israel deal. (Yes, yes, one President at a time and all that, but as someone pointed out right now Bush is no more than about ten percent of a President, which leaves Obama stuck with being the other nine-tenths.)

Update I see Christine Amanpour reads the situation as I do.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: