Patriot Games

From Pakistan (because, hey, why should we find out what the hell our government is up to from our own freaking media?), we get this report from the Dawn newspaper on the fact that our proposed sale of Patriot Missiles (good old American anti-ballistic missile technology) to India is… being protested by Pakistan’s Foreign Office as… likely to start a regional arms race.
In some sense, we can see Pakistan’s point: why go through all the trouble of getting your own nuclear weapons if that irritating regional power nearby that you want to use them on plans on defending against them? On the other hand, given that the Patriot Missles have a perfect somewhat spotty record of actually working
(they were last used extensively during Gulf War I, where nonetheless, some Saddam scuds still made it through to targets in Israel and Saudi Arabia), one wonders what Pakistan is so upset about? Pervez, baby: let the Indians waste their money on this s***!
I understand our thinking on this: all those mundane customer service functions that we’ve shipped over to Bangalore and Chenai have to be paid for somehow, so if the Indians want to buy our anti-missile technology, why should we complain? (It’s this sort of logic that will eventually force us to break down and start selling similar technology to China. And Iran. And North Korea. At some point.)
All isn’t beer, skittles and samosas in the local South Asian arms race front: the Dawn piece notes, among other things, that new bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, two points on either side of the India/Pakistan “line of control” within [Jammu and] Kashmir province. One of the issues involved in making this bus line a reality is (I kid you not) landmine clearance along the bus route. (We only joke about these things here in Brooklyn.)
Just part of that wide world out there that periodically lets us know it’s out there, even if we’d rather pretend it isn’t…