Shameful Piece by the Economist

Five years ago, the Economist was cheering not only the invasion of Afghanistan, but also that of Iraq. Now, when it comes to India’s response to the Mumbai terror attacks, the Economist has declared  that we should not emulate the US “mistakes” like… the invasion of Afghanistan.  Worse still, now it turns out that the US incursions into Pakistan – the threat of which is the only thing that is keeping Pakistan in check, are also a bad idea.

10 thoughts on “Shameful Piece by the Economist

  1. Ravi

    I dont think it is really a shameful piece. It is one point of view with a some pragmatic merit. India is placed between a rock and a hard place. I am not yet sure of the right response, but dragging the whole country into war with a failing (if not failed) state, may not serve India well, both in the short and the long term.

    I have been posting some of my thoughts on the incident in my recently started blog.

    hope the kid is doing great !!


  2. @swami

    If I am not mistaken, you were the one who had challenged Ravi about his support for Iraq war at the time when he was all gung ho and ‘clear’ about it. Now that he is trying to be ‘consistent’ and all about a similar response from India, I am glad that you once again asked him to clarify his stance.
    Five years ago, the Economist was cheering not only the invasion of Afghanistan, but also that of Iraq
    Does the ‘but also’ reference to Iraq invasion, rather than simple ‘Economist was cheering the attack on Afghanistan and Iraq,’ suggest a change in attitude towards US policy of attacking Iraq or am I reading too much?
    Also, given that this attack is different than the previous ones (although I would have counted the attack on the parliament as such an example despite it not being the most popular position to take given the recent tragedy and the anger at politicians it has fostered) what do you suggest India’s response from a military point of view ought to be?

    There have been numerous times when the Economist has been inconsistent in its editorial position. It has cried fox so many times only to be proved wrong. You singling out this particular instance of egregiousness is akin to BJP suddenly realising the importance of due process when some Hindu terrorists are mistreated. Such writing is a disservice to your regular readers. Leave this exposing of media hypocrisy exercise to Offstumped. At least he doesn’t have to pretend to be consistent. (He can always twist the concept of Dharma to fit any and every situation)

    As an aside, and I am not the only one who wonders about this, why is that Offstumped guy part of INI? Since you edit Pragati and I assume are close to Nitin, are you in the know of why that dude is given such a platform?

  3. The Economist makes perfect sense!

    At least the US going to war in Iraq/Afghanistan has some major benefits for them :-

    (a) Local politics, Bush won again.
    (b) The huge, huge military industrial complex requires enormous spending that is not possible without an occasional flareup somewhere. (Even Grenada was enough!) This translates into jobs, some money on the table for Average Joe and lots in the deep pockets of the richest.
    (c) Oil, oil, oil.

    And still the ‘mericans are now clear that they want NO part of this war, only getting out is like getting a bubble gum unstuck from a velcro strip.

    We want to go into Pakistan ? No oil, and no money to spend anyway! WTF FOR ?

    (Please read what happened after Parliament house, when the braying of assorted patriots with more snot than sense in their heads caused a major mobilization, lots of money spent and serving personnel deaths without any tangible gain).

  4. “I don’t think so, but the Economist thinks so. Now.”

    Can I paraphrase this as – economist is willing to accept errors in judgement and change its position based on the aftermath of the stupidity that was Iraq invasion?

    While some others value their words so high that consistency matters more than being correct?

    If this sounds like digression, let me just also add that learning from others’ mistakes is one of the best deals you could ever get.

  5. “Can I paraphrase this as – economist is willing to accept errors in judgement and change its position based on the aftermath of the stupidity that was Iraq invasion?”

    Nope. The Economist is supposed to be a thinking person’s magazine. You don’t expect it to overcompensate for its past mistakes by swinging wildly from one wrong position to another.
    As it happens, I still think that the Iraq war was a good idea executed badly. But I see the point of people who have changed their minds about that. But I don’t see how any sensible person can oppose the Afghan invasion. If that was not justified, no war is. More importantly, I don’t see how one can agree with the Economist that the Afghan war was a bad idea and then go on to argue for surgical strikes on Pakistan, as you have been doing on another thread. Incidentally, I myself don’t support any kind of overt military response to Pakistan by India.

  6. The question always has been about the Iraq war. The economist article is bundling them together in one sentence – but too much should not be read into it. The point that is being made is about America’s approach – waging all-out war without clear targets, clear goals, without evaluating consequences.

    In the case of the Afghan war – even though the eventual target (Bin Laden) was not achieved, the intermediate target (Taliban) was a convenient compromise for many. Unlike the iraq war which was just a horrible mess from start to end. It looked a bad idea when started (to many, except for a minority right-wingers), it looked bad throughout the execution, and it will continue to be ugly for a long time to come.

    As it happens, I still think that the Iraq war was a good idea executed badly.

    With all due respect, I have no idea what that means.

  7. That’s the bitter truth. Any strike by India on Pakistan is doomed to fail. Chiefly, because even a conventional first strike is more than likely to provoke a nuclear response from the other side. That will cause India more loss than to Pakistan. There is very little, by comparison, to destroy in Pakistan anyway. India has many more industries and much larger physical infrastructure — not to speak of a burgeoning population — that a couple of big-bang-bombs can devastate. And at the end ? It is never the people or the military that are launching these terror strikes on India. And a war will hardly get rid of the terrorists who are far beyond in the caves !

    So, how do we deal with pesky Pakistan ? Either pay them back in the same way — thro backstage strikes — or support the Americans at it. Another bitter fact — or maybe sweet fact — of modern times : other than America there is at present no other country capable of being super cop to the entire world. Certainly not China, which incidentally is India’s other bete noire.

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