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17 May 2009


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Mark Stuart

Babak Makkinejad:

You say:
"The issue in the Sub-Continent is that there are 2 Civilizations that cannot coexist peacefully – the Militant Monotheism of Islam with the Organismic Polytheism of Hinduism."

Then a couple of lines later you state:
"Bangladesh does not have any fights with India. There are Hindus living there and there are Muslims living in West Bengal."

Where is that elusive Huntingtonian clash of civilization so cherished by the ones who fail to make an effort to understand the "other one"?
Yes, as you say they are places where hindus and muslims can and do live side by side in peace. And by bringing our attention to those places, you make obvious your tendency to be overly emotional rather than rational and factual when it comes to race, religion and ethnicity in this region .

You persist and insist on approaching the region multiple plights and geostrategic policies through the exclusive and single prism of race and ethnicity: it is a racist approach. As is your adamant and consistent depiction of the US in particular and the west in general, as the single exclusive culprit in the many crisis and difficulties Pakistan faces today.

You didn't realize Babak, but you are not "neutral in the ethnic mix of Pakistan."

Babak Makkinejad

Mark Stuart:

You wrote: "...approaching the region multiple plights and geostrategic policies through the exclusive and single prism of race ...".

I believe you are misunderstanding and mis-characterizing my point of view. East & West Bengalis are the same (physical) race. So are the Punjabis; Hindu, Sikh, or Muslim. Race is not the point - religion is.

The areas that Hindus and Muslims have met in relative peace are places that one or the other group is a very small minority; less than 10% of the population. Even then you have the occasional Hindu attacks against Muslims (and Dalits).

I regret that I have come across as blaming US as "...as the single exclusive culprit in the many crisis and difficulties Pakistan faces today". Such was not my intention. But ask yourself the following hypothetical question: “Would we be where we are today without the Afghan War of 1980s?”

I repeat here my opinion: it was a mistake for Pakistan to wage war on behalf of US in the 1980s at the price of the militarization of NWFP. That US has taken advantage of useful fools all over the world to advance her geopolitical agenda (however misguided some of those have been) is to be expected of any Great Power. The airplanes etc., in my opinion, were not worth it.

When elephants fight, grass suffers. When elephants have sex, grass suffers.

I insist on seeing the world primarily through a religious/emotional prism that takes cognizance of the irrationality and chaos that runs through human beings.

The reason is that I have, reluctantly and regrettably, come to the conclusion that all other models of human action based on rational actors and cost-benefit analysis of such actors leave the majority of human actions during the historical process un-explained and in-explainable. Moreover, some groups of human being are more emotional than others and their religions suits them that way.

FB Ali has stated that the issue of Kashmir is kept alive as “ a tool to divert public attention from their [ruling elite] own problems and failures”. His is a rational argument based on the idea of political expediency. But when I look at the cost to Pakistan over the last 60 years I cannot account for it except through the emotional commitment of a ruling elite to an idea.


To amplify:

"The issue in the world is that there are 2 Civilizations that cannot coexist peacefully – the Militant Monotheism of Islam with the Secular Tolerance of the West."

Babak Makkinejad


That is not my position.

My comment was only in regards to the Sub-Continent.

The two civilizations are in constant struggle inside India.

That does not obtain anywhere else in the West.


Statistical analysis and observation of Iraq insurgency attack size.

I think the guy's missing data is the diplomatic tug of play between US and Iran. (the agglomeration of insurgencies groups)

I wonder what Taliban/afghanistan conflict looks like as it progresses. Specially after breaking the social support.


In the clip below, physicist Sean Gourley breaks anthropology's grip on irregular warfare's strategic evolution and introduces the mathematical contribution to winning -and preventing- 21st century conflicts. It's absolutely fascinating stuff.

Babak Makkinejad


The discovery of Dr. Sean Gourley is note-worthy. The existence of power law indicates that the process in question (war in this case) is not random. But, then again, War as Organized Violence cannot be random - human minds are organizing it.

This type of power law shows up in many physical systems: distribution of galaxies and second order phase transitions are instances that come to my mind.

That the power law has the same exponent across multiple wars is more interesting since it indicates that war has got its own universality class.

The new question is to extend this analysis backwards in time to historical wars and see how the exponent has changed during human history (if at all). Moreover, one could try to calculate the same exponent for non-human species that practice organized violence such as certain species of ants. It would be interesting to find out if the exponent is species-specific or not; i.e. if non-human and human species organize violence in the same manner.

Of course, in the coming wars against extra-terrestrials, this type of knowledge could be quite helpful.


Pakistani Military Takes Strategic Hilltop Overlooking Swat

The Pakistani military has announced that it has taken the strategic hilltop of Biny Baba Ziarat that overlooks the Swat Valley. Some 150 Taliban were said to be killed in the hard fighting, in which they put up strong resistance even though the Pakistani military deployed helicopter gunships and much heavier firepower than the Taliban could muster.

(with video)



The gap between the supposed two civilizations in India is much less than that between the West and the Muslim world. 95% of the Muslims in India are converts or descendants of converts; and conversion did not in general destroy cultural commonalities. It is true there has been a long-term historic effort by the fundamentalists to break that. Post-partition, that task has been joined in by Hindu wingnuts.

Globalization has taken away the situation that geographic isolation had placed the West and the world of Islam. The struggle has been more explicit too. We have nothing like the Crusades happening in India nor, till 1947, anything even remotely like the expulsion of Muslims from Spain.

The great "success" of Muslim fundamentalists in South Asia has been to recreate European history.


If the Pakistani military is objectively making progress in rolling back the Taliban, then my suggestion would be the US make a hiatus in the use of drone attacks, to see if it helps make the Pakistani efforts more effective.

Babak Makkinejad


There is a very real and very fundamental gap between Islam and Hinduism - the Hindu & Dalit origin of the Muslims notwithstanding. The gap obtains because the supreme deity in Islam takes an interest in the affairs of individual human beings and judges their conduct. Thus each and every individual human being, from the Dawn of Creation to the present time, is endowed with intrinsic worth. The Jews, the Christians, and the Zoroastrians all agree on that much.

Hinduism, on the other hand, posits that the supreme deity is only playing, that the Creation and the lives and deeds of individual human beings are nothing but an illusion - devoid of intrinsic worth and meaning.

I agree that there are cultural commonalities - in language, food, and clothing. But there were also such commonalities among Southern Slavs but that did not ameliorate their sense of alienation from one another - you had an epic poem in Serbo-Croatian extolling the virtues of Muslim heroes at the same time that there were epics recalling the deeds of the Christian heroes against Muslims.

I agree with you that the so-called West, i.e. mostly the Northern, non-Catholic Europeans as well as North Americans having entered their post-Christian phase have thus created a gulf between themselves and the rest of mankind and not just Muslims.

Hindus and Muslims can both agree on the metaphysical truth of the proposition that there is a form of spirituality that permeates the Universe; that that which is visible to human beings is not all that there is or can be or has been. The so-called West denies this proposition.

I think the history of the Indian Ocean basin from the 6-th to 17-th centuries is worth studying since it could shed some light on the possible futures that are available to us as the process of globalization takes its course.

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