A Peace Possibility Hanging Out in the Ether

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 65 (February 2003)

My own Image Streaming faculties have advised me in effect that on some things, including possibly on the idea set forth here, instead of ending this idea with some sort of call to specific action, the way all good exhortations in this country are supposed to conclude….

…I instead just put this out in the Ether and let it reverberate there. Perhaps from there and perhaps not, someone with appropriate connections will think of this as his own idea and move it forward. Be that as it may:

  • Japanese interests very much need a new sector of economic development. At the moment they are staring down the throat of three to six years’ further recession, quite a strain for that country to weather.
  • Japan has as much to lose as we do, as all of us do, if the hostility between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India should surge out of control.
  • Beautiful Kashmir is those two countries’ hotspot and main potential flashpoint. Conversely, a peaceful Kashmir would feature these immediate bases for immediate initial economic take-off:  tourism; minerals, and some elements of agriculture not grown readily in other areas of South Asia.
    Virtually every country in the world would benefit from what we suggest below, not only by reason of the world economy and trade, but because what we propose would dry up one of the main sources of terrorists and terrorism in the world. (The United States would benefit because what we propose would go a long way to stabilizing our most crucial ally in the war against terror, as well as greatly benefit the world’s largest democracy.)
    The very fact that this article’s suggestion, unfolding below, seems so outside anyone’s thinking means, among other things, the extent to which Japanese interests are presently uninvolved in the region and neutrality unquestioned, which is precisely why this idea will work.
    These and possibly other bases for immediate takeoff could be used to fuel other forms of economic development. The owners of the enterprises and corporations through which such an economic emergence was powered, would stand to turn a respectable profit.
  • There are plenty of reasons WHY both India and Pakistan are economically so desperately poor (the cost of their nuclear armaments is only one factor). A peaceful, prosperous Kashmir, building a base of economic and managerial expertise, would stand an excellent prospect of becoming able to address and cure many of the problems which are keeping the entire South Asian region so poor … Instead, South Asian civilization could be, for us and for everyone around the globe, incredibly rich and productive trading partners.
  • If certain Japanese interests were to quietly approach certain elements in both India and Pakistan, they might quietly begin the creation of a number of corporate enterprises through which Japanese capital and expertise both were infused into Kashmir under certain guarantees. Among those guarantees:  a modest tax break for corporations substantially and jointly owned by both Pakistanis and Indians together, Hindus and Moslems. Getting them with joint ownership together will build conditions where, increasingly, the Hindus see their own well-being in terms of the prosperity of the Muslims, and the Muslims see their own well-being mainly in terms of the prospects of the Hindus.

The tax break should be considerable for the first ten years, modest for the second ten, slight for the third ten, with a terminating sunset clause.

The arrangements have to be developed quietly, much the way Japanese interests brilliantly defused American resistance to Japanese products a few years ago here.

These mixed-ownership corporations should be part of a mix of development policies which result in causing it not to make much difference to anyone whether India or Pakistan controls Kashmir, because both countries draw so much of their own prosperity from the arrangements.

Why Japanese and not American interests? Throughout South Asia, deservedly or not, the American CIA plays much the same role in popular conspiracy theories there that little green men do in popular conspiracy theories in the USA. Any American initiative there is necessarily viewed with deep suspicion, even in normal times, and the American conduct of the war on terror has deepened suspicions much further. Current American pressures and actions toward a second war with Iraq, I’m afraid, have not notably eased those suspicions.

The next greatest set of economic interests from which to undertake this Kashmir project is Japan, ailing though that country be at present.

No clean-cut political settlement of the Kashmir issue is even remotely possible under present conditions. A globe-damaging nuclear war (also incidentally costing the lives of hundreds of millions of human beings) could break out between these two great South Asian nations at any time. …With radiation and upheavals spreading around the world. ..And the longer that situation continues, the greater the cumulative chance of the worst happening. But getting a country to defer action while something else is going on — that’s a lot easier to bring about. This could be that “something else going on,” if profit-seeking Japanese interests can, with the quiet subtlety at which they historically have been so skilled, contact the appropriate elements in both India and Pakistan.

I’m just hanging this idea out in the Ether, with no exhortation to action or even expectation that anyone do anything. So, Ether, here it comes…