A redrawn map of South Asia has been making the rounds among Pakistani elites. It shows their country truncated, reduced to an elongated sliver of land with the big bulk of India to the east, and an enlarged Afghanistan to the west.
That the map was first circulated as a theoretical exercise in some U.S. neoconservative circles matters little here. It has fueled a belief among Pakistanis, including members of the armed forces, that what the United States really wants is the breakup of Pakistan, the only Muslim country with nuclear arms.
"One of the biggest fears of the Pakistani military planners is the collaboration between India and Afghanistan to destroy Pakistan," said a senior Pakistani government official involved in strategic planning who insisted on anonymity in accordance with diplomatic rules. "Some people feel the United States is colluding in this."..
The Herald Tribune is too polite to say it, for some reason, but we all know which map he's talking about. It's the one in this post, the one risible carta de'll oro wingnut Ralph Peters crapped into the public water supply back in October, 2006 in this article. The map is here; personally, I still can't get past the fact he proposed a complete re-drawing of every border in South-West Asia but couldn't bring himself to do anything about Palestine, but left it as "status undetermined". That's a hard one, Miss! Not fair!
Deeds have consequences, and so do words. Now, it looks like more people are going to die in northwestern Pakistan because of fucknuts Peters' shitty little effort. I guess he doesn't particularly care about Subedar Khan of the Frontier Corps, or his opposite number in the North Waziristan Not-The-Taliban; but didn't he give any thought to the actual US soldiers in ISAF Regional Command East? I often wonder whether blogs in general put too much time and effort into arguing with idiots. "Someone is wrong on the Internet", indeed.
But of course it's worth it; or the buggers will just keep ralphing away. Political maniacs of every stripe have a weird fondness for fantasy cartography - it's probably a relic of sympathetic magic, or else a sort of military cargo cult. If I stick pins in enough maps, perhaps someone will actually follow the orders.
Relatedly, it looks like some of the general enemy have also concluded that the e-mail bomber approach failed them in the presidential election campaign. I've described it elsewhere as an airpower theory approach to politics - you build a big centralised machine to deliver talking points, hurtling over an unresisting political landscape devoid of agency, and the best bit is that it's capital intensive. You don't need an army of volunteers - just money.
The GOP is the talk-radio party -- for the most part, it's centralized, top-down. Even though Rush Limbaugh is "perhaps the best exponent of across-the-board conservatism," as Ruffini wrote, "he has no lists and no way to mobilize his audience directly to donate and volunteer." (But it must be noted that Limbaugh urged his Republican listeners to vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton in Indiana's open primary to prolong the Democratic duel. And Clinton won.)Whether a party that's spent the last 30 or so years specialising in attracting the fat tail on the social authoritarianism curve is structurally capable of doing that is another matter, and I think we shall soon see the answer. Similarly, whether a party so given intellectually to the rhetoric of authoritarianism would survive such a change in any recognisable form seems doubtful.
The Democrats, meanwhile, are the party of the Web: decentralized, chaotic, bottom-up. The bloggers at DailyKos.com, for example, argue about policy and ideology, too. But all that blogging leads to raising money, which leads to organizing, which leads to having a say in the party. When Howard Dean, whose presidential primary campaign was largely funded by online donors, was elected DNC chairman in 2005, there was no doubt that a new Democratic era had arrived.
But clout didn't come overnight for the Democratic "netroots." In a way, its influence was predicated on being independent of the party. Says Jerome Armstrong, who created the liberal blog MyDD in 2001: "The netroots is not the DNC. The netroots challenges the DNC." A similar dynamic needs to occur between the rightroots and the RNC, bloggers such as Ruffini and Finn say. The rightroots should push their party's leadership and entrenched consulting class the same way the netroots lashed the Democratic leadership years ago.
Still, survival is optional. If they want to start a US Christian Democratic Union, more power to their elbow - whatever happens, one day they'll be back, and on that day it will make a big difference whether the "they" is a zombie version of the party of 2004 or, well, something less stupid, destructive, and fanatical.
And if there is anything that the last 11 years of British politics will tell you, it's that a democracy where you can't responsibly vote for the other lot and remain a decent human being has a problem. At some point, he'll come up with something so stupid and abhorrent to some peculiar interest of yours that you'll sweat purple piss (they all do), and it's at that point you'll see the value of opposition.