Posted by: Christian | November 24, 2008

Cartographic Paranoia, Continued

Uh oh! The New York Times reports (well after the fact):

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.

Enlarged Afghanistan? India? Truncated sliver of a Pakistan?

That the map was first circulated as a theoretical exercise in some American 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.

I wrote about the map 6 months ago in this post. Here’s the offending map by Ralph Peters:

All that map proves is that Ralph Peters has a real map, a pencil, possibly some crayons, and someone who knows how to use some map creation software.

Anything else to stoke the paranoia? How about India?

Further, Pakistan is upset about the advances India is making in Afghanistan, with no checks from the United States, Mr. Masood said.

India has recently made big investments in Afghanistan, where Pakistan has been competing for influence. These include a road to the Iranian border that will eventually give India access to the Iranian port of Chabahar, circumventing Pakistan.

India has offered training for Afghanistan’s military, given assistance for a new Parliament building in Kabul and has re-opened consulates along the border with Pakistan.

You can read more about India circumventing Pakistan via Chabahar here.

And some good old conspiracy theorizing:

Some commentators suggest that the United States is actually financing the Taliban. The point is to tie down the Pakistani Army, they say, leaving the way open for the Americans to grab Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Recently, in the officer’s mess in Bajaur, the northern tribal region where the Pakistani Army is tied down fighting the militants, one officer offered his own theory: Osama bin Laden did not exist, he told a visiting journalist.

Rather, he was a creation of the Americans, who needed an excuse to invade Afghanistan and encroach on Pakistan.


Related reading:


  1. Yes, well, if we created UBL, then a fat lot of good it’s done us.

  2. Yes, well, if we created UBL, then a fat lot of good it’s done us.

  3. Sorry about the repetition.

  4. Ralph Peters must have a great weed connection.
    I was going to write something more specific, but really, where do you start ?

  5. Kilo: If you think the pakistanis do *not* think that paranoid, then Im sorry to inform you that such is not the issue. I know several pakistani folks and travelled as an invited guest in Bahrain and Turkey and met visitors of fairly high standing, and the paranoid mindset is quite prevalent. Conspiracy theories abound. Remember that the country has been in three wars after WW2 with India, and is engaged in a nuclear standoff. Now consider the US conspiracy paranoia of the 50s w. communists.

  6. Well, as a Pakistani, I can completely confirm that this theory is extremely popular in elite circles here in Pakistan. I also get the feeling that the army high-ups encourage the story to motivate the lower ranks to fight the taliban. The idea being it discredits their Jihadist and ‘Afghan-liberation’ rhetoric.


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