Breaking Brown

May 8, 2011

pakistan and the myth of action

angry boy


If you believe what you’ve read seen and read in the news, then you know that the diplomatic and military world was upended by the discovery that Pakistan was (allegedly) cavorting with Osama bin laden.

From Peggy Noonan:

“It was Mr. Obama who decided—rightly—to stiff Pakistan, not to tell them of the operation but to allow them to be exposed and humiliated in front of the world. Which they richly deserve. They accept our aid and hide our enemies.

From The Economist:

“The hollow claims made for many years by Pakistani rulers, military chiefs and spooks that Mr bin Laden, other al-Qaeda leaders and Taliban bosses were being allowed no refuge inside Pakistan, have been spectacularly exposed.”

From The Washington Post:

“Obama administration officials here and in Islamabad are demanding that Pakistan quickly provide answers to specific questions about Osama bin Laden and his years-long residence in a bustling Pakistani city surrounded by military installations.”

Administrators and governmental officials sound angry, so Pakistan’s in some deep poo-poo right? Hogwash. Humans, because of our wiring, instantaneously associate emotion with impending action. As kids, when one of our playmates erupted in a rage over us hoarding the Etch-A-Sketch, the chances of licks being passed were pretty good. And the likelihood that mom would pass her own set of licks once she caught us in mid-punch? Also pretty good.

The lesson we learned as kids was that fits of anger were usually followed by actions.  And generally, the actions were proportional to the emotional fit (unless your parents or playmates were particularly tough or particularly wimpy). It should then come as no surprise  that governments have learned to use that association to head fake us.

Everyone on the Hill now has a bee in their bonnet, and so we believe  this anger will result in action.  And we (Americans) could care less what kind of action results from what we (rightly or wrongly)  view as Pakistan’s duplicity, so long as Pakistan gets what’s comin’ to ‘em. So Americans move on, assured that something will eventually happen. It won’t. It’s all theactrics.

In personal relationships and policy discussions, it would benefit us greatly to focus on what’s being done, how we’re being treated, and not on the huffs and puffs of our mate or our government. Emotions are silly whirlwinds. The truth lies in action…

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