US: Expert (Christine Fair - RAND) who infuriated India offered key post

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  1. EjazR
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    EjazR SENIOR MEMBER

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    US: Expert who infuriated India offered key post: Rediff.com India News
    November 20, 2009 10:19 IST
    Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC

    South Asia expert Christine Fair has been offered a top position in the Obama administration, and that too to specifically handle the India portfolio. The former Rand Corporation expert on South Asia infuriated New Delhi alleging that India was meddling in Balochistan.

    Fair, currently assistant professor in security studies at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, has been offered the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs with responsibilities to work specifically on the India portfolio.

    However, Fair told rediff.com that she would most likely decline the offer because she doesn't want to give up her academic research.

    The administration, on the other hand, had not given up on her even though she informed Robert Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, who had interviewed her and had subsequently offered her the job, that she would not be interested.

    Apparently, the administration has asked her to reconsider and the position, which used to be held by Evan Feigenbaum -- currently with the Council on Foreign Relations -- during the Bush administration, is yet to be filled.

    Fair told rediff.com, "I was so flattered and it was really a honour" to be offered this top post, "but I don't think it's the right job for me."

    "I am much more of an academic and for me to take this job, I was going to have to give up a lot of academic collaborations, and it just didn't make sense to me," she said, but added, "Here is the reality. First I was really enthusiastic about the India portfolio because I am really burnt out on Pakistan. There's no question."

    Fair, who -- before her stint with Rand as a senior political scientist -- served as a political officer to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, based in Kabul, and as a senior research associate in the US Institute of Peace's Centre for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, has travelled extensively in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

    She said the administration, as a pre-condition for the job, "really wanted me to give up too much in terms of the stuff that I am really good at," and noted that "no one else is really doing the kind of stuff that I do, for example, the public opinion work in Pakistan."

    "I am a mixed bag for Indians," she said. "I am not an advocate for any country. I am an advocate for my country."

    In an online discussion earlier this year -- convened by the much-respected journal Foreign Affairs -- Fair had said that Pakistan had legitimate concerns about India's involvement in Afghanistan and that perhaps Islamabad's [ Images ] paranoia that New Delhi was fanning unrest in Balochistan was not unfounded.

    'I think it is unfair to dismiss the notion that Pakistan's apprehensions about Afghanistan stem in part from its security competition with India,' she had then said, and noted, "Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity. Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Kandahar along the (Pak-Afghan) border.'

    Fair also went on to claim, 'Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Balochistan. Kabul has encouraged India to engage in provocative activities such as using the Border Roads Organisation to build sensitive parts of the Rind Road and use the Indo-Tibetan police force for security.'

    'India is also building schools on a sensitive part of the border in Kunar, across from Bajaur,' she said, alleging, 'Kabul's motivations for encouraging these activities are as obvious as India's interest in engaging in them.'

    Fair contended that it would be 'a mistake to completely disregard Pakistan's regional perceptions due to doubts about Indian competence in executing covert operations.'

    When reminded about the controversy her allegations on the Foreign Affairs discussion provoked, Fair still held to the credibility of her contention.

    "I believe it to be true," she said, adding: "The problems with the Pakistanis is that they lie too much and so, that when they tell the truth, no one believes them."

    She argued that "Actually, I am not normative about it -- India should be doing this and they should be doing more of it, if I may be so blunt. So, I've never said, 'Shame on the Indians.'"

    But Fair asserted that "nothing that India could possibly do, without being observed as they tend to have not been observed, could ever rival what the Pakistanis have done, and it doesn't justify blowing up consulates and embassies and killing people."

    "I stand by what I wrote..." Fair said, "Yes, I think the Indians are up to stuff in Balochistan, as they should be. (But) It's not what the Pakistanis say they are up to."

    "Anyone who read what I wrote," she added, "would have seen exactly what I said. Yes, I said, the Pakistanis are exaggerating it, but they are not completely making it up either."

    "Let me also be blunt with you," she said. "I think the Indo-US relationship is extremely important, but I know I am not the flavour of the day in India, and I think that it actually would have undermined our moving the relationship forward, if I were in that job. And, that's the reality of it."

    Fair said she had told the State Department this "from the beginning, when they interviewed me. I said, 'Are you sure, you are interviewing the right person?'"

    But she asserted, "What the Indians would have gotten in me is someone who is realistic. I don't believe in the (Richard) Holbrooke (Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan) crap about you solve Kashmir [ Images ] and you make Pakistan sane. I believe it's necessary albeit terribly insufficient condition to get Pakistanis to tell the army to lay off (in its machinations against India) if you resolve the Indo-Pakistani issue."

    "Whether that can ever happen is irrelevant," she said.

    "The Indians would have gotten in me someone who is more realistic about Pakistan," Fair reiterated.

    Fair has continued to slam Islamabad consistently for taking massive American largesse and continuing to fund and arm the Afghan Taliban [ Images ].

    Recently testifying before the US House Armed Services Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, she said, 'Having received $13 billion, if not more, from the United States to participate in the war on terrorism, Pakistan continues to support the Afghan Taliban. This means that Pakistan is undermining the very war on terrorism that it has received a handsome reward allegedly to support.'

    Fair said the US inability to compel Pakistan to stop its funding and support to all extremist groups was actually what was behind the instability in South Asia, and pointed out, "Let's remember, that it was a Pakistan-based and backed terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, that attacked the Indian Parliament, which brought the largest mobilisation of forces throughout the country, both of them to a near-war crisis with the spectre of nuclear escalation."

    "The Pakistan Taliban share overlapping membership with those very same groups that target India," she said, "and obviously, the Afghan Taliban, operating in Afghanistan. So, it can't defeat its own internal security threats -- which brings into question, Pakistan's national integrity and obviously its strategic assets -- until it is compelled to strategically abandon militancy."

    Fair argued that the massive aid to Pakistan would not "fix Pakistan's chronically neuralgic sense of insecurity vis-a-vis India."

    "I don't think what India does or does not do in Afghanistan is going to make Pakistan stop supporting the Taliban," she predicted. "I think we need to think very hard about what is Pakistan's genuine source of insecurity and put some things on the table that might be out of the box.":taz:
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  2. S-2
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    An absolutely fascinating series of comments by A.M.'s favorite club to wield against the Indians. I haven't tracked her research but it certainly merits a much closer look at her published stuff as she's certainly QUALIFIED a great deal of her implications from last March.

    Thanks for the valuable contribution although I wouldn't count (as much as I might like) upon seeing this stickied anytime soon.

    Just a lovely if scathing qualification.

    Really.:agree:

    EDIT: Here is Ms. Fair's prepared testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee last May 5th.

    From Strategy To Implementation: The Future of U.S.-Pakistan Relations C. Christine Fair
  3. Awesome
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    Not exactly the sort of Ally we want in the Obama Administration. Pretty much sums up the Pakistani distrust for American politicians (or political experts) and why Americans have a negative rep.

    Haha, here we have Americans cheering on India to conduct terrorism within Pakistan.
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  4. S-2
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    She was loved only moments before?:)

    I'd encourage you to read her written testimony from last May. It addresses, fairly, many of the concerns you now have about the K-L Bill.

    Key to the article above is that she's an American with American interests first. Secondly, I'd suggest this comment opens the discussion a bit more on what, exactly, she means-

    " Yes, I think the Indians are up to stuff in Balochistan, as they should be. (But) It's not what the Pakistanis say they are up to."

    Somehow that portion of her comments didn't make it into your post. I wonder why?:rolleyes:
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  5. paritosh
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    paritosh SENIOR MEMBER

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    whatever is implied by the latter part of the statement...eve if it is true....would severely jeopardize our image...there is absolutely nothing angelic that we can possibly do to the people of Pakistan by 'helping' the Balochis...
    Is she talking of humanitarian assistance?
  6. kattabomman
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    This is the only take home lesson for Pakistanis in the article. For short term pleasure lying brings to the ears of Pakistanis (something thoroughly exploited by Zaid Hamid types) the long term damage to credibility will keep accumulating.
  7. Developereo
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    She is pandering to Indians in an interview with the most jingoistic of Indian media, rediff.com

    Nothing to see here, folks...
  8. Awesome
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    It doesn't matter, you folks were wrong about the Indians being involved at all. Now you are saying "They are spreading terrorism, but doing it nicely".

    It didn't make it, because I don't buy it and no one in Pakistan does either.

    The KLB is unnacceptable for obvious Pakistani reasons, and the be all end all for reasons of American interests in Pakistan. We see it as a bribe for the President, not "aid" as you guys call it while patting yourselves on the back for "aiding" a third world country.

    I've often said in my own naive way (although it might give some perspective) that $1.5bn is a lot of money and technically if used properly would make a lot of difference. We can give away 5 lottery tickets of 1 million dollars each PER DAY and make 5 US dollar millionaires in Pakistan PER DAY. One would think that would turn around the economy. None of that would happen, all will go into the pockets of one man only :) as all the previous loans from your country have come and gone.

    So thanks but no thanks.
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  9. Awesome
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    About Ms. Fair's comments, its very reminiscent of the same outrage that the Americans felt when we differentiated between the good and the bad Taliban.

    Now Americans have good and the bad terrorists. The ones blowing away Pakistanis, good ones, the ones doing the nasty in territory controlled by them... bad ones.

    How quickly they change their tunes :)
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  10. ambidex
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    It is better for India to engage itself in Afghanistan and place the thermometer to read temperatures directly and to be up to something in balochistan than sitting ideal and wait for another attack from elements in Pakistan.

    This is where she is trying to be realistic and justifying Indian role for the same. It is her assumption like any genuine analytic researcher, nothing else.
    Furthermore no ones restricts an Academician to use politically correct statements specially when she hails from US;).
  11. Developereo
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    Developereo PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    :rofl:

    India tried that in the 90s and failed spectacularly, remember? That's why Uncle had to step in reinstate their anti-China puppet.

    I think a NATO withdrawal will be a net plus for Pakistan. We will have a much easier time fumigating the Indians out of Afghanistan and regaining control of our borders.
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  12. Awesome
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    India will get a befitting reply. A couple of factors are going in India's favor which allows these anti-Pakistani forces to openly cheer on terrorists in Pakistan:

    1. Our own people, our own SOBs, are ready to cooperate with any Tom, Dick and Hari ;) if it means they will get support for their terrorist agenda. Terrorists in Pakistan do hate the Indians, but they know they will never get off the mark till they don't wrest control of Pakistan. For that purpose they are ready to support India's war against Pakistan to get rid of the Pakistani opposition. India thinks it will support them up to a point where they aren't able to do anything about the Pakistani government but they can keep the Pakistani government tied up. Anyone who says otherwise or is blind to this VERY SIMPLE logic, is either a dumbass or acting like one for political mileage. Now those of you who are, put your hands up please?

    2. Our leaders have gone from bad to worse. Musharraf who wasn't anyones puppet, but believed that he can walk a fine line between crazy Pakistanis and crazy Americans. He got his *** handed to him by the crazy Americans, and now a real puppet rules over Pakistan. A fraudulent election was held in Pakistan to bring the PPP to power. In the coming days, now as the Corruption list has been made public, just wait and watch how American political sharks, monkeys and baboons start visiting Pakistan desperately trying to save the American puppet. I wouldn't be surprised if Hillary makes a return trip 1st quarter of the next year (likely when the heat would be on Zardari for NRO).
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  13. Developereo
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    That is why we have to establish the writ of state over the entire territory of Pakistan. No more autonomous regions, no more mickey mouse deals with tinpot tribal chiefs. And, since the terrorists will surely slink away to fight another day, we have to build up our domestic law enforcement capability.

    These are things we should have done long ago as a nation. Hopefully, these testing times will serve as a catalyst for us to finally get serious and get them done.

    Musharraf had no choice. After 9/11, the US gave an ultimatum of "help us or else" and he made the best of a difficult situation.

    I sometimes wonder if the Americans live on Mars or what? They actually told Zardari to "rally support for American actions". Zardari? :rofl: The man can barely rally support for himself, let alone America! And do they still not know that any appearance of American appeasement is the ultimate kiss of death for any Pakistani politician?

    But the blame also goes to the Pakistani public for electing him, or Benazir, just because of ZAB nostalgia. I don't have much hope for Nawaz Sharif either. He is a Saudi puppet (who are in bed with the Americans) so it all comes down to the same thing in the end.

    Bottom line, as long as our political scene is dominated by these self-serving feudals, we are screwed.
  14. ambidex
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    Developereo post #11 thanks: Very realistic based on Past experiences, But do not explains whether Pakistan will be more determined to win Afghanistan again from India!

    Given the fact Afghans are more bitter and sensitive to Pakistan's interests in their country.
    Secondly Afghans have more influence or potential i can say in Pakistan contemporary to effect pakistan's decisions by many means(you now what i am trying to say).

    Post 12#Asim Aquil. Thanks. Very futuristic, with few valid points. But how can you be very sure about India's proactive approach after NATO's withdraw.

    Afghanistan is still volatile and vulnerable to compromise any of India's effort to create influence within few months of unrest post NATO withdraw.

    Furthermore how can you neglect the big logistical issues India has at time when Pakistan will be non cooperative.

    Secondly you are undermining recent US negotiations with Taliban for horsetrading and power sharing.

    There are no free lunches for any one in Afghanistan, one can not get AF but may earn it with hardship.
  15. Awesome
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    There is another thing that India hasn't foreseen. We can open up new fronts in Assam, Nagaland and other eastern territories. There too you have your OWN SOBs which are ready to kill Indians for a few pennies. We just have to ensure they are well supplied. It can be India's very own Waziristan situation. We won't have to be involved it will be Indians fighting Indians.

    It is very likely that this is going to be the next stage of the India/Pakistan war if India doesn't relent on supporting militancy in Pakistan.