By VCheng

The recent unfortunate incident between NATO and PA has raised a firestorm within Pakistan, and grave concerns internationally. ISPR has already put forth its official statement on the issue, but since the final NATO report is not yet out, it would not be productive to comment on the events of that night at this point in time. However, since chess is never won by emotions, this would be a good time to see in a coldly logical manner what iceberg lays behind the tip that surfaced only a few days ago.

From the moment an incident like this happens, there are mechanisms in place to capture a wealth of data, so comprehensively voluminous that it can take months to analyze fully. The data gathered start from the site of the event, and collection concentrates on the chain of propagation, i.e., how and where information is communicated, in addition to what is being communicated. After suitable analysis, what emerges is a flow of information, with the sentinel event in the center, and all the ripples radiating outwards, with all the nuances captured in detail.

This map displays critical nodes and junctions where certain ripples in the flow of information come together, and their timing. Specially important are holdups and delays, if any can be identified. All this information is combed over to identify suitable sites to inject carefully selected pieces of information that have the potential to utterly confuse and demoralize and indeed even cause totally opposite reactions from the opponent at a crucial chosen time.

What is then created is the “haze”, the mass of confusing and conflicting information that breaks down established procedures, causing the opponent irreparable harm. Is it any wonder that the response of both the PA and the PAF was less than robust in the recent event? After all, these are regarded as two of the most professional military entities anywhere on the entire planet, where the slogan “Second to None” once held real meaning and pride, and thus the other possibility, sheer and utter incomptence, cannot be a feasible or sufficient explanation.

Pakistan would do well to attempt to analyze the full scale of its vulnerabilities exposed by the current event, for it is a sure thing that all the information collected as described above, will be available for use for any possible future events, not only in the arena that generated it, but by other parties in other theaters as well, if updated and shared.

International geopolitics has been likened to a chess game quite often with good reason, but in modern times, the level of complexity has gone up manifold, enabled by immense technological resources in such a manner that each square on the board has its own chess game while participating in the overall match as well. A novice in penury playing chess with a seasoned Grandmaster cannot count on a few pea shooters in the pocket to be protected from an utterly crushing defeat.

Therein lies an important realization if it were to be made.

Discuss this topic at the Pakistan Defence Forum.