In recent weeks, the United States has come to an agreement with Cuba. Over a period of several years both Cuba and the US continued negotiations, sometimes in utter discreet, to reach out to each other. The result has been quite positive. Other countries in the region are happy that tension between Cuba and the US is over. From now on they do not have to choose sides. Because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, goods and services throughout the continent can be shipped smoothly. The movement of products in both directions would help both producers and consumers throughout the region. It would benefit Cuba greatly.

In the same way the Obama Administration is preaching to its countrymen the virtue of making an accommodation with Iran. For nearly 50 years, ever since the Islamic Revolution took over Iran in 1978, the United States has broken off the relationship with that country. President George W. Bush named Iran as the "Axis of Evil" along with Cuba and North Korea. Because Iran is a big country in a very troubled area. It would be foolish to write it off. Besides, the country is on the way to acquire a nuclear bomb. In order not to aggravate the existing danger to the world, it became important to persuade Iran not to make a nuclear bomb. Like Iran, several other countries are also pursuing a path to go nuclear. Should Iran be allowed to have a nuclear bomb, then each of the aspiring countries too would feel pressure to acquire their own. Then the entire world would be ablaze with nuclear bombs. In order to avoid this situation, all of the five members of the Security Council plus Germany started negotiating with Iran. Finally, they have come to an agreement where Iran has agreed to forestall its bomb making effort. However, under strict supervision from the International community it would be allowed to make electricity from some of its enriched uranium. Hardliners in both countries are rising against the agreement as neither Party could get its wish fulfilled. It shows that sometimes, nations have to swallow bitter pills of submission in the interest of humanity.

While all of this is going on in the international sphere the relationship between India and Pakistan remains worrisome. Their civilian leaders, as recently as last month, agreed to discuss bilateral issues so that eventually a comprehensive agreement between the neighbors can be reached. It was too good to happen. Before the representatives could meet, Pakistan's National Security advisor Sartaj Aziz threw a monkey wrench by bringing up the Kashmir issue. At the same time Pakistani diplomats also met with Separatists in India. It was no doubt a brilliant maneuver by Pakistani hardliners to derail the negotiation process. And they did.

No one should be surprised by this incident because Pakistan for a long time has been fighting with itself. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, although he means well, does not have the final word. On the other hand, the military in Pakistan is still stuck in its old ways of thinking. Any accommodation minus a total victory over India is not acceptable to it. And that is the problem.

The fall of Communism in Russia and the dismantling of the Soviet Empire before our eyes shows that it takes a while for the citizens to understand their own condition. Those who benefit from an existing system try to perpetuate it in every possible way. However, when people realize their condition and demand changes they attack the system ferociously. Such is the situation in Pakistan now. Even if a strong desire exists among ordinary people to live like their Indian brothers and sisters in a free and politically mature society in peace, Pakistan's political reality does not allow them to do so. Like exploited masses everywhere, sooner or later they will rise and establish a government subordinated to their demands. Such a thing happened in various Soviet bloc countries, in the Middle East and in many other countries. It can happen in Pakistan also. It is only a matter of time. In order for a genuine friendship to flourish between the two countries Pakistanis have to learn how to revolt. It may take some time.

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