The Intractable Problems

There are many problems in the world which cannot be solved, or atleast not resolved to everyone’s satisfaction in a quick timeframe.

All of us are aware of many such mundane problems in our lives. We could either accept to live with those problems, or change the landscape and move on to a different life altogether.

However, geo-political problems cannot unfortunately be wished away. They have a habit of festering continuity, with no lack of painful reminders and continuous negative impact on the parties involved. There are several such problems – actually, too many if you ask. Let us see : the Israeli – Palestinian imbroglio on disputed land, the inter-Korean conflict, the Taiwan – China conflict, the Kashmir problem, the Darfur conflict, the South East Asian islands claimed by a number of countries including China, the Burma (Myanmar) stand-off, the Thailand crisis, and so on and on.

Has the United Nations been an effective resolver or at least an arbitrator, to put these problems to rest ? Not at all. The U.N. has been the most ineffective organization that has been funded by more than 150 countries for a rather unsuccessful existence over the past six decades or so. It has not succeeded in resolving any big conflict largely because of one issue – the U.N. Security Council whose five members have veto powers. This ia an anachronism which still exists today. What about the world’s second most populous country and the largest democracy in the world ? Sorry, it is not qualified to be a member of the UNSC. Because………it became a nuclear power on its own and defied the non-proliferation treaty ? because…….it could not solve the Kashmir problem ? because…….it has an impeccable adherence record to international laws and treaties ? because………it won’t get subdued to the big powers of the world ? and, so on and so forth.

Well, coming to the Kashmir problem, yes it does defy solution. Democracy and political freedoms have not delivered results in Kashmir. Neither did the previous era of the Central Government rule work well. Terrorism continues to rear its head repeatedly. Gun battles have become quite common. Many civilians have lost their lives in the last three months. The resolution is not apparent, and yielding to the demands of the hardliners will only further accentuate the problem at our doorsteps.

Will Pakistan come around to a negotiated solution to the Kashmir problem ? I doubt it, and so do millions of Indians. We cannot trust Pakistan. Their recent attack on India’s Kashmir position at the UN is a clear example of how they cannot be trusted to take the dialogue forward. Notwithstanding the fact that India has mellowed down its position after the hardline stand it took in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks by the Pakistanis.

So, the intractable problems of the world will, well continue to be intractable for the foreseeable future. The reason is very simple – the offender is supported by one or sometimes two world powers (as in this case). If the U.S. and China support Pakistan under one guise or the other, what do you expect from Pakistan – more nuclear weapons, a tougher-talking army general, more F-16s, more missiles, more sabre-rattling by their suave Foreign Minister, et al.

And, that’s exactly what India is getting.


Vijay Srinivasan
3rd October 2010


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