Is now the time to go long on Pakistan?

Maybe so.  Ian Bremmer reports that of 282 elected BJP representatives, not one is a Muslim, even though Muslims are about 15% of India’s population.  In some political models, that can make the electorate more willing to cut a deal with Pakistan, as fewer people will fear that the deal will neglect India’s interests.  In essence this kind of slanted government can become more Coasean, as it is more trusted by its core supporters.

You will find related mechanisms discussed in my paper with Daniel Sutter, “Why Only Nixon Could Go To China.”

Indeed Modi just invited the Pakistani Prime Minister to his inauguration, an unusual action which is being called “a bold step.”

I have been relatively bullish on Pakistan for some time now.  Relative to market prices, that is.


Why hasn't the exclusion and subordination of Christians, Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistani society led to Pakistan's being willing "to cut a deal" with India rather than sending over LeT terrorists to slaughter civilains?

Maybe because 15% >> 3% ?

3% is current figure after many left bc of pogoms. See, e.g., all the Pak Christian refugees/asylum seekers in Philly area.

I seem to recall my old National Geographic atlas had a reference map on the prevalence of Muslims and reported the non-Muslim share of Pakistan's population at 3%. That would have been a 1975 edition.

The biggest 'cleansings' of kaffirs in Pakistan did occur during Partition and concomitant to the '65 and '71 wars, but that figure seems too low for '75 nonetheless given the steady ouflow of refugee and asylum seekers since, not to mention outright killings and the kidnapping and forced conversions of girls. . .

Per this source the non-muslim population was 3.5% in 2010, and 3.3% in 1970.

Likely bc of the reclassification of Ahmadis as kaffirs! Who is considered a Muslim is not a fixed category--as Hindus, Sikhs and Christians disappear the Islamists need new victims. Up next--the Shia. Shia-killing has already begun!

More charitable reading of the post: ethnic composition of the governing party isn't the only factor in whether there can be a deal, but it can be one factor. Perhaps that isn't the main barrier on either side, and perhaps it isn't a real one on the Pakistani side, but it takes two to tango, and now India is better positioned.

Because Pakistan has had governments, but no proper electorate. The military gets what it wants.

I hope you are right.
You might want to check this book out though:

The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001–2014
by Carlotta Gall
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 329 pp., $28.00

It is reviewed here:
Pakistan: Worse Than We Knew

Tyler, Your link about how you have been bullish on Pakistan for some time now doesn’t link to the right thing. It links to this post.

It links to every post tagged Pakistan in chronological order.

Unless Pakistan has suddenly been emptied of Pakistanis, I'd say not much will change. When Pakistan bans cousin marriage and rates drop below 50%, then maybe it is time to go long on Pakistan.

Don't almost half the American states allow it?

The Cult always likes to draw false comparisons between the United States (or the West) and other Primitive countries like Pakistan. It's an old trick to try to create a false equivalence - a technique honed by the various Cult Jester Carnival Barkers such as Alan Alda.



Certainly not primitive. Pakistan has a very advanced culture.

Thank God we have Dan Weber. Plonk!

Nope. Now, your turn to answer a question. When did Europeans begin banning cousin marriage?

Wikipedia says, as of February 2010, only 30 U.S. states prohibit marriage between first cousins.

Read the whole entry and while you're at it, maybe look up the answer to my question. Then compare that number to the West.

I'll wait.

Z, you should read this and then think really really hard about your political views and libertarianism means to you:

You think there's a chance Z considers himself a libertarian? Is this a different Jan who is new here?

IIRC, canon law in the High Middle Ages at one point prohibited marriage to any relation closer than a 3d cousin. I think it was subsequently relaxed because in small communities (and in dynastic society) the possibilities for couplngs of sufficient distance were meagre and this caused retrospective problems re the validity of marriages. I think, though, that that might be the standard in force today. Rudolph Giuliani's 1st marriage was annulled on the grounds of consanguinity. (Giuliani has claimed that they thought they were 3d cousins at the time they were married and later discovered they were only 2d cousins).

My presbyterian relations have a mess of cousin marriages amongst them, though none terribly recently. I'm told by students of social anthropology that these would be less problematic than is commonly the case in the Muslim world because they were cross-cousin marriages rather than parallel cousin marriages.

The Franks were (probably) the first to clamp down on cousin marriage, at least in Europe. It is why the Church got into the marriage business. The Frankish rulers enlisted their help in stamping out the practice. At least in Central Europe, commoners did not get married in a church. By forcing people to seek permission from the Church to marry, they could end the practice of first cousin marriage.

At one point cannon law prohibited marriages by TENTH cousins. In 1200 it was scaled back to 3rd cousins, but they also said: this time we really mean it and ignorance of your genealogy is no excuse.

An old law on the books is less important than the new norm in the culture.

Cousins don't marry cousins in the US despite some states allowing it.

In the UK, despite centuries old laws against, over half of Pakistani immigrants continue to do so.

Culture matters.

Issue needs to be re-examined in a sober, scientific context. Can we pick and choose what kind of higher-risk marriages to ban? Freedom, right?

"The trouble with Scotland is it's full of Scots." - Longshanks

Of 45 Republican senators, exactly one is Black, even though Blacks are about 13% of the US population. Of 1,950 Senators (ever) only nine have been African American.

On the plus side both parties (R & D) did equally well. And still do. 1 black senator each today.


"Of 45 Republican senators, exactly one is Black" .."On the plus side both parties (R & D) did equally well. And still do. 1 black senator each today."

Ergo, Of 55 Democrat senators, exactly one is Black....

Yep. Both parties are equally talented at this.

...and yet you only mentioned Republicans even though the ratio is ~20% worse on the other side. Thanks for playing.

Your post also assumes that in a winner-take-all election system that the racial demographics of the population should be represented in the elected officials which is ridiculous.

What part of "both parties (R & D) did equally well" did you not grok?

And Sub-Saharan Africa does tend to be the most pro-American region of the world...

1) What does Tyler mean by "go long Pakistan"? Go long on what?

2) What does he mean by "relatively bullish on Pakistan"? Bullish about what?

Thanks from a confused reader.

@ CR - stock market.

I want to see if the comments reach 100 for this post, since this is the perfect post for drawing out the redneck trolls...we'll see.

Since when is it common for 'rednecks' to have emphatic opinions about Central Asia, &c.?

There are no redneck trolls on this site, except possibly for you.

Do you think that pre-emptively calling people racists is going to work as a way of shaming them into silence?

It doesn't matter what any rednecked trolls say about Pakistan on this thread. The reality is worse.

Okay, I agree, but what is the Coasean bargain here? Pakistan is a failing state, India is growing stronger: by keeping the Kashmir issue alive, they can extract a better bargain in the future. The US and China really didn't have the same option and had a common enemy in the USSR. Just my $.02

Pakistan is a failing state,

What people speak of as a crisis is commonly a condition. Intramurally, the place has been a mess since 1947. They've seen worse than they endure as we speak.

The uber-Islamic parties may have the organizational skill and the self-assurance to generate a great deal of trouble; they do not, however, have much of a popular base - 6% of the public or thereabouts is it.

They've managed a modest improvement in living standards over 30-odd years, not exceeding the pace of the Occident but not falling behind either. Parliamentary institutions have proven more durable over the last quarter century than was the case during the four decades previous. Still, there is a strange cruelty about the place to be found in public life (it is a reasonable wager that one erstwhile prime minister had two of her brothers killed; a physician who helped locate Osama bin Laden was given a 30 year sentence for his trouble) and in mundane life. Examples of the latter can be found in this memoir:

I think the variance of outcomes has gone up -- the mean may not have shifted. Both nuclear war and peace are both more likely. To keep his base happy, Modi has to respond to any perceived provocations, The same logic allowed Vajpayee (the last BJP PM) to make peace overtures to the Pak PM (Nawaz Sharif at that time as well). And the closest India and Pak got to war in the past two decades was over Kargill, also when Vajpayee was PM. Plus, I fear that Modi will not act with the same restraint as Vajpayee did if such events were to happen again.

what is it about modi that makes people want to jump to conclusions

the bjp is simply calling this a meet of regional leaders


Seems to me that Mideast Islamic states are nearly ungovernable. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, maybe add Afghanistan...Pakistan next?

It already is, but my own anecdotal impressions is that they have hit bottom. (But I remind myself that I have been saying that of Detroit for the last 10 years).

By the same token why don't ethnic minorities vote Conservative in UK or Republican in US

It is not as though the BJP is not open to Muslims. There are several Muslim leaders within the BJP including the odd party spokesperson / minister in the past. The BJP would gladly welcome more muslims in its fold. However the muslims don't want to join it or vote for it!

Whether an organization is, in principle, open to a group versus whether it is, in practice, uninviting enough for a group not to join it; is that a useful distinction?

Unless you want to argue that their decision of not joining the BJP is, on the whole, irrational?

Did you read Rahul's comment?
By that same token, you could argue that african americans are 12% of US population with 1% of seats simply because they dont want to join either party to get to the senate !
What you say is possible, but double digit percentages of the population feeling disenfranchised calls the system and elites benefiting from that system into question, regardless of your being right

Drona - I think it calls the integration of the minority groups into question. If anything the minorities need to look up themselves in the mirror and ask some hard questions.

Even in a country like US, we see that Anglo-Saxon whites tend to dominate politics (most presidents in history including Obama have some English blood in them) though they constitute a small minority of white population overall. This isn't discrimination. It's just that some people seem to relate more to the country on account of being more deeply rooted and this reflects in their representation in politics.

Even in a country like US, we see that Anglo-Saxon whites tend to dominate politics (most presidents in history including Obama have some English blood in them) though they constitute a small minority of white population overall.

The foundational nationalities of this country were English, Scots-Irish, Scottish, Pennsylvania Dutch, Cajun, and Knickerbocker (along with the black and aboriginal population). Only the first is properly termed 'Anglo-Saxon). About 2/3 of the caucasian population of British North America (less the Canadian colonies) was modally English at the end of the colonial period. You did not have much in the way of immigration streams outside the foundational nationalities until after 1840. You did not see politicians from the post-1840 cohorts seeping into presidential contests until about 1892, so you would not have expected any 'ethnics' prior to that date.

Please recall Samuel Huntington's observation (derived from demographers he had consulted) that 49% of the population growth registered from 1790 to 1990 could be attributed to natural increase. Given that the black and aboriginal populations were about 13% of the total in 1990, it would appear that about 36% of the population was derived from colonial immigration as of that date. That's not a 'small minority'.

While we are at it, presidential contests are outliers. There is a large Jewish presence in Congress, but you've never had someone unqualifiedly Jewish who scored well in a presidential contest (John Kerry was the closest example) and you've only had a couple who even set up a campaign committee (Arlen Specter and Joseph Lieberman).

this kind of slanted government can become more Coasean, as it is more trusted by its core supporters.

Wait. Are you saying that diversity may not be strength?

I am currently in Karachi and one thing has struck me: For a society with so much violence, in the cumulative approx 1 month that I have been here in the past year, I have never seen a child get scolded or struck by an adult. I am no doubt looking at a more affluent segment of the society (all things being relative of course) and I think this also reflects less expectations among kids (little of "I have get that new toy"), but it is still a striking phenomenon.

Again, Diplomad 2.0's reminiscences. In his observation in Pakistan, domestic violence was quite normal and observable on the street. The paterfamilias smacked his wife, smacked his children, smacked his draught animals, beat dogs to death....

Base not case, Deco, meaning: look at the statistic averages, not one hypersensitive diplomat's anecdotal reminiscences. I've talked to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan on guard duty in the Green Zone who did not witness any serious violence. Granted, the Green Zone was largely safe. And note my post, a few minutes after yours, that shows, on average, violent deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan are less than in the USA. Been watching redneck western TV movies too much huh? ;-)

Statistical averages? Sure.

Domestic violence in Pakistan is an endemic social problem. According to a study carried out in 2009 by Human Rights Watch, it is estimated that between 70 and 90 percent of women in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse.[1] An estimated 5000 women are killed per year from domestic violence, with thousands of others maimed or disabled.[2] The majority of victims of violence have no legal recourse. Law enforcement authorities do not view domestic violence as a crime and usually refuse to register any cases brought to them. Given the very few women's shelters in the country, victims have limited ability to escape from violent situations. ... An estimated 5000 women are killed per year from domestic violence, with thousands of others maimed or disabled.[2] Lisa Hajjar, an Associate Professor at the University of California, describes abuse against women in Pakistan as "endemic in all social spheres".[3] In an observational study published in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences based on a "convenience" sample of 218 women in the gynecology wards of three hospitals, 97% of the interviewed women said they had been victims of some form of assault, ranging from verbal abuse or threatened, to being subjected to beatings or non-consensual sex.

Pakistan is likely just not to report murders.

I have no particular reason to think he is hypersensitive. That aside, social statistics are going to compile instances of predatory crime or political violence, which are phenomena distinct from domestic violence.

Pakistan at 5 violent deaths per 1000 people is actually less violent than the USA at a 6.5 violent deaths rate, and only slightly more violent than India (4.8). Afghanistan is less violent than either India or Pak. Philippines due to the north and south regions is much more violent (21.5). Australia is pacific. But these stats are suspect, coming from this site: since I've read Australia leads the OECD countries for violence. However, you can argue violence is not the same as violent deaths, still, I'm not that confident of these stats. Nevertheless, for what it's worth, like in WWI, outside the "war zone" (the 'trenches') life is pretty pacific and normal in Pakistan it seems, and the lack of violence in Pakistan in the normal civilian population is a striking phenomenon, as you say, pun intended.

Australia's homicide rate is 1.0 per 100,000 and that of the Philippines 5.4 per 100,000. Again, predatory crime is a phenomenon distinct from domestic violence.

I would be skeptical of any stat coming from that part of the world. Do we think that even half of all deaths reach pen to paper in Pakistan or Afghanistan?

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