Pundita on the Kargil Morality Tale, told in soup

Pundita was kind enough to give me a personal
shout-out in her poignant, first-person parable about shepherding Americans in
Kargil — as a metaphor for the central truth that foreign policy systematically
overlooks
:

Dr.
Ernie, I hope you see this essay. The ultimate point I make is that
it’s just a bunch of
people
, whether they reside on
the other side of the globe or right here in the USA. To never lose sight of
that fact is to always have a bridge that is much stronger than academic
analysis and policy and development language.

We might not always be
‘right’ in how we try to deal with the problems of the developing world, but the
bridge allows us to keep refining communications.

So it is for dealing
with misunderstandings that arise between neighbors, co-workers and family
members, and so it is for “foreign” relations and development strategies.

I’m
not saying a couple master chefs can’t do wonders with a few kerosene stoves and
cooking pots, but the other Westerners at the table were lulled by their
expectations into assuming that the kitchen staff and accouterments matched the
menu offerings.

That,
in one sentence, is the type of mistake behind much that goes wrong with US
policy toward governments in less-developed countries. Such governments have
learned to project the trappings of modernized administration but are in truth a
long way from modern and informed.

Advertisements