Alarmed, perhaps, by such patent lunacy--and also by the danger that America's own coalition against terror, in which India and Pakistan have vied for leading roles, will be busted up--the White House, through its spokesman Ari Fleischer, counsels "restraint." India is unimpressed. Counsel of restraint from a nation that has just overthrown the government of one country and now has five or six more in its gunsights can hardly be expected to carry weight with one whose Parliament has been attacked, as it believes, by its enemy of almost half a century.
When the Bush Administration began its war on terrorism, announcing that if you weren't with us you were against us, did it imagine that from the dizzying heights of its sole superpowerdom it would command the nations, rewarding some, raining bombs on others, and dominating all, according to its sole interest and pleasure? The nations have had other ideas. Preferring American practice to American preaching, they have taken up arms in their own causes, just as previously many built nuclear arsenals whose use again urgently threatens the world. We have not one unified war on terrorism but many clashing wars. It's hard to say which are more dangerous--those that, like Israel's, seek to join the American one or those that, like India's, seem to undercut it. All are burning out of control. For now, the instruments that alone might stop them--negotiation, treaties, a readiness to compromise, measures of disarmament--have been cast aside.
Jonathan Schell's Letter From Ground Zero
to "The Nation" serves as a concise and powerful primer on current conflicts which threaten to expand drastically.