US commentary on nuclear developments in Pakistan and India is usually not well received on the subcontinent. One reason is that cautionary messages sound hypocritical. Pundits from a country that has been guilty of wretched nuclear excess are on thin ice when passing judgement on nuclear arsenals that may barely extend into three digits.
Another reason has to do with the etiquette of pointing out shortcomings. It’s OK when a Pakistani or an Indian writes about negative developments at home, but when a US commentator writes about similar failings, he or she is perceived to demonstrate an anti-Pakistan or an anti-Indian bias. Even when negative foreign commentary is based on inarguable facts, it still feels like piling on. US commentators are therefore labelled as either anti-Pakistan/pro-India or anti-India/pro-Pakistan. Once affixed, these labels are hard to remove.
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Originally published by DAWN.com on January 16, 2014
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