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Archive for July 21st, 2010

Pakistanis & Tea Baggers? So Not a Tea Party.

Yesterday, Foreign Policy (dot com) released a biting article by David Rothkopf (a scholar at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) entitled, “A Tea Party Made in Heaven: Should Islamabad be the Next Stop for Angle & Co?” In the piece, Rothkopf claims that two of the biggest threats facing America – “the decay of nuclear Pakistan and the rise of the Tea Party movement here at home” – can be resolved by sending the Tea Party away to Pakistan. He noted,

We need to keep an eye on Pakistan, but can’t officially send troops there…At the same time, at home we are confronted by a new political movement whose leaders drape themselves in the flag and then proceed to espouse a worldview that is alternatively un-American (anti-immigration in a nation of immigrants, anti-personal freedoms like choice, pro-infusion of politics with religion) and ante-diluvian (anti-science, pro-vigilantism, pro-solving problems at the point of a gun). They are out of place here and lord knows — given our history of success without them — they are expendable. The tea-baggers want a country? Let’s give them one: send them to Pakistan.

Rothkopf proceeds to compare the “Tea-bagger” worldview with the “Pakistani” one, gleefully noting similarities among sentiments toward taxes (the rich don’t pay taxes in Pakistan and they don’t in the U.S., so if Tea Baggers left for Pakistan, maybe the government could actually implement sensible tax policies in the U.S.), gun control (both Tea-baggers and Pakistanis LOVE guns! Whee!), religious tolerance (they both are intolerant! Who knew!), love of foreigners (no love! Sad face 😦 ), and foreign policy (both likely to see Russia from respective houses).

Is Rothkopf being facetious? Of course. Was he successful? Not really, especially with literary gems like these,

Here is a country with a large population committed to policies rooted in the values and outlook of centuries ago and a large group of Americans with a similar nostalgia for hangings, gunfights, superstition, racial and religious conflict and witch hunts. So theoretically, despite Pakistan’s historically documented, deeply rooted strain of anti-Americanism, this may well be the one group of Americans with whom they have the most in common and thus, the ones with the best chance of building the bridge we need between our two cultures.

I am not denying that Pakistan as a whole tilts more right of center, (when I asked the Twitterverse to weigh in on the issue of Pakistan’s right-wing, @umairjav noted that politically it’s about 30-35 percent right-wing, and about 95 percent socio-culturally right-wing). Regimes in the last 40 years have also approved legislation that have increasingly legitimized intolerance and violence towards Pakistan’s minorities, and the paranoia among the “right wing” has been discussed at length. But to paint an entire country with the same brushstroke as a right-wing socio-political movement? That’s offensive.

Maybe the better solution would be for Pakistan’s militants to run away with American Tea Party supporters. That way we’re both rid of them.

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