MOTHS BEFORE FLAMES                             5/13/98
    Well, the big human folly of May is this Indian nuclear business.  The guys who run India now are like the guys who hang around in the parking lot talking loud and staring at the women, flicking cigarette butts at the cars of the people they don't like.  Cop drives past, gives a surreptitious thumbs up to one of the guys and a couple of minutes later they get in their pickup truck and drive off to see if they can find that stranger with the funny hair.
    Because of my ethnic derivation I want to think of them in stereotypical Eastern European image: beer belly, handlebar mustache, the kind that went after my ancestors with farm implements.  Never mind.  These are the same people, only they're Indian.
    I see a wholly, I mean wooly I guess, trinity of underlying themes:
    1. Nothing anyone does by way of sanctions is going to make any difference.  These guys just shot a dog in the middle of Main Street to show how tough they are.  "We didn't hurt anybody, now did we?  We were just having a little fun.  Only 100 miles from the Pakistani border?  Where's your sense of humor?  Abdul over there is so sensitive!"
    2. It was all empty posturing.  India has no serious nuclear.  It's just pretending.  Only we and Russia have serious nuclear.  Even China has only enough to hit Russia back as it dies.  The Indian nuke program is nothing but a psywar operation against Pakistan.
    3. Because of the guilty consciences of Subcontinental Muslims, whose ancestors thought it a pleasurable virtue to kill Hindus, and indulged themselves in that notion for about 1000 years, they are absolutely incapable of dealing with India in any way at all.  By opting out of Greatsoul Gandhi's solution they made themselves one of those emotional boxes that when you climb into them you can't see the way out any more.  One gets that way when one does not, for example, make love for a long time.  One starts to think that it's impossible.  Or it's like the southern USA, with that slavery business still lingering after a century, but what's a century in this racial unconscious that's playing out over in the subcontinent?  The Jews still can't get over being slaves in Egypt.
    Anyway, the Purelanders (that's how "Pakistan" translates, another joke on themselves, given the unbroken record of corruption and ineptitude of their successive governments since the inception of the state) cannot, as a nation, rise above their situation.  They would have to rise above the central tenet by which they founded their nation.
    What else does that remind me of?  Oh, yes.  Silly me.  Israel.

Reis's prediction: The tests will end soon.  They will use up everything they have and that will be that.  It will be many years before they get to the next nuke stage, if ever.  Meanwhile, the current Indian government will continue bullying Pakistan.  It will neglect public welfare.  It will be amazingly corrupt.  It will lose ground.  There may even be unrest in the army, which would be the worst possible thing that could happen in India.  But I feel completely confident in predicting that the government will overreach itself in some foolish manner, and will fall.  Fascism requires an organizational genius to run it.  That bunch doesn't have one.
    Pakistan will continue as always.  Stuck like a bug in amber.  It will require a holy conqueror to bury that hatchet, an Ashoka or an Akbar who will bring peace to the survivors of their war, or, perhaps through a more felicitous providence, by the peaceful agency of a soul of greater luster even than the Mahatma.  From what corner of the world could such a soul come?  Mexico?