he massive floods in Pakistan have caused more destruction than "the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined," says Mosharraf Zaidi in Foreign Policy. So why has it "generated such a tepid response from the international community?" Because, argues Zaidi, "Pakistan makes the world, and Americans in particular, extremely uncomfortable." We view the country as a "bad guy" that doesn't cooperate with our interests, aids terrorists, and hates our friends in India. But these problems "have to do with politics and international security" — not the 20 million people now "struggling to find a dry place to sleep, a morsel of food to eat, a sip of clean water to drink." Now's not the time to stand up to the "duplicity and corruption" of the "Pakistani elite," writes Zaidi. Now's the time to help your fellow man. A excerpt:
Contrary to what many Pakistani conspiracy theorists believe, the suspicion and contempt with which the country is seen is not deliberate or carefully calculated. It's just how things pan out when you are the perennial bad boy in a neighborhood that everyone wishes could be transformed into Scandinavia — because after 9/11, the world cannot afford a dysfunctional ghetto in South and Central Asia anymore. Or so goes the paternalist doctrine....
The 2010 floods, however, are a game-changer. The country will not and cannot ever be the same. The loss of life, disease, poverty, and human misery themselves are going to take years to overcome. But the costs of desilting, cleaning up, and reconstructing Pakistan's most fertile and potent highways, canals, and waterworks will be exhausting just to calculate. The actual task of building back this critical infrastructure is a challenge of unprecedented proportions.
Read the full article at Foreign Policy.
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