Dealing with a blackmailer — statecraft version

In adopting and executing the policy of terrorism towards India, Pakistan is playing the part of the perfect blackmailer. India is vulnerable to blackmail because they have something they value, something they are afraid to lose — economic progress and social stability.

Pakistan has all the recklessness borne out of lack of progress, and lack of hope of betterment. They are therefore relatively invulnerable, in that they have got nothing to lose.

The trouble with a blackmailer, as Perry Mason said, is that he always has you on the defensive. He calls the turns. He tells you what to do, how much he wants, where you make the payment, when you make the payment, how you make the payment. You resent it and you sputter. But you give in, because you reckon that it is better to put up with these minor losses rather than risk losing your valuables.

But it is poor policy in the long-run. The blackmail never stops. The losses add up. The initiative is drained out of you. You are no longer free, but simply survive in constant dread of losing your valuables.

The only way to free yourself from the clutches of a blackmailer is to put him on the defensive. Either incapacitate him, or kill him.

Everybody needs to survive. None is truly invulnerable. When earlier the blackmailer was giving you the choice of paying blackmail or lose your valuables, now, you turn the tables — you give him the choice of stopping the blackmail or losing his life/liberty.

This is what India is doing now, with its publicizing of the surgical strikes. By invoking the international law of defending its territory and people, and getting the international community to see the blackmail happening, legitimacy is cemented to India’s actions and sunlight is poured on Pakistan’s actions.

Blackmailers cannot stand sunlight. The trick is to drag them out into the open. And keep them there.

And while the blackmailer is there, you show him how you kill his team of assistant blackmailers, his minions, people whose actions he disavows publicly. You make him understand that now you control the options. Stop, or die. That’s the choice you give him.

Of course, the death can be prolonged or swift. That is a courtesy that can be extended to any blackmailer. For old times sake.

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