COGNITIVE DISSONANCE AND BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER- A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF PAKISTAN
When people ask me what my thoughts are on Pakistan, I simply say one thing “Cognitive Dissonance.” It was Dr. Leon Festinger who coined this term and for the better part of the last fifty years psychologist have conducted several experiments to give more meaning to this very broad term which just keeps unraveling itself.
Dr. Festinger concluded that “when mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values” and Pakistan falls right into this category.
Ever since, the birth of this new nation which was created on the premise of fear, loathing and paranoia, the obsession to cause injury to India has been the national past-time in Pakistan. Starting from 1948, with the invasion of Kashmir, to the ill-conceived war of 1965 and the genocide committed in East Pakistan in 1971 which concluded with the birth of a new nation in the form of Bangladesh. East Pakistan separated after Pakistani military conducted one of the most under reported genocide in recent history with America turning a blind eye. Pakistani soldiers and sadly even senior officers raped women and murdered hundreds of thousands people and all these actions were blindly accepted as logical because Pakistan was protecting its Sovereignty.
This article is an on the surface psychological evaluation of Pakistan which delves into various physiological prognosis and mental disorders based upon consistent actions of a nation in the nearly seventy years of its existence.
Cognitive Dissonance: To describe Pakistan’s Cognitive Dissonance, all one has to see are its past actions. They have used religious extremism as a means to wage proxy war over India and they know this action will prove detrimental in their own obliteration. No amount of elucidated reasoning is going to change that because they are simply warped within their own fears, shortcomings and insecurities which are too deeply ingrained which prevent logic and reason to prevail.
Another reason to site Cognitive Dissonance was the desire by the Pakistan army and politicians to enter into the debilitating Yemen conflict. Entire state machinery was used to win public opinion with the call for Jihad to fight heretics and traitors because Sunnis believe Shias to be non-Muslims using Parochial Sunni Religious Dogma to justify this course of action. But credit must go to the Pakistani public for showing maturity and logic by taking a very bold and pragmatic decision not to support sending troops to Yemen.
Not to mention sending its over stretched military would not only create tactical problem it would culminate into strategic blunder because Pakistan and Iran share a long border. At home the situation of sectarian violence which has been perpetuated against the minority Shia population which is 20% strong would further worsen.
Borderline Personality Disorder(BPD) is mental disorder where a patient suffers from being emotionally unstable which leads to many complications. In the case of Pakistan its ability to asses’ situations with logic and reasoning is slowly eroding which has led to amalgamations of social, economical and political problems which are diluting this nation. I have done my best to describe few of the Characteristics & Traits of BPD in the context of Pakistan.
Anger:Clearly Pakistan suffers from unresolved anger issues which started from the time of Partition to losing East Pakistan, watching its proxy war not going according to plan and never being able to upstage India at an international stage.
Always and Never Statements:The state security apparatus the ISI have always been used to give logistic support to Jihadi elements like Hafiz Saeed and to launch terror strikes across the border. But when questioned they always say the ISI is not involved and that Pakistan never supports terrorism.
Self Victimization:It was a very unfortunate when over hundred students were brutally murdered by Pakistani Taliban in a Karachi high school. It was an act of self depravation on the part of a terror outfit nurtured, supported and funded by the state. However when they cry as a victim of terror when the injury was clearly self inflicted, it is impossible to buy this premise. Classic case to quote would be the Peshawar school massacre carried out by Pakistani Taliban a entity created by Pakistan.
Baiting: Pakistan has always tried to bait India by raising the Kashmir Issue at an international stage. Now is it wrong? On some level it is politically the right thing to do, but when doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is an act of foolishness.
Blaming: Right now Pakistan is in great internal turmoil and has always blamed others including India for supporting terrorism in its soil. But we all know the very terror organization which it nurtures is responsible for raging havoc over its own population and other minorities. After the Peshawar school massacre India was blamed for supporting Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for the murder of 132 innocent school children.
Bullying: The classic case of bullying is the Pakistan Army which has always gotten its way whether it is foreign or domestic policy. It has rigged elections, taken over government and enforced military rule and has forced the elected lawmakers to follow its suit. The Army particularly has never allowed any improvement when it comes to India Pakistan relations. This is because it is good business to have India as an enemy and the Pak Army can fill its coffers and get more money for military hardware.
Catastrophizing: Wheneverthe talk of aid being cut to Pakistan is made, they immediately paint a picture of coming apocalypse and the breakdown of the state and how Jihadist elements will take over. The risk of their nuclear weapons falling in wrong hand is their favorite tune but most experts would agree it is already in wrong hands.
Chaos Manufacture: To some this point succinctly “Taliban & Lashkar-e-Taiba”.
Cheating: Billions of dollars in aid has been diverted to procure weapons and finance terror operations and running clandestine nuclear and missile proliferation whilst the people Pakistan have no basic infrastructure like hospital capable of performing an organ transplants and other intricate surgical procedures.
Circular Conversations: To explain this disorder every time Pakistan starts talks with India on confidence building measures, the talks end up back with the Kashmir issue making the conference moot.
Control-Me Syndrome: It started with the Army controlling the fringe elements in Pakistan to be there plausible deniability and cannon fodder but the dynamics have now changed. The Army and many politicians in Pakistan openly seek approval of people who are controlling narcissistic, antisocial or "acting-out" nature. No politician has the courage to stop Hafiz Saeed or put an end to the Haqqani network and the Army cannot live without them.
Denial: Even today many Pakistanis will not agree that it was the mistake made by their leaders and generals which led to the separation of East Pakistan. The second case to be made is when they say they are the victims of terrorism perpetuated by others, whilst knowing willfully the problems faced by them is of their own making.
Dependency: The Chronic reliance for Pakistan is America, Saudi Arabia and China. From its feeble conception the most powerful individual after the army chief of staff in Pakistan was the American Ambassador. However in the last three decades the petro dollar of Saudi Arabia and China dolling weapons has taken precedence to America. Either way unlike India, Pakistan cannot endure any economic sanctions if it loses its dependency.
Depression: It is the people of Pakistan who are in depression due to apathy and lack of concern by the government to improve their lives. This country is still trying to eradicate chicken pox decease which no longer exist in all most all third world counties. Even today people are living a life of perpetual servitude because of the death grip landowners have over them.
Domestic Theft: Some of the richest people in Pakistan are the powerful landowners who are also politicians and other businessmen who rarely pay taxes or they simply don’t. Only 0.57% of Pakistanis from a population of close to two hundred million pay tax. Also in an article which was published in The Christian Science Monitor, Pakistan loses around four percent of its GDP due to power shortages and there is also massive theft of electricity. Since many people do not pay taxes and there is energy problem which has spiraled out of control.
Pathological Lying: Whenfacedwith insurmountable evidence of direct collusion between Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and ISI who planned and executed the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan squarely lied of any involvement of its state actor’s. They lie when presented with evidence of their support of Taliban in Afghanistan.
Push Pull: Theirforeignpolicy is bases on a push pull factor and the best example is to raise the Kashmir issue at international stage and then faced with the prospect of losing, immediately pull back and ask for resumption of dialogue. Just few months ago the tension at the international border in Kashmir was heating up due to constant firing but the unexpected and robust response given by the Indian Army which is usually asked to show restrain came as a surprise and then the behavior changed and Pakistan again pushed for talks which India rightly refused. But after few months Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his foreign secretary to Pakistan and immediately after that they were back to same old trick by testing India by releasing Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi one of the architect of 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Passive-Aggressive Behavior: The Pakistan Army epitomizes classic passive aggressive behavior pattern by making threats but ensuring not going over the top. Former army Chief and President Parvaz Mushfrraf is a classic example who often talks about normalizing relations with India but then immediately goes on offensive and attacks.
Sabotage: Just after the Lahore declaration in 1999 when India and Pakistan came close to resolving various issues, Kargil happened. This conflict brought these two nuclear power nation on the brink of a nuclear war when reports of nuclear launch control was given into the hands of field commanders which is a direct countermand of nuclear launch protocols. Nawaz Sharif had to high tail to Washington on a fourth of July weekend and had to plead to President Bill Clinton to exert American influence over a rogue Pakistan Military which enjoys no oversight of its actions. The Kargil conflict of 1999 and the attack on Parliament in 2003 and the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks played a role of sabotage in improving relations between India and Pakistan.
Selective Competence: over the years with support from various nations involved in nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation Pakistan has acquired and even perfected its nuclear and missile arsenal over the years but when it comes to improving infrastructure like power generation and setting up industries it has failed.
Situational Ethics: The concept of good terrorist and bad terrorist is the best example. Afghan Taliban is good and Pakistani Taliban is bad. Lashkar-e-Taiba when it comes to carrying out terror attacks in India and targeting minorities in Pakistan is good. It is all about the end justifies the means for the greater good.
Tunnel Vision: Since1947the sole purpose for the existence of Pakistan as nation has been to destroy India because of the lost glory of Islamic dominance for nearly 800 years. This Myopic attitude has sadly proved a great impediment to this young nation which has long forgotten the vision of by its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah who is probably the classic case of cognitive dissonance. From being a secular state, Pakistan is now the bastion of Islamic global terror and dysfunction. Letting puritanical Islamic religious dogma play a vital role in its society will eventually and irrevocably fracture this nation blinded by religion and profusion of hate.
I end this article with a quote from one of the most profound thinkers of our time Noam Chomsky,