Isaac Chotiner doesn’t find much to like in the Kaplan article on the Partition, and points us to Pankaj Mishra’s piece in The New Yorker. Chotiner notes Mishra’s description of Churchill as dyed-in-the-wool imperialist with harsh attitudes towards Indians and says:
Mishra’s more serious point is that by playing up religious divisions, Churchill actively encouraged the rise of political Islam in what is now Pakistan. One could say that this counts as an irony at the expense of those who mention his name every time an “appeaser” questions the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
It would be more ironic, I suppose, if the U.S. government had not been instrumental in promoting political Islam in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s and in facilitating the close relations between Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban back when Washington still believed it was more important to be smashing the Northern Alliance and expanding our influence in Central Asia. Still, I suppose it is a bit ironic that Mr. Bush et al. invoke Churchill, who was always keen to exploit religious differences, since they prefer to lump every potential foe into one, indistinct mass of Islamofascism.