Houston, Texas: My points of view comes from having spent a considerable amount of time travelling and staying in the Himalayan region with powerful Mystics and conversing extensively with Indian, Pakistani and Iranian friends in the U.S. and abroad.  I confirmed my thoughts with a several well-thought-of, thoughtful members of the  Indian / Nepal / Pakistani community here in Houston.   

I will start by answering the troubling questions posed by the Veterans Today Af-Pak study group. I will link my answers to the regional solution, what I call the Greater Himalayan Common Market.
The Greater Himalayan Common Market (GHCM) hinges on the peoples’ economic arena being separated from the religious interventionism driven by the imams, mullahs, priests, rabbis, or whatever as they ever try to gain more control. Religious people have a valuable place, but it is in the processes (the stepping stones) of leading humanity to true spirituality. Their place is not in everyday commerce.   
Finally, this is an attempt to consolidate in a few paragraphs a tome about some of the world’s greatest cultures. 
Q1.  Is the war in Afghanistan a war on terrorism or the continuation of a centuries old set of  tribal rivalries?
A1. The bottom line is, the Afghan region war on terrorism is the age-old struggle of the old versus the new, fuelled by the youth’s better tools of dissent, tools misunderstood by the elders.
The war in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East is actually a battle of cultural change fed by rapidly growing populations. Youth versus the Aging, led by the instant and often error prone communications of movies, television and the internet that fuels the dreams of the younger people versus the desire for the hard learned safety of status quo in the older folks.
The educated young want to be acknowledged worldwide for their intelligence and expanding abilities. They want to be recognized as equals. And for the first time in tens of centuries, the intellectual power of young women is striving for that same equality.
The elderly wealthy want to be acknowledged for their hard learned wisdom. The elderly poor just want to see the sun rise one more day.
In the centre muck are the emerging middle-aged class, who are driven for kingpin status by the great passions: lust, anger, greed, attachments to possessions and wealth, and ego.
Stirring all of this are the priests, mullahs, imams, rabbis and what have you. They want to maintain status quo with an ever growing influence that gives them personal comfort (wealth) and a narcissistic sense of prestige that comes from being the sellers of God (or whatever name they choose). Little do they know, or care, that God is not for sale.
Q2.  Is the role of the United States one of nation builder and peacemaker or are they seen as simply another tribe or even a foreign invader?
A2.  The educated, worldly young see us as a hope for a future of equality, of equal recognition in the worldwide social realm.
The weak-minded Nidal Hassans of the world are influenced and trained by religious bigots to see us as a threat that must be eliminated to protect their bigotry.
The elderly poor just want one more meal and another sunrise.
The elderly rich want to preserve their soon to end, false status.
The religious zealot rabble (they are NOT spiritual) find it advantageous to milk money and prestige from all of the above. If that means war, that’s okay.
The true spiritualists (Muslim or other) understand that the human body is the crown of creation (ashraf-ul-maqlukat) in which the Lord must be sought The true mystics understand the human body is sacred. The temple of the living Lord. They never condone terrorism. They never condone suicide murderers. They see the U.S. as peacemakers, albeit sometimes stumbling from the naiveté of over two hundred years of freedom.
Q3.  To what extent does the 62 year-old conflict between Pakistan and India play out in the rise of insurgencies in Pakistan and the conflict inside Afghanistan?
A3.  It’s easy to blame India for Pakistan’s troubles. But that is wrong thinking. India doesn’t want or need Afghanistan, or Pakistan. The Indian peoples suffered centuries of murder, mayhem, rape, subjugation and slavery at the hands of the invading Muslims, most of whose descendants now live in Pakistan. Yet, every East Indian I know forgives them – not fully trusts them, because they can’t trust the religious quacks – but forgives them.
The Portuguese and British used trade to step in to supplant the weakening Mughal Emperors. The British took control of the Indian population by controlling salt production. This lasted for about 100 years. Before the British left in 1947, they carefully and deviously divided the Indian sub-continent peoples into two nations, India (basically non-Muslim) and Pakistan (basically Muslim). The well-documented British plan was to have the two nations forever at war with each other so that British would always be needed. And therefore, always have an economic foot in the Indian sub-continent door.
The Brits did do some good things. They showed India how to organize and become the world’s largest Republic. They encouraged the many brilliant minds in India to flourish. Conversely, the Muslim religion squelched intellectual freedom in Pakistan. The only escape for the Pakistani brain pool was the military and ISI — or immigrating to countries like Britain and America. 
Q4.  If the Karzai government is closely aligned with India, how can it cooperate with a common enemy working with Pakistan.
A4. Our Pakistani brothers and sisters need to wake up. War has been a convenient political rallying point for their religious politicians for years. What else are they going to rally around? Building a wider road over Khyber Pass?  I doubt that would do it. The British elite loves the way their plan turned out. It fits their need to be needed perfectly.  
From my perspective, the only "common enemy" in the Greater Himalayan Common Market region are the religious freaks, the Taliban and al-Quaeda. I know it’s popular for some segments of the politically correct to believe bin Laden is dead. I don’t believe that. His family has too much money. Bin Laden’s bunch and the Taliban would love nothing more than to take over Pakistan with its "free" nuclear weapons. The religious zealots would be in their heyday. They would again ascend to prominence in the historical manner of  murder, mayhem, rape, pillaging, etc.  
To combat this, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and others need to build their own regional Common Market—and common protection system, called the Greater Himalayan Common Market. The European model is one of the few things tribal Europe has gotten right. It is only through a similar non-religious mechanism that the Afghans, Paks and Indis will be able to heal their centuries old anger and distrust. Eventually Iraq and Iran will need to join, among other neighbors like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, etc. Of course, that will not make the World’s elitists who want to control everything happy. Nor Israel, unless they find it advantageous to join a Common Market of their own.
Q5.  If the Pashtuns (Pathans), the core tribal group making up the Afghan people, see the U.S. as their greatest internal enemy and Pakistan as their greatest external enemy, what policies or initiatives could diffuse this enmity?    
A5.  Under the Greater Himalayan Common Market, the "if" disappears. The answer again goes back to the question of what’s in the common good for all peoples in that region.  The common good is to be found in common economic ties. The common economic ties and its principles for the members, will be laid down in The Greater Himalayan Common Market charter.
Q6.  If a united Afghanistan with a powerful American trained military is likely to seek military conflict with Pakistan, as many suspect, what issues need to be addressed to eliminate this threat?
A6. In the Greater Himalayan Market scenario, there is no necessity for military conflict between the participating states. Conversely, if Afghanistan is left in a weakened situation, there is every reason to believe their peoples are in danger from the next set of invaders, whether it is Pakistan, Taliban kooks, or al-Quaeda searching for a new homeland. That would force India’s hand, and perhaps Iran’s expansionism.   
Q7.  If, as many believe, the current Taliban is willing to accept the inclusion of women into society and a program of modernization, unlike their predecessors, how can NATO best reassess its approach?
The Taliban claims to be new, reformed. They say they’ll liberate the women and have open schools for everyone. What a bunch of crap. Those zebras are either white animals with black stripes, or black animals with white stripes. Anyway you look at them, they are the same critters.
The only thing that will change them, turn them into self respecting and neighbor respecting citizens, is three generations of freedom surrounding them.  What that means is they and their children will have to be recycled in the natural way, so the grandchildren will be free and positive thinkers and contributors. 
Q8.  Will Afghanistan, free of foreign influences and after a period of expected internal disruption, restabilize itself under a strong centralized leader as some experts predict?
The Greater Himalayan Common Market will reduce the need for foreign influence by encouraging Afghanis to be positively reliant on their neighbors. Without the GHCM, the "period of expected internal disruption" will revert to tribal warfare that existed long before Hannibal and Timur-the-Lame (Tammerlane to the undereducated) crushed, murdered and smashed their ways through this part of the world. With the GHCM, the all important ingredient of Hope (I hate to use a falsetto Obamaism) will bloom within the hearts, minds and souls of the people. 
Q9.  Can India’s long term financial investment and considerable influence in Afghanistan be stabilizing or is it likely to lead to increasing military threat against Pakistan?
India wants to be, and will be, a stabilizing influence, particularly under the guidance and ground rules of the GHCM. The Pakistanis have an equal responsibility. To meet this, they need to get over their angry inferiority complex and become pro-GHCM for their own survival leading to worldwide prosperity.  
Q10. If, as many believe, Islamic extremism is a minor secondary influence in the Pashtun/Tribal conflicts in the Af-Pak theatre, why has this not been factored in?
I think it is ridiculous to believe Islamic extremism is a minor secondary influence in the region. Does anyone actually believe Christian or Jewish extremism doesn’t exist? Or Hindu extremism? How about Shinto extremism? Or Atheistic extremism? To believe otherwise is to be totally naïve. Of course they exist. Religious and anti-religious extremism is the devil’s workshop, not God’s. It has been responsible for the horrific deaths of 100s of millions of humans in this cycle of our lowly creation alone.
The answer is to neutralize religious terrorism.  The way to neutralize it in the Af-Pak region is with the Greater Himalayan Common Market. This will not be trivial, but it is an worthwhile endeavor.
There will be time for the GHCM to be a thriving enterprise of  economic well-being before I leave this creation for good. There will be a time for true spirituality to rise again, in parallel with prosperity and respect for the peoples of that part of the world.
What we’re doing in the United States may seem hard. It may seem difficult. It may seem expensive. But it is so much cheaper and beneficial to the world than the alternative.  

Bio: Tom Dillman



U.S. Army Veteran; First Cavalry, Korean DMZ and Ho Chi Minh Trail, Laos; Electrical Engineer, Physicist and Mathematician, Presidential and Key Executive MBA; Corporate Vice President and President in computer Industry, first novel in Publisher requested rewrite phase; second novel in editing phase. Culturally relaxed, fiscally conservative.