surfing the himalayas

The Wonkette Geopoliticker: Our Favorite Cold War

Just cold bein coolOur favorite war right now is definitely India vs. Pakistan up on a glacier in the Himalayas, but it might be coming to an end. For those few who don’t know, India has been actually at war with Pakistan since 1984 (something to tell people when they raise the specter of India and Pakistan ever going to war with each other), and neither side has used any nukes. They’re fighting over a glacier so immense and rad that it’s referred to in geography cliques as the Third Pole. They’re fighting because of cartographic ambiguity and they’re fighting because it’s good politically on both sides to do so, since partition.

Since a 2003 ceasefire and because there’s a ‘line of control’ that both sides accept in real terms as a de facto border, this conflict has moved into the truly pointless category. The real battle isn’t India vs. Pakistan anymore, but Each Side vs. the Unlivable Mountain, with its hundred mile an hour winds and negative-50-degree temperatures. The oxygen level is half of that at sea level. You can only hike at night because the sun’s heat makes avalanches more likely during the day. You get to shower once a month in the summer, and never in the winter, so you get lice, you fall into giant crevasses a hundred feet deep and ten feet across and die. And to top it off, idiot talk show hosts come tape episodes and eat all your damn food.

Over 3,000 soldiers on the Pakistani side have died since this all started, and most of them succumbed to the mountain, not India. Just this past month, an avalanche killed 138 of them, and now there’s growing sentiment on both sides of the war that this isn’t a smart war to be fighting. There’s talk of turning the entire 50-mile glacier into a Peace Park, and considering a billion people drink its water, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea!

Pakistan’s even being pretty cool. Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a rare media thing, said about Siachen: “All issues should be resolved and peaceful co-existence is very necessary for both countries. There is no doubt about that.” And check out this really nice video they put out recently honoring their avalanched soldiers; except for that scary part when they point that cannon at the mountain, it all seems so innocent up there. Maybe they can stay on as Park Rangers.

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John Schoenkopf likes geography. johns@wonkette.com

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166 comments

    1. V572 Is this him?

      You're just asking for this, and I can't resist: if you lose, it can't be a victory, pyrrhic or otherwise, or at least so King Pyrrhus of Epirus told me.

      Well actually he told Plutarch, and I heard it from him.

      Well to be really truthful I wikied it up.

      1. Maman

        Ahhh, but no one remembers anyone but the victor, so doesn't the loser really win when it comes to a useless and detrimental battle?

        That was what I was thinking about anyway

        1. V572 Is this him?

          George W Bush’s conquest of Iraq: the most Pyrrhic victory since Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC.

      2. swordfis

        Well, it's a potentially great aphorism Maman, so I suggest a rewrite: Which is better, a Pyrrhic victory or a Pyrrhic defeat?

  1. Tundra Grifter

    Chinese dissident quietly comes to the US of A.

    Iran looks like it is going to agree to let international inspectors in to look for evidence of a nuclear weapons program. Without a war first.

    Israel appears to be waking up to the concept of trying a new way to find peace in the Middle East.

    Now these two nations are trying to stop their war?

    The Obama Administration foreign policy failures just stack up one after another, don't they?

    1. prommie

      What, is Israel going to officially recognize arabs as human beings, in exchange for them recognizing the nation of Isael?

      1. Negropolis

        Given that we've seen this show before, you can be assured, this time, that we're not using inspection as a pretext for war. In fact, this time, it's exactly the opposite.

        But, Bush = Obama (insert some other radical, conspiracy theorist bullshit), rinse, lather, repeat.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        Mitt Romney takes a lot of credit for that.

        Come to think of it, "taking" is pretty much what he does best.

    2. fuflans

      and myanmar, the reset with russia (though that may be short-lived), settlement of the okinawa base issue, the pivot to asia, mature dealings with china, the successful sudan split (though that too may be short-lived), bin laden, hell even afghanistan seems guardedly positive.

      course, there's always canada. we can't talk about fucking canada.

    3. Ann_ObeyMe_Money

      You have NO IDEA how many head explodeys have occurred since this shit hit the news. I have friends who used to head for the shitter with the excuse, "Off to bomb Pakistan/India," depending on which side of the border claimed their allegiance. What are those stupid fuckers gonna say NOW?

    1. actor212

      Is cricket an Olympic sport? I don't think it's been competed since 1948.

      I suppose they could win water polo but it must be tough getting those horses in scuba gear.

      1. V572 Is this him?

        Ever see that "30 Rock" with the fake Olympic events like tetherball and synchronized running? It's wonderful.

    2. Ann_ObeyMe_Money

      To which any Indian/Pakistani worth their salt would say, "Arre, what is this Olympic-sholympic, na, there is GOLD to be made in the international money markets first!"

  2. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Don't worry. If Mitt Romney is elected, we will surely invade it within the year.

    1. MosesInvests

      'Caradhras was called the Cruel, and had an ill name,' said Gimli, 'long years ago, when rumour of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.'

  3. SayItWithWookies

    I'm not worried about peace getting out of control — those bitches will always have Kashmir.

        1. LesBontemps

          Relax. In less than an hour no one will know which of us posted the Pashmina joke first. Not that anyone cared anyway.

  4. radio-of-owls

    Ashfaq

    A bit of an accent, but otherwise really a very good description of Our Wonket's roots.

  5. Schmannnity

    "You get to shower once a month in the summer, and never in the winter, so you get lice, you fall into giant crevasses a hundred feet deep and ten feet across and die. "

    Palin feminine hygiene?

  6. Oblios_Cap

    The oxygen level is half of that at sea level. You can only hike at night because the sun’s heat makes avalanches more likely during the day. You get to shower once a month in the summer, and never in the winter, so you get lice, you fall into giant crevasses a hundred feet deep and ten feet across and die. And to top it off, idiot talk show hosts come tape episodes and eat all your damn food.

    Someone call Disney, quick! I smell a Theme Park!

  7. actor212

    The real battle isn’t India vs. Pakistan anymore, but Each Side vs. the Unlivable Mountain, with its hundred mile an hour winds and negative-50-degree temperatures.

    The Battle For Mt Washington.

    1. Jus_Wonderin

      "Hey, wanna see my third pole" was my best pickup line in my youth. Their reply was usually something about "not with a ten foot pole" which I never understood. And then they slapped me.

  8. OldWhiteLies

    So wait – is it possible? Is it real?

    Reasonably unfettered good news – really?

    I simply do not know how to respond. Does one perhaps hazard a smile in these circumstances?

    Or did I miss something and it's all a façade?

      1. OldWhiteLies

        OH, and speaking of, is it too soon to go over and add Mema to the Wonkette Wikipedia entry memes list?

  9. coolhandnuke

    There is but a few glaciers that remain in our very own Glacier National Park and they will disappear in my lifetime. So what should we rename the park?

    1. Negropolis

      Glacier National Landfill?

      'Cause that's what it's gonna become when it melts away.

  10. CrunchyKnee

    Shit, a billion people drink water from there?!?!?! Privatize it NOW!!! And moar tax cuts for the jerbs creators!!!111! All we need is to open up "free trade" with the Pakistanis and Indians. Then bam, the fuckers who fund our betters in the government get moar monies. Your move, Barry.

  11. MissTaken

    The oxygen level is half of that at sea level. You can only hike at night because the sun’s heat makes avalanches more likely during the day. You get to shower once a month in the summer, and never in the winter, so you get lice, you fall into giant crevasses a hundred feet deep and ten feet across and die

    Soros, honey, I just found where we'll honeymoon at!

        1. Ann_ObeyMe_Money

          They're awful cute, sweet, and loveable, but damn if they weren't having more sex than the rest of us all put together.

          Of course, there's the fact that they *can* assume the (various) position(s).

  12. BaldarTFlagass

    I guess the Brits, when they left, forgot to tell the Pakistanis and Indians that the Great Game was finished back in the 1920s.

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      Either that or the Pakistanis and Indians just ignored them like we did when they told us about Afghanistan.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        What I can't understand is why the Brits went in with us on this one. I mean, they got their asses handed to them three times there previously, why did they think it would work out any differently this time?

        1. doloras

          Because Tony Blair is the same kind of dipshit vulgar post-modernist as Dubya Bush and thought that reality was whatever rich people said it was.

        2. Ann_ObeyMe_Money

          They've very very stupid people. Many years of fortunate military shenanigans do not change this. A serious reading of history shows that the fact that Great Britain has survived thus far is nothing short of fortuitous. They have had some of the greatest idiots as leaders of that benighted nation. Oh, yes, and greedy, unethical swine, of course. Which kind of made up for the idiots, I guess.

    2. DWW

      Apparently a greater game is happening in Afghanistan, with US withdrawal…with Russia, China, US, India and Pakistan playing with proxies. Few years from now, would make this look like mega-peacetime.

  13. Biel_ze_Bubba

    All those macho assholes who love war should get their chance to spend a year on this battlefield. It's basically a game, with real guns instead of paintballs, so they should love it, and with all volunteers on both sides, it would be win-win for everybody.

  14. BaldarTFlagass

    Maybe they can host the Winter Olympics. Watch out for the unexploded ordnance, though!!

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      New event: the marathon biathlon. Contestants slog through the snow, shooting at each other, for 26 years.

  15. DahBoner

    "You get to shower once a month in the summer, and never in the winter, so you get lice, you fall into giant crevasses a hundred feet deep and ten feet across and die."

    Yes, but I bet you can get better curry than in Salt Lake City….

      1. HistoriBarb

        I've never dined at the SLC airport but I do remember going on a family vacation to Utah several decades ago. My eight year old self thought the food was quite good. Probably not very exotic but definitely tasty.

        1. Ann_ObeyMe_Money

          I know you live in TX, but I've never been there so know nothing about the food, other than that the cuisine of your southern neighbours appears to be exerting a beneficial influence. My idea of food does not equate to slabs of scorched meat with boiled or baked starchy roots and a salad. My idea of food worth eating also usually includes searing quantities of flavourful spices. I can assure you that the entire city of Salt Lake probably doesn't contain sufficient spices for my taste, based on what they served at the airport. Everything appeared to have sugar and salt added aplenty, but nothing by way of fresh herbs, flavourings, spices, or, in fact, anything that had once even resembled food in its existence. Dear god, those people need more fiber!

  16. BaldarTFlagass

    These Geopoliticker posts, it's like reading the Wonkette version of The Economist. Am I at the airport? I only read the Economist when I fly somewhere.

  17. metamarcisf

    Speaking of which, just a couple of days ago four mountain climbers died on Everest. After seeing pictures of this snowbound overcrowded goatfuck, it makes me wonder: Why do these people always attempt these climbs during the winter?

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Maybe they're attention whores. You notice that it's never reported when someone climbs the mountain successfully, only when someone dies trying.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        At this point, anybody who claims to have summited Everst is just rich, bored, and the beneficiary of a good stretch of weather. Other than themselves, nobody's impressed.

  18. Mahousu

    Rather than send Indian talk show hosts up there, why don't we send American talk radio hosts? We wouldn't even ask for them back.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Good idea, but the TSA people would get suspicious about the one-way tickets we provided.

  19. fuflans

    if they just wait a couple of years, i'm sure global warming will take care of all of this.

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        Well, Chascates started it, so it's not fair to whine about what the Caveman did, without complaining about what the Katmandu.

  20. SaintRond

    I'm with the Indians, because they worship two legged elephant head chicks with really killer hot bodies and cover themselves with powdered dye on holidays and do crazy musicals that look like Heaven on earth and they let cows walk in the street and lynch anyone who hurts them, while the Pakistanis kind of talk and act like exotic Republican lifeforms.

    Anyway, that's the way I see it.

      1. SaintRond

        That said, Pakistan has Noor Jehan, Nahid Akhtar, Naseebo Lal, Irene Parveen and Runa Laila (who actually went to Bengladesh after the war) vs. Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, S. Janaki, P. Susheela and Lata Mangeshkar.

        It's a bit of a tie there. To my mind, whoever's got the best smack and hash is going to take the prize.

          1. Ann_ObeyMe_Money

            Priyanka Chopra, na? Also, there is most definitely music of great excellence. And food. Totapakhi. Taj by moonlight. Chai on the train.

            India made me crazy in the short time I was there, and I have no real urge to go see Pakistan, which will probably make me equally crazy.

  21. Wilson_Dizard3

    It gets worse. I read about this war a few years ago, when one of the Pakistani Army's major problems was keeping its troops supplied with basic needs, as well as all of their military equipment. At the time, no helicopters or fixed wing aircraft could fly high enough with enough cargo to keep the troops resupplied. So the Pakistani Army relied on mules. Problem there was, even though the mules were very sure-footed, the mountain trails they were traveling were extremely treacherous. Many mules fell. Each mule was good for only one trip, according to the story. The article did not elaborate on the fates of the animals who made it all the way to the top. Mules are very intelligent and personable animals. It was a very sad story.

    1. commiegirl

      But it gets better! My brother informs me that both sides have a gentlemen's agreement not to shoot each other's supply helicopters out of the sky. SO NEIGHBORLY!

    2. SaintRond

      I remember that, when Reagan was sending American mules and donkeys to die in a foreign land and it PISSED ME OFF.

      There's no reason American mules should be dying for a job Pakistani mules could be doing for themselves.

  22. ttommyunger

    Every time I get a flash of genius for a brilliant comment one of these new video ads starts blaring at me. Velly annoying……Catch you later, got to go out and buy a fucking Taurus.

  23. Churadogs

    If this doesn't highlight human folly, nothing does. Pick some totally useless piece of land, invest it with some sort of "meaning," then kill 3,000 people "defending" the totally useless piece of land. They should have picked an acre in a place with a nicer climate. That way they could enjoy their folly, at least.

    Geesh. There is no hope.

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