Cloak the Dagger

Cloak the Dagger

The arrest of an alleged RAW agent by Pakistani agencies, apparently in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, proves nothing that everyone doesn’t already know. And it also will change precisely nothing. But, on the whole, one must also remember how petty, how puny – to quote the sage called Groucho Marx — the misnomer called ‘military intelligence’ is. Why do spies and covert activities exist at all? Sure, these have existed throughout history. Deceit is deployed to achieve the defeat of enemies. But does that change history? Let us change tack. People in Kashmir are no strangers to the cloak and dagger stuff, more dagger than cloak, if one may say so, given things like the Ikhwan and whatnot, and has all that succeeded? Kashmir today, not to put too fine a point on it, is talked about in terms independently of nation-state sponsoring, in terms almost equaling Palestine in injustice and occupation. So, what did all the grandiloquent agencies achieve here? One answer could be that these must be looked at in the right perspective.

That perspective means that states will, come what may, spy and try and destabilise and exploit each other’s weaknesses. All of this, simply, is the unacknowledged part of statecraft. But what is more important is to remember that never, ever, have any such activities managed to deviate the inexorable march of history. All so-called intelligence agencies work, finally, to worsen problems. They don’t work for lasting solutions. They simply can’t as they can’t work in the political domain that finally determines things, even if they do try and have proxies on that front too. And they never really succeed in anything except delaying the inevitable. What they can do is manage to prolong, for even decades altogether, the status quo. But not the inevitable outcome.

The spy games are often primarily initiated because there is recognition of a certain course of history, within which people pursue progress which lies outside the realm of the state. But then, historically, it is not the State, whatever its form, but people’s urge to change their own state of existence that determines change.
What nation-states must realise is that no amount of skullduggery is going to get rid of basic political problems. They can certainly make each other’s problems worse, compound them temporarily, but even then they will not be able to change an elemental thing: ideas of resistance or the people’s desire for rights and freedom.