The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) estimates there are between 500,000 to 700,000 soldiersstationed in Indian-held Kashmir. Yet, reading theNew York Times’ (NYT) March 7editorial titled “India and Pakistan, ever on the edge”gives you the distinct impression this immense military force is patrolling the disputed statesolely to prevent a handful of Pakistani “militants” from waltzing across the Line of Control (LoC). Given therisingfrequency of accusations fromNew Delhi that Pakistan is abetting cross-border infiltration, perhaps the Indian troops manning the LoC-among the most heavily fortified borders in the world-need a refresher course in spotting suspicious individuals. To call Indian-held Kashmir the world’s largest detention centrewon’t be a stretch given the shockingly highdensity of soldiers to civilians.And neither will be labelling this NYT editorial highly self-serving, if not slanderous. It matter-of-factly claimed the terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) was “protected and armed by the Pakistani intelligence service” without offering a shred of evidence. Furthermore, it dragged China into the fray by insinuating Beijing’svetoes of anti-Pakistan resolutions at the UN Security Council (UNSC) are contributing to heightened tensions in the region. In fact, if this editorial was a primer on the Kashmir dispute, the key takeaway would beIslamabad is largely responsible forprolonging the conflict and risking nuclear annihilation on the subcontinent. Moreover, India must fund its huge military presence in Kashmir exclusively to thwart Pakistani attempts to impinge upon its sovereignty. Also,India does not reciprocally destabilise Pakistan even as the latter’s intelligence agencies are actively sowing unrest in Kashmir. There is no recognition of India consistently waging “asymmetrical warfare” against Pakistan on the western front through sabotage, terrorism and incitement Lastly, the US through concerted strategymust strive to ameliorate these routine episodes ofsabre-rattling that often stop perilously short of nuke-tossing across the border. In this piece, however, there is zero recognition of the tenacity and iron will of the homegrown insurgency by Kashmiri Muslims to cast off the yoke of Indian state oppression. There is no recognitionofIndia consistentlywaging “asymmetrical warfare” against Pakistan on the western front through sabotage, terrorism and incitement. And of course, no mention of Indian spyKulbhushan Jadhavand his nefarious deeds in Balochistan. Likewise, there is no admission that Washington has played an outsized role in diminishing international trust in multilateral negotiations that form the bedrock of the incumbent rules-based world order and its primary lever, the UN. The NYTis right though to state the Kashmir issue over decades past has complexified and turned into a lightning rod for bigoted populists on both sides of the LoC. And after the failed Agra Summit of 2001, there have been precious few opportunities todampen this powderkeg of India-Pakistan rivalry. While politicians on both sides are to blame for this stasis,and we all know the parties that profit from war, thetoxicglobal media narrative that has emerged from thegrowing bonhomie between India’s rulers andthe Western leaders thatsalivate at its huge market for their exports,has made matters worse. The NYT is plainly kowtowing to Washington’s hardening stance toward Islamabad over the unending war in Afghanistan that has cost America much blood and treasure, even as it is acutely aware that bringing the various Taliban factions to the negotiation table is impossible without Islamabad’s help. “Hate begets hate, violence begets violence,” notedAmerican civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.and this maxim holdstrue in Kashmir. The systematic violation of civil liberties and alengthening record of extrajudicial killings, torture and rape by Indian soldiers using the cover of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Acthave only galvanised Kashmiris to fight for their freedom. In fact, an alarming rise in civilian deathsattributed to the Indian military since 2016 compelled the UNHRC last year to issue its first ever human rights report on Kashmir that India unsurprisingly rejected as “fallacious, tendentious, and motivated.” The NYT editorial also urges Washington to explore ways to get “involved” and “assist” India and Pakistan in resolving the Kashmir dispute, implying no such framework exists. It does, and it is called UNSC Resolution 47. That the people of Kashmir despite repeated pledgesby theUNhave been denied the right to a referendum on their future is a dark stain on therules-based world order.And so is the notionthat India,which brazenly suppresses minority rights at home,may ever be considered for a permanent seat on the UNSC, the de-facto guardian of globalhuman rights. The international system of rules is meant to bea level playing field built on moral and legal principles that are both transparent and consistent in their application. The meek in theoryneed not fear the mighty. It rose from the ruins of World War IIupon the wisdom that humanity required a basket of supranational ideals that, when wed to deepening economic integration,would prevent future conflicts on a global scale. And if thissystem has today turned into a zero-sum game, it is neither India nor Pakistan’s fault. They are merely responding to the signalling effect of the superpower, America. Time and again after the Cold War, Washington hastrampled on its own creation by going solo while “chasing monsters abroad” despite stiff international opposition, most recently in Iraq and Syria.It has irreparably damaged the trust of the international community in the UN as the highest mediating forum. By pursuing “national interests” at the expense of multilateralism, it is in fact Washington thatis steadily pushing the world to the brink of a nuclear-tipped war. How? After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US emerged as the “great balancer” tasked with guarding global peace.But when the great balancer abandons its moral principles in taking sides, the world is no longer in balance and primed for another bloody war. The writer is an Ipoh-based independent journalist Published in Daily Times, March 11th 2019.