Hip Hop Comes To Pakistan
By Staff News & Analysis - November 15, 2011

US tries 'hip hop' diplomacy in Pakistan Chicago troupe with Pakistani-American founder tours at State Department's invitation … Members of FEW Collective, a hip-hop troupe from Chicago, perform at a small concert organized by the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Monday … Considered by many Pakistanis to be public enemy number one, the United States on Monday turned to the musical descendents of rap group Public Enemy in an attempt to counter its highly unpopular image in the south Asian nation. – Pakistan Express Tribune

Dominant Social Theme: We cannot impress them with our guns … maybe with our dancers.

Free-Market Analysis: This is a dominant social theme we don't often mention (see above). It has to do with the attractiveness of US culture for young people around the world. This has been one of the power elite's most successful promotions. The TV programs and Hollywood movies make the US seem most alluring to overseas youth.

In truth, there is a big difference between US popular culture and the government that runs America and is beholden to a larger power elite. The wars the US are engaged in are actually part of a larger effort to create an Islamic "crescent," so far as we can tell, that will confront the US in a kind of faux Muslim war, or at least provide the pretext for one.

It is ironic that the US State Department turns to popular culture to try to turn around a very negative view of the US. This view stems, in large part, from the US's bombing of Pakistan almost at will via drones and by attacking across the border. Only 12 percent of Pakistanis hold a favorable view of the US. Here's some more from the article:

As part of its cultural diplomacy program, the U.S. embassy brought the FEW Collective, a hip-hop troupe from Chicago, to Islamabad, where they danced, rapped and recited poetry to a Westernized, educated elite audience of young Pakistanis. The group's 10-day trip is the latest by a number of musical acts sponsored by the U.S. State Department as part of its American Festival of the Arts, a cultural program designed to promote exchanges between the people of the two countries.

"It gives a good impression," said Atroz Abro, 20, who attended the show. "You rarely find such events in Pakistan … to pump up the youth by bringing something new." But FEW Collective has its work cut out. Only 12 percent of Pakistanis have a favorable opinion of the United States, according to a July poll by the Pew Research Center, while 73 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 16 percent don't know.

These strong negative perceptions are often cited by the Pakistani military as one reason why Pakistan won't tackle militants in its wild border regions where Taliban groups plan attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan. Rampant anti-Americanism in Pakistan also allows the government to avoid making needed — but unpopular — economic reforms demanded by international lending agencies, which are widely seen as aligned with the United States …

Audience members seemed happy with the evening's entertainment but declined to be drawn on politics. "We like the people of the United States," said Walid Khan, 21. "We don't have any comment to make about the government though," he said, and turned away.

The war in Afghanistan has ground on for over a decade, and for no good reason. It is not a war that people want but that the US government wants, along with Western elites that pull the strings behind government. Economic times are bad and the solution to bad times in the modern era is war. War and more war.

The US is involved in about seven separate conflicts now. As we have documented elsewhere, the US has apparently built a kind of gulag throughout the Middle East, using local government to imprison young people without charges, and even to torture them. This has not been commented on AT ALL by the mainstream media, from what we can tell. (See: Lost in a Yemen Jail.)

The war in Afghanistan is likely not going to be "won" by the US or NATO. We've written numerous times now that the real reason the country was likely attacked was to pacify its tribal Pashtun population, which the British in particular have been trying to do for a century or more in serial wars.

The best the British have been able to accomplish is a stalemate between the Pashtuns and the rest of the country. This is what the West is ending up with now. Afghanistan will likely be divided, de facto into parts where the Pashtuns have influence and parts where the Northern Alliance is influential.

This result unfortunately will be obtained after a decade of depredations including bombings, night raids that kill innocent people and most troubling, the use of depleted uranium that has poisoned so many people in Iraq and Afghanistan that doctors reportedly advise women not to have children.

After Thoughts

The way to make people in Pakistan feel better about the US is to stop bombing them. Showing off American style hip hop is a poor alternative.