Research published by defence experts at a security think tank in Islamabad has surprised geopolitical enthusiasts with the finding that using armed militants to exert political influence in neighboring countries is largely not approved by the global community.

Spanning several countries in the entire region, the experiment took about 13 years to complete. Researchers say it was the most recent in a series of experiments involving a military dictator as the primary test subject. With minor changes, the trial was carried out several times with more or less the same result each time.

“To our surprise, the tests revealed yet again that training and aiding religiously-motivated terrorist groups to cause unrest in neighboring countries and using them as tools of foreign policy is widely considered unacceptable, and at times can even lead to long term violence within the host country,” an official of the think tank said in Rawalpindi.

“We understand that it is counterintuitive, but the experiment reveals that international response to providing sanctuaries to militant organizations and encouraging them to carry out terrorist attacks in order to gain wider political influence and foreign policy leverage, is largely negative,” another official admitted in a private conversation. “This opinion seems to be prevalent regardless of the geopolitical importance, religion, and nuisance value of the concerned country,” he added. “We tried the test with two different dictators in recent years - one largely conservative and the other mostly liberal. The data we obtained confirms that this variable has little or no effect on the results.”

One official said the test results did not vary considerably even if the country possessed nuclear weapons, and warnings by the government that some of its radicalized citizens might get access to that also did not have a significant impact. The observation could not be officially confirmed. Most details of the experiment have been kept secret.

Insiders reveal that a typical test involves a military ruler who is made to use terrorist organizations as freedom fighters, but the test subjects include a number of civilian politicians as well. “We can say with considerable confidence however, that no more than 12 percent of global opinion will favour such a policy,” the official said when asked to comment.

In one of the permutations of the experiment, the world’s most dangerous terrorist was introduced in the host country and was made to live and grow close to a strategically significant location. “To the surprise of the researchers, the subject was located and eliminated before he could be used for leverage or blackmail,” an insider said. “The most recent iteration of the trial has therefore revealed results that have sent shivers down the spines of scientists interested in the field.”

The shock is far greater than previous experiments in which even the slightest support to the most docile of groups was shown to rouse anger in countries otherwise considered friendly. “Providing religious motivation and charity money to active indigenous separatist movements, providing manpower to oppressive governments against their people, and cultivating spies in faith based organizations, we carried out every kind of experiment imaginable, and it seems that the results were the same every time. Each experiment seemed to prompt more or less the same levels of global disapproval,” the source revealed.

Additional tests revealed that a small percentage of the population of the host country also showed measurable signs of disapproval, but scientists believe that this factor is not of any significant value. “These conditions can be superficially altered during the course of the experiment so as to ensure that they do not cause any significant difference in the results,” the think tank official explained. “It was very interesting to note that the citizens exhibiting disapproval could oust particular regimes, but mostly allowed the experiments to continue.”

The scientists said the next experiment in their broad research aims to study the effects of indirect interference, such as providing military equipment and quasi-military manpower to powerful countries in adjacent regions so that they could in turn deploy them to their own hostile neighbors. “

“Unfortunately, we cannot confirm that this experiment will draw any final lessons,” the official said. “We might need more experiments.”

The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

Email:harris@nyu.edu

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