Abhijit Iyer-Mitra is someone who discusses his experience with dangerous tourism and geopolitics. He has visited Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, and China. He shares some of the most fascinating stories of his travel and what we observed and learned from each nation.
He is a respected geopolitical observer in India and has a degree in international relations. He considers security and defense, foreign policy, food, government policy, travel, and the good life his areas of expertise. Hope you enjoy this episode.
Abhijit Mitra is one of the most educated guests ever. This is one of the many conversations with him.
“Learning for me is like breathing. If I haven’t learned something new, the day is wasted. “
“I venture my expertise in security and defense, foreign policies, food, government policy in general, and travel. Anything except sports, I am interested in everything.”
The US Perspective
“I am not a believer of Deep state theory. Corruption is definitely a part. They might lobby for specific wars to get rid of the existing weapons and produce new ones. There are some levels of naive ideology. It combines many things, and you can’t assign value to it. America was keen on returning Afgan resources to Afghans and even for Iraq to become prosperous. They don’t understand human beings develop differently under different stimuli. American things everyone wants what they want and they should just spread the idea of democracy everywhere.”
“I am almost traveling every month. I am in a think tank and raise funds for the think, and I love working with the kids. Then I do two major travel every year. One would be to a fun vacation spot where I can lie on the beach and enjoy good food. Second, an adventurous place that people don’t want to go to. I like traveling to these places as there are no five stars hotels. You are lucky to get a decent toilet. But you get to talk to people, dress like a local, and seeing everything that is not told to you.”
“I spent a month in Afghanistan. Of course, doing tourism, but I also interviewed Taliban commanders to see how they felt. Interviewing them was scary, but they were nice and had no hate towards India. They hate Pakistan, and their families are held hostage by ISIS. The Taliban commanders take pride in being Afghans.”
“My memories are lucid because they are in the smoke hash, and after that, they open up for the conversation. It’s a cultural practice there. Only in Kandahar, the situation got a little tough. I had to leave that place in 3-4 hours. I panicked.”
“Afghans don’t like white people. Even the Taliban looks at India as a friend. They don’t have any ill will towards India. They have a huge amount of positive emotions.”
Taliban Coming Into Power
“Now things have changed a little. The first time the Taliban came to power, they were nasty. Now they have gone through puberty and matured. It is not as bad as it was. It is less strict now. When I visited, people wanted to get out, and we did try to get them out, but it didn’t work. But now they don’t want to come out from there. People do adjust with time. The kind of violence that was happening has vastly reduced.”
“When the Soviets took over places like Uzbekistan in the 1920s and shoved industrialization down their throats. So they weren’t allowed to be religious openly. I visited the area between the border of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. There is a lot of information filled in our minds. We, humans, find happiness in small things. And honestly, people there are happy to wear the burka.”
“The Taliban is gearing up for a war with Pakistan. Our contacts with the Taliban are growing. It is geopolitics and also ethnicity. The way Pakistan sees Kashmir, the Taliban see Balochistan. The Taliban get along with all the neighboring nations except for Pakistan.”
“Putin would ultimately invade Ukraine. I always thought that Russia would walk in for 3-4 days and be out from there. If Russia has to lose, the war could go up for fifteen years.”