Beyond the fantastic lies the realm of the fantastical, marked on classical maps by the legend, “Here be dragons”. But contemporary dragons and unicorns inhabit real maps. Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s amazing, exceptional and fantastic intercontinental call to the US president-elect in Trump Tower traced an arc across half of the real world. It may have consequences for the point of origin, South Asia. Precisely what, remains to be seen. This is where it begins to get scary.
Hillary Clinton may have lost the White House because of a private email server. Trump has a private phone, which he seems to be using as a private citizen for government to government communications. His conversations promise to be loaded with mystery and imagination, since they are not on the record of the US government. They are reported only by those he speaks with. In this case, it was the press wing of the prime minister’s office in Islamabad. It was a business to business call, with the boss of Sharif Group dialling the boss of Trump Organisation. But it was not business as usual.
It appears that the “big fan of Hindu” has crossed the floor and now wants to go to Pakistan, “a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people”. This is beyond the bromance that apparently bloomed between Narendra Modi and Barack Obama, and assumes surreal overtones. This is one long hand-shaking, flesh-pressing session. The president-elect of the US had never met Pakistan’s PM, but felt like they were old pals. Naturally, he is a “terrific guy” with “a very good reputation”. This is fine entertainment, but then the president-elect says Sharif can just call anytime, even before he assumes office, and he would be excited to play any role he wanted. This is where it gets seriously scary. In truth, here be dragons.