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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2009 21:20 
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The Geopolitics of India: A Shifting, Self-Contained World

Looks like George Friedman is talking about Akhand Bharat !

ps: If you can not reach the article @ strat for, simply google for the article heading....


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2009 21:41 
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A teaser for you from the above article:
COPYRIGHT STRATFOR 2008
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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 02 Jan 2009 23:46 
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Here is a link that appears to work without email:

http://democraticlabor.vox.com/library/post/the-geopolitics-of-india-a-shifting-self-contained-world.html?_c=feed-atom


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2009 01:45 
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Wow, Friedman really hits it on the dot, doesn't he? I suppose he has to say things like "Muslims kings weren't interested in conversion" to get any credence, but everything else, while extremely general is pretty right.

Indeed, history does not repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes. If, once upon a time, we were not concerned with the world outside the Himalayas, we are no better (but possibly worse) than our ancestors today.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2009 05:48 
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None of these western morons want to accept that Kashmir is an integral part of India. :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 04 Jan 2009 05:56 
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shyam wrote:
None of these western morons want to accept that Kashmir is an integral part of India. :evil:


Then the game is up and hence it is not possible. India has to force it.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2009 11:59 
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Quote:
* DECEMBER 29, 2008

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.
In Moscow, Igor Panarin's Forecasts Are All the Rage; America 'Disintegrates' in 2010

By ANDREW OSBORN
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051100709638419.html

MOSCOW -- For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.
[Prof. Panarin]

Igor Panarin

In recent weeks, he's been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. "It's a record," says Prof. Panarin. "But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger."

Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.

But it's his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin's views also fit neatly with the Kremlin's narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.

A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.

"There's a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur," he says. "One could rejoice in that process," he adds, poker-faced. "But if we're talking reasonably, it's not the best scenario -- for Russia." Though Russia would become more powerful on the global stage, he says, its economy would suffer because it currently depends heavily on the dollar and on trade with the U.S.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces -- with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

In addition to increasing coverage in state media, which are tightly controlled by the Kremlin, Mr. Panarin's ideas are now being widely discussed among local experts. He presented his theory at a recent roundtable discussion at the Foreign Ministry. The country's top international relations school has hosted him as a keynote speaker. During an appearance on the state TV channel Rossiya, the station cut between his comments and TV footage of lines at soup kitchens and crowds of homeless people in the U.S. The professor has also been featured on the Kremlin's English-language propaganda channel, Russia Today.

Mr. Panarin's apocalyptic vision "reflects a very pronounced degree of anti-Americanism in Russia today," says Vladimir Pozner, a prominent TV journalist in Russia. "It's much stronger than it was in the Soviet Union."

Mr. Pozner and other Russian commentators and experts on the U.S. dismiss Mr. Panarin's predictions. "Crazy ideas are not usually discussed by serious people," says Sergei Rogov, director of the government-run Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, who thinks Mr. Panarin's theories don't hold water.

Mr. Panarin's résumé includes many years in the Soviet KGB, an experience shared by other top Russian officials. His office, in downtown Moscow, shows his national pride, with pennants on the wall bearing the emblem of the FSB, the KGB's successor agency. It is also full of statuettes of eagles; a double-headed eagle was the symbol of czarist Russia.

The professor says he began his career in the KGB in 1976. In post-Soviet Russia, he got a doctorate in political science, studied U.S. economics, and worked for FAPSI, then the Russian equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency. He says he did strategy forecasts for then-President Boris Yeltsin, adding that the details are "classified."

In September 1998, he attended a conference in Linz, Austria, devoted to information warfare, the use of data to get an edge over a rival. It was there, in front of 400 fellow delegates, that he first presented his theory about the collapse of the U.S. in 2010.

"When I pushed the button on my computer and the map of the United States disintegrated, hundreds of people cried out in surprise," he remembers. He says most in the audience were skeptical. "They didn't believe me."

At the end of the presentation, he says many delegates asked him to autograph copies of the map showing a dismembered U.S.

He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.


"It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time." A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. "It's not there for no reason," he says with a sly grin.

Interest in his forecast revived this fall when he published an article in Izvestia, one of Russia's biggest national dailies. In it, he reiterated his theory, called U.S. foreign debt "a pyramid scheme," and predicted China and Russia would usurp Washington's role as a global financial regulator.

Americans hope President-elect Barack Obama "can work miracles," he wrote. "But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

The article prompted a question about the White House's reaction to Prof. Panarin's forecast at a December news conference. "I'll have to decline to comment," spokeswoman Dana Perino said amid much laughter.

For Prof. Panarin, Ms. Perino's response was significant. "The way the answer was phrased was an indication that my views are being listened to very carefully," he says.

The professor says he's convinced that people are taking his theory more seriously. People like him have forecast similar cataclysms before, he says, and been right. He cites French political scientist Emmanuel Todd. Mr. Todd is famous for having rightly forecast the demise of the Soviet Union -- 15 years beforehand. "When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him," says Prof. Panarin.



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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2009 01:20 
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I saw that Igor idiot interviewed on New Years Eve on CNN. Must've been a slow news day because CNN is usually a very responsible news network. Didn't expect such nonsense that from them, giving credence (or outing him for his stupidity) to some ex-KGB, nutjob professor.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2009 17:52 
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Well,even Obama has just said that the US economy will get much worse and if we discover more "Made-Offs" with billions looted,only a steep devaluation of the dollar will save the US economy,which might very well turn into a Depression.A relative who was in the US recently said that the sight of Blacks commuting to work in the wee hours of the morning,bent figures with grim faces,reminded one of the films of Nazis transporting Jews to the camps! Everey mall visited saw woe written all over faces,sad employees wondering whether they would have a job the next week.Shops and businesses all closing down.

Dubya Bush has been light years ahead of his competition,to be the worst ever US president in its history.Forget about his neglect of the US economy,failure to deal with disasters like 9/11 and Katrina and forgetting about the Afghan War and finding Osama.His claim to immortal infamy has been his legacy of wars across the Middle East and the Islamic world,even unto India,by allowing Pak to wage terrorist war against us unimpeded and arming it too.Apart from his imperialist invasions,his inaction on the peace front in the Middle East has sparked off yet another war ,this time between Israel and Hamas,who represent the Gaza Palestinians.So says Newsweek.

How We Got to This Point
http://www.newsweek.com/id/177713/page/2

Three recent books chart the winding path from Kermit Roosevelt with his suitcases stuffed with cash to George W. Bush's gloomy Nobel Prize prospects.

Barack Obama said virtually nothing last week about the fighting in Gaza. We only have "one president at a time," his aides argue, and he has already called for a robust American peacemaking effort. Still, as the bombs began falling it must have been tempting for the president-elect to simply avert his eyes. Cries of "all-out war" make the risks to U.S. credibility abroad and the political costs at home seem infinitely more acute. Fighting in the Holy Land has been raging for thousands of years, the familiar reasoning goes; it would be hubris to think America could end it.

Yet three excellent recent books suggest that such logic is seriously flawed. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly, diplomatic distance virtually guarantees the status quo. Because Israel is so much stronger, power dynamics in the conflict are "deeply unbalanced," write Daniel Kurtzer and Scott Lasensky in their trenchant guidebook, "Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace" (191 pages. U.S. Institute of Peace. $16.50). "Left on their own, the parties cannot address the deep, structural impediments to peace." Over the past half-century, the price of a generally desultory American policy has been compounded.

That's the takeaway from Patrick Tyler's ambitious new history, "A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East—From the Cold War to the War on Terror" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 628 pages. $30). The bottom line, according to Tyler: "After nearly six decades of escalating American involvement in the Middle East, it remains nearly impossible to discern any overarching approach to the region such as the one that guided U.S. policy through the Cold War." Still, starry-eyed naiveté is no way to solve one of the world's most intractable conflicts. Martin Indyk's nuanced new memoir of his tenure as a Clinton-era peace negotiator, "Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East" (494 pages. Simon &Schuster. $30), demonstrates how hard the balancing act can be.

American diplomacy in the region wasn't always so feeble. Back in the fall of 1956, intelligence reached Washington that Israel was massing troops near Gaza in the Negev Desert. U.S. officials discovered that Israel had conspired with Britain and France to seize the Suez Canal, which popular Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had nationalized the summer before. The Americans were furious at their allies' back-room plan. Israel's then foreign minister, Golda Meir, made an argument much the same as what Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said since then: "Imagine attacks from enemies camped on the Mexican and Canadian borders inflicting those kinds of casualties in America." But President Eisenhower wasn't buying. As Tyler recounts, Ike went on television and demanded a withdrawal, later withholding oil shipments and loans to Britain. The conspirators were forced to comply.

In the years after World War II, Nasser wasn't yet a reflexive U.S. antagonist. American diplomats and spooks assiduously (albeit clumsily) courted Arab nationalist leaders in both Syria and Egypt. Theodore Roosevelt's grandson, the CIA agent Kermit (Kim) Roosevelt, handed out suitcases filled with millions of dollars in cash to potential allies. His efforts were transparent, and Nasser considered it bribery. As Tyler recounts, the Arab nationalist used the money to build a tower topped with a revolving restaurant in central Cairo. Egyptians referred to the eyesore as "Roosevelt's erection." By the mid-1950s, Nasser was poised to sign a $100 million arms deal with the Soviet Union, and Syria was in similar talks.

In the meantime, Israel and America were growing closer. U.S. intelligence operatives were grateful for Israeli espionage help as the Cold War intensified. In 1966 the Mossad delighted the CIA's Tel Aviv station chief, John Hadden, by delivering a fully functional Soviet MiG-21 to the Americans for inspection. When Hadden was caught copying names from mailboxes in a neighborhood in Dimona—the location of Israel's secret, undeclared nuclear program—Mossad agents only laughed and began referring to Hadden affectionately as the ******** Tyler writes. The following year, Israel defeated several Soviet clients at once during the Six Day War, and respect for the Jewish state deepened among American cold warriors.

That strengthening relationship carried unintended consequences. When Israel's Arab neighbors launched a surprise invasion on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in October 1973, then Prime Minister Golda Meir urgently requested an American airlift. Nixon eventually authorized a massive aid package—560 supply flights, 22,000 tons of equipment and weapons and 80 aircraft—to assist the Israeli military. The Arab world's subsequent embargo marked the start of modern Middle East oil politics. Tyler argues that the glut of weapons and easy American support emboldened the Israeli military in later conflicts like the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which spawned the Iranian-sponsored Islamist group Hizbullah.

As the Cold War eventually thawed, American presidents thought they might finally end the violence. Former Soviet clients in the Arab world, once relentlessly hostile to Israel, began seeking peace instead. George H.W. Bush tried getting tough with Israel to push the process along, threatening to withhold critical loan guarantees unless it halted settlement construction. Jim Baker, his secretary of state, publicly challenged the Israelis, reciting the White House switchboard number and demanding: "When you're serious about peace, call us." Bill Clinton took the opposite tack, closely coordinating peace proposals with Israeli negotiators. As Kurtzer and Lasensky argue, both strategies had flaws. Baker alienated some American Jews; Clinton's approach angered Palestinians. Still, there finally seemed to be some movement. In 1993 Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo accords; Jordan's King Hussein followed the next year with his own separate peace. Even Syria's strongman Hafez al-Assad began signaling his eagerness for talks.

Some of the Clinton-era Mideast hands who may return in the Obama administration believe the time is once again right to engage Syria. They're probably right, but Indyk's past experience is instructive. In the early winter of 1999, Assad summoned Clinton's peace team to his gray-marble palace high on a Damascus hilltop. The Syrian had six months to live, and he knew it. Assad had always acted as if he'd wait forever to get what he wanted; in negotiations he was known to deliver four-hour disquisitions on Saladin and the Crusaders. Baker once referred to the autocrat's interminable diatribes as "bladder diplomacy." Yet now Assad was curt and hurried. The Lion of Damascus was "a sick man, his emaciated face almost skeletal, his handshake bony and weak," Indyk writes. Assad told the Americans he thought a peace deal was "close." He seemed to be rapidly withdrawing demands. "I think we're lowering the bar," he told the startled Americans. "We should do something quickly."

The Syrian talks grew so intense and promising that jealous Palestinians began referring to Damascus as "the other woman." Yet the affair proved short-lived. One month after the Damascus meeting, Clinton summoned Israel's then prime minister, Ehud Barak, to Washington to work on the details. When the Israeli's Boeing 707 landed at Andrews Air Force Base, the prime minister, under intense fire at home from his political enemies, refused to get off his plane. Barak sent for Indyk, who was waiting on the tarmac. The American found the prime minister firmly planted in his blue leather lounge chair. "I can't do it," Barak said, adding later: "I cannot look like a freier"—a sucker—"in front of my people." He eventually rejoined the talks, but the gaps were widening. After details of subsequent negotiations leaked to an Israeli paper, Assad also began to hesitate. He stopped returning Clinton's calls. Six months later the Syrian leader was dead—and so was the peace process. As Clinton's Israeli-Palestinian talks also collapsed, the second intifada began—a conflict that would ultimately kill more than 5,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis.

George W. Bush arrived in the Oval Office determined to wash his hands of the conflict. One day in March 2001, Indyk, who remained as U.S. ambassador to Israel for a short time during the Bush administration, accompanied Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to a meeting with the president. On the way out, Bush stopped the diplomat at the door. "There's nothing to be done" with the Arab-Israeli conflict, the president declared. "No Nobel Peace Prize to be had here." Seven years later, with the region still in chaos, Barack Obama's shot at a Nobel may be equally remote. But after decades of conflict, it's hard to think of a more critical place to try.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 08 Jan 2009 01:41 
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India as part of the "Greater West"


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 08 Jan 2009 22:22 
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Location: Dark side of the moon
Conversion rate in Kosovo

Quote:
A CHRISTMAS tree dominates the centre of Pristina. Nearby a huge Catholic cathedral is being built. Farther off stand statues of two Albanian heroes: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Catholic nun, and Skanderbeg, a medieval prince who renounced Islam for Catholicism. Yet 95% of Kosovo’s 1.8m ethnic Albanians, out of a total population of 2m, are nominally Muslim. Don Shan Zefi, a Catholic cleric, says there are only 65,000 Catholics in Kosovo.

If Don Zefi has his way, there will be a lot more in future. On Christmas Eve some 38 people were baptised in a single town, Klina. Conversions to Christianity have become common (though a cautious Catholic church does not give precise figures). Don Zefi says he knows of large numbers more in “tens of villages” who want to convert.


A trend that promises to gain geopolitical importance in the days to come. The battle for Europe's religious future may well have begun. Watch this space onlee...


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 12 Jan 2009 17:22 
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This is an intriguing incident. The Ukranian pres. escaping a mysterious fire that consumed a Swiss chalet.Rumours abound.Gripping 007 stuff!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 99686.html

A Swiss chalet, a fire, and a President who crossed Putin

Rumours fill top resort that Ukraine leader was targeted by Alpine arsonist

By Brian Brady, Matthew Bell and Tony Paterson
Sunday, 11 January 2009

An intriguing mystery was unfolding at a luxury Alpine resort this weekend after speculation started to take wing that a chalet in the upmarket Swiss skiing town of Gstaad was destroyed by a fire that was aimed at its occupant – an Eastern European leader who is at loggerheads with Vladimir Putin's regime in Moscow.

As police investigated the cause of a blaze that destroyed a holiday home in the village of Kalberhöni, rumours persisted that among eight people who fled the inferno was Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine and for the past month or so embroiled in a bitter row with Moscow over the price it pays for Russian gas. One local familiar with the chalet owned by Janos Lux said everybody in the village knew the fire had happened, but nobody knew the circumstances around it, as there had been a "diplomatic silence". "Theirs is a different world to ours," she said of Mr Lux and his paying guests.

It was shortly after midnight on 29 December when the fire brigade in the mountainous area of Saanen was called to a fierce blaze at an isolated holiday chalet close to Kalberhöni. Despite what the firefighters later referred to as "a quick intervention" by a 55-man team, they had no chance. The two-storey building was ablaze when they arrived and by the time the flames abated, close to dawn, it was a gaping wreck smouldering in the snow.

The authorities did, however, console themselves with the discovery that the eight people who had been staying in the chalet had somehow managed to escape the inferno safely. One witness said: "Diplomatic vehicles arrived, and they disappeared into the night." Both the police and the fire service confirmed in their press statements that no one was injured; what they refused to reveal was exactly who these eight people were.

In Kalberhöni and the tiny villages clustered on the slopes above Saanen, which has its own airstrip, the rumours about the lucky paying guests at Janos Lux's chalet abound. The fire service refers inquiries about the eight survivors of the blaze directly to the canton of Bern police in Saanen; the police in turn explain that they are unable to reveal identities "to protect personalities" – and suggest that callers contact the Ukrainian embassy in Bern. A spokesman at the embassy dismissed suggestions that Mr Yushchenko might have been the target of an arson attack. "The President has not been in Switzerland for at least six months," he told The Independent on Sunday.

Official records from the President's office in the Ukrainian capital Kiev reveal that Mr Yushchenko visited Switzerland at least twice last year. He has regularly visited the country for medical examinations at Geneva University Hospital since 2005, following the discovery that he had been poisoned by dioxins during Ukraine's Orange Revolution the previous year. The Russian state has been accused of involvement in the poisoning.

Presidential office records show that Mr Yushchenko fulfilled a series of official duties in Ukraine in late December, while the country was locked in its dispute with the Russians over gas supplies. But there was a two-day gap between his appearance at a congress on Saturday 27 December and a meeting with the chairman of the national bank at lunchtime on Monday 29 December – 12 hours after the fire.

PS:Yuschenko has many enemies within Ukraine itself,as he has now broken away from gorgeous Yulia Timoshenko who was with him in the Yellow Revolution,now a bitter enemy.More might follow.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2009 14:35 
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American Power Is on the Wane


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2009 15:34 
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renukb wrote:


The economic crisis is not an indicator that American Power is on the wane. They have the might to bounce back from that. What is important is that others are catching up with it or trying to with Chinas expanding economy and Russia trying to regain lost glory.
Even then, no one can challenge the US militarily and it will be a folly to think its weakened.


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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2009 19:57 
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Europeans souring on Ukraine, Georgia

Reuters wrote:
Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:09am EST
By Paul Taylor

PARIS (Reuters) - Feted just a couple of years ago as heroes of democratic revolutions, the leaders of Ukraine and Georgia have fallen from grace among European policymakers.

While there is scant sympathy in Europe for Russia's rough treatment of the two former Soviet republics, European Union officials have been exasperated by the behavior of the governments in Kiev and Tbilisi.

In private, many EU policymakers blame Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for igniting last August's disastrous war with Russia by launching an attack on rebels in breakaway South Ossetia that gave Moscow a pretext to send in the tanks.

And they accuse Ukraine's feuding leaders of exacerbating the current gas crisis with Moscow by undermining each other's negotiations, breaking undertakings to the EU on the smooth transit of gas and dealing with murky intermediaries.

Some charge neo-conservatives in the United States, who have campaigned actively to get both countries into the NATO military alliance, with goading them into conflict with the Kremlin.

"The neo-con agenda in that region has been a disaster for Europe," said an EU foreign policy official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.


EU officials have been loath to fault either government in public, partly because they enjoy support among ex-communist east European member states, but also because Brussels remains sympathetic to the goals of their democratic revolutions.

However, the crisis over the cut-off of Russian gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine in a dispute over pricing and debt has crystallized European disenchantment with the leaders of Kiev's "Orange Revolution."

European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering told Reuters on Tuesday: "If the gas is blocked in Ukraine, then this will seriously damage relations between Ukraine and the EU. It is not in Ukraine's interests to do this."

WORST ENEMIES

An EU energy official close to the negotiations said of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko: "They are their own worst enemies."

The crisis could have been averted, he said, if Yushchenko had not vetoed a New Year's Eve deal negotiated by Tymoshenko with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on gas prices for 2009 and getting rid of a Swiss-based intermediary company, RosUkrEnergo, which sells all Russian gas to Ukraine.

Yushchenko denied that version of events on Tuesday and insisted he had no links to any gas supply intermediaries.

The rival Ukrainian leaders often seem unaware of how their feuding looks to investors, international financial institutions and the rest of Europe.

They conducted some of their most vicious public exchanges just as an International Monetary Fund delegation was in Kiev last October to negotiate a $16.4 billion emergency loan to Ukraine in the financial crisis as the hryvnia currency tumbled.

The European Commission would like to draw Ukraine and Georgia closer to the EU through European Neighborhood Policy agreements on trade, economic aid, energy cooperation, institution building and the rule of law, while leaving aside the long-term question of possible membership of the bloc.

But EU officials are dismayed that Ukraine has done so little in economic reform, tackling corruption and improving transparency and the rule of law to qualify for more assistance.

"Instead of fighting corruption, they spend their time fighting each other," the energy official said.

It was politically inconvenient that both states voiced enthusiasm for joining the EU just as the bloc was suffering enlargement fatigue after taking in 10 new members in 2004.

European states led by Germany and France blocked a drive by U.S. President George W. Bush at a NATO summit last year to grant Ukraine and Georgia a roadmap to membership. That prompted some supporters of Bush's "democracy agenda" to accuse the Europeans of appeasing Russia, which vehemently opposes NATO expansion up to its southern border.

The allies declared instead that both countries would eventually join the Western military alliance, but set no date.

NATO foreign ministers shelved the issue in December after Washington recognized its campaign was splitting the alliance.

Now the Europeans are hoping incoming President Barack Obama will not resurrect the issue at NATO's 60th anniversary summit in April. Neither country's behavior since the last NATO summit has made it a more attractive candidate for membership.



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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2009 13:47 
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Fall of the American (dreams of) Empire!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 519200.ece

Bush’s real legacy: myth of omnipotent US military is over
Gerard Baker, US editor.

Like a condemned man allowed to speak to the court after his sentencing, George Bush gets to talk to the American people one last time tonight before his presidency is quietly consigned to history.

His final prime-time address, aides say, will endeavour to be forward-looking. A cynic might say that is because there isn’t much worth talking about the last eight years. Perhaps even Mr Bush is putting his faith in the audacity of hope.

But even if the President would prefer to leave with his eyes on the future, the rest of the world will surely ponder the last few days of his presidency mainly by looking back.

Americans seem to regard the Bush years as among the worst in their nation’s history. His opinion poll rating remains, to the end, just about the lowest since records began.

Bin Laden tells Obama the fight goes on
Around most of the world his standing is, if anything, lower.

So the only really interesting question to ask about Mr Bush as he leaves is this: is there any way that this almost universal judgment could be wrong. Is there anything of Mr Bush’s legacy that will be valued by anyone outside a small group of Bush family friends and admirers?

The economic mess he leaves is of course uppermost in Americans’ minds. But it’s a global phenomenon whose roots, in fairness, go much deeper than decisions made by Mr Bush. For most people around the world the more direct question about his legacy is framed – negatively - by all the controversial foreign policy events of his administration.

The invasion of Iraq, and the failure of its most basic premise, the existence of weapons of mass destruction; the tragedy that unfolded in the country afterwards; the depravity of Abu Ghraib; Guantánamo and the seizure and detention of terrorist suspects around the world; torture and interrogation techniques; uncritical support for Israel in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza; climate change.

These are the landmarks of the last eight years that have proclaimed America’s position in the world. Some, to be fair, such as Israel and climate change, are the results not of just some specific Bush Administration approach, but are rooted in a much broader consensus in US politics.

But even without those the list is long enough and deep enough to add up to a pretty profound indictment of the Bush years.

Has he anything with which to defend himself?

Certainly. First and most important, he would argue, he protected the US after September 11, 2001. No small feat, that. In the days after the terrorist attacks it was assumed that the next few years would see much worse assaults on US targets. But it has been almost seven and a half years since the horror of that day, and despite warnings from critics that some Bush policies made terrorism more likely, if anything al-Qaeda and its associates look weaker today than they did eight years ago.

Mr Bush and his much vilified Vice-President Dick Cheney insist that this is the flip-side of some of the most controversial measures of his presidency: the detention programmes; interrogation techniques and restrictions on civil liberties at home.

Second, though much derided, Mr Bush’s promotion of democracy in the Middle East has borne some fruit. After a disastrous three years, the Iraq war is largely won and that benighted nation seems tentatively set on a course of pluralist democracy, just as Mr Bush said it would, and the very idea his opponents scoffed at.

It was a big, bold and perhaps crazy exercise, but history may judge that the US-led effort from Kabul to Baghdad in the early years of the 21st century laid the foundations for the kind of progress in a region that has not seen much of it in the last 500 years.

There were smaller achievements too: Mr Bush’s very personal effort to lead vast programmes for the eradication of AIDS in Africa; much improved relations with China and India, the two emerging powers of the next century; a steadfast commitment to keep trade flowing, in spite of hostility at home and around the world.

Yet the bigger judgment will still have to hinge on this question: did America emerge stronger from Mr Bush’s term?

The damage can be measured in both soft and hard power. The disasters caused by Iraq and the aggressive anti-terror policies cost the US heavily in terms of prestige and esteem.

But perhaps even greater was the damage done to America’s military and its ability to project the nation’s might around the world.

Eight years ago it was simply assumed that America was so powerful that it could achieve almost anything it wanted. Perhaps as a proposition it was always preposterous. But Mr Bush may be remembered as the president one who tested it to destruction


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 04:06 
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http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArti ... ekend&col=
Quote:
Khaleej Times Online >> WEEKEND
Indian diaspora — the success story
PARAG KHANNA (COVER STORY)


16 January 2009
The virtual Indian universe is described as Bollystan — an import-export marketplace of literary genius, spiritual essence, cinematographic border-crossing and, increasingly, political savvy.

Together they are doing for India what nuclear weapons have not: making it a great power.

T he new face of global success is increasingly Indian. The ubiquitous Dr Sanjay Gupta is unmistakably of the Indian subcontinent. Bobby Jindal, the whiz-kid Indian-American governor of Louisiana could find himself playing a more prominent role in years to come.

Today, the three million Indian-Americans have a higher median income than most other migrant communities. Indians are force multipliers, inflating their national image and strategic footprint worldwide. Knowledge, money, networks and trust — flung ever faster by globalisation — have meant that even India, the country with the largest number of destitute people in the world, is considered a global economic powerhouse, even if it isn’t one yet.

Almost every ethnic or national diaspora in the world has some presence in America, but few achieve the scale of social, economic, political and cultural influence that Indians have achieved. Chinese have climbed to great success since their post-World War II waves arrived on US shores, and their next generation packs the Ivy League today. But they are less visible in the upper echelons of American power. As they do in dozens of other countries, particularly around the Pacific Rim, Chinese peoples cluster and stick to themselves, forming protective Chinatowns.

By contrast, Indians are assimilators, maintaining traditional values, but adapting to any national context. The British Empire planted Indian migrants around the planet, particularly in the West Indies and Africa.

Now there are 25 million Indians in the diaspora spread across more than 100 countries. But wherever they are, Indians blend into the mainstream: You won’t find many “Indiatowns” in America. Instead, there are several British lords of Indian origin, Indian justices are in high courts across postcolonial Africa and the presidents of Singapore and Guyana are ethnic Indians, as are about a dozen members of the Canadian parliament and an increasing number of high-profile federal appointees in the US.

In America today, Indians make up about 3 per cent of the population. India’s future existence isn’t at stake. As a result, Indians don’t have a unified agenda. But what they could all agree on was to log in en masse to the BBC Web site for its Actor of the Millennium poll and vote for Amitabh Bachchan, probably with enough surplus votes to make him actor of the next millennium as well.

A certain symmetry is emerging in Indo-American relations, and the Indian diaspora has been a vital conduit to communicate this synergy. Both countries fear China and terrorism, but cherish democracy and free markets. More deeply, the same clichés apply to India as to America: It contains within it all contradictions; it represents simultaneously one virtue and also its opposite vice; it’s a land of extremes — just picture billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s new 60-storey apartment tower (complete with plans for three helipads) smack in the middle of Asia’s largest slum. Both societies are of course deeply religious: Already there are more Hindu temples in America than in any country outside India — in just about all 50 states and sometimes multiple ones in a single neighbourhood, especially in Queens.

Would India even be where it is today without America? It was tech wizards like Sam Pitroda who helped launch Bangalore as India’s own Silicon Valley.

Today Bangalore is teeming with entrepreneurial ambition — as are other high-tech centres like Hyderabad and Chennai — and boasts leafy corporate campuses of information technology giants like Infosys and Wipro.

Two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies source their technology products from India.

But it was India’s cultural muscles — its soft power — that began flexing first. The 1990s through today have featured one long stretch of ethnic Indian talent: Salman Rushdie, the film director Mira Nair, Pulitzer-prize-winning novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, M. Night Shyamalan, the actor Kal Penn and let’s throw in Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, too. Madonna couldn’t help but feel the vibe, sporting body henna in her “Frozen” video in 1997.

A decade later, the Indian spirit was summoned to bless Heidi Klum and Seal when they renewed their vows at an exclusive Bollywood-themed ceremony in Mexico, with Seal donning an Indian sherwani and all the ladies getting their hands painted.

Indian culture has become mega-business. Warner Bros is buying into Bollywood studios both to get in on the massive Indian market — hundreds more movies are released there each year than in the American market — and to re-import crossover Indian cinema to American theatres. Within a year, most American moviegoers will be conversant in the curves of truly the world’s most beautiful woman, Aishwarya Rai.

Arguably, the rest of the world is feeling the Indian diaspora’s rise more than India itself. Lakshmi Mittal bought Luxembourg steel giant Arcelor, Tata bought Jaguar, and Reliance Petroleum is building what will become the world’s largest refinery. But these family-run conglomerates, like Greek shipping magnates or modern multinationals, are enriching themselves far more than their home countries. Powerful Indians connect in stateless nodes, virtually and in airport lounges, building networks of technology and finance with no need for India itself as the middleman. As the Indian diaspora globalises itself further, 700 million Indians remain distantly marginalised from the globalisation equation.

The global Indian success story may have happened by chance: the combination of American openness to industrious immigrants, Indians’ preference for social integration, globalisation and outsourcing to a nerdy English-speaking country and America’s search for new strategic allies to keep China in check.

However it came to be, Indians continue to migrate and manoeuvre with ever more sophistication and savvy, creating win-win situations for themselves and their hosts. Yet the battle for global talent that is the main feature of international business today will play itself out on the diasporic plane more than ever. China and India are waking up to the loss of their best minds and are lobbying to turn the brain drain into a brain exchange, with India luring back several thousand Indian-American professionals a year into tidy gated communities outside Bangalore.

India is also fumbling towards some form of dual citizenship, providing tax incentives and other carrots to bring in more diaspora dollars.

But most Indians overseas are disillusioned with India’s political stasis — it’s even worse than America’s, as the founding Nehru-Gandhi dynasty flounders and is replaced by bitter regional upstarts.

Only a handful of non-resident Indians have bothered to go back to India to run for any kind of public office. What the deepening diaspora allows is for Indians worldwide to feel desi without having to go to India at all. I once described this virtual Indian universe as Bollystan, an import-export marketplace of literary genius, spiritual essence, cinematographic border-crossing and, increasingly, political savvy, together doing for India what nuclear weapons have not: making it a great power.

India itself remains hemmed in by the Himalayas and ringed by neighbours like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and it lacks China’s strategic appetite and cunning. As a foreign-policy strategist, I needed to make India sexy for myself even if it didn’t have the geopolitical muscle of Russia or China.

Now globalisation is proving me right: It’s not about tanks and nukes but brains and bytes.

I’ve been a big sceptic about India’s uneven rise, stagnant government and unparalleled corruption. But I know Bollystan won’t let me down.

— The New York Times Syndicate

Parag Khanna is a contributing writer for Esquire magazine. He is the author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order.




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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 05:00 
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A new lingo is being coined by Parag Khanna. You can guess where his interests lie...
Acharya wrote:
The virtual Indian universe is described as Bollystan


Parag Khanna is a contributing writer for Esquire magazine. He is the author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 05:04 
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paramu wrote:
A new lingo is being coined by Parag Khanna. You can guess where his interests lie...
Acharya wrote:
The virtual Indian universe is described as Bollystan


Parag Khanna is a contributing writer for Esquire magazine. He is the author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order.


paramu -

The suffix "-stan" is not entirely a Middle Eastern construct. It comes from Persian, which coincides with Sanskrit in this situation. "Stan" or "Sthan" both mean "place or land". Pakistan is the "land of the pure" and Rajasthan is the "Land of the Kings".

I'm surprised how many people don't know this.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 05:11 
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I know that, but in terms of usage - Pakistanis and people connected to them prefer to use "stan" and Indians prefer to use "sthan"


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 07:00 
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It is the "Bolly" that bothers me. It is the most unoriginal way to start a word and is as irritating as "Bollywood".


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 15:18 
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Right word to use is "Bharatastan"


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 18:16 
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Keshav wrote:
paramu wrote:
A new lingo is being coined by Parag Khanna. You can guess where his interests lie...
Acharya wrote:
The virtual Indian universe is described as Bollystan


Parag Khanna is a contributing writer for Esquire magazine. He is the author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order.


paramu -

The suffix "-stan" is not entirely a Middle Eastern construct. It comes from Persian, which coincides with Sanskrit in this situation. "Stan" or "Sthan" both mean "place or land". Pakistan is the "land of the pure" and Rajasthan is the "Land of the Kings".

I'm surprised how many people don't know this.

Correction: Pakistan does not man land of the pure. It is acronym for 4 provinces which make up Bakistan.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 20:02 
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VikasRaina wrote:
Correction: Pakistan does not man land of the pure. It is acronym for 4 provinces which make up Bakistan.


Both of us are right. In creating the acronym, the word "paki" doubles as "pure" in Farsi. Or maybe you're making a joke, I can't be sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 21:33 
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Quote:
The suffix "-stan" is not entirely a Middle Eastern construct. It comes from Persian, which coincides with Sanskrit in this situation. "Stan" or "Sthan" both mean "place or land".


There are many common words between Sanskrit and old Persian. They both are classed together as part of old Indo-Iranian language group. Later Persian evolved separately for obvious geo-political reasons. It could even be possible that old Persian evolved from a proto-Sanskritic language that developed on the Indian plains and moved out with migrating groups into the Iranian plateau. This is my controversial hypothesis and runs contrary to the existing wisdom of all Sanskritic language having been derived from the Hittite Indo-European having reached India around 1500-1000 BCE.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 22:59 
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brihaspati wrote:
Quote:
The suffix "-stan" is not entirely a Middle Eastern construct. It comes from Persian, which coincides with Sanskrit in this situation. "Stan" or "Sthan" both mean "place or land".


There are many common words between Sanskrit and old Persian. They both are classed together as part of old Indo-Iranian language group. Later Persian evolved separately for obvious geo-political reasons. It could even be possible that old Persian evolved from a proto-Sanskritic language that developed on the Indian plains and moved out with migrating groups into the Iranian plateau. This is my controversial hypothesis and runs contrary to the existing wisdom of all Sanskritic language having been derived from the Hittite Indo-European having reached India around 1500-1000 BCE.


However using 'stan' instead of 'sthan' shows a dhimmified mind. Everyone including Uty of Penn an Ivy league school in US accepts Bollywod as a kin to Hollywood except this modernised dhimmi wants to call it Booystan. I suspect his intentions however rational he sounds. So while the industry is looking outward and modern, he wants to look regional and dhimmi or regress. There is very little arts and entertainment in the Islamic world as the Quran does not find use for it. Must be lack of vowels in the language of the Muhammed.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 23:43 
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Ramanaji,
In a way, that author is right - in a very very twisted way: if you think of it, look at the idols of Bollywood- the leading male positions (at least the first 3) are held by "heroes" from a particular faith or with mixed background including that faith, the leading female positions - the "subservient" roles as per the subcontinental culture - held primarily by ladies from the "majority" faith. Even stories which deal explicitly with cross-cultural "couplings" are dominated by a one-way "relationship" where the "man" comes from a particular faith and the "woman" comes from another faith (rarely the other way around). In a way this is symbolic of the imagery that Pakistan is all about - the national space of the subcontinent a "masculine" space of Islam, where the abject/feminine is the "non-Muslim" (Before you all pounce on my "non-secularism" this is simply a standard concept in sociology - the most prominent example being a similar pattern in 19th century German reconstruction of German national space as "Grermanic-masculine" one where the "Jew" was the "abject/feminine/other").


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 23:46 
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brihaspati wrote:
Ramanaji,
In a way, that author is right - in a very very twisted way: if you think of it, look at the idols of Bollywood- the leading male positions (at least the first 3) are held by "heroes" from a particular faith or with mixed background including that faith, the leading female positions - the "subservient" roles as per the subcontinental culture - held primarily by ladies from the "majority" faith. Even stories which deal explicitly with cross-cultural "couplings" are dominated by a one-way "relationship" where the "man" comes from a particular faith and the "woman" comes from another faith (rarely the other way around). In a way this is symbolic of the imagery that Pakistan is all about - the national space of the subcontinent a "masculine" space of Islam, where the abject/feminine is the "non-Muslim" (Before you all pounce on my "non-secularism" this is simply a standard concept in sociology - the most prominent example being a similar pattern in 19th century German reconstruction of German national space as "Grermanic-masculine" one where the "Jew" was the "abject/feminine/other").


This is manufactured image built only in the last 20 years.
This is similar to the martial race propogated by the colonial British.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2009 23:54 
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I agree with you that it is highly possible that other languages in central Asia borrowed from the proto-Sanskritic language that grew in Central Asia. However, scientists have a point about the central premise of the linguistic theory that languages grow in all directions. The only possibility is that Indians never grew toward east (south-east Asia) because of far more considerable geographical barriers, whereas growing toward west was more feasible.

Let me explain a little. India was the cradle of civilization. Scientists agree with that. It is likely that the population pressure in north India meant that the excess population had to grow toward west (central asia), and as this may have happened during the very early stone age periods, the language from India may have influenced the local languages in Central Asia & Europe.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 17 Jan 2009 00:00 
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Acharya wrote:
brihaspati wrote:
Ramanaji,
In a way, that author is right - in a very very twisted way: if you think of it, look at the idols of Bollywood- the leading male positions (at least the first 3) are held by "heroes" from a particular faith or with mixed background including that faith, the leading female positions - the "subservient" roles as per the subcontinental culture - held primarily by ladies from the "majority" faith. Even stories which deal explicitly with cross-cultural "couplings" are dominated by a one-way "relationship" where the "man" comes from a particular faith and the "woman" comes from another faith (rarely the other way around). In a way this is symbolic of the imagery that Pakistan is all about - the national space of the subcontinent a "masculine" space of Islam, where the abject/feminine is the "non-Muslim" (Before you all pounce on my "non-secularism" this is simply a standard concept in sociology - the most prominent example being a similar pattern in 19th century German reconstruction of German national space as "Grermanic-masculine" one where the "Jew" was the "abject/feminine/other").


This is manufactured image built only in the last 20 years.
This is similar to the martial race propogated by the colonial British.

It is also important to know who bankrolls these bollywood flicks. Also the lingustic component of the bollywood films are anything like the 'hindi' that I/we learn in standard school curricula. Definitely, the manufacturing is one many levels, be it the selection of roles, attire, lingua-franc and to some extent even the music.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 17 Jan 2009 00:20 
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JwalaMukhi wrote:

Quote:
This is manufactured image built only in the last 20 years.
This is similar to the martial race propogated by the colonial British.

It is also important to know who bankrolls these bollywood flicks. Also the lingustic component of the bollywood films are anything like the 'hindi' that I/we learn in standard school curricula. Definitely, the manufacturing is one many levels, be it the selection of roles, attire, lingua-franc and to some extent even the music.


Good points. This has been analysed. The script writing from the advent of Indian movies from 1920 had heavy Urdu bias. This is due to large literary influence from the north UP/Bihar area in the intellectual elite. Karachi was the center initially. After Independence check the movies and follow their transformation. Till 1970 the movies followed the old format of script/language and story line.

Afer 1970 the leftist/secular groups became dominant and they infuenced the theme/story and language of the movies. Secular subject/angry young man/ revolt/rebel themes were prominant. Urdu lost some dominance during the 80s and early 90s. But then it was back again with the funding from the muslim gangs of Dawood and Dubai center. (Proxy for Pakistan ISI/ secular group entrenched in US/UK). Javed Anand and this group took over and became dominant suppressing the sanskrit/Hindi rise in Indian movies.

This period is the control slipping away from Indian production houses to external gangs/power brokers. Politicians were bought over and all the gang/extortion/bollywood scandal became dominant in the Indian scene. India is still yet to recover from this.

There is long discussion on Indian movies being taken over by leftist/external groups for propaganda.
http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index ... wtopic=378


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 17 Jan 2009 00:35 
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Quote:
This is manufactured image built only in the last 20 years.
This is similar to the martial race propogated by the colonial British.

Acharyaji, yes this is probably becoming more prominent now over the last 20 years (at least in the ciontext of Bollywood) but exists from the TSP side from long before that. It also translated into TSP army attitude towards non-Muslim populations during military occupation. I have come across refs about "demobilized soldiers" taking initiatives in violent Jihadi riots aimed at non-Muslims during the Partition - and especially towards women. Explicit stories about "feminine treatment" of captured "boys/men" in "East Pakistan" have been allowed to be reported only recently.

bharat_rji,
I do favour a proto-Sanskritic forming in the northern plains within India, which was then carried through the NW passage by migrating groups. I will have to search the references again, but I think there are few lone researchers who propose a more eastern origin of languages towards eastern end of of the Gangetic plains, and others propose that languages evolved much before current accepted dates. If origin of languages are pushed back to dates ranging beyond 30,000 YBP, then the eastern origin is not unlikely due to northern coastal migrations from Indonesian Sunda, back to the initial stop along the coasts of India (the first migration around 50,000 to 60,000 YBP). Linguistic dating and dissemination models should not be taken as "god-given". If you look at the basic assumptions, (glottochrnology) there are significant untestable assumptions about linearity and constancy of mutation and spread, and are heavily dependent on calibration against historical conjectures.


Acharyaji,
I have long "dreamed" of "decentralization" of the movie industry. :) Removing it from Mumbai, or building parallel centres elsewhere based within mores "secure" social settings could be a way forward. Somewhat along the lines of an "anti-trust" law for "movies".


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 18 Jan 2009 04:31 
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http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index ... &f=8&t=381
Quote:
This topic is to discuss the future of USA wrt to the current situation in Iraq.
SInce US is dominant in the world in terms of economy/military and influence
the impact will be felt in India also.

The topic should focus on the impact of Iraq

US Foriegn Policy

US Internal politics/ Identity/ Role as the only super power

US Economy/Global Economy in the next 5 years/ Oil


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X-Posted :

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PBS Doumentary : The House of Saud



Consise history of Saudi Arabia.


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North Korea says it has 'weaponized' its plutonium
By Choe Sang-Hun
Published: January 17, 2009


Quote:
SEOUL: The North Korean military declared an "all-out confrontational posture" against South Korea on Saturday as an American scholar said he was told by officials in North Korea that it had "weaponized" 30.8 kilograms of plutonium.

South Korea ordered its military to heighten vigilance along the border with North Korea, the world's most heavily armed frontier, said a spokesman of the South Korean military Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

North Korea's saber-rattling oratory against the South has been common, especially after Lee Myung Bak came to office as president of South Korea a year ago vowing to take a tougher stance on the North in a reversal from 10 years of his liberal predecessors' efforts to engage Pyongyang with economic aid. But what made the threat on Saturday unusual was the way it was delivered: a statement read on North Korean television by a uniformed spokesman for the North Korean military Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Strong military measures will follow from our revolutionary armed force," the spokesman, a colonel, said, according to Yonhap, South Korea's national news agency, which monitors North Korean broadcasts.

The spokesman did not elaborate. But he warned of clash along a disputed western sea border between the two Koreas. The two navies had skirmishes there in 1999 and 2002.

Thirty kilograms of plutonium, the amount North Korea declared to the United States last year, is enough to make four or five bombs, according to nuclear experts. Reuters reported that the American scholar, Selig Harrison, a North Korean expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, said at a news conference in Beijing that North Korean officials had told him in the past week that the weapons made from the plutonium "cannot be inspected."

Harrison just returned from a trip to Pyongyang, where he met North Korean officials, including Li Gun, the Foreign Ministry official in charge of relations with Washington. Harrison said the North Koreans would not say how the plutonium had been "weaponized" but indicated it was used for missile warheads. Harrison said he could not vouch for the credibility of North Korea's claim, Reuters said.

South Korea had no immediate reaction to North Korea's latest threat or to Harrison's report.

If the claim is true, it will further complicate Washington's efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Earlier Saturday, North Korea toughened its stance with Washington, saying that reopening diplomatic ties would not be enough to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons. It said it would maintain its "status as a nuclear weapons state" so long as there is a nuclear threat from the United States.

"We can live without normalizing ties with the United States, but we cannot live without a nuclear deterrent," a spokesman of the North's Foreign Ministry told its official news agency KCNA.

In the spokesman's comment, and his similar statement on Tuesday, North Korea laid out its demands as it prepares for a new series of negotiations with the new U.S. administration of Barack Obama, who is to be inaugurated as president Tuesday.

North Korea indicated that removing a U.S. nuclear threat would include removing South Korea from the U.S. nuclear umbrella, introducing a verification mechanism to ensure that no U.S. atomic weapons are deployed in or pass through South Korea, and simultaneous nuclear disarmament talks among "all nuclear states," including itself.

The North's military spokesman said it was turning harsh on the "traitor" Lee because he "opted for confrontation, denying national reconciliation and cooperation." But Harrison said the North Koreans told him they hoped to become "intimate friends" with the Americans under Obama.

In times of crucial bargaining, North Korea often tries to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul to spawn a discord among the allies. It also raises the stakes by upping demands and issuing dire threats.

Still, some analysts fear that the North's strident posture was no longer negotiating ploy but was instead designed to achieve international acquiescence to North Korea as a nuclear power.

Other experts -- such as former President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea, who held a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000 -- urged Obama to negotiate a "wholesale package deal" with North Korea. The United States should normalize ties with North Korea, agree to arms reduction and formally end the 1950-53 Korean War by signing a peace treaty, while the North must give up its nuclear weapons, Kim said in a speech at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents' Club on Thursday.

Six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs stalled in the last months of the Bush administration as the United States and North Korea bickered over how much nuclear inspection the North should accept.



Somali Islamists Take Over Mogadishu Bases Vacated By Ethiopian Troops

January 16, 2009 9:59 p.m. EST
AHN Staff

Quote:
Mogadishu, Somalia (AHN) - Rival Islamist groups in Somalia have taken over military bases in Mogadishu that were vacated by Ethiopian troops who pulled out of the country on Thursday.

Residents in the capital city on Friday said International Courts Union (ICU) militia and fighters of al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab moved in on the bases less than 24 hours after the pullout of the Ethiopians in their bid to retake control of the country from the United Nations-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

However, two military bases in Mogadishu remain under government troops while some 3,000 African Union peacekeepers continue to guard the presidential palace, an airport and a seaport in the southern part of the capital.

"The city is almost under Islamist rule," said a local journalist who declined to be identified, according to CNN. "You can hear different names of the Islamist groups taking control in many parts of the city."

Residents told Voice of America that the ICU took over six bases used by Ethiopian forces since 2006 to defend the TFG.


So the security of shipping lanes has been outsourced to Islamists ?


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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090118/ap_ ... PmJYoDW7oF

Quote:
Mexican collapse? Drug wars worry some Americans

By TRACI CARL, Associated Press Writer Traci Carl, Associated Press Writer – Sun Jan 18, 11:15 am ET
Mexican soldiers stand on guard at a house where marijuana plants being grown AP – Mexican soldiers stand on guard at a house where marijuana plants being grown were found in Tijuana, …

MEXICO CITY – Indiscriminate kidnappings. Nearly daily beheadings. Gangs that mock and kill government agents.

This isn't Iraq or Pakistan. It's Mexico, which the U.S. government and a growing number of experts say is becoming one of the world's biggest security risks.


The prospect that America's southern neighbor could melt into lawlessness provides an unexpected challenge to Barack Obama's new government. In its latest report anticipating possible global security risks, the U.S. Joint Forces Command lumps Mexico and Pakistan together as being at risk of a "rapid and sudden collapse."

"The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels," the command said in the report published Nov. 25.

"How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state."

Retiring CIA chief Michael Hayden told reporters on Friday that that Mexico could rank alongside Iran as a challenge for Obama — perhaps a greater problem than Iraq.

The U.S. Justice Department said last month that Mexican gangs are the "biggest organized crime threat to the United States." National security adviser Stephen Hadley said last week that the worsening violence threatens Mexico's very democracy.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recently told The New York Times he ordered additional border security plans to be drawn up this summer as kidnappings and killings spilled into the U.S.

The alarm is spreading to the private sector as well. Mexico, Latin America's second biggest economy and the United States' third biggest oil supplier, is one of the top 10 global risks for 2009 identified by the Eurasia Group, a New York-based consulting firm.

Mexico is brushing aside the U.S. concerns, with Interior Secretary Fernando Gomez-Mont saying Wednesday: "It seems inappropriate to me that you would call Mexico a security risk. There are problems in Mexico that are being dealt with, that we can continue to deal with, and that's what we are doing."

Still, Obama faces a dramatic turnaround compared with the last time a new U.S. president moved into the White House. When George W. Bush was elected in 2000, the nation of 110 million had just chosen Vicente Fox as president in its fairest election ever, had ended 71 years of one-party rule and was looking forward to a stable, democratic future.

Fox signaled readiness to take on the drug cartels, but plunged them into a power vacuum by arresting their leaders, and gangs have been battling each other for territory ever since.

Felipe Calderon, who succeeded Fox in 2006, immediately sent troops across the country to try to regain control. But soldiers and police are outgunned and outnumbered, and cartels have responded with unprecedented violence.

Mob murders doubled from 2007, taking more than 5,300 lives last year. The border cities of Juarez and Tijuana wake up each morning to find streets littered with mutilated, often headless bodies. Some victims are dumped outside schools. Most are just wrapped in a cheap blanket and tossed into an empty lot.

Many bodies go unclaimed because relatives are too afraid to come forward. Most killings go unsolved.

Warring cartels still control vast sections of Mexico, despite Calderon's two-year crackdown, and have spawned an all-pervasive culture of violence. No one is immune.

Businesses have closed because they can't afford to pay monthly extortion fees to local thugs. The rich have fled to the U.S. to avoid one of the world's highest kidnapping rates. Many won't leave their homes at night.

The government has launched an intensive housecleaning effort after high-level security officials were accused of being on the take from the Sinaloa cartel. And several soldiers fighting the gangs were kidnapped, beheaded and dumped in southern Mexico last month with the warning: "For every one of mine that you kill, I will kill 10."

But the U.S. government is extremely supportive of the Mexican president, recently handing over $400 million in anti-drug aid. Obama met briefly with Calderon in Washington last week and promised to fight the illegal flow south of U.S. weapons that arm the Mexican cartels.

While fewer Americans are willing to drive across the border for margaritas and handicrafts, visitors are still flocking to other parts of Mexico. And the economy seems harder hit by the global crisis than by the growing violence.

The grim assessments from north of the border got wide play in the Mexican media but came as no surprise to people here. Many said the solution lies in getting the U.S. to give more help and let in more migrant workers who might otherwise turn to the drug trade to make a living.

Otherwise the drug wars will spill ever more heavily into America, said Manuel Infante, an architect. "There is a wave of barbarity that is heading toward the U.S.," he said. "We are an uncomfortable neighbor."



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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 20 Jan 2009 17:44 
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Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Posts: 9797
Location: India
Moment of truth.Ukraine yeilds to Russia.So much for Ukraine joining NATO.Find hopes muttonhead Miliband!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 45878.html

Ukraine PM leaves Kiev to sign deal in Moscow.

Reuters
Monday, 19 January 2009

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko left Kiev for Moscow today to sign an agreement to restore flows of Russian gas through the ex-Soviet state to Europe, the Ukrainian government's press service said.

Tymoshenko and her Russian opposite number, Vladimir Putin, clinched an outline deal on resuming gas supplies at the weekend. Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz had been drafting details of the agreement ahead today's planned signing ceremony.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2009 11:04 
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Posts: 9797
Location: India
Since there is no appropriate thread,this sensational post-WW2 Nazi master- race experiment by Dr.Josef Mengele who was never caught,has been discovered in S.America.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... razil.html

Nazi angel of death Josef Mengele 'created twin town in Brazil'
The Nazi doctor Josef Mengele is responsible for the astonishing number of twins in a small Brazilian town, an Argentine historian has claimed.

By Nick Evans in Buenos Aires
Last Updated: 10:52PM GMT 21 Jan 2009

One in five pregnancies in the small Brazilian town have resulted in twins - most of them blond haired and blue eyed

Mengele was the resident medic at Auschwitz from May 1943 Photo: AP
Mengele fled Europe for South America in the face of the Red Army advance in January 1945 Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The steely hearted "Angel of Death", whose mission was to create a master race fit for the Third Reich, was the resident medic at Auschwitz from May 1943 until his flight in the face of the Red Army advance in January 1945.

His task was to carry out experiments to discover by what method of genetic quirk twins were produced – and then to artificially increase the Aryan birthrate for his master, Adolf Hitler.

Now, a historian claims, Mengele's notorious experiments may have borne fruit.

For years scientists have failed to discover why as many as one in five pregnancies in a small Brazilian town have resulted in twins – most of them blond haired and blue eyed.

But residents of Candido Godoi now claim that Mengele made repeated visits there in the early 1960s, posing at first as a vet but then offering medical treatment to the women of the town.

Shuttling between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, he managed to evade justice before his death in 1979, but his dreams of a Nazi master race appeared unfulfilled.

In a new book, Mengele: the Angel of Death in South America, the Argentine historian Jorge Camarasa, a specialist in the post-war Nazi flight to South America, has painstakingly pieced together the Nazi doctor's mysterious later years.

After speaking to the townspeople of Candido Godoi, he is convinced that Mengele continued his genetic experiments with twins – with startling results.

He reveals how, after working with cattle farmers in Argentina to increase their stock, Mengele fled the country after fellow Nazi, Adolf Eichmann, was kidnapped by Israeli agents.

He claims that Mengele found refuge in the German enclave of Colonias Unidas, Paraguay, and from there, in 1963, began to make regular trips to another predominantly German community just over the border in Brazil – the farming community of Candido Godoi.

And, Mr Camaras claims, it was here that soon after the birthrate of twins began to spiral.

"I think Candido Godoi may have been Mengele's laboratory, where he finally managed to fulfil his dreams of creating a master race of blond haired, blue eyed Aryans," he said.

"There is testimony that he attended women, followed their pregnancies, treated them with new types of drugs and preparations, that he talked of artificial insemination in human beings, and that he continued working with animals, proclaiming that he was capable of getting cows to produce male twins."

The urbane German who arrived in Candido Godoi was remembered with fondness by many of the townspeople.

"He told us he was a vet," said Aloisi Finkler, a local farmer interviewed by Mr Camarasa. "He asked about illnesses we had among our animals, and told us not to worry, he could cure them. He appeared a cultured and dignified man."

Another farmer, Leonardo Boufler, said: "He went from farm to farm checking the animals. He checked them for TB, and injected those that were infected. He said he could carry out artificial insemination of cows and humans, which we thought impossible as in those days it was unheard of."

But the Nazi eugenicist did not concentrate on animals alone.

A former mayor and town doctor, Anencia Flores da Silva, set out to try to solve the town's mystery. He interviewed hundreds of people, and discovered one character who crept on cropping up: an itinerant medic calling himself Rudolph Weiss.

Dr da Silva said: "In the testimonies we collected we came across women who were treated by him, he appeared to be some sort of rural medic who went from house to house. He attended women who had varicose veins and gave them a potion which he carried in a bottle, or tablets which he brought with him. Sometimes he carried out dental work, and everyone remembers he used to take blood."

The people of Candido Godoi now largely accept that a Nazi war criminal was an inadvertent guest of theirs for several years in the early 1960s. The town's official crest shows two identical profiles and a road sign welcomes visitors to a "Farming Community and Land of the Twins". There is also a museum, the House of the Twins.

While the twins birthrate varies widely in different countries, it is typically about one in 80 pregnancies – a statistic that has left Mr Camarasa certain in his claim that Mengele was successfully pursuing his dreams of creating a master race, a real-life Boys from Brazil.

"Nobody knows for sure exactly what date Mengele arrived in Candido Godoi, but the first twins were born in 1963, the year in which we first hear reports of his presence," he said.


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2009 11:14 
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Joined: 11 Jan 2009 10:03
Posts: 156
The whole problem was created by Ukraine. Russia had offered it a good rate but then Ukraine played hard ball. Wonder if it was a good idea for for Yulia to play hard ball with Putin when she has none :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Geopolitical thread
PostPosted: 23 Jan 2009 11:53 
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Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31
Posts: 12922
http://www.scribd.com/doc/7907442/GeoPo ... Adnan-Khan

Description

The dominance of the Capitalist West has been aided through the use of propaganda in order to
create an image of supremacy; at the same time a number of myths alongside a number of narratives
were fashioned in order to hide internal problems and weaknesses. An unfortunate result of this has
also been the fact that many people across the world were duped by the supposed superiority of the
West and Capitalism. This has made it difficult for many to see through the artificial bubble the
West has created which allowed it to stand tall, needing only a strong wind for it to collapse.


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