Geopolitical thread

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Postby Philip » 02 Apr 2008 13:30

The Cold War 2 is well into the preliminary skirmishes,with missiles based in Poland and the expansion of NATO absolute anathema to Russia and its leadership.Despite strong warnings,Dubya Bush is determined to expand NATO to the very frontiers of Russia,without there being any buffer states.This wish is being resisted by russia in every way and here is the latest spat on the subject.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/ap ... to.georgia
Bush-Putin row grows as pact pushes east· US backs membership for Georgia and Ukraine

· Rifts within alliance on role and strategy
Luke Harding in Moscow, Julian Borger in Bucharest and Angelique Chrisafis in Paris The Guardian, Wednesday April 2 2008

George Bush and Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, June 7 2007. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

George Bush and Vladimir Putin yesterday appeared to be on a collision course ahead of today's critical Nato summit in Bucharest, which could determine the future of the alliance and its relationship with Russia.

In a visit loaded with symbolism, President Bush travelled to Kiev yesterday to declare "strong support" for Ukraine's membership of Nato, in defiance of Moscow which adamantly opposes the alliance's eastwards expansion.

"Helping Ukraine move toward Nato membership is in the interest of every member in the alliance and will help advance security and freedom in this region and around the world," Bush said.

He also backed Nato accession for Georgia and said Russia could not exercise a veto over the Atlantic alliance's membership. The blunt declaration does not bode well for a Nato-Russian meeting on Friday, at the end of the Bucharest summit and a bilateral meeting between Bush and Putin two days later at Sochi, on the Black Sea.

It is likely to be the last meeting between the two before Putin leaves office on May 7, and it is burdened with sharp disagreements over Nato expansion, US missile defence plans, and strategy towards Iran.

The Nato enlargement issue will come to a head first as Nato leaders decide on new members. Bush faces stiff opposition not just from Russia but from within the alliance. Both Germany and France oppose membership for the former Soviet Republics, arguing that neither Georgia nor Ukraine are ready and enlargement would further worsen European relations with Russia.

A single veto will be enough to block Nato offering the two aspiring members a Membership Action Plan (MAP) setting out a list of targets that countries have to meet in order to join, but Bush, speaking in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, after a meeting with President Viktor Yushchenko, said he had not given up hope of winning the argument at the Bucharest summit.

"I wouldn't prejudge the outcome yet," the US president said.

The Nato summit will also vote on offering membership plans to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, although that too will not be straightforward. Greece is opposing Macedonian membership until the country changes its name, which Athens argues implies territorial claims on the Greek region of Macedonia. British and US officials predict, however, that those objections can be overcome.

As well as debating enlargement Nato will debate its faltering mission in Afghanistan, which has opened rifts in the alliance over troop contributions and strategy. France is likely to offer about 1,000 more troops but analysts argue that will have more symbolic than strategic value.

At centre-stage in Sochi will be Bush's plans to place part of the US anti-missile shield in central Europe, despite vehement opposition from Moscow, which dismisses US assurances the system is aimed at Iranian missile attacks and views it as a bid to blunt Russian's nuclear deterrent.

Bush yesterday denied he is ready to trade his support for Ukraine and Georgia for a deal with Russia on missile defence.

Bush said: "I strongly believe that Ukraine and Georgia should be given MAP and there's no trade-offs. Period."

A British official yesterday said it was unlikely MAPs would be offered to Ukraine and Georgia, but added: "The Americans are very enthusiastic on this, and they're quite good at getting their own way."

Meanwhile, the French offer of troops for Afghanistan triggered uproar in a parliamentary debate in Paris, where Jean-Marc Ayrault, head of the Socialist parliamentary group, said President Nicolas Sarkozy's choice to announce more troops at Westminster last week was a "humiliation" for French MPs. He said the troop reinforcements "have little to do with Afghanistan and much to do with President Sarkozy's Atlanticist obsession."

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Postby Philip » 03 Apr 2008 13:37

More on the looming CW-2.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 670814.ece

No wonder Russia is paranoid

The West finds it hard to understand, but Nato's expansion is provocative to Russian eyesAnatole Kaletsky

George W. Bush is absolutely wrong in his support for Nato enlargement. That goes without saying. What is more surprising is that Vladimir Putin is absolutely right in both the conclusion and the reasoning behind his outspoken, even threatening, opposition to America on this issue. And that applies with even greater force to Dmitri Medvedev, the incoming Russian president, who has gone farther even than Mr Putin in suggesting that a decision by the West to entertain the membership applications presented by Ukraine and Georgia to the Nato Council would be tantamount to a declaration of cold war.

If a genuine spirit of peaceful co-operation is ever to be created between the West and Europe's most populous country - and what may one day be its biggest economy - then our leaders will have to think much more deeply about the legitimate grievances that Nato's enlargement arouses in Russia.

Ever since the dismemberment of the Soviet Union by Boris Yeltsin in 1991, the enlargement of Nato and the EU towards Russia's western and southern borders has looked like to Russians the last remaining expansionist empire in Europe, perhaps in the world.

While EU enlargement on its own could be presented as an economic enterprise, designed mainly to raise living standards in Central and Eastern Europe and even to increase the potential of Russia's neighbours as trading partners, the combination of the EU and Nato is a very different proposition.

Bush tells Nato to ignore Kremlin's bluster
Medvedev warns Nato over Georgia and Ukraine
Nato enemies give Bush mixed welcome

EU-Nato, under the Bush doctrine of continuous eastward expansion, becomes an unstoppable politico-military juggernaut, advancing relentlessly towards Russia's borders and swallowing up all intervening countries, first into the EU's economic and political arrangements and then into the Nato military structure. Considered from the Russian standpoint, Nato's explicit new vocation to keep expanding until it embraces every “democraticâ€

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Postby svinayak » 04 Apr 2008 04:28



"There are … potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy … A government which lacks authority … will have little ability, short of cataclysmic crisis, to impose on its people the sacrifices which may be necessary" (1975 Trilateral Commission Report on the Governability of Democracies)

"To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family tradition, national patriotism and religious dogmas ... We have swallowed all manner of poisonous certainties fed us by our parents, our Sunday and day school teachers, our politicians, our priests, our newspapers and others with vested interests in controlling us. The reinterpretation and eventual eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training, the substitution of intelligent and rational thinking for faith in the certainties of the old people, these are the belated objectives ... for charting the changes of human behavior." - DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION Brock Chisolm

On January 20, 1993, William Jefferson Clinton took the oath of the presidency and gave his address:
"Let us resolve to make our government a place for what Franklin Roosevelt called 'bold, persistent experimentation'. There is NO longer a clear division between what is FOREIGN and what is DOMESTIC, the world economy, the world environment, the world AIDS crisis, the world arms race, they effect us all. Today, as an Old Order PASSES, the New World is more free but less stable. When the will and conscience of the international community is defied, we will ACT with FORCE when necessary."

"It is to the sacred principles enshrined in the UN Charter to which we will henceforth pledge our allegiance."
-G.H.W.Bush, speech to the UN, Feb. 1, 1992

"The idea was that those who direct the overall conspiracy could use the differences in those two so-called ideologies (marxism/fascism, socialism, capitalism, etc.) to enable them (the Illuminati) to divide larger and larger portions of the human race into opposing camps so that they could be armed and then brainwashed into fighting and destroying each other." - Myron Fagan

"In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all."
- Strobe Talbot, Clinton's Deputy Secretary of State, as quoted in Time, July 20th, l992.

"Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order [referring to the 1991 LA Riot]. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond [i.e., an "extraterrestrial" invasion], whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government."
- Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference, Evians, France, 1991

"We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The question is only whether world government will be achieved by consent or by conquest." (Feb. 17, 1950, to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations)[1]

1 ^ Senate Report (Senate Foreign Relations Committee) (1950). Revision of the United Nations Charter: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Eighty-First Congress. United States Government Printing Office, p. 494.


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Postby Philip » 04 Apr 2008 13:22

Acharaya,many thanks for those most revealing quotes.It only reinforces those sceptical of the US's true intentions whether it is the nuclear deal or its foreign policy abroad.Broadly speaking it is a policy of domination of world affairs,where Washington leads and dictates and the rest subserviently follow.Right now,the desire to expand NATO to the borders of Russia,intimidating it is being soundly resisted by Russia which is using its own style of armtwisting with certain ex-Warsaw Pact states to prevent the US's gameplan.Here is a report on a compromise agreement that is being suggested by Russia.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/04/usa.russia

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 678297.ece

Putin beats Bush on points in the battle of the legaciesBronwen Maddox
President Putin was the first winner from the Nato summit in Bucharest, and he wasn't even there. The Nato-Russia Council begins only today, but Putin, who has played the Western alliance with obsessive skill in his last months as President, ensured that relations with Russia dominated the earlier gathering.

For him and George W. Bush, Bucharest was a battle of the legacies, and on points Putin won. The summit failed to give a date for Ukraine and Georgia to join, which Bush had forthrightly declared it should, but which Germany and France blocked, partly to avoid antagonising Russia. Gordon Brown yesterday said that “no one outside a Nato meeting could influence itâ€

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Postby Paul » 05 Apr 2008 12:17

Obviously, the General told the Iranians that he was not going to change the status quo in Afghanistan though he would not encourage the Sunni extremists in Pakistan to attack the Shias. The rhetoric of a government of ethnic alliance is nothing new. But he wanted Iran to understand that the military rule was going to stay in Pakistan and Iran had no option but to talk to him. Indirectly, he conveyed a threat to the Iranians that if they resiled on Kashmir and tilted in favour of India because Indo-Iran relations had been improving in regional strategy, Pakistan would not accept it and would not ensure protection of the Shia population either in Afghanistan or in Pakistan or in the Northern Areas. Iran has no choice but to sulk in anger and indignity.




http://kashmir-information.com/KNPandita/Pak-Iran.html

Here in BRF, we have not paid attention to reaction from Iran on BB's assasination. Iran has been strangely silent...What is the impact on Pak-Iran relations?

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Postby Paul » 06 Apr 2008 13:10

http://www.naqshbandi.org/ottomans/wahhabis.htm

The Prophet said, Peace be upon him:
"O Allah, bless our Syria and our Yemen!" They said: "Ya Rasulallah, and our Najd!" He didn't reply. He blessed Syria and Yemen twice more. They asked him to bless Najd twice more but he didn't reply. The third time he said: "There [in Najd] are the earthquakes and the dissensions, and through it will dawn the epoch [or horn] of shaytan."



"A people that recite the Qur'an will come out of the East, but it will not go past their throats. Every time a generation of them is cut down another one will come until the last one finds itself on the side of the Antichrist."


On the authority of al-`Abbas: "A man will come out of the Wadi Abu Hanifah [in Najd] (whose appearance is) like a bull that lunges against its yoke. There will be much slaughter and killing in his time. They will make the possessions of Muslims lawful for themselves and for trade among themselves. They will make the lives of Muslims lawful for themselves and for boasting among themselves. In that confusion the despised and the lowly will attain positions of power. Their idle desires will keep company with them the way a dog keeps company with its master."


Need to look more into the differences between Wahabi and Naqshbandi Islam and it's impact on the power struggle amongst the pious, faithful, monotheists, and true muslims.

We know that there are severe ideological differences between the Wahabis and the Naqshbandis. It appears Naqshbandi Islam is in hibernation with the demise of their chief patrons, the Ottomans. Should Turkey revert to it's islamic roots, it will spell the doom for Saudi Arabia and it's Wahabi theology.

Watch for the Saudis to work hand in glove with the EU and the west to preserve the status in Turkey...for nobody on either side of Turkey, be they the Christians in Europe or the Shias and Wahabis in the east want wants the Ottoman spirit to rekindled and restart the saga of Turkic expansion into Europe. There is not enough room for another player to join the poker game.

All in all...another project for the Anglo-Saxon Wahabi alliance to work on. Prevent the Naqshbandis from coming back to power in Turkey.

Raju

Postby Raju » 06 Apr 2008 18:09

The Hegelian Dialectic has never failed because to understand it requires the total breakdown and reconstruction of everything you've ever known. This is a relatively simple process, although it doesn't sound it. It sounds terrifying. Especially when a person has invested their entire life and evolution of thought into the 'stock' of reality. When you inform them that reality isn't what they thought it was, you blowout their stock. It can render an ignorant person's life meaningless. They have to disbelieve simply to justify their own existence.

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Postby Philip » 07 Apr 2008 15:40

Relief at last for the cast out exiles of Diego Garcia? The courts give them hope while the British govt. is doing everything in its power to stop them fromgoing home.

Evicted Chagos islanders get blueprint for a longed-for future
Duncan Campbell The Guardian, Monday April 7 2008

It is nearly 40 years since the Chagos islanders were evicted by the British government from their Indian Ocean home, but the legal battle aimed at giving them the right to return is still continuing.

This week, in the House of Lords, a resettlement plan for the islanders will be symbolically presented to the Chagossians' leader in exile in the hope of speeding a conclusion to the bitterly fought dispute.

The residents of the archipelago were removed in 1971 to make way for a military base in Diego Garcia. They were dispatched to Mauritius and the Seychelles, where many have since died in poverty. They received limited compensation in 1982 in return for signing away their rights to return and in 2002 they were granted British citizenship.

Ten years ago the Chagossians, some of whom now live in England, began legal action for the right to return, and in 2000 the divisional court ruled their eviction illegal. The foreign secretary at the time, Robin Cook, agreed they should be allowed to return to all the islands except Diego Garcia.

However, after the September 11 attacks in the US, Diego Garcia became an important base for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004 the UK government issued orders in council which negated the court's ruling, but two years later the high court ruled in favour of the Chagossians. In May last year the government lost again at appeal. In November the Lords granted the government leave to appeal but ordered it to pay all legal costs, regardless of the decision. The case has been allotted five days from June 30, after which every legal avenue will have been exhausted.

Richard Gifford, lawyer for the Chagossians, said: "We have now had three decisions in our favour, involving a total of seven judges." It would need "quite a cataclysm to decide that all seven were wrong". He added: "Legally, it is the end of the road for the government."

At the heart of the Chagossians' case is their claim that the resettlement is feasible, even given the time lapse. Tomorrow, the first independent resettlement plan will be handed to the Chagossian leader, Olivier Bancoult, in the presence of MPs, MEPs and peers, in what the islanders and supporters hope will be a persuasive case for a retreat by the government. The study, backed by the Let Them Return campaign and written by John Howell, former director of the Overseas Development Institute, suggests there are "no physical, economic or environmental reasons" why resettlement on the islands of Peros Banhos and Salomon should not happen. It suggests about 150 families, fewer than 1,000 people - about a quarter of those entitled to go back - would want to return. Eco-tourism and fish exports could provide jobs and income. The total cost to the UK of resettlement would be about £25m.

An FCO spokesman confirmed that the government appeal would go ahead.

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Postby Philip » 07 Apr 2008 18:28

Bruce Anderson: We should applaud Russia for its successes.

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

Just because he is not Thomas Jefferson, this does not mean that Putin is Stalin
, 7 April 2008

George Bush is not always right. Last week, there was a strange event. For once, the European Nato leaders displayed greater geopolitical wisdom than the American President. Mr Bush wanted to press ahead with Nato membership for the Ukraine and Georgia. The Europeans objected, and rightly.

It is surprising that the President should have made such a misjudgement. Normally his diplomacy is influenced, almost excessively, by his personal relations with foreign leaders, and he has always got on well with Mr Putin. Indeed, he is now at Sochi, the Russian President's summer residence on the Black Sea. This is a farewell visit; the last time the two men will meet as heads of state. That the invitation should have been extended testifies to a mutual respect which rises above arguments. But in this argument, the US was wrong.

Nato was formed, as Julian Amery put it "to keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out". Over time, that mission altered in response to events. Germany, the defeated foe, became an ally. The Americans showed an admirable willingness to stay in, for which they never received sufficient thanks. Under their leadership, Nato became the West's shield in the Cold War. For four decades, the organisation was an anti-Russian alliance, and necessarily so. But the world has changed, fundamentally. The West won the Cold War. Today, we have no unmanageable conflict of interest with the Russians, and it is now Russia's turn to receive insufficient gratitude.

Think back 20 years. If anyone had predicted in those days that within a decade, the Soviet empire would have disappeared and with it, the Soviet economic system, he would have qualified for free accommodation in a lunatic asylum. Because much of it was imposed on peoples at an advanced stage of development, who were ready for freedom and democracy, the Russian empire cannot claim the same legitimacy as the British one. Even so, the dissolution of the Russian Imperium was achieved with far fewer casualties.

So the Russians are entitled to a bit of credit and it is understandable that they should be exasperated when it is not forthcoming. These days, there are not many Russians in public life who would defend their country's record in the Cold War. Russians understand why we needed Nato in the days when the Bear was perpetually threatening to break out of its cave and fall upon the West's sheepfolds. Now, however, we appear to want to march into the cave and throw stones at the Bear. No wonder it emits the occasional growl.

Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, was also the capital of the first Russia. Imagine what we would feel if Kent was an independent state with Canterbury as its capital. Yet the Russians are learning to live with these new realities. We should also hope that the Russians do not renounce all their imperialist past.

Although it is to be hoped that the Stans and Ghizes in the former Soviet central Asia develop peacefully, there are no guarantees of that.

At some stage, we could be grateful for Russian intervention in some failing state. In view of the global challenges which so rapidly overwhelmed George Bush Senior's new world order, we need a new system of global security arrangements, which would include Russia.

This does not mean that Nato should be dissolved. No one knows, least of all the Russians, what will happen in that great but troubled country over the next 20 years. This is no time to scrap our weapons systems. But we should decommission our Cold War concepts. We need to think hard about Russia, in the light of new circumstances.

The political Right is usually much better at foreign policy than the Left because the Right approaches diplomacy in a spirit of unillusioned, tough-minded realism. The Right's mentors are Castlereagh, Metternich, Bismarck, Salisbury, Kissinger – not Palmerston or Woodrow Wilson. Conservatives understand that the world is not perfectible, that civilisation is nothing more than a collective dream; that realpolitik is almost always a better compass than idealism.

Yet in recent years we have seen the emergence of what ought to be an oxymoron: Right-wing idealism, largely under the influence of the neo-cons. Some of them, who did vital service as pamphleteers during the Cold War, are reluctant to relinquish the romantic simplicities of that era. They are preserving their Cold War bonds just as earlier generations hung on to Tsarist railway bonds.

It is time to turn those bonds into wallpaper, for it is silly to look at Russia through Cold War spectacles. Too much has changed. Certainly, the outcome is far from perfect; who but a fantasist ever thought that it would be otherwise? After all, it is only 15 years since Mrs Thatcher, her eloquence given a keener edge by the frustration of exile from power, was castigating Western leaders for not doing enough to help Russia through the chaos of the Yeltsin era. She warned that in a few years time, we would all be asking the accusatory question "who lost Russia?''. But Russia was not lost.

There are problems, many of them arising from the disposal of state assets to the oligarchs and their political clients.No arrangements could have been better devised to encourage corruption on the vastest of scales. Yet the Russian economy is developing and civil society has not been thrust back into the deep freeze. I am told that at every dinner and drinks party in Moscow, the Russians spend hours telling the Westerners that people no longer dare speak their minds.It was inevitable that Russia would emerge from the Soviet ethos along a bumpy track, not a straight road. Just because Mr Putin is not Thomas Jefferson, this does not mean that he is Joseph Stalin.

A couple of days ago, Mr Putin said that there were no longer ideological conflicts in Europe. He was only partly right. A new threat to British freedom has emerged. It uses many of the same tactics which the Warsaw Pact employed during the Cold War: fellow travellers, agents of influence, a covert and dishonest campaign to undermine British values and to soften up our people for foreign rule.

These new enemies have even manipulated a democratic election in this country. Europhile politicians made pledges in order to influence the outcome, and then reneged on them once they had won. We would know how to denounce that behaviour if it occurred in Russia. The European Union has replaced the Soviet Union as the principal threat to our freedom and our rule of law.

No doubt we will have further quarrels with Russia. It is to be hoped that no more spies on the run are fed polonium sushi in a London restaurant. But there is every reason to hope that over the next few years, it will come to seem quite as absurd to regard Nato as an anti-Russian alliance as it would be to revive that other initial role, an anti-German one.

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Postby Sanku » 08 Apr 2008 11:29

Supporting a few bad men

Supporting a few bad men


Seven years or so ago, just prior to a brief trip to South Africa with the Indian Prime Minister, I rang up a friend in London who was familiar with the region. "Enjoy the country while it lasts", he told me somewhat despondently.

The belief that a post-colonial country is it own worst enemy may sound hideously incorrect but has become conventional wisdom. India and smaller countries such as Cyprus, Singapore and Trinidad may be notable exceptions. Yet, when you look at the track record of New Commonwealth countries such as Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and, of course, Zimbabwe, it is possible to understand why the Third World became an object of ridicule.

South Africa, one of the most beautiful places on this planet, could just as easily have gone down the road to hell. Many pundits predicted it would. Fortunately, the statesmanship of men like Nelson Mandela and his colleagues in the African National Congress ensured that the transition from apartheid was peaceful, wholesome and not accompanied by bloody-minded recrimination. Regardless of the many problems it confronts, South Africa is a vibrant and pulsating democracy.

By right, its neighbour Zimbabwe should have travelled the South African way. The end of white minority rule in 1980 was accompanied by a free and fair election which put the guerrilla leader Robert Mugabe at the helm. At the time of its transition from Rhodesia, Zimbabwe was socially iniquitous but economically on a sound footing. It had the potential of matching Australia and Argentina in agriculture and the infrastructure of manufacturing was all there.

Today, as Mugabe plots the ways and means of subverting the people's mandate, Zimbabwe is in a shambles. The TV shots of Harare may convey the superficial impression of a reasonably efficient and modern city but the reality is of an economy close to collapse. Inflation has touched the absurd heights of 400,000 per cent. The amount of money needed eight years ago to buy a reasonably well-heeled bungalow in Harare isn't enough to purchase a can of Coke today. A policy of reckless populism, a form of cronyism, has led to farmlands being turned into wasteland and food shortages gripping the country.

Like most other African dictators who ruined their own countries, Mugabe has mouthed the verbiage of anti-imperialism, socialism and anti-Westernism. Experience has shown that this spurious radicalism appeals to mindless liberals and pathetically confused countries such as ours. In the heyday of socialism, India was in the habit of trotting out fire-breathing and incompetent dictators like Nyerere, Nasser and Mobutu to take the salute on Republic Day. This was our way of honouring those who made it seem that old-style imperialism wasn't such a bad thing after all.

With the solitary exception of South Africa where Mandela proved he was a cut above the rest, India has got its priorities all wrong. We have consistently abjured democracy for radical-sounding piffle. Jawaharlal Nehru was the worst culprit because he was vain and imagined he knew the world better than everyone else. Like most trendy Left-wing intellectuals he never bothered to understand the policy rationale of those who ruled India before him. His repudiation of India's foreign policy inheritance wasn't centred on understanding; it was grounded in haughty Brahmanical prejudice.

This is why he couldn't detect the dangerous underside of African decolonisation. This is why, despite his impeccable democratic credentials at home, he was instinctively supportive of every tinpot dictator who could mouth radical inanities. This is why he could never come to terms with mystical intellectual traditions of Tibet and preferred the uncluttered idiom of the Communists. Nehru thought that the Communists were different from the feudal lords who ruled China previously. He never really grasped that the red flag was also the banner of old-style Han imperialism.

Since Nehru never understood this danger, his legatees also pretend that Hu Jintao is good. Just as Mugabe is good, Nyerere was good and Mobutu even better. Wonder why Idi Amin was spared our grovelling.

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Postby Gerard » 09 Apr 2008 04:44

India offers aid at first summit with African leaders
"Indian companies in Senegal are transferring technology, assistance, training and know-how," wrote Senegal's president, Abdoulaye Wade, earlier this week. "For the first time Africa has a trading partner that who does not relate to it through dependence, charity or a colonial mindset."

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Postby ramana » 09 Apr 2008 09:10

Swapan Dasgupta writes in Pioneer in part:

With the solitary exception of South Africa where Mandela proved he was a cut above the rest, India has got its priorities all wrong. We have consistently abjured democracy for radical-sounding piffle. Jawaharlal Nehru was the worst culprit because he was vain and imagined he knew the world better than everyone else. Like most trendy Left-wing intellectuals he never bothered to understand the policy rationale of those who ruled India before him. His repudiation of India's foreign policy inheritance wasn't centred on understanding; it was grounded in haughty Brahmanical prejudice.


How much JLN's hubris because of his upbringing and how much due to his "Brahmanical" prejudice? I think SD is brilliant but he has to abjure such broad brush stroke tarring an feathering a community. It is quite unbecoming of him to write like this. I mean he has made his argument on JLN's mind view. Why drag in the Brahmins into this?

If he really cares to know as to what drove that generation and the next after that, its Marx's reinterpretation of Indian history which everyone of that generation was familiar with. It was nothing Brahminical about it. And I submit SD is also a victim of that reinterpretation for him to write like this.

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Postby Apu » 10 Apr 2008 02:05

India and Africa investment deal

BBC

Africa's top leaders have pushed for greater investment from India at the end of a two-day summit in Delhi.

Leaders from more than a dozen African countries said that food shortages and rising oil prices are leading to a major crisis in the continent.

India has pledged to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in Africa over the next five years, in return for greater access to its natural resources.

India is competing with China in securing lucrative contracts in Africa.

But many believe that it has lost a lot of ground to its regional rival.

Acting on pledges

African leaders have now agreed to appeal to the G8 countries to discuss this during their next summit, due to be held in July.

It was time, they said, that they were treated as equals by the rest of the world.

Africa should no longer be seen as a mere market for raw materials, they said, and if countries such as India acted on their pledges, the region could see greater economic growth.

Indian technology could help improve farm output, for instance, to help combat food insecurity.

And many of the delegates said they wanted to see more investment from some of India's leading private companies, such as global players Tata and Mittal.

Delhi is keen on increasing its influence in Africa to secure access to the region's rich natural resources, especially oil and gas.

But it has to fight off the challenge posed by China, whose trade with Africa is nearly double that of India.

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Postby Keshav » 10 Apr 2008 04:46

How entrenched is China in Africa?

1) How many African countries is it working in?

2) How many African companies work with Chinese companies?

3) Estimated influence?

svinayak
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Postby svinayak » 12 Apr 2008 02:52

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-fr ... 8382669FDE


RUSSIA'S ADVANCE TOWARD INDIA.

October 12, 1879, Wednesday

Page 6, 1307 words

The war which England is now carrying on in Afghanistan, ostensibly to avenge the slaughter at Kabul, is the result of misplaced confidence. [ END OF FIRST PARAGRAPH ]

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Postby SwamyG » 12 Apr 2008 03:42

ramana wrote:How much JLN's hubris because of his upbringing and how much due to his "Brahmanical" prejudice? I think SD is brilliant but he has to abjure such broad brush stroke tarring an feathering a community. It is quite unbecoming of him to write like this. I mean he has made his argument on JLN's mind view. Why drag in the Brahmins into this?

If he really cares to know as to what drove that generation and the next after that, its Marx's reinterpretation of Indian history which everyone of that generation was familiar with. It was nothing Brahminical about it. And I submit SD is also a victim of that reinterpretation for him to write like this.


Ramama: I agree with your assessment.

For the most part Nehru's thoughts were shaped pretty much by himself by reading books and his upbringing. His family was one of the most wealthiest. Motilal had a grand honeymoon arranged after Nehru's wedding. Kamala's saree was studded with precious decorations. And the entire family had gone with the couple - there was an entourage. Motilal had gotten used to his wealth. It is a different issue that Motilal later in his life placed most of his wealth for the benefit of the Congress and Independence movement. And, Nehru had a part in influencing his father.

He had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the most wealthiest people on the planet and moved in the circles that could get their wards into the grand colleges and universities those days. If at all he was haughty, then it must have been heavily influenced by the intellectuals in his life. Having these luxuries, he was more armed with thoughts and knowledge that bulk of the Indian population.

Just like Gandhi's experiments/discovery, Nehru had gone through a process of discovery and experiments.

So, to my mind, 'brahmanical haughtiness' would be the last thing that would come to my mind when one describes Nehru.

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Postby satya » 12 Apr 2008 15:28

I think we should keep a check on Food-crisis and its geo-political significance. Will be quoting regularly from Night-watch .

[url=http://nightwatch.afcea.org/NightWatch_20080411.htm]Food and Stability:

[/url]

There is a world food crisis," said Kevin Cleaver, an assistant president in a department of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development, who met with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo in Manila today. Cleaver said that "in some 33 countries there is now civil disturbance, food riots caused by food shortages and higher prices.

NightWatch reviewed the statistics on world food production of the US Department of Agriculture and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) today. The data show there is no world-wide shortage of food. For example, rice production is likely to exceed world wide consumption by over a million metric tons this year, barring bad weather this summer in Asia. As for production related issues, there are multiple distribution and low yield problems in specific countries, some of which were self sufficient in the recent past. For example, IRRI data show that 20 years ago North Korea was a net exporter of rice. This year it is expected to have a shortfall of over 1.66 million metric tons, which is about 27% of the food grain production of 1988.


In other rice growing countries, governments have not invested in basic research to increase the yield to keep up with population growth and shrinkage of acreage devoted to rice.
Another part of the problem has been crop substitution to make biofuel.

Some 16 percent of US agricultural land formerly planted in soybeans and wheat is now being planted in corn, according to the US Department of Agriculture, most of it being used for biofuels.
Small increases in food prices are the difference between getting by and malnutrition. In studies of internal instability, the flash point for rioting and looting consistently is when no amount of labor is sufficient to feed the family, usually because of shortages or high prices.

The International Rice Research Institute warned Friday that rice prices were likely to keep rising for some time as production fails to keep up with demand. Futures prices on the Chicago Board of Trade do not decline significantly until November, after the next harvest.




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Postby Philip » 14 Apr 2008 12:09

India's African gambit is a belated affair afterthe success of China's "invasion" of Africa.We are second off the block and have a huge amount of catching up to do.

Meanwhile here is the "military-petroleum complex",that is driving US foreign policy these days.

http://www.petroleumworld.com/sf08041301.htm

The military-petroleum complex

"Prior to George Bush's Global War on Terror, the U.S. military admitted to guzzling 4.62 billion gallons of oil per year. With the Pentagon's post-9/11 wars and occupations, annual oil consumption has grown to an almost unfathomable 5.46 billion gallons, according to the Pentagon's possibly low-ball statistics."

In November 2002, before the invasion of Iraq, then secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld told Steve Kroft of CBS that U.S. saber-rattling toward Iraq had "nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil." In 2003, Rumsfeld called the assertion that the United States had invaded Iraq to get at its oil "utter nonsense." ("We don't take our forces and go around the world and try to take other people's . . . resources, their oil. That's just not what the United States does.") In 2005, speaking to American troops in Fallujah, Rumsfeld reiterated the point: "The United States, as you all know better than any, did not come to Iraq for oil." Strong denials for sure, but were they true?

Rumsfeld's boss -- and a man who knows a thing or two about addiction - President George W. Bush, proclaimed, in early 2006, that "America is addicted to oil." Later that year, Bush almost came clean about Iraq, admitting (after a fashion), according to Peter Baker of the Washington Post, that "the war is about oil." For the first time he used petroleum as a justification for continuing the occupation of Iraq, saying, "You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources." Bush's acknowledgment was no great revelation. After all, oil is not only a key driver of the U.S. economy but also a major source of the nation's energy. As a former oilman (with Dick Cheney, the former head of oil-services giant Halliburton, as his vice president), Bush knew this all too well-hence an invasion of one of the Middle East's key oil lands topped by an occupation where, initially, looters were allowed to tear almost every part of the Iraqi capital to pieces, save for the Oil Ministry.

But Rumsfeld's military was more than just an armed occupier sent to lock down the planet's oil lands. It was also a known petrol addict. In his book Blood and Oil, Michael Klare laid out the little-acknowledged facts about the Pentagon's oil obsession:

The American military relies more than that of any other nation on oil-powered ships, planes, helicopters, and armored vehicles to transport troops into battle and rain down weapons on its foes. Although the Pentagon may boast of its ever-advancing use of computers and other high-tech devices, the fighting machines that form the backbone of the U.S. military are entirely dependent on petroleum. Without an abundant and reliable supply of oil, the Department of Defense could neither rush its forces to distant battlefields nor keep them supplied once deployed there.

And the deployments DoD has "rushed its forces" to in recent years - in Afghanistan and Iraq - have sucked up massive quantities of oil. According to Fuel Line, the official newsletter of the Pentagon's fuel-buying component, the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), from October 1, 2001, to August 9, 2004, the DESC supplied 1,897,272,714 gallons of jet fuel, alone, for military operations in Afghanistan. Similarly, in less than a year and a half, from March 19, 2003, to August 9, 2004, the DESC provided U.S. forces with 1,109,795,046 gallons of jet fuel for operations in Iraq. In 2005, Lana Hampton of the DoD's Defense Logistics Agency revealed that the military's aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles were guzzling 10 to 11 million barrels of fuel each month in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Yet, while the Pentagon reportedly burns through an astounding 365,000 barrels of oil every day (the equivalent of the entire nation of Sweden's daily consumption), Sohbet Karbuz, an expert on global oil markets, estimates that the number is really closer to 500,000 barrels.

With such unconstrained consumption, recent U.S. wars have been a boon for big oil and have seen the Pentagon rise from the rank of hopeless addict to superjunkie. Prior to George Bush's Global War on Terror, the U.S. military admitted to guzzling 4.62 billion gallons of oil per year. With the Pentagon's post-9/11 wars and occupations, annual oil consumption has grown to an almost unfathomable 5.46 billion gallons, according to the Pentagon's possibly low-ball statistics.

As a result, the DoD had some of the planet's biggest petroleum dealers, and masters of the corporate universe, on its payroll. In 2005, alone, the Pentagon paid out more than $1.5 billion to BP PLC - the company formerly known as Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (on whose behalf the CIA and its British counterpart covertly overthrew the Iranian government back in 1953) and then British Petroleum. In 2005, the Pentagon also paid out over $1 billion to N. V. Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij -- also known as the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (and best known in the United States for its Shell brand gasoline) - and in excess of $1 billion to oil titan ExxonMobil.

In 2005, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Petroleum, and BP ranked sixth, seventh, and eighth on the Forbes magazine's list of the world's five hundred largest corporations in terms of revenue. The next year, they bumped their way up to first, third, and fourth, respectively. They also ranked 29th, 30th, and 31st on the DoD's 2006 list of top contractors, collectively raking in over $3.5 billion from the Pentagon. The big three petrogiants are, however, only the tip of a massive, oily iceberg.Also on the Pentagon’s 2006 list were such oil services, energy, and petroleum conglomerates as:


Ranking
Company name
Total take from the DoD
(in dollars)

6 Halliburton 6,059,726,743
34 Kuwait Petroleum 1,011,270,194

45 Valero Energy 661,171,541
55 Refinery Associates of Texas 576,557,185
66 Abu Dhabi National Oil 494,286,000
70 Bahrain Petroleum 477,535,378
86 CS Caltex 356,313,452

94 Tesoro Petroleum 310,564,052

It's almost impossible to catalog all the companies with at least some ties to the oil game that are doing business with the Department of Defense, but if just the most obvious names on DoD's payroll are any indication, the U.S. military is mainlining petroleum from a remarkable assortment of places. For instance, in 2005 alone, the Pentagon payroll listed 145 companies (from A & M Oil to Wyandotte Tribal petroleum).

These 145 companies -- far from constituting a complete list of energy-related firms on the DoD dole - took in more than 8 billion taxpayer dollars in 2005. To put that figure in perspective, that was more than the army paid out in the same year to the military-corporate powerhouses Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, and the Bechtel Corporation, combined. Or over $2.7 billion more than it spent in 2005 on bombs, grenades, guided missiles, guided missile launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles, bulk explosives, all guns, rockets, rocket launchers, and helicopters.

No doubt due to his outfit's penchant for petroleum guzzling, in 2005, then secretary of defense Rumsfeld issued a memo calling on DoD staff to develop plans for employing alternative power sources and energy-saving technologies. As defense technology expert Noah Shachtman noted in early 2007, while the "Department of Defense might not care about the environment," it had met its green goals ahead of schedule. As a result, the Pentagon now touts itself as environmentally conscious, drawing attention to its use of wind power at the naval station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and its dabblings in "cleaner, 'greener' hybrid fuel." On March 24, 2006, the Pentagon's American Forces Press Service published an article, "Hydrogen Fuel Cells May Help U.S. Military Cut Gas Usage," speculating that someday such technology might significantly reduce the military's "dependence on hydrocarbon-based fuels for transportation needs."

That day is not yet in sight. In fact, on March 23, 2006, the day before that article was published, the Pentagon quietly announced a series of DoD contracts that demonstrated the degree of its continuing addiction to oil: a $241,265,176 deal with Valero Energy; a $171,409,329 agreement with Shell Oil; separate contracts of $156,616,405 and $23,923,354 with ConocoPhillips; a $124,152,364 agreement with Refinery Associates of Texas; a $121,053,450 deal with Calumet Shreveport Fuels; a $118,374,201 jet fuel contract with Gary-Williams Energy Corporation; a $75,094,613 agreement with AGE Refining; a $43,994,360 deal with Tesoro Refining; and a $29,524,800 contract with Western Petroleum - all of which had a completion date of April 30, 2007.

Couple this with the fact that, on Rumsfeld's watch, the Environmental Protection Agency granted the DoD a "national security exemption" on trucks that failed to meet current emissions standards; that the army canceled plans to introduce "hybrid-diesel humvees" (the current military model gets just four miles per gallon in city driving and an equally dismal eight miles per gallon on the highway); and that it similarly dropped plans to retrofit the fuel-guzzling Abrams tank with a more efficient diesel engine (the current model, in service in Iraq, gets less than a mile per gallon), while the air force deep-sixed plans for the possible replacement of aging "surveillance, cargo and tanker aircraft engines" - and you're looking at a Pentagon patently incapable of altering its addiction-addled ways in any near future.

Since then, it's been more of the same. In March 2007, the Pentagon, now under Rumsfeld's replacement, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, went on a two-day bender of epic proportions. On March 22 and 23, the DoD announced that it had struck "fixed price with economic price adjustment" deals, to be fulfilled by April 30, 2008, with ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Valero, Refinery Associates of Texas, and ten other petrogiants to the tune of $4 billion. Another petro-binge occurred around the 2007 Labor Day holiday. Over the course of three days, the DoD acknowledged fuel contracts with BP, Chevron, Tesoro, and four others worth more than $1.4 billion.

The Pentagon needs two things to survive: war and oil. And it can't make the first if it doesn't have the second. In fact, the Pentagon's methods of mass destruction -- fighters, bombers, tanks, Humvees, and other vehicles -- burn 75 percent of the fuel used by the DoD. For example, B-52 bombers consume 47,000 gallons per mission over Afghanistan. But don't expect big oil (or even smaller petroplayers) to turn off the tap for peace. Such corporations are just as wedded to war as their most loyal junkie. After all, every time an F-16 fighter "kicks in its afterburners and blasts through the sound barrier," it burns through $300 worth of fuel a minute, while each of those B-52 missions means a $100,000 tax-funded payout.

According to retired lieutenant general Lawrence P. Farrell Jr., the president of the National Defense Industrial Association ("America's leading Defense Industry association promoting National Security"), the Pentagon is "the single largest consumer of petroleum fuels in the United States." In fact, it's the world's largest energy consumer, according to Shachtman. That, alone, guarantees the military-petroleum complex isn't going anywhere, anytime soon - just some fuel for thought next time you head out to a Shell, BP, Exxon, or Mobil station to fill 'er up.

For More Information

From the book The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives by Nick Turse. Reprinted by arrangement with Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Copyright (c) 2008 by Nick Turse. All rights reserved.

Published by Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), a project of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS, online at www.ips-dc.org). Copyright © 2008, Institute for Policy Studies.

Nick Turse, a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus, is the associate editor and research director of Tomdispatch.com.Petroleumworld does not necessarily sharethese views.

Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated.

Petroleumworld 04/12/08

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Postby svinayak » 15 Apr 2008 06:01

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20080414/w ... pleregimes

How Hunger Could Topple Regimes


By TONY KARON Mon Apr 14, 10:00 AM ET

The idea of the starving masses driven by their desperation to take to the streets and overthrow the ancien regime has seemed impossibly quaint since capitalism triumphed so decisively in the Cold War. Since then, the spectacle of hunger sparking revolutionary violence has been the stuff of Broadway musicals rather than the real world of politics. And yet, the headlines of the past month suggest that skyrocketing food prices are threatening the stability of a growing number of governments around the world. Ironically, it may be the very success of capitalism in transforming regions previously restrained by various forms of socialism that has helped create the new crisis.
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Haiti is in flames as food riots have turned into a violent challenge to the vulnerable government; Egypt's authoritarian regime faces a mounting political threat over its inability to maintain a steady supply of heavily subsidized bread to its impoverished citizens; Cote D'Ivoire, Cameroon, Mozambique, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Indonesia are among the countries that have recently seen violent food riots or demonstrations. World Bank president Robert Zoellick noted last week that world food prices had risen 80% over the past three years, and warned that at least 33 countries face social unrest as a result.

The sociology of the food riot is pretty straightforward: The usually impoverished majority of citizens may acquiesce to the rule of detested corrupt and repressive regimes when they are preoccupied with the daily struggle to feed their children and themselves, but when circumstances render it impossible to feed their hungry children, normally passive citizens can very quickly become militants with nothing to lose. That's especially true when the source of their hunger is not the absence of food supplies but their inability to afford to buy the available food supplies. And that's precisely what we're seeing in the current wave of global food-price inflation. As Josette Sheeran of the U.N. World Food Program put it last month, "We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it."

When all that stands between hungry people and a warehouse full of rice and beans is a couple of padlocks and a riot policeman (who may be the neighbor of those who're trying to get past him, and whose own family may be hungry too), the invisible barricade of private-property laws can be easily ignored. Doing whatever it takes to feed oneself and a hungry child, after all, is a primal human instinct. So, with prices of basic foods skyrocketing to the point that even the global aid agencies - whose function is to provide emergency food supplies to those in need - are unable, for financial reasons, to sustain their current commitments to the growing army of the hungry, brittle regimes around the world have plenty of reason for anxiety.

The hunger has historically been an instigator of revolutions and civil wars, it is not a sufficient condition for such violence. For a mass outpouring of rage spurred by hunger to translate into a credible challenge to an established order requires an organized political leadership ready to harness that anger against the state. It may not be all that surprising, then, that Haiti has been one of the major flashpoints of the new wave of hunger-generated political crises; the outpouring of rage there has been channeled into preexisting furrows of political discontent. And that's why there may be greater reason for concern in Egypt, where the bread crisis comes on top of a mounting challenge to the regime's legitimacy by a range of opposition groups.

The social theories of Karl Marx were long ago discarded as of little value, even to revolutionaries. But he did warn that capitalism had a tendency to generate its own crises. Indeed, the spread of capitalism, and its accelerated industrialization and wealth-creation, may have fomented the food-inflation crisis - by dramatically accelerating competition for scarce resources. The rapid industrialization of China and India over the past two decades - and the resultant growth of a new middle class fast approaching the size of America's - has driven demand for oil toward the limits of global supply capacity. That has pushed oil prices to levels five times what they were in the mid 1990s, which has also raised pressure on food prices by driving up agricultural costs and by prompting the substitution of biofuel crops for edible ones on scarce farmland. Moreover, those new middle class people are eating a lot better than their parents did - particularly more meat. Producing a single calorie of beef can, by some estimates, require eight or more calories of grain feed, and expanded meat consumption therefore has a multiplier effect on demand for grains. Throw in climate disasters such as the Australian drought and recent rice crop failures, and you have food inflation spiraling so fast that even the U.N. agency created to feed people in emergencies is warning that it lacks the funds to fulfill its mandate.

The reason officials such as Zoellick are sounding the alarm may be that the food crisis, and its attendant political risks, are not likely to be resolved or contained by the laissez-faire operation of capitalism's market forces. Government intervention on behalf of the poor - so out of fashion during globalization's roaring '90s and the current decade - may be about to make a comeback. View this article on Time.com


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Postby svinayak » 15 Apr 2008 06:25

Us and Them
The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080301f ... -them.html

Jerry Z. Muller

From Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008

Summary: Americans generally belittle the role of ethnic nationalism in politics. But in fact, it corresponds to some enduring propensities of the human spirit, it is galvanized by modernization, and in one form or another, it will drive global politics for generations to come. Once ethnic nationalism has captured the imagination of groups in a multiethnic society, ethnic disaggregation or partition is often the least bad answer.

JERRY Z. MULLER is Professor of History at the Catholic University of America. His most recent book is The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Modern European Thought.

Projecting their own experience onto the rest of the world, Americans generally belittle the role of ethnic nationalism in politics. After all, in the United States people of varying ethnic origins live cheek by jowl in relative peace. Within two or three generations of immigration, their ethnic identities are attenuated by cultural assimilation and intermarriage. Surely, things cannot be so different elsewhere.

Americans also find ethnonationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Social scientists go to great lengths to demonstrate that it is a product not of nature but of culture, often deliberately constructed. And ethicists scorn value systems based on narrow group identities rather than cosmopolitanism.

But none of this will make ethnonationalism go away. Immigrants to the United States usually arrive with a willingness to fit into their new country and reshape their identities accordingly. But for those who remain behind in lands where their ancestors have lived for generations, if not centuries, political identities often take ethnic form, producing competing communal claims to political power. The creation of a peaceful regional order of nation-states has usually been the product of a violent process of ethnic separation. In areas where that separation has not yet occurred, politics is apt to remain ugly.

A familiar and influential narrative of twentieth-century European history argues that nationalism twice led to war, in 1914 and then again in 1939. Thereafter, the story goes, Europeans concluded that nationalism was a danger and gradually abandoned it. In the postwar decades, western Europeans enmeshed themselves in a web of transnational institutions, culminating in the European Union (EU). After the fall of the Soviet empire, that transnational framework spread eastward to encompass most of the continent. Europeans entered a postnational era, which was not only a good thing in itself but also a model for other regions. Nationalism, in this view, had been a tragic detour on the road to a peaceful liberal democratic order.

This story is widely believed by educated Europeans and even more so, perhaps, by educated Americans. Recently, for example, in the course of arguing that Israel ought to give up its claim to be a Jewish state and dissolve itself into some sort of binational entity with the Palestinians, the prominent historian Tony Judt informed the readers of The New York Review of Books that "the problem with Israel ... [is that] it has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a 'Jewish state' ... is an anachronism."

Yet the experience of the hundreds of Africans and Asians who perish each year trying to get into Europe by landing on the coast of Spain or Italy reveals that Europe's frontiers are not so open. And a survey would show that whereas in 1900 there were many states in Europe without a single overwhelmingly dominant nationality, by 2007 there were only two, and one of those, Belgium, was close to breaking up. Aside from Switzerland, in other words -- where the domestic ethnic balance of power is protected by strict citizenship laws -- in Europe the "separatist project" has not so much vanished as triumphed.

Far from having been superannuated in 1945, in many respects ethnonationalism was at its apogee in the years immediately after World War II. European stability during the Cold War era was in fact due partly to the widespread fulfillment of the ethnonationalist project. And since the end of the Cold War, ethnonationalism has continued to reshape European borders.

In short, ethnonationalism has played a more profound and lasting role in modern history than is commonly understood, and the processes that led to the dominance of the ethnonational state and the separation of ethnic groups in Europe are likely to reoccur elsewhere. Increased urbanization, literacy, and political mobilization; differences in the fertility rates and economic performance of various ethnic groups; and immigration will challenge the internal structure of states as well as their borders. Whether politically correct or not, ethnonationalism will continue to shape the world in the twenty-first century.

THE POLITICS OF IDENTITY
There are two major ways of thinking about national identity. One is that all people who live within a country's borders are part of the nation, regardless of their ethnic, racial, or religious origins. This liberal or civic nationalism is the conception with which contemporary Americans are most likely to identify. But the liberal view has competed with and often lost out to a different view, that of ethnonationalism. The core of the ethnonationalist idea is that nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry.

The ethnonationalist view has traditionally dominated through much of Europe and has held its own even in the United States until recently. For substantial stretches of U.S. history, it was believed that only the people of English origin, or those who were Protestant, or white, or hailed from northern Europe were real Americans. It was only in 1965 that the reform of U.S. immigration law abolished the system of national-origin quotas that had been in place for several decades. This system had excluded Asians entirely and radically restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe.

Ethnonationalism draws much of its emotive power from the notion that the members of a nation are part of an extended family, ultimately united by ties of blood. It is the subjective belief in the reality of a common "we" that counts. The markers that distinguish the in-group vary from case to case and time to time, and the subjective nature of the communal boundaries has led some to discount their practical significance. But as Walker Connor, an astute student of nationalism, has noted, "It is not what is, but what people believe is that has behavioral consequences." And the central tenets of ethnonationalist belief are that nations exist, that each nation ought to have its own state, and that each state should be made up of the members of a single nation.

The conventional narrative of European history asserts that nationalism was primarily liberal in the western part of the continent and that it became more ethnically oriented as one moved east. There is some truth to this, but it disguises a good deal as well. It is more accurate to say that when modern states began to form, political boundaries and ethnolinguistic boundaries largely coincided in the areas along Europe's Atlantic coast. Liberal nationalism, that is, was most apt to emerge in states that already possessed a high degree of ethnic homogeneity. Long before the nineteenth century, countries such as England, France, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden emerged as nation-states in polities where ethnic divisions had been softened by a long history of cultural and social homogenization.

In the center of the continent, populated by speakers of German and Italian, political structures were fragmented into hundreds of small units. But in the 1860s and 1870s, this fragmentation was resolved by the creation of Italy and Germany, so that almost all Italians lived in the former and a majority of Germans lived in the latter. Moving further east, the situation changed again. As late as 1914, most of central, eastern, and southeastern Europe was made up not of nation-states but of empires. The Hapsburg empire comprised what are now Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia and parts of what are now Bosnia, Croatia, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and more. The Romanov empire stretched into Asia, including what is now Russia and what are now parts of Poland, Ukraine, and more. And the Ottoman Empire covered modern Turkey and parts of today's Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Serbia and extended through much of the Middle East and North Africa as well.

Each of these empires was composed of numerous ethnic groups, but they were not multinational in the sense of granting equal status to the many peoples that made up their populaces. The governing monarchy and landed nobility often differed in language and ethnic origin from the urbanized trading class, whose members in turn usually differed in language, ethnicity, and often religion from the peasantry. In the Hapsburg and Romanov empires, for example, merchants were usually Germans or Jews. In the Ottoman Empire, they were often Armenians, Greeks, or Jews. And in each empire, the peasantry was itself ethnically diverse.

Up through the nineteenth century, these societies were still largely agrarian: most people lived as peasants in the countryside, and few were literate. Political, social, and economic stratifications usually correlated with ethnicity, and people did not expect to change their positions in the system. Until the rise of modern nationalism, all of this seemed quite unproblematic. In this world, moreover, people of one religion, language, or culture were often dispersed across various countries and empires. There were ethnic Germans, for example, not only in the areas that became Germany but also scattered throughout the Hapsburg and Romanov empires. There were Greeks in Greece but also millions of them in the Ottoman Empire (not to mention hundreds of thousands of Muslim Turks in Greece). And there were Jews everywhere -- but with no independent state of their own.

THE RISE OF ETHNONATIONALISM

Today, people tend to take the nation-state for granted as the natural form of political association and regard empires as anomalies. But over the broad sweep of recorded history, the opposite is closer to the truth. Most people at most times have lived in empires, with the nation-state the exception rather than the rule. So what triggered the change?


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Postby Keshav » 15 Apr 2008 06:46

Great article, Acharya!

How do you think that applies to India, where so many hundreds of ethnicities were at least loosely united through religion and have no become a reasonably stable state?

India never seemed overly concerned about blood but rather culture and religion.

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Postby svinayak » 15 Apr 2008 06:48

Keshav wrote:Great article, Acharya!

How do you think that applies to India, where so many hundreds of ethnicities were at least loosely united through religion and have no become a reasonably stable state?

India never seemed overly concerned about blood but rather culture and religion.


Read it - it is several pages
That is why cultural nationalism is natural for India.

DECOLONIZATION AND AFTER

The effects of ethnonationalism, of course, have hardly been confined to Europe. For much of the developing world, decolonization has meant ethnic disaggregation through the exchange or expulsion of local minorities.

The end of the British Raj in 1947 brought about the partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan, along with an orgy of violence that took hundreds of thousands of lives. Fifteen million people became refugees, including Muslims who went to Pakistan and Hindus who went to India. Then, in 1971, Pakistan itself, originally unified on the basis of religion, dissolved into Urdu-speaking Pakistan and Bengali-speaking Bangladesh.

In the former British mandate of Palestine, a Jewish state was established in 1948 and was promptly greeted by the revolt of the indigenous Arab community and an invasion from the surrounding Arab states. In the war that resulted, regions that fell under Arab control were cleansed of their Jewish populations, and Arabs fled or were forced out of areas that came under Jewish control. Some 750,000 Arabs left, primarily for the surrounding Arab countries, and the remaining 150,000 constituted only about a sixth of the population of the new Jewish state. In the years afterward, nationalist-inspired violence against Jews in Arab countries propelled almost all of the more than 500,000 Jews there to leave their lands of origin and immigrate to Israel. Likewise, in 1962 the end of French control in Algeria led to the forced emigration of Algerians of European origin (the so-called pieds-noirs), most of whom immigrated to France. Shortly thereafter, ethnic minorities of Asian origin were forced out of postcolonial Uganda. The legacy of the colonial era, moreover, is hardly finished. When the European overseas empires dissolved, they left behind a patchwork of states whose boundaries often cut across ethnic patterns of settlement and whose internal populations were ethnically mixed. It is wishful thinking to suppose that these boundaries will be permanent. As societies in the former colonial world modernize, becoming more urban, literate, and politically mobilized, the forces that gave rise to ethnonationalism and ethnic disaggregation in Europe are apt to drive events there, too.

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Postby Sanjay M » 15 Apr 2008 09:34


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Postby satya » 15 Apr 2008 17:23

A Revolution for Italy's Parliament

Silvio Berlusconi has triumphed. With his clear majority in both houses of parliament, the billionaire has returned to power and revolutionized the parliamentary landscape
With an almost 7-percent advantage in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, almost 8 percent in the Senate and a clear majority in both houses, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has returned to the country's political helm.
In the run-up to that election, the opinion polls were clear: they predicted a clear victory for Prodi's center-left coalition -- and a quiet disappearance from the political stage for Berlusconi. There was only one person who didn't believe the experts' forecasts: Berlusconi himself. He knows the right side of Italy's political spectrum better than anyone, and he knew that, even as the voters were disappointed with his five years in office from 2001 to 2006, they feared the left -- even a moderate Catholic leftist politician like Prodi -- even more.
For the first time since 1945, the communists will no longer be represented in Italy's parliament.
And also for the first time -- and in Italy this counts as a real revolution -- there are only four parliamentary groups in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, meaning that the era of having 23 to 30 parties fighting it out between themselves is over. On the left, there is Veltroni's Democratic Party, in the middle the UDC, and on the right Berlusconi's People of Freedom and the Northern League.
Nonetheless, the new parliament will still have its old leading man Berlusconi, who has dominated Rome's political scene for 14 years, and
who wants to continue until 2020: first for five years as prime minister -- and then maybe another seven as president.





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Postby Gerard » 16 Apr 2008 03:38

The Age of Nonpolarity
What Will Follow U.S. Dominance
By Richard N. Haass
From Foreign Affairs, May/June 2008

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Postby svinayak » 16 Apr 2008 04:22

Acharya wrote:
Johann wrote:
The viceroys/India Office in the 1890s and early 1900s regarded the Chinese Empire as a buffer against the Russian Empire, but in 1949 the British attitudes towards the Chinese Communists were very different, seeing them as close Soviet allies. Mao's victory in the Chinese Civil War meant that China's position in the great game/cold war went from neutral/benign to unfriendly.

Facts do not support this




X-posted


Chinks in the Bamboo Curtain

Anil Athale


Col. (retd) Anil A Athale is a Fellow at the Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research. Anil Athale is a former Joint Director, War History, Ministry of Defence, and co-author of the official history of the 1962 India China war. He has been running an NGO, Peace and Disarmament, based in Pune for the past 10 years. As a military historian he specialises in insurgency and peace process. In this column, he feels that the failure of China to open dialogue with eminently reasonable Dalai Lama,seeking autonomy and protection of Tibetan religion, raises fundamental doubts about the Chinese system.


The recent disturbances in Chinese held Tibet did not come as a total surprise.

The ‘uprising’ seemed carefully timed to coincide with the lighting of Olympic flame. This ensured that the cause of Tibetans got the maximum publicity. The Tibetan agitators played on the Chinese anxiety to conduct a smooth summer Olympics this year, a sort of ‘arrival’ of China as the next super power.

Yet there were indeed elements of surprise in recent events. First is the scale and spread of the unrest. It was long believed by many (including this author) that the Inner Tibet, ie Tibetan populated areas in provinces of Gansu and Sichuan, are well integrated with China. The scale of violence in these provinces gave a jolt to this perception.


The second, and equally important issue, is the fact that the Chinese government was apparently caught napping. This raises an important point about the efficiency of the Chinese Police State.

Let there be no doubt that China is a one party dictatorship and the Chinese go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that no organisation other than the Communist party has a voice. The scale and the degree of organisation in the agitation showed that there are chinks in the Bamboo Curtain.

Tibet lies at the western extremity of China and the Chinese hold over it has always been tenuous at best. Whenever the central power weakened in China, Tibet became virtually independent, only to be followed by subjugation when the power equation changed.

Tibet has another unique characteristic. While it has religious and emotional ties with India through Buddhism, politically it has been tied to China since ancient times. The roots of the present crisis however lie in the events of late 19th and early 20th century.

Nineteenth and early twentieth century saw the domination of European colonial powers all over Asia and Africa. While India was under direct colonial rule, China was ruled by a cabal of international powers. Many Chinese arrogantly point out that while India was a colony, China has ‘never’ been ruled by foreigners. It is kind of distinction between being a ‘keep’ of one colonial power (India) versus gang rape by several (China). For all intents and purposes China was no better than the Indian Princely States. Its sovereignty was a myth.

It was during this period of weakness of central power in China that Tibet was virtually an independent country. This was also the period of the ‘Great Game’ in Central Asia, the competition between the expanding Russia and Imperial Britain.

After conquest of most of India, the task of the British army in India changed to that of dealing with the Frontier tribesmen, Afghanistan and advancing Russians. Later Russia alternated between being an ally and threat to England, but in the 19th and early 20th century, the only threat to the British in India was from Russia. The story of the disastrous Afghan Wars is well known.


The British intervention in Tibet was thus part of the larger effort to check the Russian advance. A weak China In 1903-1904, sided with the British out of compulsion. Sir Francis Younghusband, under orders from the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, jointly with John Claude White, the Political Officer for Sikkim, led a military mission to Tibet as a result of disputes over the Sikkim-Tibet border. The mission became a de facto invasion, and British forces occupied Lhasa. During this brutal campaign, Younghusband slaughtered 1,300 Tibetans in Gyangz. To seal the gains from this conquest a conference was held in Simla in 1904 that drew the borders between India and Tibet, and established a British-manned telegraph network in Tibet. To curb the Russian advance, the Chinese were brought in.

In effect, it was the British that snuffed out Tibetan independence.
In 1954, when Nehru recognised Chinese claims over Tibet, he was merely following the British colonial tradition. The motives for Nehru were similar, and there is reason to believe that his understanding was that Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim would form buffer states between India and China.

The Chinese, however, had other ideas. In 1949 as the Communists swept to power in China, the Peoples Liberation Army swiftly advanced to secure the Indo-Tibetan border. Using the Panchen Lama, it announced that China was liberating Tibet.
The Dalai Lama was kept as figurehead.

In early 1954, a large-scale revolt in Tibet was ruthlessly suppressed by the Chinese, killing 40,000 Tibetans. Tens of thousands of youth were shipped to China and large scale ‘colonisation’ of Tibet with Han Chinese began to change the demography of Tibet.

In March 1959, another revolt broke out. Some 65,000 Tibetans were slaughtered, and the Dalai Lama with thousands of his followers fled Tibet and took refuge in India. Sino-Indian relations soured as China suspected that Nehru was leaning towards the US.

In October 1962, taking advantage of the Cuban Missile crisis, China attacked the Indian border and routed the Indian army to teach India a ‘lesson’. Since then the border issue has remained frozen.

In the aftermath of 1962 conflict, India collaborated with the American CIA, established a covert force, the 22 Establishment, (now SFF or Special Frontier Force) to carry out a Guerilla war in Tibet. China responded in kind and began to support the Nagas and Mizos (a fact acknowledged by late Laldenga in interview with this author in May 1988). China also did one better by creating a proxy in Pakistan to check India. The Tibetan issue was now embroiled in international politics.

India began to normalise relations with China under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the late 1980s, and the effort was continued under the Narasimha Rao and AB Vajpayee governments. The Tibetans also opened a secret channel of talks with the Chinese.

Indian Marxists and their evil designs

About three four years ago, I had a chance to interact with the foreign secretary of the Tibetan government in exile. My contention to him was that in the present geo-political situation, independent Tibet was out of question. At best what Tibetans should hope for is internal autonomy and protection of its unique religio-cultural identity.


The secretary informed me that the Dalai Lama was also of the similar view, but the stumbling block remained the fate of ‘Inner Tibet’. While it appears that the Chinese were willing to grant internal autonomy to ‘Outer Tibet’, it firmly rejected the call for Greater Tibet.

The Foreign Secretary also told me that there was great unrest amongst the Tibetans of the ‘Inner Tibet’. But though I had no means to independently verify this, the spread of recent anti-Chinese rioting to Gansu and Sichuan provinces tells its own story.

My own recommendation was and is, that the Tibetans should accept what the Chinese offer and peacefully agitate for a Greater Tibet within the Chinese system.

The Indian approach to unrest in Tibet has been squeamish at best. The usual suspects are the professional humanright activists and the Lefties. There is a deafening silence from them. A prominent ‘National’ English language daily from Chennai, editorially compared Tibet with Kashmir. This is like comparing chalk with cheese. Unlike the Chinese, India has given full autonomy to Kashmir. Article 370 protects the Kashmiri identity, and there is no attempt, unlike the Chinese in Tibet, at changing the demography of Kashmir.


Kashmiri separatist leaders continue to abuse India day in and day out using the democratic freedoms of the country. To compare the freedom in India with repression in Chinese held Tibet as the Chennai daily did on March 26, is intellectually dishonest and borders on the anti-national. It appears that it is this that is influencing government of India from taking a firm and moral stand against China.

The failure of China to open dialogue with eminently reasonable Dalai Lama, who wants only autonomy and protection of Tibetan religion and culture, raises fundamental doubts about the Chinese system.

For a long time, there has been a debate over how the rise of China will affect the world. One view has it that it would be a peaceful rise and favours engagement with China. The other view fears that an authoritarian China will be aggressive and threat to world peace.

Tibet is a litmus test of that. The world is watching if the ‘Land of Little Emperors’ (allusion to the Chinese policy of one child norm that has given rise to a nation of 500 million single child citizens) will make the necessary adjustments or be like the single child: cranky, demanding and aggressive.

The views expressed in the article are the author's and not of Sify.com


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Postby Sanjay M » 16 Apr 2008 04:40

April 15, 2008

BEIJING'S BROKEN IMAGE
Europeans View China as Biggest Threat to Global Security

China may have been hoping to garner positive global attention in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, but the issue of Tibet has shattered its image. A new poll shows that Europeans now see China -- not the US -- as the biggest threat to global security.

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Postby Apu » 17 Apr 2008 02:06

Georgia angered by Russian move :mrgreen:

BBC

Georgia has accused Russia of trying to annex the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with its decision to seek closer ties with them.

Moscow said it would intensify social and economic co-operation in the regions and recognise businesses and organisations registered there.

But Georgian Foreign Minister David Bakradze said this amounted to "de facto annexation" of its provinces.

Last month, both regions called on the UN to recognise their independence.

Tbilisi responded by warning Moscow not to take any step towards recognition.

A senior MP in the Georgian parliament, Shota Malashkhia, said it would lead Russian peacekeepers to be "outlawed" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


Russian and UN peacekeepers have been deployed in the two republics since the early 1990s, when violence broke out as both regions tried to break free from Georgian control.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was said to be "concerned" by what were described as "these unilateral decisions".

"We have always supported Georgia's territorial integrity," his spokeswoman Christina Gallach said.

Georgian TV reported that the country's Security Council convened in emergency session.

Moscow said its decision to recognise some documents issued by the republics' authorities was in the interests of their mainly Russian citizens and was not intended to inflame the situation.

"Our actions with regard to Abkhazia and South Ossetia do not mean that Russia is making a choice in favour of confrontation with Georgia," a foreign ministry statement said.

Abkhazia's Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said Russia's decision would lead to a "breakthrough" in resolving economic, social and security issues.

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Postby Venkarl » 17 Apr 2008 03:09

Sanjay M wrote:
April 15, 2008

BEIJING'S BROKEN IMAGE
Europeans View China as Biggest Threat to Global Security

China may have been hoping to garner positive global attention in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, but the issue of Tibet has shattered its image. A new poll shows that Europeans now see China -- not the US -- as the biggest threat to global security.


could be CIA psyops??

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Postby satya » 17 Apr 2008 15:27

Russia-Georgia tensions

[quote]In an instruction released today by Russia's Foreign Ministry, President Putin ordered his government to recognize some documents issued by the separatist authorities in Georgia and cooperate with them on trade and other issues. Russia will now honor passports and travel documents issued by the secessionist regimes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In addition it will provide consular services to citizens of those regions in Russia, according to Ria Novosti.
the Federation Council -- Russia's upper house -- will debate recognizing the two republics on 25 April. Council Chairman Sergey Mironov said today, "By this date we will have drafted a resolution giving the principal and balanced position of the state on this issue.â€

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Postby satya » 18 Apr 2008 15:05

Georgia Border Dispute Heating Up-Nightwatch commentry

[quote]South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity charged today that Georgia is moving troops towards South Ossetia. "We have information on the movement of Georgian military units toward our borders. After a meeting of the Georgian Security Council, 15-hour readiness was announced in all Georgian military units," Kokoity told Interfax. "We are taking appropriate measures to prevent any provocations from the Georgian side….I want to call on the Georgian side to avoid any ill-considered moves that may have tragic consequences, primarily for Georgia itself.â€

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Postby satya » 18 Apr 2008 15:07

Russia-Libya Relations

President Putin did not announce any major arms deals, but did announce that Russia agreed to write off Libya's $4.5 billion debt in exchange for multi-billion-dollar contracts with Russian companies, Reuters reported. Today’s statement clarifies yesterday’s report that Libya had agreed to pay the debt, which was hard to believe. The normal procedure is to forgive the debt on condition that the debtor country buy and equivalent value of goods from the lender country. Today’s announcement means the Russian have restored a position of influence in Libya.

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Postby ramana » 18 Apr 2008 21:30

Sanjay M wrote:
Chinese Geopolitics and the Significance of Tibet

April 15, 2008 | 0055 GMT
By George Friedman

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Postby svinayak » 18 Apr 2008 21:36

ramana wrote:
Sanjay M wrote:
Chinese Geopolitics and the Significance of Tibet

April 15, 2008 | 0055 GMT
By George Friedman


Image

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Postby ramana » 19 Apr 2008 02:33

People need to read the Pope Benedict US speeches. They are more geo-political than religious.

Speech at White House

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Postby satya » 20 Apr 2008 00:47

Future in firm grip of new autocrats

THE end of history has ended. We are no longer living in the post-history period. We are now in the post-post-history period.


Or, to put it another way, history is back.
This is by way of introducing you to a brilliant new analysis of the global geo-strategic picture by Robert Kagan. His new book is called The Return of History and the End of Dreams. I have read only the 8000-word summary piece in The New Republic, but I look forward to the book.

Kagan is the most brilliant of the US big-picture guys, which is not to say I always agree with him. His thesis is that the success of China, and the emergence of an economically powerful and undemocratic Russia, represents the return of the autocrats to a central place in the geo-strategic equation.
The autocrats are increasingly self-confident. More than that, they believe their system is in the best interest of their countries. This self-confidence and authentic belief are changing geo-strategic equations in quite fundamental ways.

First, it is worth noting that the Kagan analysis blows out of the water two of the silliest geo-strategic fads in recent decades. The first was Francis Fukuyama's end of history line, which held that the end of the Cold War meant that political and even social liberalism had triumphed forever. No one in any society had any claim for political legitimacy except through an appeal to some variety of liberalism. Fukuyama recognised that Islamic societies didn't fit and claimed that they were "trapped in history" but would soon enough emerge into liberalism. Fukuyama was dead wrong.
The other equally foolish theory was Samuel Huntington's clash of civilisations. Like Fukuyama, Huntington believed the end of the Cold War meant that ideological competition and conflict would be replaced by conflict based on identity. Who we were would become a more important divider than what we believed in. Thus Islam would fight the West, which would fight Confucian China, which would fight Japan, and so on.

Both these theories have proven to be absolutely wrong. They had neither predictive nor explanatory power. In Fukuyama's case it is clear he overestimated global acceptance of liberalism and in Huntington's case it is clear he underestimated the complexity of conflict, so that it cannot be explained or predicted on the basis of culture. One Muslim majority country, say Turkey, can be allied with the US, whereas another, Iran, can be a bitter enemy of the US. Cultural solidarity is not important; certainly not decisive.
Both Fukuyama and Huntington suffered from a quasi-Marxist determinism, a view that history was moving in one ineluctable direction because of deep, structural forces and could not be reversed. Whereas human beings have free will and can change courseat any time, which makes prediction very difficult.

Enter Kagan. He is describing the situation that exists today rather than trying to discern new laws of history.

He is the equivalent of Malcolm Mackerras describing what the results of the previous election mean, at which Mackerras is excellent, whereas Fukuyama and Huntington are the equivalent of Mackerras predicting the next election, at which he is notoriously less excellent.

Kagan's insights are profoundly important. The question of what you believe is becoming, as it was in the Cold War, the most decisive determinant in geo-strategic behaviour. Thus the autocracies of China and Russia challenge the West geo-strategically and ideologically.

A similar challenge is mounted by Islamist extremism. Most analysts accept that Islamist extremists challenge universal ideas of human rights and democracy at the ideological level and in terms of power politics. Iran is the most powerful enemy of the US in the Middle East and is also an enemy of democracy and human rights.

But Kagan's analysis is important in understanding the new role of China and Russia. He does not want the West to think of them inevitably as enemies. He is not, repeat not, positing a new Cold War.

But the example of China has heartened and greatly strengthened autocrats across the world, for China has shown that it is possible to combine successful economic modernisation with political authoritarianism. This column has tried to grapple with this in the past under the notion that China poses a unique challenge as a successful dictatorship.

Kagan points out that after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, there was an expectation among analysts that China would liberalise politically, that the Chinese Communist Party was on its last legs politically. In fact, it has gone from strength to strength.

Now, several features of Chinese success have changed the international system. First, it inspired Vladimir Putin and Russia to go back to an orderly, tsarist form of autocratic politics, following the chaos of democratic Russia in the 1990s. Because of high resource prices, Putin's autocratic government has been able to deliver higher living standards to its people, just like China. At the same time, it has reasserted itself on the international stage and sought a sphere of influence in eastern Europe.

Another of Kagan's intriguing insights is the suggestion that the new autocrats really believe they are working in the interests of their nations. Autocrats are generally seen as greedy, corrupt and cruel, and mostly they are, but that does not mean they are not also convinced that rule by them is best for their nations. This, after all, was the view for several hundred years of European monarchies that ruled their nations autocratically. If you asked any king of France or England whether they thought their nations should be ruled by them or by the whim of popular mobs for most of the past 500 years, the answer would have been obvious.

But now, Kagan argues, there is a solidarity of autocracies growing up, which is both ideological and practical. China and now Russia have shown developing nations' leaderships that they do not have to choose between dictatorship and economic development. They can have both.

What we long believed was the East Asian road to democracy - the gradual development of a middle class that demands greater political representation - has been shown to be much less than inevitable. Indeed, an overlooked element in the magnificent East Asian democratic flowering is just how much of a push towards democracy these societies - Japan, South Korea and Taiwan among others - got from a US that was geo-strategically dominant at the critical time.
Finally, China and Russia offer practical assistance to other autocrats. Burma, North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Venezuela have all been sheltered at the UN and helped in other vital ways by Beijing and Moscow. This is critical and the trend to democracy of the '90s is faltering. This is evident in Latin America and Africa. Similarly, big democracies such as Japan, India and South Korea find themselves co-operating naturally with the US and its allies.

So it turns out that it's not who you are that counts, or where you sit on a mythical progress of history, but the oldest question of all - what you believe - that says the most about how you will behave.


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Postby svinayak » 20 Apr 2008 01:37

'India needs to play greater role in global issues'
http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holn ... 200321.htm

New Delhi (PTI): India needs to play a greater role in international issues like rebuilding Iraq and tackling of global terrorism even at the cost of criticism at home, if it were to realise its claim for a permanent seat in UNSC, said Lord Powell, who was an aide of two former British premiers.

"Such leadership does come at a price. It means risking criticism at home as well as abroad. But it is a price that India has to pay if it is to move to its fullest potential as a world power," said Lord Powell while delivering a special address at the first IISS-Citi India Global Forum here on Saturday.

Powell, who was an adviser to former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, said greater participation in global affairs would also help India in achieving its declared aim of a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

India needs to be "more muscular" in helping the international community to sort out world problems, Powell said, adding, it should increase its role in reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan and join the global efforts to inhibit spread of missile technology and other sophisticated weapons.

In addition to joining the global efforts to tackle international terrorism in all its manifestations, he said India should also take proactive steps to break "the impasse in the Doha Round and negotiate a successor to the Kyoto treaty."

He said the country should further improve its ties with neighbours like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. "India cannot confidently reach out to the wider world unless it first establishes it immediate neighbourhood," he added.






India warns of implications of unstable regimes

Washington (PTI): India has warned of the challenges posed by violent extremism, proliferation and terrorism in its neighbourhood and the implications of having unstable regimes, saying a "peaceful" periphery is "indispensable" for it.

"The hub of violent extremism in our neighbourhood remains a challenge for us, and for the world. We are located in the arch of proliferation that has irrevocably altered our, and global, security perspectives. The implications of the intersection of proliferation, religious extremism, terrorism, and unstable regimes are not yet fully realised," India's Ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, said.

The envoy, who did not name any country, said India was conscious of the danger of nations being unable to reach across their diverse perspectives to find a common way forward on issues like trade, energy security and climate change.

"A peaceful, stable and prosperous periphery is indispensable for us. Breaking through the insularity of the past, we are seeking security and shared prosperity through increased connectivity in the Indian sub-continent," he said at the Centre for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) of the University of Pennsylvania.

Sen, while assuring that India's growth will not be at the cost of other countries, said as the country grows into one of the three largest economies of the world, the course of its development would be of global significance.

"In turn, as India becomes increasingly integrated with the global economy, international developments will correspondingly have greater impact on its own future," he said.
http://www.hindu.com/2008/04/20/stories ... 460900.htm


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Postby satya » 20 Apr 2008 03:27

[url=http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080501faessay87304-p0/richard-n-haass/the-age-of-nonpolarity.html]The Age of Nonpolarity
What Will Follow U.S. Dominance[/url]

Summary: The United States' unipolar moment is over. International relations in the twenty-first century will be defined by nonpolarity. Power will be diffuse rather than concentrated, and the influence of nation-states will decline as that of nonstate actors increases. But this is not all bad news for the United States; Washington can still manage the transition and make the world a safer place.


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Postby Gerard » 20 Apr 2008 19:27


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Postby Kaushal » 21 Apr 2008 23:24

Gerard wrote:
The West/USA's interest is in destabilizing Afghanisthan, which is why Afghanisthan never seems to come off boil -

The Making of US Foreign Policy for South Asia
Offshore Balancing in Historical Perspective
LLOYD I RUDOLPH
SUSANNE HOEBER RUDOLPH
Economic and Political Weekly February 25, 2006


[quote]Sir Olaf Caroe Invents Offshore Balancing in South Asia

Why and how did offshore balancing come to the south Asia region? Its origin can be found in the geo-strategic ideas of Sir Olaf Caroe, the last foreign secretary for the British raj in India (1939-45). Winston Churchill thought India was the heart of the British empire and that Britain’s capacity to be a world power depended on its rule in India. He succeeded in blocking the viceroy, Lord Irwin’s, and the leader of the Conservative Party, Stanley Baldwin’s efforts in 930-31 to grant dominion status to India. The power and influence of British India reached into central, south-east and west Asia, not least into the Persian gulf and the Arabian peninsula; Burma, Sri Lanka and Singapore; Afghanistan and Tibet; and into East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. The raj’s political service made foreign and security policy for this vast trans-regional space and the British Indian army backed it up. In the dying days of the raj at the close of the second world war, Caroe began to worry about what he came to call, in a prescient phrase, “the wells of powerâ€


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