Waging war for geopolitical gains

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shiv
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Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 15 Oct 2010 20:34

As Indians we are all taught that war is costly. War beings more poverty and misery to "poor people" who we should always be thinking about and whose needs we should constantly and dharmically be ever cognizant of. Indians, more than any other nationality on earth are made more aware of India's failings than anyone else.The country is poor. It is backward. 60% defecate in the open. Our leaders are weak. Our leaders were always weak save a few sparks. We are technologically backward, incapable. worried, anxious, concerned, lectured to, given demarches. We hail and respect others. We deride ourselves. We are democratic (not as good as the west) - which means that we must not deny any of the above facts and if we do it is an expression of Indian extremism and denial.

In short India must not wage war unless war is forced upon us by someone else. We must concentrate on our economy, our poor, our toilets, our population. If someone does wage war against us we must respond defensively, reactively and hesitantly. we go out of our way to advertise that we do not cover a square inch of anyone else's territory. Our defence expenditure must remain low and must appear low to everyone else.

Is this stupidity? Or is it "dharma"? Or is it a core Indic characteristic?

To explore this question let me look for answers from this forum, but I will briefly post impressions I have gained from looking at other countries.

The US seems to have discovered long ago that war can stimulate an economy. You can't please everyone in a country but you can certainly please a biggish number if you have a sufficiently large military industrial complex. You do not need top produce day-to-day items like TVs, cars or toothbrushes. All you need to produce are high quality arms, the best of which go to your own armed forces and a second tier to your allies and a third tier to their enemies.

But what do you do with your armed forces? Let me use an analogy from my younger days. Many of my doctor peers opted to go to the middle east "for the money". Some soon returned because they were dead bored. In those days middle eastern states were expanding their medical services and had hospitals with well paid expat doctors who had no work and that boredom was deadly. Moral: You cannot deny professionals their work. You can't tell them to take money and sit quiet. They will wilt. If you have well equipped and trained armed forces, you need to use them? Where do you use them? In the kitchen? Balls. You make war. So the US is continuously fighting wars with small adversaries who can be defeated. This makes their armed forces powerful and their military industrial complex healthy.

Next, look at Pakistan. Pakistan has done something similar to the US. They have large trained armed forces and they use them continuously to initiate and wage war. In terms of industry - Pakistan ahs invested only in the defence industry. Heck they make small arms, ammunition, tanks under license, some aircraft under licence. Apart from that Pakistani produces zilch. They only make footballs and friggin mascara!! And babies of course. But they have certainly given their neighbor (India) a run for its money and even China and the US lick Pakistan ass in different ways.

Then China. China furiously built up its armed forces. They had, and have, forces that are pretty much near the largest on earth. They fought with the Americans in Korea They punished India in 1962, and then tried to punish Vietnam in 1979. They are still belligerent. Remember the pilot who flew the Wong Wei a few years ago?

And India? :roll:

What we need to do is initiate a war. Whom should we fight against? If we take the American example we should fight a small and weak nation to the ground. If we take the China example, we should start limited wars to punish people. But we can combine the China and Pakistan examples as I explain below. And build up a military industrial economy like the US.

My view on this is s follows. China too does not want war. Maybe the right thing to do is to wage a war with China that it does not want. Provoke some incidents and point out that it is China that is aggressive and China that wants Indian and other countries territory. Nobody is likely to disbelieve the Indian viewpoint. In any case no one is interested in who starts a war. they only say "China and India are fighting a war. China fought a border war with India and claims Indian territory". It is China that doesn't want war. It is China that is growing at 10%. Indians are already accustomed to defecating in the open and going hungry. No big deal if they have to do that for another 20 years. Give China the war it does not want. And point out to Indians that we do not covet a square inch of anyone's territory while China wants to attack India. Again. Just like Pakistan did to India.

I would appreciate inputs from others.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Lalmohan » 15 Oct 2010 20:52

India and China will fight a war
just like the USA and USSR fought many wars
these wars will be fought in other people's countries, killing mostly other people
India will hesitate to do so
but India must, this war has already begun

these wars will take place in the greater Indo-Pacific region, anywhere from Angola to Fiji
they may not all be shooting wars
and even ones that are may not directly involve Indian and Chinese troops

we will have 'iron defences' across the Himalaya like the US/USSR had across the Bering straights and over the North Pole

Pakistan will deceive itself in being the centrepiece of this war
but it will be the first casualty
and pakjab the 2nd

wild cards - the ummah and its khilafatic tendencies
Unkil... whether the eagle will soar or hunker down
EU... which side will their bread be buttered?
Japan... in the front line, but still emasculated by Unkil

sing the battle hymn of Indra-Varuna
slay the mleccha
carry forth the banner of the righteous
do not stay your bow

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 15 Oct 2010 21:07

shiv saar,

Timely topic!

I was thinking about starting a thread on 'Values and Thinking that drive Indian Foreign Policy & What needs to change", or maybe "Psyche of Indian Strategy Establishment & Suggestion for a Rethink"! But I have been unsure what would flow into such a thread, and whether it would get the necessary traction.

I believe, the title of this thread, does point in a similar direction - one of encouraging a rethink of the basic tenets of our foreign policy.

Will see, what I could post here!

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 15 Oct 2010 21:13

^^
I think my thoughts are similar and the topics you have suggested are spot on. We are hesitant as a nation to break out of the mould - but the mould has been created by someone else and kept alive by us. The things that are said about India and Indians may be true - but the suggested actions that follow from such truths are often detrimental to India.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 15 Oct 2010 21:14

Hope it is not all too OT

X-Posting from Managing Chinese Threat Thread

Altair wrote:The only meaningful way to deal with chinese bully is to be a bully. Show some brinkmanship and they might backdown.There is no smooth way to deal with this situation.


Exactly, the only thing stopping us is our psychology. We are our own worst enemies.

A few things India has not done, which any power should do are:
  1. Psychological Warfare: Every country is different and has different national issues. Each country represents a different challenge to India. We need to analyze their psyches and test psychological challenges on these countries. We talk a lot of carrots and sticks. The problem is we don't know when to give those carrots and sticks and we don't know what sort and size of carrot and stick is the right fit. Every psychological weakness of the other MUST be used. China needs to be dealt with in a certain way, Pakistan in another, Nepal in another, and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in yet another way. Bullying is simply psychological warfare. Why do we look down upon it? We should be meeker with the meek, and a 10 times more aggressive and ruthless with the bullies of the world!
  2. Expand our Strategy Vocabulary: Till now we use words like 'concern', 'observing', 'talks', 'diplomacy', 'investment'. So we observe and we express our concerns to those un-concerned! What happens then? We procure some more military hardware! This is a very very constrained strategy vocabulary. What I mean by this is that Policy can not just be about observing and talking. We need tons and tons of strategic cards, proxies, influence, preemptive policies, etc. We need to play the game. We are not doing that. We need a finger in every hole in the world - whether it is honey jar at the other end or just sheet. And it all needs to be interwoven with our national interests.
  3. Offence is the best defense: When we negotiate with any party - it should be the other party's core interest which we hold in our hands against concessions - we should bargain using other's people's land, freedom, respect, sovereignty, economy, moral standing. Why are we defensive on issues from Kashmir, to anti-Christian disturbances in India, to our dealings with our neighbors, to water issues, to our strategic defense? We should be doing the attacking on Baluchistan, Tibet, Western Imperialistic History, Dictatorships, etc. We should be bribing dictators, and politicians and strong-men the world over and turning them against our enemies. We should have a special budget for corrupting the world, because that is the only way to make the world go round.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 15 Oct 2010 21:18

X-Posting from Future Strategic Scenario for the Indian Subcontinent -II Thread

Jihadis have always been a means to keep a major power in Asia in check - be it the Soviet Union, be it United States or be it India. Any Asian power that has dared to extend its power to any other part of Asia through the Central Asian landmass or its periphery has been brought to heel by unleashing Jihadism against the power.

The next superpower in Asia is China. The challenge for other powers is how to use Jihadism against China.

The India-Pakjab dynamic has been used by China to prevent such a scenario. We need to regain control over the Potohar plateau to better influence the target of Jihadi wrath.

One says there can be no place for two swords in a sheath. Similarly our major problem is that we try to marry an ideology to our nation. We try to divide our loyalties to both some ideology on the one side, say Dharma or Secularism or Internationalism or even Nationalism, and India's national interest on the other side. There is always a gap, there is always a confusion, there is always hesitation.

If we want to further India's national interests, then except for the purpose of propaganda, no ideology should be given consideration.

If a strategy passes the test of logic, realism and priority, then it should be pursued regardless of its ideological soundness.

I say, India needs to harness the forces of Jihad to finish off PRC and any other major power that arises against us. I even think, India is well endowed for such a policy.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Varoon Shekhar » 15 Oct 2010 21:33

Very incisive, but the problem is that India and Indians being what they are, they cannot live with such grotesque mendacity and sleaziness for long. It's even likely that the specific groups promoting the gratuitous dishonesty will experience personal inner tumult, and stage some kind of revolt against the policy. And of course, there will be no shortage of groups, individuals and institutions that will question and oppose such mendacity. Indians have a conscience and a sense of what is right and ethical, and they will express it openly, sooner than later. Such psychological and philosophical brakes and restrictions are absent in China, where everything is done to conform, and project state power.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Hari Seldon » 15 Oct 2010 21:45

Varoon Shekhar wrote:Very incisive, but the problem is that India and Indians being what they are, they cannot live with such grotesque mendacity and sleaziness for long.

How long is too long exactly? We've lived with said mendacity a few generations since '47. What is a few more decades in the life of a nation? Just wondering only.

It's even likely that the specific groups promoting the gratuitous dishonesty will experience personal inner tumult, and stage some kind of revolt against the policy. And of course, there will be no shortage of groups, individuals and institutions that will question and oppose such mendacity.

I'd dearly like to believe this. However, while I may well hope you are right, I do not expect so.

Indians have a conscience and a sense of what is right and ethical, and they will express it openly, sooner than later. Such psychological and philosophical brakes and restrictions are absent in China, where everything is done to conform, and project state power.

More hopes pretending to be prophecies? Again, I hope to G_d you are right. Time will tell and I suspect we won't applaud what it says.

Yup, Now the wait begins for the brilliant, cynical, clinical agent provocateur to come in and tie us all good (dharmic?) Samaritans into knots effortlessly only. Jai hu and all that.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Varoon Shekhar » 15 Oct 2010 21:58

Hi Hari,

Just to clarify what is being referred to, it is a (putative) policy of supporting or fomenting little wars across the planet, with the idea of keeping the wheels of a military industrial complex running, and constant, relentless strategic thinking and behavior, which supports dictators around the globe( again, with arms from the MI-complex) as long as they support Indian policies, which again mean buying or approving the buying of these arms, and allowing Indians a significant degree of control of some resource or other, like oil or copper.

Is this a path Indians want to follow? I personally hope not. India must do everything to defend itself against China and Pakistan, without going down the road the US has done.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 15 Oct 2010 22:22

Often we or others make certain comparisons.

One comparison is that China uses Pakistan to contain India just as USA uses India to contain China.

I can't say how much truth is in this statement. But if for a moment we take it as the truth certain observations can be made.

Pakistan has been carrying out terrorist activity against India now for over two decades, if we consider that in 1989 it started in Kashmir. Others can correct me here, if they so wish. Since 1989 India has been involved in Kargil War in 1999 and one Operation Parakram in 2002, which one could say India used our military or came close to using it. In both cases, we did nothing within Pakistani territory. No damage was caused to Pakistan proper. Even after Mumbai 26/11 India did not undertake anything putative. So that means, Pakistan's proxy war and terrorism against India is going unanswered.

There have been hints from Indian leaders, that India does not want to be involved in a military conflict with Pakistan because it would hurt our growth, but the more significant reason was that China will be the one to gain. India did not want to make itself vulnerable to PRC.

Now if USA is using India in the same way, China is using Pakistan, then if India adopts an aggressive posture towards China, China too would think twice in expending its resources and blood in a conflict with India, which would make its dream of Asian domination a distant dream, allowing USA to reassert its world's superpower status.

Now if Pakistan can go scot-free after all it has done to India, may be India too can go scot-free after giving China a bloody nose. People would say, the Hans are not like our babus. True, but the logic still holds. China has a lot to lose from a conflict with India - that is the race with USA.

So the bullying that China does on the Indian border is not provoke a war, but rather it is a psychological tool to create fear amongst the Indian political class. It is to signal that should India ever find out that China is afraid of a war between India and China breaking out, India would feel emboldened to become more aggressive towards China. So the Stegosaurus just pumps a lot of blood into its plates trying to ward off the predators.

If this dynamic is to hold true, it is important that China is convinced that an Indian attack on China would cripple China for ever, not just the parts that border India but the whole of its Pacific Coast would be finished. India needs a far bigger than a minimal deterrence and a credible one at that, India needs conventional strength which convinces China that India can do severe harm to it even at a conventional level, and India needs sub-conventional tools to use against China.

The one thing needed to pull this off is for US to support India like Pakistan has been supported before by China (and by USA). Then the comparison would be more appropriate.

What India gains? China goes on the defensive and pleads with India to adopt a more sensible policy and is willing to give concessions.

How else would India ever be able to regain the buffer between China and India that has ensured peace between the two for so long - Tibet? How else would China say, it is unwilling to take away all the offensive missiles it has relocated to Tibet and which point at India? How else would China accept Indian unquestioned dominance over Indian Ocean Region and get the hell out of here?

India needs to give China some pain therapy, and some face loss therapy for China to start looking at things in perspective - that Asian domination just would not work, it would have to share space with India.

As the relationship between USA and PRC becomes more strained and they become rivals, India can impress upon USA to make more concessions towards India in terms of technology, investment and markets.

India counter-belligerence can function without USA as well, but the psychological pressure on PRC would be a lot more in case US is on board, and our military capacity build-up too would be a lot faster. We would be getting the military hardware a lot more subsidized as well.

Of course, India would not be 'exactly like Pakistan', we would be India, but an India to be feared also.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 15 Oct 2010 23:07

Continuing from my previous post on the comparison:

China uses Pakistan to contain India just as USA uses India to contain China.

If this similarity holds what other possibilities does it open for India?

At the moment Pakistan's calculation in its terrorist campaign against India is
  1. Nuclear Weapons.
  2. India's fear of widening the India-China economic and military gap even more.

Both are true! PM Manmohan Singh himself has hinted at this earlier, I believe in his last meeting with the press which TOI reported.

So Pakistan is China's pilla, and thinks that an Indo-Pak war is unlikely because of the China factor. What if we turn this on its head?

What if a war breaks out between India and Pakistan. Conventionally fought, India could send Pakistan to find out whether sour grapes produce sweet raisins. What if Pakistan threatens us with nuclear strike. India can say, should India be threatened or hit with a nuclear weapon by Pakistan, then India would strike PRC with nuclear weapons with India's full might and in PRC's cities, as PRC has proliferated the weapons to Pakistan. If this policy is clear at the outset, China would try to ensure that Pakistan is made nuke-nude or they both combine to attack India using nuclear weapons, both at the same time. In case they both hit India at the same time, India still needs a second strike capability, or China must know that that would entail a US nuclear strike on China (US policy is not that far as yet). So China would probably go for making Pakistan nuke nude. If that is so, India can easily take out Pakistan, as its minimum deterrent would be ineffective.

With Pakistan down, India regains its strategic freedom back and then can push back China even more.

So China's fear of being ground to dust and losing the race to USA after having worked so hard, is a real fear! This fear has to be used, just like Pakistan is using India's fear. But India need not fear, simply because the powers that be would make sure, that India is not forced to escalate the war to cover two neighbors.

This is a risky strategy! Many things can go wrong! But the fact still remains: China is not interested in a costly war with India, and one could think that they would allow India to take down Pakistan without opening a second front against India. Sure they may accumulate their forces on the border to intimidate us, but would they want a war with India which annihilates the whole of China.

So the recipe is to first become a credibly belligerent country, then take down Pakistan, and then become a bit more belligerent.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby brihaspati » 15 Oct 2010 23:29

Why do we want war at all? War is the ultimate form of physical coercion which can be used as the ultimate weapon of politics. If India has clearly set out its geo-political targets, then there are two things that should be kept clearly in mind.

(1) Preparation for war itself can drive the nation and its economy forward. Technological investments, acquisition of technology has to go forward hand in hand with indigenous capability and innovation because "war" necessitates a mindset of maintaining a gap of advantage in technology and knowledge against potential enemies. This means the nation has to also develop its own capacities and not rely entirely on others [if you are always only buying weapons from others - you are always behind them].

(2) once geo-political targets have been identified - they must have been identified based on values and perceptions within the nation. Why should there be any confusion and ideological holding back after reaching conclusions from those very same ideological background? There are sacrifices to be made in any conflict, and such sacrifice includes the agony and pain of having to do things that apparently contradict ones personal ideals.

If however there is a "national ideology" that condemns any initiative that prepares for or needs to prepare for war, or thinks of war as only purely territorially defensive - then we should explore such "ideologies" as to their origins. whether they are part of a propaganda from our enemies who do not want us to get ahead of them in military capacities.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 16 Oct 2010 00:14

X-Posting from Future Strategic Scenario for the Indian Subcontinent -II Thread

brihaspati wrote:The question always will be about how fine and tight a control we can maintain over such a war of attrition between two groups - both of whom we ultimately want destroyed? We need to finish off both Jihadis and PRC - how do we ensure that that they destroy each other and there is no clear and surviving winner?

From practical political experience I have seen the results first hand. A long time ago, a senior leader had drawn me aside and remarked - as an advisory - that for a party to function, one needs both the corrupt as well as the orthodox uncorrupt ideologues/idealists. If "you do not allow the frontline comrades to indulge in a bit of haath-safaai how can you maintain them....beta?" "those comrades are never going to be given top leadership responsibilities - we maintain firm control at the core, and no corruption is allowed there, but we simply use such corrupt people as well as goons who join us from the opponents in a thorn-against-thorn policy - thats all. If you do not loosen up on the indulgence bit we will lose such elements...!"

I know what the results have been. All those pious wishes of being in firm control - ultimately boils down to nothing. This is where I would be worried. I would be okay with allowing a degree of encouragement to the Talebs or allowing them to proceed against PRC, but I would be most wary of actually helping them increase their own strength in that process.


brihaspati garu,

Why I do not worry about the Jihadis too much is, simply that the Jihadis receive their support from societies who have little productive capacity of their own. Right now Oil is still flowing, but how long? Right now, the Muslims in Western societies are still remitting money to the pious back home, but with Europe not being able to support their welfare societies, from which many Muslims derive their income, and because of rising Islamophobia in West, those remittances will also take a hit. The other source of income is drugs, but that is a problem I think can be solved technically through bio-warfare, better intelligence, and more freedom to strike with drones where ever one wants.

The other source of income for Jihadis would be powers that use them - the Americans, the Chinese. With Afghan War coming to a close, American funding could dry up a bit. PRC would keep on channeling money to them through the Pak Army, as things stand.

So basically because of zero productive contribution and inability to control world trade as in the days of old, Islam and Jihadism are a dying breed, only not many are willing to accept it. Chaos or no chaos, everybody needs resources and money.

So the last true source of income for the Jihadis would be Chinese money, funneled through TSPA, to intimidate the West and India and Russia (may be) and keep everybody else off balance, while buying for itself an amnesty. TSPA can do the propaganda and create the boogey men for Islam. So even as Islam dies, the highly radicalized Islamists would be let loose on India.

However this option is also available to India. India too can finance the Jihadis and let them loose on China. In order to do that, Pakjabi Army would have to either change sides or be defeated. Whichever way we do it, we will need a middleman - it could be the Pakjabis or it could be the Pushtun. We would have to give some thought how we could play it. The badlands of Waziristan can be turned into a East Turkestan/Uyghur training ground.

The thing is, either India does it, and if we don't do it the Chinese would do it, and if they don't do it, the West may try some games.

What we need is to be on top of the propaganda game with the Islamists, and to have a strong and reliable middleman.

So much for Islamists. The Chinese are a whole different cup of coffee. They are technologically advanced and they have money, and they play with their heads. They are not putting their kids in a race to the most illiterate person alive.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Narad » 16 Oct 2010 00:26

War mongering even for geoplotical gains is a stupid and suicidal idea given the present state of affairs for India.
Although I agree with the assertion that US has kept its forces busy and its defence industry healthy by doing so. But the real charm is that it is doing so in a "unipolar" world. (Last time we did so in 71, world was not unipolar)

Blind immitation will not suite us. Plus we do not want to make a pakistan out of ourselves right now.

We have nothing to loose now.Keep the GDPs up and running for next 30 years. I know it may be bad for our jingoist egoism to look passive and gandhian but chinese model of peaceful rise is the only way forward until we make ourselves the dominant pole of a multipolar world.

Exception to this approach is obviously if in case we are in state of attack.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Altair » 16 Oct 2010 00:38

Shiv
You must be telepathic.
The last time India waged a full scale war,we liberated a nation and saved millions of people. We cut a perennial enemy in half. We achieved in reducing enemy strength to half and boost our image as a Man(or women :mrgreen: ) who carries a long thick bamboo stick(atleast temporarily!). We couldnt get PoK back because ours was not a strong economy then and we depended on SU mostly.We did however meet many objectives.
IndoPak 1971 should serve as a model for us to extend our geopolitical reach.

I believe in wars reviving economies but I like George Bush Sr type wars rather than his son.Senior Bush knew exactly when to pull out and what were the specific objectives.He enforced NFZ over a country he defeated and crippled the defense capability of the nation until his son screwed all up.

Coming to the point at hand, We must not be pulled into a long drawn guerrilla war no matter what. We must be looking in this direction:The capability for a swift and decisive military victory and complete and total air superiority over the subject nation.Occupying land tops the list of all time very bad ideas.

China now has the economic capability to dictate terms to many nations. It made lot of new enemies in the past few years. No one is going to scream sympathy(except our desi moronic JNU commies) if we poke Chinese. We must start being aggressive in our North East. Our wars with China must be fought outside our borders, not inside.Nepal and Bangladesh should be firmly in our grasp. India must focus on getting strategic depth to counter China and for that few wars must be waged.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby brihaspati » 16 Oct 2010 01:10

Narad wrote:War mongering even for geoplotical gains is a stupid and suicidal idea given the present state of affairs for India.
Although I agree with the assertion that US has kept its forces busy and its defence industry healthy by doing so. But the real charm is that it is doing so in a "unipolar" world. (Last time we did so in 71, world was not unipolar)

Blind immitation will not suite us. Plus we do not want to make a pakistan out of ourselves right now.

We have nothing to loose now.Keep the GDPs up and running for next 30 years. I know it may be bad for our jingoist egoism to look passive and gandhian but chinese model of peaceful rise is the only way forward until we make ourselves the dominant pole of a multipolar world.

Exception to this approach is obviously if in case we are in state of attack.


Well when was the period in US history when it was not making war to gain territory or economic interests? When they started to do so - was the world unipolar with themselves as leader of the shark-pack? I think the world was then being wrangled over by great whites of colonialism then - and which did not include USA.

Why is planning for war to take things that will not be yielded otherwise - "blind imitation"? By that token, even going for "GDP GDP GDP" chant appears to be a "blind imitation" of supposed "peaceful growth" countries onlee! show us an example of a country that [please don't give examples of territorially small population-small ports on a major sea-trade route - as no eample exists of their geopolitical dominance] had not simultaneously combined war and economic growth and territorial aggression to become "dominant" pole in of multipolar world.

When was "China" peaceful? Korea, Tibet, India, Vietnam, Cambodia - ah the peaceful "Chinese growth model"! Let us not bring MKG into this. Only someone who has not read him in the original at all will pass such casual comment on his approach as "passive" and "peaceful". It is a complete failure to understand the essentially radical, anarchist, anti-state, pro-active and confrontationist ideology of MKG. Or maybe even an attempt to reconstruct MKG as a soporific to channelize dissent and anger into a form more suitable for state control.

Historically too we have wonderful examples for India : every time India went into "accummulation only" mode, it was followed by invasion and looting of that accumulation. Over emphasis and neglect of preparation for war, or even intervention in the neighbourhood to destroy potential marauders - led to the "baniafication" of national ideology, that is everything can be bought or traded. That is a surefire way to the logic that sufficient money should be enough to purchase peace - and afterall you do not want to destroy your nest egg by "conflict". So more wealth and GDP will mean even greater efforts to avoid conflict and preparations to preempt the enemy, and clamour to "stop diverting vital developmental resources" into "stupid" "egoist zingoism".

The regularity with which such "clamour for GDP growth onlee" went on in Indian history before inevitable retreat and giving up and selling up of land, people, family, women and dependents - makes me suspect the motivation behind such statements.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 16 Oct 2010 01:42

X-Posting from Future Strategic Scenario for the Indian Subcontinent -II Thread

brihaspati wrote:I would rather not underestimate the Jihadis. They know exactly how to compensate for their lack of resources with psychological insights into their enemies. The greatest advantage that they have is that they are not committed to "liberalism" or "humane" values, and they have no problem in using such sentiments within their enemy.

This makes for the opposition to jihadis almost always divided, if not self-restricted - a fact noted as early as the founding days of the theology and advised by the founder as the key point of advantage for that "faith".

If we are going to use them, how do we guarantee that some among us will not melt in "kindness" when the time comes to finish them off after they have done their bit?


Values are good at home as long as nobody is challenging the system's foundation or core national interests. I am also in favor of fighting intolerance with even more intolerance. Outside the country, I am in favor of changing our vocabulary and thinking.

I am in favor of both enforcing the Indian ethos upon the Indian Muslims, while not contesting their right to remain Muslims, but also empowering them to consolidate the Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent under their leadership and for them to being at the forefront at building bridges to the Islamic World, establishing peace between India and them. We need peace at home for other projects abroad.

I believe we have discussed in the past, how we should restrain the natural tendencies of Islam in India.

I am also in favor of exploiting our next door neighborhood in the West for the only commodity they have in abundance - the capacity to create anarchy and channeling that virtue into influencing the destinies of our rivals.

I just believe Islam is something PRC is hopeful about using in India to tie us up in knots. In the race with PRC, every lost year counts for India. Islam is something to work on once the Han challenge has been dealt with. Now would not be the right time.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 16 Oct 2010 07:19

Some very interesting posts here - but let me quote two that are in tune with what I feel. My thought per se may meander but the quotes below represent, IMO, core ideas that need to be considered seriously.

RajeshA wrote:China has a lot to lose from a conflict with India - that is the race with USA.

So the bullying that China does on the Indian border is not provoke a war, but rather it is a psychological tool to create fear amongst the Indian political class. It is to signal that should India ever find out that China is afraid of a war between India and China breaking out, India would feel emboldened to become more aggressive towards China. So the Stegosaurus just pumps a lot of blood into its plates trying to ward off the predators.


and

brihaspati wrote:If however there is a "national ideology" that condemns any initiative that prepares for or needs to prepare for war, or thinks of war as only purely territorially defensive - then we should explore such "ideologies" as to their origins. whether they are part of a propaganda from our enemies who do not want us to get ahead of them in military capacities.


War is not a game, but the threat of war can certainly be used as a game. Psychologically the threat of punishment and actually punishment are used from day one on all humans. Mothers threaten petulant children with dire consequences to get them to comply. But in general the actual threats far outnumber the actual acts of physical punishment. The threat of punishment itself is a tool to modify behavior.

The same attitudes are carried over into adulthood. People learn that when there is some disagreement, they too can threaten others and gain compliance without actual physical contact. But there is also the opposite group - the group who bow and back down when they are threatened. Typically, the majority of people "back down" when they assess that the cost of fighting is not worth the pain and the consequences. This behavior allows a bully to keep on making threats until most people are pushed into a corner. Once others are cornered the bully faces a new situation. He dominates everyone by and large but occasions arise when he wants more. He might decide to vent his ire on a person seen as a weakling as an "example". That person then has to either take punishment or fight back. If this guy backs down, the bully wins, but if he fights back and manages to make the bully fight hard - the bully learns a lesson about how far he can go. Of course all this is the simplest scenario where there are no "gangs" and allies and groups led by bullies.

China behaves like a bully. That bully needs to be given a real war to see how far he is willing to go. Ideally it requires another person who is willing to be a bully - a "rival gang". But even here provocations and skirmishes can be "graduated" - with calculated trespasses to assess responses. The people who do this best and who think in this way are members of the security forces. In fact those of us who have had a rub with the police will understand how the police use their physical and legally bestowed power to intimidate at the first possible opportunity. Most people get intimidated - but to become a stone-thrower or a policeman killer you need to have a degree of motivation and training that goes beyond the average man's view of risk and benefit.

This is where militarization of society is useful as is the involvement of military people in government. I will try and explain that.

Bullying and intimidation are tools of diplomacy just like negotiation and trade. But like cycling or walking on a high-wire - the value of bullying and intimidations comes from military/police experience. Most people do not go anywhere near the sort of scenes that require the use of intimidation. But if you do not know the value of intimidation as a tool for diplomacy you are not going to use it effectively.

Pakistan is led by the military who get into disastrous wars with nary a thought about the people of Pakistan. But Pakistan has learned the value of blackmail and intimidation and is reaching a stage where the deaths of Pakistanis no longer matter. Pakistanis cause deaths to others and then claim immunity from responsibility by saying "So what. Pakistanis are also dying from terrorism". This is an "extreme" and virtually suicidal model which IMO India is unlikely to reach soon.

The China model is one of a nation led by generals in influential posts or people who actually saw fighting in a revolution. The Chinese government use intimidation to the hilt on their own people. But the fact that they have done well for many (though not all) Chinese indicate that they are striking a balance between wanton warfighting and development. The Chinese government has more to fear from war than the Paki government (such as exists)

The US is actually the most dangerous of the lot. The US requires a history of military service for many of its leaders and involves the military in foreign policy despite maintaining a clear civilian government. The US actually initiates wars at regular intervals and implements its policy via wars when possible and/or desirable. If war is taken as one aspect of diplomacy - the US capably uses every single aspect of diplomacy from friendship, assistance to intimidation, threats and actual war.

I will post some thoughts about where I think India stands in another post.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 16 Oct 2010 15:52

shiv wrote:Bullying and intimidation are tools of diplomacy just like negotiation and trade. But like cycling or walking on a high-wire - the value of bullying and intimidations comes from military/police experience. Most people do not go anywhere near the sort of scenes that require the use of intimidation. But if you do not know the value of intimidation as a tool for diplomacy you are not going to use it effectively.


And that is the whole point. Why does India forswear these valuable tools? Are our diplomats, our Foreign Minister, our Defence Minister, the establishment conversant in these tools? If not, doesn't it mean we lack the necessary 'skill set' to deal with the world effectively?!

It is not just a case of knowing how to be a bully or how to intimidate others, but more importantly how to prepare oneself psychologically to withstand any bullying or intimidation by others. One needs to know both!

Actually bullying and intimidation is a fine art. Place, Timing and Dosage is everything.

With two enemies - Pakistan and China - both using these methods against India, why does the impression rise, that we are ill-equipped at the highest levels to deal with such tactics?

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 16 Oct 2010 16:12

Even as Bullying and Intimidation can be considered a fine art, its usage causes a lot of ruffled feathers and quite often some backlash, which does not mean that these tactics are any less effective. They often have to be used with care and not too frequently.

Bullying and Intimidation are just but too tools of power games.

A far more effective means of wielding power is by creating a myriad of pressure points on the adversary, and accompanying that a host of lobbies associated with the adversary, which impress upon the adversary to back down lest some constituency becomes a victim to pressure. One also calls these strategic cards. The fall out of using such pressure tactics is far less and these are also far more effective.

Earlier on feudals and monarchs used to fight wars for territorial gains, and even though territory still means a lot for nations, wars on territory have become far less frequent among established powers. But still war is relentless and war is all-pervasive. War is carried on on a very different level. Instead of territory, countries fight over strategic space and strategic freedom.

It is not just important that one's horses win the race, it is also important that the adversary's horses lose the race. Something so important cannot be left to chance - so one gets the best care for one's horses and trains the best dogs to snap at the heels of horses of the adversaries, if possible bringing them to a fall. Playing dirty is playing right!

Our horses need muscle (military hardware). Our horse need big grasslands to graze (strategic alliances, space and freedom). Our horses need unprecedented levels of raw materials, energy, infrastructure, labor and markets.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Pratyush » 16 Oct 2010 16:41

Gentle men a nice debate & a timely topic.

Just one thought that comes to mind and it may be one of the answers (amongst many) to the question why India has chosen not to fignt a war for geopolitical ends.

The lack of the military industrial complex and reliable suppliers renders India vulnerable to the pulls and pushes of international diplomacy. The decision makers can never be sure how the potential partner power will respond to India's use of force to attain a certain geopolitical end.

If the end is in consonence with the desires of the partner then India will not face any constrains regarding the use of force. But where the end runs contrary to the interests of the partner and supplier. India becomes reciepient of the displeasure of the supplier.

In this way Indias choices are not Indias alone but they also reflect the position of the suppliers by and large.

If some time in the future India has to contemplate the use of force and pull it off with minimium adverse consequences. It must attain an Indpendence as far as the defence supplies are concerned. Failing which IMO we will forever be hobbled when it comes the use of offensive military power.

If I am to futher the argument I have above, then If the members are to analyse the behaviour of the greatest bullies in the International arena. You will see that the nations who are most adept at the use of force are self sufficient in terms of military gear USA, Russia, PRC (The inclusion of the PRC may be objected, but it can build weapons that are good enough for it to dominate through the shear mass brought to bear in its areas of interest) or are recipients of unstinting support of their patron powers. eg TSP and Isreal.


JMT

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 16 Oct 2010 17:42

When I look at the profile of the average Indian politician who rises up from grassroots - it appears that the people are no strangers to posturing and intimidation. That is exactly what we read about in Indian politics at the ground level.

But when these people reach the top the behavior is no longer evident on a national or international level. I wonder what behavior modifications occur that lead to this. Some possibilities are that India follows a ye olde understated diplomacy style inherited from the British and continued by advice and guidance from the babucracy. Another is the possibility that by the time Indian politicians reach the top at the center - their own asses are already on fire because of the people they have pushed aside, cheated and intimidated - so they are too busy sustaining their own gaddi to give a damn about intimidating another nation for Indian geopolitical clout.

Having said that, the topmost echelons of Indian decision making have among their advisors - real professionals (military) who are well versed with the art of recognizing and differentiating posturing and intimidation from real threats with intelligence inputs adding to the process of assessments. It is at that level that one can expect intrigue and deception - in that top political statements from, say China may indicate one thing while something else happens on the ground.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 17 Oct 2010 09:25

If you look back at wars that were fought in past centuries, they were often fought for loot or territory. Territory itself is "loot" in a sense. Somewhere along the way, religions appeared and served as yet another factor in waging wars for loot and territory. An allied reason for going to war in the absence of the above compulsions would be political-military alliances that obliged on nation to join war to help another nation embroiled in a war.

In its simplest structure a "nation" or "Kingdom" consisted of a powerful leader in a capital city or fortress. He would have a band of loyal men. Those loyal men would have a place for their families to live and eke out a reasonable existence. That place would be guaranteed in exchange for the leadership the king provided in subduing others and generating rent or tax from surrounding lands. In the next level up from this this model the king would have several "nobles" or "vassals". Each of these would be a mini-raja who had his own little kingdom based on the same structure as the king. But they would be subservient to the main king and would pay him a proportion of "tax" collected from people they dominated in their estates. The vassals would also provide the main king with some soldiers to swell the king's army. Technically the king would "govern" well. He would ensure law and order, collect taxes, allow fair trading and perhaps loot neighboring kingdoms and share the loot so everyone became richer.

But if this king tried to squeeze out more from his people than they could pay, and if he got into wars where too many men were killed - he would lose the support of his people. They would not support him and maybe one of the "nobles" or "vassals" would break away and create a kingdom of his own. To some extent the king could insure against this by having a lot of stored up cash for bribery and inducement to maintain a core group of very capable and loyal soldiers who would protect him and remove or kill upstart nobles.

War is invariably expensive in terms of lives, resources and politically for leaders. If resources are easy, lives expendable and leaders not politically accountable war becomes easy.

As far as resources are concerned, a "return on investment" in war can be promised in terms of loot. But loss of life cannot be compensated - and this requires ideology of some sort. Men who are willing to fight need to be given some reason to say why it is good to join the fight. Again the promise of loot may be great incentive if the social situation in a country is bad. Pakistan is actually one such example. Political accountability is the most difficult trick. Many leaders who start wars insulate themselves from accountability. They have the money and a place to survive (like a camp or fortress) where they can carry on despite losses. The actual lives lost and territory loss affect someone else. But if they gain territory and win a war - they corner most of the loot for themselves. This has been the pattern throughout history.

Replace the word "king" with oligarchy. Such an oligarchy could be the Pakistan army or the Chinese communist party. Apply the rules for ease of war:
If resources are easy, lives expendable and leaders not politically accountable war becomes easy.


Let's start with Pakistan:
1) Resources: For the establishment, resources are easy. They live in a feudal system and in any case get aid from the US
2) Expendable lives: This is easy for Pakistan. Most people are poor and many young, unmarried men have nothing to live for.
3) Political accountability: With the help of its allies the Paki military establishment is totally free from being politically accountable to their people.

For these reasons - Pakis find it easy to wage war.

China in 1962:
1) Resources: Limited. Enough for a limited, time bound war
2) Expendable lives: No limit. All poor screwed up people who would fight for an ideology
3) Political accountability: Very little.

China in the 1960s and later was capable of initiating and fighting limited wars easily for these reasons

China in 2010
1) Resources: Plentiful - for moderately prolonged war of high intensity or unlimited ar of low intensity.
2) Expendable lives: Still plentiful - but getting ideological motivation to die while others live a good life may be somewhat more difficult.
3) Political accounatbility: Probably still very little.

China's warfighting potential is now greatly enhanced in terms of economy, but somewhat eroded in terms of limited manpower to fight prolonged battles were manpower loss can be ignored. The Chinese economy is dependent on imports and exports and a war that upsets either of these can have political repercussions. So any Chinese war will have to be short and sharp and result in Chinese victory - or at least a situation that can be advertised by the CCP as a Chinese victory. It seems unlikely that China will go for an Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam like operation. But the Chinese are capable of initiating wars for political capital.

USA:
1) Resources: Unlimited for practical purposes except against the most indolent foes.
2) Expendable lives: Not many - but compensated by technology and remote warfare.
3) Political accountability: The US has political accountability of a sort - but is able to wage wars using using economy alone and high technology arms creating a lesser need for accountability

The US is able to initiate and wage prolonged wars with relative ease.

India:
1) Resources. Resources for war will be resources removed from development funds. Resources are there for short sharp wars. India has already been successfully fighting low grade insurgency for decades.
2) Expendable lives: To an extent, yes.
3) Political accountability: In India this is the key factor. Other than "preserving the motherland" India has no ideology that requires fighting external campaigns. Therefore any external war has to be politically justifiable.

India will fight wars only as a reaction to aggression. Once someone attacks India it is dead easy for politicians to win national support for war.

In a sense "weak leadership" can either be politically accountable leadership (unlike Pakistan/China), or a nation that does not have the economy to wage war without a significant dent on the domestic economy (like USA). India's future IMO may have to be to follow the US model where wars can be fought by remote control as long as funds are available - reducing deaths from war.

The other thing that India has to do is to create political justification for war. "He is treading on my toes, so I must punish him". This can be used against Pakistan and China to take intimidatory or punitive action.
Last edited by shiv on 18 Oct 2010 07:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 17 Oct 2010 14:06

shiv wrote:India:
1) Resources. Resources for war will be resources removed from development funds. Resources are there for short sharp wars. India has already been successfully fighting low grade insurgency for decades.
2) Expendable lives: To an extent, yes.
3) Political accountability: In India this is the key factor. Other than "preserving the motherland" India has no ideology that requires fighting external campaigns. Therefore any external war has to be politically justifiable.

India will fight wars only as a reaction to aggression. Once someone attacks India it is dead easy for politicians to win national support for war.

In a sense "weak leadership" can either be politically accountable leadership (unlike Pakistan/China), or a nation that does not have the economy to wage war without a significant dent on the domestic economy (like USA). India's future IMO may have to be to follow the US model where wars can be fought by remote control as long as funds are available - reducing deaths from war.

The other thing that India has to do is to create political justification for war. "He is treading on my toes, so I must much him". This can be used against Pakistan and China to take intimidatory or punitive action.

  1. Resources - India would have to drive the cost of resources lower, be it through acquisitions of mines abroad, through increase in efficiency, through better logistics, through economies of scale, through labor costs, higher productivity, through export, through joint design & production, etc.
  2. Expendable Lives - In the name of sovereignty, USA outsources violence to proxies in Africa (earlier on), to Afghan National Army, to Pakistani Army, etc. and sometimes to Blackwater as well. During the Cold War, USA had NATO to share the loss of life with the allies. Through Chinese control over the Pakistani Army, China is bleeding USA by expending Taliban lives. It is best to expend the lives of others for own strategic gains where ever possible. Where it is not possible, one has to send in the own army. Some intervention by own army gives the army necessary training as well. I've mentioned earlier, that India should consider taking control over Pakjab, Bangladesh, etc. by taking control over the men under arms with them, as direct soldiers or as jihadis, and letting them loose on the tarrel than mountain fliend.
  3. Political accountability - India needs to build a much stronger appeal for Indian Nationalism, that encompasses all groups in India, especially the Muslims. "Bharat Mata" is a potent symbol for Hindus. We need to ask the Indian Muslims what symbolism they would feel comfortable with, which represents Indian Nationalism. When Hindus suggest symbols, often they are rejected. So the Muslims need to come up with their own. India should use religious symbols as well in addition to modern symbols of nationhood, War of Independence. In fact we should declare the whole of Indian Subcontinent as our backyard, where the other states have full freedom, except where it impinges on India's strategic space. That means Bangladesh should have no right to allow Chittagong to become a Chinese port, or Sri Lanka to conclude Defense relationships with China or Pakistan. Their sovereignty should not be total. And when they trespass the Lakshman Rekhas then it should have grave consequences.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby TonyMontana » 18 Oct 2010 07:30

What a gem of a topic! Fantastic. I shall read carefully.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby abhischekcc » 18 Oct 2010 09:34

The reason India does not initiate wars is because its administration is civilian in nature, and because war does not give electoral gains. Also, the separation of the defence forces from the civilian administration means that the politicians/buereaucrats have no knowledge of military options and do not know how to factor it in their decision making process.

Indira Gandhi's 1971 decision is the exception that proves the rule. She was not constrained by electoral pressures when she made that decision, since she was already the supreme leader of the country. Also, she gave SAM Manekshaw a free hand to train the army and organize resources for the war, and supported his schedule.

When I look at the profile of the average Indian politician who rises up from grassroots - it appears that the people are no strangers to posturing and intimidation. That is exactly what we read about in Indian politics at the ground level.

But when these people reach the top the behavior is no longer evident on a national or international level. I wonder what behavior modifications occur that lead to this. Some possibilities are that India follows a ye olde understated diplomacy style inherited from the British and continued by advice and guidance from the babucracy. Another is the possibility that by the time Indian politicians reach the top at the center - their own asses are already on fire because of the people they have pushed aside, cheated and intimidated - so they are too busy sustaining their own gaddi to give a damn about intimidating another nation for Indian geopolitical clout.


Effette advice from the burueaucracy may be just a small contributor. I think what happens is that the viciousness of international politics is far more than these intellectually challenged people can manage. These small time crooks can manage a riot here or a booth capturing there, but when it comes to making nuclear threats, they wear brown pants.

I mean the example of the murders of Shastri, IG, RG, and SG MUST be weighing on the minds of our 'leaders'.

What we need is a way to threaten the livelihood of the west and China. And what better way to do this than to 'manage the free flow of oil' from the Persian gulf. :)

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby RajeshA » 18 Oct 2010 10:55

shiv wrote:When I look at the profile of the average Indian politician who rises up from grassroots - it appears that the people are no strangers to posturing and intimidation. That is exactly what we read about in Indian politics at the ground level.

But when these people reach the top the behavior is no longer evident on a national or international level. I wonder what behavior modifications occur that lead to this. Some possibilities are that India follows a ye olde understated diplomacy style inherited from the British and continued by advice and guidance from the babucracy. Another is the possibility that by the time Indian politicians reach the top at the center - their own asses are already on fire because of the people they have pushed aside, cheated and intimidated - so they are too busy sustaining their own gaddi to give a damn about intimidating another nation for Indian geopolitical clout.

Having said that, the topmost echelons of Indian decision making have among their advisors - real professionals (military) who are well versed with the art of recognizing and differentiating posturing and intimidation from real threats with intelligence inputs adding to the process of assessments. It is at that level that one can expect intrigue and deception - in that top political statements from, say China may indicate one thing while something else happens on the ground.


I think it is a combination of three things:
  1. Local Focus. The Indian politician having gone through the electoral process, is more attuned to the local politics of his constituency and politics at state level. States in India have been cut out on linguistic and ethnic lines and the Indian politician feels mostly at home with those horizons as his limits. Usually the Indian politician ventures out of the state, when he becomes an M.P., but by then he is much older and his thinking has already been ossified at the state level. Even when he becomes an M.P. his attention remains anchored to the politics back 'home' in his state. By the nature of politics demanded at home, it is understandable that the politician has had less than sufficient time to devote to matters of the whole nation, let alone geopolitics. Perhaps if the politician was some businessman entrenched in export-import, he might have more exposure to rest of the world.
  2. Indian politicians do not have the drive to think big. Normal politicians hardly identify themselves with old empires which stretched beyond the borders of current India, and as such do not have the consciousness of an inheritance of something far larger, something they were robbed of by history and something that needs to be rectified. They also do not have a strong victim mentality of having been enslaved or their lands occupied, that they seek redress (perhaps fatalism at work here, or insufficient historical consciousness). Some RSS ideologues may feel something like that w.r.t "Akhand Bharat" or some Mughalist Muslims may feel this, but the Centralist parties in India like INC have formulated the nation concepts differently and belittled that consciousness. The Indian Mughalist Muslims have also been discouraged to take up their identification with Mughal Empire by the aggressiveness of Pakistan and the Two-Nation Theory. So the expansionist, aggressive pressure has been fully wiped out in India, in the absence of which one accepts the siege from the neighborhood.
  3. Bureaucratic Stranglehold. The Indian politicians once in Lok Sabha and national politics are first and foremost advised by bureaucrats who tell them that the instincts they learned at the village level and state level can not be used at the international level. There is a 'code of behavior'. Coming to the national level, the politicians already feel at some unease, perhaps because of change of language, or a change of environment and people. Not having had a pan-Indian consciousness earlier and seriously lacking pan-Indian knowledge, they feel uneasy taking decisions which affect the whole of India. They feel like they are encroaching upon the political calculus of other politicians from elsewhere, especially when criticized, so many decisions which concern India are postponed or not taken. As far as international relations are concerned, they are even more uneasy, and leave everything to MEA or other ministries. The babus however have come up through a Macaulayist protected upbringing, with no hurly burly of politics. These babus can talk and they can negotiate, but they cannot play international politics, and because of their meekness, Indian politicians too are not advised to be too aggressive.

Hence the political instincts of Indian politicians at the local level, cannot be scaled up.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Nihat » 18 Oct 2010 11:42

In modern history , how many nations have actually gained something from waging war for geo-political reasons?

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Pratyush » 18 Oct 2010 13:29

Rajesh/ Shiv,

I have a slightly different take on the nature of Indian domestic politics. Along with the reason why the goonda behavior does not translate to international level.

At the state level the political parties function on the basis of goonda power. But at the national level the same goonda power is held back. The primary reason may be that the parties are concerned by the image that the candidate may convey to the constituency. Also the political parties don't want any questions to be raised regarding the candidates nominated by them. (Their are parties that are exceptions to this).

This in effect creates a duality in the national politics. Goonda power at the base. Highly developed leader at the center. The candidates at the center may be supported by goonda power by proxy but they themselves have very limited exposure to the use of muscle power at home or abroad. They are used to getting their dirty work done by proxies and not by them selves. Ie the leader are underwriten by muscle power of their constituents.

Transplanting this behavior to the Indian state we see that the state itself is reactive and gives impression of weakness. But on a deeper analysis, you will see that the state never backs down from any international challenge. Be it TSP, CTBT, NPT or a host of agreements that the US wants India to sigh but are not under consideration by the GOI.

The politicians may not be brimming hellfire and brimstone but they are also not cowering in their dhotis. Any interlocutor that has spoken with India will agree to fact that the Indian negotiators give almost nothing away. They may not start with a maximal position and thereafter show generosity by conceding some ground. But they will present their case in a to the point manner and will not be bullied by any one into conceding something that will be detrimental to Indian interests.

Also, India at the state level doesn't believe in a Zero sum game. It believes in creating a win-win proposition for all. Having said that. The moment one starts to consider the use of military force to achieve a geopolitical objective / goal. You start playing a zero sum game.

Coupled with a risk averse nature of people in the positions of power. Along with the belief that India should not bee seen as the first mover in any circumstance. One can see the reason why the military is not a tool to achieve a geopolitical end.

JMT

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 18 Oct 2010 13:43

Nihat wrote:In modern history , how many nations have actually gained something from waging war for geo-political reasons?


China attacking India in 1962
Israel attack on Osirak
US vs Iraq

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby abhischekcc » 18 Oct 2010 14:07

Nihat wrote:In modern history , how many nations have actually gained something from waging war for geo-political reasons?


Victors of all wars have made geopolitical gains. :P

When you connect this statement with the query of this thread - why are Indian politicians not able to link war with similar gains - then it gives rise to a question:

Do Indian politicians think like losers? Do they not see the benefit of waging a successful war?

1971, 1965, and Kargil are good examples of what is possible on winnign a war. Conversely, 1962 is a good example of what happens when you lose a war.

Yet, Indian politicians do not seem to grasp the importance of war victory to a politicians career.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby abhischekcc » 18 Oct 2010 14:14

Transplanting this behavior to the Indian state we see that the state itself is reactive and gives impression of weakness. But on a deeper analysis, you will see that the state never backs down from any international challenge. Be it TSP, CTBT, NPT or a host of agreements that the US wants India to sigh but are not under consideration by the GOI.


Yes, but neither do these problems seem to get resolved.

Indian governance has been captured by the civilian bureaucracy and interests of no other segment of society are represented in the scheme of things.

Even the government is headed by a retired bureaucrat!

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby abhischekcc » 18 Oct 2010 14:22

At the root of the problem we are discussing is that we have not defined, as a nation, what our objectives are, what is it that we want. And at the root of THAT problem is that we have not defined who we are as a nation. Are we a secular nation, or are we a cultural nationalist nation? In the former, we define ourselves in western terms. In the latter, in Indian/Bharatiya terms. In the former, we are a nation state. In the latter, we are a civilisation state.

Who we are will define what we want, which is turn will define what needs to be done to get it.

If we are secular, then we will continue to appease pakistan, as we will see it as a nation similar to us. But as a civilization, we will see pakistan for what it is - a civilizational aggressor representing the worst instincts of Arab, Turks, and Mongolians.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Pratyush » 18 Oct 2010 14:27

Let me ask a question explicitely, what are the likely geopolitical interests of India that can be achieved through the use of military force today? 10 years from now etc.

Once we are able to answer this question only then will we be able to understand why is India acting the way it is.

JMT

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby abhischekcc » 18 Oct 2010 14:41

Ok, let us the most obvious example - war against pakistan. Let us imagine that this war leaves pakistan militarily incapacitated. This is a very broad term - so I am limiting it to mean that pakistan is no longer a physical threat - either conventionally, in jihad or as nuclear threat; to India, or any of its (paki's) neighbours. Whether pakistan is in one piece or not is not the point.

The immediate effect of this will be to free a very large portion of IA for deployment against China. Which will have a much needed calming effect on the fire breathing dragon. Which in turn will help stabilize all of Asia.

Another effect will be that J&K will be stabilized, and will no longer harbour pipedreams of azaadi. The people will go back to work and will stop pelting stones. It will be beneficial to Kashmiris and rest of India alike.

Another effect will be that more troops (militatry and paramilitary) will be released for anti-Naxal operations.
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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 18 Oct 2010 14:46

One thing to recall is that wars started for one reason can very easily "go wrong", escalate and end in disaster. So when one starts a war for some geopolitical end, it is best to plan some action, perform that action and call a cease fire and declare victory.

The sort of action that I would like to see is a short sharp strike against terrorist camps in Pakistan in response to a terrorist attack.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Lalmohan » 18 Oct 2010 14:47

the naxal solution needs to be primarily political and secondarily economic and tertiarilly policing

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Pratyush » 18 Oct 2010 14:50

Let me ask you one this, Is TSP a conventional threat to India and if so to what extent.

The problem with J&K is not related to TSP any more. Nor is it related to development. It hasnt been for a very long time. Suggesting a link gives TSP a veto that it dosenot desreve.

Will the Indian Nuke posture be completely ineffective towards dealing with the PRC when it comes to the conventional threat.

The Naxal threat is more of a governence followed by law & order and idealogicel issue. It can be beaten if the local police forces are strengthened along with an improvement in local governence and it dosenot require the presence of central forces.

JMT

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby Pratyush » 18 Oct 2010 14:52

shiv wrote:One thing to recall is that wars started for one reason can very easily "go wrong", escalate and end in disaster. So when one starts a war for some geopolitical end, it is best to plan some action, perform that action and call a cease fire and declare victory.

The sort of action that I would like to see is a short sharp strike against terrorist camps in Pakistan in response to a terrorist attack.



In a way take the lesson from the PLA playbook. Teach a lesson. When done under escalation dominance it is a practicable proposition.

But there is not gurantee that the enemy will also play by the same playbook. So we are back to not taking any action.

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Re: Waging war for geopolitical gains

Postby shiv » 18 Oct 2010 14:59

Pratyush wrote:
In a way take the lesson from the PLA playbook. Teach a lesson. When done under escalation dominance it is a practicable proposition.

But there is not gurantee that the enemy will also play by the same playbook. So we are back to not taking any action.


Pratyush I see the general direction your questions are heading. So let me take the next step and say it. If another nation imposes a short sharp war on India and then declares victory without any significant territorial gain, would that nation have achieved any geopolitical gain. (The gain in such a case may be domestic as much as external). Should we consider such a war as a loss or a defeat, or ignore it like a natural disaster.


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