Anoop wrote:Ok, I read this rant and am still "head-scratching". Cleo Pascal says that the Indian reaction to Chinese hegemony, is in many respects, ahead of the rest of the world. She particularly singles out 3 Indian think-tanks by name and recommends that people go to the source directly since these participation in those erstwhile closed groups is now open in the Covid-19 world. Does this suggest that Indian strategic thinkers, for whom you have shown such disdain in this post, are clueless?
Secondly, the fundamental conclusion from Col. Dinny's analysis, as recapped here, was that the Chinese were doing exactly what you attributed to Cleo Pascal's insight - pushing claims as much as they could, short of war. In Cleo's words, this is their strategy to show progress on a numerical ranking system for the benefit of the CPC. He arrived at this conclusion using a rhetorical device that used sub-themes to reject those hypotheses. What's so hard to understand?
I get your point.
“Everyone else is doing worse than us” is not even a consolation prize in an existential war. Survival of a nation is not graded on a curve.
“Clueless” is admittedly a harsh epithet. I’ll use “depressingly inadequate” if that’s less offensive. I say that because, we should understand that the Chinese goal with respect to India is to secure their southern, Himalayan border for all time to their satisfaction, at our eternal expense. “Teaching us our place” is a psychological stratagem to that end. It is also an integral component of the outcome that the Chinese desire: deep material domination of India, made durable and permanent by the psychological element.
We Indians are a proud people, we react angrily to a foreign power “putting us in our place.” That is a good thing, but depressingly inadequate. It is inadequate because we focus our fighting on assuaging the injury to our egos, and neglect the material aspect. That means we are handing the enemy a powerful tool to control us: massage or wound our egos as the occasion requires. All the while, they remain focused on accumulating what is ours: territory, economic levers, political autonomy.
It is depressing because it is basically colonialism, we have seen this movie multiple times, and should have learned by now. The British flattered when they had to, crushed our spirits when they could, and took over what is ours. Before them the Mughals held off the mighty and fearsome warriors of India by tossing a few ego-flattering crumbs their way, and proceeded to plunder and hollow out India at their leisure, utilising a newly-created class of happy collaborators for the purpose. As did the British. (Both classes of collaborators are still very much with us, and flourishing, eating away at India.)
Cleo Paskal was introducing the Indian strategic community to a largely-ignorant podcast audience. She should not be expected to rant like me on BRF. She is a third-party observer & reporter. She has no skin in the actual game between India and China, her “game” is information-vending only.
Even so, she made perfectly clear what should have been perfectly clear to us (and isn’t, because we still talk as though China’s colonizing project and its military adventurism are separate phenomena; indeed we hardly recognize their colonizing project for what it is.). Her crediting the Indian strategic community for their contribution to *her* game doesn’t mean that the community is doing a good-enough job of contributing to *our* game. It doesn’t mean they aren’t in general, either, but the list posted by SSridhar was an instance of obliviousness to the nature of our game. (SSridhar has said that there was more to the conversation than that list, and I accept that, noting that I reacted to what was posted, which had an exclusive focus on analyzing in detail the motivations of their taking this particular step, not a particularly useful thing in my opinion.)