Geopolitical thread

The Strategic Issues & International Relations Forum is a venue to discuss issues pertaining to India's security environment, her strategic outlook on global affairs and as well as the effect of international relations in the Indian Subcontinent. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
abhishek_sharma
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9664
Joined: 19 Nov 2009 03:27

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 26 Apr 2012 07:20

Botching the Bomb: Why Nuclear Weapons Programs Often Fail on Their Own -- and Why Iran’s Might, Too

By Jacques E. C. Hymans


The chronic problem of nuclear proliferation is once again dominating the news. A fierce debate has developed over how to respond to the threat posed by Iran's nuclear activities, which most experts believe are aimed at producing a nuclear weapon or at least the capacity to assemble one. In this debate, one side is pushing for a near-term military attack to damage or destroy Iran's nuclear program, and the other side is hoping that strict sanctions against the Islamic Republic will soften it up for a diplomatic solution. Both sides, however, share the underlying assumption that unless outside powers intervene in a dramatic fashion, it is inevitable that Iran will achieve its supposed nuclear goals very soon.

Yet there is another possibility. The Iranians had to work for 25 years just to start accumulating uranium enriched to 20 percent, which is not even weapons grade. The slow pace of Iranian nuclear progress to date strongly suggests that Iran could still need a very long time to actually build a bomb -- or could even ultimately fail to do so. Indeed, global trends in proliferation suggest that either of those outcomes might be more likely than Iranian success in the near future. Despite regular warnings that proliferation is spinning out of control, the fact is that since the 1970s, there has been a persistent slowdown in the pace of technical progress on nuclear weapons projects and an equally dramatic decline in their ultimate success rate.

The great proliferation slowdown can be attributed in part to U.S. and international nonproliferation efforts. But it is mostly the result of the dysfunctional management tendencies of the states that have sought the bomb in recent decades. Weak institutions in those states have permitted political leaders to unintentionally undermine the performance of their nuclear scientists, engineers, and technicians. The harder politicians have pushed to achieve their nuclear ambitions, the less productive their nuclear programs have become. Meanwhile, military attacks by foreign powers have tended to unite politicians and scientists in a common cause to build the bomb. Therefore, taking radical steps to rein in Iran would be not only risky but also potentially counterproductive, and much less likely to succeed than the simplest policy of all: getting out of the way and allowing the Iranian nuclear program's worst enemies -- Iran's political leaders -- to hinder the country's nuclear progress all by themselves.

NUCLEAR DOGS THAT HAVE NOT BARKED

"Today, almost any industrialized country can produce a nuclear weapon in four to five years," a former chief of Israeli military intelligence recently wrote in The New York Times, echoing a widely held belief. Indeed, the more nuclear technology and know-how have diffused around the world, the more the timeline for building a bomb should have shrunk. But in fact, rather than speeding up over the past four decades, proliferation has gone into slow motion.

Seven countries launched dedicated nuclear weapons projects before 1970, and all seven succeeded in relatively short order. By contrast, of the ten countries that have launched dedicated nuclear weapons projects since 1970, only three have achieved a bomb. And only one of the six states that failed -- Iraq -- had made much progress toward its ultimate goal by the time it gave up trying. (The jury is still out on Iran's program.) What is more, even the successful projects of recent decades have needed a long time to achieve their ends. The average timeline to the bomb for successful projects launched before 1970 was about seven years; the average timeline to the bomb for successful projects launched after 1970 has been about 17 years.

International security experts have been unable to convincingly explain this remarkable trend. The first and most credible conventional explanation is that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has prevented a cascade of new nuclear weapons states by creating a system of export controls, technology safeguards, and on-site inspections of nuclear facilities. The NPT regime has certainly closed off the most straightforward pathways to the bomb. However, the NPT became a formidable obstacle to would-be nuclear states only in the 1990s, when its export-control lists were expanded and Western states finally became serious about enforcing them and when international inspectors started acting less like tourists and more like detectives. Yet the proliferation slowdown started at least 20 years before the system was solidified. So the NPT, useful though it may be, cannot alone account for this phenomenon.

A second conventional explanation is that although the NPT regime may not have been very effective, American and Israeli bombs have been. Syria's nascent nuclear effort, for instance, was apparently dealt a major setback by an Israeli air raid on its secret reactor construction site in 2007. But the record of military strikes is mixed. Contrary to the popular myth of the success of Israel's 1981 bombing of the Osiraq reactor in Iraq, the strike actually spurred Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to move beyond vague intentions and commit strongly to a dedicated nuclear weapons project, which lasted until the 1990-91 Gulf War. Moreover, the bombs that the United States dropped on Iraq during that conflict mostly missed Saddam's nuclear sites.

Finally, some analysts have asserted that nuclear weapons projects become inefficient due to political leaders' flagging levels of commitment. But these analysts are reversing cause and effect: leaders lose interest when their nuclear programs are not running well. And some nuclear weapons projects, such as France's, have performed well despite very tepid support from above. The imperfect correlation between the commitment of leaders and the quality of nuclear programs should not be surprising, for although commentators may speak casually of "Mao's bomb" or "Kim Jong Il's bomb," the real work has to be carried out by other people.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

A more convincing explanation of the proliferation slowdown begins with the observation that during the early days of the nuclear age, most states with nuclear ambitions were in the developed world, whereas since the mid-1960s, most would-be nuclear states have been in the developing world. As proliferation has become a mainly developing-world phenomenon, timelines to the bomb have slowed down dramatically. But the relevant difference here is not primarily economic. Some nuclear programs in very poor states have fared rather well, such the one undertaken by famine-stricken China in the 1950s and 1960s. Conversely, wealthy oil states, such as Iraq and Libya, spent vast amounts on decades-long nuclear quests but still failed.

National income is only one dimension of development, however, and in this case it is not the most important one. As the political scientist Francis Fukuyama has stressed, despite strong rates of economic growth, most developing countries struggle to establish high-quality state bureaucracies. And a dysfunctional bureaucracy is likely to produce a dysfunctional nuclear weapons project.

Nuclear research and development organizations depend heavily on intense commitment, creative thinking, and a shared spirit of cooperation among large numbers of highly educated scientific and technical workers. To elicit this positive behavior, management needs to respect their professional autonomy and facilitate their efforts, and not simply order them around. Respect for professional autonomy was instrumental to the brilliant successes of the earliest nuclear weapons projects. Even in Stalin's Soviet Union, as the historian David Holloway has written, "it is striking how the apparatus of the police state fused with the physics community to build the bomb. . . . [The physics community's] autonomy was not destroyed by the creation of the nuclear project. It continued to exist within the administrative system that was set up to manage the project."

By contrast, most rulers of recent would-be nuclear states have tended to rely on a coercive, authoritarian management approach to advance their quest for the bomb, using appeals to scientists' greed and fear as the primary motivators. That coercive approach is a major mistake, because it produces a sense of alienation in the workers by removing their sense of professionalism. As a result, nuclear programs lose their way. Moreover, underneath these bad management choices lie bad management cultures. In developing states with inadequate civil service protections, every decision tends to become politicized, and state bureaucrats quickly learn to keep their heads down. Not even the highly technical matters faced by nuclear scientific and technical workers are safe from meddling politicians. The result is precisely the reverse of what the politicians intend: not heightened efficiency but rather a mixture of bureaucratic sloth, corruption, and endless blame shifting.

Although it is difficult to measure the quality of state institutions precisely, the historical record strongly indicates that the more a state has conformed to the professional management culture generally found in developed states, the less time it has needed to get its first bomb and the lower its chances of failure. Conversely, the more a state has conformed to the authoritarian management culture typically found in developing states, the more time it has needed to get its first bomb and the higher its chances of failure.

Of course, not all developing states share the same model. For instance, as the political scientist Samuel Huntington famously argued, the Soviet Union's "bureaucratic" form of communism was merely a variation on the basic archetype of the western European state. Thus, although the Soviet Union was bad at many things, it was good at "big science." Likewise, China's successful nuclear weapons project took place at a time when the Chinese Communist Party was still clinging to the Soviet bureaucratic communist model, despite Chairman Mao Zedong's best efforts to wreck it. The Chinese nuclear program fared poorly when Mao was manhandling the party, but it fared well when the party was able to keep him at bay, which it managed to do just long enough to attain the bomb.

THE IRAQI NUCLEAR MIRAGE

The case of Iraq's nuclear activities in the 1980s might seem to contradict the idea that the global proliferation slowdown has resulted from poor management practices. After all, according to the conventional wisdom in Washington, Iraq had come to within just a few months of obtaining its first bomb when the Gulf War serendipitously intervened. But in fact, the Iraqi case provides a clear instance of authoritarian mismanagement leading to an inefficient nuclear weapons project.

In the years leading up to Israel's 1981 attack on Iraq's half-built Osiraq reactor, Iraq's nuclear program had been ravaged by one of Saddam's periodic fits of peremptory dismissals and jailings of officials and scientists. But immediately after the strike, Saddam released Iraq's top nuclear scientist, Jafar Dhia Jafar, from house arrest and reinstalled him as the head of the nuclear program. (Jafar had been detained after objecting to the jailing of another top nuclear scientist.) Jafar's return marked the beginning of Iraq's dedicated nuclear weapons project. For a while, the project progressed well. The Israeli attack had awakened the nationalist pride of Iraq's nuclear scientists, and they were determined to succeed.

But in the mid-1980s, the program fell victim to a power grab by Hussein Kamel al-Majid, Saddam's powerful son-in-law. Kamel's reign over the nuclear program was almost a caricature of a coercive management approach. He imposed unrealistic deadlines for technical progress, causing machines and human beings alike to crack under the pressure. He pitted scientists against one another in brutal competition, forcing them to duplicate work that others had already completed. When progress toward the bomb appeared to stall, he demanded dramatic technical changes, rendering prior work practically meaningless. And his pursuit of sensitive materials on the international black market was so blatant that by the end of the 1980s, even the sleepiest nonproliferation watchdogs had begun to take notice.

Kamel relentlessly bullied his scientists, with predictable results. For instance, in 1987, he asked Mahdi Obeidi, the leader of the team tasked with building gas centrifuges, how long it would take to get the first one up and running. Obeidi imagined two years but, fearful of displeasing Kamel, said one year. In response, Kamel told Obeidi that he had 45 days. The result was a mad dash that caused the finely crafted, costly centrifuge rotor to crack on its first test run. Thanks to this rampant mismanagement, Iraq still had not produced any weapons-grade highly enriched uranium at all by the time the Gulf War intervened, even after spending $1 billion on ten years of work and despite successfully concealing the bulk of its program from the outside world. The Iraqi program was a "spectacular failure," according to Robert Kelley, a former inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "This was probably one of the most expensive undertakings in the history of mankind in terms of dollars spent to material produced."

After the Gulf War, international inspectors were shocked to find many large, well-equipped secret nuclear facilities in Iraq. With all that fancy equipment, Iraq probably could have built the bomb within a couple of years -- if it had been able to count on a well-motivated, professional scientific and technical team. But by 1991, after years of coercive, authoritarian mismanagement, Iraq's scientific and technical workers had become exhausted, cynical, and divided. Most security analysts have been slow to understand this reality and have perpetuated the myth that Iraq was very close to building a bomb before the Gulf War.

Outside analysts have also overstated the threat posed by Iraq's "crash program," which was launched immediately after Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The crash program was a last-ditch attempt to make a bomb with highly enriched uranium reactor fuel that Iraq had legally purchased under international safeguards in the late 1970s. In retrospect, those transfers should not have been permitted. But Iraq's management problems affected the crash program just as much as they affected every other aspect of the nuclear weapons project. As a result, even the crash program was badly stalled before the end of the Gulf War. Hence, from a strategic point of view, it did not matter that U.S. bombs missed Iraq's nuclear sites in 1991, because the Iraqi nuclear program had already crumbled from within.

CAVEAT EMPTOR

Iraq's experience notwithstanding, many proliferation analysts insist that although technologically backward states might not have been capable of nuclear weapons development in the past, they can now simply purchase all they need in the freewheeling globalized marketplace. Admittedly, illicit nuclear entrepreneurs -- such as A. Q. Khan, the rogue Pakistani scientist who sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea -- do pose a threat. But international nuclear technology transfers often fail because the dysfunctional states that are trying to get the bomb are hardly any better at exploiting foreign nuclear know-how than they are at developing their own.

Libya's misbegotten nuclear weapons project reflects this general pattern. Despite buying all the items in Khan's catalog, Libya was unable to "put them together and make them work," according to a 2005 U.S. government report. Indeed, when IAEA inspectors gained access to Libyan nuclear facilities after Libya's president, Muammar al-Qaddafi, abandoned the project in 2003, they found much of the imported merchandise still in its original packing crates.

As for some analysts' terrifying predictions of ex-Soviet nuclear scientists and technicians leaving home en masse to further the nuclear ambitions of rogue regimes, this is more the stuff of Hollywood than a genuine problem. Ex-Soviet researchers vastly prefer the professional establishments of the West over the secret lairs of brutal dictators. Moreover, developing-state rulers need to be wary of recruiting outsiders, since the few genuine nuclear experts available can be hard to distinguish from the scores of frauds and spies also on the market. Take, for instance, the case of Argentine President Juan Perón's post-World War II recruitment of Nazi scientists. This was perhaps the most successful effort to produce a reverse scientific brain drain in history. Yet Ronald Richter, the Austrian physicist whom Perón chose to head his nascent nuclear program, turned out to be part con man and part madman. Perón realized his error only after the snickering worldwide reaction to his 1951 announcement that Richter had succeeded in producing controlled fusion.

TARDY IN TEHRAN

In the intensifying crisis over Iran's nuclear activity, the great proliferation slowdown has gone all but unmentioned. Yet this robust global trend clearly indicates a need to guard against any hasty conclusion that Iran's nuclear program is about to achieve its ultimate aims. Iran's nuclear scientists and engineers may well find a way to inoculate themselves against Israeli bombs and computer hackers. But they face a potentially far greater obstacle in the form of Iran's long-standing authoritarian management culture. In a study of Iranian human-resource practices, the management analysts Pari Namazie and Monir Tayeb concluded that the Iranian regime has historically shown a marked preference for political loyalty over professional qualifications. "The belief," they wrote, "is that a loyal person can learn new skills, but it is much more difficult to teach loyalty to a skilled person." This is the classic attitude of authoritarian managers. And according to the Iranian political scientist Hossein Bashiriyeh, in recent years, Iran's "irregular and erratic economic policies and practices, political nepotism and general mismanagement" have greatly accelerated. It is hard to imagine that the politically charged Iranian nuclear program is sheltered from these tendencies.

It is surely more difficult to assess the quality of Iran's nuclear management than it is to count the number of Iranian centrifuge machines. But such an assessment is vital, because the progress of Iran's program will depend on how much professional autonomy its scientists and engineers are able to retain. In the meantime, a number of broad lessons from the great proliferation slowdown can help provide a more sober assessment of the situation.

The first lesson is to be wary of narrow, technocentric analyses of a state's nuclear weapons potential. Recent alarming estimates of Iran's timeline to the bomb have been based on the same assumptions that have led Israel and the United States to consistently overestimate Iran's rate of nuclear progress for the last 20 years. The majority of official U.S. and Israeli estimates during the 1990s predicted that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons by 2000. After that date passed with no Iranian bomb in sight, the estimate was simply bumped back to 2005, then to 2010, and most recently to 2015. The point is not that the most recent estimates are necessarily wrong but rather that they lack credibility. In particular, policymakers should heavily discount any intelligence assessments that do not explicitly account for the impact of management quality on Iran's proliferation timeline.

The second lesson of the proliferation slowdown is that policymakers should reject analyses based on assumptions about a state's capacity to build nuclear programs in secret. Ever since the mid-1990s, official proliferation assessments have freely extrapolated from minimal data, a practice that led U.S. intelligence analysts to wrongly conclude that Iraq had reconstituted its weapons of mass destruction programs after the Gulf War. The United States must guard against the possibility of an equivalent intelligence failure over Iran. This is not to deny that Tehran may be keeping some of its nuclear work secret. But it is simply unreasonable to assume, for example, that Iran has compensated for the problems it has faced with centrifuges at the Natanz uranium-enrichment facility by hiding better-working centrifuges at some unknown facility. Indeed, when Iran has tried to hide weapons-related activities in the past, it has often been precisely because the work was at the very early stages or was going badly.

The third lesson is that states that poorly manage their nuclear programs can bungle even the supposedly easy steps of the process. For instance, based on estimates of the size of North Korea's plutonium stockpile and the presumed ease of weapons fabrication, U.S. intelligence agencies thought that by the 1990s, North Korea had built one or two nuclear weapons. But in 2006, North Korea's first nuclear test essentially fizzled, making it clear that the "hermit kingdom" did not have any working weapons at all. Even its second try, in 2009, did not work properly. Similarly, if Iran eventually does acquire a significant quantity of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium, this should not be equated with the possession of a nuclear weapon.

The fourth lesson is to avoid doing anything that might motivate scientific and technical workers to commit themselves more firmly to the nuclear weapons project. Nationalist fervor can partially compensate for poor organization. Therefore, violent actions, such as aerial bombardments or assassinations of scientists, are a loser's bet. As shown by the consequences of the Israeli attack on Osiraq, such strikes are liable to unite the state's scientific and technical workers behind their otherwise illegitimate political leadership. Acts of sabotage, such as the Stuxnet computer worm, which damaged Iranian nuclear equipment in 2010, stand at the extreme boundary between sanctions and violent attacks, and therefore they should be undertaken only after very thorough consideration.

Traditionally, nonproliferation strategy has revolved around persuading leaders to stop desiring nuclear weapons and depriving nuclear scientists of the tools necessary to build them. But scientists have motivations, too, and policymakers must keep in mind this critical third dimension of nuclear programs' efficiency. The world is lucky that during the past few decades, the leaders of would-be nuclear weapons states have been so good at frustrating and alienating their scientists. The United States and its partners must take care not to adopt policies that resolve those leaders' management problems for them.


svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 26 Apr 2012 10:13

World suffering a sustainability crisis


World suffering a sustainability crisis
Published: 26/04/2012 at 02:01 AM


The annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have provided a window into two fundamental trends driving global politics and the world economy. Geopolitics is moving decisively away from a world dominated by Europe and the United States to one with many regional powers but no global leader. And a new era of economic instability is at hand, owing as much to physical limits to growth as to financial turmoil.

Europe's economic crisis dominated this year's IMF/World Bank meetings. The Fund is seeking to create an emergency rescue mechanism in case the weak European economies need another financial bailout, and has turned to major emerging economies _ Brazil, China, India, the Gulf oil exporters, and others _ to help provide the necessary resources. Their answer is clear: "yes", but only in exchange for more power and votes at the IMF. As Europe wants an international financial backstop, it will have to agree.

Of course, the emerging economies' demand for more power is a well-known story. In 2010, when the IMF last increased its financial resources, the emerging economies agreed to the deal only if their voting share within the IMF was increased by around 6%, with Europe losing around 4%. Now emerging markets are demanding an even greater share of power.

The underlying reason is not difficult to see. According to the IMF's own data, the European Union's current members accounted for 31% of the world economy in 1980 (measured by each country's GDP, adjusted for purchasing power). By 2011, the EU share slid to 20%, and the Fund projects that it will decline further to 17%, by 2017.

This decline reflects Europe's slow growth in terms of both population and output per person. On the other side of the ledger, the global GDP share of the Asian developing countries, including China and India, has soared, from around 8% in 1980 to 25% in 2011, and is expected to reach 31% by 2017.

The US, characteristically these days, insists that it will not join any new IMF bailout fund. The US Congress has increasingly embraced isolationist economic policies, especially regarding financial help for others. This, too, reflects the long-term wane of US power. The US share of global GDP, around 25% in 1980, declined to 19% in 2011, and is expected to slip to 18% in 2017, by which point the IMF expects that China will have overtaken the US economy in absolute size (adjusted for purchasing power).

But the shift of global power is more complicated than the decline of the North Atlantic (EU and US) and the rise of the emerging economies, especially the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). We are also shifting from a unipolar world, led mainly by the US, to a truly multipolar world, in which the US, the EU, the BRICS, and smaller powers (such as Nigeria and Turkey) carry regional weight but are reticent to assume global leadership, especially its financial burdens. The issue is not just that there are five or six major powers now; it is also that all of them want a free ride at the others' expense.

The shift to such a multipolar world has the advantage that no single country or small bloc can dominate the others. Each region can end up with room for manoeuvre and some space to find its own path. Yet a multipolar world also carries great risks, notably that major global challenges will go unmet, because no single country or region is able or willing to coordinate a global response, or even to participate in one.

The US has shifted rapidly from global leadership to that kind of free riding, seeming to bypass the stage of global cooperation. Thus, the US currently excuses itself from global cooperation on climate change, IMF financial-bailout packages, global development-assistance targets, and other aspects of international collaboration in the provision of global public goods.

The weaknesses of global policy cooperation are especially worrisome in view of the gravity of the challenges that must be met. Of course, the ongoing global financial turmoil comes to mind immediately, but other challenges are even more significant.

Indeed, the IMF/World Bank meetings also grappled with a second fundamental change in the world economy: high and volatile primary commodity prices are a major threat to stability and growth.

Since around 2005, the prices of most major commodities have soared. Prices for oil, coal, copper, gold, wheat, maize, iron ore, and many other commodities have doubled, tripled, or risen even more. Fuels, food grains, and minerals have all been affected. Some have attributed the rise to bubbles in commodities prices, owing to low interest rates and easy access to credit for commodity speculation. Yet the most compelling explanation is almost certainly more fundamental.

Growing world demand for primary commodities, especially in China, is pushing hard against the physical supplies of global resources. Yes, more oil or copper can be produced, but only at much higher marginal production costs.

But the problem goes beyond supply constraints. Global economic growth is also causing a burgeoning environmental crisis. Food prices are high today partly because food-growing regions around the world are experiencing the adverse effects of human-induced climate change (such as more droughts and extreme storms), and of water scarcity caused by excessive use of freshwater.

In short, the global economy is experiencing a sustainability crisis, in which resource constraints and environmental pressures are causing large price shocks and ecological instability. Economic development rapidly needs to become sustainable development, by adopting technologies and lifestyles that reduce the dangerous pressures on the Earth's ecosystems. This, too, will require a level of global cooperation that remains nowhere to be seen. The IMF/World Bank meetings remind us of an overarching truth: our highly interconnected and crowded world has become a highly complicated vessel. If we are to move forward, we must start pulling in the same direction, even without a single captain at the helm.

Jeffrey D Sachs is Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals. 2012 Project Syndicate

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 26 Apr 2012 10:23

Where was BRICS unity?

Where was BRICS unity?
When leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met in New Delhi on March 29 their communiqué welcomed “the candidatures from the developing world for the position of the president of the World Bank”.

25 April 2012 | BARRY D WOOD


When leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met in New Delhi on March 29 their communiqué welcomed “the candidatures from the developing world for the position of the president of the World Bank”.

Two and a half weeks later in Washington when ballots were cast, three of the five BRICS – Russia, India and China– voted for the American candidate, Dr Jim Yong Kim, the Dartmouth College president put forward by President Obama.

What happened to BRICS unity, asked development specialists, when all of Africa had united around the South African sponsored candidacy of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala? The Russians, Indians and Chinese aren’t saying. But analysts suggest the Okonjo Iweala candidacy was fatally compromised by Brazil’s decision to put up its own nominee, Colombian economist Jose Antonio Ocampo.

Two days before the first open World Bank contest in its 60 year history, Ocampo withdrew in favour of the Nigerian, but it was too late.

In fact, because advanced economies hold a majority of the weighted votes and because Europe owed America for last year supporting its candidate, Christine Lagarde, to head the IMF, there was no way that the Nigerian could have won the April 16 ballot.


Led by India and Brazil, the BRICS at New Delhi insisted any new money from them was linked to assurances of getting more say in IMF decision-making. Their communiqué stated, an “increase in the lending capacity of the IMF will only be successful if there is confidence that the entire membership of the institution is truly committed to implement the 2010 reform faithfully”. The 2010 reform would shift 6% of the votes from advanced to emerging market countries.

But as with the World Bank job, BRICS unity crumbled in Washington. While Lagarde was passing the hat for contributions, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak disclosed on April 20 that Russia would be putting up $10 billion and that the other BRICS would reveal their contributions by the end of the meeting. The Indians and Brazilians were furious as G20 finance ministers had yet to state their intentions on IMF reforms.

But Moscow then promised to up its pledge after it learned that Poland was promising to give nearly as much as Russia. China, seeking solidarity with both the BRICS and the IMF, cancelled a planned April 21 press conference where its central bank governor had been expected to disclose the Chinese contribution. South Africa also chose to keep quiet, not revealing that it alone among the BRICS did not intend to contribute, despite having a GDP larger than Denmark’s, which pledged $5 billion, and the Czech Republic, which is putting up $1.5 billion.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 26 Apr 2012 10:36

Image

Image


China’s Land Bridge to Turkey creates new Eurasian Geopolitical Potentials
China’s Land Bridge to Turkey creates new Eurasian Geopolitical Potentials
More blog posts from William Engdahl

WEDNESDAY, 25 APRIL 2012 06:34
0 Comments
By F. William Engdahl*

The prospect of an unparalleled Eurasian economic boom lasting into the next Century and beyond is at hand. The first sinews of binding the vast economic space have been put in place or are being constructed with a number of little-publicized rail links connecting China, Russia, Kazakhstan and parts of Western Europe. It is becoming clear to more people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia including China and Russia that their natural tendency to build these markets faces only one major obstacle: NATO and the US Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance obsession. In the period prior to World War I it was the decision in Berlin to build a rail land link to and through the Turkish Ottoman Empire from Berlin to Baghdad that was the catalyst for British strategists to incite the events that plunged Europe into the most destructive war in history to that date. Today more and more the economically stressed economies of the EU are beginning to look east and less to their west across the Atlantic for Europe’s economic future. Rail infrastructure is one major key to building vast new economic markets across Eurasia.

China and Turkey are in discussions to build a new high-speed railway link across Turkey. If completed it would be the country's largest railway project ever, even including the pre-World War I Berlin-Baghdad Railway link. The project was perhaps the most important agenda item, far more so than Syria during talks in Beijing between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Chinese leadership in early April. The proposed rail link would run from Kars on the easternmost border with Armenia, through the Turkish interior on to Istanbul where it would connect to the Marmaray rail tunnel now under construction that runs under the Bosphorus strait. Then it would continue to Edirne near the border to Greece and Bulgaria in the European Union. It will cost an estimated $35 billion. The realization of the Turkish link would complete a Chinese Trans-Eurasian Rail Bridge project that would bring freight from China to Spain and England.1

The Kars-Edirne line would reduce travel time across Turkey by two-thirds from 36 hours down to 12. Under an agreement signed between China and Turkey in October 2010, China has agreed to extend loans of $30 billion for the planned rail network.2 In addition a Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway connecting Azerbaijan's capital of Baku to Kars is under construction, which greatly increases the strategic importance of the Edirne-Kars line. For China it would put a critical new link in its railway infrastructure across Eurasia to markets in Europe and beyond.



(Map: Yunus Emre Hatunoğlu)

Erdogan’s visit to Beijing was significant for other reasons. It was the first such high level trip of a Turkish Prime Minister to China since 1985. The fact that Erdogan was also granted a high-level meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the man slated to be next Chinese President, and was granted an extraordinary visit to China’s oil-rich Xinjiang Province also shows the high priority China is placing on its relations with Turkey, a key emerging strategic force in the Middle East.

Xinjiang is a highly sensitive part of China as it hosts some 9 million ethnic Uyghurs who share a Turkic heritage with Turkey as well as nominal adherence to the Turkish Sunni branch of Islam. In July 2009 the US government, acting through the National Endowment for Democracy, the regime-change NGO it finances, backed a major Uyghur uprising in which many Han Chinese shop owners were killed or injured. Washington in turn blamed the riots on Beijing as part of a strategy of escalating pressure on China. 3During Uyghur riots in Xinjiang in 2009, Erdogan accused Beijing of “genocide” and attacked the Chinese on human rights, a dicey issue for Turkey given their Kurd ethnic problems. Clearly economic priorities from both sides have now changed the political calculus.

Building the world’s greatest market

With the end of the Cold War in 1990 the vast under-developed land space of Eurasia became open again. This space contains some forty percent of total land in the world, much of it prime unspoiled agriculture land; it contains three-fourth of the entire world population, an asset of incalculable worth. It consists of some eighty eight of the world’s countries and three-fourths of known world energy resources as well as every mineral known needed for industrialization. North America as an economic potential, rich as she is, pales by comparison.

The Turkish-China railway discussion is but one part of a vast Chinese strategy to weave a network of inland rail connections across the Eurasian Continent. The aim is to literally create the world’s greatest new economic space and in turn a huge new market for not just China but all Eurasian countries, the Middle East and Western Europe. Direct rail service is faster and cheaper than either ships or trucks, and much cheaper than airplanes. For manufactured Chinese or other Eurasian products the rail land bridge links are creating vast new economic trading activity all along the rail line.

Two factors have made this prospect realizable for the first time since the Second World War. First the collapse of the Soviet Union has opened up the land space of Eurasia in entirely new ways as has the opening of China to Russia and its Eurasian neighbors, overcoming decades of mistrust. This is being met by the eastward expansion of the European Union to the countries of the former Warsaw Pact.

The demand for faster rail transport over the vast Eurasian distances is clear. China’s container port activity and that of its European and North American destinations is reaching a saturation point as volumes of container traffic explode at double-digit rates. Singapore recently displaced Rotterdam as the world’s largest port in volume terms. The growth rate for container port throughput in China in 2006, before outbreak of the world financial crisis was some 25% annually. In 2007 Chinese ports accounted for some 28 per cent of world container port throughput. 4 However there is another aspect to the Chinese and, to an extent, the Russian land bridge strategies. By moving trade flows over land, it is more secure in the face of escalating military tensions between the nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, especially China and Russia, and NATO. Sea transport must flow through highly vulnerable narrow passageways or chokepoints such as the Malaysian Straits of Malacca.

The Turkish Kars-Edirne railway would form an integral part of an entire web of Chinese-initiated rail corridors across the Eurasian landmass. Following the example of how rail infrastructure transformed the economic space of Europe and later of America during the late 19th Century, the Chinese government, which today stands as the world’s most efficient railroad constructor, has quietly been extending its rail links into Central Asia and beyond for several years. They have proceeded in segments, one reason the vast ambition of their grand rail infrastructure has drawn so little attention to date in the West outside the shipping industry. China builds Second Eurasian Land Bridge

By 2011 China had completed a Second Eurasian Land Bridge running from China’s port of Lianyungang on the East China Sea through to Kazakhstan’s Druzhba and on to Central Asia, West Asia and Europe to various European destinations and finally to Rotterdam Port of Holland on the Atlantic coast.

The Second Eurasian Land Bridge is a new railway connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic that was completed by China to Druzhba in Kazakhstan. This newest Eurasia land bridge extends west in China through six provinces--Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang autonomous region, which neighbors respectively with Shandong Province, Shanxi Province, Hubei Province, Sichuan Province, Qinghai Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia. That covers about 360,000 square kilometers, some 37% of the total land space of China. About 400 million people live in the areas, which accounts for 30% of the total population of the country. Outside of China, the land bridge covers over 40 countries and regions in both Asia and Europe, and is particularly important for the countries in Central and West Asia that don’t have sea outlets.

In 2011 China’s Vice Premier Wang Qishan announced plans to build a new high-speed railway link within Kazakhstan, linking the cities of Astana and Almaty, to be ready in 2015. The Astana-Almaty line, with a total length of 1050 kilometers, employing China’s advanced rail-building technology, will allow high- speed trains to run at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

DB Schenker Rail Automotive is now transporting auto parts from Leipzig to Shenyang in northeastern China for BMW. Trains loaded with parts and components depart from DB Schenker's Leipzig trans- shipment terminal in a three-week, 11,000 km journey to BMW's Shenyang plant in the Liaoning

province, where components are used in the assembly of BMW vehicles. Beginning in late November 2011, trains bound for Shenyang departed Leipzig once each day. "With a transit time of 23 days, the direct trains are twice as fast as maritime transport, followed by over-the-road transport to the Chinese hinterland," says Dr. Karl-Friedrich Rausch, member of the management board for DB Mobility Logistics' Transportation and Logistics division. The route reaches China via Poland, Belarus, and Russia. Containers have to be transferred by crane to different gauges twice—first to Russian broad gauge at the Poland- Belarus border, then back to standard gauge at the Russia-China border in Manzhouli. 5

In May 2011 a daily direct rail freight service was launched between the Port of Antwerp, Europe’s second-largest port, and Chongqing, the industrial hub in China’s southwest. That greatly speeded rail freight transport across Eurasia to Europe. Compared to the 36 days for maritime transport from east China’s ports to west Europe, the Antwerp-Chongqing Rail Freight service now takes 20 to 25 days, and the aim is to cut that to 15 to 20 days. Westbound cargo includes automotive and technological goods, eastbound shipments are mostly chemicals. The project was a major priority for the Antwerp Port and the Belgian government in cooperation with China and other partners. The service is run by Swiss inter- modal logistics provider Hupac, their Russian partner Russkaya Troyka and Eurasia Good Transport over a distance of more than 10,000km, starting from Port of Antwerp through to Germany and Poland, and further to Ukraine, Russia and Mongolia before reaching Chongqing in China.6

The Second Eurasian Land Bridge runs 10,900 kilometers in length, with some 4100 kilometers of that in China. Within China the line runs parallel to one of the ancient routes of the Silk Road. The rail line continues across China into Druzhba where it links with the broader gauge rail lines of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the largest inland country in the world. As Chinese rail and highways have expanded west, trade between Kazakhstan and China has been booming. From January to October 2008, goods passing through the Khorgos port between the two nations reached 880,000 tons - over 250% growth compared with the same period a year before. Trade between China and Kazakhstan is expected to grow 3 to 5 fold by 2013. As of 2008, only about 1% of the goods shipped from Asia to Europe were delivered by overland routes, meaning the room for expansion is considerable.7

From Kazakhstan the lines go on via Russia and Belarus over Poland to the markets of the European Union.

Another line goes to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s largest city of some two millions. Another line goes west to Turkmenistan’s capital Asgabat and to the border of Iran. 8 With some additional investment, these links, now tied to the vast expanse and markets of China could open new economic possibilities in much-neglected regions of Central Asia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) could provide a well-suited vehicle for coordination of a broad Eurasian rail infrastructure coordination to maximize these initial rail links. The members of the SCO, formed in 2001, include China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, Uzbekistan with Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan as Observer Status countries.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 26 Apr 2012 11:09

The geopolitical dimension

Not every major international player is pleased about the growing linkages binding the economies of Eurasia with western Europe and Africa. In his now famous 1997 book, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives”, former Presidential adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski noted,

In brief, for the United States, Eurasian geo-strategy involves the purposeful management of geo- strategically dynamic states…To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geo-strategy are to prevent collusion and to maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” 12

The “barbarians” that Brzezinski refers to are China and Russia and all in between. The “imperial geo- strategy” refers to US strategic foreign policy. The “vassals” are countries like Germany, Japan and other NATO allies of the US. That Brzezinski geopolitical notion remains US foreign policy today.

The prospect of an unparalleled Eurasian economic boom lasting into the next Century and beyond is at hand. The first sinews of binding the vast economic space have been put in place or are being constructed with these rail links. It is becoming clear to more people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia including China and Russia that their natural tendency to build these markets faces only one major obstacle: NATO and the US Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance obsession. In the period prior to World War I it was the decision in Berlin to build a rail land link to and through the Turkish Ottoman Empire from Berlin to Baghdad that was the catalyst for British strategists to incite the events that plunged Europe into the most destructive war in history to that date. This time hopefully we have a chance to avoid a similar fate with the Eurasian development. More and more the economically stressed economies of the EU are beginning to look east and less to their west across the Atlantic for Europe’s economic future.

*F. William Engdahl is author of several books on contemporary geopolitics including A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. He is available via his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net

abhishek_sharma
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9664
Joined: 19 Nov 2009 03:27

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 27 Apr 2012 06:53

Judt, Tony; Snyder, Timothy (2012-02-02). Thinking the Twentieth Century Penguin Group.

On her mother’s side, my first wife’s family were prosperous Jewish professionals from Breslau: representative types from a long-established Jewish German bourgeoisie. Although they had escaped Nazi Germany and settled comfortably in England, they remained profoundly German in everything they did: from the décor of the household, to the food they ate, to the conversation, to the cultural references with which they identified one another and newcomers. Whenever one of the aunts wished to put me in my place, she would politely inquire as to whether I had read such and such German classic. Their sense of loss was palpable and omnipresent: the German world that had abandoned them was the only one they knew and the only one worth having—its absence was a source of far greater pain than anything that the Nazis had perpetrated.

My father, from a very different, Eastern European Jewish background, was unfailingly astonished to learn that his in-laws returned year-in, year-out to Germany for their vacations. He would just turn to my mother in utter bewilderment and ask, silently, but how could they? To tell the truth, my first mother-in-law remained rather fond of Germany—both the Silesia of her childhood and the prosperous, comfortable new Bonn Republic with which she was increasingly familiar. Both she and her sister remained convinced that it was Hitler who was the aberration. Deutschtum for them remained a living reality. German civilization was one Jewish ideal of universal values; international revolution—its polar opposite—was another. In some ways, the tragedy of our century lies in the discrediting of both these universals by the 1930s, with the implications and horrors of that unraveling rippling outwards for decades to come. Yet the place of anti-Semitism in this story is not always as straightforward as people fondly suppose. When Karl Lueger was first elected mayor of Vienna in 1897 on an overtly anti-Semitic platform, the culturally confident Jews of Vienna by no means conceded to him an authority to define national or cultural identity. They were at least as secure in their own identity and would probably, if asked, have preferred that he choose (as he claimed to do) who was and was not Jewish rather than who could and could not be German. Lueger for them, like Hitler for a later generation, was a passing aberration.

In the Habsburg monarchy, anti-Semitism was a new form of politics that Jews and liberals found distasteful but which they thought they could accommodate. It was in these years, at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that Austrian socialists spoke of anti-Semitism as the “socialism of fools,” of workers who could not yet recognize their own class interest, and so instead blamed Jews—as factory-owners or department store magnates—rather than capitalism for their exploitation. After all, if the problem is just foolishness, then it can be addressed by education: when workers are properly self-aware and informed, they will not blame Jews. Imperial liberalism in the central urban zone of Europe had allowed Jews to migrate to great cities and rise upward in status: why should Jews (or socialists) abandon it, or lose faith in its promise?



Some WKKs show similar love/faith for Pakis.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 27 Apr 2012 11:16



Who will lead the New World Order?

Tuesday May 24, 2011

Pretty good data points

jiteshn
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 59
Joined: 19 Sep 2010 00:24

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby jiteshn » 27 Apr 2012 22:40

Just thought I should post this...

This is gene clustering done in 2007.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genetic_clustering

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/504/finalpl.png

It seems that there are 7 major races in the world. Indians acquired a unique gene pool a very very
long time ago. It happened way before any kind of commerce took place so it didn't bring other
races. It was way before the invasions. You can see from the above image that the islamic invaders
only managed to alter 25% genes of the punjabis and the sindhis but they still managed to remain
75% indian. Majority of the indians are still 95% indian.

Somehow, the russians seem to have 10% indian genes. Also all major caucacians seem to have a
little indian in them. Many north and southern indians too seem to carry a miniscule gene pool from the caucasian.
Some prehistoric mixing perhaps.

The balochi and the pashtuns are more than 50% indian. Also hazara and uygur are 1/5th indian.

Weird!!

LONG LIVE INDIAN GENE
Last edited by Gerard on 27 Apr 2012 23:56, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed inlining

abhishek_sharma
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9664
Joined: 19 Nov 2009 03:27

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 28 Apr 2012 08:22

Tony Judt on Britain

Questions (bolded) by Tim Snyder
Answers by Tony Judt

The Soviet Union, not as lived reality but as cultivated myth, hangs in the distant background. For those English intellectuals who were attracted to Weimar Germany and then to communism, the appeal may have had something to do with the communists’ success in blending the categories of “bourgeois” and “democracy.” Their Weimar was scarcely democratic bourgeois.

The notion that what is wrong with bourgeois democracy is the adjective rather than the noun was a truly brilliant innovation on the part of Marxist rhetoricians. If the problem with western democracies is that they are bourgeois (whatever that means), then internal critics constrained to live in such places may offer criticism risk-free: taking your distance from a bourgeois democracy costs you little and hardly threatens the institution itself. Whereas a critical stance towards democracy in pre-1933 Germany represented all too often an active commitment to its collapse. In short, Weimar intellectuals, whether they liked it or not, were constrained to live out the political logic of their discursive affinities. No one in England faced or faces comparable choices.

The bourgeois-democracy association always seems to me a brilliant Freudian adaptation on the part of the Marxists: it means that you can be against the lawyer-father or the banker-father while remaining at liberty to enjoy the privileges of childhood and childish rebellion.

Well, I suppose that you can shift readily enough from infantile Oedipal considerations to full-fledged Hegelian accounts of the logical template binding you to the history of the species. However, a sensitive, intelligent adult can only indulge such thoughts if they never overtly clash with his own self-interest. But they do so clash if you find yourself a child of bourgeois parents in a country where the bourgeoisie is truly threatened or has been radically dismembered. Because in that case, merely taking your distance from your class of origin is not much help: being the heir to a guilty class suffices to condemn you. In the Soviet Union or communist Czechoslovakia, the outcome for two generations of “bourgeois” was decidedly unpleasant, at just the moment when their counterparts in New York or London, Paris or Milan, were elevating themselves to the status of spokesmen for History.

Politics does not quite seem to keep people apart in England as it might on the continent. T. S. Eliot publishes Spender, for example.

Until the 1930s, the various overlapping circles of English writers and thinkers were brought together not by shared politics, but rather through common roots and their elective affinities and tastes. Bloomsbury, the Fabians, the Catholic networks around Chesterton, Belloc and Waugh were all self-contained worlds of aesthetic or political conversation, engaging at most a tiny self-selected sub-group of the English intelligentsia. However, the educated elite in England was and perhaps still is very small by American or continental European standards. Sooner or later, most English intellectuals were bound to know one another. Noel Annan, a contemporary of Eric Hobsbawm at King’s in Cambridge, would go on to be elected provost of his own college and then of University College, London, serving on practically every public committee of significance in English institutional and cultural life for decades to come. His memoirs are entitled Our Age. Notice that it is not “Their Age,” but “Our Age”: everyone knows everyone else. Implicit in Annan’s title and text is the assumption that his generation collectively ran the affairs of their country.

As indeed they did. Until the late 1960s, the percentage of schoolchildren going on to university in England was smaller than that of any other developed country. Within that small cohort of the well-educated, only those who attended Oxford or Cambridge (or, but to a much lesser degree, a couple of the London colleges) could expect to gain entry to the inner circle of the intellectual and political establishment. Further distill that tiny cohort, removing the considerable number of reasonably stupid “legacy” students—those admitted to Oxbridge by virtue of their class or their parentage—and it will be clear that the socio-genetic pool from which English culture and the English intellectual scene was drawn is tiny indeed.

But didn’t Oxford and Cambridge begin to admit people from the empire?

Yes and no. On the one hand, recall that until the late 1950s you could live a lifetime in London without ever encountering a black or brown face. In the event that you did indeed meet a dark-skinned person, they were almost certainly drawn from the restricted elite of Indians who had been siphoned upwards into the British educational system: either through Indian replicas of British boarding schools or else English public schools to which the Indian aristocracy traditionally sent their sons, thence securing them entry into the elite universities of the empire. So yes, there were indeed Indians of various provenance in both Oxford and Cambridge from the late nineteenth century. Some of them would go on to lead their country into independence from Great Britain. But I hardly think that we should consider their presence significant, except in notable individual instances.

Another way in which the small pool of English intellectuals was expanded, surely, was by the addition of political émigrés: Isaiah Berlin at Oxford being perhaps the best-known example. Berlin certainly knew most if not all of the people we have been discussing thus far, despite being a thorough-going outsider: a Russian Jew from Latvia.

But Isaiah Berlin was unique: Jewish and foreign to be sure, but the consummate insider. He was perceived in the British cultural establishment as exotic, but for just that reason exemplary evidence of the integrative function and capacity of the system. This was, of course, misleading: Isaiah Berlin was undoubtedly an outstanding instance of successful integration, but it was his very exoticism that rendered him, if not more acceptable, then at any rate altogether unthreatening. From an early stage, his critics were saying of Berlin that his success was in large measure due to his reluctance to take a stand, his unwillingness to be “awkward.” It was this emollient capacity for accommodation that made Berlin so acceptable to his peers: as an undergraduate, as president of the British Academy and founder of an Oxford college. In contrast, most outsiders are awkward by nature. The same was true of insiders who found a role as critics of their own community—George Orwell being perhaps the best known case. Whether they are born awkward, or become so over time, such men are difficult: they have sharp edges and prickly personalities. Berlin suffered no such defects. This was undoubtedly part of his charm; but over the years, it also encouraged in him a certain reticence on controversial matters, a reluctance to speak out which may, in the course of time, diminish his reputation. The “system” could unquestionably integrate the right sort of people. It could induct an Eric Hobsbawm: an Alexandria-born, Vienna-raised, Berlin-dwelling, German-speaking Jewish communist. Within a decade of his arrival in London as a refugee from Nazi Germany, Hobsbawm had been elected secretary of the Apostles, a self-selecting secret society of the cleverest young men in Cambridge: it was hardly possible to become more of an insider than that. On the other hand, to become an insider at Cambridge or Oxford does not in itself require conformity, except perhaps to intellectual fashion; it was and is a function of a certain capacity for intellectual assimilation. It entails knowing how to “be” an Oxbridge don; understanding intuitively how to conduct an English conversation that is never too aggressively political; knowing how to modulate moral seriousness, political engagement and ethical rigidity through the application of irony and wit, and a precisely-calibrated appearance of insouciance. It would be difficult to imagine the application of such talents in, say, postwar Paris.




Judt, Tony; Snyder, Timothy Thinking the Twentieth Century Penguin Group.

abhishek_sharma
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9664
Joined: 19 Nov 2009 03:27

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhishek_sharma » 28 Apr 2012 08:31

Continuing ...

Even if people from the Empire don’t yet matter much in British intellectual life, surely the Empire mattered as a source of experience? Think of George Orwell in Burma.

Orwell served in a low-level but locally senior administrative capacity for the Burma imperial police from 1924 to 1927. Reading him, one never feels that he developed much of an interest in the Empire per se; his writings from those years suggest the emergence of a set of moral and political considerations—deriving to be sure from his criticisms of Imperial rule—which will in the fullness of time permeate his observations on England itself. Orwell’s awareness that the Burmese (or Indian) question transcended issues of local injustice and concerned above all the impropriety and impossibility of imperial domination, would certainly color his political stance back home.

It seems fair to add that Orwell was one of the first commentators to grasp that issues of justice and subordination, no less than the traditional themes of class and politics, must be taken up by the Left—indeed, they were henceforth part of what it meant to be Left. We forget that well into the interwar decades it had been perfectly possible to combine social reformism and even political radicalism at home with liberal imperialism. Until quite recently it had been possible to believe that the key to social improvement in Britain lay in retaining, defending and even expanding the empire. By the 1930s, this position had begun to sound ethically as well as politically incoherent, and Orwell can take some credit for this shift in sensibilities.

Do you think it’s the case that literature—the publications of the time but above all the novels that the generation of the 1930s would have been reading—serves as a way to consider the world of empire? Think of Joseph Conrad or later Graham Greene—with the characters who go elsewhere, often in the Empire, to perceive things, of course in the case of the espionage novels because they’ve been trained to perceive things.

The popular literature of Empire is really about moral issues: who’s good, who’s bad, and who’s right (usually us) and who’s wrong (typically them). The literature about spies and about Germans that emerges in these years, for example, is very much imperially structured. And you see this as well in the cinema of the 1930s, with its focus on spies, vanishing ladies and so on. But it’s my impression that these themes are more often set in “Central Europe”: a sort of mythical territory, a place of mystery and intrigue, reaching roughly from the Alps to the Carpathians and getting more mysterious the farther south and east you go. Whereas the exotic for the British in the late nineteenth century was India and the Near East, it’s curious that the exotic by the 1930s is just a train ride away from Zurich. In its way, this is an updating of imperial literature, with Bulgarians standing in for Burmese. So in an interesting way the British are at home in the world, and what is exotic are European lands not very far away but forever beyond Empire.

Sherlock Holmes has a mystery to solve in Bohemia, where everyone speaks German and no one speaks Czech. And of course the political corollary of this is that Bohemia is a far-away country of which we know little. Which, paradoxically, one could not have said about Burma.

Indeed so; Burma is a very far-away country about which we know something. But of course the sense of distance and mystery in central Europe has distant roots: think of Shakespeare and the “coast of Bohemia” in The Winter’s Tale. This English sense that Europe is more mysterious than the Empire (once you get past Calais) is old and established. For the English, at least in their self-image, the wider world has meaning as a reference; but Europe is not something with which we wish to be too closely associated. You can go to Burma, or Argentina, or South Africa and speak English and run an English-owned company or an English-style economy; ironically, you can’t do that in Slovenia, which is therefore much more exotic. And in imperial India or the Indies you’ll run into people—whether they are white school chums or brown, educated subordinates—who have the same references as you do. It’s quite striking even today how much the educational baggage of a Caribbean, West African, East African or Indian university-educated man or woman over the age of fifty sat comfortably with that of their British contemporaries. When I meet people of my own generation from Calcutta or Jamaica, we are immediately comfortable with one another, swapping references and memories from literature to cricket, in ways that do not work nearly so well with casual acquaintances in Bologna or Brno.

...

Was there really so little overlap between the occasional, voluntary fascist sympathies of intellectuals and the unthinking Tory view that National Socialism was a version of Germany that one could deal with?

These are issues of social, not political, distinction. The world of high Tory politics was not one into which most intellectuals were invited, nor would many of them have sought the association. Think of Tory grandees in remote country houses toasting Hitler’s achievement in bringing order to Germany, admiring the Nuremburg rallies, or—more seriously—considering the case for an allegiance with the Nazi leader against the international communist threat. Such conversations did indeed take place among what Orwell would have called the stupider sort of British conservative. But intellectuals were rare in such circles and would probably have elicited scornful sneers even if they shared the views of their hosts. This, after all, is the world of Unity Mitford: one of the Mitford girls into whose family Mosley himself had married. But the Mitfords, notwithstanding the successful literary career of two of the sisters (Nancy and Jessica), were resolutely upper class. Their interest in Hitler had little to do with his social programs, real or supposed.

It was empire that mattered most for such people. And it was their interest in preserving the British Empire which led them to suppose that a deal with Hitler authorizing the Germans to dominate the continent while leav-ing the British with a free hand overseas was both desirable and feasible. It was not by chance that after 1945, when Oswald Mosley could hardly revive his fascist organization in a country which prided itself on having just won an anti-fascist war, he decided instead to found a League of Empire Loyalists. The connecting thread was the belief that only empire—England’s reliable white allies across the globe, together with her productive indigenous subjects in Africa and elsewhere—could protect Britain from the coming challenge of the rising world powers. Mosley, after all, was not alone in believing that London could not rely on America (already its chief economic competitor by the 1920s) and should not count on the French. Germany, in short, was the best bet. Germany might be the historical foe and her policies a touch distasteful to some, but neither consideration mattered very much.

This takes us back, in turn, to the pro-German school of imperialist thought that flourished in turn-of-the-century England, and is brilliantly dissected by Paul Kennedy in The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism 1860–1914. Before World War I there were those, Tories and Liberals alike, who reasoned that Britain’s future lay in an alliance with Imperial Germany rather than with the then-emerging entente with France and Russia. If one bracketed their occasionally acerbic industrial competition (readily controlled by cartels and protection), Germany and Britain had essentially symmetrical and compatible interests. This perception remained widespread well into the 1930s; but because Germany was now Nazi, it took on a far more right-wing, anti-Semitic and, of course, anti-communist dimension. And therefore it has very little to do with the romantic modernist sympathy for fascism that occasionally surfaced in contemporary Cambridge or London.

...

This brings me to a question I’ve been wanting to ask you from the beginning—namely, was Winston Churchill an intellectual?

Churchill is in this as in so many other respects an unusual and interesting case. He comes from what is by British standards a major aristocratic family (the descendants of the Duke of Marlborough of Battle of Blenheim fame) but was himself the scion of a junior branch. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had been a significant player in late-Victorian politics; but he destroyed himself (through political miscalculation and syphilis), so his son inherited a polluted legacy. Moreover, despite being born in one of the great English palaces (Blenheim, near Oxford) and able to trace his roots further back than many British royals, Churchill was only half English—his mother was American.

Like most of his upper class peers, Winston Churchill attended a prominent public school (Harrow in his case)—and then failed. Like so many sons of lords and gentry, he joined the army—but instead of taking a commission in an elite Guards regiment, he opted to become a simple cavalry rifleman, joining up in time to take part in the last cavalry charge of the British army, at the Battle of Omdurman (Sudan) in 1898. Churchill’s political career saw him switch on three different occasions between the Conservative and Liberal parties, in the course of which he rose to high cabinet rank—variously serving as Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Minister for the Navy, in which capacity he was responsible for the military catastrophe at Gallipoli (1915). In short, until 1940, his was the career of the over-talented outsider: too good to be ignored but too unconventional and “unreliable” to be appointed to the very highest office.

Unusually for a British politician, Churchill—whose financial situation was always precarious enough to require him to earn a living from his writings—commented with some distance upon his checkered career even as he was pursuing it. Either directly—as in My Early Life, or his memoirs of the First World War (which are not so much memoirs as an apologia for Churchill’s own role at the time)—or in his properly journalistic writings on the Boer War (in which he took part and was briefly imprisoned and escaped), Churchill was both a participant in and a recorder of the events of his time. But then he also wrote copiously about the history of the British Empire and authored a biography of his colorful ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough. In short, Churchill contributed to history and literature while remaining actively engaged in public affairs—a combination far more familiar in France or even the U.S. than in England.

But this does not make him an intellectual. By English standards he was far too actively engaged at the very center of public policy making and public choices to be considered a dispassionate commentator; and by continental standards, of course, he was magnificently uninterested in conceptual reflection. His work consists of lengthy empirical narratives with occasional pauses to restate the story in a moral key, but little more. And yet: he was assuredly the most literary political figure in British history since William Gladstone. In any case, Churchill was unique for his time and has found no successor. Anyone seeking “intellectuals in politics” in the image a Léon Blum in France or a Walther Rathenau in Germany will come up short if he confines his search to England.

...


abhischekcc
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4277
Joined: 12 Jul 1999 11:31
Location: If I can’t move the gods, I’ll stir up hell
Contact:

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhischekcc » 28 Apr 2012 11:48

Acharya wrote:

Who will lead the New World Order?

Tuesday May 24, 2011

Pretty good data points



Acharya,

See Alex Jones' rebuttal of Glenn Beck.

shyam
BRFite
Posts: 1453
Joined: 29 Jul 2003 11:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby shyam » 28 Apr 2012 12:37

Alex Jone always said that GB takes his ideas, fudges his point and presented to mislead the public.




gunjur
BRFite
Posts: 602
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby gunjur » 04 May 2012 10:32

Russia threatens preemptive strike over planned US missile shield
"A decision to use destructive force preemptively will be taken if the situation worsens," General Nikolai Makarov said

Negotiations between the U.S., NATO and Russia began Thursday in Moscow. However, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said the discussions were "close to a dead end,".

Kremlin wants a legally binding guarantee the system will not be used against Russia. The United States says it cannot agree to any formal limits on missile defense.


With putin 'officially' making a comeback, they are taking more hardline approach itseems.

devesh
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5129
Joined: 17 Feb 2011 03:27

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby devesh » 04 May 2012 21:01

Glenn Beck is a neocon who likes to wear the libertarian clothing as and when it suits him.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 04 May 2012 21:04

http://www.raremaps.com/
Quote:
We Feature Fine & Rare Original Antique Maps, Sea Charts & Atlases from the 15th to 19th Centuries.


Over 10,000 Authentic Antique Maps, Sea Charts & Atlases From All Parts of the World Illustrated & Described on-line.


Whether you are new to collecting antique maps or an experienced collector, we welcome you to our internet gallery and look forward to helping you with your collection.

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 04 May 2012 21:06

shyam wrote:Alex Jone always said that GB takes his ideas, fudges his point and presented to mislead the public.

Look for facts and data points of that presentation. Do not have to agree to Glen but use the information.

Prem
BRF Oldie
Posts: 21175
Joined: 01 Jul 1999 11:31
Location: Weighing and Waiting 8T Yconomy

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Prem » 05 May 2012 03:41

U.S. Weakness in Beijing
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 22768.html
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 22768.html
Hours after Chen Guangcheng agreed to leave the U.S. Embassy in Beijing Wednesday under a deal that would let him relocate within China, he changed his mind. The blind Chinese dissident and his family now want asylum in the U.S., and late Thursday he made a plea by phone to Members of Congress. American diplomats seem to be negotiating again on his behalf, only now they have less leverage.So much, then, for the feel-good story about smart U.S. diplomacy in which everyone comes out a winner. Instead we have a case of claims and counter-claims—with the potential to tarnish America's reputation as a defender of human rights. In one interview after he left the embassy, Mr. Chen accused U.S. officials of passing along Chinese government threats to harm his wife. U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke denies that claim, and Mr. Chen has also said that the U.S. protected his interests,Mr. Chen's apparent inconsistencies may be forgiven. After being injured during a traumatic escape from house arrest, he was vulnerable to Chinese government manipulation. The Chinese Foreign Ministry agreed to bring Mr. Chen's wife and daughter to Beijing to encourage him to accept the deal. But it then threatened to send them back to Shandong, where they faced violent retribution from local officials, if he didn't leave the embassy.This must have left Mr. Chen feeling that his back was against the wall. It didn't help that the U.S. didn't allow Mr. Chen to have a cell phone or call his friends freely while in the embassy. It also didn't help that Mr. Chen says the U.S. pressed him to make a quick decision, almost certainly so the issue could be settled before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's arrival in Beijing for a Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Once Mr. Chen left the embassy and called fellow dissidents, they expressed doubts about the deal. U.S. officials promised to stay with him in the hospital but then disappeared. It's hardly surprising that he grew anxious once he wa



Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 21052
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 12 May 2012 21:52

Crossword writer accused of coded message to kill Chavez's brother
A veteran Venezuelan crossword writer has been accused of hiding a coded message to assassinate President Hugo Chavez's brother.

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

gunjur
BRFite
Posts: 602
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 06:14

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby gunjur » 25 May 2012 10:51

Russia tests ICBM designed to counter US defense shield
Russia has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile – designed to counter a U.S. defense shield being set up in Europe - firing it from one end of the country to the other

News channel Russia Today’s website said that the missile was launched Wednesday from a facility at Plesetsk in northwestern Russia and hit the Kura target range on the Kamchatka Peninsula on the Pacific coast in the country’s east.

The website reported that in September that a test of prototype of the missile had failed. It landed only about six miles from the launch pad. :shock: :eek:

Russia usually names its weapons, but the defense ministry made no mention of a name for the new missile. It said it could be fired from a mobile launcher.

koti
BRFite
Posts: 1119
Joined: 09 Jul 2009 22:06
Location: Hyderabad, India

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby koti » 25 May 2012 13:51

These deployments were viewed as particularly threatening by the PLA because they seemed to indicate that India had moved from a strategy of defence in its own territory to that of a larger offensive involving all of Arunachal Pradesh.

This sentence might be appearing as if Arunachal Pradesh is not a part of India to a third party reading it.
Link
Can anyone modify it into a more neutral tone? With a possible citation.


Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 21052
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 30 May 2012 00:12

"Vlad the Bad" Putin gives Om Baba the finger!

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

Vladimir Putin 'rejects Barack Obama offer to attend White House'
Vladimir Putin earlier this month rejected an offer from Barack Obama for landmark bilateral talks at the White House, the Kremlin has claimed.
29 May 2012

Less than a week before Mr Putin's May 7 presidential inauguration, he received a missive from Mr Obama touching upon bilateral and international issues and inviting him to discuss them in a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the May 18-19 G8 summit, Putin's foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said.

"Obama sent his letter on May 2," Mr Ushakov told a briefing. "He even proposed holding a separate meeting at the White House in Washington outside of the framework of the G8."

But the Russian strongman told him he would not be able to travel to the United States and instead sent his protégé and Kremlin predecessor Dmitry Medvedev to the summit at Obama's Camp David residence in Maryland.

The Kremlin said Mr Putin could not go because he was too busy forming a government after his inauguration. Analysts say the Kremlin's explanation for the cancellation of the talks does not hold water.

After Mr Putin's refusal to go the United States, the White House said Mr Obama would not attend the APEC summit Russia hosts in Vladivostok in September, which comes soon after the Democratic presidential nomination convention.
Related Articles



Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 21052
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Philip » 31 May 2012 00:09

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

Syria: Russian pressure 'hardly appropriate' says Vladimir Putin's spokesman
Vladimir Putin's spokesman has said Russia is not considering changing its stance on Syria and that any attempts to apply pressure on Moscow are "hardly appropriate".

30 May 2012

"It would make sense to expect a continuation of the Russian Federation's consistent and well-argued line" on Syria during Putin's visits to Germany ad France on Friday, Dmitry Peskov said.

The comments came amid reports of fresh fighting erupting in Syria between rebels and regime troops, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting 39 more people.

The rights group said five people were killed in the Damascus suburb of Douma, a hotbed of anti-regime sentiment, while a civilian was shot dead in Daraya, in the same province.

Also in Damascus province, government troops opened fire on mourners attending a mass funeral in Al-Diabiya, killing four, said the Britain-based watchdog.

In central Homs province, four people died at Qusayr, scene of earlier explosions, while another five people, including a regular soldier, were killed in the city of Homs, it said.
Related Articles

Syria: UN uncovers further evidence of massacre
30 May 2012

Kofi Annan: Syria is at tipping point
30 May 2012

Syria is 'at a tipping point', says Kofi Annan
30 May 2012

Syria Houla massacre: 'for hours I heard children scream'
29 May 2012

Hague and Jolie unite against rape in war
30 May 2012

Syrian diplomats expelled in Western action
29 May 2012

Two people were killed in the region of Hama when fighting took place in the town of Kafarzita between troops and rebels. Later, in Hama city, residents held a general strike to mourn the deaths of the two men.

In Jabal al-Zawiya, a rebel commander was killed in northeastern Idlib.

A sniper shot dead a man at Aleppo in the north, while unidentified gunmen killed an 18-year-old in eastern Deir Ezzor. A rebel fighter was also killed in the same province, the Observatory added.

In the same region, visiting UN monitors condemned the killing of 13 people whose bodies were found late Tuesday at Assukar, near Deir Ezzor, many of whom had been shot at close range, they said.

Earlier, China restated its opposition to military intervention in Syria, as Russia sought to halt fresh UN Security Council action after a massacre of civilians sparked global fury.

The renewed support by Moscow and Beijing for the Damascus regime came as numerous Western nations, including the United States, Britain and France, expelled Syrian diplomats in the wake of Friday's massacre and after France floated the idea of armed intervention to protect civilians.

"China opposes military intervention in Syria and opposes regime change by force," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters in Beijing.

Liu added that China urged all parties to implement UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's ceasefire proposal in Syria and to seek to end the bloody crisis through negotiations.

With Russian and Chinese support, the UN Security Council on Sunday strongly condemned the Syrian government for using artillery in a massacre in the central town of Houla in which at least 108 people were killed.

But Russia, which along with China has vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions highly critical of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, on Wednesday said it was "premature" for the council to consider new action.

"We believe that a review now by the Security Council of any new measures on the situation would be premature," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the Interfax news agency in comments that appeared to dash Washington's hopes of a change of heart in Moscow.

The US State Department had said on Tuesday it hoped the Houla tragedy would spark a "turning point" in Russia's reluctance to take tougher action against its Soviet-era ally.

Annan, during a meeting with Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, urged the Syrian leader to act immediately to end 15 months of bloodshed which has claimed thousands of lives, warning that the country had reached a "tipping point."

French President Francois Hollande had said on Tuesday that he did not rule out military intervention, provided it were approved by the UN Security Council.

"An armed intervention is not excluded on the condition that it is carried out with respect to international law, meaning after deliberation by the United Nations Security Council," he said in a television interview.

Australia said it was open to discussion about military intervention in Syria but warned of the significant challenges involved in getting it off the ground.

Japan on Wednesday joined the chorus of international outrage at the slaughter of civilians in Houla, telling the Syrian ambassador in Tokyo to leave the country "as soon as possible."

Japan's decision followed the apparently coordinated expulsion of diplomats the previous day by the European Union, the United States and other governments including Australia, Canada and Switzerland.

Annan was in Amman on Wednesday to discuss the Syrian crisis with Jordan's leaders, after appearing to make little headway to staunch the bloodletting during his visit Monday and Tuesday to Syria.

On Tuesday alone, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a total of 98 people were killed across Syria with another nine dying violently on Wednesday morning.

Speaking after his talks with the Syrian leader in the capital, Annan lamented the continuing killings and abuses that have fatally undermined his peace blueprint, which was supposed to begin with a ceasefire from April 12 that has never taken hold.

"I appealed to him (Assad) for bold steps now – not tomorrow, now – to create momentum for the implementation of the plan.

"This means that the government, and all government-backed militias, could stop all military operations and show maximum restraint."

The Syrian authorities have repeatedly insisted that the lion's share of the blame for the deaths lies with armed rebels, a position Assad restated in his talks with Annan.

"The success of the Annan plan depends on the end of terrorist acts and those who support them and the smuggling of weapons," Assad was quoted as saying.

But UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous pointed the finger towards a militia loyal to Assad.

"There is strong suspicion that the Shabiha were involved in this tragedy in Houla," Ladsous told reporters at the UN headquarters.

More than 13,000 people have been killed, most of them civilians, since the uprising against Assad's regime erupted in March last year, according to the Britain-based Observatory.


svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 31 May 2012 04:17

http://www.defensenews.com/article/2012 ... |nextstory
Analysts Skeptical as Turkey, Brazil Pursue Defense Cooperation
May. 28, 2012 - 12:21PM | By BURAK EGE BEKDIL and UMIT ENGINSOY | 1 Comments

ANKARA — The Turkish and Brazilian governments are exchanging treaties and are in the early stages of exploring opportunities for defense and procurement cooperation, analysts and industry sources said, but the path forward is unclear.


Earlier this month, the Turkish and Brazilian defense ministers, Ismet Yilmaz and Celso Amorim, respectively, signed in Sao Paolo a letter of intent formalizing a move to “develop cooperation between the defense industries of both countries, including technology transfer and joint projects.”

Experts view both countries as emerging defense manufacturers with eyes on a global market where Western manufacturers risk being priced out. Brazil has a more advanced aviation industry, yet the Turks are thriving in aviation, shipbuilding, armored vehicles and electronics.

Yilmaz said Turkey is interested in sharing Brazil’s aerospace, cybernetics and unmanned aircraft technologies, UPI reported. Turkish plans include building the capacity to manufacture aircraft, including UAVs.

Still, long-established ties exist in certain fields between Brazil and companies from other countries, and previous industrial efforts between Brazil and Turkey have failed, creating a cautious environment.

Analysts here said there are plans for regular contacts between the countries for better defense cooperation, both on official and industry levels, but this has not yet materialized.

“The strongest prospect is in the aviation industry, and Embraer has been keen on cooperation. But it views Turkey with suspicion after its several attempts for some joint development based on risk-sharing partnership deals in Turkey have all failed,” an analyst said. ‘“I would not be surprised if Embraer now looks at Turkey with some reluctance.”

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 31 May 2012 04:33

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/2 ... scap-forum

Geopolitics at the core of Escap forum
Delegates at the UN body's meeting in Bangkok last week hailed the arrival of the 'Asian century' but expressed worries that the industrialised West might block the orderly transition of power

The trials, tribulations, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the emerging new world order and the rise of the Asian century were on full display at the 68th session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) held in Bangkok last week. While the Asian countries see great potential for integrating their enormous social, economic, demographic and cultural potential to improve the quality of their peoples lives, they are hugely concerned about being hit by forces outside their control.

This has become a huge risk in a inter-connected world, with serious questions emerging about the downsides of Globalisation Version 1 as the countries make what is being described as the ''final push'' before 2015, when the eight-point Millennium Development Goals are supposed to be met.

Rousing speeches all through the Escap session hailed the huge economic potential of Asia and the benefits of regional and sub-regional integration through transportation networks, energy highways, free trade, etc.

All countries outlined plans to seize the opportunities.

Russia said it was making links with Asia, a major part of its foreign policy, and seeking to develop its resource-rich eastern region to build these links. Myanmar discussed its current investment and economic climate. Indonesia cited its 2011-2025 Master Plan to create development growth corridors across the far-flung archipelago.

But they also worried about the ''complex, multifaceted and simultaneous challenges'' such as the eurozone crisis, rising costs of food and fuel, volatility in currency and commodity markets, widening rich-poor gaps, environmental degradation, organised crime, and many more.

Similarly, there was no shortage of remedial proposals. Escap chief economist Nagesh Kumar raised a number of revolutionary ideas for stabilising the global economy, such as by negotiating a fixed oil price with the oil-exporting countries, with fluctuations only to be permitted within a certain ''band''.

The Iranian delegate called for a ''reform of the global financial system and architecture based on the principles of justice, equality, common interest, cooperation and solidarity among states''. He added, ''Escap member countries deserve to play a more active role in the decision-making process of restructuring and reforming the international financial, monetary and trade structures. We suggest that the Escap secretariat consider various possible ways and means to achieve this objective.''

All these issues were intensely discussed. Escap executive secretary Noeleen Heyzer said in her concluding remarks: ''This commission session has done more than simply identify the serious challenges affecting our region. Seizing the opportunity of this time of transition, the commission has responded with a number of strong calls to action given voice through the far-reaching and even game-changing resolutions that have been passed''.

However, Ms Heyzer did not mention the very important resolution that failed to pass _ one that was intended to address growing ecological threats.

All the delegates, especially the island states and low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, agreed that climate change is a life-and-death threat to their peoples. Much hope was being pinned on the June Rio+ 20 conference to yield an agreement on this. Yet, the Escap delegates capitulated before the United States which, according to one ambassador, ''killed the only resolution on the issue of sustainability''.

Claiming that the wording of the draft resolution ''pre-judged the outcome of the Rio summit'', the US resisted all efforts to find appropriate language that would facilitate its passage, leading eventually to its withdrawal by its two sponsors, Korea and Japan.

That left the issue of sustainability to be covered only in the final summary report of the commission session. Here, too, the US government recorded its objection, citing the same reason of ''problematic language''.

This language refers to the position of Asia Pacific governments for the outcome of Rio+20 to be based on the principle of ''common but differentiated responsibilities''. They want to share the ''common responsibilities'' of alleviating global warming but insist on the ''differentiated responsibilities'' of making those who have most caused the problem in the first place bear the costs of alleviating it.

The developed countries say they have done enough to make up for the past and only want to focus on the future, largely by making China and India bear a larger burden of responsibility. The end result: a long-standing deadlock.

The third challenge to development _ geopolitical issues related to militarism, peace and security _ was mentioned only in passing just twice during the commission session. Sarath Amunugama, senior minister for International Monetary Cooperation, Sri Lanka, said: ''Developed countries knows they cannot afford wars any more. They cannot afford to keep spending like this.

''That will be a good thing. We will have a more peaceful world. But on the other hand, wars can also stimulate economies. So, do you go for war or do you go for peace?''

Just as he began elaborating, he was interrupted and told that he was running out of time.

The Chinese delegate, too, cited peace as the primary prerequisite for inclusive and sustainable development.

He said: '' For countries in the Asia Pacific, friendly cooperation is a shared aspiration and peaceful development is a practical need. We should all value peace, resolve differences through consultation and dialogue rather than a zero-sum mentality and confrontational measures. We need to take measures to prevent issues from getting more complicated or bigger.''

In her conclusion, Ms Heyzer said, ''The time has come to take our future into our own hands _ to rebalance and reset our economies through stronger regional integration, and move our societies towards more inclusive and sustainable development pathways so that there is shared prosperity, social equity, and dignity for all our people and respect for our planet.''

That will not be possible unless the UN system itself first moves to balance and integrate the three inter-linked economic, environmental and geopolitical pillars of the development agenda. To claim a lack of mandate to put them all on the table is a prescription for failure.

One region's opportunity is about to become another region's threat. A more assertive and economically powerful Asia poses a huge competitive and geopolitical challenge to the advanced, industrialised countries, which are doing, everything possible to defend their interests.

abhischekcc
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4277
Joined: 12 Jul 1999 11:31
Location: If I can’t move the gods, I’ll stir up hell
Contact:

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby abhischekcc » 31 May 2012 09:33

Its a good thing that developing countries are calling out the main motivation of the west in pushing these so called environmental and social 'goals'.

Here in India, we do not realize that secularism is a form of imperialism.

Prem
BRF Oldie
Posts: 21175
Joined: 01 Jul 1999 11:31
Location: Weighing and Waiting 8T Yconomy

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Prem » 01 Jun 2012 08:10

Putin heads West with eyes on money
ROAD TRIP: Russian President Vladimir Putin's first foreign trip after being sworn in for a third term reflects a policy course driven primarily by Russia's economic interests.: Russian President Vladimir Putin's first foreign trip after being sworn in for a third term reflects a policy course driven primarily by Russia's economic interests.RUBLE RUN: Putin travels to Belarus, where Russia has long had designs on economic assets, and from there directly to Germany and France in an attempt to boost ties with the continent's most powerful economies.ENERGY PLAY: During his visits to Germany and France, Putin is expected to push for broader access to European energy and other markets and to lobby for Russian businesses interested in acquiring European industrial assets.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/b ... rybox.html

svinayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 14223
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby svinayak » 01 Jun 2012 08:45

New post somewhere about India

India is a geopolitical island.



Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: Geopolitical thread

Postby Singha » 02 Jun 2012 09:06

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world ... -iran.html

it seems US is launching POtus authorized cyberattacks on iranian computer networks including nuclear facilities.
the iranians are pretty good at math themselves as IMO results will show, so far not much evidence that they are striking back, but could change in a heartbeat and the US presents a far higher surface area in cyberspace to attack.

we should study all these strikes deeply to insulate our own facilities.





Return to “Strategic Issues & International Relations Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 40 guests