Showing posts with label Cold War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cold War. Show all posts

Friday, January 11, 2019

A New Cold War?

"The philosophical divide between the American and Chinese systems is becoming as great as the gap between American democracy and Soviet communism. ....... in this new era of precision-guided weaponry and potentially massive cyberattacks, the scope of nonnuclear warfare has widened considerably. Great-power war is now thinkable in a way that it wasn’t during the first Cold War...... It is precisely the fusion of military, trade, economic, and ideological tensions, combined with the destabilization wrought by the digital age—with its collapse of physical distance—that has created an unvirtuous cycle for relations between the United States and China."

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Putin And Russia

English: AGRA. Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin vis...
English: AGRA. Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin visiting the Taj Mahal. Русский: АГРА. Владимир и Людмила Путины во время посещения мавзолея Тадж-Махал. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Vladimir Putin with his mother, Maria...
English: Vladimir Putin with his mother, Maria Ivanovna Putina, in July 1958. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Vladimir Putin at school age
English: Vladimir Putin at school age (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Russia has seen three fundamental political paradigms in just the past 150 years. There was the Tsar, then the Lenin monarchy, and now a Putin monarchy. But the country's geopolitical pull has remained constant. Even if Russia were to become a western style democracy, I believe that pull will stay, likely even expand. My point being, we can't blame Putin for Russia's geopolitical pull. It is the country exuding the force.

No two democracy is alike. America is not like Canada is not like Britain is not like France is not like Germany, and so on. Which means perhaps countries are like fingerprints. Each country is going to end up with a slightly unique political system and culture. Russia is not waiting to photocopy any other country politically. Maybe Russia is a little too different.

I believe in democracy and human rights like no American I have ever met. I believe democracy is good for every country. And I am not exactly America inspired. Although it is obvious that America is the loudest example today. The world's first republic was birthed by the Buddha. We also recently found out Iraqis came up with calculus over a thousand years before Newton.

I do want to see a more western Europe style democracy in Russia. I very much want Russia to become a more robust economy. I want Russia to do double digit growth rates. But I don't believe in military intervention. Except in Russia's case that is not even an option. The species should survive.

My prescription would be the deepest possible engagement with the country. If you want a western Europe style democracy in Russia, you want  the deepest possible engagement with the country. That is the best option, that is the only option. Which means sanctions are a bad idea, and not sustainable over the long term. I understand the circumstances that brought them about. But at some point down the line they will have to be rolled back.

One mistake America made early on was while it expanded NATO right to Russia's borders, it did not at the same time respectfully engage Russia. Russia joining NATO might be an outlandish thought, but America could have offered to carry out joint naval exercises in the Pacific, for example. This is one more thing we can blame on Bush. (The list is long.) Looks like not only W messed up the War On Terror, he rekindled the Cold War too.

The Russia India friendship does not have a parallel. This is not like the friendship between America and England. India and Russia are not shared cultures. There are no shared languages. There is not even a shared border. It is almost like a friendship between two human beings, only it is between two peoples. It is not a military alliance. And business is not the primary motive. It is just friendship.

For Putin Assad Is Himself
Russia's Ego Is Geopolitical

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Nehru, Tibet, Aur Britain Ka Pret

Nehru ne Tibet mein ja ke Chin ke sath yuddh kyon nahin kiya? Ye bahut ajib baat hai. Nehru ne khud apni ajadi ke liye yuddh nahin kiya. Shanti ke raste se gaye. To fir Tibet ke liye banduk uthane ka sawal kahan paida hota hai?

Britain ka tha ki hum India par raj is liye kar rahe hain ki ye jungli log khud apne par shasan kar nahin sakte. Agar hum tumhe independence de dete hain to aapas mein kat mar karte rah jaoge. You don’t know how to govern. To World War II ke khatm hote hote British samrajya ka sharir to khatm ho chuka tha. Lekin British samrajyavad ka pret khatm nahin huwa. Usne wo shrir chhod diya. Usne wo sharir chhoda aur Amrika ke sharir mein ja ke ghush gaya. To on the behalf of Britain tab Ameriki wahi baat kahne lage. Ki tum ajad kyon huwe? Dekho, tumhari banegi nahin Pakistan se. To Pakistan ko prop karna shuru. To ye to galat baat hai. Ek desh ajad huwa hai aur aap usko harass par harass kiye ja rahe ho. Desh ajad bhi huwa ya nahin?

India Pakistan partition ke baad jo log mare wo Hitler ke yahudi hi the. Bengal famine mein jo log mare wo Hitler ke yahudi hi the. India Pakistan ka border demarcation janbujh ke kuchh is kism se kiya gaya ki log bhari tadat mein mare jate. Jis bande ne wo demaracation kiya, wo usi raat desh chhod ke bhag gaya. Kyon ki use bakhub malum tha usne kya kiya. Log marne wale hain, ye use maloon tha. Log mare usi style mein demarcation huwa tha.

To ye kahna ki Nehru ne Chin se jang kyon nahin lada, ye to Amrika ke sharir mein Britain ka pret bol raha hai. Chin ne galti ki. Tibet mere ko behad priya hai. Jitna Bharat priya hai utna Tibet priya hai mere ko. Lekin Nehru did not have the option to go to war. Jab Britain aur Amerika kah rahe ho ki tumne achha nahin kiya ajadi le liya, to Soviet Union ke tarah haath badhana, asha karna ki Chin ke sath dosti ho jata to achha rahata. Wo to understandable baat hai.

Yuddh kiya Amrika ne. Korean War, abhi tak chal raha hai. Jab ki Korea Tibet ke tarah remote nahin hai. Tibet abhi remote hai to us samay kaisa raha hoga? Bharat khud apne Akshay Chin ilake mein nahin ja sakta tha to Tibet to dur ki baat thi.

Yuddh kiya to Amerika ne Vietnam mein. Dekho kya huwa. Abhi tak sab afsos kar rahe hain.

Chin ne us samay galti ko. Lekin aaj ka solution wo hai jo Dalai Lama khud kah rahe hain. Tibet ko independence nahin chahiye, lekin Dalai Lama ko Chin ke bhitar jaa ke ghumfir karne ki ijajat ho. I support that.

Pakistan aur Bharat ko ye British divide and rule mindset ko 60-70 sal late hi samajh lena chahiye. Britain ke pret. Ki tension se fayada nahin. Chalo relationship ko normalize karte hain aur ek dusre se jam ke byapar karte hain. Shanti banate hain. Tarakki ki sonchte hain. Chhota sa tapu hai Britain. Kya hai? Aaj kya hai Bharat ke samne?

Duniya ke do sabse bade loktantron ko ek dusre ka number one ally ban jana chahiye. Jis tarah Madhesi Nepal mein kah rahe hain, Abhi Nahin To Kabhi Nahin. To abhi accha mauka hai. Obama ke final year mein. Bharat ko bhi regional outlook se upar uth kar ek global outlook ke or badhna chahiye. Militarily nahin, lekin trade, commerce ke raste to tatkal kar sakte hain.

Britain ka dhona chhodo. 21st century aa gaya hai. 1947: A Love Story ko bye bye karo. Bit gayi so baat gayi.

Chin ko bhi chahiye ki thoda maturity dikhao.

Nehru ne Chin ke sath Tibet mein ja ke yuddh nahin kiya is liye tumne Pakistan ko apna military ally nahin banaya. Tumne Pakistan ko apna military ally is liye banaya ki Britain ka pret tumhare sharir mein ja ke ghush gaya.

Friday, July 10, 2015


English: Baltics in 1525, not long before Livo...
English: Baltics in 1525, not long before Livonian war. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Narva river, Narva castle on the left, Ivangor...
Narva river, Narva castle on the left, Ivangorod castle on the right. The border between Estonia and Russia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Baltics 1882
Baltics 1882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Russia seems doomed to continue its decline — an outcome that should be no cause for celebration in the West," Nye wrote in a recent column. "States in decline — think of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914 — tend to become less risk-averse and thus much more dangerous." .......The Western side believes it is playing a game where the rules are clear enough, the stakes relatively modest, and the competition easily winnable. ..... Western support for Ukraine's government and efforts to broker a ceasefire to the war there, Moscow believes, are really a plot to encircle Russia with hostile puppet states and to rob Russia of its rightful sphere of influence. .... analysts will tell you, today's tensions bear far more similarity to the period before World War I: an unstable power balance, belligerence over peripheral conflicts, entangling military commitments, disputes over the future of the European order, and dangerous uncertainty about what actions will and will not force the other party into conflict. ..... Today's Russia, once more the strongest nation in Europe and yet weaker than its collective enemies, calls to mind the turn-of-the-century German Empire, which Henry Kissinger described as "too big for Europe, but too small for the world." Now, as then, a rising power, propelled by nationalism, is seeking to revise the European order. Now, as then, it believes that through superior cunning, and perhaps even by proving its might, it can force a larger role for itself. Now, as then, the drift toward war is gradual and easy to miss — which is exactly what makes it so dangerous. ...... the apocalyptic logic of nuclear weapons. Mutual suspicion, fear of an existential threat, armies parked across borders from one another, and hair-trigger nuclear weapons all make any small skirmish a potential armageddon. ......... Russia, hoping to compensate for its conventional military forces' relative weakness, has dramatically relaxed its rules for using nuclear weapons. Whereas Soviet leaders saw their nuclear weapons as pure deterrents, something that existed precisely so they would never be used, Putin's view appears to be radically different. ..... Putin has adopted an idea that Cold War leaders considered unthinkable: that a "limited" nuclear war, of small warheads dropped on the battlefield, could be not only survivable but winnable. ....... many theorists would say he is wrong, that the logic of nuclear warfare means a "limited" nuclear strike is in fact likely to trigger a larger nuclear war — a doomsday scenario in which major American, Russian, and European cities would be targets for attacks many times more powerful than the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ...... environmental and atmospheric damage would cause a "decade of winter" and mass crop die-outs that could kill up to 1 billion people in a global famine. ..... A full quarter of Estonia's population is ethnically Russian. Clustered on the border with Russia, this minority is served by the same Russian state media that helped stir up separatist violence among Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine...... Whereas a Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted Western sanctions, a Russian invasion of Estonia would legally obligate the US and most of Europe to declare war on Moscow. ........ "We'll be here for Estonia. We will be here for Latvia. We will be here for Lithuania. You lost your independence once before. With NATO, you will never lose it again," Obama pledged in his September speech in Estonia. ....... Less than 48 hours after Obama's address, Russian agents blanketed an Estonia-Russia border crossing with tear gas, stormed across, and kidnapped an Estonian state security officer, Eston Kohver, who specialized in counterintelligence. Kohver has been held illegally in a Russian prison for nine months now. ......... It was something like an act of geopolitical trolling: aggressive enough to assert Russian dominion over Estonia, but not so aggressive as to be considered a formal act of war that would trigger a Western counterattack. And it was one of several signs that Putin's Russia is asserting a right to meddle in these former Soviet territories. ........ Russian warships were spotted in Latvian waters 40 times in 2014. Russian military flights over the Baltics are now routine, often with the planes switching off their transponders, which makes them harder to spot and increases the chances of an accident. ...... in February, the US military paraded through the Russian-majority Estonian city of Narva, a few hundred yards from Russia's borders. ...... In early April, for example, a Russian fighter jet crossed into the Baltic Sea and "buzzed" a US military plane, missing it by only 20 feet. ............ the NATO military exercises in the Baltics meant to deter Russia were also contributing to the problem. .... Putin's plan for the Baltics was more sophisticated, and more calculated, than anybody realized. ...... "To destroy NATO, to demonstrate that Article V does not work, the Baltic republics of Estonia and Latvia are the best place for this," he said. "It's happening now, every day. Intrusions into the airspace, psychological pressure, the propaganda on TV." ...... Putin, rather than rolling Russian tanks across the border, would perhaps seed unmarked Russian special forces into, say, the Russian-majority city of Narva in Estonia, where they would organize localized violence or a phony independence referendum. ....... A handful of such unacknowledged forces, whom Putin referred to as "little green men" after they appeared in Crimea, would perhaps be dressed as local volunteers or a far-right gang; they might be joined by vigilantes, as they were in eastern Ukraine. ......... Would you risk the first major European war since 1945, all to eject some unmarked Russian troops from the Estonian town of Narva? ............ a variation on this scenario that I heard from others as well: that Putin might attempt to seize some small sliver of the Baltics quickly and bloodlessly. This would make it politically easier for Western European leaders to do nothing — how to rally your nation to war if hardly anyone has even been killed? — and harder to counterattack, knowing it would require a full-scale invasion. ........ the playbook from Ukraine, where Russia deployed its newly developed concepts of postmodern "hybrid war," designed to blur the distinction between war and not-war, to make it as difficult as possible to differentiate grassroots unrest or vigilante cyberattacks from Russian military aggression. ......... NATO is just not built to deal with such a crisis. Its mutual defense pledge, after all, rests on the assumption that war is a black-and-white concept, that a country is either at war or not at war. Its charter is from a time when war was very different than it is today, with its many shades of gray. ...... Russian state media, which has shown real influence in Western Europe, would unleash a flurry of propaganda to confuse the issue, make it harder to pin blame on Moscow for the violence, and gin up skepticism of any American calls for war. ...... Under a fog of confusion and doubt, Russia could gradually escalate until a Ukraine-style conflict in the Baltics was foregone, until it had marched far across NATO's red line, exposing that red line as meaningless. ........ Lukyanov worried that the US does not understand Russia's sense of ownership over Ukraine, the lengths it would go to protect its interests there. "It’s seen by many people as something that’s actually a part of our country, or if not part of our country then a country that’s absolutely essential to Russia’s security," he said. ........ If Ukrainian forces were about to overrun the separatist rebels, Buzhinsky said, he believed that Russia would respond not just with an overt invasion, but by marching to Ukraine's capital of Kiev. .......... "A war with Russia in Ukraine — if Russia starts a war, it never stops until it takes the capital." ...... Russia had set this as a red line out of the fear that a Ukrainian reconquest of eastern Ukraine would lead to "the physical extermination of the people of Donbas," many of whom are Russian speakers with cultural links to Russia. Russian state media has drilled this fear into the peoples of Ukraine and Russia for a year now. It does not have to be true to serve as casus belli; Moscow deployed a similar justification for its annexation of Crimea. ....... Moscow is notorious for its conviction that the US is bent on Russia's destruction, or at least its subjugation. It is paranoid and painfully aware of its isolation and its comparative weakness. A hostile and pro-Western Ukraine, Putin may have concluded, would pose an existential threat by further weakening Russia beyond what it can afford. ...... "Russia without Ukraine is a country, Russia with Ukraine is an empire." ..... traced this Russian government obsession with Ukraine back to Putin's political weakness at home, as well as Russia's sense of military insecurity against a hostile and overwhelmingly powerful West. ....... driven by a fundamental sense of insecurity .... "That, like the Soviet leadership, he has to try very hard to stay in power, and so there’s a tendency as his legitimacy declines to try to blame outside forces. And the problem is that when you try to look at the world in that conspiratorial way, there’s always a justification for subjugating the next set of neighbors." ........ Russian asymmetrical acts — cyberattacks, propaganda operations meant to create panic, military flights, even little green men — are all effective precisely because they introduce uncertainty and risk. ...... American and NATO red lines for what acts of "asymmetry" would and would not trigger war are unclear and poorly defined. ..... There is a certain fear in Russia, never far from the surface, that the only thing preventing the West from realizing its dream of destroying or subjugating Russia is its nuclear arsenal. (Three months later, Putin warned that the West wanted to tame the Russian bear so as to "tear out his fangs and his claws," which he explained meant its nuclear weapons.) .......... "After the Yugoslavia wars, Iraq War, Libyan intervention, it’s not an argument anymore, it’s conventional wisdom: 'If Russia were not a nuclear superpower, the regime change of an Iraqi or Libyan style would be inevitable here. The Americans are so unhappy with the Russian regime, they would do it. Praise God, we have a nuclear arsenal, and that makes us untouchable.'" ...........

Petrov waited in agony for 23 minutes — the missile's estimated time to target — before he knew for sure that he'd been right. Only a few people were aware of it at the time, but thanks to Petrov, the world had only barely avoided World War III and, potentially, total nuclear annihilation.

........ The US and Soviet Union, shaken by this and other near-misses, spent the next few years stepping back from the brink. They decommissioned a large number of nuclear warheads and signed treaties to limit their deployment. ....... Putin has taken several steps to push Europe back toward the nuclear brink, to the logic of nuclear escalation and hair-trigger weapons that made the early 1980s, by many accounts, the most dangerous time in human history. Perhaps most drastically, he appears to have undone the 1987 INF Treaty, reintroducing the long-banned nuclear weapons. ...... In March, Russia announced it would place nuclear-capable bombers and medium-range, nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad — only an hour, by commercial airliner, from Berlin. Meanwhile, it has been testing medium-range, land-based missiles. The missiles, to the alarm of the United States, appear to violate the INF Treaty. ......... This is far from Putin's only nuclear escalation. He is developing more nuclear weapons, and calling frequent attention to them, as apparent cover for his aggression and adventurism in Europe. There are suspicions, for example, that Russia may have deployed nuclear-armed submarines off of the US Eastern Seaboard. ....... Putin appears to believe .. that he has a greater willingness than NATO to use nuclear weapons, and thus that his superior will allows him to bully the otherwise stronger Western powers with games of nuclear chicken. ........ Putin is acting out of an apparent belief that increasing the nuclear threat to Europe, and as a result to his own country, is ultimately good for Russia and worth the risks. It is a gamble with the lives of hundreds of millions of Europeans, and perhaps many beyond, at stake. ........ "Would America really risk a nuclear standoff with Russia over a gas pipeline?" Lucas asked. "If it would not, NATO is over. The nuclear bluff that sustained the Western alliance through all the decades of the Cold War would have been called at last." ........ the leader's willingness and even eagerness to take on huge geopolitical risk....... "This was the theory of the [German] Kaiser before World War I: the more threatening you are, the more people will submit to your will. That might be Putin’s logic, that he’s just going to threaten and threaten and hope that NATO bends. But the long run of international relations suggests that it goes the other way, where the more threatening you are the more you produce balancing." ......... There is a corollary in Russia's nuclear doctrine, a way in which the Russians believe they have solved the problem of Western military superiority, that is so foolhardy, so dangerous, that it is difficult to believe they really mean it. And yet, there is every indication that they do. ........ drop a single nuclear weapon — one from the family of smaller, battlefield-use nukes known as "tactical" weapons, rather than from the larger, city-destroying "strategic" nuclear weapons. ....... this is not a far-fetched option of last resort; it has become central to Russian war planning. ...... all large-scale military exercises that Russia conducted beginning in 2000 featured simulations of limited nuclear strikes. ....... It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous idea in the world of military planning today than of a "limited" nuclear war. ....... no one knows for sure whether Russia's military planners have sown the seeds for global nuclear destruction. ...... Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia's strategic culture has increasingly emphasized its nuclear arsenal, the one remaining legacy of its fearsome great-power status. It is a sort of Russian cult of the nuclear weapon, or even a certain strategic fetish. With nukes so central to Russian strategic thinking, it is little wonder Moscow sees them as the solution to its greatest strategic problem. ....... Russia sees itself as able to fight a war with the conventionally superior United States without losing, and that it can do this by using battlefield nuclear weapons. Under this doctrine, Moscow is deeming not only full-blown war against the US as imaginable, but a full-blown war with at least one nuclear detonation. ...... Adding a nuclear element to any conflict would also seem to increase the odds of NATO's Western European members splitting over how to respond, particularly if Russian propaganda can make the circumstances leading up to the detonation unclear. ..... Though some in his administration urged him to consider plans for nuclear conflict, Eisenhower, no stranger to war, rejected the idea as unthinkable. ....... A 2008 study (updated in 2014) on the environmental effects of a "small" nuclear war described what would happen if 100 Hiroshima-strength bombs were detonated in a hypothetical conflict between India and Pakistan. This is equivalent to less than 1 percent of the combined nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia. ........ The explosions, the study found, would push a layer of hot, black smoke into the atmosphere, where it would envelop the Earth in about 10 days. The study predicted that this smoke would block sunlight, heat the atmosphere, and erode the ozone for many years, producing what the researchers call without hyperbole "a decade without summer." As rains dried and crops failed worldwide, the resulting global famine would kill 1 billion people. ...... "We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion"

Russia sounds like Pakistan on nuclear weapons: too ready to use them. After the Soviet Union collapsed, America did not do a good job of strengthening democracy inside Russia. George HW Bush: unifinished job in Russia. George W Bush: unfinished job in Iraq.

At some point though, I think Putin might overstretch and implode domestically. But that point is not near. He is perfectly sane when dealing with powers like China, cutting trade deals, etc.

This current tension is suspended animation that will likely not lead to nuclear war, but the tension will remain.

And all the time the Russian economy is getting hammered. That hastens Russia's decline in the long run. India is a bigger economy than Russia.

Another unfinished business of the end of the Cold War: a dramatic destruction of nuclear weapons on both sides.

Carbon is hard enough to deal with in the atmosphere, adding radioactive waste to it is unthinkable. There is no such thing called just a small amount. Chernobyl was small.

Even if Russia were a democracy like the US wants, it would still have its sphere of influence. Eastern Europe would legitimately be in Russia's sphere of influence. I feel like the US has disrespected that a little. Russia is a big country, live with it.

Perhaps some leader will emerge in Russia who will rise to the top precisely through that logic: a full embrace of democracy and the markets and globalization and the internet is the better way to seek global power status for Russia, and, yes, perhaps, double digit growth rates.

Ultimately America wins. But Russia wins bigger. That is what I like about democracy. I am a believer. Putin is an infidel, a democracy infidel.

Modi is on good -- excellent -- terms with both Obama and Putin. Perhaps he can engineer a deescalation.

We are in Cold War 2.0. The Cold War never ended because it was never properly buried.

The true worst case scenario is where Russia feels truly cornered, cornered enough to not only engage in saber rattling, but also want to do real damage to the US. It would help the ISIS build a dirty bomb and help take it near to the US shores. But that is an extreme scenario. I don't see that happening. Russia does not see America as an enemy, only a geopolitical competitor.

How about eventually expanding NATO to include Russia? Perhaps a democratic Russia. And vastly reduced nuclear weapons.

Russia will be a major book on Hillary's table.

Friday, January 30, 2015

India Is The New Britain: Thanks To Muslims And China

The oldest democracy of modern times (the first republic was in the time of Buddha) has the historic burden to see through a total spread of democracy as it works its own way to a more perfect union. I hope for peaceful methods and ways, but violence was a part of World War II, the Cold War, and now is a part of the (for lack of a better phrase) War On Terror. When you do the math, China glares you in the face. Should the War on Terror - and the only way it can conclude is after a total spread of democracy has been achieved across the Muslim world - conclude, what is next? China?

When the tussle between capitalism and communism first began, capitalism/democracy first responded by creating an elaborate welfare state. Was that communism's victory? I don't know. But that sure made the case of democracy much stronger. Similarly China makes a clear case for campaign finance reform in political systems like America, even as it fights the losing battle of keeping the lid on political reform.

But if democracy is to be spread across the Muslim/Arab world and democracy is to be spread across China, India finds itself at the center of the universe. India has a huge Muslim population. Not only that, India needs to prove democracy works for Muslims and is right by the Muslims. India also is one of the countries (like Japan, the Phillippines, Vietnam, and others, you could argue Taiwan) with which China likes to pick small fights on border issues. That is little to do with unsettled borders and much to do with the tussle between fundamentally different political systems that can not co-exist forever. In a democracy, the system is designed such that the people get to blame the politicians in power and kick them out. But autocracies are designed in ways that the system necessarily needs to create and sustain external enemies to rally the people behind, kind of like a safety valve. And so China needs to keep picking small fights with Japan and India, and it needs to keep threatening Taiwan. It is the nature of the beast. Curiously the same China seems to have no border problems with Russia, another land starving for democracy.

India has to have one uniform civil code for all its citizens, Hindus, Muslims and everyone else. The Sharia law has no place in a democracy. The separation between church/temple/mosque and the state is fundamental to how a modern democracy works. On the other hand, there is a need for some soul searching as to why Muslims in India lag on all socio-economic indicators. The Indian democracy does not seem to be working for Indian Muslims. That Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh have it rougher is no excuse.

An America-India-Japan-Australia alliance, not to contain or counter China, but to keep the Indian and Pacific oceans open for commerce and rules based order is a welcome step. China's saber rattling has been unnerving too many across too many countries over the years.

The oldest and the largest democracies are but natural partners. India is the new Britain. Two dudes who look like MLK and Gandhi rule the two largest democracies on the planet. We must be living in a post-colonial world.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

So Called War On Terror

English: The Ethnic composition of Muslims in ...
English: The Ethnic composition of Muslims in the United States, according to the United States Department of State based on the publication of Being Muslim in America as of March 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cold War, War On Terror
Hillary's Drastic Move

The resolution to the War is when moderate Islam is the mainstream Islam across the Muslim world.

Every time white people have acted racist - I am thinking colonialism, apartheid, segregation - they have quoted from the Bible. Considering racism is not exactly past tense yet, I believe we are still awaiting the arrival of moderate Christianity.

To think your way is the only way is not tolerant, not moderate. And there are concrete repercussions.

There is an ideological angle to the War On Terror. And that ideological angle is no sideshow, it IS the biggest angle.

Surprisingly (or not) India is the way to that moderate Islam. It is the largest democracy. It is an unhappy truth that Muslims in India are like African Americans in America. Having a Muslim president in India, or a black president in America has not fundamentally changed that. India has a larger Muslim population than every Arab country. Indonesia might be the only country with more Muslims.

In that democracy you see a fermentation. The current ruling party in India is in a war of words as to why there is a separate civil code for Muslims. They argue for a uniform civil code for all citizens. What's that debate all about? Participating in that debate would be a good use of dollars.

But then you have an arms industry in America - Colombia specializes in drugs, America in arms - that needs to sell weapons. And so the country sees nails in every direction. And so you don't see American money spent on things that would truly make the difference in the War On Terror.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cold War, War On Terror

Let's draw parallels. There was the Cold War. And now there is the War On Terror, for lack of a better phrase. It is a tussle between radical, violent Islamism and liberal democracy. The Cold War simmered for over four decades. The War On Terror has gone on for a decade and a half already.

Russia is still not a democracy. You can have elections and no democracy. Russia is a prime example. It is a waning power with a GDP smaller than that of India.

In a sense the Cold War is not exactly over. Communism has seen defeat, but Russia is not yet a democracy.

The War On Terror will not end with a defeat of Islam. Extremist Islam will not be defeated by Christianity, but by moderate Islam. Extremist Islam can be contained and miniaturized, but not eliminated. Extremist Christianity still persists. You have right wing militia.

That civil morphing and the preponderance of moderate Islam will primarily be a function of the democratic process.

Dictatorships will have to make way. Moderate Islam will have to be nurtured.

This is hard work. It will take time. It can be expedited, but only to an extent.

It is hard to argue that Bush was wrong and Obama has been right, or that Obama is wrong, and the next president will do it right. It is not that easy. No matter what, the process will take time.

America's top priority understandably is to prevent another 9/11 style attack. To that end the country will make any sacrifice, go to any end. But that firefighting is not the solution. It is band aid.

My personal bias is for all those non violent methods of spreading democracy. Beaming in wireless internet across the Arab world and flooding the region with super cheap Android phones would be my tool of choice. The US government is not involved with either. Google is.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Iraq Could Cost Hillary 2016

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton intr...
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton introduces President Barack Obama before he delivered a policy address on events in the Middle East. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is possible this is a false alarm. This is not the beginning of a new, protracted war. The US sure is not going back. But if the government in Baghdad does not fall, it should not be that bad politically for Hillary. But a bad scenario makes Iraq look bad for Hillary, strictly politically speaking.

But then all of the Middle East is unfinished business. This is like the Cold War in 1977 or 1972. The end is not yet in sight.

There are at least five different scenarios that could unfold, only one of which could cost Hillary 2016. But even the other four make it hard. But then 2016 was always going to be a regular presidential election. It is going to be a very real, contested election should Hillary run, and I never doubted she is going to.