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VIEW: East Asia — more discord than accord —Mohan Malik

In the absence of a thaw in Sino-Japanese and Sino-Indian relations or great power cooperation, the EAC is unlikely to take off because multilateralism is a multi-player game. If anything, the first EAS may well have had the opposite effect, intensifying old rivalries. If such rivalry continues, there is every risk that community building would be fatally compromised

Optimists see the East Asian Summit as the first step toward establishing an East Asian Community (EAC) along the lines of the European Community. However, competing geopolitical interests and historic suspicion make the goal unrealistic for the foreseeable future. Instead of creating a common bond, the first summit may have intensified old strategic rivalries and forced smaller Asian nations to choose sides.

The long-awaited summit (EAS) held in mid-December brought together China and India with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). With several rising and contending powers, the Asia of the 21st century resembles Europe of the early 20th century, and for now, any Asian free-trade zone to rival Europe seems farfetched.

Despite the ongoing Sino-Japanese feud, Sino-Indian rivalry, discord over membership, and wariness about China’s emerging power, leaders did agree to hold the EAS annually with the ASEAN. But challenges remain: On the eve of the summit, China proposed dividing EAS members into core and secondary categories, and Chinese and Korean leaders refused to hold bilateral or trilateral talks with Japanese counterparts. China’s stance provides insights into Beijing’s insecurities regarding the momentum for a broader East Asian Community shifting power alignments within Asia.

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad first proposed the summit as the East Asian Economic Caucus in 1991. But the original proposal, with its narrow membership definitions, floundered mainly due to opposition from the US, which was being excluded from what was called a caucus without Caucasians.

Almost a decade later, Mahathir’s successor, Abdullah Badawi, resurrected the idea of an East Asian Community at the 2004 ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) meeting, and immediately won backing from China’s Premier Wen Jiabao. Perceiving declining US power due to the preoccupation with the War on Terrorism, an assertive China saw an opportunity to steer East Asian multilateralism along the lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), to serve Beijing’s strategic goals and further weaken US influence in East Asia. However, Beijing’s enthusiasm alerted those countries that remain wary of becoming divided into Chinese and American blocs in East Asia or establishing an East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere under China’s leadership. This alarm prompted a campaign to include India, Australia and New Zealand and to ensure that ASEAN remained central to any future East Asian Community.

Membership remained a contentious issue well into 2005. With the exception of Kuala Lumpur, Southeast Asian countries supported India’s participation in the EAS, seeing it as a useful counterweight to China’s growing power and backed Australia’s participation provided that Canberra acceded to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, which it did.

Failing to exclude India, Australia and New Zealand from the EAS, the Chinese Foreign Ministry proposed on the eve of the summit that the existing ASEAN Plus Three (APT), and not the new 16-member East Asia Summit, control the formation of any Asian community-building exercise. In other words, China insisted that EAC formation remain the responsibility of the core group, or APT. A proposal to divide EAS into two blocs — the core states with China as the dominant APT player, and the peripheral states with India, Australia and New Zealand, “outsiders” according to a recent People’s Daily editorial — led to a major rift.

A People’s Daily commentary listed reasons for the Chinese proposal. The commentary criticised Japan for dragging countries outside the region into the Community to serve as a counterbalance to China and rejected any plans to “dish out the ‘human rights’ issue... to build up US-Japan centred Western dominance... in an attempt to... weaken Chinese influence in East Asia.” China regards Japan and India with substantial antipathy, and not just because the two Asian giants are China’s principal peer competitors. China-Japan relations, always prickly, have lately worsened due to Beijing’s opposition to a permanent UN Security Council seat for Japan and rival claims to petroleum deposits and islands in the East China Sea, not to mention Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni shrine commemorating Japan’s war dead.

Beijing remains leery of India’s power pretensions and attempts to extend influence in China’s backyard, regarding New Delhi’s “Look East” policy as part of a wider “congage China” strategy unveiled by the Washington-Tokyo-New Delhi axis. Beijing seeks to confine India to the periphery of a future East Asia Community. The People’s Daily commentator reacted sharply to India’s proposal for an Asian Economic Community: “India’s proposal is not warmly responded as each country has its own considerations.” Apparently, China’s considerations are primarily geo-strategic in nature. Beijing fears that India’s participation would shift the balance of power and make the EAC less susceptible to domination by China. China’s proposal for a two-tiered EAS structure found some support from South Korea, Burma, Thailand, and more importantly, host country Malaysia, albeit for varying reasons.

In the end, China won a partial victory with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s announcement that APT, which originally proposed the idea, would be “a vehicle for realising the dreams of forming the East Asian Community.” However, the support came with a caveat: ASEAN spurned Beijing’s offer to host the second summit, and decided that the EAS will be held annually with the ASEAN Summit in Southeast Asian countries only. Thus, ASEAN will be the hub of the EAS and the key driver within the APT.

The reaction was mixed: An Indian diplomat expressed disappointment over the decision to entrench the ASEAN Plus Three framework: “To state that ASEAN is in the driver’s seat, the passengers have a right to know where they are going.” With Australia relegated to the outer circle, Prime Minster John Howard downplayed the summit’s significance relative to the APEC. And Japan expressed its preference that newcomers India, Australia and New Zealand be more than mere passengers on the road to an East Asian Community. Realising that its original goal of establishing an East Asian version of SCO to counter Washington was a non-starter, China quickly lost enthusiasm for the new grouping. As a distant hegemon, the US remains the balancer of choice for countries on China’s periphery. Of the 16 EAS members, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and South Korea are military allies of the US, while New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India are hedgers more concerned about China than the US. So on the last day of the summit, the Chinese premier and diplomats suggested that anyone with interests in the Pacific — Russia, perhaps, or even the United States — could eventually take part, a move that would make EAC indistinguishable from the ASEAN Regional Forum or the APEC.

In the absence of a thaw in Sino-Japanese and Sino-Indian relations or great power cooperation, the EAC is unlikely to take off because multilateralism is a multi-player game. If anything, the first EAS may well have had the opposite effect, intensifying old rivalries. If such rivalry continues, there is every risk that community building exercise would be fatally compromised. At best, the EAS will be just another “talk shop” like the APEC or the ARF where leaders meet, declarations are made, but little community building is achieved.

Mohan Malik is professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the policy or position of the centre or the US Department of Defense. This article appeared in YaleGlobal Online (www.yaleglobal.yale.edu), a publication of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and is reprinted by permission. Copyright © 2003 Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
<b>The axis of order?</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->LAST September, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick gave a speech to the National Committee on United States-China Relations in which he repeatedly urged China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system.
It turns out that there is no word in Chinese for stakeholder, and the initial Chinese reaction was puzzlement and reaching for a dictionary. Did Zoellick mean steak holder? After all, he was speaking at a dinner. Maybe this was some Texas slang for telling China it had to buy more U.S. beef? Well, eventually the Chinese got a correct interpretation.

At the time, I thought Zoellick was raising an important point, but I now believe it is an urgent point. Why? Because Iran is determined to build a nuclear bomb, and the only countries with the clout to stop the Iranians — by diplomatic means — are China, Russia and India. Lets hope they act, because if Iran goes nuclear, the international order that has evolved since the end of the Cold War could come unraveled.

Iran decided last week to defy the United States, Europe and the U.N.s International Atomic Energy Agency — by removing the IAEA seals at three Iranian nuclear sites — so Tehran can resume uranium enrichment, a key step in making a bomb.

The IAEA seals were put in place two and a half years ago, after the U.N. agency found that Iran was in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Iran could have been referred to the Security Council then for sanctions. But instead, in return for keeping the seals on its facilities, the Europeans have been trying to negotiate an end to the crisis with Tehran.

Why has this now become a stakeholder test for China, Russia and India? Because if the Iranian mullahs — who are now awash in petro-dollars — know one thing, it is how to read power and weakness.

The Iranians know that the U.S. has already put all the sanctions on Iran that it can. They seriously doubt that the Europeans will ever impose sanctions. And — this is the key — <b>even if the Security Council censures Iran, and Europe miraculously joins the U.S. in imposing sanctions, the Iranians assume that China, Russia and India — thats half the world — will never follow. </b>

Only if China, Russia and India make it clear that they are not only willing to let Irans case be taken up by the Security Council, but that they will also join in stringent economic sanctions, will Iran back down. Western threats, which Irans radical president dismissed with the back of his hand Thursday as some little fuss, are no longer credible.

Communist Russia and China opposed the U.S. during the Cold War, and socialist India was neutral. But since the end of the Cold War, all three countries have embraced capitalism and become huge players — and beneficiaries — of todays global economy, with Russia providing oil and gas, China manufacturing and India software. All three now have a huge stake in the stability of the international system.

But these countries have basically been cruising along as free riders on a stable international order, which has been maintained largely by the U.S., with help from the E.U., NATO and Japan. Both Russia and China have actually used their clout at times to protect international bad actors — like Iran, Sudan and North Korea — out of a narrow economic self-interest and a kind of residual third-world, gotta-counter-the-Americans reflex.

But if Iran defies the U.N. and goes nuclear, it will give an already nasty regime a shield behind which to make even more trouble — from Iraq to Israel and Europe.

<b>It would also be likely to lead to the end of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to a possible military strike against Iran by Israel or America — which would surely disrupt the Persian Gulf oil supplies that both India and China depend upon — and to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. </b>

The Sunni Arabs may tolerate a bomb in the hands of the Jews, but not the Shiite Persians. The Arabs would want their own bomb. Russia, meanwhile, would have an unstable, nuclear-armed Iran on its border.

In fairness, India, China and Russia have taken small steps to defuse the crisis and signal Iran that they dont approve of its actions and may let it be hauled before the Security Council.

That helped keep Iran on the fence — for a while. But now Iran has gotten off the fence, and so must Russia, China and India. For their own sakes, if not ours, these emerging big three have got to become the Axis of Order.

<b>The old cops on the beat cant deal with the Axis of Evil alone anymore. Pay attention to how this one ends, folks. The structure of the whole post-Cold-War world is at stake. </b>
<i>Thomas Friedman writes for the New York Times. </i>

by Dr Arvind Virmani, until recently, Director & Chief Executive of ICRIER
(Indian Council for Research in International Economic Relations), New Delhi,
was released in November 2005.

The paper shows how the basic building blocks of growth theory, the aggregate
production function, factor productivity and technical change can be used to
define a simple index of GLOBAL POWER POTENTIAL (VIP2). It also comes to grip
with the millitary aspects of power by defining another index, the INDEX OF
ACTUAL POWER (VIP), that combines the index of power potential with a measure of
strategic assets (technology, equipment and skills related to defense).

The paper provides a relatively objective measure to project the emerging future
of nations -- when a country can be classified as a (potential) 'global power'
or a 'regional power' or otherwise.

Some of the conclusions emerging from this study have important implications for
US-India relations which, hopefully, will be noted by the Congress of the United
States as well as by policymakers in India. Also, they have implications for the
future relationship between India and the other democracies of the world.

Following is a summary of what emerges from the study and its policy

**National power has two elements -- (a) the 'power potential' of a country,
which depends on economic strength and general technological capability, and
(b)military capability, which includes defense and strategic equipment and
specific technologies needed for attaining military superiority. Together these
define the actual power of a country, international ambition and determination,
the 'will to power' play a role in transforming the 'power potential' into
'actual power.'

**Economic power is the foundation of national power. Economic strength is the
only sustained and sustainable basis for national power and relative economic
power is the basis for national power. Military power disproportionate to
economic power can be used to enhance national power for a certain period of
time; but it's not sustainable over long periods. Example -- the break up of the
USSR where military and strategic competition could not be sustained by a
declining economy.

**Need to distinguish between two categories of technology -- commercial and
strategic. Commercial technology is part and parcel of normal trade, financial
flows and movement of managers and skilled personnel between open economies.
Strategic technologies are technologies of power. They include military related
technologies such as nuclear and aerospace and technology for producing advanced
weapon systems and defense equipment. By definition strategic technologies are
critical to national power and are not traded on commercial considerations.

**The economic capacity of a country at any point in time is measured by its GDP
(Gross Domestic Product). The only way to compare the size of different
economies is by valuing all goods and services produced in each, by using a
common set of relative prices. Such a measure of a country's economy is referred
to as Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity.

**Per capita gross domestic product at purchasing power parity or GDP per person
can be used as a summary measure of the 'general technological capability' of an

**A nation's power potential (NPP),VIP2, can be defined as the multiple of the
size of its economy measured by GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) and its
technological capability measured by its per capita GDP. The paper views the
power potential of a country relative to the USA. Thus, the NPP is measured by
its GDP at PPP relative to that of the USA. A country with a larger GDP is
potentially more powerful than one with lower GDP. Implicitly population and per
capita GDP have equal weight. If two countries have the same GDP but one is
richer than the other (has higher per capita GDP), the richer country will be
potentially more powerful. Since per capita GDP is an indicator of general
technological capability, this multiplies the power potential of a given GDP.
Overall it also means technology (per capita GDP) has a greater weight in
determining power potential than population.

**Actual power, VIP, depends on the amount and quality of strategic assets,
including defense equipment, technology and skills, acquired by the country. The
Virmani index of actual power (VIP) is defined as a function of power potential
VIP2 and the strategic assets of the country relative to the strategic assets of
the benchmark USA.

**Maximization of economic growth will maximize 'power potential'. Since Deng's
market revolution, China's Leninist ruling party has absorbed this lesson fully
and has been acting on it. India's democratic ruling elite has far too long
ignored this lesson. Further, acceleration of economic growth in India will not
only increase its power but will also (unlike in China) eliminate poverty
faster. (This issue has been covered by Dr Virmani in a separate paper).

**Suggested benchmark values of the index for a country to be considered a
global power are (20%) or a regional power (5%).


1. United States (100%)
2. Japan (27%)
3. China (25%)
4. Germany (17%)
5. France (12%)
6. United Kingdom (12%)
7. Italy (11%)
8. India (8.5%)
9. Canada (7.8%)
10. Russia (6.5%)
11. Spain (6.4%)
12. Brazil (5.8%)
13. Korea (5.5%)
14. Australia (4.7%)

**Thus, going by the benchmark values, there are currently two potential global
powers, China and Japan, in addition to the undisputed and unique USA. Germany,
which was a potential global power till a decade ago, is no longer one.

**The world can currently be best described as "uni-polar with a multi-polar
fringe" constituted by the middle powers -- Japan, China, Germany. France, UK,
India and Russia (by analogy to the market structure, "monopoly with a
competitive fringe").

**China is now the third strongest power in the world and will displace Japan in
the second place in the next few years. Germany, France, UK and Italy will
remain more powerful than India for some time even though India's economy is the
fourth largest in the world in PPP terms. Russia's actual power is greater than
its power potential because of the historical legacy of the Soviet empire.

**About national power: (a) an aspirant for 'great power' status must have a
power potential of at least 35% of the predominant power, (b) a nation state
must have a power potential of at least 40 % to be a credible 'great power' and
maintain that status, © a rising power can be more assertive and credible than
is perhaps warranted by the level of its power potential, (d) acquistion of
strategic assets is critical for a 'great power' with less than 50 % 'power
potential' to challenge the dominant pole and to convert the world into a
bipolar one, (e) the minimum cut-off level of 'power potential' for bipolarity
may be higher in an open globally integrated economy, but may also be more

**Investment in strategic technology must be commensurate with the 'power
potential' of the economy so as to convert the 'potential into actual power. Too
little investment will result in the potential remaining unrealized and
aggressive powers will be tempted to exploit this weakness. Excessive investment
can raise actual power in the short run but can undermine long term power
potential by diverting funds from other essential public goods and services.

**India and China are still relatively poor countries and their high rank in the
global power club is due to their large population relative to USA and other
countries.The other side of this coin is that they have the greatest potential
for increasing power, by raising their per capita income. For instance, if
Russia's and Brazil's per capita income was raised to the level of USA, their
'power potential' would still be only 50% and 60 % that of the USA respectively.
In contrast, China and India's 'power potential' would equal that of USA if
their per capita income was 50 % of USA's.

**Among the members of the global power club, India and China have the greatest
power gap -- that is the gap between their share of world GDP at PPP and their
share of world population. Therefore, these two countries have the greatest
opportunity for closing it.

** UN population projections till 2050 show Russia's and Japan's population
declining by 25%, while India's will increase to equal that of China. Thus, the
major increase in 'power potential' will come only through increases in per
capita income relative to USA's. The current unipolar world can become bilpolar
or tripolar over the next 25 to 50 years if either or both of these countries
continue to grow at a much faster rate than USA. The demographic situation of
other nation states make it higly unlikely that any of them can compete with USA
in the next 50 years. The only other possibility is for the European Monetary
Union (EMU) or the European Union (EU) to coalesce into a 'virtual state', which
looks unlikely at this point.

**The projected evolution of the 'power potential' of some of the larger members
of the global VIP2 club, suggests that India will become more powerful than
Italy in five years and France and UK in seven years. In about 10 years (2016)
it is projected to become more powerful than Germany. By 2022 India's power
potential will exceed 20% making it a (potential) global power along with China
and Japan, in addition to USA. No other country has the potential to join the
ranks of global powers over the next 25 years. Within 20 years India's 'power
potential' will exceed that of Japan. More dramatically, China will become the
second strongest global power and continue to catch up with USA, reaching about
75% of USA's 'power potential' by 2025.

**China has since the mid-1980s followed a development model that fully uses the
potential of globalization and global economic integration. The FDI-Export model
adopted by it goes further and makes it heavily dependent for fast growth on
USA, Japan and EU, both directly and indirectly through HK, Taiwan and ASEAN. It
will be in a position to challenge US power in Asia when its 'power potential'
reaches 60%, i.e. by around 2020. Even then the challenge is unlikely to be of a
direct military nature, such as an invasion of Taiwan. However, the use of
pressure to achieve the same objective is likely to rise progressively.

**With China's 'power potential' reaching 74% by 2025 and the third ranked
power, India having a 'power potential' of only 26%, the world is likely to
become bipolar. What this means is that China would very likely challenge the US
in the economic and geo-political context and could conceivably initiate a
creeping annexation of the South China Sea. One of the key tests of the ruling
Chinese Communist Party's intentions will be whether it applies to a rising
India the same principles and approaches that it expects the USA, Japan and the
EU to apply to a rising China. If it takes a positive approach to India's rise
(e.g. on permanent membership of UNSC, founding of EAEC, NSG), then it can
rightly expect the same positive approach from others. (In seminars on
China-India comparison, Chinese scholars talk about 'competition and
cooperation' between the two countries, while Indian scholars talk only about
'cooperation'. No Chinese will however ever admit that 'competition' includes
proliferation of wmd technology -- atomic weapons design, above 300 km range
missiles -- to Pakistan).

**Partnerships, formal or informal, with a country having a large, high quality
stock of strategic capital can be highly beneficial to a relatively poor country
with a lower level of general technological capability and strategic assets.
Such a partnership can lower the financial and time cost (for the poor country)
of building strategic assets and improving their quality. The growth of
strategic capital can therefore be accelerated resulting in faster rise of VIP.

**There are, thus, two hypothetical developments that can result in a tri-polar
multi-polar world instead of a bi-polar one in 20 years. (a) It's possible for a
country to achieve a level of power (VIP) that is much larger than its power
potential (as measured by VIP2) through acquisiton and development of strategic
technology. India's power potential of 26% in 2025 will be higher than the
average power potential of the USSR (23%) from 1950 to 1990 and equal to the
power potential of the Soviet virtual state in 1955 when it became the second
pole in a bipolar world. The only way India can achieve a level of strategic
technology necessary for becoming a credible third pole by 2025 is through
transfer of strategic technology and equipment from USA. The bold decision of
President Bush to remove restrictions on the flow of commercial nuclear
technology to India and to facilitate the flow of dual use and strategic
technology could transform power relations in Asia and the world. Just as
Nixon's opening to China did. This will be one of the decisions that marks
President Bush's and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's place in history. If
followed to its logical conclusion this could raise India's actual power (VIP)
way above its 'power potential' (VIP2), leading to a tri-polar world by 2025.
More realistically, it could accelerate the arrival of a tri-polar world. In
other words, the period of bi-polarity will be shortened, an outcome that is in
the mutual interest of both USA and India. The State Department spokesman's
statement of March 25, 2005 in Washington that the USA would "help India become
a world power" has a value for India if it means that the USA is willing to
supply India the strategic technology to ensure that India's actual power (VIP)
matches or exceeds its growing power potential (VIP2). The US President has
authorized such a statement because he perceives a strategic benefit from having
a natural and stable balance of power in Asia. The US administration and think
tank scholars must convince the US Congress that a more powerful India is in the
vital interest of USA. Acquisition of technology or skills from others is NOT a
substitute for, but a complement to indigenous development for an aspiring
global power like India. Acquisition of strategic assets (materials, equipment,
technology, skills) from others must be used to (1) fill gaps and cover weakness
in domestic capability; (2) speed up indigenous development of strategic assets
and improve the effectiveness and quality of of strategic R&D; and (3) widen the
ambit of strategic R&D into frontier areas not accessible previously. Further,
the dominant power will try to reduce the flow of strategic technology from it
to the potential challenger. As mentioned above, China will be strong enough to
challenge US power by 2025. The US government has therefore taken steps during
the last few years to stop such flows from the US, EU and Japan. In response
China has been emphasizing that it is a middle-income country whose per capita
income will not equal the USA's for 50 years or more. The Virmani paper shows
that as far as global power relations are concerned, the relevant comparator is
either the power potential VIP2 or the actual power VIP, not the relative per
capita income. (b) Another development that can result in a tri-polar or
multi-polar world around 2025 is if the emergence of China and India on the
global scene forces the residents of the larger member-states of the EU to
reconsider their stand on EU integration. Twenty years from now they may decide
to constitute an EU government, based on direct elections by EU citizens, with
complete power to act on all matters connected with international relations
(defense, foreign affairs). Such an EU would be a global power. The 'power
potential' of the European Monetary Union countries plus UK is currently (in
2005) a little less than 75% and is projected to decline to about 60%. However,
the power potential of an EU virtual state would be about equal to that of China
in 2025. (As long as the EU does not become a 'virtual state,' it is not a
global power and its incentive for stopping the flow of strategic technology to
China will be much lower than that of USA. On the other hand, if the EU becomes
a 'virtual state', it will be a rival of China and its incentive to restrict the
flow of strategic technology to China will rise sharply).

**If neither of the above two developments takes place, the world will still
become tri-polar in about 30 years, with India as the weakest pole. Though the
'power potential' VIP2 of China is projected to be greater than that of USA in
30 years, its actual power VIP is likely to remain less for several decades
because of the accumulated strategic assets of USA.

For the full text of the Virmani paper, please log on to
http://www.usindiafriendship.net/, turn to "Most recent Viewpoints", and click:
"Virmani Index of Power (VIP): Measurement of Global Power Potential of

How not to build an East Asian Community
Noriko Hama
9 - 12 - 2005
The first East Asia Summit, planned as a means towards regional harmony and
integration, is mired in dispute before it has even started, says Noriko Hama.

Is it to be deepening or enlargement? Is it economics or politics? Is it
cohesion or variable geometry? Is it, in short, yet another article about the
future of the European Union? No. Rest easy, reader. In this instance, it is
about the schisms and tussles that are threatening to tear apart another
regional association of nation-states – the East Asian Community – before it has
even begun to take shape.

The first-ever East Asia Summit takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on
Wednesday 14 December 2005, at the end of the eleventh summit of the ten-member
Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) from 12-14 December. This is the
culmination of a process that began in December 1997, also in Kuala Lumpur, when
the region’s north met its south in response to the financial crisis that was
raging throughout east Asia. The south was represented by the (then nine) Asean
states, while the north comprised the awkward trio of China, Japan and South
Korea. Thus was born the framework for “Asean+3” summit meetings.

The Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) was formed in August 1967.
Its founder members were Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and
Thailand. Brunei joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Burma (Mynamar) and Laos in
1997, and Cambodia in 1999.

Asean’s founding declaration commits the body to economic growth, social
progress and cultural development; and to promote regional peace and stability
through respect for justice and the rule of law and adherence to the principles
of the United Nations charter.

The next step was the formation of an East Asian Vision Group which recommended
the evolution of Asean+3 (“10+3”) into an east Asian summit arrangement. This
led to the creation of a study group to consider possible substantive areas of
cooperation. The group’s final report was presented to the 2002 Asean+3 summit
in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Later meetings within the Asean+3 framework, official
and unofficial, proceeded in stages to prepare the agenda and range of possible
outcomes for the historic Kuala Lumpur summit.

It has to be said that Asean+3 has shown itself to be remarkably resilient over
the years. The very fact that it is actually on the way to doing what it had
said it would do – that the East Asia Summit will be held at all – is quite an

This is where it starts to get complicated.

For there is a stark difference between the East Asia Summit that was initially
envisaged and the one that is about to be inaugurated. As a result of a decision
made in May 2005, the Kuala Lumpur gathering will not be held under the rubric
of the thirteen-nation formula of the Asean+3 arrangement so painstakingly
constructed over the last eight years. Rather, it will take the form of a yet
newer configuration: “10+3+3”. The ten Asean countries and the still uneasy
combination of China, Japan and South Korea are now to be joined by three
further states: Australia, India and New Zealand.

The agreement to invite the three new participants, making for a summit of
sixteen states, was contentious. Not at all surprisingly, the Asean+3 members
are not uniformly supportive of the idea. Not at all surprisingly, Japan and
China are in opposite camps over the issue.

This is where it starts to get sinister.

China is in favour of a further deepening of the Asean+3 structure, which China
sees as the foundation on which an eventual East Asian Community would be based.
This Chinese view is strongly seconded by Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s former
prime minister and very much a founding father of the whole concept of an East
Asian Community.

Japan stands in the other corner. It was the country’s prime minister, Junichiro
Koizumi – in a speech in Singapore in January 2002, less than a year after his
first election victory – who floated the idea of including Australia and New
Zealand. From Koizumi’s perspective, creating a workable East Asian Community
requires enlargement beyond the framework of Asean+3.

His view finds support in Indonesia. More predictably, it also finds support in
the United States. In a thinly veiled message to China, US secretary of state
Condoleezza Rice made comments to the effect that the inclusion of such
“democratic states” as Australia, New Zealand and India in the East Asia Summit
would be a most welcome initiative. True to form, Junichiro Koizumi himself is
much more forthright in his expression of the view that the US has an
indispensable role to play in the construction of any East Asian Community.
Despite this support, the United States itself is very definitely not invited to
participate in the regional forum.

The 10+3+3 initiative has been a source of division about the identity and
future of this putative community. The supporters of deepening, led by China,
want the Kuala Lumpur summit to avoid a joint declaration that makes any
reference to the East Asian Community. As long as the new, sixteen-nation
formation remains intact, they would rather relegate such summits to becoming a
talking-shop between the Asean+3 and the wider grouping.

Meanwhile, enlargement advocates will not consider a joint declaration worth the
paper it is written on unless the words East Asian Community explicitly appear
in it. Indian delegates are reported to have said that they will only sign a
declaration in which the phrase appears at least twice.

An unfinished story

South Korea has thus far kept a relatively low profile over this contentious
question. Indeed, it chooses to withhold its judgment regarding a lot of east
Asian regional issues. The proximity of its wayward relative to the north means
that its caution merits sympathy. Yet even as it continues to sit on the fence,
its posture looks to be increasingly tilting towards the Chinese. As the
distance between China and South Korea appears to be closing while that between
South Korea and Japan grows wider by the day, the initial “+3” triangle is
looking less and less equilateral.

The proximate reasons include the series of political disputes that has divided
Japan from its two north Asian neighbours over the past year: fuelled partly by
the perception of a nationalist revival in Japan (involving routine visits to
the Yasukuni shrine, the controversy over a school history textbook, and
territorial rivalries – Takeshima/Tokdo, Senkaku/Diaoyutai – with
energy-resource implications).

This foregrounding of politics has serious implications for the East Asia Summit
process. The Asean+3 grouping emerged in response to the 1997 financial
near-meltdown in the region. That is to say, it was an economics-driven
arrangement. Now, on the eve of the East Asia Summit, what appears to be in the
offing is a politics-driven framework.

This is a pity. An economics-driven process is by nature evolutionary, and by
definition sustained by mutual economic gain. A politics-driven process is by
nature contrived, and by definition becomes unsustainable where the parties
involved seek mutually incompatible political gains.

Walter Hallstein, the first president of the European Commission, famously
remarked that the business of the European Community is not business but
politics. The pre-summit shenanigans in east Asia suggest a paraphrase: the
politics of east Asia call for less political intrigue and more sound economics.
What politicians must do is to manage the political consequences of greater
economic integration.

The unfinished saga of the East Asian Community shows how quarrelsome these can
be. Ill-conceived integration, political or economic, creates fertile soil for
social intolerance to grow, as the Netherlands and France to their great cost
have recently come to understand. So, reader, it is about the European Union
after all. For on the eve of the first East Asia Summit, east Asia has much to
learn from Europe about the do’s and dont’s of community building. Especially
Japan. Especially about the dont’s.

Noriko Hama is professor at Doshisha University Management School and research
director at the economic research department in the Mitsubishi Research
Institute in Tokyo.


Who Is ’Containing’ Whom?

All this neo-con talk of containing China by promoting India has only served to alert the dragon. Perhaps the most unfortunate formulation for India might have been the American offer to help it to become "a world power."



In the competition for global energy resources, India is being repeatedly outsmarted by China. This week it was beaten to the finish line in its own backyard when Myanmar announced it had finalised a deal with China to sell 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas over 30 years rather than supply it to India for a proposed gas pipeline through Bangladesh. The reason: India and Bangladesh weren’t able to reach an agreement while the more nimble-footed and cash-rich Chinese worked on the junta in Yangoon to accept their offer.

It was the latest in a series of nasty surprises. China has recently beaten Indian oil companies in Kazakhstan, Angola, Ecuador and in Nigeria where India withdrew its bid for a 45 percent stake in an oil and gas field citing "risks" leaving it to the Chinese to snap it up. Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer’s explanation that India’s entry raised the price for the Chinese hardly assuages the stark reality on the ground -- that China is frantically grabbing oil and gas rights, stakes and companies all over the world and resolutely preparing for the future.

Indian efforts at securing energy by comparison look half-hearted and mired in confusion. And, above all, soft. If India is to play the big game, it must use big muscle -- both financial and strategic. It must develop an integrated approach that includes its foreign, trade and energy policies and geo-strategic goals. It must offer carrots where needed and have the gall to leverage its power where necessary. The competition for oil is likely to get red hot in the future, creating a dog-eat-dog world. There will be no friends, especially among the big guzzlers. To think that India and China can cooperate as "strategic partners" while they hunt for sources of energy as the minister says is to live in an ideal world.

China has given no hint that it wants to be India’s partner, official rhetoric notwithstanding. China will partner India or any other country only to the extent it makes Beijing a little more palatable to the international community and less frightening. It may do a joint bid but only to show that it is not on an all-out grab. Having got the US and EU by their tails by making them dependent on cheap Chinese exports, China has created a dependency from which weaning will be difficult, if not impossible. With smaller countries, specially India’s neighbours, China has been proactive, mercilessly exploiting every gap, every shortcoming of Indian foreign policy.

And four years of neo-con talk in Washington of containing China by promoting India has only served to alert the dragon. It is positioning itself faster than Capitol Hill can summon an experts’ conclave. In hind sight, perhaps the most unfortunate formulation for India might have been the American offer to help it to become "a world power." Beijing took careful notes and prompt action while India and the US struggle on convincing each other they are good for each other.

Beijing, while modernising furiously at home, is creating links abroad aimed at marking alternate trade routes, highways to the sea and catching countries in a web laced with honeyed deals and outright bribes. From Africa to South America, from East Asia to South Asia, China is intrepidly laying down a solid foundation for the future -- its future. Right under Indian and American noses.

Let’s just examine a few recent offerings from China which directly impact India. After brazenly blocking India’s entry for years in ASEAN and other Asian economic forums, China surprised, rather shocked India’s sleepy diplomats, when it announced its intention last November to be a part of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. When the bomb dropped, it spoke lengths about how shut India’s eyes and ears were in its own neighbourhood.

No one knew that Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal were all behind China‘s bid to eclipse India as the largest SAARC country. Nepal even threatened to veto Afghanistan‘s entry into SAARC, which India supported, unless China was allowed in. In the end China was given observer status after India‘s mumbling efforts to block procedurally what it couldn‘t substantially.

No sooner was the ink dry on the path-breaking Indo-US nuclear agreement signed last July, China was brazenly working the Pakistanis to ask for the same from the United States. Knowing full well that Washington wouldn’t offer a similar deal to Pakistan, given the A.Q. Khan memories, Beijing lost no time in stepping in. What Uncle Sam won’t sell, China will. As a result, Pakistan is busy working out an agreement to purchase six to eight nuclear reactors from China for nearly $10 billion. Chinese Atomic Energy Chief Sun Qin was recently in Mianwali to discuss civilian nuclear cooperation. China is already building Chashma II, a power reactor, in Pakistan. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has talked of raising Pakistan’s nuclear power generation to 8,000 Megawatts by 2030.

China knows that nuclear cooperation with Pakistan will certainly raise questions in Washington about the efficacy of the Indo-US agreement which must pass muster on Capitol Hill where the non-proliferation hard liners are already working to scuttle the deal. China’s timing was deliberate -- it killed two birds with no stone. It showed the Americans that China will do what it pleases in Asia and prevent India from breaking free of the nuclear chains.

In fact, every Chinese move lately appears aimed at hemming in India by working its neighbours. It is getting ready to open a consulate in Biratnagar on the Indo-Nepal border, apparently to help build a highway between Tibet and eastern Nepal. Chinese ambassador to Nepal Sun Heping said it was a top priority to develop a corridor along the Kosi river. Pakistan is reportedly trying to open a consulate in Birganj where India opened one in 2004 to facilitate the high volume of traffic and trade between the two countries. Using the current dip in Indo-Nepalese relations because of King Gyanendra’s autocratic takeover, China and Pakistan are working together to deepen the rift.

India’s eastern neighbour Bangladesh, with whom New Delhi has a difficult relationship, too is on Beijing’s scanner. New Delhi has issues with Bangladesh, an emerging hub of fundamentalism and home to some classic anti-Indian sentiment among the population. Since both the illegal immigration and the movement of militants is directed against India, China has little reason to worry as it steps in to cultivate Bangladesh, offering it aid and trade while gaining another "friend" and outlet to the sea. Meanwhile, India’s relations with its neighbours have been southwardly mobile.

Did anyone say anything about containing China? It seems China is containing India even before it expands.
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From Deccan Chronicle, 21 Jan., 2006
<b>The new Sputniks to deal with</b>
By Thomas L. Friedman
Detroit: I came to Detroit looking for the hottest new American cars. Instead, I found Sputnik. You remember Sputnik — the little satellite the Soviets launched in 1957. The Eisenhower administration was so stunned it put the United States into a crash programme to train more scientists and engineers so America could catch up with the Russians in the space race.

Well, for anyone paying attention, our generation’s Sputnik showed up at the annual Detroit auto show this week. It’s not a satellite. It’s a car. It’s called the Geely 7151 CK sedan. It seats a family of five, gets good mileage and will cost around $10,000 when it goes on sale in 2008.

It’s made in China.
That doesn’t get your attention? Well, there’s another Sputnik that just went up: Iran. It’s going to make a nuclear bomb, no matter what the United Nations or United States say, because at $60-a-barrel oil, Tehran’s mullahs are rich enough to buy off or tell off the rest of the world. That doesn’t worry you? Well, there’s a quieter Sputnik orbiting Earth. It’s called climate change — aka Katrina and melting glaciers.

What am I saying here? I am saying that our era doesn’t have a single Sputnik to grab our attention and crystallise the threat to our security and way of life in one little steel ball — the way our parents’ era did. But that doesn’t mean such threats don’t exist. They do, and they have a single common denominator: the way we use and consume energy today, particularly oil.

Friends, we are in the midst of an energy crisis — but this is not your grandfather’s energy crisis. No, this is something so much bigger, for four reasons. First, we are in a war against a radical, violent stream of Islam that is fuelled and funded by our own energy purchases. We are financing both sides in the war on terrorism: the US Army with our tax dollars, and Islamist charities, madrasas and terrorist organisations through our oil purchases.

Second, the world has gotten flat, and three billion new players from India, China and the former Soviet Union just walked onto the field with their version of the American dream: a house, a car, a toaster and a refrigerator. If we don’t quickly move to renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, we will warm up, smoke up and choke up this planet far faster than at any time in the history of the world. Katrina will look like a day at the beach.

Third, because of the above, green energy-saving technologies and designs — for cars, planes, homes, appliances or office buildings — will be one of the biggest industries of the 21st century. Tell your kids. China is already rushing down this path because it can’t breathe and can’t grow if it doesn’t reduce its energy consumption. Will we dominate the green industry, or will we all be driving cars from China, Japan and Europe?

Finally, if we continue to depend on oil, we are going to undermine the whole democratic trend that was unleashed by the fall of the Berlin Wall. Because oil will remain at $60 a barrel and will fuel the worst regimes in the world — like Iran — to do the worst things for the world. Indeed, this $60-a-barrel boom in the hands of criminal regimes, and just plain criminals, will, if sustained, pose a bigger threat to democracies than Communism or Islamism. It will be a black tide that turns back the democratic wave everywhere — including in Iraq.

The one thing we can do now to cope with all four of these trends is to create a tax that fixes the pump price at $3.50 to $4 a gallon — no matter where the Opec price goes. Because if consumers know that the price of oil is never coming down, they will change their behaviour. And when consumers change their behaviour in a big way, GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler will change their cars in a big way, and it is cars and trucks that consume the vast majority of the world’s oil.

The more Detroit goes green, the faster it will be propelled down the innovation curve, making it more likely that Detroit — and not Toyota or Honda or the Chinese — will dominate the green technologies of the 21st century. A permanent gasoline tax will also make solar, wind and biofuels so competitive with oil that it will drive their innovations as well.

George W. Bush may think he is preserving the American way of life by rejecting a gasoline tax. But if he does not act now he will be seen as the man who presided over the decline of our way of life. He will be the American President who ignored the Sputniks of our day.

<b>Nationalism fuels Putin </b>
By Paul Robinson
I don’t believe that I can be alone in having spent a Russian or Ukrainian winter with the windows of my room wide open. Many buildings in that part of the world are dreadfully overheated, for the simple reason that energy is so cheap. Soon, however, Ukrainians will have to learn to close their windows. Until recently, the Russian gas company Gazprom charged Ukrainian consumers $50 for every 1,000 cubic metres of gas they used.

Then Gazprom demanded that they pay $230. The Ukrainians’ first response was to refuse, and the Russians turned off the gas. After that Ukraine agreed to pay $95 per 1,000 cubic metres for a mixture of Gazprom supply and cheaper gas from Central Asia. Gazprom has, for the moment, said it is satisfied.

What’s going on? With the collapse of Soviet military and economic might, Russia was left with very few means with which to influence the world around it. Now rising energy prices have handed Moscow a new weapon. Russia has 30% of the world’s natural gas deposits and 10% of the world’s oil. Oil and gas production in the rest of Europe is declining, and within a few years the European Union will import about half of all its gas from Russia. This gives Russia great leverage over its neighbours, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing clear willingness to use that leverage.

We Brits love an underdog. As Robert Baden-Powell harrumphed in his classic Scouting for Boys, “If you see a big bully going for a small weak boy, you stop him because it is not ‘fair play’.” Gazprom’s price hike provoked great howls of indignation in some circles of the British press, particularly as Russia has taken over the rotating chairmanship of the G8.

According to the Daily Telegraph, “The methods of gangsterism and blackmail now being used by Gazprom are reminiscent of the Soviet era...” Unfortunately for those spinning this simplistic tale of bully and bullied, Gazprom’s “unacceptable conduct” is actually something we have been requiring of it. For in raising the prices they charge for gas in Eastern Europe, the Russians are merely going part way towards meeting demands made by the European Union over several years.

The initial increase in the gas price proposed by Gazprom, to $230, was certainly a large one, but it is, after all, what consumers in Western countries such as Germany are charged, whereas $50 is below cost price, meaning that Gazprom made a loss by selling gas at that rate.

Gazprom is only notionally an independent company; in practice it is an arm of the Russian state, which owns 51% of the stock, and the state is prepared to take a loss in some circumstances for political advantage — bribing potential allies, keeping Russian voters’ energy bills low, and subsidising domestic industry, for instance.

Accordingly, Gazprom has been selling its gas at $50, or even less, to consumers throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As Aleksandr Ryazanov, deputy director of Gazprom’s board of directors has noted, $50 “doesn’t even cover our real costs for producing and transporting gas to CIS countries.”

Now you might imagine that it is entirely Gazprom’s business if it wants to make a loss on some of its deals; but not so in the eyes of the ever-meddling EU, which for years has been demanding that Russian companies stop subsidising energy prices and start charging market rates. In the oil sector, this has largely happened. In the gas and electricity sectors, it has not. Gazprom and the Russian electricity giant UES have, therefore, long been in the Eurocrats’ sights.

In October 2000 the EU and Russia started a series of bilateral meetings known as the “EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.” On the European side, the aim of the dialogue is to reform the monopoly system in the Russian gas and electricity markets, open up those markets to EU investors, enhance environmental protection and secure Europe’s energy supply.

On the Russian side, the aim is to gain long-term contracts for Russian energy exports, attract European investment and gain unrestricted access for Russia’s exports into the EU. Parallel to the energy dialogue, negotiations took place between the EU and Russia regarding Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Much to the Russians’ annoyance, the EU linked the two, demanding that Russia liberalise its energy prices as a condition of European support for its WTO membership.

The reason the EU dislikes the low prices charged by Gazprom to CIS members is that these are considered an unfair subsidy to CIS industries, which gives them a competitive advantage over European companies. This is of particular concern in some sectors such as metals and fertilisers, where CIS exporters have been able to keep costs low through subsidised energy, and then harm European competitors.

For instance, the collapse of Communism led to a dramatic fall in domestic Russian demand for nitrogen fertilisers. The Russian fertiliser industry responded by what has been called an “aggressive export dumping campaign” in the EU. In accordance with its free-market principles, therefore, the EU has stated that Russian energy subsidies are incompatible with free trade and must go.

In addition, the EU is in the process of liberalising its own energy industry. The Russian habit of signing long-term contracts with different European countries at differing fixed rates is incompatible with the aim of producing an EU-wide free market in energy. “Marketisation” of the Russian energy system is, therefore, an important European goal.
Aware of the inefficiencies and waste caused by its policies, the Russian government in April 2003 laid out objectives for achieving more efficient energy use.

This strategy requires marketisation of the energy sector, including liberalisation of prices and raising the costs of energy consumption in order to reduce waste and increase exports of surplus energy.

On the environmental side, the EU pressured Russia long, hard and ultimately successfully to ratify the Kyoto accord. This requires a reduction in carbon emissions, and so adds further incentives to reduce consumption of oil and gas by means of raising prices. Consequently, Russia became aware of the advantages of higher prices, and in May 2004 reached a compromise agreement with the Europeans. The EU agreed to support Russia’s WTO accession, in return for which Russia promised to double its domestic gas prices by 2010.

Given all this, Gazprom’s decision to charge market prices to Ukraine is, on the surface, one for which the EU should be congratulating it. It represents at least a small step in a general Russian policy towards liberalisation which has been slowly gaining pace over the past five years. Ukraine is not the world’s sixth largest consumer of natural gas because its industry requires such enormous consumption, but because its subsidised prices make it indifferent to energy-saving. Paying more for its energy might actually do it some good.

In short, the increase in gas prices is fully in keeping with the West’s desire to complete the process of creating a genuine market economy in Russia, Ukraine and the other countries of the CIS, as well as progressing towards fulfilling the environmental demands of the Kyoto accord.

Economics cannot be the only reason Gazprom has acted the way it has. The company has, after all, chosen to increase its charges to most former Soviet countries by much less than it was threatening to increase those to Ukraine. Gazprom’s charges to Georgia are increasing from $60 per 1,000 cubic metres to $110. Similarly Armenia will now pay $110, Moldova $160, and the three Baltic states $120-125. Until the last-minute deal it seemed as though Ukraine had been singled out for particular punishment.

Perhaps the $230 was more bargaining chip than ultimatum, but it is hard not to see Moscow’s move as political — a reaction to the perceived anti-Russian policies of the current Ukrainian administration. Aleksandr Lukashenko, President of Belarus and Russia’s close ally, recently signed a new deal guaranteeing his country continued gas supplies at $47 per 1,000 cubic metres, and gloated about this at the end of last month. His deal, he said, was a “reward for loyalty.” Indeed.

Putin seems to regard the key to Russia’s resurrection as being the recreation of a powerful central state. Weak government has been a perpetual problem in Russian history, and has all too often brought economic and social disintegration. For this reason Putin has sought to bring the most important economic assets of the country — the oil and gas industries — back under the sway of the state. The renationalisation of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil company can be seen in this light. Now, having more or less completed this process, the President is flexing his new-found muscles on the international stage.

It is this which causes the current indignation. But in truth, all major nations provide aid and subsidies to their allies, and seek to coerce or punish others. As Eric Kraus, chief strategist at the Sovlink Securities brokerage firm in Moscow, comments, “Russia does not have to subsidise countries which are overtly hostile to Russia. The Americans or the French or the Germans can give foreign aid to some countries and not to others. They heavily subsidise Egypt; they don’t subsidise Syria. Does this give Syria the right to complain of unfairness?”

Putin’s policy certainly represents a very crude pursuit of national interest, implemented unilaterally and with little regard for international opinion. But as such it is not so very different from the sort of policies pursued by other states, including our own. Furthermore, the marketisation of energy policy which it involves is entirely in keeping with the demands that European states have been making of Russia for several years. While one may sympathise with the Ukrainians who are having to shut their windows, there is in reality very little to be indignant about.
Can anyone suggest a good and fair reading of the current bunch (this is imp, not historic) of Democrats and Republicans approach towards India. Major issues - trade, outsourcing, nuclear power, terrorism, Pakistan, Human rights, H1B, etc etc....
Geopolitical impact of India, China embrace
Sat,28 Jan, 2006 Last update: 19hrs. 00mins. IST
Manorama online

When India and China, the world's two most populous countries, which also happen to be the two most exciting economies, make a highly public pledge of turning a new year into a "friendship year", its international implications cannot be overstated.

The leaders of the two Asian giants, which together account for over 30 percent of the world population, began the year 2006 exchanging exceptionally warm pleasantries as well as with a pledge to consolidate what India's President A P J Abdul Kalam called, "the deep historical and cultural association that our two ancient civilizations have." China's response was equally sanguine as its leaders noted the "new stage of development" with the decision to establish a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and that their relations were set to grow in an "all-round and in-depth way".

The geopolitical impact of a Sino-Indian embrace will be enormous for the world in general and for the United States in particular.

Although historical rough edges and strong individual ambitions to acquire a global superpower status may yet prevent a seamless convergence between India and China, there is enough common ground between the two nations to forge a partnership that could seriously prevent the US from running away with the global agenda. In a development unthinkable even a decade ago the two countries have been working together to ensure their energy security.

Their state-owned oil corporations, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), on Dec 20 jointly won a bid to acquire 37 percent of Petro-Canada's stake in Syrian oilfields for $573 million.

The two rapidly rising economies' already robust and growing appetite for oil and gas is causing dramatic shifts in the world energy balance and prompting major concerns in Washington which has for decades considered controlling oil as its natural right. It is hardly surprising that the Bush administration is making major concessions in its nuclear proliferation control regime to accommodate India's civilian nuclear programmes.

The US has recognized that while individually China and India may not be close to challenging its supremacy, together they have enough muscle to act as a bulwark against American unilateralism resulting from its status as the singular superpower. It is in that context that the dramatic upswing in Sino-Indian relations ought to be viewed.

The warming bilateral ties between India and China, partly driven by a powerful utilitarian instinct on both sides, have been barely noticed as a story of consequence by the world media. It could not be that media commentators do not understand the significance of this development.

It is perhaps because they believe that the two uncomfortable neighbours will not be able to go the distance because of the inherent suspicions and overarching ambitions, especially in China's case since it sees itself as the next superpower.

The growing Sino-Indian collaboration in ensuring their energy security is also a story that has not attracted the kind of international media attention in terms of its implications. The US media has reported on how China and India are aggressively shopping around for oil fields but it has not quite covered the underlying theme of how it can affect the overall geopolitical balance.

"In 2006, the Chinese side is ready to work together with the Indian side to take the Year of China-India Friendship as an opportunity to carry forward the traditional friendship between our two countries, strengthen dialogues, exchanges and cooperation in all fields and at all levels, continuously deepen the contents of the bilateral relations, and push forward the China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership in an all-round and in-depth way," Chinese President Hu Jintao said.

It is rare for the Chinese leadership at any level, let alone at the highest level, to communicate such effusive views about relations with another country. That these views are about India, a country which is China's potential rival on the world stage, with which it has fought a war and which is home to the Tibetan government-in-exile, make the expression even more extraordinary.

One of the least examined consequences of the Sino-Indian rapprochement is its impact on the future of Tibet, which China annexed without much difficulty 55 years ago. Every step that India and China take together is a step away from Tibet's independent future. Tibet as a cause has lost its potency and the growing communion between India and China is serving to erode that potency even more.

If the two countries can prospect for oil and gas together, the prospects of Tibet surviving as an unresolved issue are bleak. Even though the Dalai Lama remains in good health at 70, he is aware that at that age time is not on his side. If he wants any degree of resolution of the Tibet question in his lifetime his options are becoming frighteningly narrow in view of India-China camaraderie.

Unfortunately, in the 2006 Friendship Year between the two Asian neighbours Tibet is unlikely to figure as an obstacle. The policy seems to be that neither side would talk about it with any degree of seriousness or conviction. If only Tibet was sitting on as much oil as Iraq!
I don't know if this is a correct thread for this issue. It seems that bird flu has become a sort of end time predictions for politicians and all sundry experts. Just see what these so called experts are predicting about India. Are there any doctors on this forum for any experts opinion??What is the risk level here ...any historical precedent of such exaggerated predictions?
<b>Bird flu 'could take 142m lives'
Worst case economic cost is $4.4 trillion</b>

Wednesday, February 15, 2006; Posted: 7:03 p.m. EST (00:03 GMT)
SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- As many as 142 million people around the world could die if bird flu turns into a "worst case" influenza pandemic, according to a sobering new study of its possible consequences.

And global economic losses could run to $4.4 trillion -- the equivalent of wiping out the Japanese economy's annual output.

The study, prepared for the Sydney, Australia-based Lowy Institute think tank, says there are "enormous uncertainties" about whether a flu pandemic might happen, and where and when it might happen first.

But it says even a mild pandemic could kill 1.4 million people and cost $330 billion.

In its "ultra" or worst-case scenario, Hong Kong's economy is halved, the large-scale collapse of Asian economic activity causes global trade flows to dry up, and money flows out to safe havens in North America and Europe. Deaths could top 28 million in China and 24 million in India.

The report's release in Sydney Thursday comes as two more countries in Europe -- Germany and Austria -- report that the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected in wild fowl (Full story).

The Lowy Institute's report, titled Global Macroeconomic Consequences of Pandemic Influenza, looks at four possible scenarios:

Mild, in which the pandemic is similar to the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu;

Moderate, similar to the 1957 Asian flu;

Severe, similar to the 1918-19 Spanish flu (which infected an estimated 1 billion people and claimed as many as 50 million lives);

An "ultra" scenario that is worse than the Spanish flu outbreak.

Although the 1918-19 flu outbreak probably originated in Asia, it was known as the Spanish flu because the Spanish media were the first to report on its impact.

Since bird flu first appeared in China's Guangdong province -- which adjoins Hong Kong -- in 1996, the disease has claimed more than 90 human lives -- almost all in Asia, with the most recent deaths in Turkey.

In addition, about 200 million birds around the world have died or been culled.

Outside of Asia, there have been bird flu outbreaks in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Russia, Azerbaijan and Romania in Europe, Iraq and Iran in the Middle East and in Nigeria, Africa. (Full story)

This spread of the disease from Asia to the fringes of Europe in recent weeks has prompted massive global attention on possible prevention measures, with the U.S., the EU and countries such as China and Japan committing hefty financial and human resources to combating the disease.

But the new Lowy Institute report, by the Australian National University's Prof. Warwick McKibbin and research fellow Dr Alexandra Sidorenko, says the major difficulty with influenza vaccine development is "the need to hit the constantly moving target as the virus mutates very rapidly."

Their observation follows a scientific study released last week which said bird flu was much more diverse than previously thought, with at least four distinct types of the deadly H5N1 virus (Full story).

In that study, a group of 29 scientists around the globe found that the virus was both more genetically diverse and able to survive in birds showing no signs of illness.

One of the researchers, Dr. Malik Peiris, professor of microbiology at Hong Kong University, told CNN on February 8 that regional virus types meant there was a need to look for "broad cross-protection" rather than a single vaccine.

Peiris said that while wild birds may contribute to the introduction and spread of bird flu, the perpetuation of the disease was through stocks of domestic poultry. He said no country was fully prepared to combat the disease, which needed to be tracked back and tackled at its source.

Further mutation
So far, all but a handful of cases of human sickness have been caused by direct contact with sick birds, suggesting the virus is unable to move easily among humans.

But health officials have warned that with continued exposure to people, the virus could mutate further and develop that ability.

While scientists scramble to prepare an effective medical response, the Lowy Institute report primarily looks at the macroeconomic impact of a flu pandemic.

It said there would be four main sets of "shocks" for each scenario: shocks to the labor force (through deaths and dislocation to production); additional supply shocks through increased costs; demand shocks; and risk premium shocks, involving financial flows.

In the worst scenario, it said the death toll could reach 28.4 million in China, <span style='color:red'>24 million in India,</span> <!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo--> 11.4 million in Indonesia, 4.1 million in the Philippines, 2.1 million in Japan, 2.0 million in the United States and 5.6 million in Europe. In the world's least developed countries, the toll could top 33 million.

The study's figure of 142 million possible deaths is similar to an earlier estimate of 150 million deaths by World Health Organization senior official David Nabarro, when he was named as head of the United Nations avian flu response team in September last year.

The Lowy Institute study found that East Asian economies would be proportionately more affected than the United States or Europe. In the "ultra" or worst-case scenario, Hong Kong's economy, for example, would shrink by more than 53 percent.

"This is clearly a major economic catastrophe," the report's authors note.

<b>"The large scale collapse of Asia causes global trade flows to dry up and capital to flow to safe havens in North America and Europe."</b> <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Japan would experience a larger shock than other industrialized economies, but a smaller shock than the rest of East Asia. However, its integration with the collapsing East Asian economies means it would take a further shock through declining trade flows.

The authors say a "key part of the story" is the monetary policy response.

"Those countries that tend to focus on preventing exchange rate changes are coincidentally the countries that experience the largest epidemiological shocks," they say.

"This is particularly true of Hong Kong, which receives the largest shocks and has the most rigid exchange rate regime."

The report concludes that a "large investment of resources" should be dedicated to preventing an outbreak of pandemic influenza.

The Lowy Institute report is authored by Prof. Warwick McKibbin, professorial fellow at the institute and Professor of Economics at the Australian National University (ANU); and Dr Alexandra Sidorenko, a research fellow at the ANU's National Center for Epidemiology and Population Health, and adjunct research fellow at the ANU's Australian Center for Economic Research on Health.

CNN's Geoff Hiscock in Sydney contributed to this report

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be

The 48 Laws of Power

by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers

Law 1

Never Outshine the Master

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.

Law 2

Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies

Be wary of friends-they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.

Law 3

Conceal your Intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Law 4

Always Say Less than Necessary

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

Law 5

So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life

Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.

Law 6

Court Attention at all Cost

Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.

Law 7

Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit

Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.

Law 8

Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains – then attack. You hold the cards.

Law 9

Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

Any momentary triumph you think gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.

Law 10

Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as disease. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.

Law 11

Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.

Law 12

Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones. Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people. Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will. A timely gift – a Trojan horse – will serve the same purpose.

Law 13

When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest,

Never to their Mercy or Gratitude

If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.

Law 14

Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

Knowing about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead. Better still: Play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.

Law 15

Crush your Enemy Totally

All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely. (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.) If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out. More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation: The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge. Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.

Law 16

Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

Too much circulation makes the price go down: The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.

Law 17

Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability

Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.

Law 18

Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous

The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves. A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from – it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target. Better to circulate among people find allies, mingle. You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.

Law 19

Know Who You’re Dealing with – Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge. They are wolves in lambs’ clothing. Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then – never offend or deceive the wrong person.

Law 20

Do Not Commit to Anyone

It is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself. By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others – playing people against one another, making them pursue you.

Law 21

Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker – Seem Dumber than your Mark

No one likes feeling stupider than the next persons. The trick, is to make your victims feel smart – and not just smart, but smarter than you are. Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.

Law 22

Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead. Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane. Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you – surrender first. By turning the other check you infuriate and unsettle him. Make surrender a tool of power.

Law 23

Concentrate Your Forces

Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.

Law 24

Play the Perfect Courtier

The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity. He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the mot oblique and graceful manner. Learn and apply the laws of courtiership and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.

Law 25

Re-Create Yourself

Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

Law 26

Keep Your Hands Clean

You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.

Law 27

Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following

People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.

Law 28

Enter Action with Boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.

Law 29

Plan All the Way to the End

The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

Law 30

Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.

Law 31

Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal

The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets. Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose. Put them on the horns of a dilemma: They are gored wherever they turn.

Law 32

Play to People’s Fantasies

The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant. Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes for disenchantment. Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert: Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.

Law 33

Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usual y an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

Law 34

Be Royal in your Own Fashion: Act like a King to be treated like one

The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.

Law 35

Master the Art of Timing

Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually. Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power. Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.

Law 36

Disdain Things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best Revenge

By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.

Law 37

Create Compelling Spectacles

Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

Law 38

Think as you like but Behave like others

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

Law 39

Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive. You must always stay calm and objective. But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage. Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.

Law 40

Despise the Free Lunch

What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.

Law 41

Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them. Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making: Establish your own name and identity by changing course. Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

Law 42

Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoned of goodwill. If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence. Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them. Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.

Law 43

Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you. You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction. A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn. And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses. Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear. Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.

Law 44

Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson. Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect.

Law 45

Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once

Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

Law 46

Never appear too Perfect

Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.

Law 47

Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop

The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.

Law 48

Assume Formlessness

By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes.
I think it is useful to understand the geopolitical power centers in the world. It is very necessary to understand the interdependencies within and between them. We also need to know who is controlled by whom?

The Westphalian bonanza after the end of Colonialism and the formation of the UN after WWII have led people to ignore real power and belive in a false image of all things are equal in world bodies. Time and again India misread the dependent powers and courted them thinking that they would act/support India. However, due to their 'majboori' or better incentives from other powers, those countries always acted in the best interests of their controllers. So that the UN instead of being a fair assembly has become a controlled assembly where the decisons are arrived at in the best interests of the master contollers(puppeteers) aso known as P-5.

Even Japan laments that despite all the aid/largesse it has expended in S.E. Asia it never got the commensurate support it should have got from those countries. I think here again power centers were mis-read.
Acharya, The 48 laws of power distill the wisdom of Hindu society if you think about it. I believe that Indian soceity has survived because it has adhered to most of these laws in principle and practice.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Strike Iran, Watch Pakistan and Turkey Fall </b>
<b>What are the consequences of such an action?</b>
by John Stanton
April 22, 2006
<i>“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.” John Lennon </i>

Just when it seemed unlikely that domestic and international events would unfold to test an already incompetent US government, along comes the acceleration of the movement to destroy Iran. That effort has been well documented over the past few years in scores of articles and position papers from the usual suspects in the media, think-tanks, and the Net. What’s missing in that coverage, though, is an understanding of the consequences of such an action, or consequence management in Pentagon parlance. More’s the pity in this discussion, comes the knowledge that the majority of Americans who are calling for military action—from all strata of society--do so as if they were casually ordering a pizza from Dominoes. Just pick-up the cellphone and, while salivating, order the Iranian War Special. Sit back and enjoy the pizza while watching the war coverage on television and gruesome videos on the Net. Oooo..Ahhh, look at that Specter Gunship at work! Whoa! Look at those body parts flying around. Pass me another piece of pizza!

That attitude is indicative of an intellectually bankrupt society. Does anyone in the USA think anymore? An attack on Iran would result in thousands of casualties for both US and Iranian military personnel, most of whom are youngsters. Civilian casualties would be in the many thousands. The ripple effect from such an action would cause a chain reaction of events that would spiral out of control. With no country, or group of countries, capable of de-escalating such a conflict--save for Russia and China--a world war could ensue. Certainly, the US government is no position to cope with the fallout, particularly if it deploys and uses tactical nuclear weapons. For some sane commentary on the matter, one has to rely on the lucid commentary of Martin Van Crevald over in Israel. His piece in Forward titled, Knowing Why Not to Bomb Iran is Half the Battle (forward.com) should be force-fed to supporters of an Iranian invasion.

<b>Hello United Free Kurdistan </b>

According to a Reuters bulletin dated April 20th, Turkey has increased its troop presence in Kurdish dominated Southeastern Turkey by 40,000—bringing the total to 290,000. The Turkish government made that move because the American-backed Kurdish government in Northern Iraq/Kurdistan is likely to supply the Kurdistan Workers Party (PPK) with arms and intelligence on Turkish military movements in Hakkari, Van, Sirnak and other major cities in the country. It is likely that insurgents in Iraq have been training the PPK in the tactics that have been wildly successful against US forces in Iraq. Turkey has been ruthless in its oppression of the Kurds, as Saddam Hussein was, and that practice, according to the Kurdish National Congress (kncna.org), continues to this day with the Turkish Army’s secret police, Jitem, terrorizing the Kurdish population. Reliefweb.net, reports that the Kurdish language was not legalized until 1991 and the Turkish government had engaged in forced displacements as late as 2002 to break-up concentrations of the 20 million Kurds who reside in Turkey. Separatist statements by Kurds or talk of recognizing the Armenian Genocide results in doing some hard time in a Turkish jail.

The Turkish government has frequently complained about the duplicity of the US government as it plays its Kurdish cards. The US has largely stayed away from Turkey’s battle with its Kurds while actively supporting Kurdish groups in Iran and Syria with funds and arms. The creation of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq has infuriated Turkish leaders. When Condolezza Rice visits with Turkish officials in late April, these matters are sure to be topics of discussion.

Meanwhile in Iran, there are approximately four million Kurds who have suffered a similar fate as their Turkish compatriots. The Kurds in Iran are split on the type of revolt they want to run. One group formed in January 2006, the Kurdish United Front, wants to work within the Iranian system to gain equal rights. They likely receive funds from the US government via the KNC and other outlets. A Kurdish insurgent group known as Pejak--supported by the US government and working with US Special Forces and intelligence agencies on the ground--advocates the violent overthrow of the Islamic government in Iran.

Back in Turkey, the Kurds are not the only problem. There are accusations by opponents of Turkish President Recep Ergodan that Turkey is becoming a theocracy. Facing an election in 2007, the last thing Ergodan needs is to be perceived as an Islamic radical and incur the wrath of opponents supported by the Turkish military, which is to say the US military. The World Peace Herald, wpherald.com, carried a story titled, Turkish PM Tied to Islamic Forces. “In increasingly bitter verbal exchanges with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Mr. Erdogan rejected charges that he is leading Turkey away from its secular system toward Islamic fundamentalism. Mr. Sezer's latest broadside was a statement to the War Academy that 'religious fundamentalism has reached dramatic proportions. Islamic fundamentalism is trying to infiltrate politics, education and the state, it is systematically eroding values…'”

So, as the bombs fly over Iran, the Kurds would be likely to seize the day and fight for the recognition of a Kurdish state that deletes portions of present-day Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq (http://www.kncna.org/docs/map.asp) from the map. This is no idle dream. The American based KNC openly advocates a United Free Kurdistan. One day, there will be a Kurdish state. That could be done in a non-violent fashion rather than as a consequence of a misguided military adventure against Iran. Finally, an invasion of that country would likely involve Turkish assets of some kind. As a member of NATO, Turkey houses tactical nuclear weapons and, as reported by Ramin Jahanbegloo in the Daily Star, “Participation by Turkey in a US/Israeli military operation is also a factor [concerning Iran], following an agreement reached between the Turks and Israelis.”

Central Asia and the Middle East would become a bloodbath one minute after an attack on Iran.

<b>Bye Bye Pakistan </b>

In Pakistan, the US is having its cake and eating too. US weapons and technology are being used by the Pakistani dictatorship of President Musharraf to suppress a revolt for independence by the people of Balochistan (http://www.bdd.sdnpk.org), also home to Pakistan nuclear tests in 1998 and a energy- rich province. The USA is also funding anti-Pakistani insurgent groups in Bolochistan in order to infiltrate drug operations, the black market for nuclear weaponry, Taliban remnants, and assorted Islamic resistance groups like Al Qa’da that have taken up residence in the hinterlands of Balochistan. The US State Department’s 2004 country report on Pakistan was effusive in its praise for Pakistan indicating that it was the key ally in the Long War on Terror and that Pakistan has its internal affairs under control. Yet the situation on the ground is quite different.

A February 2006 piece carried by sindhtoday.net/bs.htm has the following headline: Chemical Gas, Gunship Copters Used Against Baloch People. “Balochistan, the area’s largest and resource-rich province of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has recently taken another blood bath where many innocent people have been killed in an [Pakistani] army action. [Pakistani] Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao has claimed that no children or woman have been killed in the recent operation but photographs released show that many innocent children were brutally killed in bombardment, as they can not be termed as terrorists.”

Pakistan is suppressing news on the seriousness of its fight against the Baloch. The number of killed-in action (KIA) its Army has incurred combating the Boloch revolt is well over 100 with thousands wounded. These troopers are portrayed by Musharraf as casualties in the fight against foreign terror when, in fact, its akin to a civil war: the Baloch are fighting for independence.

India Monitor reported in January 2006 that “Senator Sanaullah Baloch, a vocal and influential member of the Balochistan National Party…said that if conditions continued to be as oppressive for the people of his home province, we will have no option but to exercise our national right for self-determination for a separate state...Today every Baloch knows that Pakistan is a viable state only because of Balochistan...Pointing to the natural resources and the strategic importance of the province in the region, he said that the information revolution had made the world very small and today the Baloch people could not be fooled, and wanted their rights.” (The dynamics of Kashmir, which threaten Pakistan’s stability, are beyond the scope of this piece).

As Iran is pummeled by US air strikes, and the Kurds make their move, What will the Baloch do? How will rebel groups like Al Qa’da respond? Will they rally to their Iranian comrades? Would the Pakistani military use a tactical nuke to wipe out all its problems in Balochistan? What about India's reaction? What will Turkmenistan and the rest of the Stans do? Would Armenia side with the Turkish Kurds? How will the US troops in Iraq handle the fallout?

In another stellar example of incompetence, the USA-Indo nuclear deal struck by President Bush with Prime Minister Singh this past March was suppose to be a signal to Russia and China that the US is almighty. The USA seemingly gave no thought to what the deal with a country that refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty might create. Pakistan has vowed to increase its nuclear weapons capability. China has offered to build reactors for Pakistan and can tinker with America's prosperity via currency manipulation. Russian nuclear forces are being upgraded. Saudi Arabia is alleged to have purchased tactical nukes and is starting its own commercial and military nuclear capability. In South America, Brazil has ramped up production of its nuclear capabilities and will not allow inspectors into certain nuke facilities. And there can be no question that Venezuela will develop a nuke program or, like Saudi Arabia, just buy the weapons outright on the black market.

<b>You Say You Want a Revolution </b>

Domestic factors in the USA have to be added to this already volatile brew. The Red, White and Blue Revolt of retired US military generals such as Gregory Newbold and Anthony Zinni carried out in the US mainstream media is fascinating. Their call for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation is unprecedented in American wartime history and indicates that the only credible opposition to a civilian leadership gone mad is the military and big corporations. That other party called the Democrats are part of the problem and not the solution. As for President Bush; he dutifully does what he's told by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Take note that the generals are key players in investment companies like Globesecnine (Newbold is co-founder of globesecnine.com) and Anthony Zinni is a board member of Veritas Capital (along with a who's who of former US military leaders). Wall Street helps fund these groups and they may have figured, finally, that Rumsfeld is bad for the military and business (read Jeffrey St. Clair of counterpunch.org for more on that relationship). US intelligence agencies like the CIA are always involved overtly or covertly in the investment/stock trading business, and likely have involvement in these investment firms. They are saying something too: revenge is sweet.

With rebellion in the military and corporate ranks, and the potential for more indictments of Bush Administration's insiders (Karl Rove?) in the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson CIA case, one has to wonder how this group of people could possibly manage the day-after realities of an Iranian assault.

The USA is operating as if it really is an unchallenged superpower. What kind of superpower has increasing poverty, homelessness, unemployment and can't even rebuild one of its premier cities—New Orleans—after a hurricane? What kind of superpower refuses to make concessions, to negotiate and treats other nations like China and Russia as inferior entities? What nation is the Paper Tiger now? It never had to be this way.

So what about Iran? The simple answer, in two parts, to all this madness is to turn the Iranian matter over the the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a NATO-like security coalition led by China and Russia. Iran is soon to become a member of that group anyway. Let the SCO monitor Iran as it builds its nuclear commercial and military capability. Iran wants to be a key energy player in a region it knows is dominated by Russia and China. The USA wants that black gold to come West and have geopolitical control over Central Asia. It's never going to happen. It is inevitable that the Kurds and Baloch will have their independent states, the Iranians and Brazilians will have their nuclear power/weapons, the Chinese will have their ascendancy, the Russians will return to the world stage, and the Palestinians will get a fair shake one day.

Secondly, negotiate. More than ever, the USA needs to get back to the negotiating table. Maybe some grand brain out there should read NSC-68, Sec IX, authored in 1950 and designed to deal with the former Soviet Union. “The free countries must always, therefore, be prepared to negotiate and must be ready to take the initiative at times in seeking negotiation. They must develop a negotiating position which defines the issues and the terms on which they would be prepared--and at what stages--to accept agreements... The terms must be fair in the view of popular opinion... This means that they must be consistent with a positive program for peace--in harmony with the United Nations' Charter and providing, at a minimum, for the effective control of all armaments by the United Nations or a successor organization.”

<b>Talking? Negotiating? Why not the SCO? </b>

What an insane thought.

<i>John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security and political matters. He is the author of A Power But Not Super and co-author of America's Nightmare. Reach him at cioran123@yahoo.com</i>.
<i>Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.</i>
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It is quite a simple fact that West that accuses Putin of sabotaging democracy has created a threat to Russia-in its very fragile phase-instead of helping it. So I seriously question the rhetoric emanating from the west.

How in the god's name would expanding NATO-that was seen in Russia as a nilitary alliance opposed to it -to its borders to be interpreted? How does West support the existence of NATO a military alliance-against whom? let alone expansion-I question its existence. If west was serious about Coopting democratic nations or Russians into democracy NATO should have been dissolved, TSP should have been kicked where it hurt most and Chinese needed to have been dealt far more viciously. We see none of that and Cheney comes in and says Putin backtracking on democracy?


history and the historic rivalry between the West and Russia for several centuries. Indians know this by the name of Great Game.

<img src='http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/007248179x/35299/map15.gif' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

The Grand Duchy of Moscovy was about half the size of Maine when it was founded in about 1480. It expanded under Russian czars and then Soviet commissars to become what was the world's largest country.

During the 1600/1700/1800 Russia expanded in southern border and also to the blacksea. The Soviet Union was the peak of Russian expansion in history and the breakup of SU in 1991 started the rollback of that expansion.

The west by using NATO to expand among all the former states of SU is consolidating the rollback of Russia after 300 years and making sure that Russia will never expand south, west or to the east. The west is also using democracy as a tool to get the ex soviet republic to coopt along with the color revolution. The people of these regions have been indoctrinated with ideas of "freedom/democracy/color revolution" with them not knowing what their future will turn out to be.

For the Islamic republics in Central Asia they are using the Islamic revolution with Al queda as a driver for changing regimes and state relations.

* Table A. Chronology of Important Events
* Country Profile
o Country
o Geography
o Society
o Economy
o Transportation and Telecommunications
o Government and Politics
o National Security
* Introduction
* Historical Setting: Early History to 1917
o Early History
+ The Inhabitants of the East European Plain
+ The East Slavs and the Varangians
+ The Golden Age of Kiev
+ The Rise of Regional Centers
+ The Mongol Invasion
o Muscovy
+ The Rise of Muscovy
+ The Evolution of the Russian Aristocracy
+ Ivan IV
+ The Time of Troubles
+ The Romanovs
+ Expansion and Westernization
o Early Imperial Russia
+ Peter the Great and the Russian Empire
+ The Era of Palace Revolutions
+ Imperial Expansion and Maturation: Catherine II
o Ruling the Empire
+ War and Peace, 1796-1825
+ Reaction under Nicholas I
o Transformation of Russia in the Nineteenth Century
+ Economic Developments
+ Reforms and Their Limits, 1855-92
+ Foreign Affairs after the Crimean War
+ The Rise of Revolutionary Movements
+ Witte and Accelerated Industrialization
+ Radical Political Parties Develop
+ Imperialism in Asia and the Russo-Japanese War
o The Last Years of the Autocracy
+ Revolution and Counterrevolution, 1905-07
+ The Stolypin and Kokovtsov Governments
+ Active Balkan Policy, 1906-13
+ Russia at War, 1914-16
+ The Fatal Weakening of Tsarism
* Historical Setting: 1917 to 1991
o Revolutions and Civil War
+ The February Revolution
+ The Period of Dual Power
+ The Bolshevik Revolution
+ Civil War and War Communism
o The Era of the New Economic Policy
+ Lenin's Leadership
+ Stalin's Rise to Power
+ Foreign Policy, 1921-28
+ Society and Culture in the 1920s
o Transformation and Terror
+ Industrialization and Collectivization
+ The Purges
+ Mobilization of Society
+ Foreign Policy, 1928-39
o The War Years
+ Prelude to War
+ The Great Patriotic War
o Reconstruction and Cold War
+ Reconstruction Years
+ Onset of the Cold War
+ The Death of Stalin
o The Khrushchev Era
+ Collective Leadership and the Rise of Khrushchev
+ Foreign Policy under Khrushchev
+ Khrushchev's Reforms and Fall
o The Brezhnev Era
+ Collective Leadership and the Rise of Brezhnev
+ Foreign Policy of a Superpower
+ The Economy under Brezhnev
+ Culture and the Arts in the 1960s and 1970s
+ The Death of Brezhnev
o The Leadership Transition Period
+ The Andropov Interregnum
+ The Chernenko Interregnum
o The Gorbachev Era
+ Gorbachev's First Year
+ New Thinking: Foreign Policy under Gorbachev
# Perestroika
# Glasnost
# Demokratizatsiya
+ Gorbachev's Reform Dilemma
+ Nationality Ferment
+ The August Coup and Its Aftermath
* Physical Environment and Population
o Physical Environment
+ Global Position and Boundaries
+ Administrative and Territorial Divisions
+ Topography and Drainage
# Topography
# Drainage
+ Climate
o Environmental Problems
+ Environmental Conditions
# Major Crises
# Air Quality
# Water Quality
# Soil and Forests
# Radioactive Contamination
+ The Response to Environmental Problems
o Population
+ Demographic Conditions
# Fertility
# Abortion
# Mortality
+ Migration
# Issues and Procedures
# Migration Patterns
o Future Prospects
* Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural Setting
o Ethnic Composition
+ The Russians
+ Minority Peoples and Their Territories
# The North Caucasus
# The Northern Republics
# The Volga and Ural Republics
# The Republics of Siberia
+ Other Ethnic Groups
# Germans
# Koreans
# Roma
+ Movements Toward Sovereignty
# The Chechnya Dilemma
# The Caucasus Region in the Federation
# Responses and Prospects
o Religion
+ The Russian Orthodox Church
# Beliefs and Ritual
# Church History
+ Other Religions
# Non-Orthodox Christian Religions
# Islam
# Judaism
+ Religion and Foreign Policy
o The Russian Language
o Literature and the Arts
+ Literature
# The Beginnings
# Peter and Catherine
# The Nineteenth Century
# The Soviet Period and After
+ Music
+ Ballet
+ Architecture and Painting
o Outlook
* The Society and Its Environment
o Social Structure
+ Social Stratification
+ Wages and Work
+ Rural Life
+ Social Organizations
+ The Family
+ The Role of Women
+ Sexual Attitudes
o Education
+ The Soviet Heritage
+ The Post-Soviet Education Structure
# Infrastructure
# Teachers
# Curriculum
# Grade Structure
# Private Schools
# Educational Achievement
+ Higher Education
+ Education and Society
o Health
+ Health Conditions
# Maternity, Infant Care, and Birth Control
# Alcohol, Narcotics, and Tobacco
# Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
+ The Health System
o Housing
+ The Soviet Era
+ Post-Soviet Conditions
+ Land Reform and Private Enterprise
o Social Welfare
+ Pensions
+ Worker Protection and Benefits
+ The Homeless
* The Economy
o Historical Background
+ The Eras of Lenin and Stalin
+ The Postwar Growth Period
+ Reform and Resistance
+ The Perestroika Program
+ Unforeseen Results of Reform
o Economic Reform in the 1990s
+ The Yeltsin Economic Program
# Macroeconomic Stabilization Measures
# Economic Restructuring Measures
+ Monetary and Fiscal Policies
# Inflation
# Exchange Rates
+ Privatization
+ Economic Conditions in Mid-1996
o Natural Resources
o Agriculture
+ Crops
+ Agricultural Policy
# Soviet Policy
# The Gorbachev Reforms
# Yeltsin's Agricultural Policies
+ Agricultural Production
o Energy
+ Exploitation and Consumption
+ Oil
+ Natural Gas
+ Coal
+ Nuclear Energy
+ Conventional Power Generation
+ Foreign Investment in Oil and Gas
o Banking and Finance
+ The Soviet Financial System
+ The Financial Sector in the 1990s
# Reform of the Banking System
# Commercial Banks
# Other Financial Institutions
+ Taxation
o The Labor Force
+ Unemployment
+ Wages
o Manufacturing
+ Ferrous Metallurgy
+ Nonferrous Metallurgy
+ The Automotive Industry
+ Machine Building
+ Light Industry
+ Chemicals
o Transportation and Telecommunications
+ Transportation
# Roads
# Railroads
# Air Transportation
# Water Transportation
# Pipelines
# Public Transportation
# Transportation Reform
+ Telecommunications
# The Soviet Period
# Telecommunications in the 1990s
o Foreign Economic Relations
+ Foreign Trade
+ Foreign Investment
+ Foreign Debt
o The Economic Outlook
* Government and Politics
o Historical Background
o The Constitution and Government Structure
+ The Executive Branch
# Presidential Powers
# Informal Powers and Power Centers
# Presidential Elections
# The Government (Cabinet)
+ The Parliament
# Structure of the Federal Assembly
# Legislative Powers
# The Legislative Process
# Clashes of Power, 1993-96
+ The Judiciary
# Judicial Reform
# Structure of the Judiciary
o Local and Regional Government
+ The Federation Treaty and Regional Power
# Local Jurisdictions under the Constitution
# Power Sharing
# Presidential Power in the Regions
+ The Separatism Question
o Political Parties and Legislative Elections
+ The Elections of 1993
+ The Elections of 1995
o Civil Rights
+ General Civil Rights Guarantees
+ Criminal Justice Protections
o The Media
+ The Print Media
+ The Broadcast Media
o The Political Outlook
* Chapter 8. Foreign Relations
o The Emergence of Russian Foreign Policy
+ The Search for Objectives
+ The State of the Federation Speeches
o The Foreign Policy Mechanism
+ The President
+ The Security Council
+ The Parliament
+ The Government (Cabinet)
# The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
# The Ministry of Defense
o Regional Policies
+ The Near Abroad
# Moldova
# Georgia
# Central Asia
# Other Former Soviet Republics
+ The United States
# The Yeltsin-Bush Summits
# The Yeltsin-Clinton Summits
+ Western Europe
+ Central Europe
# The NATO Issue
# Russia's Role in the Former Yugoslavia
+ China
+ Japan
+ Other Asian States
+ The Third World
+ The Middle East
+ Latin America
o Foreign Policy Prospects
* Chapter 9. The Armed Forces
o Historical Background
o Military Doctrine
+ Soviet Doctrine
+ The Doctrine of 1993
# Political Principles
# Military Principles
# Military-Technical and Economic Principles
# The Doctrine of the Future
o The Geopolitical Context
+ Chechnya
+ The Commonwealth of Independent States
# Georgia
# Armenia
# Azerbaijan
# Moldova
# Central Asia
+ Kaliningrad
+ China
+ The NATO Issue
+ Nuclear Arms Issues
o The Defense Industry
+ Structure and Conditions
+ The Defense Budget
+ New Weaponry Acquisitions
+ Foreign Arms Sales
+ Prospects for the Defense Industry
o Force Structure
+ Command Structure
+ Ground Forces
+ Naval Forces
+ Air Forces
+ Air Defense Forces
+ Strategic Rocket Forces
+ Airborne Troops
o Performance
+ Troop Support Elements
+ Crime in the Military
+ Training
# Military Schools
# Field Training
+ Reform Plans
o Prospects for the Military
* Chapter 10. Internal Security
o Internal Security Before 1991
o Successor Agencies to the KGB
+ Ministry of Security (MB)
+ Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK)
+ Federal Security Service (FSB)
+ Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI)
+ Main Guard Directorate (GUO)
+ Federal Border Service and Border Security
# Border Security Agencies
# Post-Soviet Border Policy
o Security Operations in Chechnya
o Crime
+ Crime in the Soviet Era
+ The Crime Wave of the 1990s
# Crime Statistics
# Organized Crime
# Nuclear Security
# Terrorism
# Narcotics
o The Criminal Justice System
+ Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD)
+ The Procuracy
+ Criminal Law Reform in the 1990s
+ Secrecy Laws
+ How the System Works
o Prisons
o Outlook
* Appendix. Tables
* Glossary

<!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo--> PM sounded out for Kofi’s job
New Delhi, May 9: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been sounded out unofficially for the post of United Nations Secretary-General, which will fall vacant at the end of the year when Mr Kofi Annan completes his two terms in office. It could not be ascertained whether Dr Singh has refused the offer categorically or left it hanging, to be picked up later in the year in case the current move within the Congress to increase the pressure against him gathers ground over the next few weeks.

The search for Mr Annan’s successor has begun in earnest, with the all-powerful UN Security Council having held a meeting at the instance of US ambassador John Bolton to discuss the issue and, as the envoy said, “get a sense of where the Council is” on the matter.

Dr Manmohan Singh’s international image is extremely good, according to sources who pointed out that if he agrees his candidature would be accepted by all permanent members of the Security Council — namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia; with China being the only uncertainty. Western diplomats based in New Delhi have often told this correspondent that Dr Singh is widely respected as an economist and for bringing to his job “the very popular self-effacing Indian style of functioning.”

Dr Singh could have a rival in British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is also a Washington favourite for the post. Mr Blair is currently facing strong opposition at home, and is dogged by rumours that he might have to step down to make way for a more acceptable candidate to lead his government and the Labour Party into the next elections.

The BBC had in fact interviewed former US President Bill Clinton on the subject, and in response to a direct question on Mr Blair’s candidature for the top UN post, he had said: “That would suit me, he would be a good one.” Mr Clinton said that he had discussed Mr Blair’s future with him, “and the lot of good you can do” after leaving 10, Downing Street.

What does not, however, stand in the British Prime Minister’s favour is the unspoken rule that the UN Secretary-General should be drawn from countries outside the Permanent Five, and that the choice this time is settling on Asia, which is asserting its rightful claim to the post. The last UN Secretary-General from this continent was in 1961-71, when Burma’s U Thant served for two terms.

The 114-member nonaligned movement, the 54-member Asian group and the 53-member African Union have all publicly come out in support of a candidate from Asia. The three candidates who have formally thrown their hats into the ring are Thailand’s deputy prime minister Surakiart Sathirathai, Sri Lanka’s Jayantha Dhanapal, who was also UN undersecretary-general for disarmament, and South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon.

The real battle for the top UN post is, however, being fought outside the public spotlight. UN undersecretary-general for communication and public information Shashi Tharoor, who is considered the right-hand man of Mr Kofi Annan, has been lobbying hard, but despite two quick visits to India in recent weeks has been unable to get a commitment of support from the government.

Other indications that India might like to play for the post of Secretary-General has come from the government’s reluctance to name a candidate for the post of deputy secretary-general, although at one stage the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who is also very close to the Prime Minister, was doing the rounds. Also, now that India has been denied a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, sources said, makes it a major contender for the top UN post.

India has till now not even indicated an interest in fielding a candidate for the UN post which, sources said, could be an indication that the job is on offer to the Prime Minister.

Sources, however, were quick to point out that it was not at all clear as yet whether Dr Manmohan Singh was interested, although if he was the United States, Russia, Britain and France could be expected to support his candidature without any objections. China is, of course, keen on an Asian candidate, but might not be very keen to support an Indian because of the strengthening relations between New Delhi and Washington.
<b>US government restricts China PCs </b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It was "no secret that the US is a principal target of Chinese intelligence services", he said, adding: "No American government agency should want to purchase from them".
Last year, Lenovo - the world's number three PC maker - bought the IBM PC Division and moved its executive headquarters from China to the US.
But Lenovo insisted the state department computers, which were made at former IBM facilities in North Carolina and Mexico, posed no security threat.

<b>"We are absolutely confident in the security of our manufacturing process,"</b> Jeff Carlisle, the firm's vice-president of government relations, said.

"These computers do not present a risk to US security."

He said the <b>Chinese Academy of Sciences, an arm of the Chinese government, had a "minority interest" in the company and was not involved in its day-to-day operations</b>.

<b>"We're not a state-owned enterprise," </b>Mr Carlisle added.

It means made in China PC are sercurity risk for other countries.
<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> The A Q Khan effect
US succumbing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail
by K Subrahmanyam

The fact that the United States continues to be soft on Pakistan even though its leaders are aware that Pakistan is the epicentre of Jehadi terrorism, is a great puzzle for the Indian government and strategic analysts in India.

The mastermind of the 9/11 attack is a Kuwait born Pakistani. The ISI and Omar Sheikh sent $ 100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 attack. The shoe bomber Richard Reeves and the London train bombers had a Pakistani connection. Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri were permitted to have safe havens in Pakistan and continue to be there.

The US coordinator on counter-terrorism, Henry Crumpton, recently complained about the inadequacy of Pakistani cooperation in hunting down the Taliban and the Al Qaeda. There is evidence of a resurgence of Taliban activity in Afghanistan, mostly with Pakistani help. In spite of all these, General Musharraf continues to be the favourite son of the US administration. He has been able to flout every dictum of President Bush and still is hailed as an ally on the war on terrorism. Why?

For the first time, we are getting a plausible explanation from an American analyst, Tom Donnelly, of the American Enterprise Institute. Donnelly focuses on the US concerns about Pakistani nuclear weapons and nuclear materials. He highlights the role and activities of Dr. A.Q. Khan and his pan-Islamic orientation. He points to the possibility of certain sections of the Pakistani Army and scientific establishment sharing his Pan-Islamic orientation. He draws attention to the US Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR) which has a whole section on the threat to the US from loose nuclear weapons and materials getting out of the control of a nuclear weapon state.

Though no state is specifically named, it is quite obvious that the concern is about Pakistan as the QDR refers to a state friendly to US.

Donnelly outlines a plan that the US would perhaps be adopting to deal with such a situation. The plan has all signs of a military briefing. The first assumption is that though the hijacking of a nuclear device or materials may be carried out by a combination of jehadis, extremist oriented sections of the army and the scientific establishment, the Pakistan government and the Army will be with the US and will cooperate in recovering the materials from the jehadi group. This assumption is absolutely basic to the success of the operation. The implication is the situation will be beyond control if the Pakistani government and Army are non-cooperative.

Donnelly’s plan involves deployment of the US Delta force, rangers, infantry and air force elements. The US may have to act alone. While Indian help may be available that will be red rag to the Pakistani government and Army and therefore should be avoided. This operation is detailed in his article in phases and he does not deal with the post recovery phase.

The Donnelly paper needs to be circulated widely and studied in detail by appropriate authorities in India. The important issue that comes out of this article is the imperative need for the US to keep on the right side of General Musharraf and the Pakistani Army because of the existentialist threat of Pakistani nuclear weapons and materials falling into the hands of the jehadis. Because of this compulsion the US has to overlook all transgressions of General Musharraf and the top army leadership. In that sense, the US is under an existential nuclear blackmail by Pakistan.

This gives Musharraf adequate courage to demand economic and military aid and even access to civil nuclear energy from the US, even though he allows a safe haven to Al Qaeda and Taliban leaderships and reneges on all promises to act against jehadis in his country. This existential blackmail has three components- the large scale presence of Jehadis in Pakistan, a reputation for pan-Islamic orientation among intelligence establishments, scientists and the Army, and proved attempts originating in Pakistan and aimed at the US for using WMD. All the three factors exist. There is no need for General Musharraf or any other Pakistani leader to convey any specific blackmail. The signals are all there and the US can read them.

There is no other explanation that can adequately explain the US tolerance of Pakistani behaviour, which has been far more provocative than that of Iran or North Korea. The US also faces an unfamiliar problem. All its nuclear theology was based on the concept of deterrence, which assumed that the adversary valued certain things such as life, property and future of his nation. But the jehadis value nothing and therefore cannot be deterred. Further, the Pakistani leadership deliberately cultivates an image of irrationality. Recently, in an interview, General Aslam Beg elaborated on the advice he had given to the Iranians. Whoever hits Iran, hit Israel and destroy it. He boasted that his strategy for Pakistan was, no matter who hits his country, he would hit India.

In India there is inadequate understanding of the US predicament. The US is in a kind of hostage situation. We should have noticed that there has been very few detailed analyses about reasons underlying the extraordinary permissiveness of the US about Pakistani behaviour. The charges of A.Q. Khan’s CIA linkages have been ignored. Even the monstrous accusation that 9/11 commission members were dealt with by Pakistani lobbyists and persuaded to water down their conclusions evoked no response from the US media or law makers. Pakistan’s defiant non-cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency in respect of Iranian proliferation, in which Islamabad is the primary guilty party has been looked away from. In these circumstances, President Bush displayed rare courage in refusing to succumb to the latest blackmail from Pakistan seeking equal treatment with India on access to civil nuclear energy.

How long the US will put up with Pakistani blackmail? Will the US be able to keep blackmail under manageable levels or will it someday or other breach the limits of US tolerance? Will US succeed in democratising Pakistan under these circumstances or will it have to reconcile itself to successive army regimes flaunting its linkages to jehadis? These are the issues that need to be addressed in Indo-US Track II deliberations.

I thought I will highlight some interesting feedback on the topic "What will be the impact of China and India’s growth?" at the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation (a.k.a BBC)
What will be the impact of China and India’s growth? - Feedback

Other than highlighting the massive ignorance, it show how at least, the western Psy-Ops on "CASTE" is regarded as a universal truth.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Added: Monday, 22 May, 2006, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK

India and China have their issues. India has a suppresive caste system. China has human rights problems. India has deplorable poverty, warrring religious factions and nucleur weapons. China has a massive army, nulceur weapons and is not afraid to use them.

Either way the ones who hold the handle have the advantage and we all suffer and benefit as they crush us at their whim and fancy.

C. Arthur, Kingston

Added: Monday, 22 May, 2006, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK

Everyone in these posts are all for China, and India to become prosperous, and have large ecomomies at the expense of the West. I say NO WAY! I like the way my life is now and if that means thatIndia and China remain poor, that's okay with me. Just keep making cheap stuff for me to buy. Hey, you might not like my answer but I don't care.

Mike Mango, United States

Added: Monday, 22 May, 2006, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK

I think its scary. China and India will drain the Earth's resources and completely contaminate its surface with pollution and waste in 1/20 th of the time it would take America and Europe combined to do so.

Zak, NYC
Added: Monday, 22 May, 2006, 19:31 GMT 20:31 UK

Their air and water will become more toxic. Populations will increase still more, as will global warming,and the collapse of civilization as we know it will be hastened.

Wade Greyfox, Wasilla,Alaska, United States
Added: Monday, 22 May, 2006, 21:51 GMT 22:51 UK

Not an appealing prospect is it? What have China and India really got to offer? Low wages, the caste system ,dictatorship and breathtaking arrogance. So, they steal technology, ignore patents and copyrights, threaten their neighbours with their nuclear arsenals but yet they're the flavour of the month. What a world!

Dermot, Leixlip
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 05:53 GMT 06:53 UK

This all assumes that the two countries remain intact. Both are actually composed of people of various ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and in India's case, different religions. Both were historically "empires" and empires have a habit of breaking up.
Both, especially India, need more "lebensraum", which could bring them into conflict with Russia and its wide open spaces. Watch and wait.

david chown, bordeaux
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK

With an eventual crash in oil production and other resources, such as water, it does not seem likely that economie such as India or China will survive. As their infrastructure is limited and basic, population demands overwhelming and little educated they will be less able to withstand and serious difficulties which must occur. To suggest they will become economic or other superpowers which will continue to grow is simply unrealistic.

Andrew Stamford, Australia
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK

I am from India and currently living in France. I personally feel that even after 300-350years, India would never reach a position like France with respect to the infrastructure, water, electricityetc. Life in Indian villages is pathetic, disastrous, horrible and GOD only knows when would the Electricity be available. MEDIA - PLEASE DON'T TRY TO FOOL REST OF THE WORLD WITH THIS HYPE THAT INDIA IS AN EMERGING GAINT. THANKS

Phani Sastry, Paris, France
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK

I think both China and India have fundamental instabilities which will become apparent over the coming years. In India, it is the caste system and rural poverty. In China, it is rural poverty and human rights. Both are explosive, and already are a source of violence and instability. It is by no means certain both countries will handle this well. I have more faith in China, just because it does not have a caste system.

Bob Macdonald, London, United Kingdom
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK

How come if the economic growth of India is so good then why are charitys from the EU still pumping millions in every year it seems to me that businesses in India should now start putting back into their very big poor and disadvantaged problems of there own people and they also have a very Racist cast class situation that our news never seems to mention Why is that?

mason sinclair, United Kingdom

Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
What is next on BBC, comic show? China will prevail over india in the long run. And the ones who say India has a better human rights record. Really? Just look at the plight of minorities there. White washing will not make realities go away. China is more stable than India in its core. There are more factors that will put India on diadvantage.

Chang, HongKong
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK

In spite of the huge economic growth, 26% of Indians live below the poverty line, and the country has a literacy rate of only around 65%. This is largely due to the fact that Indian life still revolves around the archaic caste system, which doesn't allow for much social mobility. The prosperity seen in the metropolitan cities of India does not reach the rural areas, where the poor and illiterate will likely remain so until Indians begin to look beyond the caste system.

Madhuri Mitra, NYC, United States
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK

As much as China needs to improve the human rights situation in its country, India needs to develop relations with mutual respect with all of its neighbors. It is probably the only country that has conflict with all of its neighbors. As long as it does not get rid of its relations built upon insecurity, distrust and dominance, it will never see the light of world power even if its internal situation is vastly improved.

Siddartha Gautam, Kathmandu, Nepal
Added: Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK

China and India have cultures that are completely alien to the way we thnk in the West. Their treatment of minorities and women, lack of religious freedom, and levels of violence that makes the worst cities in the U.S look downright peaceful, are going to haunt us. Our corporations and politician's are outsourcing our jobs, investment capitol, and technology to them and they WILL use that to destroy us.

Mike Brooks, Coburg, Oregon <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
What I am about to post reflects the penmanship of America's most politically acceptable racist. More comments after the post

America in 2050: Another country

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In 1960, when JFK defeated Nixon, America was a nation of 160 million, 90 percent white and 10 percent black, with a few million Hispanics and Asians sprinkled among us. <i>(What about Native Americans? - or do people who live in reservation not count?)</i>

We were one nation, one people. We worshipped the same God <i>(really? Catholics - Irish and Italian and Polish differ greatly amongst themselves and of course, with mainstream protestants and yes, Jews)</i>, spoke the same English language, studied American history and English literature, honored the same heroes, read the same books, watched the same TV shows, went to the same movies, and saw ourselves as defenders of Western Civilization against the godless communism of the Soviet Empire.

We were confident and proud of who we were. When Nikita Khrushchev demanded an apology for our having sent a U-2 spy plane over Russia, Ike blew up the Paris summit rather than accede to his demand. We cheered the old general's defiance.

That was yesterday. But due to the Immigration Act of 1965 and the cultural revolution of the '60s, that America is now gone forever. And as one studies the latest projections of the Census Bureau, the America of our grandchildren will be another country altogether, a nation unrecognizable to our parents, a giant Brazil of the North.

In 2050, there will be three times as many people living here as in 1960 – 420 million. White Americans will be a minority, 49 percent, and falling. Hispanics in the United States, over 100 million, will be equal to the entire population of Mexico today. Our Asian population will be almost as large as our African-American population today.

By countries of origin, America will be a Third World nation. Our cities will look like Los Angeles today. Los Angeles and the cities of Texas, Arizona and California will look like Mexico City.

When we all belong to "minorities," what will hold us together? With the rise of group rights and identity politics, we are already falling out and falling apart over racial preferences and ethnic entitlements.

In the 1990s, for the first time since the Spanish <b><i>arrived</i></b>, the white population of California fell. White flight has begun. The white majority, voting with its feet, is ceding the Golden State to Hispanic and Asian immigrants.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington, author of "Who We Are," raises an alarm about the huge infusion of Hispanics into the Southwest, and for many reasons.

Much of this mass immigration is illegal. Vast numbers are coming here only to work. They are not assimilating. They do not want to become Americans. They are concentrating in states bordering Mexico, which is their country and a nation with a historic grievance against us. They are holding on to their language and culture, creating a Hispanic nation within our nation. By 2050, there will be scores of millions of people living here whose loyalty is to a foreign country.

Moreover, as multiculturalism has captured our schools and colleges, immigrant children will have prejudices and grievances against America and the West reinforced as they learn. The academic elite that controls these schools already paints America as a nation with a rancid history of genocide, slavery, racism, oppression and imperialism <i>(all gross misrepresentations, no doubt)</i>.

As immigrant children grow up, who will teach them to love and cherish America? Will they not come to exhibit that same sullen hostility to our country we see erupting at soccer games with Mexico today? There, Mexican fans, whether in the Los Angeles Coliseum or in Guadalajara, curse our players, shout down our national anthem and chant "Osama! Osama!" when the Mexican team scores.

Is the Census Bureau future the future Americans wish? Are they willing to risk it for their grandchildren? No and no are the answers.

Why, then, does that future appear inevitable?

Answer: Though a majority of Americans wish to preserve the land they grew up in for their children, our elites – political, academic, cultural and corporate – are either unwilling to conserve that America, or are indifferent to its disappearance, or long for its death.

A majority of Americans want immigration cut back and all illegal aliens sent back. Why is the will of the majority, expressed in polls and referenda, not reflected in law or policy? Because we no longer live in a democratic republic. We are ruled by a managerial elite.

America's corporate elites want an endless supply of cheap labor. Our judges throw out popularly enacted laws to which they object. Our academic elites work to see "white, racist America" disappear. Our neo-Marxist cultural elites wish to be the gravediggers of the West and of Christian culture <b><i>(Mexicans are Muslims?)</i></b>. And America's conservative party, the Republican Party, believes Hispanics hold the key to retention of presidential power, and is desperately anxious not to offend Vicente Fox.

If, by 2050, the America we grew up in has become a Tower of Babel of squabbling minorities that is falling apart, it will be because of the treason of the elites, and our lack of will to overthrow them.

Patrick J. Buchanan<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Mr. Buchanan is, as some of us may know, Irish Catholic. What he does not remember, that when the Klu Klux Klan was first formed in Indiana, the first 'targets' along with Blacks, were Irish Catholics who were in White Anglo Saxon protestant Land. It is like a layer that becomes gradually acceptable starts discriminating against the new layer and so on. And the 1965 act was partly the result of his coreligionist Ted Kennedy trying to increase the numbers of Irish in America. If the irony in this article was a strawberry, we would all be having smoothies.

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