• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
<b>A new strategy for the new geopolitics</b>
by Michael Warner

THE late Nicholas Spykman, a pioneer in the study of international relations, once said that "he who controls the Rimland controls Eurasia, who controls Eurasia controls the destinies of the world." This classic statement of geopolitics has guided American foreign policy for more than 60 years. Since June 1940, when the French army collapsed and Hitler seemed poised to dominate Europe, twelve U.S. presidents have followed a grand strategy congruent with the premises and conclusions of Spykman's dictum.

What are those premises? The first is that modern war is so costly and devastating that America must keep it contained to the Old World, or, better yet, prevent it from erupting at all. The second is that only a few nation-states have both the power to wage modern war and the geographic proximity to constitute a serious threat to us.

What policies follow from these premises? That we should concentrate our vigilance on key nation-states along the Atlantic and Pacific littorals. That we must foster a balance of power to ensure that no hegemon arises on either shore of the Eurasian landmass, or builds a power base from which to dominate the world economy. And finally, that for our own security and the greater good of mankind, we should build ties of trade and cooperation among states, encouraging commerce and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's genius was to respond to Hitler's onslaught with a combination of Wilsonian idealism and the hard-headed realism of Spykman and other apostles of geopolitics. FDR's grand strategy for winning World War II and the subsequent peace developed these approaches, but it fell to his successor, Harry Truman, to build the national and international institutions to implement them in peacetime. Truman created the National Security Council and the Department of Defense, and fostered the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, NATO, and the World Bank. He kept the Soviets out of Western Europe, and then applied Roosevelt's strategy to East Asia to prevent a communist takeover of Korea.

Every president since Truman has wittingly or unwittingly operated within this strategic paradigm. Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson strengthened and expanded Truman's institutions. Nixon saw himself as a master of applied geopolitics in his skillful exploitation of the Sino-Soviet rivalry. Jimmy Carter shifted the ballast of our policies back to the Wilsonian emphasis on human rights, and Ronald Reagan adjusted the two elements anew, striving to balance Soviet power while insisting on democratic reforms in the Third World. The first President Bush applied FDR's strategy to Southwest Asia in the liberation of Kuwait. President Clinton, for all the talk of a post-Cold War world, made no radical changes to this strategy.

ROOSEVELTISM, for lack of a better term, had become the default setting of American foreign policy by the time George W. Bush took office in 2001. Early hints from his administration suggested that he intended to stay the course. The Pentagon's 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review, for instance, spoke of "precluding hostile domination of critical areas, particularly Europe, Northeast Asia, the East Asian littoral, and the Middle East and Southwest Asia." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could have called our area of greatest interest "the Rimland" and saved on printing costs.

Did September 11 render Roosevelt's strategic vision obsolete? Perhaps. That morning of horror showed that armed conspirators, not just nation-states, could now reach over the oceans to wreak havoc in our cities. It also made clear that terror was one of the new tactics of choice among the enemies of the United States. That seems to be what bin Laden and his comrades desired: to terrify the "Zionist-Crusader entity" into a retreat from traditionally Muslim lands.

The grand strategy of Roosevelt and previous administrations took account of people whose aim was mass murder, but it assumed that these aims would come to nothing without the political, economic, and technological means available only to powerful nation-states. Now that our country is vulnerable to nonstate bands of terrorists, what changes should be made in our foreign policy?

The Bush administration gave an initial answer on September 17, 2002 in its National Security Strategy. Published on the Internet and unveiled with modest fanfare by the White House, it is only now garnering sustained attention, in part because of other news over the last year. A few early observers debated its themes even before the war in Iraq. Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis, for instance, offered an insightful analysis last autumn in Foreign Policy, calling it perhaps "the most important reformulation of U.S. grand strategy in over half a century."

The Strategy deserves more attention than it has received thus far. For starters, as Gaddis notes, this document stands out among official tracts as relatively lucid and candid. More important, however, is the Strategy's potential for shifting the emphasis in America's foreign policy and recasting a generation's worth of debate over how best to secure the country's interests. Rather than squabbling over last year's intelligence estimates, or worrying about Straussian moles in the Pentagon, we might instead focus our attention on this serious document. President Bush's Strategy cannot be the last word on the topic, but it is a good place to start.

THE National Security Strategy basically says two things. <b>First, it reminds us that nation-states are still important. Here the news is more good than bad:</b>

For most of the twentieth century, the world was divided by a great struggle over ideas: destructive totalitarian visions versus freedom and equality. That great struggle is over. The militant visions of class, nation, and race which promised utopia and delivered misery have been defeated and discredited. America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones. We are menaced less by fleets and armies than by catastrophic technologies in the hands of the embittered few.

In other words, this generation beholds "the best chance since the rise of the nation-state in the seventeenth century to build a world where great powers compete in peace instead of continually prepar[ing] for war." Such an outcome is neither automatic nor inevitable; it demands patience and toil. The National Security Strategy vows that America will not flag in this work:

Today, the United States enjoys a position of unparalleled military strength and great economic and political influence. In keeping with our heritage and principles, we do not use our strength to press for unilateral advantage. We seek instead to create a balance of power that favors human freedom: conditions in which all nations and all societies can choose for themselves the rewards and challenges of political and economic liberty.

Finally, we look for the spread of the surest guarantor of peace--freedom--to nations that rivaled us in the Cold War:

America will encourage the advancement of democracy and economic openness in both [Russia and China], because these are the best foundations for domestic stability and international order. We will strongly resist aggression from other great powers--even as we welcome their peaceful pursuit of prosperity, trade, and cultural advancement.

As Gaddis and others have noted, this is a Wilsonian vision of breathtaking scope. It also follows Spykman's dictum, defending the Rimland and guarding against future hegemons. <b>Thus it is classic "Rooseveltism," hardly changed in its essence from its interpretation under previous administrations. </b>

BUT something else is happening in the world that requires our attention, according to the National Security Strategy. <b>Its second message is the frightening news that terrorism has grown from a cottage industry to murder on an industrial scale. Terrorism, in the hands of its deadliest practitioners, has progressed from a tactic to oust imperialist occupiers to killing almost for the sake of killing</b>:

Enemies in the past needed great armies and great industrial capabilities to endanger America. Now, shadowy networks of individuals can bring great chaos and suffering to our shores for less than it costs to purchase a single tank. Terrorists are organized to penetrate open societies and to turn the power of modern technologies against us.

The paper goes on to describe this possibility in one of its most-quoted lines:

<b>The gravest danger our Nation faces lies at the crossroads of radicalism and technology. </b>Our enemies have openly declared that they are seeking weapons of mass destruction, and evidence indicates that they are doing so with determination.

Who are these enemies, and what motivates them? Surprising to say, answers to these questions have to be teased out of the National Security Strategy. The closest it comes to describing "our enemies" is in its discussion of rogue states that "reject basic human values and hate the United States and everything for which it stands." Since these same states "sponsor terrorism around the globe," we can also infer that the terrorists share this hatred of America. But why do they hate us?

Perhaps because they regard America's Wilsonian aspirations For democracy and human rights as the greatest threat to their very existence and way of life. If you think liberal democracy is a cancer on humanity, then you ought to fear an American president who proclaims in his National Security Strategy that "freedom is the non-negotiable demand of human dignity; the birthright of every person--in every civilization," and who pledges that the United States will use this moment of opportunity to extend the benefits of freedom across the globe. We will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.

THE hatred that the terrorists have for such ideals is not so different from the critique offered by some in the West--one that dates back nearly two centuries, and argues that bourgeois life is a blight on history, or, to shift metaphors, an opiate that numbs the minds and spirits of the masses to beauty and truth. The terrorists maintain that America is evil, and that all who live and work there are legitimate military targets. We in the West, of course, know better.

Or do we? Liberal ideas and institutions are increasingly under attack by Western thinkers who describe liberalism as a cloak for oppression and deconstruct it into its allegedly racist, sexist, and imperialist elements. <b>Many of those same Western thinkers also admire the antibourgeois sentiments of nineteenth-century utopians and twentieth-century revolutionaries. The latter, of course, espoused the "militant visions of class, nation, and race" that the National Security Strategy supposes have been "defeated and discredited." </b>

And herein lies another question. Are the two issues that the National Security Strategy raises--the spread of democracy and the growing threat posed by rogue states and terrorists--somehow parallel in a way that is unglimpsed, or undiscussed, by the Strategy's authors? Is there an affinity between the mindset of those rogue states and terrorists who "reject basic human values and hate the United States and everything for which it stands," and those in the West who protest in ever-more-violent and organized ways the spread of liberal democracy they call "globalization"? If so, the National Security Strategy does not address it.

That is a question for the future. <b>For now the issue is whether geopolitics has been supplanted by a politics of ideas</b>. Certainly, modern power is no longer simply resources and geography (and the scientific and technological means of exploiting them), but ideas as well.<b> Ideas like the rule of law, human rights, economic liberty, and democracy are what free societies export to the rest of the world. And yet, nation-states are still crucial to the building of a peaceful world order. </b>Without a skillful application of "Rooseveltism" in the future, the world is not likely to summon the resources and will to win the global war on terror.

STRATEGIES cannot change overnight, even in the wake of crises like Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of September 11. New strategies perforce adapt elements of their predecessors, as Franklin Roosevelt adapted Wilsonian ideals to sell his foreign policy to liberal constituents and to ensure that even a stable balance of power would gradually ameliorate the bloody rivalries of "old Europe."

This makes the job of crafting a new strategy--and recognizing one as it emerges--all the more difficult for officials and observers alike. Time will tell if the National Security Strategy represents a blind alley or a landmark along the path to a new and lasting strategic synthesis for the United States, but early indications suggest it is heading in the right direction.

<b>MICHAEL WARNER serves on the history staff of the Central Intelligence Agency.</b>

<i>The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily Of the central Intelligence Agency. </i>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Article Title: A New Strategy for the New Geopolitics. Contributors: Michael Warner - author. Magazine Title: Public Interest. Issue: 153. Publication Date: Fall 2003. Page Number: 94+. COPYRIGHT 2003 The National Affairs, Inc.; <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Sunday, June 04, 2006

POSTCARD USA: How America divorced the Arabs —Khalid Hasan

The Americans lost the Arabs: the Arabs found the Chinese, or the Chinese found the Arabs. Freeman said in the Chinese, the Arabs see a partner who will buy their oil without demanding that they accept a foreign ideology, abandon their way of life or make other choices they’d rather avoid

Of all the people I have seen, heard or run into in Washington, no one has impressed me more than Charles W Freeman Jr, a former US diplomat and a man of utter brilliance and tremendous good humour.

Do we’ve men like him in our foreign service? I can’t think of anyone quite like him. I will concede though that we are not without a few like Munir Akram at the United Nations who have courage and conviction and who work hard to keep the flag flying even when those who have taken it upon themselves to fly that flag, often look like putting it away in the basement in mothballs.

Charles Freeman (no one calls him Chuck, be assured) is the president of one think-tank in this city of Washington, which has been trying to change the stereotyped image of Arabs and the Arab world that is common, be it newspaper cartoonists or policymakers. His is also one think-tank, which despite Freeman’s excellent contacts in the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia, where he was ambassador during the first Gulf War, is woefully short of funds. In fact, last year he told a meeting of his Middle East Policy Institute that this could well be the last time it was meeting as it had all but run out of money. Happily, that prediction has not come true.

Freeman speaks Chinese, French and Spanish and has a working knowledge of Portuguese and Italian. “I’ve always made a practice of trying to learn the language wherever I’ve been,” he explains. “I didn’t do as well as I would like to have done with Tamil, in South India, but I did learn Mandarin at the interpreter level, Taiwanese, and Thai, although I’ve lost much of it, and I’ve worked hard at Arabic,” he once said. He interpreted for President Nixon on his historic visit to China.

Freeman is also one of the five sponsors of the Committee for the Republic, which has called for an “examination of the nation’s rush to empire”. I don’t suppose that has exactly earned him an invitation to a White House dinner. I think it is important for people in Pakistan to know that Washington is not entirely peopled by the replicas and clones of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. There are also men like Charles Freeman, though their number is small. But they matter and what they think and write and speak is received with respect. Sometimes they also manage to change things.

Recently, Freeman spoke in California on Arab-Chinese relations. He began his speech by informing his audience, “I want to speak with you this morning about foreign affairs, by which, of course, I mean failing marriages, extramarital relationships, and instances of bigamy, maybe even polygamy. It’s pretty racy stuff compared to most diplomacy. Those of you who may be offended should leave now. I will be brief. Therefore, I will be superficial. But this doesn’t bother me at all. Decades ago, a wise man from the East told me that, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing superficially. I have always heeded his advice. He was, of course, from the East Coast of the United States.”

Freeman called US-China relations a “failing marriage” and recalled how Chinese President Hu Jintao had been insulted by Bush and his people when he visited Washington in April. He was denied a state dinner, the Chinese national anthem was announced as that of the Republic of China, a known Falun Gang agitator was permitted to join journalists on the White House grounds where she shouted at the Chinese president for three minutes before being removed.

Protesters just outside Blair House, where the president was staying, were allowed to protest late into the night and when Hu’s staff complained, it was referred to DC police, which had knocked off work an hour before, unless it were paid overtime.

From Washington, Hu flew to Riyadh “where there was no confusion at all about how to treat him”. Freeman said, “Basically, the Arabs give us oil and we give them back little green portraits of dead American presidents. Until recently, they ploughed the money we paid them back into the American economy — about $800 billion in private Arab investment by the turn of this century. And everyone benefited. Then came 9/11. A few bad actors determined to wreck this happy partnership managed to do so.”
<span style='color:red'>
American business in the Arab Gulf crashed from first to fifth place. “Mutual affection between Arabs and Americans has, in short, been succeeded by mutual fear and loathing, punctuated by occasional self-righteous American demands for major Arab behaviour modification — demands that they embrace an American reform agenda of elections, women’s liberation, religious pluralism. You know the list,” he added. Consequently, the Americans lost the Arabs: the Arabs found the Chinese, or the Chinese found the Arabs.</span>
Freeman said in the Chinese, the Arabs see a partner who will buy their oil without demanding that they accept a foreign ideology, abandon their way of life, or make other choices they’d rather avoid.</b> They see a major civilisation that seems determined to build a partnership with them, does not insult their religion or their way of life, values its reputation as a reliable supplier too much to engage in the promiscuous application of sanctions or other coercive measures, and has no habit of bombing or invading other countries to whose policies it objects.

The Arabs, he said, are Muslims “and they don’t have to divorce us to take a second wife. Hence their romances with China and India”. He predicted that soon there would be more Saudi students in China than in America.

No marriage, Freeman pointed out, turns out the way it is expected to, but the one between the Saudis and the Chinese, given the solid foundation on the addictive behaviour of the oil consumer, shows every sign of being destined to last. At the moment, it is suffused with the joy of mutual discovery, even infatuation, if not something close enough to love, he said.

And therein lies a lesson that the Americans are determined not to learn.

Khalid Hasan is Daily Times’ US-based correspondent. His e-mail is khasan2@cox.net

Geopolitics of South Asia and the Threat of War<i>
(Paper presented at the Conference on Global Conflict and Threat of War at the University of Windsor, Canada on October 2, 1999)
Introduction: One just has to look at what South Asia comprises of and where it is situated in the world, it becomes apparent why this area has acquired a vital position in the world at the end of the 20th century. The eight countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives - that constitute South Asia are a zone of fire. China is situated in the north of this zone, Russia is on the North and West, the Middle East, Balkans and Europe are on the West, and the Indian Ocean on the South. The Indian Ocean connects the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.

If the 19th century was the century of the Atlantic and the 20th century of the century of the Pacific, then, as the calculations of India and some other countries go, the 21st century will be the century of the Indian Ocean. This is not speculation, but there is actually an organization of 14 countries, called the Indian Ocean Rim - Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR - ARC) which has been formed since 1997 with the aim of defining economic cooperation among the member countries. The thesis that whoever controls the Indian Ocean will control the passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans in the 21st century and hence the world envisages a geopolitical role for the IOR-ARC which will eventually include all the 35 countries and island nations around the Indian ocean.

What this reveals is that geopolitics is not static and unchanging; far from it, it is extremely dynamic. In 1971, when the last full scale war in South Asia was fought and Bangladesh was carved out of the-then Pakistan, the geopolitics of South Asia presented itself within the context of the bipolar division of the world. Today, geopolitics presents itself in a very different way, in the context of the unipolar world of the US and the multipolar world desired by other big powers. But if we begin from the premise that the 21st century must belong to the people who will take the centre-stage and defeat the big powers and their dreams to dominate the world, we have to examine the geopolitics in a radically different way.

India is home to nearly 1 billion people. To that large number, if you add 140 million people of Pakistan, 125 million people of Bangladesh and another 75 million from the other five countries, we have nearly a quarter of the world’s population living in this region at this time. The same question that we are posing here – the role of Canada or more precisely the role of Canadian people in the world in the 21st century, is also the question being posed for the peoples of South Asia. What role do they play today and what role they must play in the world in the future are the two issues to be analysed and discussed if we have to address ourselves to the solution of how the marginalisation of people from affairs of the society and the globe can be ended. South Asians are posing the question within their conditions - how they can end the marginalisation of South Asia from world affairs and the marginalisation of the peoples from the affairs of their own countries, societies and collectives. It is in this common struggle to end the marginalisation of the peoples from the affairs of the countries and the world which unites us all, from opposite faces of the globe.

South Asia Today: Let me first explore the question of what is happening in South Asia at this time. Most of you are probably familiar with the nuclear tests that India and Pakistan carried out last year. To put this in perspective, let us examine the geopolitical context of these tests so that we can draw our conclusions about what they mean for the future of Asia and the World.

India was a colony of the British Empire until 1947 and when it gained formal independence, it was partitioned into India and Pakistan. That was the time when the British Empire was collapsing and the US was on the rise. The USSR had vast influence in every corner of the globe. India and Pakistan were created on the basis of religion, after organising the bloodiest massacre that the region had ever seen before. This manipulation of religion to effect division occurred at a scale unheard of before. The use of religion in the division of Ireland had been tried in a limited way until that time. <b>The consequence of the division of India on the basis of religion was bound to have consequence beyond the geopolitics of South Asia. Its effect was global.</b>

Since 1950, India played one role in the world and Pakistan played another role in the global context. Nehru, the first prime Minister of India is on record after partition for saying that the boundaries of India’s aspirations extended from Tashkent to Cape Comorin. This was a presentation of India in geo-political terms – i. e. India had interest beyond its borders.

Before 1950, the British had introduced electoral franchise on the basis of religion. That franchise laid the foundation for the two biggest nations of South Asia, Punjab and Bengal, to be partitioned to East and West Punjab and East and West Bengal respectively. East Bengal was known as East Pakistan until 1971 and became Bangladesh which is an independent country following a war between India and Pakistan. The government of Bangladesh today does not discuss the division of Bengal, both past and present, and nor does it pose the question of the reunification of the nation of Bengal. Instead, Bangladesh wants to discuss matters such as water-sharing with India, which is done on the basis of accepting the division of Bengal. Bangladesh has even gone further to sign agreements allowing the US navy to use its ports, has plans to buy jet fighters from the US and even to provide facilities for the US marines to land there if they make a request. <span style='color:red'>The case with divided Punjab is similar within the context of Pakistan where West Punjab is the most dominant nationality that steers the politics of Pakistan but never poses the question of why this nation is divided.</span> <b>Similarly, if one examines the way the Indian government views the world, you will not get a sense that there is any problem of division, or that India has any enemies in this world who are perpetuating the divisions.</b>

But the same considerations that existed in 1947 still exist. The US and Europe are very active with respect to keeping the divisions alive in South Asia. United Europe has historically sought to conquer Asia, and although the Germans, French, and British have different aims, there is much consanguinity of interest with respect to Asia if you examine their positions, for example with respect to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which India has refused to sign. During the entire debate on the CTBT, India did not say anything against NATO, which is a military organisation in Europe and the biggest nuclear power in the world. India did not say anything when NATO started expanding eastward. As I said earlier, without controlling the Indian Ocean, no one can conquer the world. India considers itself as a regional power in the Indian Ocean region. India wants to be recognised as a power, if not for any other reason, but for the size of its population. By 2010, India will have first-rate consumers. Who does not want to conquer India and South Asia? With the push for a market oriented economy in the countries of South Asia – from Bangladesh to Pakistan, from Nepal to Sri Lanka, this region is a giant big market, a giant reservoir of labour force, a giant source of raw materials and so on.

In the 1940’s, South Asia, the Middle East, etc., were places of extreme tension where people were rising up against colonial rule for national liberation. The US policy of containment was formulated in that period on the basis of the theory that any country which had national liberation would go towards communism. The US welcomed the creation of Pakistan and went on to make Pakistan its centre for containing communism in South Asia at that time. India began the 1950’s by developing its relations with China on the basis of panchsheel in the hope that the India-China axis would be a deterrent for the US to realise the kinds of interventions that it was organising everywhere else with military coups, fascist regimes, the Suez crisis and so on. That policy ended when China and India fought a border war in 1962. The linkage between India and the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and Brezhnev were formulated under the leadership of Nehru and Indira Gandhi. The policy of “non-alignment” was created by India, Yugoslavia and Egypt in that period, a nomenclature which effectively ended up facilitating the linkage of countries like India with both Moscow and Washington under the pretext of being equidistant from both.

For example, in 1991, when Iraq was attacked during the Gulf War, the Indian government permitted American planes from the Philippines to fly over its airspace. Iraq was a non-aligned country and so was India. But Iraq had been made a “rogue state” after it had served American interests in the decade long war with Iran following the overthrow of the Shah. In the 1980’s the US used Pakistan to wage war in Afghanistan. Again, India was a partner in that war. The US has called various Asian states such as Iran and China as rogue states. Just within last few months, the US has labelled India a “responsible power” and has called on the Pakistani army generals not to overthrow the Nawaz Sharif government. In July, the US ordered the Pakistani government to withdraw its troops from Kashmir. What these developments show is that just as Iraq had become expendable and a war with Iraq facilitated the US to militarily move into the Middle East, <span style='color:red'>Pakistan seems to have become dispensable and if the US can move in there, it can have a direct eye on not just India, but China and Russia besides Iran and Central Asia with its rich resources.
Another factor increasing in importance is that the big Indian business houses are closely linked to the American and European powers. Military budgets are rising at a rate of 20 to 25 percent annually because it is most lucrative sector of economy. The Germans used this in the 1930’s, the Americans did in the post Second World War period and Brezhnev followed it in the USSR. Through the arms race, massive expenditures were made in all these countries. In 1974, when Indira Gandhi tested the first nuclear bomb, India warded off the US by pointing to India’s alliance with the USSR and to the newly opened nuclear option. All governments – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Sri Lanka – want the arms race. Under it, billions of rupees are handed out to very lucrative private contractors and the growing domestic private-sector defence industry, who benefit from the continuation of tension.

When India tested the nuclear devices last year, it was a statement that with the end of Cold War, India was willing to assert its independent nuclear power status. India developed and tested the Agni missile and a number of medium and short-range missiles. This missile, as a military weapon has no place internationally. India has no possibility to command the air and sea, but it can invade its neighbours and the development of these missiles is a statement that that is what India intends to use them for. India is a late-comer in terms of the economic and military prowess of Asia. It wants economic links with Iran, Central Asia and East Asia beside the countries of South Asia.

South Asia has remained on fire for the whole of 20th century. There are uprisings in Kashmir and the north east of India while Afghanistan continues to be devastated. Can the Kashmir problem really not be solved, or is it that there are vested interests in preserving the status quo, to generate chauvinism, deploy force, and justify defence expenditures? In Sri Lanka, can a small population sustain the war without support from India, the US and so on?<b> In Punjab, it is said that the insurgency was ended because Narasimha Rao used overwhelming force to crush it. But it is known that the US supported the movement there as long as they had differences with the central government in Delhi. </b>In the official positions of the Indian government or in the programs of the political parties in India who want to form the next government, it is characteristic that they do not even admit that there are any problems in South Asia and the world. The only reason that can be given is that India is a partner in these conflicts. India’s geopolitics is to keep South Asia divided, become the most important power and come to terms with other powers – possibly China, the US, Russia. It is keeping its options open towards the United Europe. <span style='color:red'>The next war for the re-division of the world will inevitably have India as an active player.</span>

Within that, all the big powers are very keen to see that India does not renew itself. That is the reason why the Queen of England went to India to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the loss of her possession. That is the reason, the US President is going to India in the year 2000 - to assure the Indians that they must noot renew any institutions there. In the last few years, all the predators of the world have praised India’s democratic credentials. Canada is in the forefront of this praise because they are as much a partner in the conflicts going on today and those that are being hatched. None of the powers want the people of India to look any other way. The British in particular are the most active because they view that India is their territory, its institutions as their institutions. They will ally with the US to ensure that when South Asia is destabilised, they become the main beneficiaries to move in.

Conclusion: The states created in South Asia in 1947 were not for defence of the interests of the people. They will carry out divisions and form alliances to push for the interests of the domestic business houses and their foreign collaborators. The aims of the US and Europe are converged on the desire to conquer Asia. Just as the war in Kosova was clinched when the British and the French joined the US on the Rambouillet agreement, a war in South Asia can be imposed on the basis of a pretext that can be created. I hope they do not succeed because the end result of this is division and bloodshed.

What will happen to Asia in the future? Looking back, Columbus thought he was going to India 500 years ago. The East India Company was set up to exploit India. To say that the tables will be turned, so that Asia will now subjugate the rest of the world in the future is to repeat the prejudices of the past, which will not succeed. Deng Xsiao Ping has declared that China wants to modernise by 2010 and then settle scores with the European and Americans. The conclusion to be drawn is that either the people will develop their struggles and deal with these questions, or the 21st century will be a century of war.

The rise of nation states, especially in Europe of the 18th and 19th century, were bulwarks against feudalism. In Asia, nation-states arose in opposition to colonialism of the European nation states. These were great developments in their specific contexts. What kind of nation-states are there today? How are they defending their interests and relating to others? The answer to this question holds the key to the future. The imperialist states of Europe and America defend their nation states, arm them to the teeth and impose them on all other states in the manner Team Canada is doing these days. They want the states of Asia to invite them to bring their investments, technology and give prosperity and modernisation. If these imperialists succeed, the nations states of Asia will be finished. The anti-thesis of this is that the nations of South Asia can flourish if the people feel that the new arrangements among their nations lead to their flourishing, and on that basis the nations and peoples of South Asia unite to ensure mutual economic development and collective defence. The present Indian union stands opposed to both the unity of the peoples and also to the flourishing of these nations. The same is the case with Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere.

In a nutshell, the struggle for prosperity and security in South Asia is a struggle for the creation of new political arrangements so that the people can constitute their nations and the nations can form new unions. In a way, this is the same with Canada where the question of nation building, where the working people can constitute themselves as the nations of Quebec, Canada and the First nations can be the basis for the renewal of Canada so that people are not marginalized from decision-making. The role Canada plays in the world in the next century is intimately connected with the role the people give themselves within Canada.

To disarm people from such a vision, it is said that the western nations have arrived at a “third way”, the post-industrial way. In South Asia, there is a debate of having a conventional war versus nuclear war. These are self-serving suppositions to scare people from posing the necessary questions for their future. The war in Iraq was not just a military equation. It was a situation where one superpower collapsed, mayhem took place, one country got exposed to war by so many, and the people of the Arab countries and especially of Iraq were overwhelmed and denied any role. As we all know, people do not defend themselves only by weapons. In all wars since the 1950’s, American forces have not won with their weapons. The main factor in winning war is economic development, not just scientific and technological development. The main thing relates to the content of relations inside the country – are the developments beneficial for the peoples?

In the USSR, during the second world war for example, all developments were for serving the needs of the people. A strong economy was created that flourished until it degenerated under the arms race. There are other examples in history as well, and the point is that people do matter. That is why, in spite of all the weapons and technology, powers like Britain and the US continue to use “divide and rule”. Science and technology will not be able to crush people or empower them in that sense. It is the relations among people, the atmosphere of discussion, setting common aims, uniting for common purpose that are going to make the difference. Canadians can make a big contribution to peace if they can prevail here and block the Canadian government from becoming a party to the war in south Asia.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

‘Gulf of mistrust in Arab-US relations must be breached’

HOUSTON: <span style='color:red'>A gulf of suspicion and misunderstanding in Arab-US relations</span> must be breached in order to avoid further tensions, several senior US and Arab officials said Monday at a forum in Houston, Texas.

“One of the biggest problems that we are facing in this part of the world - in the United States - is a lack of knowledge of what is happening on the other side,” Abdullah Zainal Alireza, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state, told the US-Arab Economic Forum.

“Ignorance of facts will contribute to further schism that is going to occur unless we rectify what is happening.”

Alireza noted that one source of mistrust was the way the US could hail elections in Iraq while refusing to acknowledge the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine.

“Having an election without having the rule of law, having respect for human rights that in itself is not a democracy,” he said, referring to the situation in Iraq.

“The time has come when we have to weigh in to what we really want. Do we want a strong man - democratically elected - who will do what we want him to do or do we want a democratically elected government that will do what is best for the people?”

Karen Hughes, the US undersecretary of state for public diplomacy in charge of improving the US image abroad, acknowledged that Americans held unwarranted suspicions and mistrust of Arabs.

“The Dubai ports matter hit a deep nerve of worry among our population about American security in a post-9/11 world,” said Hughes, referring to the US Congress’s opposition to a Dubai company’s bid to take over operations at six US ports.

“Yet as we work to secure our country, as we work to protect our people I believe it is just as much in our vital national security interest that America remains an open and welcoming country.”

Hughes, a close confidante of US President George W Bush, said the US government needed to do a better job of highlighting the benefits of foreign investment and was working to educate the public about the common values shared with the Arab and Muslim world.

“President Bush knows that global commerce is a crucial part of public diplomacy and building a greater understanding,” she said. “President Bush knows that trade brings jobs and makes for a more prosperous and peaceful world.” AFP

<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> Justices say Bush went too far at Guantanamo
5-3 ruling says military trials would violate U.S. law, Geneva conventions

Art Lein / NBC News
This court sketch shows the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who faces charges of spiring against U.S. citizens and whose case was the center of Thursday's Supreme Court ruling.
Updated: 30 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.

The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.

In brief comments, Bush said he will work with Congress to get approval to try terrorism suspects before military tribunals.

“To the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so,” he said. “The American people need to know that the ruling, as I understand it, won’t cause killers to be put out on the street.”

The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison in Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.

The ruling raises major questions about the legal status of about 450 men still being held at Guantanamo and exactly how, when and where the administration might pursue the charges against them.

It also seems likely to further fuel international criticism of the administration, including by many U.S. allies, for its handling of the terror war detainees at Guantanamo in Cuba, Abu Ghraib in Iraq and elsewhere.

The ruling prompted Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, (R-Tenn.), to pledge to introduce a new bill after the July 4th recess.

“I will introduce legislation, in consultation with the Administration and my colleagues, that authorizes military commissions and appropriate due process procedures for trials of terrorist combatants,” Frist said. “To keep America safe in the war on terror, I believe we should try terrorists only before military commissions, not in our civilian courts.”

White House counselor Dan Bartlett said the administration’s task now is mostly technical — trying to determine how to design military tribunals that would pass muster under the decision. Republican senators said they would cooperate.
Two years ago, the court rejected Bush’s claim to have the authority to seize and detain terrorism suspects and indefinitely deny them access to courts or lawyers. In this follow-up case, the justices focused solely on the issue of trials for some of the men.

Moderate joins liberals
The vote was split 5-3, with moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joining the court’s liberal members in ruling against the Bush administration. Chief Justice John Roberts, named to the lead the court last September by Bush, was sidelined in the case because as an appeals court judge he had backed the government over Hamdan.

Thursday’s ruling, handed down on the last day of the court’s 2005-06 term, overturned that decision.

Bush spokesman Tony Snow said the White House would have no comment until lawyers had had a chance to review the decision. Officials at the Pentagon and Justice Department were planning to issue statements later in the day.

The administration had hinted in recent weeks that it was prepared for the court to set back its plans for trying Guantanamo detainees.

The president also has told reporters, “I’d like to close Guantanamo.” But he added, “I also recognize that we’re holding some people that are darn dangerous.”
Send this Article to a Friend

Give importance to human values: seer

Staff Correspondent

`Religious freedom in India is an example worthy of emulation'

# World Summit of Religious leaders held in Moscow on July 6
# Religious leaders from 80 countries participated in the summit
# Need for developing global brotherhood stressed

Udupi: Sri Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji of Puthige Math has said that it is necessary to give importance to human values in the present era of globalisation.

He was addressing the World Summit of Religious leaders at Moscow in Russia on July 6. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who inaugurated the summit, emphasized the need for communal harmony.

Representing Hinduism and India, and also as president of World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP), Sri Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji praised Mr. Putin for opening up the country to the spiritual world and conducting conferences for world peace.

He emphasised the need for development of global brotherhood.

He said that religious freedom in India was an example worthy of emulation. Indians tolerated and supported all the religions and this could be achieved only if mutual respect for human beings was developed, the swamiji said.

The three-day summit was held under the leadership of Allexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and Russia. Religious leaders from 80 countries participated in the summit.

The summit discussed the latest developments in various parts of the world and resolutions aimed at achieving world peace were passed.

The resolution at the end of the summit emphasised inter-religious dialogue.

Second tour of Hindu-Buddhist Joint Delegation
Bringing world traditions closer

The Hindu-Buddhist Joint Delegation from India comprising Bhadant Gyanjagat Mahathero, Swami Vidyanand, Dr Sandip Raj Mahind and Balkrishan Naik visited Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka from March 7 to May 17. It was the second phase of the tour conducted in order to enhance coordination between the various traditions of the world specially the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. The tour was organised by Vishwa Bauddha Sanskritik Pratisthan, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Gyan Prabodihini and Arogya Niketan. Bhadant Gyanjagat Mahathero led the delegation.

The first phase of the tour was conducted from May 7 to June 9, 2005 to Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. During second phase of the tour, the Indian scholars met various leading religious, social and literary personalities of those countries and tried to know their traditions and also to find out the points on which all these traditions could come closer. The delegation also visited various historical, cultural and ancient places of those countries.

The delegation reached Bangkok (Thailand) on March 8 and received a warm welcome from Shri Chaintamani Tripathi, Sanghachalak of Thailand, at the airport. Thailand is a Buddhist nation and everywhere the Buddhist culture prevails. The delegation met Buddhacharan Maharaj at Chengmai, Phra thep Siddhajarn (Tong Sirimangalo) of Wat Pradhatu Sri Chom Tong Voravihara, Sukhantsheel Maharaj and Songroom Maharaj at Wat U Mong, Dr Boon Choy and P.S. Pamuangmoon of Buddhist University and dozens of leading scholars of the country.

The delegation reached Laos on March 21. Laos is a communist-ruled country but the influence of Buddhism is seen everywhere. The delegation met Tsewang Topden, Indian Ambassador, Phong Samaleuk, director Buddhist University of Wat Ongtue, Veth Masenay, president of Wat Sisaket and director of Sangha College, Achan Phra Xaly Khantasilo, etc. The delegation reached Vietnam on March 26. It has been part of Champa empire during the 10th century. The ruins of Hindu temples can be seen even today here. The delegation visited Thin Mu pagoda, Chau Tu Dam pagoda and Tu Hein temple at Hue city. Later it met Pham Tu, director of temple literature and Confucius University at Hanoi. Thich Tanh Na, chief of Quoc Pagoda took the delegation to the bodhivriksha, which was planted by Dr Rajendra Prasad. Thick Thanh Tu, president of Vietnam Buddhist Sangh extended warm welcome to the delegation.

In Cambodia the delegation reached on April 5. The people of the country are worried over the growing influence of Christianity and communism there. In Nampen, there are over 300 churches and only 90 temples. The delegation reached Singapore on April 10 and met Shri Sanjay, Karyavah of Singapore, Shri Bhante Piyanand Maharaj, a sannyasi of Sri Lanka Ramaya Vihar, Shri Dhamika Maharaj of Singapore Buddhist Mission, Shri Bhojwani, a veteran swayamsevak, Shri Terence Lee Swee Khim of Loyang Tau Pek Kong, Shri Pu Hong, executive director of Metta Welfare Association, Shri Indsara Tehro of Mangla Vihar, Sardar Amandeep Singh of Singapore Sikh Sangat, etc.

The delegation reached Malaysia on April 14 and participated in the Baisakhi celebration in Kualalampur. Here also the delegation met dozens of scholars. In Indonesia, where the delegation reached on April 20, the tour has been very inspiring. The delegation reached Sri Lanka on April 29 where it received active help from Shri Jayant Vikram Singhe of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Shri Gamini Gunvardhane, Dr Hema Gunatilake, etc.

<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> The Middle East crisis has caused a major headache for world leaders
A full transcript of the off-the-cuff conversation between US President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair during a break at the G8 conference in Russia.
The president was caught on tape using an expletive as he described the actions of Hezbollah in attacking Israel.

The two men start by discussing an exchange of gifts:


Bush: And thanks for the sweaters - I know you picked em out yourself...

Blair: Oh yes absolutely - in fact I knitted it!!!


Bush: What about Kofi Annan - he seems alright. I don't like his ceasefire plan. His attitude is basically ceasefire and everything sorts out.... But I think...

Blair: Yeah the only thing I think is really difficult is that we can't stop this without getting international presence agreed. I think what you guys have talked about which is the criticism of the [inaudible word). I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.

Bush: Yeah I think Condi's [US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) gonna go soon.

Blair: Well that's all that matters but if you... You see at least it gets it going.

Bush: I agree it's a process...I told her your offer too.

Blair: Well it's only if she needs the ground prepared as it were. If she goes out she HAS to succeed whereas I can just go and...

Bush: You see the irony is what they need to is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this sh1t and it's all over...

Blair: Dunno... Syria....

Bush: Why?

Blair: Because I think this is all part of the same thing...

Bush: (with mouth full of bread) Yeah

Blair: Look - what does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine. If you get a solution in Israel and Palestine. Iraq goes in the right way

Bush: Yeah - he's [indistinct]

Blair: Yeah.... He's had it. That's what all this is about - it's the same with Iran

Bush: I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.

Blair: Yeah

BUSH: [indistinct] blaming Israel and [indistinct] blaming the Lebanese government...
<!--QuoteBegin-Capt Manmohan Kumar+Jul 17 2006, 03:01 PM-->QUOTE(Capt Manmohan Kumar @ Jul 17 2006, 03:01 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> The Middle East crisis has caused a major headache for world leaders
A full transcript of the off-the-cuff conversation between US President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair during a break at the G8 conference in Russia.
The president was caught on tape using an expletive as he described the actions of Hezbollah in attacking Israel.

The two men start by discussing an exchange of gifts:

Is this the same Bush who when asked who the president of Pak was, said "General Something". Here he is intelligently discussing international issues with Blair. I think the whole thing is a setup. That was no unintentional mic picking up Bush talking sense. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says America is in World War III and President Bush should say so. In an interview in Bellevue this morning Gingrich said Bush should call a joint session of Congress the first week of September and talk about global military conflicts in much starker terms than have been heard from the president.

"We need to have the militancy that says 'We're not going to lose a city,' " Gingrich said. He talks about the need to recognize World War III as important for military strategy and political strategy.

Gingrich said he is "very worried" about Republicans facing fall elections and says the party must have the "nerve" to nationalize the elections and make the 2006 campaigns about a liberal Democratic agenda rather than about President Bush's record.

Gingrich says that as of now Republicans "are sailing into the wind" in congressional campaigns. He said that's in part because of the Iraq war, adding, "Iraq is hard and painful and we do not explain it very well."

But some of it is due to Republicans' congressional agenda. He said House and Senate Republicans "forgot the core principle" of the party and embraced Congressional pork. "Some of the guys," he said, have come down with a case of "incumbentitis."

Gingrich said in the coming days he plans to speak out publicly, and to the Administration, about the need to recognize that America is in World War III.

He lists wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, this week's bomb attacks in India, North Korean nuclear threats, terrorist arrests and investigations in Florida, Canada and Britain, and violence in Israel and Lebanon as evidence of World War III. He said Bush needs to deliver a speech to Congress and "connect all the dots" for Americans.

He said the reluctance to put those pieces together and see one global conflict is hurting America's interests. He said people, including some in the Bush Administration, who urge a restrained response from Israel are wrong "because they haven't crossed the bridge of realizing this is a war."

"This is World War III," Gingrich said. And once that's accepted, he said calls for restraint would fall away:

"Israel wouldn't leave southern Lebanon as long as there was a single missile there. I would go in and clean them all out and I would announce that any Iranian airplane trying to bring missiles to re-supply them would be shot down. This idea that we have this one-sided war where the other team gets to plan how to kill us and we get to talk, is nuts."
There is a public relations value, too. Gingrich said that public opinion can change "the minute you use the language" of World War III. The message then, he said, is "'OK, if we're in the third world war, which side do you think should win?"

An historian, Gingrich said he has been studying recently how Abraham Lincoln talked to Americans about the Civil War, and what turned out to be a much longer and deadlier war than Lincoln expected.

Gingrich is here for fund raisers for Congressman Dave Reichert, 2nd District GOP challenger Doug Roulstone, and the state party. I talked to him in a hotel suite with a few of his and Reichert's staff.

Any time his name comes up here it's said that he once called Washington state "ground zero for the Republican revolution." Republicans saw huge gains in Washington in the 1994 mid-term elections, though they have largely decayed away.

"I think there is a reform oriented populism that is a key a component of Washington State's, if you will, culture or personality," he said. Voters here also got caught up in the national, anti-incumbent, anti-Democratic wave. The other thing that was different here, he said, was "that there was no place in America where talk radio was more enthusiastically favorable to the idea that it was time to try something new."

(Speaking of talk radio, waiting to go in to see Gingrich as I was leaving were KVI's John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur and William Maurer, an attorney with the Institute for Justice who has been backing the talk show hosts in the legal challenge against their on-air championing of an anti-tax initiative.)

With Republicans in control of Washington, D.C., it's Democrats who this year are hoping for a reform wave to sweep them into office. Democrats want to nationalize the election and make each congressional race about Bush, the Iraq war and the Republican agenda. Republicans have been trying to localize each race, as in Reichert's challenge from political newcomer Darcy Burner, and make the race about the qualifications and personalities of the candidates, not about a national agenda.

Gingrich says that's a mistake. Republicans, he says, should nationalize the contest, too. He said that yesterday he saw polling that gave him some optimism for the first time about this year's elections. He didn't say what state it was from, but it showed that Democratic incumbents' poll numbers crashed when tagged with the record of House Democrats.

He said that as Democrats make the elections about George Bush, Republicans should make it about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. He said voters need to be told "how weirdly San Francisco these guys are voting" and Democrats will "collapse in defeat."

"The line I think every Republican should use is, 'X knows their record, they just hope you don't,' which is actually the line I used in my winning race in '78. I'm a historian. I don't do anything new. I just imitate. I guarantee you there are 60 or 70 Democrats, if their districts thoroughly understood their record, they'd lose this year even though people aren't happy with Bush. Because people aren't suicidal. ..."
"While people understand that while they may be irritated with Republicans, we at least broadly share their values and visions and the left is just out of touch with reality. I think then you have a totally different debate by October, if we have the nerve to do it. ... There's going to be a national conversation in October. The only question is whether it's the Republicans defining it or whether we have some nutty idea that we can run local races, and so the entire definition is on the left."
<span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:blue'>'seems like a plan; he is the 1 responsible for bringing in Republicans Majority in the House and having showdown with Prez Clinton and of couse, now, even Senate majority.'</span></span>



The New Year is just minutes old and now comes Pat Buchanan to warn: The Death of the West!

In his ultracontroversial book, which will be banned, blocked and burned in many quarters, brave Buchanan contends that the U.S. will be a Third World nation by the year 2050.

The BestSellingAuthorTVHostPresidentialCandidateColumnist predicts Europe will be inundated by an Islamic-Arab-African invasion and most First World nations, including Japan, will have begun slowly to vanish from the earth.

Buchanan is primed and ready for a media blitz behind DEATH OF THE WEST [ranked #492 on AMAZON's hourly sales chart Wednesday morning], set for release from DUNNE.

Buchanan will light the bonfire on NBC's TODAY show this Friday, according to a network source.

But the DRUDGE REPORT can once again bring you the first sneak.

Relying upon the most recent UN population studies, Buchanan declares:

• By 2050, only 10% of the world’s people will be of European descent. One third of Europe’s people will be over 60, and one-in-ten over 80. Involuntary euthanasia has already come to Europe.

• Between now and 2050, Asia, Africa, and Latin America will grow by three to four billion people -- 30 to 40 new Mexicos! -- as Europe will lose the equivalent of the entire population of Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

• By 2050, 23 million Germans will have disappeared along with 16 million Italians and 30 million Russians.

• Russia will lose Siberia and the far east to China and be pushed out of the Caucuses and Central Asia, where Islamic populations are exploding while Russia’s is dying.

• Either Europe must effect a radical cutback in pensions and health care for seniors, or Europe must import scores of millions of Arabs and Africans to care for the elderly and pay the taxes to sustain their welfare states.

• The 4.2 million Palestinians in Israel and on the West Bank and Gaza will explode to 9 million by 2025, and 15 million by 2050, when Palestinians will outnumber Israel’s Jewish population two-to-one.

• America’s “Dual Containment” policy in the Persian Gulf seems unsustainable. In less than 25 years, Iraq will have 42 million people and Iran 94 million people, more than any European nation except Russia.

• The Islamic invasions of Spain and France in the eighth century, and of the Balkans and Central Europe from the 14th to the 17th centuries, will be reenacted in the lifetime of most of those now living. Islam has already surpassed Catholicism as the largest religion on earth.

• It is the Christian nations -- Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox -- that have begun to die. In a chapter titled, “Where Have All the Children Gone?” Buchanan explains why, and why it is unlikely the West can solve the demographic crisis before it leads to The Death of the West.

In his chapter La Reconquista, Buchanan contends that an invasion of the United States is taking place and that America now harbors a “nation within a nation.”

• There are 30 million foreign born in the U.S. today, and between 9 and 11 million illegal aliens, or as many undocumented aliens in the U.S. as there are people in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

• Mexico is exporting its poor and unemployed for U.S. taxpayers to employ and educate. Radical and militant Hispanics and Mexican leaders alike believe this will lead to the cultural and demographic recapture of the Southwest from America, reversing the results of The Mexican War.

• By supporting open borders, the GOP is committing suicide. First-time Hispanic voters chose Clinton 15-1 over Dole. Of the seven major immigration states -- Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Texas and Florida -- Mr. Bush lost five, and perhaps six. Of the 10 states with the smallest share of immigrants, Bush won all 10.

• European-Americans are a minority in America’s most populous state, California, and by 2004, will be a minority in Texas.

• The political agenda of California Hispanics includes race welfare for illegal aliens, racial preferences, bilingual education, open borders, dual citizenship, Cinqo de Mayo as a California holiday, and, in one case, replacing a statue of an American hero of the Mexican War with the Aztec god Quetzacoatl.

• White Americans are fleeing California at the rate of 100,000 a year.

• MeCHA, the student organization that claims chapters on hundreds of campuses has a program that reads like a Mexican version of the agenda of the white-supremacist Aryan Nation.

• In 2001, an Office for Mexicans Abroad in Mexico was providing survival kits with everything from dried meat to anti-diarrhea pills to condoms to Mexicans setting off to break in to the United States .

• As of 2000, there were 8.4 million foreign born in California, as many foreign born as there are people in New Jersey, a primary cause of the state energy and schools crisis.

• Among Third World immigrants, poverty rates and incarceration rates are double and triple what they are among native-born Americans.

Shooting up the flares and waving the flag, Buchanan argues that the 1960s “counter-culture” has become America’s dominant culture, and the iconoclasts of that counter-culture are systematically demolishing America’s history and heritage.

• Under Political Correctness, America’s greatest heroes -- soldiers, explorers and statesmen from Columbus to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson -- are under savage attack as genocidal racists and exploiters of indigenous peoples.

• The history books of American public schools are being rewritten with the old heroes ignored or trashed and Western civilization disparaged and demeaned.

• When Mel Gibson’s film, “The Patriot,” came out in 2000, it was savagely attacked for presenting black Americans as fighting patriots in the Revolutionary War.

• With the assault on Confederate books, symbols, flags, heroes, and holidays almost complete, the attack is now proceeding against the Puritan fathers, soldiers who fought in The Mexican War, and, in New Jersey, even against the Declaration of Independence itself.

• In some school districts, Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor, and any realistic portrayal of the America South, including Harper’ Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, are now forbidden.

• Even the great museums on America’s Mall, to introduce school children to the greatness and glory of America’s past, are being used to indoctrinate children in how wicked and evil our forefathers were.

In his chapter, “The De-Christianization of America,” Buchanan argues that the death of the Christian faith in Western countries is a primary cause of their dying populations. Whenever faith dies, the people die. A new atheistic civilization is arising, he argues, and is using its dominance of the culture and the courts to drive Christianity out of the temples of our civilization.

• Secular Humanism, widely mocked and disparaged, a few decades ago, is now the dominant faith of the nation’s cultural elites. The moral tenets of humanism are replacing those of Christianity in our public life.

• Even Christian churches are rewriting their hymnals to make them acceptable to the dominant culture.

• Anti-Catholic films and filthy and blasphemous anti-Christian art are the deliberate insults of a triumphant pagan and secularist faith.

India, superpower?

Readers may be genuinely puzzled: Why this subject at this time? If at all, we haven't heard anything about our aspiration to superpowerdom since the Vajpayee Government was voted out 26 months ago. The incumbent Sonia Gandhi-led, jholawala-driven regime doesn't believe in any kind of power, not even electrical power, for that clashes with its "politically correct" redistributive goals, which hinge around empowering minorities, Vanniyars and similar real or potential votebanks. Indeed, this is a subject that fits ill with India's current realities.

India has a Government that dilutes existing anti-terror laws, vigorously champions the cause of madarsas (read jihad factories), responds tepidly to a succession of mass murders such as last fortnight's Mumbai train blasts and then suddenly rediscovers that Pakistan is a perfidious nation! Its flip-flops get derided at the G-8 summit where the US Administration applauds "strategic ally" Islamabad's "courageous role in the war against terror" and tells New Delhi to stop crying wolf over its own failures to combat home-grown jihadis.

Meanwhile, rather unfortunately, Agni III crashes ignominiously into the sea, INSAT 4C fails to get into the projected orbit, and India's aspirations both to intercontinental ballistic missile capability and space power status suffer a severe jolt. Also casteists and jholawalasgo on the rampage domestically: They conspire to demolish AIIMS, stuff IITs, IIMs and other institutions of excellence with sub-standard students and worse teachers, force a communal/casteist headcount in the army, judiciary, media, private sector companies - in short, launch a full-fledged blitz for India's destruction from within.

Any casual observer watching India evolve during the first decade of the 21st century would nod his head in disbelief and despair. India is not happening any more. Even the Sensex is crashing! So why have I chosen to write on India as an emerging superpower at this most inappropriate juncture?

Well, first, I believe in India's destiny as a superpower. In my early childhood, when I studied in a Bengali-medium Government school in the Kolkata suburb of Hooghly, we would sing a number penned and composed by a little known (outside Bengal) poet Atul Prosad Sen. He inspired the freedom struggle generation by writing, "Bolo bolo bolo shobey/ Shata bina-benu robey/Bharat abaar jagat sabhar/Shreshtha asan lobey (Say one, say all/ To the tune of musical notes/ Bharat shall once again/ Occupy the most coveted seat in the comity of nations)". This 1930s composition gave me goose pimples then and does so even now. So, I am convinced that irrespective of our temporary misfortune of having the worst Government since the United Front regime (1996-98), we shall overcome. Times will change and the people of this magnificent civilisation will get back a Government they deserve.

The second reason for choosing this subject is that I was asked to speak on this theme at a faculty refresher course conducted by the Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrakarita va Jansanchar Vishwavidyalaya (for those who will stumble over this, it is a UGC-recognised national university of journalism and mass communication) headquartered in Bhopal. Its vice-chancellor Achyutanand Mishra is a former Editor of Jansatta and one of the doyens of Hindi journalism. Under his leadership, the MC University is going places and I never refuse an invitation to share my thoughts with its students or teachers.

The two-day orientation course they held last week in Bhopal was among the most engaging symposiums I have attended in recent times. I was worried when this unusual subject was allotted to me; further concerned when informed it was a two-hour session; and alarmed upon realising that, being Madhya Pradesh, I would be expected to talk in Hindi throughout those 120 minutes. In the end, though, I was really happy to have participated. The faculty was not just attentive through my one-hour dream-selling, they were probing, disbelieving and questioning for the next hour. Finally, though, we reached a consensus: India would be a superpower if we got our act together.

At the outset, I laid down a 10-point criterion for a country to aspire to superstardom. These are:

# Economic prowess

# Military strength

# Scientific and Technological capability

# State of Infrastructure (Road/Rail/Air in particular)

# Communications and Connectivity (Telecom/Internet)

# Human Development (Education/Health/Housing)

# Human Resources (Skilled Manpower)

# Political Stability backed by a system of Social Justice

# Democratic Governance with independent Judiciary and Media

# Equality of Opportunity

India's record, I argued, was excellent in macro terms on economic prowess, military strength, science and technology, communications, human resources. It was reasonable in some sectors of education, political stability and democratic order. But India would fail the superpower test pathetically on infrastructure, rural human development indices, and the volatile issue of equality of opportunity.

To take the last point first. We are systematically approaching this from the wrong end. Promotion of casteism in the name of providing equality of opportunity will ensure India never emerges as an egalitarian society. Caste hierarchy, by definition, is unequal. If Brahmin allegedly oppresses Shudra, upper Shudras like Yadavs exploit Dalits. The chain goes on and therefore equality of opportunity can be attempted only outside the matrix of the caste system. Sadly, I can't see that happening in my lifetime.

Three observations/questions from the faculty made me think furiously on my feet, more than a hostile TV show anchor compels me to do. I was asked if a country did not need moral authority, regardless of its economic and military strength, to qualify as a superpower. I referred to Gandhiji at one level and the moral superiority of the Allies over Axis in World War II, at the other. I insisted that the Indian civilisation had a better record on morality than many big powers. But I would like to hear from readers what they think about this question.

A particularly articulate woman teacher pointed to the incongruity of my reference to women's material advancement (as corporate honchos, media celebrities and airline pilots) to ask if their daily humiliation at the hands of insensitive husbands and rapacious in-laws would not come in the way of the country's acceptability as global power.

I spoke of China's achievements from the days of women with bound feet to the present. But I don't think she was convinced. Finally, another woman teacher asked me if a meagre 3.9 per cent growth in agriculture and consequent farmer suicides wouldn't bring India to its knees. A truly worrying question, I admitted.

I came out of the energetic dialogue happy to have held my ground and sold the superpower dream. But the questions continue to haunt me. These were a measure of the extent to which the power of information that has empowered Middle India. I am humbled by the queries, and I have mentioned only three out of at least a dozen that I faced. But I sincerely believe that the Indian genius will find the solutions. Let me know if you share my hope.

- Write in at: chandanmitra@hotmail.com

<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Australia has made it clear to those who want to live under Islamic law to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. A day after that a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard. He and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament. "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said. Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country

Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off". "Basically, people who don't want to be Australians, and they don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off," he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.

“Immigrants, not Australians, must adapt. Take It Or Leave It! I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians."

"However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia."

"However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand."

"This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle."

"This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, then learn the language!"

"Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push but a fact because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, Because God is part of our culture."

"We will accept your beliefs and will not question why, all we ask is that you accept ours and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us."

"If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like "A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet."

"We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means keep your culture but do not force it on others."

"This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this, but once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, "THE RIGHT TO LEAVE."

"If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted."



New Middle East' Borders to Be Drawn in Arab Blood

Given events in Lebanon, and Syria's well-established support for Hezbullah, what does Damascus have to say about America's project for a New Middle East? According to this op-ed article from Syria's State-controlled Thawra Al-Wada, official pronouncements from Washington and a recent article on the subject, indicate that, 'the region will be plunged into bloody and violent conflict, the opening scene of which is the Israeli aggression against Lebanon.'

By Dr. Tawfiq Simaq

Translated By Jonathan Levine

August 8, 2006
Saudi Arabia - Thawra Al-Wada - Original Article (Arabic)

Before and After maps of American plans for a New Middle East.

[CLICK FOR LARGER VERSIONS] (above and below)


In July, the American Armed Forces Journal published an article entitled, Blood Borders RealVideo, wherein the author, Ralph Peter (a pseudonym perhaps) writes of a vision for a New Middle East based on hitherto unknown maps.

These maps may have been officially prepared and then leaked to the media, or they may have originated at American research centers. But subsequent statements by the American Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] since the Israeli aggression against Lebanon about the "birth pangs of a New Middle East" gives this forecast added importance, if not the outright endorsement of the highest levels of the American administration.

This new vision for the Middle East is based on a geographical re-division of the region based on nationality and sect, and the writer views the justifications for such a division as follows:

The borders of the current Middle East cause much of the ethnic and sectarian strife within or between states, and that this has resulted in the taking of unconscionable measures against ethnic and religious minorities, and instability across the entire region.

Therefore, it is suggested that the various sects and ethnicities that find themselves unable to coexist have separate states established for them (for example, one for the Shi'a in Iraq and another for the Kurds). But in view of the fact that adjusting borders usually requires the agreement of the affected peoples, this may now be impossible. Therefore, such a border correction may have to be carried out by other means, even if that requires the shedding of blood to realize the purpose.

Meaning that the article brings the good news that the borders of the New Middle East are to be drawn with the blood of its people (meaning our blood). This compelled the author to choose the strange title of Blood Borders for his article.

Under the plan for remapping the borders of the Middle East, some countries will lose land and others will expand by annexing lands at the expense of those which are to shrink, with a scenario that appears something like the following [See Click-on maps above]:

1) Iraq: To be divided into three states (Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurd).

-- a) The Kurdish State: Includes Iraqi Kurdistan, which comprises Kirkuk and part of Mosul, as well as parts of Turkey, Iran, Syria, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

-- b) The Shi'ite Arab state: Made up of southern Iraq and the eastern portion of Saudi Arabia, as well as southwestern parts of Iran (Ahvaz Province), meaning that it comprises nearly a complete semi-circle around the east and west Arab Gulf.

[Editor's Note: It's interesting that this author refers to the Arab Gulf, rather than Persian Gulf, as Syria's supposedly close ally Iran would prefer it be called].

-- c) The Sunni Arab state: Built on the remainder of Iraqi territory, with a portion of Syria.


2) Syria: Would lose a portion of its northern territory to set up a Kurdish state, and parts of Iraqi lands would be added to that.

3) Iran: Would lose parts of its land to the Arab Shi'ite state, as previously noted, as well as portions to the Kurdish state and to a united Azerbaijan. Likewise, parts of Iran's southeast would be taken to set up the new state of Free Baluchistan, with the remainder going to a Shi'ite Persian state.

4) Afghanistan: Will lose portions of its southwest to the new Baluch state.

5) The new Baluch state, or “Free Baluchistan:” Will be founded on part of southeastern Iran and part of southwestern Afghanistan in the area called Baluchistan, which is inhabited by Baluchs, most of whom are Sunni Muslims.

6) Saudi Arabia: Would be divided into two countries, one of them a religious state (or, as the article calls it “an Islamic Sacred State”), which will include the Holy places of Mecca and Medina, in a political arrangement along the lines of the Vatican [the article calls it a Muslim Super-Vatican], and the other state, which would include the remainder of the territory of the current Kingdom.

7) Yemen: Would include parts of southern Saudi Arabia.

8) Jordan: Would become Greater Jordan, which would comprise the parts of Palestinian land occupied [by Israel] in 1967 and portions of northern Saudi Arabia, which would once and for all become a homeland for Palestinians, for those both in the Diaspora and under occupation.

9) The borders of the rest of Arab Asia would be left unchanged. As for the Arab countries of North Africa, they were not addressed in the article, and perhaps that is because they were considered outside the geographic bounds of the New Middle East.

After examining the available maps and the public statements of American officials, a number of objectives can be discerned, the most prominent of which are:

The fragmentation and weakening of the Arab region, making it easier for the United States of America to dominate its markets and its petroleum, (60% of world's proven oil reserves and 31% of its natural gas); and it would consolidate Israeli hegemony over its small and weak neighbors, which would force some of them to appeal to the Hebrew state for protection.

The incorporation of Israel into the region such that it would transform itself from an ostracized religiously-based state into one of a number of countries founded on the same principle, making its continued existence in its present environment possible - or rather, even in harmony with the natural order of things.

The draining away of strength from political Islam - or as its supporters would call it, Islamic awakening. In this way, sectarian conflicts would remain between countries in the region, rather than being directed at or fought against the United States on its own land, or against American interest in other countries.

Bush's sign reads 'The New Middle East'. [Ad Dustour, Jordan]. (above)

Ahmedinejad and Assad. [The Jerusalem Times, Israel]. (below)


At first glance, the project described above appears as if it were taken from one of the legends of the east or lifted from the tales of A Thousand and One Nights RealVideo. But since the folly and adventurism of this American administration are fully recognized; and given what we know about the fundamentalist neoconservatives in the White House, who are infamous for their fanaticism and radicalism, we have little choice but to examine this plan and pay very serious attention.

If the American administration reformulates the frontiers of the Middle East in accordance with this or some similar project, we must expect that the region will be plunged into bloody and violent conflict, the opening scene of which is the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. The following scenes will witness a weakening of resistance forces in the region including in the forces of Hezbullah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and the strength of [Washington's] regional opponents, primarily in Syria and Iran.

So that the core question that remains is this: who will write the final scene in the struggle that lies before us?

Without a doubt, the victors will write it, and the victors will be determined by which people are in possession of the skills and experience to undergo trials and suffering. They who experience the greatest testing will be capable of paying the price for victory, satisfied with the costs and the burdens.

India joins Antarctic cold rush
Randeep Ramesh
The Larsemann Hills are a rare stretch of ice-free rock around the Prydz Bay on the eastern shores of Antarctica, a continent better known for inhospitable terrain, head-high snow drifts and freezing temperatures. Scientists say the bay area, sprinkled with dozens of freshwater lakes and islands, is "one of the few geological windows into the history of the Antarctic continent and the polar ice sheet".
<b>But plans by India to build a year-round scientific research base in the middle of the coastal oasis have dismayed environmentalists and stalled international talks to turn the area into a conservation zone</b>. The base would be India's third in Antarctica and the 60th on the icecap in what has been described as the continent's cold rush.
<b>The US has already constructed a 1,600km motorway between its coastal base and the South Pole. Australia is planning flights to and from the ice</b>. All this is an indication, analysts say, of a burst of activity that is quietly corroding Antarctica's isolation. The coldest places on Earth are no longer the preserve of heroic explorers but are visited by thousands of tourists a year and are home to hundreds of scientists.
India argues that the Larsemann Hills site offers scientific advantages: the base will be close to the sea, allowing for unique studies of marine and ice biology, and research there could help to solve one of geography's biggest puzzles: how did India break away from Antarctica?
Scientists believe the land masses of Australasia, Africa, South America and India were once part of a super-continent called Gondwana. Indian scientists say that the east coast of India and the eastern shores of Antarctica were "contiguous". By examining rocks in river basins on the subcontinent and minerals in the glaciers around the Larsemann Hills, India's National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research hopes to test the theory.
"We are looking at events of 120m years ago of how continents drifted apart," said the centre's director, Rasik Ravindra. "We have access to river beds and valleys in India, so only we can verify whether the eastern Ghats were once part of the Prydz Bay region."
<b>The three nations with bases in the area - Russia, China and Australia - </b>pleaded with India at the last Antarctic treaty meeting in Edinburgh in June not to go ahead with the base, saying the area's 40sq km had already suffered "human impacts". In a paper presented to the meeting, they said there was evidence of wind-blown litter, physical degradation of the ice-free surface and chemical contamination by oil spills in the lakes, most of which thaw for up to two months in the summer.
Campaigners say that India has been quietly surveying the site for years. James Barnes of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, a pressure group, said the process to protect the Larsemann Hills began six years ago and India decided not to join. "They then built a hut. It is not a last-minute decision," he said. While he had the highest regard for Indian science, he doubted that the thesis that India was once connected to the glaciers around Prydz Bay could be proved.
The Larsemann Hills dispute is the first to shatter the calm of the Antarctic treaty system in years. Australia offered to break the impasse by lending its station, Davis, for Indian research. However, India declined and is pressing ahead with its plans. <b>"We feel that the science does justify the site," said Dr Ravindra.</b>

<!--emo&:rock--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rock.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rock.gif' /><!--endemo--> NZ appoints Indian governor-general

Press Trust of India

Wellington, August 23, 2006 The first New Zealander of Indian descent was sworn-in on Wednesday amid pomp and ceremony as governor-general, the de facto head of state.

Sixty-two-year-old Anand Satyanand, the son of ethnic Indian parents from Fiji, will be the representative in New Zealand of the head of state Queen Elizabeth II.

Satyanand worked as a lawyer and judge before being appointed to the largely ceremonial role.

He was sworn-in amid a fanfare of trumpets and a 21-gun salute in front of Wellington's parliament buildings.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said Satyanand's appointment reflected the changing face of New Zealand society.

"In the 21st century we expect the governor-general to relate to and be connected to the diversity of contemporary New Zealand," Clark said.

Satyanand also took up the theme, saying the country's identity was a blend of Maori, European, Pacific Island and Asian influences.

"And let us strengthen, foster and encourage trust among the various communities that make-up New Zealand.

By Sudha Mahalingam - <i>an energy security expert, is Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library</i>
<b>The new great game - I</b>
<b>The new great game - II</b>
<b>The new great game - III</b>
<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> Iran, Annan differ on Holocaust
[ 3 Sep, 2006 1447hrs ISTAFP ]

RSS Feeds| SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates

TEHRAN: Iran said on Sunday the scale of the Holocaust has been "greatly exaggerated" as it brushed off criticism from visiting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan over a controversial exhibition of cartoons on the subject.

Annan had on Saturday told Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki that he condemned a "distasteful" exhibition currently on display in Tehran of cartoons depicting the Holocaust, according to his spokesman.

"Just has he condemned the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Denmark he condemns these. He condemns anything that is inciteful to hatred," spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said.

But Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, who said he had visited several former concentration camps in eastern Europe, said that all points of view could be expressed in the name of freedom of expression.

"We said that organising an exhibition is a right of freedom of expression and the Holocaust is not a sacred question that cannot be approached," said Hamid Reza Asefi.

"Annan expressed his point of view and we expressed ours."

Iran's fiercely anti-Israeli regime is supportive of so-called Holocaust revisionists, who maintain the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe's Jews and other groups during World War II was either invented or

Asefi's comments come ahead of a conference to be held on December 11-12 in Iran which the Islamic Republic hopes will present "hidden aspects" of the slaughter of Jews under Nazi Germany.

"When I was ambassador I saw several of these camps in (the former) East Germany and Poland. In my opinion it has been greatly exaggerated. It is far from what is being publicised," Asefi said.

"Different opinions which affirm and reject the Holocaust can attend the conference, the Holocaust is not something that cannot be discussed," he said.

The Holocaust has been described by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a "myth".
The new great game - I
Energy security is the new driver of world power politics. Part 1 of a three-part series.

By Sudha Mahalingam

Since the advent of the “hydrocarbon man”, energy interests have dominated foreign policies of nations. In today’s frenzied world, where worries over “peak oil” prices have assumed paranoid proportions, energy security concerns decisively shape foreign policies of virtually all oil-importing nations. More than most, India, with its acute energy vulnerability, and a dogged and recalcitrant energy-intensive growth paradigm, needs to dovetail its foreign policies to its energy interests.

Energy intensity & vulnerability

Despite the abundance of coal in the eastern states, India has begun importing coal. The poor quality of Indian coal coupled with transportation bottlenecks has made coal imports inevitable.

But the country’s import-dependence and consequent vulnerability is most acute for oil. We import three out of every four barrels of crude we consume, and pay a whopping $30 billion annually at current prices. That is a very acute degree of import-dependence, worse than that of the US, whose import dependence is around fifty two per cent. (In absolute terms, the US dependence on energy imports is much higher, almost six times as much as ours.)

Even compared to China, which imports almost as much as we do in absolute quantities, India is much more vulnerable, since China imports only a third of its consumption. India’s oil consumption outpaces its GDP growth, and India will soon be importing more than ninety per cent of its crude requirements in a few years. Only two countries in the world, Japan and South Korea, are more vulnerable.

In a globalised world, does such huge import dependence really constitute acute vulnerability? After all, aren’t global energy markets, in particular, crude markets, well evolved? Oil is a fungible commodity, and there is a vibrant global market complete with hedging and futures trading, so why worry? Besides, oil-exporting countries have huge stakes in keeping the importers well supplied because their own economies are undiversified and heavily reliant on revenues from this single resource.

Convincing as these arguments appear, there are still reasons to feel vulnerable. Price spikes and price volatility are constant bugbears that importing countries, especially poor developing nations who have better uses for their foreign exchange, routinely wrestle with. Volatility in itself is a source of vulnerability, but things are getting much worse.

Geologists and oil scientists are now convinced that peak oil is nigh. For some years now, there are fewer new oil finds than those we deplete. Thus, there is an alarming downward sloping reserves-to-production ratio. New finds are in remoter regions, which are environmentally sensitive, as in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, or in conflict-prone zones, such as Angola or sub-Saharan Africa. Worse, they are difficult to produce, like shale oil or tar sands, which have to be squeezed to extract oil, instead of just pumping out from wells.

New oil sources, therefore, can never replace conventional ready oil. And ready oil is fast depleting. Naturally, there will be a scramble to access the remaining conventional oil sources. Nations will fashion foreign policies to ensure that they get their share of conventional oil – to the very last drop – before they are forced to countenance costlier new sources.

Natural gas, touted to be the fuel of this century, is less whimsical in its distribution. But even so, more than two thirds of it is concentrated in the same regions which also enjoy an abundance of oil, Russia with thirty two per cent, and the Arab Gulf states with thirty nine per cent of global gas reserves. Most countries have to import gas, either through pipelines or in the form of LNG, making them vulnerable, both to terrorist attacks on pipelines or interruption of supplies engineered by geopolitical considerations. Gas is not as fungible as oil. LNG now supplies only five per cent of global consumption and pipelines are the preferred mode of transportation. This makes gas a regional resource, vulnerable to regional geopolitics.

You might argue that countries can wean themselves away from hydrocarbons and turn to newer energy sources, such as nuclear power or hydrogen fuels cells. They are trying, but it is not easy. Hydrogen fuel cells are held out to be the hope for a cleaner future. But hydrogen itself can be produced only from two sources, fossil fuels, notably natural gas, and water. Hydrogen produced from natural gas won’t reduce dependence on fossil fuels even by a fraction. And to split water to produce hydrogen and oxygen, you need electricity, which needs to be produced from either fossil fuels or nuclear reactors. Thus you come the full circle.

Nuclear energy, whether to split water for hydrogen fuel cell or for direct use, is too expensive and controversial. Besides, hydrogen fuel cell technology is still evolving and storing sequestered hydrogen remains a problem. Being a recent technology, it will be years before developing countries can afford it. Apart from Iceland, Australia runs a few fuel-cell buses, at prohibitive cost.

On the other hand, replacing liquid fuels with gas-based transportation would defeat the objective to reduce fuel import-dependence and the attendant energy vulnerability. In India, we already import a third of the gas we consume, in the form of LNG from Qatar. This import-dependence will continue, despite the new gas finds in offshore Godavari basin. There is a huge demand for gas from fuel-starved industries, so India will import even greater quantities of gas, in the form of LNG, and hopefully, through pipelines as well, providing regional geopolitics allows it.

Whatever we do, we will continue to require conventional crude to at least run transportation for the next quarter century, if not more. And replacing personalised transportation with mass transport systems won’t be easy. The Delhi Metro still does not reach everywhere in the National Capital Region. Reducing energy-intensity, especially oil-intensity, is easier said than done. And it keeps our energy vulnerability as acute as ever.

To be continued...

Sudha Mahalingam, an energy security expert, is Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library.

The new great game - II

By Sudha Mahalingam

Diversification options

How does an import-dependent developing country reduce its energy vulnerability? By diversifying sources of supply. Even a strategic petroleum reserve can last three months at the most, but much less usually. The United States and Saudi Arabia, the leader of OPEC, enjoyed an unparalleled relationship until the last century. US troops guarded Saudi oil installations. Yet, in 2001, the US decided to diversify its sources of supply.

Bush’s energy policy of May 2001, four months before 9/ 11, advocated diversification. Post 9/ 11, US troops in Saudi Arabia pulled out and regrouped in Central Asia and elsewhere. The terror premium in today’s oil price is as high as $10-12 a barrel. The US is now supplied mainly by Canada, Mexico, Venezuela (despite an anti-US regime) and Western Africa. Even Russian oil is being considered, for which a port will be built in the Barents Sea for shipment to Alaska, and thence to the west coast.

Now, the US gets less than thirty per cent of its imports (and less than fifteen per cent of its total consumption) from the Middle East-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. The recently cleared US energy bill expands on diversification. It authorises drilling in pristine Arctic reserves. That the US, which consumes as much as twenty two million barrels a day, more than a quarter of the daily global oil consumption, managed to minimise its dependence on the GCC, is in itself a significant achievement. When the Arctic begins to yield oil, the US will depend even less on GCC imports.

Europe started out more fortunate. North Sea oil had already taken it away from excessive dependence on the Middle East. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise of the Russian petrostate in Europe’s backyard could not have come too soon, since North Sea has already peaked and is depleting. Russia is pumping oil at a furious pace. With just about five per cent of global oil reserves, Russia finds it profitable to supply twelve per cent of global consumption.

The energy industry now contributes a quarter of Russia’s GDP, half of its export income, and a third of its tax revenues. This is the key to president Vladimir Putin’s battle with Yukos. Control of the energy industry is critical to control of the Russian state itself. Putin wisely embarked upon consolidation of markets as well. The existing pipeline and port infrastructure serves Europe, the Baltic and Black Sea terminals, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, the Baltic pipeline system, and the Bluestream pipeline that runs under the Black Sea connecting Russia to Turkey. In a matter of just four, five years, Russia has emerged as the prime energy supplier for Europe. And it is beefing up its pipeline and port infrastructure, building more terminals and new pipelines.

Europe’s growing dependence on Russian gas imports was evident in the recent spat between Russia and Ukraine over gas transit, which caused temporary stoppage of supplies. As winter temperatures dipped, tempers soared, until the dispute was resolved and gas supplies resumed. Europe has succeeded to a large extent in diversifying its source of supply away from the Arab countries, even if it means over-dependence on Russia.

Closer home, how does China ensure its energy security? China is the new energy guzzler, its GDP is growing at 9.5 per cent and its oil consumption at 7.5 per cent, and it will soon become the second largest energy consumer in the world, bested only by the US. Like India, China sources most of its oil from the GCC. The supply route takes it through the congested Straits of Malacca.

But in recent years, China has been aggressively acquiring oil acreages in remote corners of the world, as far away as Venezuela and Mexico. It is setting up a strategic petroleum reserve, reforming its oil industry, using diplomatic, political and strategic initiatives to promote its energy interests. And it has not forgotten to diversify.

China will be able to access oil from Angarsk in Russia from where a pipeline is being constructed all the way to the Pacific coast, possibly via Daqing, China’s Bombay High. China, South Korea and Japan will also access gas from fields in Russia’s Far East, Siberia’s Kovykta and Sakhalin. Besides, China’s own west-east pipeline will carry gas from the western province of Xinjiang all the way to its main consumption centre, Shanghai. The recently launched oil pipeline from Kazakhstan to Xinjiang will also reduce China’s excessive reliance on GCC, at least for meeting its incremental demand.

For all the countries in Asia, the Caspian region offers another source of supply diversification. The Caspian has at least as much oil as North Sea, and plenty of gas. The Paris-based International Energy Agency thinks the region has about forty billion barrels of oil at a minimum, and may even be up to one hundred and fifty billion barrels. The elephant fields of Tengiz, Kashagan and Karachaganak are producing far below their capacity for want of evacuation infrastructure. No wonder, the US hurriedly built the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline at enormous cost not to be left out of the great oil game being played out in the Caspian.

To be continued...

Sudha Mahalingam, an energy security expert, is Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library.

The new great game - III

By Sudha Mahalingam

The tyranny of geography

But India has few alternatives, because of the tyranny of geography, and diversification possibilities are limited. It is not on the global oil map, and it won’t be, despite the recent discoveries in Rajasthan. Nor is it near to the regions where oil veins are, except the Persian Gulf. Venezuela, Columbia, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Nigeria, Angola, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, the Russian Far East, Sakhalin, and so on, are too distant from the Indian sub-continent to make physical shipment of oil commercially viable. Transportation cost becomes critical when oil prices are already high. Naturally, then, India gets sixty eight per cent of its imports from the GCC region. Some quantities of oil do come from Nigeria and Sudan, but they can never supplant Gulf supplies.

The landlocked Caspian in our extended neighbourhood affords some possibility for oil and gas. Mighty mountain ranges such as the Pamir, Karakoram and the Hindukush could make way for oil or gas pipelines, but geopolitical differences are enormous. Caspian oil or gas would have to traverse Afghanistan and Pakistan, one is unstable, and the other is unfriendly.

The only other route for accessing Caspian energy would be through Iran. There is a proposal to build a pipeline from Neka terminal in the southern shores of the Caspian up to Chah Bahar outside the Straits of Hormuz. If Kazakhstan loads oil on tankers and sends it to the southern shores of the Caspian, it can flow right up to the Persian Gulf, from where it could be shipped to us. But this would not amount to diversification of supply sources. They would still be anchored in the Persian Gulf.

Geopolitics is queering our eastern pitch as well. Bangladesh is playing dog in the manger. It cannot afford to buy its own gas being produced by Shell and Unocal because it is contracted to purchase it at exorbitant prices linked to the Japanese crude cocktail basket. At the same time, it won’t allow the MNCs to export the gas to India. It won’t allow us to even pipe gas from Myanmar through its territory. Already, there’s talk of sending the gas eastward to Thailand and other markets. Geopolitics and geography have confounded India’s energy security plans.

Which brings to my original point, our foreign policy must dovetail with our energy interests. We need to acknowledge our unique geographical and geopolitical location, which puts most of our energy eggs into the same GCC basket. Our foreign policy must address this imperative. Fortunately, there is emerging mutual interdependence between the GCC states and India.

Most of the GCC countries are single-resource economies, heavily dependent on energy exports to sustain their standard of living. They have a huge interest in continued access to stable markets, markets that won’t be poached by new oil and gas producers. And India, with its geographical proximity, and its burgeoning economy, is a perfect fit to this.

Sudha Mahalingam, an energy security expert, is Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library.

<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> US professors claim 9/11 an inside job
[ 7 Sep, 2006 1205hrs ISTAGENCIES ]

RSS Feeds| SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates

WASHINGTON: Seventy-five leading academics have stunned America by claiming the 9/11 terrorist attacks were orchestrated by warmongers inside the White House. The professors and scientists believe the attacks on New York and Washington were an “inside job’ ’ carried out to justify the invasion and the occupation of oil-rich countries.

Their claims have caused outrage in the US ahead of the fifth anniversary, on Monday, of the raids, which left almost 3,000 dead.

The academics calling themselves 9/11 Scholars for Truth say, however, that the facts of their investigations cannot be ignored and they have overwhelming evidence that points to one of the biggest conspiracies ever. In essays and journals, the 75 experts from universities across the US give credence to many of the conspiracy theories which have circulated on the internet since 2001.

One member of the group, Professor Steven Jones, who lectures in physics at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, said: “We don’t believe that 19 hijackers and a few others in a cave in Afghanistan pulled this off acting alone. We challenge this official theory and, by god, we’re going to get to the bottom of this.’’

The academics believe a group of US neo-conservatives called the Project for a New American Century , which is set on US world domination , orchestrated the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon as an excuse to hit Afghanistan, Iraq and later Iran.

Professor Jones said it was impossible for the Twin Towers to have collapsed in the way they did from the collision of two planes.

He says jet fuel does not burn at temperatures high enough to melt steel beams and claims horizontal puffs of smoke seen during the collapse of the towers are indicative of controlled explosions used to bring down the towers.

The 9/11 Commission dismissed the numerous conspiracy theories after its exhaustive investigation into the terror attacks but the academics are urging Congress to reopen the inquiry. Examinations of the towers ’ structure have sought to prove they were weakened by the impact which tore off fire retardant materials and led to the steel beams bending under heat and then collapsing.

Christopher Pyle, professor of constitutional law at Mount Holyoake College in Massachusetts, dismissed the academics’ line. He said: “To plant bombs in three buildings? It’s too huge a project and would require far too many people to keep it a secret later.

“After every major crisis, we’ve had conspiracy theorists who come up with plausible scenarios for gullible people. It’s a waste of time.’’

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)