Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Saturday, October 29, 2016
They have their Allah and you have your Ram. They have their Ghazni, you have your Pratap. They do ceasefire violation on Diwali you pay them back on Eid. You behead, they behead. You cross the Loc, they do the same. One terrorist attack there and one here. You do surgical strikes; they give back in the same coin.
You have nukes, so do they. You unleash your trolls on social media to sing the chorus of patriotism and militarism, they follow suit.
Your realist talk limited war; their realist blabber proxy war. You give a billion-dollar push to modernize your forces, they try to catch up. To replenish your ammo stocks both of you rush to the same sources abroad. When stalks are depleted both of you fly to Washington humming peace numbers.
Sit back and see. What exactly are you trying to acheive? your efforts have only yielded is mutilations in Machill, Mankote, Mendhar and many other location on the border. All that your vision has produced is death of twenty-year-old jawans on both sides of the border.
You guys and your counterparts over there are bloody nincompoops. Incapable of stopping needless violence. You lack imagination to find solutions. You are a gullible fools who is easily manipulated by international arms dealers. You are hidebound, bloodthirsty leeches who not only kill each other but are also ready to sow nuclear radiations on the subcontinental soil. And all this is being done to follow some vague lines on the map drawn by some third-rate British frontier officer.
Perhaps, you are smart. It is the people of the subcontinent that are brain dead. Even after years of experience of misery and mayhem, the they continue to buy your argument for more war
Sunday, July 10, 2016
“The frail skiff of present-day British policy is not inspiring any hope in British people, especially since the ‘symbolic voyage’ is taking place amidst the approaching economic crisis which is also tossing the American ship of state on its menacing waves.”
This was Mikh Afonin’s conclusion in Izvestiya, 31 August 1949. The article titled “In a Frail Skiff - to Washington” commented on the media hype associated with the crossing of the Atlantic in a 25-foot-boat by two Englishmen - Bevin and Cripps – for the Washington Conference of 7 September 1949. The Acheson-Bevin talks in Washington discussed issues ranging from the British revenge in Damascus to granting of recognition to Communist China. More importantly Acheson convinced Britain to guide European unity and prevent Germany from slipping into Soviet orbit.
In 1949 the British economy was in dire straits. Grosvenor Square, the headquarters of the so-called ‘Special Mission for Marshall Plan was occupied by American monopolies and stars and stripes waved atop most houses. From “this ‘Little Washington’ as the Yanks jibed maliciously, 1200 experienced American officials” and about 12000 troops controlled Britain and a considerable part of her empire.
The current issue is why did America permit its poodle to rock the post-war foundations with the Brexit referendum? It is hard to believe that Cameroon did not seek Uncle Sam’s nod before ordering the referendum. It is equally foolhardy to assume that a divided Britain and fragmented EU is not in American interest.
Keeping Germany within the American fold continues to be Washington’s objective. The only change is that Britain role in the strategy has changed. The Yanks no longer find the Brits enterprising enough to serve their interests in the EU. Taking a leaf out of the British rule book - divide and rule - America too is leaving behind a divided Britain. What could not be achieved by the Scottish “yes or no” has been achieved through the Brexit “leave or remain” vote. First, the Americans extracted “Great” from Britain by dismantling their empire in Asia and the Middle East. And now the Americans are gleefully seeing it shrink to “Little England”. This does not necessarily make Britain a pariah in the US scheme of things. The Royal Navy may well be deputed to Asia to manage the “US pivot”. After all, it is Asia from where the British amassed their wealth and perhaps this is where the Englishman will revive his fortunes.
Coming back to the German-American conundrum, one wonders as to who is driving the alliance? Is America making Germany its new poodle or are the Germans inching closer to replacing the Jewish Lobby as drivers of USA. According to Philip Oltermann, “German Americans make up the largest ethnic group in the US, if you divide Hispanics into Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans etc. In the 2013 American Community Survey, 46 million Americans claimed German ancestry: more than the number who traced their roots to Ireland (33 million) or England (25 million).”
The Germans are trying their best to endear themselves to the Americans. Germany has decided to completely give up on nuclear energy and is likely to close down all nuclear plants by 2022.
The German government has handed over its information systems and IT security entirely to an American private military company, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). CSC is like the IT department for the entire U.S. intelligence infrastructure.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s desire to court Americans at all costs, also explains the current chill in German behaviour towards Russia. The German denials on the rape of the German -Russian girl in Berlin; attacks on President Putin’s cyber-security policy and their attitude on the Ukrainian issue all point in the direction that Germans want to be in American good books.
What one is witnessing is an intense power struggle within the transatlantic world. The Germans are making bold moves to woo America. Britain is the first to fall, the Jewish lobby in America is likely to be the next to go!
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Last week, Jo Cox, a member of the Labour Party in the British Parliament, was shot and stabbed to death in West Yorkshire allegedly` by Thomas Mair, At the time of killing, Mair is reported to have shouted “Britain First”, a possible reference to the far right Britain First party, that has linkages with the white nationalist British National Party.
Mair has joined the list of maverick right-wingers who over the last few years have suffixed “First” to their country’s name and popularized it. The Indian Prime Minister Modi made “India First” his election theme during the general elections. Speaking at a video conference of the Indian-American community organised by the Overseas Friends of BJP in early 2013, Modi said, ‘India First’. Whatever you do, wherever you work, India should be the top priority for all its citizens,” to define his understanding of secularism. In the midst of a raging debate on intolerance in the country in November 2015, Modi reiterated, 'India first’ is the only religion and Constitution the only ‘holy book’ for his government.
If Modi branded his secularism with “India First” Donald Trump has chosen “America First” to showcase his foreign policy by stating that "My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people, and American security, above all else. That will be the foundation of every decision that I will make. America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration."
Whether it is Mair, Modi or Trump the common mantra connecting the conservatives of the world seems to be country first. The basic premise is that nation-state is the bulwark of happiness and globalism or regionalism is not healthy the people. Trump comes out as a typical isolationist who rejects America’s so-called appeasement of the world using soft power. Modi also believes that the Indian state can be strengthened by weeding out foreign NGOs. The contradiction is that American NGOs are considered detrimental to national political harmony, the American military logistic base in India is believed to be completely innocuous.
The History of “First”
America First was first used by Woodrow Wilson to reaffirm American neutrality in WWI. However, as the German U-boat attacks picked up momentum, Wilson changed tack and decided on American participation in war. This was not acceptable to William Randolph Hearst, the American businessman and media giant in the first half of twentieth century. Hearst put America First on the masthead of his Newspaper to remind Wilson of his promise not to get involved in European affairs, especially against Germany.
The America First Committee was formed in 1940, to oppose American entry into second World War, to save Britain. The anti-war committee was formed by some prominent American businessmen R. Douglas Stuart, Jr. the owner of Quaker Oats at Yale University. He was supported by Gerald Ford, and Sargent Shriver, the founder of US Peace Corps in early 1960. Many in the anti-war committee were supporters of India’s freedom in the 1940s.
The origins of ‘India First’ can also be traced to an American journalist, Gertrude Emerson. Gertrude was the correspondent of Asia magazine. In the 1930s she was deeply linked to the Americans like Pearl S Buck and others who voiced their concerns about colonial rule in India. Gertrude married Boshi Sen, an agricultural scientist, a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. The Sen couple was closely linked to Josephine Macleod, the American lady who played a big role in establishing the entire Ramakrishna Mission in India and abroad since mid-1890. Gertrude Emerson floated an NGO called “India First Society” at Almora in 1980.
Britain First came up in 2011. All three firsts are engaged in hate campaigns against Muslims in their respective countries. They are all connected to big money and media.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Last week, the Indian Navy bid adieu to the British-built Sea Harrier. The lone Subsonic-Sea Harrier flew among the newly inducted supersonic fighters, MiG 29k to mark the ceremony at Goa. The 1970s vintage machine was de-inducted from the Royal Navy in the year 2006 after serving for good twenty-six years. The Indian Navy had refurbished the aircraft, in 2009, to add another few years to its life. For almost three decades the Harriers were a pride of the Indian Navy flying from aircraft carriers.
Harrier was a short/vertical take-off and landing jet fighter, reconnaissance and strike aircraft designed and manufactured by British Aerospace. Its ability to hover like a helicopter was its unique feature.
Harriers operated successfully from the aircraft carriers, HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes in the Falkland War of 1982. A good war-performance enhanced their marketability in global arms market. India was impressed with the British innovation in the fighter domain. India ordered 30 aircraft and along with HMS Hermes, which was later rechristened as INS Viraat. The first three Sea Harriers landed at Goa on December 16, 1983, the deck landing abilities were tested on India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on December 20, 1983.
Interestingly, when the British Aerospace was busy negotiating with India the price of the naval version of the aircraft, it was simultaneously engaged in selling the Airforce-version of the Harriers to the Chinese. In fact, the Chinese started talking about sale-purchase of 200 Harriers, as early as 1972. In 1964, the Chinese bought Six Viscount aircraft for civilian use and thirty-six Trident jets firm Great Britain.
The “Gang of Four” menace in China put the Harrier negotiations on hold. In 1977 Li Chiang, then Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade visited Britain. The British organised a special Harrier flying demonstration for Li. In November 1978, the Harrier-demonstration was repeated for the Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Chen during his London visit.
The British were more than willing to sell to the Chinese despite the United States Battle Act of 1951 that prohibited such sales to the Soviet Bloc countries. Earlier Britain had overlooked the American concerns and sold Rolls Royce Spey engine to China in 1975. The sale of engine was for military purpose. Not only were the Americans advising Britain to refrain from selling jump-jets to the Chinese the Soviets too were opposed to the West arming the Chinese. Brezhnev wrote to British Prime Minister asking him to back off from negotiation harrier deal with the Chinese. Brezhnev’s letter was leaked to the press to show that the Soviets were trying to influence British decision.
Perhaps, due many of these factors the Chinese slowed down the speed of negotiations. In the midst of uncertainty, Wang’s elevation into the Politburo of CCP gave British fresh hopes of selling Harrier to China. The British sales-pitch to the Chinese was that Harrier could be effective in close-support operations and was a fit aircraft in defensive role. In 1979, the Anglo-Sino deal was almost through, the agreement was drawn, but the process got stalled by the Chinese invasion of Vietnam. And the deal died its natural death.
Interestingly, to keep the Americans in good humour, the London told Washington that it did not foresee the Chinese using the Harriers against Taiwan. Now the US Marine Corps is trying to sell the refurbished AV-8 Harriers to Taiwan. The justification is that in the event of a Chinese missile-attack the Taiwanese airfields will be the first to be destroyed and in such an eventuality the Harriers - capable of vertical take-off and landing- hidden in the mountains will come in handy to launch counter attacks. In 1980s China rejected the Harriers, now it is Taiwan that seems to be in no mood to oblige USA.
1. David Crane, “The Harrier Jump-Jet and Sino-British Relations,” Asian Affairs
Vol. 8, No. 4 (Mar. - Apr., 1981), pp. 227-250
2. Edward Harvey, “The Modernisation of China and the Harrier ‘Jump-Jet’: Sino-British relations during China’s ‘opening-up’ to the World.” Available at https://independentresearcher.academia.edu/EdwardHarvey
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode’s inaugural speech delivered on 10 December 1932 at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun set the tone and tenor of military professionalism in India. The Field Marshal’s speech contained two pieces of advice for the Gentlemen Cadets.
The first piece of advice urged the young cadets to remember that “An Army can have no politics. It is the paid servant of the people and is at the disposal of the Government of the day, whatever may be the political complexion of that Government.”
His second advice outlined the three guiding principles that place the honour of the country above every other concern of a military officer.
In early 1930s, Chetwode’s insistence on keeping the army politics-free was to dissuade nationalist youth from joining the newly Indianized army and challenging the validity of the empire. The Indian state that was neither based on ideology or theology opted for its army to remain moored to an apolitical and secular ethos and thus Chetwode continued to be relevant post-independence.
Today, the Chetwode’s code of military professionalism is flagrantly violated. The Indian military is no longer blasé about politics. Politics is no longer a taboo in army messes and naval wardrooms because it is openly discussed by serving officers on social media.
The social-media posts by many serving officers largely echo the aggressive-nationalist sentiments expressed by the right-wing politicians. Only on rare occasions one gets to hear a contrarian view from a serving officer.
Forget left-wing views, the officers who believe in Field Marshal Chetwode’s credo are also reticent. They feel constrained to bring a modicum of balance in the discourse.
Some social media comments make one wonder if the Supreme Commander of the armed forces is the Prime Minister and not the President. The fact is that boundaries that distinguish military personnel from civilians in context of their political participation are getting eroded.
Looking at social media trends and the brazen manner in which rabid right-wing propaganda is posted and forwarded by serving military officers, it is not far-fetched to imagine that the top military leadership in the country is fully aware of it. From time to time the military establishment has been issuing directions for armed forces personnel to refrain from commenting on social media. However, the fact that instructions are going unheeded clearly shows that there is lack of will on part of the service headquarters to impose discipline.
Take for example the Navy Foundation, a body of former naval officers. The Delhi chapter of the foundation is regularly involved in spreading communal agenda. The Hindu reported about the 20 October 2015 newsletter of the Navy Foundation that featured an article with negative references to the minority community.
A few retired senior naval officers also informed the naval headquarters about this. In December last year the Naval Chief reiterated that “Every ship of the Indian Navy is a microcosm of India, where we have personnel from every single state, including every religion as well.”
The Indian Navy neither indulges in invoking any religious text before casting off or launching its missiles, nor does it employ and religious gurus to help its sailors in need. In fact, the Indian Navy, prohibits the display of images of Gods or religious symbols in sailors’ mess decks or any other part of the ship.
One cannot deny the retired community their right to politics, but can the Naval Foundation that is directly linked to the Naval Headquarters web-portal be allowed to post communal and political propaganda material. Such partisan trends are indicative of the deep malaise that has gradually crept into the armed forces over the past few years.
There is a distinction between serving a constitutionally elected government (the BJP) and serving the ideology (the RSS) that the government believes in. The Right-Wing nationalist discourse that conflates religion with the state has set in motion a chain of confusion. where honoring the cow is seen as equivalent to serving the country. Armed forces are an important ingredient in the right-wing recipe of aggressive nationalism. In order to appease its ideological master, the ruling dispensation at the center wants the armed forces barricaded within the sacred walls of Hindutva. Just as the Turkish army is considered to be the “home of the Prophet,” the RSS perhaps prefers to confine the Indian army to a home of some Hindu God.
The use of armed forces by the right-wing for political purposes is a menace. The martyrs in J &K were brazenly politicized in the recent controversy in which nationalism of India’s premier university was questioned by some media houses using doctored videos. Last week, a Hindi news channel, IBN 7 interviewed Havildar Sudhir Kumar Yadav in uniform, where he spoke against the against JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, taking absolutely similar position as propagated by the RSS.
Such blatant use of a serving army man in political fight is unprecedented. The forces behind this sinister propaganda are unaware of the dangerous consequences of mixing armed forces and politics. In all probability the video could be doctored, because after a few hours of its broadcast it was removed from the website of the channel, however, IBN7 did carry a story on their website that mentioned about the interview. However, if the interviewee is service personnel then it has to be seen what action army headquarter takes against him for such indiscipline.
Ajai Shukla, India’s foremost defence journalist in his article titled “Armyism” published in Business Standard, gives us more examples where the government has involved the armed forces in religious functions like Yoga Day.
The government is scaling up the military to a pedestal where questioning or criticizing the military becomes sacrilegious and paradoxically it is engaged in ridiculing its just demands for OROP and other allowances in the seventh pay commission. Adding insult to injury, the government approved deployment of army personnel and equipment for building pontoon bridges for a private function of Sri Sri Ravishankar, a religious guru. As if this was not enough, the government acted in a ham-handed manner and arrested a 75-year old veteran, an office bearer of the ex-servicemen organization struggling for just and legitimate pension rights.
The rightward politicization of the military is disturbing the civil-military equilibrium and militates against the tenets of a democratic state. The dangers inherent in these trends need to be debated by social scientists as well as military studies experts. These developments have the power to boost the army’s propensity to acquire political power or as Field Marshal Chetwode warned in his 1932 speech, “Once there is any suspicion that an Army, or any part of it is biased politically, from that moment the Army has lost the hill confidence of the nation who pays for it. It is no longer impartial, and that way lies chaos and civil war.”
Saturday, March 5, 2016
The understanding of internationalism is must in every debate on Nationalism.
The Left has never hidden the element of internationalism in its definition of nationalism. It has openly been a part of international communist movement and international civil rights movement. And the Right-Wing has often used this honest admission as stick to beat the left with.
However, the Right Wing has been absolutely dishonest about its deep rooted international moorings.
The left's problem is that it has shied away from exposing the international linkages of the Right-Wing groups. The left must expose the comprador character of the Right-Wing elite. It must show how the right wing elite is a part of the global capitalist class and how it is engaged in pauperizing its nation to appease its Western master.
The BJP govt is against NGOs that come from abroad and work in India but they have ignored the fact that their NRI friends of RSS in America are not Indian citizens. They have their careers to protect and their loyalty is with the nation that they are citizens of.
And knowing the reach of CIA one is sure that many of the American Friends of RSS must we working for Uncle Sam to perform acts ranging from communal riots to influencing elections in India with their money. This is not new in 1968 questions were raised in parliament about use of PL80 funds by CIA operatives to interfere in Indian elections.
The Right-Wing because of its its very class-allegiances is inherently anti-national and this must reach to the people.
The Left's also needs to be cautious in its assessment of forces that shape the international discourse. Many a times these forces, largely residing in the West, are the hand-maiden of imperialist forces. Therefore, these forces representing "international good" need to be thoroughly scrutinized.