Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ANIMALS IN SERVICE OF IMPERIUM


London has numerous interesting war memorials. However, the one that specifically caught my attention is neither dedicated to any General nor any soldier. It is a mark of respect to those numerous horses, pigeons, mules, dogs and myriad other animals, who laid their life in service of the British nation during the Wars in the 20th century. 

The war memorial is driven by British love for animals rather than animals’ desire for recognition. Sculpted by David Backhouse, the memorial is situated near Hyde Park. The monument shows a horse in the lead majestically gazing at the future. Following the leader’s tail is a dog. A wall divides these two warriors from two loaded mules bringing up the rear.

The nameless animals depicted in the memorial were neither citizen-soldiers nor mercenaries. They neither understood Clausewitzan ‘absolute war’ nor were they capable of comprehending Kant’s ‘perpetual peace’. The mammals merely followed the idiosyncratic and autocratic commands of their masters engaged in the pursuit of power, because terms like glory, honour and sacrifice were alien to them.

Unlike the human soldiers they never bothered their commanding officers with issues like morale, mother or matrimony. Barring the canine, the other animals could hardly distinguish between friend or foe. They neither required special war time rations nor the morale booster booze to plunge themselves into war zones. They became witness to the most brutal periods in human history not for any entertainment value but because their DNA strands were networked to serve the humans.

Viewed purely in military terms the horse represents the strike core, the dog symbolizes the importance of intelligence to military operations, the pigeons form the signal corps and the beast of burden carrying the supplies reveals the crucial role played by military logistics in any war.
 However, when I look at the monument as a student of international politics, I tend to superimpose my ideas on the hapless animal figures and transform them into nations. If horse represents the power of British imperialism and the wall symbolizes the divide between the core and the periphery, then where does India (the jewel in the British crown) fit into the scheme of things? Is India represented by the dog or the mule? India was a faithful servant of the empire, but was it considered good enough to be an intelligence agent?

India could not be a dog, because the British never considered Indians intelligent enough to be officer in the army. But the Indian colonial rulers recruited large number of Sepoys (foot soldiers) to consolidate their empire.

One could argue that India was a mule in the British war efforts; it bore the burden of war without questioning the supremacy of its masters. If India was one of the mules, then who is the other mule in the memorial? The other mule represents the Africans soldiers, who much like the Indians added to the British strength, without ever asking questions about the validity or legality of war.

We have identified the horse and the mules but the question still remains-who was the dog? Whom did the British consider to be the most trusted ally during WW I. Who did they consider intelligent enough to provide them with battle field information? It could not have been France, because it obviously was another big horse in the war? America was on the British side of the fence; moreover, it was a neutral observer at that time merely sniffing around to gauge the international situation. Possibly, America was the British dog during the First World War.

Unlike the sculpture, history continues to dynamic.; it has undergone a massive shift over past century. Britain is still in the forefront, but it is no longer the horse in international power equations. America is the new horse and Britain is its sniffer dog. Is India still a coolie in the present scheme of things? How can India be a mule? It has become an important American strategic ally. Moreover, war against terrorism and growing Chinese might requires better intelligence and therefore more number of dogs around the world.

So when India expresses it wishes to be a world power, it actually is hinting that it has crossed the Rubicon dividing the underdeveloped and the developed world. It is no longer a dud mule on the other side of the wall, it is in fact fit enough to be a dog of American empire.

Years later, if an American sculptor decides to pay his tribute to animals in war, he probably will have many more dogs following the American horse and the private military contractors or robots will have the privilege of being depicted as mules.

Monday, June 11, 2012

PENTAGON PSALMISTS RETURN TO ASIA PACIFIC


Last week, Leon Panetta, Pentagon’s chief hit-man was in Asia, signaling 'Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow!’. This bogey was meant to gather gullible Asian leaders, persuading them to come to the aid of the American empire in grave danger of being overrun by China. 'Broken Arrow’ was a code reserved by the American forces in the Vietnam War to signal extreme danger to their positions. 

Panetta's appeal for help has had such an impact that great strategy pundits from India, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia Australia, Japan, South Korea and others have joined Pentagon psalmists' chorus - chanting imprecatory prayers - predicting disgrace and shame to the Chinese. 

Post 9/11, the world was introduced to a similar imprecatory number against Islam. A little over a decade ago, Bush had stood up to tell the world about the ensuing ‘clash of civilizations’. Now all that war on terror lies buried under the cacophony of Osama’s death pronouncement and the din of ‘Arab Spring’. 

The latest American mantra pivots around the Oceans in Asia Pacific region. Dr John Chipman, Director General and Chief Executive, IISS says, “one of the most important subjects in the Asia‑Pacific is the idea of protecting maritime freedoms and the acceptance that this is an international and global role, not only a regional and particular role.” 

Fresh words are being woven and new alliances are being sewn together; only to pull wool over Asian eyes. Dangerous needles are being pricked into Asian minds to prove that their salvation lies in preventing China from uprooting the treasure tower embedded the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal - a disputed territory between China and Philippines – is now the chief reason for Asia to be “in a state of strategic flux.” As Sanjay Baru tells us, America is “seeking to provide an element of stability to this flux, and inject a measure of certainty to an uncertain world.” 

Today, Panetta talks about shifting an additional 10% of American forces to Indo-Pacific than what it has committed in the Atlantic. Towards the fag end of their empire in Asia, British too had tried to use huge forces at their disposal to protect “the crescent of land that stretched from Bengal, through Burma, the Southern island. It was hinterland of the Straits of Malacca, one of the greatest arteries of oceanic trade that separates the Indian Ocean from South China Sea.” (Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper, Forgotten Wars: The end of Britain’s Asian Empire, 2008). Bayly and Harper also tell us that during these years the Americans used to make fun of the British South East Asian Command (SEAC) under Lord Mountbatten as nothing but an acronym that stood for “Save England Asian Colonies”. 

Today, America finds itself in British shoes. It is paranoid about the longevity of its empire. It’s declining money power and reduced ability to spend on military is making it seek military hardware and manpower from within Asia-pacific. It is playing the same old game and making sure that Asians are once again buffoon(ed) into fighting against each other. 

It is a paradox that in the era of advancing life expectancy the collective memory of the human being is on the decline. It is only sixty years ago, Panetta’s predecessors had entered Asia pacific with an atomic bang, making the Japanese experience the horrors of weapons of mass destruction and colonization. 

Just prior to dropping of the atomic bomb, the communist cadres in South East Asia and British Indian army soldiers were used as cannon fodder to defeat the Japanese colonial designs. And all they got in return for fighting the Japanese was a fresh tranche of brutal British imperialism. 


By 1946 Japan had been mollified and the threat of communism was the new clarion call on which Asia was to rotate. How does one forget the US role in ensuring the division of Korea and the use of ‘Agent Orange’ in Vietnam? They used Soviet Union in WW II only to make it an enemy. Islam was used against godless communism and then made into a dreaded monster after 9/11. They used China in the Cold War and now China is the enemy. This is an endless game that can no longer be brushed aside in terms of, “there are no permanent friends or enemies, but permanent interests in international relations.” 


The people of Asia must expose this farce and say that there is only one permanent interest - not to expose global poor to wars initiated at the behest of the leech like descendants of Rockefeller and Rothschild. The people must come together to prevent their younger generations from being used once again in frivolous wars. Wars indulged in by these banking monsters representing 1% of the global population. For this tiny minority, war is a necessity. They will create reasons to display their masculinity and keep the global 99% in a perpetual state of shock and awe. Thus, there is no use blaming Americans, now we know the real culprits behind the wars. 

For these global elite, the multitudes are expendable earthworms and cockroaches. Nations and Gods are all strategic commodities to be used and thrown away like disposable crockery. Protection and perpetuation of property rights is all they live for and make us die for. They will not change; let us at least, not allow ourselves to be used.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Deadly Strategic Triangle - Hillary, Hasina and Mamata

Bless me please! Shah Rukh Khan and his team with Mamata Banerjee  

Mamata Banerjee is blessed. Shah Rukh, the King of Bollywood has added a purple patch to the otherwise tattered Trinamool rule in West Bengal.
Hillary Clinton, (technically the second) lady of the empire, too has showered praise on Mamata for being looked after well during her brief stay at Kolkata.

While Shah Rukh is bowing before Didi to seek state patronage after being mistreated at the cricket ground in his home town at Mumbai, Hillary intentions are directed more towards making Mamata genuflect in front of imperial desires.


The two ladies in an animated discussion 

Needless to mention, Ms Clinton patted Mamata ’s back for bringing out a regime change in West Bengal - without US and Nato special forces - and without making the US state department run around United nations to seek legitimacy to bomb Bengali Marxists to stone age - for causing discomfort to Manmohan on civil-nuclear deal.

After exchanging the pleasantries, Clinton must also have given Mamata her piece of mind on the strategic importance of Bangladesh in the US scheme of things. While giving assurances about stepping up US investments in the state, Clinton must have told Mamata to be nice to Sheikh Hasina on Teesta River issue.

After all, Clinton did not travel thousands of miles to discuss FDI in retail sector and collect some Bengali goodies. This is being reinforced by the recent news reports regarding the US plans to open a military base in Bangladesh.

Keeping in mind, the city of joy’s intellectual capacity to understand imperialism and its sinister designs, Washington must have nudged Mamata to prevent the comrades from establishing any links with the growing anti-Americanism in Dhaka.

To top it all, Clinton must have reassured Mamata not to worry to much about strategic aspects as the US has made sure that India’s former national security adviser and an expert on internal security matters is always there to tango.