Monday, April 29, 2013

The lurking ‘Lucepower’ in Asian affairs

Published in ViewPointonline

It is important for the people of Asia to understand the true nature of the anti-Asia lobby in the West that is constantly pitching one nation against the other
Today, once again, the top most email in my inbox had an anti-China article - reminding me to take my daily dose of detest-China medicine. The latest from the Economist stable “Can India become a great power,” pokes India to be a man and “pursue an active security policy.”[1]
Teasingly, the article gives China second position in the class while India gets, ‘can do better’ remark on itsreport card. The reason for India’s ‘fair’ performance is that “66 years after the British left, it still clings to the post-independence creeds of semi-pacifism and “non-alignment”: the West is not to be trusted.”
Such conservative, hawkish literature - cut in the West is dutifully pasted on Indian thoughts. Its purpose is to inundate India with anti-China venom and besiege sensibilities that desire to see India prosper without the encumbrance of war.
An India-China relationship that is devoid of fear is unpalatable to the intellectual insurgents of the Luce-kind. The ‘Luce-ist’ insurgents penetrate mindsthrough myriad conservative and liberal think tanks and media houses. They use their pens and publications to push another war down our throats, much in the same fashion as they had in 1962.
Henry R Luce was the post war American media Mughal, the owner of Time, Life, Fortune, and the March of Time film and radio documentaries. This was at a time when “freedom of the press belonged to the man who owned one.” Luce used this power of the press in the most blatant fashion both in China and India. Luce was a publisher guided by missionary zeal. He wanted to see China as a Christian nation, gravitating naturally to perform its role as an American policeman in Asia Pacific.
Mao’s victory in 1949 put paid to Luce’s grand strategy. Luce refused to give up. He along with Alfred Kohlberg, a wealthy New York businessman continued to spearhead the ‘China Lobby’ that was fanatically anti-communist and pro-Chiang-Kai-shek. The Lobby’s aim was to guide Truman’s China policy and ensure that Indian military and political class was incorporated in the scheme designed to overthrow the Communist Party of China.
It was easy for Luce power to work in India because the Indian elite was fluent in English and more importantly a willing warrior in anti-communist crusades. Rajagopalachari, independent India’s first Governor General had openly declared, “I am here to save my country from the traps and dangers of the communist party. That is my policy from A to Z." Incidentally, Rajagopalachari’s political outfit, Swatantra party was in the forefront to demand war with China. Palpably, Luce’s Life magazine supported such ventures and wrote in its editorial in 1962, “TheSwatantra program could really get that huge country moving in a direction favorable to free institutions. The free world can wish this little party a big future.”
At the end of 1962 war the Time magazine gleefully commented, “The current slogan is a revision of the earlier cry for brotherhood with China: "Americans bhaibhaiChinihaihai" (Americans are our brothers; death to the Chinese!).[2]
The ‘Luce-ists’ are now at work creating stories that sell the need for the Indian Navy to operate in the South China Sea. In August 2011, the Financial Times London was the first to report that the Indian Navy Ship INS Airavat had been challenged by a Chinese navy vessel in South China Sea Area.[3]
That this story was denied by the Indian navy spokesperson, failed to impress the editorial staff in Wall Street Journal that continued to suggest “India is being pulled into a complex and increasingly tense territorial dispute in the South China Sea.”
The media is unduly perturbed about the oil exploration possibilities in South China Sea on behalf of Vietnam. Similar zeal to report is missing when it comes to oil exploration in other disputed sites. According to media reports, ONGC Videsh (OVL) has also been negotiating to acquire 25% stakes in oil blocks from the Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd, off the disputed Falkland Island generally remains hidden in some remote corner of the media.. Exploring oil in Falkland may impact ONGC’s existing business interests in Cuba, Brazil and Venezuela is also never discussed. In Venezuela alone the total Indian investment is about $3 billion with the production from all fields expected to cross 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2016. Do such huge investments not demand that the Indian navy develop capabilities for sustained operation Latin America, right under the British and American noses?
Instead, the ‘Luce’ press urges me to celebrate the 1962 war defeat, because they can’t ‘see’ young Indians befriending the Chinese. In the age of all pervasive media, the “Luce power” is even more lethal than what it was when Henry Robinson Luce exercised it in the 1950s.
It is important for the people of Asia to understand the true nature of the anti-Asia lobby in the West that is constantly pitching one nation against the other. If Asia is to prosper, uninterrupted peace in the region is paramount. It is also for Japan to realize that the United States is not Chicken pox that attacks only once in a human’s life time.
[2] India: Never Again the Same, Time, November. 30, 1962

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