Thursday, November 17, 2011

India, a Tiger in the dragon's yard...

[India is not the superpower that Indian and American leaders would like to pretend her to be (SEE: Investing Your Future In A Poison Peace Process .... ). Every dollar wasted on setting itself up as America's policeman is a dollar that could be invested in the people of India. No other nation, except perhaps the US, shows such a glaring disparity between the super-capitalists at the top and the untapped sea of potential workers and consumers at the very bottom. How can its leaders justify buying and building, eventually, aircraft carriers, to enforce US sea lane controls?]

India, a Tiger in the dragon's yard...
By Sreeram Chaulia

This year's East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bali, Indonesia on November 18-19 will welcome two new member states - the United States and Russia [1]. The new members make this annual grouping of odd-fitting dialogue partners an even more complex body, while defying the geographic context of its title.

The EAS has had extra-regional dimensions since its inception in 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, when the presence of Australia, New Zealand and India excited controversy from different quarters. The hosts and chief initiators of the whole project, Malaysia, objected the presence of two Pacific states that were ethnically non-Asian and seen as Western stooges, while China resisted the the inclusion of India, as a South Asian state that could threaten its predominant position.

Among the non-East Asian powers that now command seats at the EAS, India faces perhaps the greatest challenges in justifying its influence over the region's diplomatic agenda. Coverage in Indian media in the run up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Bali voyage has focussed largely on a bilateral pow-wow he is scheduled to have with US President Barack Obama on the summit's side-lines. Hardly anything of import about India's capacity to become a major East Asian player has come to light, reflecting a large gap between aspirations and reality.

India's strategic elites want to shape their country into a countervailing force in China's strategic surroundings, possibly replacing the US in the long run should Washington lose the fiscal strength needed to project power in East Asia. Since China's military and economic penetration of South Asia, India's "near abroad", is quite advanced, New Delhi seeks tit-for-tat pressure points in Southeast and Northeast Asia to remind Beijing that hegemony in Asia will not be conceded without contest.

The political dimensions of India's two-decade-long "Look East" policy underscore this willingness to enter a zone that China has lorded over since Japan's decline, with hopes New Delhi will be entrenched as a "resident power" like the US. However, unlike Washington, New Delhi faces a serious paucity of material means to fuel its dreams of becoming a pivotal actor in the Southeast and Northeast Asian regions.

Indian naval strategists warned earlier this year against bravado in the disputed South China Sea waters, following a spat with China over oil exploration by an Indian state-owned oil company off the coast of Vietnam. Admiral Arun Prakash, a retired chief of India's navy, cautioned against conflict with China over "freedom of navigation in international waters" at a time when the Indian navy was thinly stretched and lacked the means to "sustain a naval presence some 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 kilometers) from home to bolster ONGC Videsh Ltd's stake in South China Sea hydrocarbons".

In an inversion of former US president Theodore Roosevelt's maxim of "speak softly and carry a big stick", Indian officials have been unable to seamlessly integrate diplomatic exchanges with China-fearing countries in Southeast Asia like Vietnam and the Philippines into concrete naval expansion.

Unlike the US, India lacks the naval bases or warships that could deter the formidable People's Liberation Army Navy in Southeast and Northeast Asia.

China, which usually dismisses India's pretensions as an Asian superpower over its internal weaknesses, has not however been complacent about multilateral military exercises involving India, the US, Japan and Australia in waters Beijing claims. But bowing to the fait accompli presented by its relatively weak navy, New Delhi has in the past limited these exercises to avoid riling China.

The Chinese position that foreign navies should not be "intruding" on vast oceanic areas far beyond the concept of territorial waters and exclusive economic zones is arguably the central security issue of the EAS. Despite its soaring ambitions, India is at best a bit player on this point and will remain so as long as its navy is not a global force.

In the economic sphere, India's free-trade agreement (FTA) with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) does lend New Delhi an undeniable importance at the EAS. While this pact much smaller in the volume of exchanged goods than China's FTA with ASEAN, the mere availability of another gigantic market of a billion-plus consumers in the vicinity of China is a welcome development for smaller nations in the EAS that fear damage to local producers at the hands of China's predatory exports.

However, one of the deficiencies in India's "Look East" economic policies is that its gaze has reached far enough east. Indians are more familiar with plotting a role in Southeast Asia than farther afield in Northeast Asia. The latter is witnessing remarkable moves towards closer economic integration, a process in which India is currently a non-entity.

In spite of their historic and strategic divides, China, South Korea and Japan have deepened a series of currency swap agreements put in place since the global financial crisis of 2008 to absorb sudden shocks. As export-dependent economies, the three Northeast Asian powers are closely enmeshing their financial sectors, generating a new dynamic of pro-China domestic constituencies that rival the older pro-American lobbies in Tokyo and Seoul.

India's challenge as a rising economic power is to find ways to cultivate pro-India forces in East Asia through concrete trading and financial tools. Unless the Indian economy develops a significant manufacturing and exporting segment, New Delhi will find itself locked out of the innovative economic regionalism that China is spearheading in its neighborhood. It is China's prowess in exports that has enabled it to now prepare a yuan trade settlement agreement with the 10-member ASEAN group, boosting the yuan's status as a regional reserve currency in Asia.

At the Bali summit this weekend, Manmohan will make all the ceremonial statements and satiate the press corps back home with photo-ops with Obama. However, the crux of the matter is the reality that India is still not a central actor in the East Asian theater. New Delhi will need to orchestrate multiple structural transformations of its naval priorities and economic thrust before it can claim to be a genuine match to China and a tiger with teeth in East Asia...

The “peace process” has been sold to Pakistani leaders as a doorway out of this hellish existence, into the arms of the “community of nations,” even though entry will only be possible if Pakistan kneels before the Imperial dictates of the United States and its Indian proxies. Pakistan’s biggest problem is its history with the CIA. For more than thirty years, Pakistan has served as the CIA’s terrorist/jihadi laboratory, the place where the spymasters have perfected their art of “Islamist” destabilization. This is the behavioral science of motivating indigenous Muslim populations to overthrow their own governments. From the many years of practical experience that has been gained in Pakistan, the CIA mind-benders have established a working formula of “Islamist” agitation of highly religious, though under-educated Muslim populations, that takes advantage of the weaknesses in human nature itself, to cause the populations to rise-up against their own governments, demanding that those legitimate governments enforce a system of corrupt “Shariah Law” upon them. This “peace process,” much like the failed Israeli/Palestinian peace process, is a delusional process, used to sell the participants a false “bill of goods” as the only “road map” to peace, even though it only leads to war.

Pakistan has many times seen the Islamist armies that it has trained turn against its trainers, usually for failure to live up to the Jihadi standards that they were taught. These disaffected Jihadis then become active enemies of the state, such as the TTP in Waziristan and Swat. These reversals have happened under the watchful eye and protection of that same State. It is a moot question, at this point, whether the Army and ISI were willing players in all of this, or whether they too have fallen victim to American psywar games. It is a process that has played-out in too many countries to be written-off to the workings of fate—the CIA mind games could never succeed without willing participants among the homeland populations. Pakistani leaders have sold Pakistanis out, just as American leaders have continually sold Americans out. It is the way of the Evil Empire. You must invite the vampire into your house before he can drink your blood.

Now that this northern army has become fully activated as true enemies of the State, they work toward the same goals as the Baloch Liberation Army in the south, the destruction of the legitimate, democratically elected government of Pakistan. Both puppet (proxy) armies dance to the same puppeteer’s tunes, but they believe that they are fighting for either Allah, or for country. This is the glaring hypocrisy of the American Hegelian dialectic–the American government is continually building things up, to later knock them down. Pakistan is suffering from a traditional pincer movement, but since they appear to be completely opposite in nature, with completely different goals, we tend to ignore the connection. The AfPak region, more specifically, the Pashtun belt of that region, is being squeezed into a fluid, homogeneous mass, which can easily be pushed back and forth, to erase the invisible border which impedes American actions.

But you will hear about none of this from an Indian analyst.

American analysts are different, in that we analyze the Imperial plans from an American nationalist perspective. Taking a patriotic angle, we look for weaknesses that will help us slay the Imperial Beast that has taken over our government and has been set loose upon the world. We have become a fascist power in our effort to reshape the world, and realistic American analysts understand this. Any useful analysis of world events must be based upon that premise.

The fascist power operates through a traditional “bait and switch” strategy. They promote “Democracy” throughout the world as the primary weapon of destabilization, with the intent of crushing the results of any democratic movement in the end. We use it as bait, to tempt the targeted audience with unimagined political freedoms which will never materialize, holding them up as promised rewards for them risking their own lives in mass-movements to reform their own governments. The switch comes after the regime is forced to change, whenever the democratic-revolution is exposed as an exercise in American Imperialism, giving the Empire veto power over any “democratic” decisions made by that government or the people they claim to represent. After the dust of “regime change” has settled, the next American puppet government rules for as long as it can continue to repress the people. Any elected government that doesn’t adhere to this rigid fascist formula becomes itself the next subject for regime change.

A realistic analysis of the India/Pakistani peace process would have to proceed on the assumption that the primary beneficiary will prove to be American. If a deal between them is brokered by the US State Dept., by the Dept. of Commerce, or by the Pentagon, everyone should understand by now exactly where the big pay-off will go. Mr. Singh is proving himself to be even more of a dupe than Zardari. Nobody really expected anything less from Mr. Ten Percent, but the world put high hopes on Manmohan Singh.

Obama wants India and Pakistan to play nice, so that he can pretend to withdraw from Afghanistan, while leaving both of them (and the rest of the regional players) holding the bag after 2014. Obama wants you to build and protect TAPI, which is to be the first of many pipelines on the strategic corridor to Central Asia, otherwise referred to as the “Silk Roads.” Obama wants India to fill the great void of the former Soviet space with warm Indian bodies, some tending shiny new American-made jet fighters, others slaving in the elements on Indian road crews.

Obama wants Indian telecommunication companies as well as construction companies to help energize the CIS space, especially to build the currently non-existent road and rail networks needed to assimilate the resource bonanza. India does stand to reap enormous financial rewards from this, if it will consent to transferring its developing industry into Central Asia, away from the Indian homeland, where it is needed even more urgently. In Central Asia there are not enough roads because there have never been enough people, as opposed to India, where perhaps half a billion people suffer from economic deprivation that is exacerbated by a lack of development and the great investments which come with it.

Obama wants all of Afghanistan’s neighbors to lend full support to the hidden American plans, without ever revealing what they are, always with the promise of rewards beyond measure for unquestioned collaboration in that unrevealed plan. He sells them a message of Hope, resting upon an appeal to Blind Faith in Americans and their inescapable commitment to do the Right Thing. This is the formula for the fascist “snake oil” that Obama is peddling to get his way in the world.

The leaders of both Pakistan and India must be prepared to turn away from the American bait and switch operation at play in Afghanistan, if they want to survive without suffering through violent repercussions for their partnerships with the devil. All Nations with peoples yearning to be free must be prepared to turn away from the fraudulent con-games which pass for world government these days, before the devil can ever be brought to his knees and humanity can finally learn what it means to be truly Free....

1.) The 18 countries attending this year's East Asia Summit are: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

Sreeram Chaulia is a professor and Vice Dean at the Jindal School of International Affairs in Sonipat, India.