In the last few months, we’ve witnessed elections in Zimbabwe, Iran, and now Afghanistan, and in each case the heavy-handedness on display has been staggering. Can’t these people at least show a little finesse when they’re practicing ballot-box fraud? (via The Unbearable Stupidity of Authoritarianism – Erik Tarloff).
Zimbabwe et al are known cases
Western media, Erik has done enough to ‘showcase’ Zimbabwe – amongst others, which you highlight, with so much relish, in your post (linked above). Though, I wonder why you don’t, in the same breadth, compare the continuing frauds in your home country. Is it that election fraud in the US is more ‘intelligent.’
How about the US
The disenfranchisement laws in the US are, if any comparison is required, more unfair, have been running longer and engender greater injustice. How about a ‘fair’ comparison!
The disenfranchisement laws came into effect by the 1890’s – that continue till today. This ensured that a disproportionate number of African-Americans could not vote. After some 60,000 African American Voters were disenfranchised, George Bush technically, won by less than 1000 votes (most of the disenfranchised voters were expected to vote against George Bush). And George Bush became the President of the USA for the second time. Or would you like to talk about the hoods and goons in the ‘Brooks Brothers Riots’ – employed by the Republican Party!
If this post, fills your need to feel superior, find better targets. At least, your equals! Why pick on poor Zimbabwe!
If your quarrel is ‘finesse’, I wont join in the debate.
As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office this month, he has avoided the fawning praise of India that has become fashionable in some Washington circles. But experts on the region say that India-US ties now have a momentum of their own. Industries in each country now have a vested interest in deepening ties with their counterparts.
“In 20 years, I expect the Indo-US relationship to resemble the Israel-US relationship, and for many of the same reasons,” said Shashi Tharoor, an Indian writer and former undersecretary general of the United Nations. (via Will the love-fest stoked by Singh, Bush bear fruit? – Economy and Politics – livemint.com).
Why is the Israeli model a bad idea
The first disqualification against accepting the Israeli State model is the fact it is heavily dependent on America, for fiscal and military aid – which “since 1974 totals roughly $80 billion”.
Do I sense envy when an article from Daily Times Of Pakistan says “The United States has poured $140 billion into Israel since its formation”. That is about a US$56,000 for every Israeli family.
Is this what you learnt at the UN Tharoor Saar …
First, did it ever occur to Tharoor Saar to check where is the guarantee that the US will be in a any position to underwrite India’s long term requirements?
After satisfying himself, did Tharoor Saar ever ask, “Why would the US underwrite India?” In case of Israel, the US had good reasons. After all, (as NYT says)
America has vital long-term strategic interests in the Middle East. The gulf has well over 60 percent of the world’s proven conventional oil reserves and nearly 40 percent of its natural gas.
To some it may look like a boon, but is surely the kiss of death.
American policymakers began regarding Israeli strength as an American asset in the Cold War, they supported significant aid as a matter of strategy, not charity. … American aid continues to flow to Israel. … critics on the opposite end of the political spectrum argue that while aid to Israel may be tied to the best of intentions, it does more harm than good to the Jewish State by propping up a big and inefficient government and making Israel dependent upon the U.S.
For how long can any country, society, individual survive on foreign largesse? Note how during the 1973, Arab Israeli War, the tide of battle finally turned when the massive US airlift of weapons, tanks, spares happened! Which itself, is self-serving – “American assistance, emerging as a disjointed policy that urges a peaceful resolution to the conflict while boosting military aid to Israel.”
Another client state of US, Pakistan enviously records, that
“Israel is the only country that receives all of its U.S. aid in a single package, while others only receive it in quarterly installments.” It continues, “Most recipients of military aid are obliged to spend it in the US but Israel is permitted to spend 25 percent of what it receives to subsidize its own defence industry,”…
Doubtful motives, suspect intentions
Three aspects of the Israeli behaviour makes Israeli intentions doubtful.
One - Israel surely knows that US support cannot continue ad infinitum. What will be the Israeli response after they stop getting US support?
Two - After consistent and constant efforts to make enemies, over the last 50 years, how does Israel plan to continue living in a hostile neighbourhood – without American aid?
Three - With a population of little over 50 lakhs (5 million) in Israel and a world Jewish population of less than 1.3 crores (13 million), how does the Jewish population stop itself from going extinct?
Is there a pattern …
Tharoor Saar’s statement needs to be read in light of two other incidents. For starters, read Manmohan Singh’s speech at Oxford, praising the Raj, while receiving his honorary doctrate. Continue with Chidambaram’s decision to end “abject poverty” in India that he seems to “have known for 5,000 years.” And now add Tharoor Saar’s stated objective to make India into a US-client state in another 20 years. Are these three incidents stray and unrelated? Do they form a pattern?
Any which, Tharoor Saar’s thinking is a cause for concern.