The current Great Recession is forcing Europe to rethink many of its assumptions and move out of its comfort zone.
- David Cameron plan to opt out of EU policing laws ‘will allow criminals to run free’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Monumental deceit: How our politicians have lied and lied about the true purpose of the European behemoth (dailymail.co.uk)
- Plot to make Britain second-class EU state (express.co.uk)
Amid harsh rhetoric, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sounded some conciliatory notes on Wednesday.Mr. Zhong, making a 30-hour visit to the U.S. to try to ease bilateral tensions, expressed confidence that politicians from the two countries “have the wisdom and ability to resolve existing problems.“Mr. Geithner said he be- lieved China would allow its currency to appreciate over time, according to a CNN interview transcript. While the U.S. “can’t force them to make that change…I think we can work through the tough things we have together,“ Mr. Geithner said.The stakes are high for both sides. The U.S. and China are among each other’s biggest trading partners, and numerous U.S. companies have investments in China. The U.S. is increasingly looking to China to cooperate on international strategic issues, such as nuclear nonproliferation and the fight against terrorism. (via WSJ ON YUAN – China and U.S. soften tone on yuan).
Let the games begin!
The Dragon and the Eagle are squaring off! An experienced US stalks China, waiting behind high walls of US$2500 billion foreign exchange reserves.
The US-China game has started in earnest. US, egged on by ‘macho’ voters and a cheering media, will:-
- Act tough
- Behave in a morally outraged and indignant manner
- Commentators will prescribe a trade war and sanctions
In parallel, analysts, academics, think-tanks, journalists will talk-up China. Like Greenspan talking-up the US dollar or Dow Jones. They will: -
- Hold up China an nation-exemplar
- Write books analysing on China. Such books will start pour out of our ears
- Make movies and novels about the ‘dominant’ Chinese in the US
- Study, extol Chinese culture /tradition /history, and hold forth as a shining example.
And China will be ‘uncompromising’! Act as though, they have a choice.
The change in dollar-yuan exchange ratio will happen. Peacefully, or with violent side shows. Assuming that the dollar-yuan revaluation will happen smoothly, is fraught with risk. That it will happen, without any significant disruption, is one, big, huge, slippery assumption. What will follow the Chinese moment in the sun?
What remains to be seen
What could set off economic mayhem in China? Crime in China (a simmering threat), terrorism in Xinjiang (remote possibility), real estate bubble (a real scenario)?
Will the Chinese Government be able to ride this storm? Without a war with India? Which side of the fence will China fall? Answers to these questions will be worth waiting for! And prepared with!
Last time …
It would do well to remember that last time when China had a problem, it resulted in the India China War of 1962. Just after the disastrous Great Leap Forward and before the equally disastrous Cultural Revolution.
The Great Leap Forward began in 1957-58, saw famine and hunger across China. After the Communist takeover of China, land seized from land owners, was given to peasants in 1949. Ten years later, in 1959, the Chinese State took away the same land from the same peasant. Food shortages, starvation followed. Western (questionable) estimates are that 30 million people died during this period. War with India followed in 1962 – a diversion from the domestic Chinese catastrophe.
What will it be this time?
About 100 Australian police are being investigated for circulating racist and pornographic emails via the internal police email system, and one officer involved in the scandal has committed suicide, a top official said on Thursday.
The probe in Victoria state follows an independent citizens group report last week … accusing the department of having a “culture of racism.”
Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland acknowledged at the time that some officers were racist but said they were a small minority … the material involved a variety of offensive themes, including pornographic and sexist material … none of it was illegal but that all of it was offensive and in breach of department policy.
He would not confirm whether any of the racist material referred to Africans or Indians … the target of violence in Victoria state and have criticized police conduct in recent months. The Age newspaper reported that the investigation centered on a graphic image of a non-Caucasian man being tortured.
Overland confirmed that a police officer who committed suicide earlier this week … Tony Vangorp, 47, tendered his resignation on Friday and returned to the police station Monday night and shot himself. Overland said Vangorp had not been responsible for any racist emails. (via Oz cops under scanner over porn, racist emails – Rest of World – World – The Times of India).
Stand up and take the responsibility
It is a tragic that a low-level police officer, Tony Vangorp paid with his life – for essentially, criminal neglect and attitudes of the authorities. Tony Vangorp is possibly a modern-day version of Breaker Morant.
CNC Machines to Soviet Union
1982, Height of the US-USSR rivalry, under President Ronald Reagan. Japan was predicted to replace USA as the economic power. Toshiba, of Japan and Kongsberg Vapenfabrikk, Norway’s largest defense contractor, sold some multi-axis CNC machines to Russia – banned under COCOM rules, to which Japan was a signatory.
Details of this sale became known in 1987. Toshiba, President Sugiichiro Watari and Toshiba Chairman Shoichi Saba resigned soon after the affair became public. ”We have a big responsibility as the parent company,” the departing chairman said. ”We feel responsible for having troubled society.” reported the New York Times. Saba said, “must take personal responsibility for not creating an atmosphere throughout the Toshiba group that would make such activity unthinkable, even in an independently run subsidiary.”
Not some junior level clerk.
Shastri and Indian Railways
Post-colonial Railways system in India was the biggest scrap heap in India. Accidents were a regular feature – but naturally. The colonial practice was to blame the lower most employee, and tar the native workers as being lazy and slip-shod. The Brown Sahibs, continued with this practice, even after the British departed. Till, one day, one man stood up and said I am responsible. That man happened to be Lal Bahadur Shastri. From that day, the Indian Railways started improving – to become a low-cost, high safety transport system in the world.
Australian authorities have been consistently covered up the incidents, fudged and hid data, minimized the problem – and went into ritualistic denial.
To what end?
- More on the Recovery (fool.com)
- CREDIT SUISSE: These Are The 25 Riskiest Countries In The World (businessinsider.com)
- DealBook: U.S. Banks Tally Their Exposure to Europe’s Debt Maelstrom (dealbook.nytimes.com)
- Greek debt crisis eases, but drama is not over (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Rex Nutting: Investors demanding larger government deficits (marketwatch.com)
- Are We Still in The Great Recession? (neatorama.com)
On the other hand, Delhi believes that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is much more circumspect about Islamabad’s intentions and much more willing to keep India in Afghanistan, in the short as well as the long term. When Kayani, followed by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, reaches Washington in the coming days, they are likely to find that it is Clinton who takes the tough calls.Clinton understands that when the US forces get out of Afghanistan, sooner rather than later, India and to a certain extent, Russia, will be the only regional players — not Pakistan, China or Iran — that the US will be able to depend upon to settle the chaos that is likely to ensue. (via Jyoti Malhotra: Filling the post-US vacuum).
And quietly fade away …
Dylan Thomas wrote some interesting poetry – and one couplet that stays in my mind says,
“Do no go gentle into the good night, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Will the West quietly fade away. After all, Britain created the mischief of Pakistan and Kashmir, before leaving. And Jyoti Malhotra looks at Afghanistan, Pakistan through a Western prism.
This ability to light fires in the Indian backyard is a Western specialty – and that is what needs addressal. This means that India must take charge – and must have both objectives and means . India must enunciate its own Monroe Doctrine for South Asia, later for SE Asia and finally for Asia. Military intervention by ‘foreign powers’ in South Asia must become history. This is the objective that must occupy Indian minds. The recent Copenhagen Circus was an excellent demonstration of Western designs.
What the Afghans need
Coming to winning Afghan hearts. A few hospitals, sundry schools and some roads will take us, India and Afghanistan, nowhere. What Afghanistan needs, is a blueprint, a roadmap, to get out of the Desert Bloc quagmire, they are into. What the Afghans need is a fresh dose of भारत्तंत्र - Bharat-tantra, the Indic political system. It was भारत्तंत्र which made Buddhist priests a force in the entire SE Asia.
But then, that begs a question. Is भारत्तंत्र Bharat-tantra alive in India? Do Indian follow Bharat-tantra?
Martin Wolf, of the Financial Times, refers to India and China as “premature superpowers”, countries that have low living standards but huge economies. Premature or not, he suggests that Britain should give up its permanent seat in the Security Council to India. That is not about to happen, but Wen Jiabao’s defence of the indefensible, namely China’s currency policy, underlines the ineffectiveness of American pressure on the rising power, even as an article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs debates how to deal with a post-nuclear Iran thus looking forward to the US failure to prevent such a denouement. Even more abject is America’s apparent willingness to let Pakistan and the Taliban take over Afghanistan, after having fought a war for over eight years to prevent just such an outcome. (via T N Ninan: The post-Lehman world).
Western stamp of approval
Martin Wolf’s recent post on India would endear him to the FEW (Fragile Egos of Westernized) Urban Indians. He has suggested that India should replace Britain in the UN Security Council.
To the ears of the FEW Urban Indians, whose self-esteem depends on Western approval, Martin Wolf’s words are music. My feeling is that we will hear about this in India for the next 5-15 years. The Urban FEW will see Martin Wolf’s endorsement as vindication of India’s ‘greatness’. It will soon be picked up on the Internet, endlessly tweeted and much chest-thumping will happen.
Without seeing if the UN itself will last or survive. After this Great Recession, will Western and related economies do a double-dip? With the West in debt and with the sword of inflation hanging over their heads, who will exactly fund the UN? (No, I can’t see the logic of India funding the UN – assuming it has the means).
Will the UN last for as long, as it will take India to get this Security Council seat. Will a permanent seat at the Security Council be of any use in a world where the UN will become increasing irrelevant? These dubious clubs depend on victims to approve and finance their own slaughter – and these memberships don’t appeal to India.
Many decades ago, India helped sustain the illusion of British super-power by joining the Commonwealth. Will India rush in to join the OECD? Will India expend energy, goodwill and influence to get a seat at this ‘high table’ – which Manmohan Singh has set his heart on?
I wonder how many Indian newspapers and media houses will flock to Martin Wolf after this post – with lucrative syndication deals?