Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

The Future Of War Is Bright

November 27, 2012 3 comments

Does war and mass destruction have a future? 500 years of war, genocide by the West will continue – unless the West is disarmed.

The scramble for Africa in the closing years of 19th century was a disaster for Africa  |  Cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910) on The Rhodes Colossus: Caricature of Cecil John Rhodes, after he announced plans for a telegraph line and railroad from Cape Town to Cairo. on 10 December 1892 in Punch

The scramble for Africa in the closing years of 19th century was a disaster for Africa | Cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910) on The Rhodes Colossus: Caricature of Cecil John Rhodes, after he announced plans for a telegraph line and railroad from Cape Town to Cairo. on 10 December 1892 in Punch

Propaganda

False ideas.

Academia floats. Media promotes.

Take this study by Norwegian University (@UniOslo) on the future of war.

It is now 25 years since Africa’s population surpassed that of China and India: it now stands at 2.8 billion.

This mix of futurology and fiction is one of the possible answers to what the world will look like in 2050. Part of the reason that future wars in now relatively peaceful countries such as Mozambique – whose civil war is now 30 years in the past – and Tanzania is the contention that war itself is going to become far less common.

Havard Hegre, a professor in the department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, is the latest academic to devise a statistical model capable of reaching into the future and telling us what is likely to happen next. His study, in collaboration with the Peace Research Institute Oslo, claims that in five years’ time India, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Uganda and Burma will be at the greatest risk of conflict, while in 40 years, it will be China, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

For the purpose of the model, war is defined as being between governments and political organisations that use violence and in which at least 25 people die.

“The number of conflicts is falling,” the professor observes. “We expect this fall to continue. We predict a steady fall in the number of conflicts in the next 40 years. Conflicts that involve a high degree of violence, such as Syria, are becoming increasingly rare.”

In other words, the number of wars will halve. In 2009, some 15 per cent of the world’s countries were suffering from armed conflicts. That proportion will fall to 7 per cent midway through this century, according to the Norwegian researchers’ predictions. At its core, the study has taken a history of global conflicts over the last 40 years and added United Nations predictions for key indicators such as infant mortality rates and population structures up to 2050 to data on probable education rates.

His conflict model shows the combination of higher education, lower infant mortality, smaller youth cohorts, and lower population growth are a few of the reasons why the world can expect a more peaceful future. The population is expected to grow, but at a slower pace than today, and the proportion of young people will decrease in most countries, with the exception of African ones.

Unfortunately, the model has already had to be tweaked to take account of the Arab Spring and renewed Israeli-Palestinian tensions. The authors admitted that since the first findings of the model were published in 2009, conflicts in the Middle East had weakened the clear correlation between socio-economic development and the absence of civil war, while the fighting in Syria and Libya had shown that “we also have to include democratisation processes in the model”.

via The future of war is looking bleak – World Politics – World – The Independent.

Wrong

2050 projections based on blinkered studies. Factually wrong.

Africa’s population after the end of WWII, in 1950 was estimated at 22 crores (220 million) – and is now at about 110 crores (1100 million). Can it be 2.8 billion ?(280 cr.; 2800 million). Even by 2050? Unless external meddling is stopped?

For the 200 years of the British Raj in India, population in India grew at its slowest pace, as per historical estimates.

Africa suffered more.

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General. | Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy – cartoons.ac.uk

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General. | Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy – cartoons.ac.uk

Wronger

Population decline of Africa was a direct result of slavery and colonialism.

Colonialism in Africa was dismantled over thirty years (1947-1977) after India – a process in which India’s foreign policy played no small role. Seeing colonialism anywhere as a threat to India, India’s foreign policy in the first 25 years concentrated more on global issues than on India’s own interests. Without economic or military might, India spoke on world stages – and colonial powers listened.

With great resentment.

Under Nehru's Foreign Policy, India's voice was heard by super-powers, on the global stage. Even though India was militarily and economically weak. This cartoon from a British magazine shows Nehru's position on Suez rankled in Britain. Kashmir was a part of India - and Suez was NOT a part of Britain, but a part of Egypt. (Nehru - on Kashmir - On Suez; artist: Ronald Searle. Published in Punch Magazine 23 January 1957. Cartoon source and courtesy - punchcartoons.com).

Under Nehru’s Foreign Policy, India’s voice was heard by super-powers, on the global stage. Even though India was militarily and economically weak. This cartoon from a British magazine shows Nehru’s position on Suez rankled in Britain. Kashmir was a part of India – and Suez was NOT a part of Britain, but a part of Egypt. (Nehru – on Kashmir – On Suez; artist: Ronald Searle. Published in Punch Magazine 23 January 1957. Cartoon source and courtesy – punchcartoons.com).

Wrongest

War is probably decreasing because war mongers in the West no longer have the capacity, due ageing population and economic decline at home.

No less significant is the fact that resistant societies have found new ways to wage war. Libya is the most recent example.

In Africa.

The extract above interestingly does not mention colonialism, missionary objectives or Pax Americana as a cause but blames people for being born – through concepts like population control.

Dubious studies by people with doubtful intentions.


Is India getting encircled?

June 2, 2012 4 comments

Using China-encircles-India theory, the Anglo-Saxon Bloc is actually encircling India. All over again. This time the action is in Bangladesh.

Manipulating media and opinion to create 'frenemies'. - practically at will. Islamic world, China, Russia in that order are bugbears of the West.  But, that can change - and quickly.  |  Cartoon titled Debt To China By Brian Fairrington; Cagle Cartoons - March 26th, 2009; 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy - politicalcartoons.com  |  Click for image.

Manipulating media and opinion to create ‘frenemies’. – practically at will. Islāmic world, China, Russia in that order are bugbear of the West. But, that can change – and quickly. | Cartoon titled Debt To China By Brian Fairrington; Cagle Cartoons – March 26th, 2009; 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – politicalcartoons.com | Click for image.

Frenemies – for now

The Chinese have no tradition of imperialism or a history of conquest.

To believe that China is India’s biggest threat is to believe that the Chinese national and State character is changing.

Where is the evidence of this change? Minor border disputes with neighbours?

China’s expansion of naval power? What could be China’s realistic motivations for seeking more naval bases?

Ships from the Chinese Navy patrolling the seas on anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden area for over a year now could not go to the rescue of De Xin Hai a Chinese bulk carrier with a Chinese crew of 25 members transporting coal which was hijacked by a group of Somali pirates 400 miles North-East of Seychelles and taken to the waters off Somalia in October last.

Their demand for ransom was initially resisted by the Chinese. How can China, which views itself as a power on par with the US, pay ransom? The US Navy’s Sea Air Land Commandoes (SEAL) had rescued the master of the US ship “Maersk Alabama” in an operation on April 4,2009. There were similar instances of intervention by the naval special forces of Holland and France.

Independent experts outside China were not hopeful of the Chinese Navy’s ability to intervene. They were certain that the Chinese Navy would ultimately have to cave in to the demands of the Somali pirates. The Jamestown Foundation, a prestigious American think-tank based in Washington DC, had predicted that China was unlikely to use its special forces in a rescue operation because it had too few ships in the area and its ships had no combat experience, especially in dealing with pirates.

Chinese authorities managed to get back their ship and crew from the pirates on December 28,2009, after air-dropping sacks containing US $ four million on board the ship from a helicopter. The pirates collected the money and left the hijacked ship, which is now reported to be on its way back home.

The Chinese Government has so far not told its people that it paid a ransom in order to get the ship and its crew back. The “China Daily” News merely told its readers that the ship had been “successfully rescued”.

Their embarrassing experience with this incident has brought home to the Chinese the limitations from which their Navy suffers.

One of the lessons mentioned by their experts is that the Chinese Navy could not hope to be the equal of its US counterparts unless it had overseas bases in areas of concern.

China already has two options before it—- Gwadar on the Balochistan coast in Pakistan and Hambantota in Sri Lanka. It has already constructed for Pakistan a commercial port at Gwadar, which is now being managed by a Singapore company.

Pakistan would be only too happy to respond positively to any Chinese request for naval base facilities at Gwadar. The only inhibiting factor for China would be the bad security situation in the area due to the ongoing Baloch freedom struggle. From the point of view of security, Hambantota could be ideal for the Chinese, but would the Sri Lankan Government agree to any such proposal if it comes from Beijing? (via Sri Lanka Guardian: China’s interest in naval base: Gwadar or Hambantota or elsewhere?).

Non aggressive activities like education is also termed in military terms. |  Cartoon By Brian Fairrington, source & courtesy - Cagle Cartoons - 9/24/2009 12:00:00 AM  |  Click for image.

Non aggressive activities like education is also termed in military terms. | Cartoon By Brian Fairrington, source & courtesy – Cagle Cartoons – 9/24/2009 12:00:00 AM | Click for image.

History tells us

Instead, look at Western imperialism.

After 500 years of Western imperialism, entire populations and continents have been wasted. Native Americans, Australian aborigines, Africa. This list is just for starters.

US has a significant presence in Pakistan, Afghanistan – and now wanting it in Bangladesh, too.

America’s threat to send its seventh fleet to stop liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 is a known fact. Now, 41 years later – it is America again – which wants to park its seventh fleet in the country – for its strategic interests. Worried by increasing presence of Chinese naval bases in the South China Sea – America now eyes a counter strategy – as it wants an overall presence in Asia – right from Japan to its Diego Garicia base in the Indian Ocean.

This by parking its seventh fleet in a base in Chittagong giving it both an eye on taking on China and a strategic post in Asia as it pulls out of Afghanisthan. The US State Department denying on the record that Hillary Clinton’s visits had anything to do with military co-operation.

This move by America could put India on the back foot if the American fleet moves to Bangladesh, all of India’s security installations will come under the American scanner. Bangladesh is not willing to comment on record even offering explanation to deny the developments. This Clinton visit a more strategic one than just a friendly one- the Indian establishment caught unawares–as this base could cast a shadow on India’s own strategic interests. (via Excl: America eyes Bangladesh- TIMESNOW.tv – Latest Breaking News, Big News Stories, News Videos).

Fox guarding the chicken-coop

China’s diplomatic activity has been under much scrutiny by the West.

There’s been much talk in the media of an apparent offer by the Seychelles of a base for Chinese ships deployed to the Gulf of Aden and the West Indian Ocean, to help combat piracy. China’s Foreign Ministry was quick to state that Beijing isn’t contemplating a military base in for the Seychelles, adding that it wouldn’t “violate” its traditional policy of “not stationing troops abroad.” China began pursuing its so-called “String of Pearls” strategy in the Indian Ocean in 2001 via the commercial route, constructing the Gwadar port. Subsequently, China won contracts to construct ports at Hambantota on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Kyaukpyu on the east coast of Burma in the Arabian Sea.

But what’s China’s interest in establishing a base in the Seychelles?

For a start, it satisfies China’s hunger for a firm foothold in the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles provides the PLA Navy an ideal platform from which to counter any threat to its sea lines of communication from Africa by the U.S. Navy operating out of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean region. In addition, to assist with the resupply, rest and refit of PLAN ships undertaking anti-piracy duties in the region, China requires a large logistics depot, which can be supplied by air and merchant/naval ships.

Perhaps most significantly, the Seychelles is equidistant from sea lines of control carrying oil from the Middle East and Africa to China, enabling the PLAN to effectively support its merchant vessels in times of crisis. (via China Base a Threat to India Navy? | The Diplomat).

Note how China is portrayed - with a devil's tail. While the US has been blaming China for global imbalances; the Euro-zone is quiet. Euro-zone needs China to sustain and stabilize the Euro.  |  Cartoon titled Currency Battles By Pavel Constantin, Romania - 11/19/2010 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy - politicalcartoons.com  |  Click for image.

Note how China is portrayed – with a devil’s tail. While the US has been blaming China for global imbalances; the Euro-zone is quiet. Euro-zone needs China to sustain and stabilize the Euro. | Cartoon titled Currency Battles By Pavel Constantin, Romania – 11/19/2010 12:00:00 AM; source & courtesy – politicalcartoons.com | Click for image.

Eternal vigilance, they say

After Sri Lanka refused naval base facilities to the US. A human rights violations censure motion was moved by the US.

Globally, military bases are at

the heart of a global American empire that employs some 1,000 bases outside the United States. Their purpose: To ensure that no matter who governs in Asia, Africa or around the world, the US military would be in a position to “run the planet” from its chain of strategic island bases. (via Chagos: The heart of an American empire? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English).

More than two centuries ago, an American politician noted, ‘eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’.

It is time we believed him.

A Genocide Debate: History, Cause & Effect

May 22, 2012 4 comments

How comparable are Rwandan warlords and Bosnia’s killers to George Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan? The genocide debate …

Comparing a Rwandan warlord with George Bush is gross logic. One is the head of a super-power while the other is a temporary and accidental upper-hand in a civil war  |  Cartoonist - Kevin Moore on 11/8/04; titled Mandate with the Devil; source & courtesy - incontemptcomics.com  |  Click for image

Comparing a Rwandan warlord with George Bush is gross logic. One is the head of a super-power while the other is a temporary and accidental upper-hand in a civil war | Cartoonist – Kevin Moore on 11/8/04; titled Mandate with the Devil; source & courtesy – incontemptcomics.com | Click for image

Though, in 1995, the women and children of Srebrenica were first removed from the killing grounds by Bosnian Serb troops, though the 8,000 men and boys they killed were a small proportion of the Bosnian Muslim population, it meets the definition. So the trial of Ratko Mladic, the troops’ commander, which began last week, matters. Whatever one thinks of the even-handedness of international law, and though it remains true that men who commissioned or caused the killing of greater numbers of people (George Bush and Tony Blair, for instance) have not been brought to justice and are unlikely to be, every prosecution of this kind makes the world a better place. (via My fight may be hopeless, but it is as necessary as ever | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian).

Here is an interesting Western debate – between members of self-identified Left. On the issue of genocide.

George Monbiot  of The Guardian tries to persuade Noam Chomsky, John Pilger that the Aboriginal genocide in Australia or the extermination of the Native Americans is somehow equal or problematic as civil war killings by warlords in Balkans and Africa (specifically in Rwanda and Bosnia).

There are two aspects that seem important to me.

One – There is a difference between systematic killings by the State – like in the case of Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, and the killings by factions in a civil war – like in Rwanda and Bosnia. There is also a good case that these two cases of killings (Rwanda and Bosnia) were in fact based on the structures erected and supported by Western imperialism.

Two – A significant difference is status of the killers.

Can a Rwandan warlord who kills nearly a million Africans in a civil war be an equal to a George Bush who initiated war against Iraq based on patently false grounds?

George Monbiot seems to say yes!


Related posts

Iraqi vs American Lives: Comparing Relative Value of Lives Lost

Gold – Will the West buy or kill?

Looking Back At Arab Spring

Welcome to Libya’s ‘democracy’

What do good Christians do? War, Kill, Death, Bomb, Fire

‘Progress’ in Libya

Media Role In Iraq War

War On Terror – Desert Bloc Style

The Taking of Iraq

Shopping With Iraq’s $1.2 Trillion – What It Can Buy For The US

War and crimes

The shadow of oil

Onward, American Soldiers! Another million await death

Islamic world changing?

Carnegie, I can see you

How was Churchill different from Hitler …

Buffalo Soldier burial used to Whitewash ‘Red Indian’ genocide

Vatican uses short codes to blame Hinduism for Hitler’s Holocaust

Roma Gypsies face Northern Ireland ethnic violence

Zanzibar: Where women come to buy sex

February 12, 2012 3 comments

Zanzibar: A favorite tourist destination with European women for one reason. Sexual services by eager African men for money.

Fake fancy Maasai, Stonetown, Tanzania  |  Image source and courtesy - travelpod.com  |  Click or source image.

Fake fancy Maasai, Stonetown, Tanzania | Image source and courtesy - travelpod.com | Click or source image.

Less known

Commercial sex provided by women is well understood and covered by media.

Much less discussed and known is commercial sex bought by women.

Probably the global capital of this industry are the beaches of Zanzibar – an autonomous region of Tanzania.

European women

tourists come here, “have fun” the week or two weeks they’re here by exploiting young men or women eager to earn some money. Perhaps I should be more explicit about the nature of the exploitation tourists bring here. The disturbing fact is that many tourists come here and rent “guides” who are nothing more than sex workers. Most of the sex workers, believe it or not, are young men, who have no good education or job prospect. And it is the women from Europe (mostly) who come here to have fun with these young, hungry men. If pedophile men from Europe and North America go to Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam to have sex with children, women from Europe and North America come here to Zanzibar to do the same (although technically consensual) thing. You know that shy woman (perhaps her name is Cheryl) sitting in the next cubical workstation who seems to avoid humanity is not so shy when she takes her vacation in Zanzibar.(via Zanzibar: Paradise in Peril (Take that CNN!) « The East African Philosopher).

sex tourism that I’ve seen in the island is a strange phenomenon of the overall tourism trend in the island. First, most people don’t call it sex tourism because the predominant tourists who engage in the exchange of sex for benefit (whether money, food or other gifts, or a combination) are women. If the majority of the people that were doing this were men then you would have already seen the outrage in the press and government crackdown. Second, since these tourists “rent” beach boys (again, it is very hard for men to get away with this as easily as the women) as a local guide, the sex part isn’t obvious but is an acknowledged fact. Thirdly, the majority of these men are outsiders i.e. from the mainland, being with a beach boy and using a beach boy is not a big deal anymore. It is just something that happens and has that feel of “if it is not my brother, son, uncle, etc doing then it is not my problem” attitude. (via Zanzibar: Paradise in Peril (Take that CNN!) « The East African Philosopher).

A Fake Masai Warrior targets 'weak' European women on Zanzibar's beaches  |  Image by Lotte Vermeij; courtesy - radionetherlands.nl  |  Click for source image.

A Fake Masai Warrior targets 'weak' European women on Zanzibar's beaches | Image by Lotte Vermeij; courtesy - radionetherlands.nl | Click for source image.

Lovelorn and ‘money-lorn’

Women from West Europe, especially from Italy, Netherlands support Zanzibar’s thriving commercial sex industry.

Young African men, sometimes just children, are the main suppliers of sex. Locally known as mzungu women, it comes from the Swahili word for “white people”, derived from Mzungu kati meaning “wandering around in circles, going nowhere.”

Urban legends?

Masai tribesmen have acquired a reputation with mzungu women for their ‘performance’. Young boys, wishing to snare mzungu women in Zanzibar, cultivate Masai get-ups.

Especially, after story of ‘The White Masai’.

Corinne Hofmann, a Swiss tourist in 1986, then 26 years, dumped her boyfriend, and married Lketinga, a Masai, who danced for tourists. In 1998, her book, ‘The White Masai‘ was published in 1998, and achieved commercial success. Translated into more than 15 languages, ‘The White Masai‘ was made into a film, Die Weisse Massai (The White Massai) in 2004.

Still from the film, The White Masai  |  Image source& courtesy - powerofculture.nl  |  Click for source image.

Still from the film, The White Masai | Image source& courtesy - powerofculture.nl | Click for source image.

Understandably, ‘usage’ in these cases is a two-way street.

Corrinne Hofmann earned millions from this ‘adventure’. Her Masai husband got some money – from his ‘generous’ wife.

But, if you believe Western media, it is the clever African men, who ‘exploit’ these weak European women.

Business as usual

Travel agencies around Africa, not very discreetly, promote this kind of tourism.

Western media, specifically English, has maintained a stoic silence, mostly – with a patronizing advice sometimes.

As can be expected, drugs are a part of the local scene.


China’s Soft Power Ambitions

January 13, 2012 1 comment

China’s expected rise as a global soft-power has been beset with unexpected difficulties and slower if not zero growth.

Earlier China could no wrong. Now China gets nothing right.  |  Cartoonist - Rex May; source and courtesy - toonpool.com  |  Click for larger image.

Earlier China could no wrong. Now China gets nothing right. | Cartoonist - Rex May; source and courtesy - toonpool.com | Click for larger image.

Rising power

Although Joseph Nye supposedly coined the term soft-power in the 1980s, it came into popular usage after his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics.

From the time that Joseph Nye coined the term soft-power, China has been positioned, by Western media as the challenger to American (& Western) soft-power.

America has been particularly adept at using soft-power. In modern times, whether its was Jesse Owens (victim becomes spokesman of Promised Land) after 1936 Berlin Olympics, or the use of jazz and hip-hop to showcase American ‘culture.’ American multinationals serve as outposts of American media and culture.

But curiously, the more China tries to become a soft-power, the more incapable it finds itself.

Mr Hu may have been slow to adopt Mr Nye’s term openly, but soon after he took office in 2002 he began trying to make China a more attractive brand. In June 2003 a small group of senior propaganda officials and foreign-policy experts met in Beijing for the first time to discuss the importance of soft power. (via China abroad: Sun Tzu and the art of soft power | The Economist).

Cultural security – they say

Most recently, the Chinese President, Hu Jin Tao, lamented the lack of Chinese soft-power – and cautioned the Chinese nation of the dangers from Western culture.

Chinese leaders have long lamented the fact that Western expressions of popular culture and art seem to overshadow those from China. The top-grossing films in China have been “Avatar” and “Transformers 3,” and the music of Lady Gaga is as popular here as that of any Chinese pop singer. In October, at the sixth plenum of the party’s Central Committee, where Mr. Hu gave his speech, officials discussed the need for bolstering the “cultural security” of China.

At the same time, China has been making a push to increase its cultural influence abroad, or its “soft power.” The government has opened up Confucius Institutes around the world to aid foreigners in learning Chinese. The state is also lavishing money on opening operations of large state-run news organizations, including Xinhua, the state news agency, and China Central Television, in cities around the world. Officials from those organizations say they hope their version of the world events becomes as common as those from Western news organizations.

People involved in the arts here say the policy also means more government financing for Chinese companies to create cultural products, ranging from books to live musical productions. At the same time, officials have been encouraging many cultural industries to become more market driven and rely less on government subsidies.

President Hu Jintao has said China must strengthen its cultural production to defend against the West’s assault on the country’s culture and ideology, according to an essay in a Communist Party policy magazine published this week. The publication of Mr. Hu’s words signaled that a new major policy initiative announced in October would continue well into 2012.

“The overall strength of Chinese culture and its international influence is not commensurate with China’s international status,” Mr. Hu said in his essay, according to another translation.

“The international culture of the West is strong while we are weak,” he added.(via China’s Leader Pushes Back at Lady Gaga and Western Culture – NYTimes.com).

To Western media, India, seemed like an unlikely candidate as Emerging Soft-Power, has been ranked highest among emerging economies.

The index produced by the ICD ranked forty countries by these means, and found that Germany and the Netherlands came joint first, with Norway in third. The UK was fifth, the US was seventh, and India was the leading emerging economy, in tenth place.

The true essence of soft-power. How the West creates a hegemony using sports  |  Cartoonist - Jonathan Zapiro; source & courtesy - movingimages.wordpress.com  |  Click for larger source image.

The true essence of soft-power. How the West creates a hegemony using sports | Cartoonist - Jonathan Zapiro; source & courtesy - movingimages.wordpress.com | Click for larger source image.

Against the wind

Although China has been ranked the 3rd largest marketfor film exhibition, domestic Chinese films have had lukewarm reception from Chinese viewers – especially compared to Hollywood.

The  Chinese film industry, after support from the Chinese government and even after Hollywood investments, it is the unlikely Nigerian film industry that has both overtaken China and Hollywood.

While Korea, Taipei, China and even Europe struggle with keeping their film industries alive, Bollywood and the Nigerian film industry seem to having it easy. Nollywood, as Nigeria’s film industry has come to be known, is today second only to Bollywood in production volumes. Going by revenues, Nollywood slips to third place.  Is global soft-power following the 2ndlook model of culture competition – and not the model of so-called clash of civilizations.

What gives?


‘Progress’ in Libya

November 13, 2011 2 comments

Over the last 100 years, the West has been installing and removing puppets to rule over the Middle East.

100 years of regime changes in the Middle East have distorted the course of events in the Middle East. (War in Libya - Cartoon by Mike Keefe, on 23 Mar 2011; editorial cartoonist for the Denver Post; source and courtesy - counterinformation.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

100 years of regime changes in the Middle East have distorted the course of events in the Middle East. (War in Libya - Cartoon by Mike Keefe, on 23 Mar 2011; editorial cartoonist for the Denver Post; source and courtesy - counterinformation.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

Who said Gaddafi had to go?

Hugh Roberts

Gaddafi is dead, the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriyya over. But is what we have witnessed, Hugh Roberts asks in the new issue of the LRB, ‘a revolution, or a counter-revolution’? In 1969 Gaddafi and his Free Officers overthrew King Idris, who had cut Libya off from the rest of the Arab world out of deference to the Western powers that had put him on the throne. Once in power, Gaddafi made new friends in Africa: Boumediène, King Hassan, Idi Amin. He even planned to provide the Sahel countries with water from the vast reserves beneath Libya’s desert. This will not be possible, following the success of the Nato-assisted ‘revolution’. Western (particularly French) water companies are queuing up alongside the oil firms for their slice of the action. A system of dual power is emerging, whereby decisions about everything that really counts – oil, gas, water, finance, trade, security – will be made outside the country. Though the NTC occupies centre stage in Tripoli, the country’s formal government, Roberts argues, ‘will be a junior partner of the new Libya’s Western sponsors’. More

Good time and place

This extract linked above is good place to start understanding how Libya and Gaddafi came to a sorry end. And now is a good time to remind ourselves of recent events in Middle East. But before that, a short recap of the last 100 years in the Middle East.

West has decided that Libya 'goes' to EU. (Cartoon by Brazilian Carlos Latuff; released on August 22, 2011). Click for source image.

West has decided that Libya 'goes' to EU. (Cartoon by Brazilian Carlos Latuff; released on August 22, 2011). Click for source image.

Killing fields

At the end of 19th century, as British Empire expanded into Africa, capturing gold mines of Africa, the most significant objective of the Anglo-Saxon Bloc was to end the Ottoman Empire. Declared a leading ideologue of the British Empire -

Just as Europe turns upon the dismemberment of Turkey, so the Eastern question in Asia turns upon the continued solidarity of Hindustan - George Nathaniel Curzon Curzon (Marquis of) in Problems of the Far East: Japan–Korea–China; published in 1894.

Secret agents as historians

Between 1890-1920, Britain worked on plans to dismember the Ottoman Empire – plans that were executed after WWI. Renegades-warlords fighting against the Ottoman Empire were glorified as ‘freedom-fighters’ of the Middle East and installed as pliable rulers by Western masters. Western intelligence agents, posing as archaeologists and historians (Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, TE Lawrence), part of the Arab Bureau, were sent into Ottoman territories to support supply and manage these renegade-warlords.

Who do we kill today?  Who is up for killing?  |  Cartoonist Ted Rall on 21st Oct. 2011; source & courtesy - rall.com  |  Click for larger source image.

Who do we kill today? Who is up for killing? | Cartoonist Ted Rall on 21st Oct. 2011; source & courtesy - rall.com | Click for larger source image.

‘Progress’ … they promised

These Middle-East despots, then potentates, were put in positions of power after WWI by Western powers. All the while, condemning the ‘regressive’ Ottomans, making tall claims about ‘progress’, these despots have run the Middle-East into the ground. Within 20-30 years after their installation, these Western-puppets, ran out of good-will and were overthrown in a series of mostly bloodless coups. 30 years after the break up of the Ottoman Empire, the template was reused by the British Raj to break up India – using Jinnah.

A cure worse than the disease

Muammar Gaddafi was one such coup leader who overthrew King Idris – a Western puppet. While no paragon of benign governance, Western cures seem worse than the Islamic disease. The numbers of people that Saddam killed was far less than the score of George Bush. We may see similarly, that Qaddafi’s dictatorship was a lesser evil than the NATO puppets.

Debt Crisis in The Third World

October 16, 2011 4 comments

The West is nearly US$100 trillion in debt and 14% of global population. Emerging Markets and Third World has 80% of global population and gets less than US$10 trillion of funding.

Cartoon by Bendib. Click for larger image.

Cartoon by Bendib. Click for larger image.

The Debt Crisis: An Overview

Modern day international usury is, of course, much more complex than the more primitive relation we have just presented. Total Third World debt amounts to USD2 trillion; annual payments is about USD 200million. The system of debts has evolved into a key aspect of the capitalist economy; a weapon for consolidating the domination of the people’s of the Third World. In many ways, the debt today is a weapon more potent than others devised by colonialism and neo-colonialism.

It is institutionalized to a very high degree, is regulated by a massive bureaucracy of the multilateral finance institutions; and backed up by the military might of the mightiest nations on earth. Worse the burden of paying debts is passed on to society in general as a routinary process. (via South South Summit 1999 Document: The Development and Historical Context of the Debt Crisis).

Pareto’s Economics

The previous post examined the debt situation of the West.

Since the global financial system is a Western captive, humungous debts are arranged, serviced, cancelled, written-off, repaid – without significant discomfort. Gross debt of the West is US$ 100 trillion (State; Corporate and Household); while the States of West are debtor to the extent of US$ 30 trillion; which is nearly 40% of global GDP.

Finally, the debt problem will be managed. Many ways to skin a cat.

But …

US$2 trillion debt that is owed by the developing world will be used to extract maximum benefit – at lowest prices. Raw materials will be bought at below-low prices. Imports will be priced at exorbitantly.

The answer is …

Two-fold. At an individual level, invest and stay invested in gold. At a national level, the developing world must create a multilateral framework for a third currency.


Democracy – How Think tanks shape policy making

June 15, 2011 3 comments
Finally, less than 100,000 people have the power to shape the world in a manner they deem fit. Concentration of power. (Cartoon BY - ANDY SINGER, Courtesy - POLITICALCARTOONS.COM  -  2/4/2010 12:00:00 AM). Click for larger image.

Finally, less than 100,000 people have the power to shape the world in a manner they deem fit. Concentration of power. (Cartoon BY - ANDY SINGER, Courtesy - POLITICALCARTOONS.COM - 2/4/2010 12:00:00 AM). Click for larger image.

Old boys club

Council on Foreign Relations sounds like a pretty harmless group, which has a few academics that potter around – and release an occasional irrelevant paper.

Not quite. If not harmful, they are atleast pretty powerful.

In 1952, Eisenhower and Richard Nixon became the first CFR members to be elected President and Vice President of the USA.

Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate beaten by Eisenhower and Nixon, was also a CFR member.

‘The Council was starting to dominate American politics at the highest levels,’ write Burnett and Games.

‘The pattern would be repeated four years later, with Stevenson again losing out to Eisenhower and Nixon.

‘Although Nixon was to narrowly lose the next election in 1960 against John F Kennedy, the charismatic Bostonian was another member of the CFR.

‘Nixon would return in 1968 to defeat fellow CFR member Hubert Humphrey, and win again in 1972 against George McGovern.

‘Although not a CFR member in 1972, McGovern saw the light and joined afterwards.’ (via Southern Times – Why Africa needs secret societies).

Red herrings – the challenge ahead

English language media at least, is dominated by a few news agencies like Reuters, Bloomberg, API, and AFP. These agencies in turn are fed by various think tanks and reserch organizations, which then dominate global debate.  In the last few years, top 10 websites control 75% of the web traffic. Hollywood dominates the big screen.

For instance the highly flawed model of Transparency International promotes a narrative of corrupt Africa and Asia. To dominate the debate, censorship is not the only solution. It is not even a preferred solution.

More noise is equally effective. 

Finally a few media conglomerates drive the global mindset. Usually censorship is not needed. More noise is equally effective. (Cartoonist - Ares, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons, www.caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Finally a few media conglomerates drive the global mindset. Usually censorship is not needed. More noise is equally effective. (Cartoonist - Ares, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons, http://www.caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Capture and exploit

After this kind of media capture, the West drives the narrative. And exploits this narrative. To get over the ‘problem’ of economic stagnation, the West has created artificial ‘crisis’ situations.

These are major diplomatic offensives using media, academia, events and situations, to

  • Maintain superior negotiating positions
  • Define the agenda – which usually means non-substantive issues.

But for an India to match the trade and tariff barriers, propaganda and diplomatic offensives, calls for more resources.

The image of corrupt politician, Congressman, has become easy to promote, driven by Transparency International's flawed data. The role of these Think Tanks gets concealed. (Cartoon - BY PAT BAGLEY, Published by SALT LAKE TRIBUNE  -  1/27/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

The image of corrupt politician, Congressman, has become easy to promote, driven by Transparency International's flawed data. The role of these Think Tanks gets concealed. (Cartoon - BY PAT BAGLEY, Published by SALT LAKE TRIBUNE - 1/27/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Benign designs?

The manner of funding Indian NGOs by external sources, especially the West, is not benign anymore. More than 33 lakh NGOs operate in India, with foreign funding that is estimated at US$4 billion. This figure is double the official Government figure that is based on declared receipts, which reports say, are under-declared.

In times to come

Is the West aiming to capture these Indian ‘think-tanks’? The promotion of Western Climate Change agenda by Amartya Sen, under the auspices of the Aspen Institute India is indication of times to come.

Mechanics of माया maya?

Africa – A Problem of various ‘isms’, ‘archies’ and ‘cracies’

December 9, 2010 1 comment
The world has not been able to shake off the spell of Western 'maya'!

The world has not been able to shake off the spell of Western 'maya'!

EU trade policy has long been hijacked by European business, which wants raw materials at cheap prices. EU priorities are a mirror image of positions adopted by corporate lobby groups. The commission frankly states: “We will rely on EU business to provide much of the information on the barriers which affect their trade or investment with third countries.”

There is a serious risk that Europe’s budget and unemployment crisis will put policymakers even more in hock to the demands of big business.

Opposition from Africa

It is hardly surprising that European policy faces mounting opposition from most African countries, which have long opposed signing investment agreements with the EU. The Raw Materials Initiative should be opposed by Europe’s citizens, too, because it distracts from the need to reduce their own consumption. Europeans already consume four times as much as the average African. (read more via The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : The European Union’s ugly resource grab).

Idea of ‘exploiting’ resources on the cheap

To take away rights from people ‘who do not know the value’ of such resources (Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, Africans) and transfer property rights to the ‘discoverer’ of these resources is an old idea which strangely finds legitimacy, even after 400 years of bad experience. Ranging from Spain to Belgium, with the Dutch and the English, all joined in this ‘resource’ grab. And this saga continues.

The 'resource grab' and the campaign to keep Africa poor continues.

The 'resource grab' and the campaign to keep Africa poor continues.

Bankruptcy of ideology – ism, cracy and archy

In some case, modern nation-States based on various ‘isms’ (Capitalism, Communism, Socialism) combine with various ‘archy’ (monarchy, oligarchy) and ‘cracy’ (democracy, plutocracy, bureaucracy) continue to ensure that power and wealth remains in the hands of very few. The Rest of Us have to be happy with illusion of being equal, of having power over leaders, etc. And no.

This power does NOT flow from the barrel of the gun – but from limiting access to ज़र, zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land). Instead of various ‘isms’, ‘archies’ and ‘cracies’, what the world needs is a system that will guarantee the four essential freedoms – काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh (liberty) and धर्मं dharma (justice)

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

Wall Street Journal invokes Ayn Rand to ‘Whitewash’ History

September 8, 2010 8 comments
The art for a 1999 postage stamp. Image courtesy - Getty Images via online.wsj.com

The art for a 1999 postage stamp. Image courtesy - Getty Images via online.wsj.com

Ultimately, “Atlas Shrugged” is a celebration of the entrepreneur, the risk taker and the cultivator of wealth through human intellect. Critics dismissed the novel as simple-minded, and even some of Rand’s political admirers complained that she lacked compassion. Yet one pertinent warning resounds throughout the book: When profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear — leaving everyone the poorer. (via ‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years – WSJ.com).

Adversity does strange things

The second half of 20th century saw the end to dominant inputs for Western ‘success’.The Western world, faced a serious economic crises with the decline in: -

  1. Slavery in the Western world, due to many slave revolts, social disaffection due to unemployment
  2. Colonial exploitation was an ‘adequate’ replacement for slavery
  3. Genocide in the Americas, and Australia – and near annihilation in Africa.
  4. The wages of crime. Opium (forced production in India, forced trade with China), piracy, slave trading

Bretton Woods agreement helped the Western world to partly re-engineer their economies. The re-working of the global political system became essential, after non-colonial nations with lower access to slavery, led by Germany, challenged the dominant colonial-slavery economies of Europe (Britain, and France). These conflicts quickly spread and became WWI and WWII.

Hiding behind Ayn Rand's skirts seems like such a bad idea!

Hiding behind Ayn Rand's skirts seems like such a bad idea!

By the end of WWII, the world was left standing with US as the major economic force in the world. Faced with this existential crises, the last thing that the West needed was a dose of truth.

Pulp fiction of capitalism

This ‘White-Wash’ job was taken up by professional Western propagandists. One such was a popular writer, waxing nostalgic for this ‘golden age’ – Ayn Rand.

Her books have become popular in the last 50 years. In India too, her popularity has created a demand for pirated prints of her books that are sold from pavements. Her glossing over slavery, her token objections to segregation were reminiscent of an age gone by. The economic contribution of slavery to the wealth of the West, the creation of patronage structures for ‘innovation and invention’ and the loot from the colonies were all absent from Ayn Rand’s hagiography on capitalism.

There was no mention whatsoever of the numerous genocides by the West in various continents of the world. He disregard for family structures was her contribution to ‘modernizing’ capitalism.

Can Ayn Rand be the 'guiding light' at Cato Institute!

Can Ayn Rand be the 'guiding light' at Cato Institute!

Stephen Moore’s vacuous memoirs of his time with the Cato Institute, ‘virginity’ and ‘initiation’ seems like a rather clueless intellectual response by the West.

To clutch Ayn Rand’s skirts, is pretty lame. Facing up to the biggest challenge the Western world has seen – I would say, in the last 500 years.

None of this new

Every word of what I have written is known. So it should not be a surprise to any one. But to see the Wall Street Journal, a ‘respected’ pillar of the Western economy, reduced to publishing such writing by Shri Stephen Moore, a senior writer, seems like a rather big come down.

For the West!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 932 other followers

%d bloggers like this: