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Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

In A G-0 World, Can BRICS Show Leadership?

February 19, 2013 1 comment

For the world now, instead of ‘G-7, or G-8, or G-20, the more apt description is G-0’ – per Joseph Stiglitz. Can BRICS offer that leadership – starting Afghanistan.

From 1970s, when Pakistan started meddling in Afghan affairs, by how much have Soviet or the American invasions helped Afghanistan?  |  Cartoon By Jeff Darcy, The Cleveland Plain Dealer - 5/21/2012 12:00:00 AM  via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

From 1970s, when Pakistan started meddling in Afghan affairs, by how much have Soviet or the American invasions helped Afghanistan? | Cartoon By Jeff Darcy, The Cleveland Plain Dealer – 5/21/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

With NATO turning tail and leaving, Afghanistan is not much better off than before America’s invasion.

Pakistan, as the sole Islāmic nuclear power, has assigned itself the role of an arbiter of Afghan destiny – a hold over Afghanistan’s future. With its dubious distinction of being a failed State, should Pakistan have any role in Afghanistan?

After ruining Afghanistan with 40 years of disastrous interventions, the West playing the victims is an offensive act | Cartoon By Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico - 9/7/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

After ruining Afghanistan with 40 years of disastrous interventions, the West playing the victims is an offensive act | Cartoon By Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico – 9/7/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

The West, under NATO’s military command, is walking away from Afghanistan with nothing to show for this invasion.

After billions in dollars, with more than a million Afghans affected by death, combat injuries, manifold increase in corruption, and a Saudi-Pakistan financed Taliban is on the rise, Afghanistan is West’s biggest failure after Vietnam. Never before in the last 200 years has West’s leadership been in question so much.

In the current State of the world, in the memorable words of Joseph Stiglitz, why ‘talk about the G-7, or G-8, or G-20, the more apt description is G-0.’

Afghanistan was a much better place one millennium ago - as its agricultural exports, arts and crafts will testify. It is the US-Pakistani involvement from the 70s, which has made Afghanistan into a no-man's land. | Cartoon By Jimmy Margulies, The Record of Hackensack, NJ - 10/11/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Afghanistan was a much better place one millennium ago – as its agricultural exports, arts and crafts will testify. It is the US-Pakistani involvement from the 70s, which has made Afghanistan into a no-man’s land. | Cartoon By Jimmy Margulies, The Record of Hackensack, NJ – 10/11/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Afghanistan will be the test of BRICS.

Till 1980s, the Soviet Union bordered Afghanistan. Today, while Soviet Union’s successor, Russia no longer shares a border with Afghanistan, as a part of BRICS grouping, it may continue to play a role in post-NATO Afghanistan.

Will China-India tensions come in the way of BRICS to do what is good for Afghanistan? Will China work with BRICS to keep Pakistan out of Afghanistan? When it matters, can BRICS nations put aside their differences and work on common problems – like Afghanistan?

Straightening Pakistan is a matter of hours. What will take time is building capacity among BRICS nations to work together on common problems – and put aside differences, when these differences are not directly relevant.

One thing is for sure.

If BRICS cam make an Afghan solution stick, a new age will dawn in global diplomacy. The current void in global leadership will start getting filled.

Civil war in Afghanistan is directly the result of Western interventions in the last 40 years.  |  Cartoon by By Arend Van Dam, politicalcartoons.com - 10/24/2012 12:00:00 AM  via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Civil war in Afghanistan is directly the result of Western interventions in the last 40 years. | Cartoon by By Arend Van Dam, politicalcartoons.com – 10/24/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

With the US and the UK apparently conceding to Pakistan the lead role in reconciliation with Taliban, India is set to hold talks with Russia and China on emerging scenarios in Afghanistan ahead of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force’s withdrawal from the conflict-ravaged country by 2014.

New Delhi is also expected to air its concern over Pakistan’s role in the peace-process in Afghanistan during British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to India scheduled on Monday. Cameron recently hosted Afghan and Pakistan presidents Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari at his country residence Chequers Court. India will get another opportunity to discuss the issues when it will have a trilateral talk with the US and Afghanistan in New Delhi next week.

Sources said India is expected to drive home the point that Pakistan continues to be “a part of the problem” and it cannot yet be seen as “a part of the solution” in Afghanistan. Any hasty careless move to launch the peace process would in fact give an opportunity to Taliban to crawl back to power after 2014. New Delhi is likely to point out that the US itself, in 2011, publicly slammed Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence for its role in fomenting terrorism in Afghanistan.

What worries India is the Afghan High Peace Council’s five-step draft roadmap to 2015, would ultimately give Pakistan the “strategic depth” it always aspired to have in Afghanistan. New Delhi is apprehensive about Washington outsourcing to Islamabad the peace-process with Taliban, before and after the drawdown of the International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan.

The “draft road map” also seeks to give some key positions in post-2014 Afghanistan to the leaders of Taliban, including that of provincial governors, police chiefs and cabinet ministers.

To facilitate the peace-process, Pakistan, since November, released 26 Taliban prisoners from its jails, ostensibly on request from Afghanistan but without any oversight, triggering fear that some of them might go back to extremism.

When Menon broached the issue during a meeting of the BRICS high representatives for security in New Delhi last month, it was agreed that he and his counterparts from Russia and China would have a separate meeting to exchange views on the peace-process with Taliban and discuss the emerging scenarios in Afghanistan. Sources said the meeting might take place later this month.

New Delhi has made it clear that it is in favour an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process towards peace in Afghanistan but insisted that the “Red Lines” agreed in London Conference in 2010 were strictly adhered to and the extremists entering the process were made to severe all links with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.

via India to talk to China, Russia on Pak role in Afghanistan.


 

Development of Mach 7 Missiles: Russia & India Announce Progress

November 5, 2012 1 comment

The fact that US or NATO have no counter or no competition to Brahmos, is rarely admitted or accepted.

Free Media of the Free World

Will ‘Free Media’ of the West tells its readers, low-and-dirty facts? Not if it matters.

Sometime back, we had the case where even the venerable nytimes.com, took pre-clearance from CIA before publishing a critique on POTUS.

Or take another instance.

No Counter or Competition

The respected wired.com magazine spins a long story, without ever the reader being told that US or NATO do not have missile that can compete or counter the Brahmos missile.

Though it must be said, that the short-range Brahmos is a purely defensive weapon – invaluable to India and poses no threat to the US or NATO.

The Brahmos missile was half-developed by Russia (as Onyx) – and Indian defence technologists have made it further into a air-sea-land missile, with superior guidance and firing systems.

And now

Russia and India are already testing a new supersonic cruise missile, which is pretty cool, we guess. But going Mach 2 or thereabouts isn’t all that fast these days. Everything has to go faster. That’s why the two countries are also developing a hypersonic missile capable of traveling more than five times the speed of sound. Problem is even building the engines, let alone missiles, is extremely hard to do.

If it works, the missile — called the BrahMos 2 — is expected to travel up to Mach 7 from sea-, land- and air-launched platforms. And it’s supposed to be ready for flight tests in 2017

Sivathanu Pillai, CEO of India-based BraHmos Aerospace said in Moscow on Wednesday. Pillai also suggested the missile already exists, and that BrahMos has conducted ”lab tests [of the missile] at the speed of 6.5 Mach.”

It will be interesting to see the extent to which Brahmos 2 might draw on previous Russian hypersonic research and development.”

There’s the sheer heat generated by traveling at such speeds. And getting a scramjet into missile-form is even harder. You’d need sophisticated guidance tools, sensors and navigation equipment to keep it in the air and to its target, while also making it small enough to launch from a conventional aircraft. And you still have to solve the propulsion problems.

Just ask the Pentagon. Its experimental pizza-shaped hypersonic weapon capsule, Falcon, failed its test in August before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. The Air Force’s scramjet — the X-51 WaveRider – has a better record, but was bruised by a test last summer when its engine failed. The Air Force is pressing on, however, with a new hypersonic missile for its stealth fighters. The Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon has also been successfully tested, but it’s nowhere close to a deployable weapon.

Hypersonic and scramjet research in the United States also goes back to the early days of the Cold War. But it wasn’t until 1991 when Russia became the first country to successfully test a scramjet. More tests followed, and with the help of NASA, Russia successfully flew a hydrogen-fueled scramjet at up to Mach 6.4 over Kazakhstan in 1998. In 2001, U.S. defense analysts took notice of a mysterious ultra-high-speed Russian missile test suspected of being powered by a scramjet. The first successful solo American scramjet tests didn’t occur until the 2000s, though they were some of the first tests to use engines that operated entirely as scramjets. The earlier Russian tests were hybrid ramjets — slightly different, with oxygen only moving at subsonic speeds inside the engine.

Also, don’t think it’s a coincidence that Russia now wants a hypersonic missile of its own. Nor are cruise missiles the only area where Russia is afraid of falling behind even more than they already are.

via Russia Preps Mach 7 Missiles — With India’s Help | Danger Room | Wired.com.

Now the supersonic missile will be upgraded to a hypersonic bolt.


Categories: Europe, India, Politics, USA Tags: , ,

Chicago Summit on Afghanistan

Chicago summit between Obama, NATO, G8, Afghan stakeholders was seen as a pre-election exercise. NATO passage through Pakistan was one of the items. The inside story.

Obama needs to show some 'successes' before election day  |  Cartoonist Sabir Nazar; source & courtesy - pakistantoday.com.pk  |  Click for image.

Obama needs to show some ‘successes’ before election day | Cartoonist Sabir Nazar; source & courtesy – pakistantoday.com.pk | Click for image.

Probably unprecedented, but 4 of 5 UN-Veto members will go through a government change process in April 2012-March 2012 period. In the same period, of the 8 nuclear powers (P5+India, Pakistan and Israel), 5 will see a government change process. In this process, some amount of uncertainty has been injected in global affairs.

Analysts seem to think that the recent NATO+G8+Afghanistan summit in Chicago, called by Obama was an election exercise. The NATO paasage to Afghanistan through Pakistan was a one of the items on this list. A former Pakistani diplomat ‘reveals’ all.

Pakistan is

a country whose leadership – of any stripes, civil or military – has traditionally taken great pride in being the most steadfast ally of the US. Pakistan’s first military dictator and “Bonaparte”, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, boasted in his autobiography Friends not Masters that Washington would never find a friend more trustworthy than Pakistan.

However, relations between the two “all-weather friends and allies” have been in a deep chill since the fateful US raid and there are few signs of a warming. All the same, being scripted out of Chicago was deemed, in Islamabad’s power corridors, as an ultimate insult that could doom relations forever.

So the Pakistanis went scampering to their Turkish friends – with whom bonds of camaraderie and fraternity pre-date the birth of Pakistan in 1947. The Turks are also cozy with the Americans and have been part of the NATO brigade in Afghanistan. There couldn’t be a more effective and credible middleman than Turkey to bail Pakistan out of the very tight corner in which they seem to have painted themselves.

Frantic phone calls to President Abdullah Gul, who led the Turkish team to Chicago, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in Pakistan as these lines are being written and who is receiving a rapturous welcome, melted the ice in Washington and Brussels – Zardari was given the green-light to board a plane for Chicago.

The ice, however, didn’t simply melt because the Turks had waved a magic wand. The Pakistanis assured their Turkish interlocutors – who then relayed the message to Washington – that the Pakistanis were ready to play ball and revive transit facilities for NATO. This was interpreted as a conciliatory gesture and enough for the welcome mat to be rolled out.

It was anticipated that Pakistan would have lifted the ban before Zardari boarded his flight to Chicago. But that wasn’t to be, and he landed without bearing the gift everybody was expecting.

In obvious pique, Obama refused to meet Zardari one-on-one, while he bestowed that favor on Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai. That was like rubbing salt into the Pakistani wound.

NATO secretary general added his own insult to the Pakistani injury when he, too, wriggled out of a planned one-on-one meeting with Zardari claiming “scheduling problems”. (via Asia Times Online :: Pakistan hoist by its own petard).


‘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.

Neutron bomb was the perfect weapon

December 4, 2010 2 comments
Weapons to retain and get 'things'. (Cartoonist and  ©Copyright 2006  Brian Adcock; Cartoon courtesy-caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Weapons to retain and get 'things'. (Cartoonist and ©Copyright 2006 Brian Adcock; Cartoon courtesy-caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan ordered 700 neutron warheads built to oppose Soviet tank forces in Europe. He called it “the first weapon that’s come along in a long time that could easily and economically alter the balance of power.” But deployment to the North Atlantic alliance was canceled after a storm of antinuclear protests across Europe. President George Bush ordered the stockpile scrapped.

By 1982, Mr. Cohen had abandoned his deployment quest. But he continued for the rest of his life to defend the bomb as practical and humane.

“It’s the most sane and moral weapon ever devised,” he said in September in a telephone interview for this obituary. “It’s the only nuclear weapon in history that makes sense in waging war. When the war is over, the world is still intact.”

Samuel Theodore Cohen was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 25, 1921, to Lazarus and Jenny Cohen, Austrian Jews who had migrated to the United States by way of Britain. His father was a carpenter and his mother a housewife who rigidly controlled family diets and even breathing habits (believing it unhealthy to breathe through the mouth). The boy had allergies, eye problems and other ailments, and for years was subjected to daily ice-water showers to toughen him up.

In recent years, Mr. Cohen prominently warned of a black market substance called red mercury, supposedly capable of compressing fusion materials to detonate a nuclear device as small as a baseball — ideal for terrorists. (read more via Samuel T. Cohen, Neutron Bomb Inventor, Dies at 89 – NYTimes.com).

 

Weapons to gaim military superiority for imposing authority - and not for self defence. (Cartoonist - Joel Pett; courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com). Click for larger image.

Weapons to gain military superiority for imposing authority - and not for self defence. (Cartoonist - Joel Pett; published on- 12-4-2010; courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com). Click for larger image.

What is the problem

Buildings, land, raw material, machines, infrastructure, ports, roads, airports – things are important. All these things will not be affected by a neutron bomb. The perfect weapon, ever.

People are the problem. Eliminate people. Neutron bomb was the perfect weapon for the perfect war.

Desert Bloc philosophy in short.

The Arctic’s strategic value for Russia

November 3, 2010 2 comments
In this Aug. 24, 2009 picture provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice ahead of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent in the Arctic Ocean. The two ships are taking part in a multi-year, multi-agency Arctic survey that will help define the Arctic continental shelf. Photo: AP; Courtesy-thehindu.com.

In this Aug. 24, 2009 picture provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice ahead of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent in the Arctic Ocean. The two ships are taking part in a multi-year, multi-agency Arctic survey that will help define the Arctic continental shelf. Photo: AP; Courtesy-thehindu.com.

NATO, for the first time, officially claimed a role in the Arctic, when Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told member-states to sort out their differences within the alliance so that it could move on to set up “military activity in the region.”

“Clearly, the High North is a region that is of strategic interest to the Alliance,” he said at a NATO seminar in Reykjavik, Iceland, in January 2009.

Can the West see beyond oil in the next 50 years. Not unless, they are led by their nose. (Cartoonist-Matt Wuerker; Date-25-6-2008; Courtesy-cartonistgroup.com; Copyright-Matt Wuerker).

Can the West see beyond oil in the next 50 years. Not unless, they are led by their nose. (Cartoonist-Matt Wuerker; Date-25-6-2008; Courtesy-cartonistgroup.com; Copyright-Matt Wuerker). Click for larger image.

Since then, NATO has held several major war games focussing on the Arctic region. In March this year, 14,000 NATO troops took part in the “Cold Response 2010” military exercise held in Norway under a patently provocative legend: the alliance came to the defence of a fictitious small democratic state, Midland, whose oilfield is claimed by a big undemocratic state, Nordland. In August, Canada hosted its largest yet drill in the Arctic, Operation Nanook 2010, in which the U.S. and Denmark took part for the first time.

Russia registered its firm opposition to the NATO foray, with President Dmitry Medvedev saying the region would be best without NATO. “Russia is keeping a close eye on this activity,” he said in September. “The Arctic can manage fine without NATO.” The western media portrayed the NATO build-up in the region as a reaction to Russia’s “aggressive” assertiveness, citing the resumption of Arctic Ocean patrols by Russian warships and long-range bombers and the planting of a Russian flag in the North Pole seabed three years ago.

It is conveniently forgotten that the U.S. Navy and Air Force have not stopped Arctic patrolling for a single day since the end of the Cold War. Russia, on the other hand, drastically scaled back its presence in the region after the break-up of the Soviet Union. It cut most of its Northern Fleet warships, dismantled air defences along its Arctic coast and saw its other military infrastructure in the region fall into decay.

(Cartoonist-Chip Bok; Date-23-6-2008; Courtesy-cartonistgroup.com; Image subject to copyright). Click for larger image.

(Cartoonist-Chip Bok; Date-23-6-2008; Courtesy-cartonistgroup.com; Image subject to copyright). Click for larger image.

The Arctic has enormous strategic value for Russia. Its nuclear submarine fleet is based in the Kola Peninsula. Russia’s land territory beyond the Arctic Circle is almost the size of India — 3.1 million sq km. It accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s natural gas production, 60 per cent of oil, and the bulk of rare and precious metals. By 2030, Russia’s Arctic shelf, which measures 4 million sq km, is expected to yield 30 million tonnes of oil and 130 billion cubic metres of gas. If Russia’s claim for a 350-mile EEZ is granted, it will add another 1.2 million sq km to its possessions.

A strategy paper Mr. Medvedev signed in 2008 said the polar region would become Russia’s “main strategic resource base” by 2020. Russia has devised a multivector strategy to achieve this goal. First, it works to restore its military capability in the region to ward off potential threats. Russia is building a new class of nuclear submarines, Borei (Northern Wind) that will be armed with a new long-range missile, Bulava. Navy Chief Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said recently he had also drawn up a plan to deploy warships in Russia’s Arctic ports to protect polar sea routes. (via The Arctic’s strategic value for Russia By Vladimir Radyuhin.)

Thin ice …

Some sixteen months ago, 2ndlook speculated that West’s redemption may come from oil – from the Arctic. With receding Arctic ice-caps, the West may find itself sitting on large oil reserves. Production from these discoveries may take 10-25 years – climate permitting.

West on the drip - needs Arctic oil. (Cartoon title- Arctic Oil; Cartoon By - Monte Wolverton, Copyright-Monte Wolverton; Date - 3/20/2005 12.00.00 AM). Click for larger image.

West on the drip - needs Arctic oil. (Cartoon title- Arctic Oil; Cartoon By - Monte Wolverton, Copyright-Monte Wolverton; Date - 3/20/2005 12.00.00 AM). Click for larger image.

A big if.

Climate change, I don’t believe in. How long will these weather patterns persist? The West is skating on thin ice – but then what can they do. Slavery is not an option – not for another 50-100 years at least. Dig mother earth, is the second and only option they have believed in.

For the last 3000 years at least.

Af-Pak strategy in smithereens?

April 7, 2010 1 comment
Are we missing something here?

Are we missing something here?

After the US-Pakistan “strategic bonhomie” in Washington last month … India finds itself placed on the historical “backburner” again, a situation similar to 1947. The additional American aid and military hardware promised to Pakistan recently is really a tactical move by the US to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011, leaving Pakistan and the “good Taliban” to supervise the return of religious fundamentalism in AfPak, which will then export terror globally. The increased numbers of Pakistani troops along India’s borders in end March, and daily gun battles with the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba in Kashmir, are indicators of the things to come.

US President Barack Obama, who got his healthcare bill passed on March 21, 2010, and reached an agreement on the 30 per cent nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia on March 26, now has only three more items on his list to ensure that he gets re-elected as President in 2012: withdrawal of American forces from the disastrous war in Afghanistan; revitalising the American economy; and “firm action” against Iran. The $750 billion US defence budget could then be reduced by $300 billion and this “saving” could be ploughed back into the ailing US economy, while leaving a couple of billions to pay Pakistan annually, to “police” AfPak.

In January 2010, Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani gave a 62-slide power-point presentation at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) headquarters in Brussels, which convinced the audience that he could help get Nato out of Afghanistan, provided Pakistan’s strategic concerns are met. On January 28, 2010, at the London Conference, Britain and America supported Gen. Kayani’s theory that “Pakistan needs to be the lead player in the Taliban reconciliation process”. (via Is PM up for some plainspeak? | Deccan Chronicle).

Connecting dots

It may not be so easy for Iran to get away!

It may not be so easy for Iran to get away!

Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh (Retd. Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief – Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam) captures this interesting snap-shot of the current impasse that India may have painted itself into. The threat of India-Pakistan re-hyphenation, the rise of Pakistan in Afghanistan are all viable propositions. More than that,

The Obama administration seems to have taken India for granted, while giving Pakistan the opportunity to have cordial relationships with three competing nations viz. US, China and Iran. After the expected Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan, China (which has invested $3.5 billion in a copper mine there) will need Pakistan-backed Taliban’s assistance to “pacify” Afghanistan, to ensure that it gets unhindered access to that nation’s mineral wealth. Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent backing of the “good Taliban” and Beijing visit is an indication of China’s growing role in the region. In essence, Pakistan, in addition to getting “strategic depth”, financial aid and military gifts, will now be “re-hyphenated” with India, while China sits on the high “G2 table” with the US, and Iran benefits from its gas exports to Pakistan.

Leaving India licking their lips.

Iran – India’s options

After making some important points, the post ends on disquieting note. Maybe semantic quibbling, or may be a reflection of current mental position that establishment maybe into. Singh states,

stepping into an unfamiliar strategic environment where great powers (eg. China and US) only respect a decisive nuclear weapons power which displays a combination of strategic vision, political will, economic power and military capability. It is time for India to stand tall. Good relations with China and US should be achieved without appearing to kneel.

The operating phrase here is that India should not be “appearing” to kneel. You can kneel – but make sure that no one sees you kneel.

Is that what you are saying, Shri Singh?

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