Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Ottoman Empire’

Superpower China: Emerging From 60 years Of American Shadow?

June 6, 2012 6 comments

The last 150 years has seen the rise of four world powers. Interestingly, in the same period four world powers were also eclipsed.

With the collapse of Soviet Union, the US became the single global power. With that position came adulation from client states.  |  A 1992 cartoon By David Horsey  |  Published December 27, 2011  |  Click for image.

With the collapse of Soviet Union, the US became the single global power. With that position came adulation from client states. | A 1992 cartoon By David Horsey | Published December 27, 2011 | Click for image.

Rise and Fall

In the last 150 years, we have the rise of four powers – Germany, Russia, Japan and USA. In the same period we have seen the eclipse of four powers. The Ottoman Empire, China, Spain – and India.

Some may want to include the Austro-Hungarian Empire – but it was an empire in eclipse by 1850 itself – plus its demise has had little effect.

Remarkably, Germany, Russia and Japan have been through many wars, defeats – and are nowhere near eclipse as yet. Though they have not achieved the ’eminence’ of the USA, their seat at the global power league is still not taken by any other power.

In a cloud of hubris

USA may congratulate itself in the demise of the USSR, but Russia has seen abolition of monarchy, a painful process in Russia also like in most countries. A 10-year civil war followed the abolition – with Kerensky leading the White Faction supported by the West, against the Communist Red Faction, under Lenin. Communism survived in Russia, from 1930-1990, surviving the German invasion during WWII.

After the break-up of USSR in 1990s, the last 10 years has seen Russian ship regain some sense of direction.

The best thing for Russia

In hindsight, the loss of the Russian Empire in Central Asia, Eastern Europe may have been exactly what Russia needed. Russia’s Empire in Central Asia and Eastern Europe was a huge drain on Russia. When commodity prices collapsed in the 1980-1990 decade, Russian earnings based on raw-material exports also collapsed. The cost of the Russian Empire brought down the USSR.

Without the burden of an empire, the world may see a more powerful Russia. It may even outlast the American Empire.

In the meantime, overcome with hubris, Americans have been thumping their own backs and chests in self-congratulation.

we have forgotten how countries behave as their power increases. We have been living so long in a world where one power has been so much more powerful than all the others. The existence of the American hegemon has forced all other powers to exercise unusual restraint, curb normal ambitions, and avoid actions that might lead to the formation of a U.S.-led coalition of the kind that defeated Germany twice, Japan once, and the Soviet Union, more peacefully, in the Cold War.

The Chinese, as good historians, are acutely aware of the fate that befell these others and have worked hard to avoid a similar fate, following as best they can Deng Xiaoping’s advice to “keep a low profile and never take the lead.” As relative power shifts, however, that advice becomes harder and harder to follow. We saw some early signs of what the future might hold in China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea. The response of the United States, which swung in behind the nervous powers in the region, has possibly convinced the Chinese that their moves were premature.

They may have themselves bought in too much to the widespread talk of America in decline. Were that decline to become real in the coming years, however, it is a certainty that Chinese pressures and probes will return. Greater relative power on China’s part might also lead Beijing to become less patient with Taiwan’s lack of movement toward acquiescing to the mainland’s sovereignty.

A situation in which U.S. power were declining, China’s power were rising, and the Taiwan issue became fractious is practically a textbook instance of how wars start — even if neither side wants war. That is why some have referred to Taiwan as East Asia’s Sarajevo. (via The Rise or Fall of the American Empire – By Robert Kagan, Gideon Rachman, and Daniel W. Drezner | Foreign Policy).

Is this what the Chinese think?



Advertisements

Gold – Will the West buy or kill?

April 5, 2012 4 comments

Even before an old war ends, the Middle East sees the start of a new war. The West needs a few thousand tons of gold. Will they buy – or kill for that gold?

The Middle East has been a war-zone from WWII to now  |  Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin in Miami Herald on March 19, 2012  |  Click for image.

The Middle East has been a war-zone from WWII to now | Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin in Miami Herald on March 19, 2012 | Click for image.

See Ma … no hands

Under the Bretton Woods agreement, the US dollar became the reserve currency of the world. For getting European support, essential for the implementation of Bretton Woods system, the US flooded Europe with dollars.

Various mechanisms like the Marshall Plan, the IBRD, were used. This flood of US dollars, anchored European currencies – and by proxy, became equally useful. For the last 60 years now, European nations there was no need to maintain any foreign exchange reserves.

Unlike the rest of the world.

Even major economies like Japan, China, India, Brazil, Russia.

Are  things changing now?

In common with most developed countries the U.K. has no reserves worth speaking of. In truth, what is interesting is how low the reserves held by all the developed nations now are. Switzerland is the only European country with significant reserves, with $340 billion squirreled away, whilst Germany has $257 billion, and France has $172 billion. The U.S. only has $148.5 billion, although when you can print the world’s reserve currency maybe that doesn’t matter so much. Overall, however, it is only the emerging nations that have built up significant cash piles.

Central banks in the emerging markets increasing their holdings of gold has been a big part of the bull market in the metal. At the end of last year, official net purchases of gold started to rise dramatically. In the third quarter of 2011, central banks added 148.8 tonnes to their gold stocks, more than double the entire amount of government buying in 2010, according to the World Gold Council. Interestingly, the Greek central bank has been slowly adding to its holdings of gold, which would be sort of handy, should they happen to decide to re-introduce the drachmas one day.

But the next phase will be developed world central banks moving back into precious metal; the U.K., Germany, France, Switzerland and potentially the U.S. as well.

The U.K. has given the first hints that policy makers are at least thinking about it. Actual buying maybe some way off. And if they start, it will be done discreetly, otherwise the price will shoot up.

But when it starts to happen seriously, it will provide the bull market in gold with a whole new impetus. (via Why Gold’s Bull Run Could Continue – SmartMoney.com).

Iraq & Afghanistan out of the way; is it the turn of Iran and Pakistan  |  Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin / Miami Herald (March 21, 2012)  |  Click for image.

Iraq & Afghanistan out of the way; is it the turn of Iran and Pakistan | Source & courtesy - McClatchy; cartoonist - Jim Morin / Miami Herald (March 21, 2012) | Click for image.

Permanent war-zone

In the last 60 years, most of these economic strategies have been implemented covertly.

For a 100 years now, the West has waged war against Islāmic economies. These anti-Islāmic wars started with WWI (1914-18), against the Ottoman Empire and Germany. Most recently, the West waged wars against Islāmic economies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya – and probably Iran in the near future.

Will Pakistan escape this fate?

If Pakistan falls, will India be far behind?


‘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.

‘Honest’ Broker – United States Foreign Policy!

October 2, 2010 2 comments
The Buddhist Jataka that travelled to Victorian England!

The Buddhist Jataka that travelled to Victorian England!

India and Honest Brokers

There is this Buddhist Jataka story which we have all heard.

Two cats go to a monkey for help in dividing some eatable equally. End result – the monkey gets everything. The cats, nothing. ‘Honest’ brokers are the monkey which leaves nothing for the cats.

Hillary Clinton assured a nervous gathering of Foreign Policy analysts that the world is counting on the USA today as it has in the past. When old adversaries need an honest broker or fundamental freedoms need a champion, people turn to us. When the earth shakes or rivers overflow their banks, when pandemics rage or simmering tensions burst into violence, the world looks to us. (via Remarks on United States Foreign Policy).

In real life

What is left of Pakistan after US finished with brokering Pakistan’s future? After the West carved up the Ottoman Empire, and divided the Turkish possessions among their puppets, what is left of the Middle East? With oil, Big Oil, oil politics, oil-dollar, oil prices at stake, can the US be a honest broker.

Tell that to the birds.

With oil at stake, how 'honest' a broker can the US be? (Cartoon by Pat Oliphant). Click for larger image.).

With oil at stake, how 'honest' a broker can the US be? (Cartoon by Pat Oliphant). Click for larger image.

Can there be a ‘honest’ broker?

This idea that there cannot be ‘honest’ brokers, made Buddhism so popular all over the world. Not pretty statues and musical chants. In the last 200 years, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has gone into regression. But, in this period, the world has also learnt more about the limitations of the Desert Bloc ideology.

People get ready!

How Tony Judt died and became Saint!

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment
St.Tony Judt - The media and academia in cahoots with the State (Cartoon by Pavel Constantin, Romania; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

St.Tony Judt - The media and academia in cahoots with the State (Cartoon by Pavel Constantin, Romania; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

The beatification of Saint Judt

The last 30-45 days has seen a surge on obits, reviews and tributes to Tony Judt.

Tony who? Exactly. An unknown writer till a few months ago, has suddenly become famous in his death. Media (at least in India) has gone overboard. But when Marathi media started on Tony Judt, it was high noon. The straw on the camel’s back.

OK, guilty of misrepresentation. Not the camel’ back! It was my back.

There  seems  an effort at beatification of Tony Judt. In the modern era, temporal authorities, award a quick Nobel Prize, pin a Congressional Medal of Honor – and the process of ‘secular’ sainthood is completed. Media aids by marching to the drumbeat of the State. These ‘secular’ sainthoods by the ‘modern-secular-liberal-progressive-democratic’ establishment are not meant to be enduring or important. They , the latter-day, disposable, ‘secular’ saints, serve a utilitarian purpose to their masters – the State.

Tony Judt is no exception.

How come 'modern' Western identities are not included by Tony Judt in his 'problem' list? (Cartoon By - Angel Boligan, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons)

How come 'modern' Western identities are not included by Tony Judt in his 'problem' list? (Cartoon By - Angel Boligan, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons)

From the safety of a university cloister

By being overtly anti-Israel, Tony Judt, gets an inside track into the Islamic mind – to start his ideas of ‘identity’.

A self-confessed, Social Democrat (but that is not ‘identity’) Tony Judt is the type who speaks from the comfort of a winning side.

We know enough of ideological and political movements to be wary of exclusive solidarity in all its forms. One should keep one’s distance not only from the obviously unappealing “-isms”—fascism, jingoism, chauvinism—but also from the more seductive variety: communism, to be sure, but nationalism and Zionism too. And then there is national pride: more than two centuries after Samuel Johnson first made the point, patriotism—as anyone who passed the last decade in America can testify—is still the last refuge of the scoundrel. (via Edge People | The New York Review of Books).

As fortunes shifted and wavered, Tony Judt’s recounts how his family moved from one declining economy to another growing economy. From Eastern Europe, vaguely in a region near Russia, to Antwerp in Belgium thereon to Britain and finally to the USA. He finds

over the years these fierce unconditional loyalties—to a country, a God, an idea, or a man—have come to terrify me. The thin veneer of civilization rests upon what may well be an illusory faith in our common humanity.

The West has systematically deformed Islamic identity - after dismantling the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoonist - Paresh Nath, Published by - The National Herald, India)

The West has systematically deformed Islamic identity - after dismantling the Ottoman Empire. (Cartoonist - Paresh Nath, Published by - The National Herald, India)

To people like Tony Judt, identity is a matter of convenience. And they rightly, recommend that people must have no identity – and by extension, no loyalty. Fly flags of convenience. May the highest bidder win.

I wonder where Judt’s family was, when the Belgians were flogging the Congolese.

Sainthood by the Vatican

The ‘modern’ State and the media of the Free World have it easy when it comes to cannonising people like Tony Judt!

The Catholic Church has a rather exacting process, stretching over a few years, at the very least. The Catholic Church even appoints a Devil’s Advocate – someone who tries to find reasons why the candidate should NOT be declared a saint.

This process has sometimes taken decades too. After multiple processes and steps, a committee. the Congregation for the Causes of Saints decides on these issues. With the kind of rigour that the Vatican process follows, Saints have ‘public memory’ life span extending to centuries.

The perversion of the Islamic world started with the break up of the Ottoman Empire (Cartoon By - Emad Hajjaj, Jordan; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com)

The perversion of the Islamic world started with the break up of the Ottoman Empire (Cartoon By - Emad Hajjaj, Jordan; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com)

Coming to Saint Judt

Today when the West is paying the price for creating a misshapen Islamic identity, people like Judt thinly speak out against identity – an Islamic identity. Or when the West faces a challenge from Asia, China and India, it pays to talk of less identity.

This idea of less identity would not be such a bad idea – if you have so little of identity, to start with!

Western Deals At The Cost of Middle East

February 25, 2008 Leave a comment

The Middle East in the Twentieth Century – Google Book Search

Within 18 months of the start of the WW1, the British and the French had started discussing how to ‘dispose’ the territories of the Ottoman Empire. Of course, the people of the Middle East were not consulted – as they did not matter.

Demonising communism and now Islam. Without taking the responsibility for their own actions – and further interventions, creating further instability. Like the demonisation of the Jews before and the Red Indians after, this too is having disastrous effects – in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

Failed Westernisations

February 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Guernica / America’s Century of Regime Change

More by Kinzer on Regime Changes.

Failed Westernisations

For ambitious nations wanting to modernise, the easy way out seemed to be ‘copycat’ westernisation. Amongst the first ‘copycat’ states were China and Turkey. China, led by Sun Yat Sen, was the first major power, which tried going down the western path. The Japanese invasion of Manchuria sounded the death knell of the Chinese Republic and Monarchy.

Ataturk’s Turkey

Turkey – led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the next ‘copycat’ attempt at westernisation. After WW2, the victorious allied powers dismantled the Ottoman Empire. Turkey was reduced to a rump state.

For more click here.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: