Archive

Posts Tagged ‘World War II’

Kilroy Was Here: National Shame Syndrome Hits China

While American graffiti has become a cult symbol – a subject of books, films, media coverage, one graffiti by a Chinese tourist has become a national shame.

Will Chinese copy the US - and paint graffiti across the world?  |  Cartoon by Stephens on Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 6:16am in South China Morning Post

Will Chinese copy the US – and paint graffiti across the world? | Cartoon by Stephens on Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 6:16am in South China Morning Post

During and after WWII, American soldiers were parts of invading armies that warred in more than 50 countries. With the British and Russians, Americans were victorious in WWII.

Colonialism to Neo-Colonialism

After WWII, American armies waged long and expensive wars against Asians in South East Asia to impose US hegemony over former French, Dutch and British colonies.

Using a Communist bogeyman, propped by Eisenhower’s Domino Theory, American forces killed more than 50 lakh Asians (5 million) in Cambodia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam. After the Asian Wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union, American attention has turned to the Islamic world.

Self Goal? More than international media, it were the Chinese who declared this graffiti as a 'national' shame.  |  Harry Harrison on May 27, 2013 in South China Morning Post

Self Goal? More than international media, it were the Chinese who declared this graffiti as a ‘national’ shame. | Harry Harrison on May 27, 2013 in South China Morning Post

American Chopsuey

These American soldiers made their presence felt in countries they invaded and in those countries where American bases were set up – temporarily (like in India) or permanently (like in Japan).

In India, an early impact was ice-cream. India’s Kwality (now Kwality Walls) ice-creams started by catering to the American military forces stationed in India during WWII. Coca-Cola became a global brand, accompanying American armies across the world.

More damaging than either Coca-Cola or ice-cream, was the explosion in prostitution in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, with the arrival of American soldiers - as a well-oiled machine.

As if this was not enough, these soldiers, to leave their indelible mark, left graffiti behind. One graffiti, that became a marker of this boorish American behaviour was the text and image of Kilroy Was Here.

American graffiti left behind at national monuments, historical sites - and on the bellies of pregnant women. Does the phallic overtones of this graffiti reveal the shallowness?

American graffiti left behind at national monuments, historical sites – and on the bellies of pregnant women. Does the phallic overtones of this graffiti reveal the shallowness?

Graffiti itself goes back to ancient times. Graffiti is found in the ruins of Pompeii, on the walls of ancient Jerusalem, in ancient Egypt. Kilroy follows a long tradition, but was far more famous and all-present than any of them.

Kilroy was here” emerged during World War II, appearing at truck stops, city restaurants, and in military boardrooms. However, the first appearances seem to have been on military docks and ships in late 1939.

“The mischievous face and the phrase became a national joke,” according to author Charles Panati. In theory, he was a soldier, probably American, who travelled all over the world scrawling his immortal phrase. Clearly, the graffiti were scrawled by thousands of different soldiers, not a single one named Kilroy.

During the Forties, Kilroy was everywhere. Panati comments, “The outrageousness of the graffit was not so much what it said, but where it turned up.” He cites the torch of the Statue of Liberty, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Marco Polo Bridge in China, huts in Polynesia, and a girder on the George Washington Bridge in New York. There were contests in the Air Force to beat Kilroy to isolated and uninhabited places around the globe.

The appearance wasn’t always of GI origin, although it was largely tied to the military services. More than once newspapers reported on pregnant women wheeled into the delivery room, with the hospital staff finding “Kilroy was here” written across their stomachs. Panati says, “The most daring appearance occurred during the meeting of the Big Three in Potsdam, Germany, in July 1945. Truman, Attlee, and Stalin had exclusive use of an opulent marble bathroom, off limits to everyone else. On the second day of the summit, an excited Stalin emerged from the bathroom sputtering something in Russian to one of his aides. A translator overheard Stalin demand, ‘Who is Kilroy?’”

SDSTAFF Mac suggests Panati is a better storyteller than a scholar, though.

via The Straight Dope: What’s the origin of “Kilroy was here”?.

Low Self Image

China is whipping itself into a frenzy.

A graffiti by a Chinese teenager, discovered by another Chinese at the Egypt’s Luxor site, was taken up with a frenzy by ‘shamed’ Chinese. While American Graffiti has become a cult symbol – a subject of books, films, media coverage, one graffiti by a Chinese tourist has become a national shame.

Much like India scored a self-goal by making itself look like a country of rapists, when in fact, it has one of the lowest rape ratios in the world.

Does international media need anything more than these self-goals by the Chinese and Indians?

SHANGHAI—Parents of a Chinese junior high school student apologized on May 25 after their son’s name and graffiti were discovered defacing a wall of the ruins of the sacred Luxor Temple in Egypt, which ignited a storm of criticism on the Internet.

“My son understands that he did a bad thing,” his weeping mother was quoted by the Xian Dai Kuai Bao, a newspaper in Jiangsu province in coastal China, as saying.

“I am asking everyone to generously forgive my son (so that) this incident will not adversely affect his future,” his father was also quoted as saying.

The graffiti, written along with the student’s name in Chinese, reads, “I came here for sightseeing.”

Another Chinese tourist, who discovered the graffiti, wrote in Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, on the night of May 24, “I tried to erase this shame by rubbing it off, but my effort was in vain.” He also posted a photo of the graffiti.

Immediately after that, one poster after another criticized the graffiti on the Internet. One comment read, “I am ashamed of the graffiti as a Chinese.” Other posters also disclosed the student’s birthday and year of birth, and revealed that he is a junior high school student in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

Parents of the student called the Xian Dai Kuai Bao on the afternoon of May 25 and met with its reporters. via Chinese student’s graffiti on Luxor Temple ignites Internet criticism – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.


Defense Technology: A World Of Haves & Cannots

March 29, 2013 1 comment

In the last 70 years, technology gaps in defence have increased hugely. US and Russia are far ahead from rest of the world in making arms and armaments.

One of the world’s four airworthy Zero fighters sits on the tarmac in August 2011 in California, decked out in its full Pacific War livery. (Image courtesy - ajw.asahi.com; source - Masahide Ishizuka)

One of the world’s four airworthy Zero fighters sits on the tarmac in August 2011 in California, decked out in its full Pacific War livery. (Image courtesy – ajw.asahi.com; source – Masahide Ishizuka)

A big drawback that hobbled Japan in WWII was oil. Japan had aircraft carriers and fighter aircraft – but little oil. In each battle, in the decisive stages of the WWII, oil was in short supply. By the start of WWII, Japan was prepared for war, with its Zero fighters.

In the last 70 years, technology gaps in defence have increased hugely. Countries like India have decided to build their defence capability by importing the latest and the best on one hand. On the other hand, India has launched ambitious R & D projects that are getting close to world standards.

US and Russia are far ahead from rest of the world in making arms and armaments. Coming close to these countries will take decades and billions of dollars – two things that very few countries have. For instance, few countries in the world (US, Russia, UK, France, Italy) can make world-class jet engines for fighter aircraft. Even countries like Japan and Korea, with a strong electronics and industrial base depend on defence imports.

For WWII, Japan produced more than 10,000 fighters – including the famed Zero fighter.

The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea undergoes restoration work. (Image courtesy - ajw.asahi.com; source - Masahide Ishizuka)

The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea undergoes restoration work. (Image courtesy – ajw.asahi.com; source – Masahide Ishizuka)

Masahide Ishizuka, 52, a New Zealand resident originally from Tochigi Prefecture is campaigning to bring one of the four airworthy Zero fighter aircraft in the world back to Japan, where it can fly again in the skies of its homeland.

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the mainstay of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nakajima Aircraft. Japan produced about 10,000 carrier-based Zero fighter aircraft during World War II.

In the early stages of the war, the Zero gained a reputation as a fearsome dogfighter with its slick maneuverability, long-distance range and high speed–three important attributes of fighter aircraft.

All four airworthy Zeros today are registered in the United States.

The Zero, a Mitsubishi-produced A6M3 Type 0 Model 22, was found in the 1970s in Papua New Guinea, and was restored to airworthiness by the U.S. collector.

via Aviation expert hopes to return Zero fighter to skies over Japan – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.


WWII Propaganda: 70 years later

October 31, 2011 2 comments

Ceaseless propaganda – the one weapon that the Desert Bloc never tires of using. 70 years after the start of WWII, the propaganda continues.

At least this Nazi was correct about Churchill. The caption: “I am the friend of all the small countries!” Winston Churchill removes his mask. A standard Nazi propaganda argument was that England used smaller nations, tossing them aside when they were no longer useful.  Source and courtesy : bytwerk.com). Click for larger image.

At least this Nazi was correct about Churchill. The caption: “I am the friend of all the small countries!” Winston Churchill removes his mask. A standard Nazi propaganda argument was that England used smaller nations, tossing them aside when they were no longer useful. Source and courtesy : bytwerk.com). Click for larger image.

Trade wars are, perhaps, the most serious threats to the global economic order. Because of that, they are also the least likely. So, while the current rumblings in Beijing and Washington may lead to increased frictions, even economically ignorant politicians will not do anything drastic.

Both Germany and Japan tried in the 1930s to limit unemployment and political vulnerability by maximising domestic production and restricting imports. But, since World War II, economic activity has increasingly crossed political borders. (via Mutually assured destruction).

Is this plain ignorance?

Given that Reuters is a British news agency, the propaganda motive can never be discounted. The author forgets that Germany, home of the automobile (inventors of petrol and diesel engines, and the motor car itself), Italy and Japan were significantly industrialized countries before WWII. These countries were shut out of colonial markets with high tariff barriers by Britain and France.

In India

Even after crippling tariffs, industry from Germany, Italy and Japan was able to stand up to British and French products. For instance during the Great Depression, the British Raj imposed a towering 75% duty on Japanese mill cloth to India – which was becoming highly popular. In turn the Japanese stopped buying cotton from India. British mills made a killing by then buying Indian cotton at throwaway prices.

What of the Lees-Mody Pact?

While the Churchill Norman extraction of gold continued to bleed the Indian peasant, such trade barriers further damaged the Indian economy. Edward Hadas surely knows this.

Why this propaganda – 70 years after the start of WWII?

Twitter / @dhume01: On Inept Indian Politicians

October 15, 2011 2 comments

Policy wonk Sadanand Dhume gives great ideas to Indian Government. Learn from China and Indonesia.

Nothing new

From masters of the world at the end of WWII, the US has recently seen its credit rating drop. UK is bankrupt. If you believe Dhume type commentary, Pakistan is a failed State.

Sure, Indian politicians are inept. After inheriting an India which was a ship-to-mouth economy, flat in its back, to become the fourth largest economy, is ineptitude, according to coconut-shell Dhume.

Indian Government gets a lot a lot of things wrong – like every other over-active State in the world does. But Dhume’s silly criticism shines.

Especially, when he proposes the alternatives. China, Indonesia as nations that India can learn from. China, Indonesia – Semi-dictatorships, where the public-sector-oligarchy is going from strong-to-worse. Hardly, any examples to hold up.

But then can anything get through Dhume’s coconut shell, that he calls brains.

From 25,000 tons of gold at the end of WWII to 8000 tons now. From Masters of The World to most indebted nation on Earth. And you call Indian Govt. inept.

From 25,000 tons of gold at the end of WWII to 8000 tons now. From Masters of The World to most indebted nation on Earth. And you call Indian Govt. inept.

Lethargy As Opinion

August 16, 2011 3 comments

Examining governance records of selected ten premiere post-WWII governments across the world could throw up some surprises.

Colonial motivations

The British Raj needed to mock and diminish the Indian politician. The Indian political leader was trying to dislodge the colonial Government from their position of power. Churchill’s famous descriptions of Gandhiji as ‘that naked fakir’ and Indian politicians as ‘men of straw’ was a sentiment shared across ruling elites in Britain.

Seems like in India, too

Post-independence, this mockery of the Indian politician has only grown. This criticism, carping and mockery has no basis in fact – statistics, measurements, performance metrics. Anything at all.

The drag government’s been on the Indian story is astonishing. No government in the world’s been such a burden to a country. It’s done none of the things it’s meant to while it seems to eye private success with greed. There’s only so long this frame can hold…

One of the things making me happiest in America was the man coming up was celebrated. In India, I sense disgust, revulsion for that person, that he should suddenly have aspirations, riches, ambitions. In Noon, I’ve tried to get at this. (via ‘I think of myself as Indian in a sense that includes Pakistan’ – Page 2 – Times Of India).

Aatish Taseer, whose books and writings have been met with much fanfare, publicity and soundbites, is another one who bites into the dust of empty criticism.

If we are to examine governance records of selected ten premiere post-WWII governments across the world, Taseer’s emptiness (he is not alone) will stand exposed.

These 10 governments four from Europe (France, Germany, Italy and UK), two from South America (Argentina and Brazil) Japan and USA, China and India. Looking back at the 65 years after WWII (1945-2010), the context and strategies of these ten countries throws up some surprises. India would definitely be a part of the Top-3 anyway that such a performance can be rated.

Image source and courtesy - economist.com.

Image source and courtesy - economist.com.

Just on what basis have other governments have done better? All that bedevils Indian governance are present in all other countries. And the answer to all that ails ‘modern’ governance, can only come from India.

You can do a 10 country evaluation here and vote. And maybe, Taseer-miya …

You should read about भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, .

The shadow of oil

Middle East Politics (from Coming apart, coming together By Edward R. Kantowicz; Page 165; courtesy - books.google.com). Click to go to source.

Middle East Politics (from Coming apart, coming together By Edward R. Kantowicz; Page 165; courtesy - books.google.com). Click to go to source.

Is the USA like Britain was a hundred years ago? (Caroon courtesy - mpg50.com.). Click for larger image.

Is Pax Americana like Britain was a hundred years ago? (Cartoon courtesy - mpg50.com.). Click for larger image.

Fat and lazy

Between 1875-1935, Britain was dependent on India for gunpowder, on USA and Iran for  oil, on Malaya and India for rubber. British economy had grown fat and uncompetitive – unlike Italian, German and Japanese economies.

Even though Britain won WWII, their economy was a lost cause. Though Germany, Italy and Japan were losers, with their economy in shambles, they could make a brilliant recovery and vastly out-compete Britain.

The story of Middle East oil is similar for USA and West. The Welfare State, built on a diet of cheap oil, easy dollars,  is now too expensive for the West to sustain. The above book extract gives an excellent snapshot of the oil industry in the 20th century.

And the shadow of oil on the 21st century.

India’s success – the race for credit!

November 9, 2010 11 comments

With India’s recovery from economic devastation of colonialism now irreversible, many are standing up to claim credit.

A mercenary mass-media and a 'captive' intelligentsia distort the picture! (Cartoon by Jeff Stahler).

A mercenary mass-media and a 'captive' intelligentsia distort the picture! (Cartoon by Jeff Stahler).

End of WWII

Try imagining the Bretton Woods conference. Of the less than 50 countries, three stand out.

Britain – with an empire on which the sun never set.  At the end of WW2, Britain was a superpower, its huge colonial Empire intact – apart from the massive debt that it owed the US. With Germany defeated and Hitler dead, Italy in shambles and Mussolini hanged, Japan nuked into submission, Britain sat at the head of ‘high tables’ in the post-WW2 world deciding the fate of the nations – with its partner in crime, the US of A.

The US itself was financially dominant (with 25000 tons of gold reserves), militarily effective (with atomic bombs) and industrially strong (unaffected by the WWII).

The wreckage that was India

India on the other hand, was an abandoned wreckage, impoverished by 100 years of colonialism, millions killed by an indifferent British Raj during the Partition of India (giving rise to a Pakistan), The Great Bengal Famine.

Poverty, hunger, disease, with social distortion and destruction on an unprecedented scale in world history stalked the land.

Is corruption an Indian monopoly?

Is corruption an Indian monopoly?

To the Indo-skeptical US and UK, add a few thousand Muslim secessionists, claiming to represent nearly 10 crore Muslims!

Regardless of accountability, contribution or acceptance, Muslims secessionists were “much too conscious of their erstwhile political, intellectual, and cultural superiority to be able to accept their new position.” Muslim leadership saw themselves as in a position to demand an “equal share of the power which would befit and be commensurate with their status as the erstwhile rulers of India.”

Cut to the 21st century

‘Great’ Britain is close to bankrupt Britain – with a gross national debt (public, private, corporate debt) equal to 500% of GDP. The decline  of US is palpable – though the imagined demise is at least a few decades away. Pakistan’s implosion is happening in real-time and apparent. India has come out in the last 60 years – stronger and greater.

For every Indian success there are many, in India and abroad, who give and take credit. No one, but no one, wants to compare the Indian politician to his global peers who have presided over the fate of ‘superior’ nations. The following report by an ‘interested’ party is no secret – but a matter of prejudice and intellectual baggage that needs to examined.

Lazy minds, mercenary media (Cartoon by Don Addis.).

Lazy minds, mercenary media (Cartoon by Don Addis.).

Seriously

India Habitat Centre has rarely witnessed such a gathering … line of cars waiting to gain entry snaked around the road and outside the Stein Auditorium, the queue of Delhi’s intelligentsia was long and winding … never before had such a huge crowd spontaneously turned up  – The occasion was the Penguin Annual lecture -  the speaker, Ram Guha … I looked around me and was amused to see that I appeared to be the only politician present. [for a] lecture [that]was intensely political namely “India’s political tradition — those who made it and those who did not” – also the platform to launch Guha’s new book, Makers of Modern India, an anthology of writings of those who have been, according to Guha, the primary “makers of modern India”.

[As it progressed]… an eminent writer in the audience loudly commented that the leaders of today referred to by Guha had not only failed to read these seminal works, but if they read them, could probably not understand them … this admittedly eminent writer … was entirely serious. His cynical dismissal of the entire political class shocked me to the core. What was worse, the entire audience sniggered at the remark … can [anyone] be considered to have an open mind — be it a good writer or sociologist — if he simply dismisses the entire political class with one demeaning remark.

In a democracy are only politicians corrupt? What about bureaucrats, judges, teachers, lawyers, policemen, doctors, nurses, bus conductors? Are not even some journalists and media houses and writers corrupt? What, therefore, gave this eminent writer the right to snigger crudely at senior political leaders? How did he think politicians get elected? By being stupid? In fact, electoral politics is the most intellectually and physically challenging of occupations, as any elected MP will tell you. Besides, you live in a fish bowl, get kicked out every five years and have to seek re-election … (read more via The leaders’ legacy | Deccan Chronicle | 2010-11-08; parts excized for brevity; text within [...] supplied for clarity).

The World Of Indian Politicians

The World Of Indian Politicians

Filmi Stereotypes

Till 1980s, the popular Hindi filmi villain was the caricatured businessman. Madhuri Dixit’s movies and the 90′s liberalization, killed this stereotype.

Possibly, the massacre of politicians in ‘Inquilab’ ( a 1980′s film starring Amitabh Bachchan) initiated the change of villain from the businessman to the politician.

Today, a popular profession for villains in Hindi films is politics.

Behind Indian Success

Is this forward march of India an accident ? Or a happy co-incidence? Black magic, perhaps? Not forgetting credit to The West? After all, the the West is confident that modern Indian success is due to Western contribution? Of course, it begs a question as to why this has not happened in any other country.

Or why the West could not arrest its own decline?

Is the secret of India's success like the Indian rope trick?

Is the secret of India's success like the Indian rope trick?

The Wonderous NRI

We must not forget the NRI contribution – especially the Westernized NRIs (like Lord Meghnad Desai who wants to be an Indian now). Possibly, the only people who should not get any credit is are the desi, home grown Indians – and Indian politicians.


Hitler’s secret friend: Sayajirao Gaekwad

August 20, 2010 11 comments
Hitler's friend Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad (TOI Photo)

Hitler's friend Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad (TOI Photo)

Gaekwad even signed a secret pact with Hitler to get his support for India’s freedom. It was known as the Baroda-Berlin Pact.

Gaekwad’s personal assistant Vishnu Nene was sent to Germany to arrange the meeting. “Gaekwad believed an enemy’s enemy is a friend. So, he decided to join hands with Hitler,” says Dr Damodar Nene, who has written a new biography of Gaekwad and gives details of the pact. He is Vishnu Nene’s son. The book, ‘Sayajirao Gaekwad Chi Biography’ has been published by Ved Gandharva publishers of Pune. (via Hitler’s secret friend: Sayajirao Gaekwad - Vadodara – City – The Times of India).

Wishful thinking

For the past few days, after reading this post, I have been trying to corroborate this story. Apart from one small stray reference, there was nothing that I could find. This one reference was a a few lines from a 1972 biography which is linked here.

The fact that the good doctors, father Dr.Vishnu Nene and son Dr.Damodar Nene said nothing from 1936 upto 2010 makes this possibly only a claim. Or after August 15th, 1947 when the raj-gharana of Baroda had lost their kingdom and the threat of British reprisals was gone.

And they had everything to gain by making this claim.

Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, III By V. K. Chavda |National Book Trust, India| sole distributors, Thomson Press (India), 1972 - Baroda - 147 pages

From Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, III By V. K. Chavda |National Book Trust, India| sole distributors, Thomson Press (India), 1972 - Baroda - 147 pages. Click for a larger image.

Baroda has very little ice

A claim that may be based on thin ice. What little ice, one get can in Vadodara.

The fact that this claim coincides with a book publication, (books have to be sold, you see) and from the Vadodara edition of TOI (newspapers also have to be sold) makes this story, again, a candidate for collusion. What could I find about the Baroda-Berlin Pact?

Nothing. Yes. That is right. Nil. Zero. Zilch. 零. Nul. Null. μηδέν. ゼロ. нул. cero.

Foresighted Sayaji Rao Gaekwad knew there would be WWII

The other thing.

Apart from a paranoid Churchill, who would have imagined in 1936, that Britain would actually fight a war with Germany. In 1936, as the Berlin Olympics progressed, even Britain did not know there would be a WWII. Remember even the USA, joined the war against Germany and Japan, only after it was forced to. After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941.

Forget Britain!

Even Hitler did not know there would be WWII. Or even a war with Britain. Hitler’s entire calculation after his successful campaign in Czechoslovakia (March 1939) was that Britain (under Chamberlain) would not go to war with Germany. While attacking Poland (September 1939) and other countries Hitler gambled that Britain would not declare war. Does it seem likely that Hitler would reveal his deepest, darkest plans to an ‘irrelevant’ Indian king? In 1936!

When neither Britain nor Germany knew there would be WWII.

Did Netaji Bose deserve this? Click for larger image.

Did Netaji Bose deserve this? Click for larger image.

Did the poor king deserve such a biography

Sayaji Rao Gaekwad is respected by many for many reasons. I would not like to assess him in any way, for sheer lack of material with me. Assuming he is respect-worthy, he does not deserve a biographer like the good doctor Nene.

Neither does Subhash Chandra Bose deserve this. A great leader, obfuscated in his own country, his legacy is now being plagiarized by incompetent hacks.

Between historians who hide real history, and ‘writers’ who proclaim history, without a base, Indian history, not surprisingly, has not got out of the sorry Colonial-Congress rut.

What a shame!

The wonder that is the British political system

July 12, 2010 5 comments

The performance British leadership during the 1945-2010 period is patchy – to say the least. Look at the British record of governance.

So ... who has done a better job? Much before the current Great Recession, across newsrooms in US, the rise of BRIC was being highlighted. (Cartoon by Stuart Carlson, 2005).

So … who has done a better job? Much before the current Great Recession, across newsrooms in US, the rise of BRICS was being highlighted. (Cartoon by Stuart Carlson, 2005).

Visionary British leadership

In this post, let us keep this subject of British misrule in India aside, completely. Let us forget about it in this post. British misrule in India has been the subject of countless writers, journalists, analysts. Equally there have been many ‘studies’ about British ‘contribution’ to India’s progress.

We will instead, in this post, look at what we can learn from the British (as per India’s Free Press)

Why should Osborne’s actions be of relevance to us in India; one reason is because Osborne’s actions demonstrate the spectacular success of a remarkable British institution: the shadow cabinet.

As the name suggests, the shadow cabinet is made of up of senior members of the opposition who keep close tabs on their corresponding ministers, develop alternative policies and hold the government to account for its actions.

No surprise that many countries have adopted the system of shadow cabinets. As a former British colony, we have inherited a lot of our institutions from the British — including the bureaucracy! But somehow, the shadow cabinet system has eluded us. The result, inevitably, has been ministerial lethargy and poor decision-making . (via Shadowing ministers :Myth n Reality:Mythili Bhusnurmath’s blog-The Economic Times; parts excised for brevity).

Britain - A World Leader In Indebtedness! (Source McKinsey Reports).

Britain – A World Leader In Indebtedness! (Source McKinsey Reports).

Great myths never die … nor fade

Instead, let us look at British misrule in Britain itself. British ‘capabilities’ in areas of technology, industrial management, academia stands – naked and exposed.

After the guns fell silent

At the end of WWII, Britain was a superpower, its huge colonial Empire intact – apart from the massive debt that it owed the US, and India.

With Germany defeated and Hitler dead, Italy in shambles and Mussolini hanged, Japan nuked into submission, Britain sat at the head of ‘high tables’ in the post-WWII world deciding the fate of the nations – with its partner in crime, the US of A.

The US itself was financially dominant (with 25,000 tons of gold reserves), militarily effective (with atomic bombs) and industrially strong (unaffected by the WWII).

The Greatest Political Scam of recent times

From such a position, how could super-power Britain spiral down to bankruptcy, in less than 70 years, after WWII. Seen in this light, the record of British leaders is patchy – to say the least. Let us objectively look at the great British system of governance. A superpower in 1945, now in 2010, Britain is bankrupt.

More, the British mindset itself may need examination!

The Wall Street Journal points out

As Moody’s points out in a new report, what makes the UK so vulnerable to a sovereign debt crisis is the weakness of its banking system. Including private and public sector debt, the UK is one of the most leveraged countries in the world of debt equivalent to [400%] of GDP and a banking system still highly dependent on wholesale funding.

Britain today

With gross debt (including State, public and private sector debt) equaling 500% of its GDP. With its economy hollowed out in the last 60 years? From the position of a super-power to bankruptcy in less than 70 years.

Within 10 years of Indian independence, the British car industry started closing down. British coal mining became unviable within 15 years – and had to be shut finally. British Rail similarly collapsed. British capital goods industry (electrical, heavy machinery, electronics) went out of business. There is no British automotive industry worth talking about. British Steel collapsed and had to be nationalised within 20 years.

It may take an Indian, Ratan Tata, to revive British Steel and British automotive segments finally.

Stockholm syndrome, anyone?

Mythili Bhusnurnath is an old hand at journalism. She should know this – and I am sure she does. To see her going ga-ga about the British political system, letting go of journalistic circumspection is surprising.

Is there any record of such colossal political mismanagement in recent history?


Black cat, white cat … both are not catching the mice.

January 15, 2009 2 comments
Whats the difference?

What's the difference?

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson isn’t the devil … (but) on his watch the US has morphed into a huge debt-issuing machine … (and) the US deficit will more than double this year to at least $1.18 trillion, the biggest since World War II. The CBO’s estimates don’t include the cost of the president-elect’s stimulus package, which will probably add at least $750 billion to the total over the next two years. Last year’s shortfall totalled $455 billion.

Barack Obama has even bigger plans.

“I spent most of the first two quarters of 2008 marvelling at the pace of Chinese reserve accumulation,” Council on Foreign Relations economist Brad Setser in New York wrote on his Web log this week. “I expect to spend the first few quarters of 2009 marvelling at the size of the US fiscal deficit.”

Along with its Faustian bargain, one wonders if China risks a Madoffian one, too.

No, the Treasury isn’t engaged in a massive fraud of the kind allegedly perpetrated by financier Bernard Madoff. Yet the US’s $5.3 trillion government debt arena is looking more like a Ponzi scheme than a market.

MADOFF’S SCHEME

Madoff personifies the greed, lack of transparency and lost trust that has accompanied the US’s fall from grace. Even though sceptics raised concerns about the veracity of Madoff’s performance over the years, regulators failed to act. They believed Madoff’s assertions and figures. (via William Pesek: China risks the Madoff treatment from treasuries).

‘Black cat, white cat, who cares as long as it can catch mice’

There are two frauds – one by the US Government on the world – and the other by the Chinese Government, on its own citizens. USA is a democratic, capitalist, developed, modern G7 country. China other an authoritarian, communist, totalitarian, developing ancient culture. And they both seem to be committing some fairly large frauds.

So much for the ‘superior’, Western, democratic and model. It really does not matter if the cat is white or black – because they both don’t seem to be catching the mice.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 932 other followers

%d bloggers like this: