Monday, August 25, 2008

Type as you go

1. Interesting piece on the shootdown of the falling US satellite. Not surprisingly, the US used the Chinese test as a cover for their own test. They call it a gift that keeps giving because it has provide justification for several other new technologies including "quick ground-based counterstrikes to disable enemy antisatellite jammers and lasers, and better space-based sensors to detect these attacks and perhaps enable the United States to forestall them by going “pro­active.”

2. Same magazine, intriguing piece on Burma, by Robert Kaplan. Mr Kaplan is no ordinary person. He's written several bestsellers (I've read his Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts), and is known to have readership among influential people, right upto the level of President. His centerpiece argument is about how United States should confront the Chinese influence in Burma by playing the tribal factions, with the help of India no less, and undermine the present military regime there. His tool: evangelical missionary types who have the wherewithal and determination to utilize these innate tribal forces to US advantage. The article itself is extremely sober. Let its focus on missionaries not discourage you from reading it. Mr Kaplan is Jewish.

3. Anne Applebaum on China's Olympics. Some gems among them:

"Human Rights Watch went even further, calling the Olympics a "catalyst for human rights abuses," and declaring that the 2008 Games "have put an end—once and for all—to the notion that these Olympics are a 'force for good.'"

"In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, Londoners will complain about the traffic; politicians will carp about the cost; critics will call the ceremonies tasteless; no one will use the phrase Olympic triumph. But there won't be arrests or police intimidation; there won't be forced expropriation of property; there won't be stony-faced acrobats marching in formation—and in the end, the whole thing will be a lot less sinister, a lot less damaging, and a lot more fun."

Triumph of Frill

There are news items like these that will almost throw you in rage unless you remind yourself the sober truth that the newspaper, also dearly called as the TOIlet paper of India has a policy of selling news space. The news article eulogizing China is most probably a plant. Pity those readers who would not take it with a pinch of salt.

Thankfully the robot olympiad is over and so is the most expensive advertising campaign by one of the most brutal dictatorships of present day. There's only so much of the choreographed smiles and drill-sergeant efficiency that one can take.

The lack of spontaneity and the artificial conviviality of this Olympics will be noted by history. Maybe someday a future Chinese generation will rue the Communist extravagance and make up for what was sorely missing in the two week showpiece event: genuine humanity and pure fun. The cost it extracted from rural, aam Chinese aadmi, poor slum dwellers whose houses were demolished to make way for sprawling stadiums might become a matter of shame for those who deemed it fit to parade themselves and their totalitarian icons.

My only hope is that it doesn't take the same route that the Nazi olympics of 1936 took. As the old German joke goes, Germany was an industrialized state by 1890 and by 1950 it was a democracy. What transpired in those 60 yrs. is traumatic history.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aye to Plebiscite

If someone says that there should be a plebiscite(referendum) in Kashmir I'll say, hell ya, indeed why not. When article 370 was approved we were told that J&K will be slowly integrated into the country. Looking at the current signs a significant part of the state is clearly rooting for such integration and India might do itself a favor as well by offering them such an opportunity.

People of J&K should be offered a plebiscite, making them vote aye or nay on whether they want to merge with India permanently or keep the status quo. Such a plebiscite would be win-win for all--separatists included. It is unfair and undemocratic to keep those who want to integrate be quarantined from the national mainstream against their wishes. Those who support this idea are welcome to form ANPAD--Act Now for Plebiscite and Democracy. Women can form PAIDWA--Plebiscite for all India democratic women's association.

Oh Susanna! Don't you cry for me

Susanna Arundhati Roy, vented out her frustration in a recent Kashmir rally, thus:
Then she added, “But I think today the people have represented themselves.”

Roy concluded with words, “India needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs azadi from India.”
The obvious question is who's representing India here? Not the people, certainly. What business is it then of Ms Roy to speak for India? The last time I heard, India is still a democracy and Ms Roy never contested any election. Indeed it is her who needs Azaadi from India, overwhelmed as she feels by India's myriad problems, as much as India which needs azaadi from Ms Roy, and her global crusades. Please, oh Susanna, don't you cry for me, or India.

Ms Roy unwittingly exposes the myth behind people-to-people contact, too. Countless visits by social "activists," candlewalas, jholawalas have not bridged the hearts and minds of 'Kashmiriyat 'separatists who feel perennially alienated from a govt. that is propped by these very socialites to boot.

However, people-to-people contact mantra still may redeem itself if it is allowed to work genuinely, in true democratic spirit. The gulf between Kashmiri separatists can be bridged if ordinary people are allowed to go to Kashmir and make it their home. Kashmir's hoary, shared, syncretic culture will be exponentially enriched if several other multicultures from parts of India interact with it, carried over there by people from rest of India, who love Kashmir.

And that is possible if only India repeals Article 370 from the constitution.

One Kashmiri separatist leader called India for help when they suffered earthquake. If only they were equally welcoming of other Indians during good times, and if they were not butchering Indians on a perodic basis, he won't feel so lonely in times of tragedy. By keeping the company of the likes of Ms Roy the separatists are hurting their own cause.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ersatz or deliberate?

India's jetsetting activists organized a curiously funny carnival called "People's Saarc" coinciding with the real, and rather meaningless, SAARC.

As is the won't of left-wingers the "People's Saarc"ers flooded youtube with videos of the non-event. One such came to this blogger's attention and has been previously posted, too. At 2:07 in the video you see a motley groups of "activists" sloganeering "hum Cheen ke lenge azaadi" meaning " we'll snatch/clutch/snare freedom," don't ask from whom as I don't know who they are protesting against. You might also wonder as to how lefty radicals who pontificate endless dialog have no qualms in advocating an inherently violent process that snatching, snaring, clutching is. But then again "hum discuss karke lenge azaadi" or "hum candle jala ke lenge azaadi" sounds clumsy Rajivspeak. It just doesn't have the right flavor.

It is tempting to dismiss this high-decibel sloganeering as usual leftist piffle, but it caught my attention because of this news item. The report cites Kashmiri separatists shouting slogans-- Jiyo, jiyo Pakistan, hum hain Pakistani . Other slogans included Islam Zindabad , Lad ke lenge azadi and Allah-u-Akbar .(emphasis not mine).

There's not much of a difference between "hum cheen ke lenge azaadi" and "lad ke lenge azaadi." Both unambiguously declare violent intentions and justify terrorist tactics. The only instance when lefties are against "splittist" are when the split involves separation from their latest fatherland. Rest is business as usual.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Looking at Michael Phelps's Gold spree, though his second one owes to Jason Lezak's presence of mind, it won't be hazardous to guess the outcome of China's pursuit of medal tally.

Opinions across the world are shaped by, to a large extent, the focus and portrayal in western median. It is quite likely that these Olympics will be made known for individual success and genius than group/country/program's success. Michael Phelps is going to be the first amongst equals in that category. Then again individualism is linked to freedom and by extension fundamental rights. And the winner of any such history writing certainly is not going to be China.

There's a little schadenfreude in it all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chinese Politics- A dialogue between Daniel Drezner and Robert Kagan

The Beijing Olympics, apart from their symbolism for sports, has really shown that when it comes to China the Western World's gloves are off. Courtesy the super-intelligent secularists we've to watch this great game from sidelines, haplessly, again.

Here's a dialogue between Robert Kagan and Daniel Drezner about China. There's one more between Kagan and Fukuyama, which is equally interesting.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Awesome chart for the olympics

NYTimes has this excellent interactive chart for the Olympics. Makes tracking your most favorite events a whole lot easier. I missed the opening ceremony which seems to have been remarkable (for all the sweatshop money spent by Communist China they better get the event right!).

The time difference between Beijing and NewYork is about 12 hours; that makes keeping track of the time a whole lot easier, too.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Paris Hilton's Energy Policy

Friday, August 1, 2008

Kuldip Nayar's South Asian dreams

South Asianitis is not a new phenomenon. A queer group of South Asianites recently made its appearance in Sri Lanka where the latest SAARC summit is being held.

Being South Asian and grassroot democracy types the 'loya jirga' of South Asianites ended up picking a strange name, completely contrary to its professed ideals. It calls its own little seminar circuit, of all things, "People's SAARC." There's Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly called as North Korea, which is neither democratic nor a republic, but a despicable Stalinist dictatorship. Why would self-confessed grassrooters want to pick a name that resembles with that of a terrible regime is an obvious question, but then those who know the history of these grassrooters know it very well that they might as well be called grassuprooters: their goal being undoing everything and spreading chaos.

So what were these grassrooters upto in Colombo, apart from seeking limelight, you might ask. In the words of the grand ol' man of radical left, South Asianites, journalist Kuldeep Nayar:
The unanimous demand of the delegates was for a borderless South Asia, with no visas, no restrictions to enable people to travel and trade.
Well, that demand is not getting anywhere, and the South Asianites know it quite well, too. Uprooted from reality that they are the grassrooters can very well afford such junkets, just don't ask about their funding sources, that's all.

As for ye old Kuldip, I vaguely recall someone calling him Kulnashak Liar. Gotta hand it to the anonymous neologist's clairvoyance. Greatly put.