Famous quotes

"Happiness can be defined, in part at least, as the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually" - Stephen Covey

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Host Korean Movie

Just Finished watching this funny movie.This is just a parody of a typical special effects monster movie.Nice direction coupled with decent acting makes this a movie to watch.This is just a first of a series of Korean movies Im going to watch.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Losing 10 Kilos in 3 months

From Today i have taken the decision to lose 10 kilos in 3 months.Im planning to do this with strict diet and exercise regime.Hopefully by the end i will lose it.Time to start crunching.....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Inglourious basterds

I was looking forward for this movie, I had the opportunity to watch it today. I liked it.It is about the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the revenge exacted upon them by a select band of "Jewish Americans".It has the signature brutality of Quentin and it follows the similar style of Quentin going by scene by scene rather than as a single storyline.The scenes will always be a movie in itself.Here there are chapters as well.As far as the acting is concerned nothing is comparable to the performance of Christoph Waltz as Hans - a Nazi who is christenes as "The Jew hunter" based on his skill of snooping out Jews in france.Though the movie has noteworthy stars as Brad Pitt & Diane Kruger,it is Christoph Waltz who steals the show.There is also the Director of "The Hostel" Eli Roth in this movie with the character of "The Bear Jew" as the baseball bat wielding.Overall this is a nice movie for Quentin's fans like me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Assasins Creed 2

The game has finally arrived.Cant wait to see whether this is as good as the previous one.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Dragon : Origins

A nice game Just went through with the Walkthrough Looks like one of the best of the year.Cant wait for the Assasins creed 2

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Chinese Forign Policy Rhetoric

Pre-1979 Chinese Rhetoric: After India, Russia Targeted

By B. Raman

In my article of October 15, 2009, titled "Chinese Media Revert to Pre-Deng Rhetoric on India" available at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers35/paper3460.html , I had stated as follows: "The more hawkish line adopted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the party media indicate that the hawks in the PLA and the party have started influencing the policy towards India. "

2. An article under the bye-line Li Hongmei under the title 'How to respond to Russia's "Ambiguous Diplomacy"?' carried by the Chinese Communist Party's "People's Daily" on October 21, 2009, (annexed) indicates that the newly-evident hawkish line in foreign policy matters reflecting some of the arguments, characterisations and rhetoric of the pre-Deng Xiaoping era has been directed not only against India, but also against Russia.

3. The article carries intriguing references to Russia as a fair-weather friend and as practising an ambiguous diplomacy. There has been targeted criticism of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for some of his economic decisions affecting China and Chinese illegal traders in Russian territory. A comparison of the criticism of India, which has been accused of nursing hegemonistic aspirations, with the criticism of Russia indicates different motivating factors.

4. The motivating factor of the criticism of India is with reference to its foreign policy ---particularly its relations with the US ---, its aspirations of emerging as an important power and the border dispute. Economic factors do not appear to be behind the criticism of India.

5. In the case of Russia, economic factors seem to be mainly behind the criticism. The Chinese disappointment that Moscow did not give preference to China in respect of the award of the contract for the Far Eastern Oil pipeline project is writ large in the article. The article says: "Chauvinism and double-dealing tactics, which set the basic formula for making foreign policies in its Soviet time, can still be found in today's Russian diplomacy. This can be clearly illustrated by the 10-year-long competition between China and Japan for Russia's Far East oil pipeline project. The usual economic considerations inherent in a strictly commercial competition do not apply in this case. Instead, geopolitical considerations far outweigh any and all commercial considerations.Within the context, Russia had been cast in the role of exploiting the China-Japan rivalry. By waiting for the highest bid, Russia was fascinated by its triumph in converting the pipeline courtship into the pipeline diplomacy, in which Russia benefited from both sides while manipulating from behind the scenes."

6. There is also ill-concealed bitterness over the June 29, 2009, decision of Putin to put down the illegal trading activities of Chinese immigrants in Russian territory by closing down the Cherkizovsky Market, Europe's largest marketplace, located in the Izmaylovo District of Moscow. Putin had ordered it to be closed down on grounds of violations of regulations and illegal activities. The market, which was owned by a Turkish group, had thousands of traders from China and the Central Asian Republics. Illegal traders from China constituted the majority in the market.

7. The need to pursue and enforce core Chinese interests----against India on the border issue and against Russia on economic issues---- has been the underlying themes of the two recent articles on India and Russia. While the emphasis on the enforcement of core Chinese interests is understandable, the use of pre-1979 rhetoric and arguments indicates the growing assertiveness of "China first" hawkish elements in the party and the PLA, who have no use for the reconciliatory language of the Deng era. What they are indicating is that the time has come for China to start using its military, diplomatic and economic muscles for enforcing its core interests.

8. What support these elements have in the party and the Government? It is difficult to answer this question, but the fact that the "People's Daily" has found it necessary to give voice to them in its columns shows that these elements are not insignificant.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)



By Li Hongmei

Tightly pressed by the U.S.-led Western world since the end of the Cold War, and constantly beleaguered by the tit-for-tat measures devised by the West to counterbalance its military might---- just to name a few----NATO's eastward expansion, color revolution and deployment of missile defense system, Russia at times has to turn to China for a relatively sound security environment, but it has thus far remained a fair-weather friend to China, practicing "shadow-boxing" on its China policy.

Russia's ambiguous position seen in its diplomatic strategies could even trace back to its initial years in handling the ties with the then fledgling Chinese Communists. On the eve of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the pro-Kuomintang U.S. Embassy and its Ambassador Leighton Stuart chose to remain in Nanking, former capital of Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang government. But the Embassy of the Soviet Union, technically the sole supporter to the newly-born Chinese communist government, fled to South China with remnants of the overthrown Chiang clique.

This can partially showcase the "Ambiguous Diplomacy" Russia has since sought after purportedly to gain advantage from both sides. By playing balance between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang, the Soviet Union could probably maximize its vested interests, its intention being self-evident in this case.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union left the U.S. as the world's monolithic superpower, Russia has appeared to get closer to China after a history of suspicion, rivalry, and even open hostility in 1960s. But the legacy of Soviet-style ambiguous diplomacy lingers on and suspicions remain overshadowing its relations with China. To shrug off the pressure imposed by the West, to which Russia found inaccessible even after the Cold War, Russia tilted its diplomatic favor to the East by adopting the so-called "Two-headed Hawk" Strategy. And on this basis, it finally entered into "Strategic Collaboration Partnership" with China.

With the wheel of history rolling on, Russia has been making desperate efforts to cut off its blood tie with its bygone days as a communist giant. But Chauvinism and double-dealing tactics, which set the basic formula for making foreign policies in its Soviet time, can still be found in today's Russian diplomacy. This can be clearly illustrated by the 10-year-long competition between China and Japan for Russia's Far East oil pipeline project. The usual economic considerations inherent in a strictly commercial competition do not apply in this case. Instead, geopolitical considerations far outweigh any and all commercial considerations.

Within the context, Russia had been cast in the role of exploiting the China-Japan rivalry. By waiting for the highest bid, Russia was fascinated by its triumph in converting the pipeline courtship into the pipeline diplomacy, in which Russia benefited from both sides while manipulating from behind the scenes.

If this is not enough to reduce or limit the ever-growing Chinese clout, which has reportedly upset Russia for some time, Russia would go as far as it can to drag China down. For instance, its hard-line PM Vladimir Putin persisted in setting the limitation for issuing Russian Far East visas to the Chinese citizens, while the same Putin may speak in Moscow about bilateral ties being "at their highest level ever."

His recently wrapped-up debut Beijing visit as Prime Minister sealed a package of nearly $40 billion worth of orders and bilateral contracts. Nevertheless, Moscow's decision on the closure of Cherkizovsky, the largest market, which came in June unexpectedly like a bolt from the blue for the Chinese vendors, is still shrouding the minds of many Chinese, especially those who were born and bred in the years when the Soviet Union acted as China's Big Brother and who even today still cherish a subtle "Russia Complex".

Unfortunately, in reality, little has happened to strengthen the bilateral ties. On the other hand, Russia has attained a high degree of perfection in pushing its "Ambiguous Diplomacy" and even extending it to almost all the spheres of foreign affairs.

To China, what must be done in terms of its future bilateral relationship with Russia is, first and foremost, abandoning the one-sided wish, or so to speak, the thinking to "take a part as the whole". The best way to deal with Russia is to follow the path, more realistic and more reasonable, leading to a mature diplomacy, which will expect a reciprocal gesture of goodwill and satisfy the mutual interests as great powers.

AlQaeda planned attacks against India in US

LET Revives 2003 Plan to Use US As Launching Pad for Terrorism in India - International Terrorism Monitor--Paper No. 572

by B. Raman

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US has arrested and produced before a court in Chicago two local Muslim residents on a charge of conspiring with three others in Pakistan to carry out a Mumbai 26/11 style terrorist strike in Copenhagen and another strike in India.

2. The two arrested persons are David Coleman Headley (aged 49) also known as Daood Gilani, an American citizen, who is a white convert to Islam, and Tahawar Hussain Rana (aged 48), a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, who has been running an immigration services office in Chicago with branches in Toronto and New York. He has also been running a company which was supplying meat to Muslims.

3. Headley was arrested on October 3, 2009, and produced before the court on October 11. His arrest was kept a secret with the permission of the court for eight days to facilitate further investigation. The FBI arrested him at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as he was about to board a flight to Philadelphia for an onward trip to Denmark. According to the FBI, he was allegedly carrying a copy of a newspaper (not specified), a street guide for Copenhagen, a list of phone numbers and a computer memory stick with ten short video recordings of the offices of a Danish newspaper, which had published in 2005, a cartoon depicting the Holy Prophet, and the entrance to a military barracks in Copenhagen.

4. It was reported by the local media that Headley had "waived his rights" and made voluntary statements to the FBI about his connection to Pakistani terror groups. The authorities said the plot against the Danish newspaper, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, was referred to as the "Mickey Mouse Project" in communications between Headley and his contact in Pakistan. Headley had already traveled to Copenhagen in January and visited two different offices of the newspaper, the FBI said. Rana had allegedly reservations to fly to Copenhagen on Oct0ber 29. He was arrested on October 18 and produced before the court the next day

5. During his visit to Denmark in January last, Headley allegedly flew to Pakistan and met with his contact there, according to the FBI's affidavit filed with the court. The texts of the two affidavits filed by the FBI against the two arrested persons are available at http://abcnews.go.com/images/Blotter/Headley%20Complaint.pdf and http://abcnews.go.com/images/Blotter/Rana%20Complaint2.pdf .

6. The FBI authorities have identified the contact as Ilyas Kashmiri, a former Commando of the Special Services Group (SSG) of Pakistan, who gravitated to the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Pakistan and subsequently to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). He was one of the suspects in Al Qaeda-inspired plots to kill Pervez Musharraf in December, 2003, and other terrorist strikes. He was recently reported to have been killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan in September, but this was subsequently reported to have been incorrect. He himself contacted some Pakistani journalists to prove that he was still alive. According to the FBI's affidavit, Headley was introduced to Ilyas Kashmiri by an individual referred to as Individual A during a visit to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in July-August 2008. A persual of the two FBI affidavits would indicate that Headley's subsequent communications with Ilyas Kashmiri were through this individual and not direct.

7. In the past there were conflicting versions of the organisational affiliation of Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri. While some reports described him as the Amir of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), other reports described him as the head of a splinter group of the HUJI of Pakistan headed by its Amir Qari Saifullah Akhtar, which had split from it and was operating independently in Jammu & Kashmir of India from sanctuaries in the POK.

8. Ilyas Kashmiri was among those arrested by the Pakistani authorities in January, 2004, in connection with the investigation into the two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi in December, 2003. While some of the others arrested, including some junior Air Force officers, were prosecuted and convicted, Ilyas Kashmiri himself was released for want of evidence of his involvement. It was claimed by sections of the Pakistani media at that time that Ilyas was released on the intervention of Syed Salauddin, the Amir of the Hizbul Mujahideen and the head of the United Jihad Council for Kashmir, who reportedly managed to convince the Police that Ilyas had nothing to do with the two attempts to kill Musharraf.

9. Ilyas was subsequently reported to have closed down the camp of his set-up in the POK and shifted to North Waziristan from where he was operating in the non-tribal belt of Pakistan. In a despatch of May 24, 2009, Amir Mir, the well-informed Pakistani journalist, who writes for the "News" and other papers said: "Commander Ilyas Kashmiri was recently named in a charge sheet filed by the Islamabad police in the November 2008 gruesome murder of Major General (retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG). The 12-page charge sheet submitted by the Rawalpindi police in an anti-terrorism court on May 12, 2009 stated that the former SSG commanding officer was killed to avenge the role he had played in the fight against Taliban linked militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The charge-sheet prepared by the Koral police station states that those involved and already arrested in the murder included Major (retd) Haroon Rasheed, a resident of Azad Kashmir; Mohammad Nawaz Khan of Peshawar and Ashfaq Ahmed of Okara. The charge sheet says the murder of Major General Amir Faisal Alvi was carried out on the instructions of Commander Ilyas Kashmiri who had provided funds and weapons. The charge sheet pointed out that Ilyas Kashmiri had already been named by the intelligence agencies for involvement in the October 2008 kidnapping for ransom of Satish Anand, a Karachi-based renowned film producer and distributor and the real uncle of Juhi Chawla, a well known Bollywood actress. After Satish Anand was recovered in the last week of April 2009 and the kidnappers arrested, it transpired during interrogations that one of them - Major Haroon Rasheed alias Abu Khattab – was a former Pakistani Army officer and involved in the murder of General Alvi. According to the murder charge sheet, the three accused – Haroon, Ashfaq and Nawaz followed Alvi when he left his residence in Bharia Town in Rawalpindi for his private office in Islamabad and killed him and his driver near the PWD Colony. Once considered close to General Pervez Musharraf, Amir Faisal Alvi was the first General Officer Commanding of the elite Special Services Group, and had also commanded the elite Group as a Brigadier. The first Pakistani Major General to have captained the Armed Forces Skydiving Team (AFST) as a GOC, Faisal Alvi was forcibly retired from the Army on disciplinary grounds ‘for conduct unbecoming’ by then Army Chief General Musharraf in August 2005."

10. Ilyas Kashmiri reportedly had his own training camp in the Razmak area of North (?) Waziristan and was collaborating with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

11.According to the FBI affidavit, "in July and August 2009, Headley exchanged a series of e-mails with LeT Member A, including an exchange in which Headley asked if the Denmark project was on hold, and whether a visit to India that LeT Member A had asked him to undertake was for the purpose of surveilling targets for a new terrorist attack. These e-mails reflect that LeT Member A was placing a higher priority on using Headley to assist in planning a new attack in India than on completing the planned attack in Denmark."

12.Although the affidavit named Ilyas Kashmiri, it did not identify two other Pakistan-based members involved in the plot, referring to them merely as LeT member A and Individual A. It said the LeT member A “has substantial influence and responsibility within the organization” and his “identity is known to the government.”

13. It is not clear what the FBI affidavit meant by saying that the LET member's identity is known to the Government. Which Government---the Government of Pakistan? If so, what action has been taken by the FBI to have him picked up by the Pakistani authorities and handed over to the FBI for interrogation and further investigation? The FBI has been silent on this till now.

14. The idea of using the US territory as a launcing pad for terrorist attacks in India had figured in the plans of the LET in 2003.On June 27, 2003, the FBI had charged seven men in the Washington area and an eighth in Philadelphia with stockpiling weapons and conspiring to wage "jihad" against India in support of a terrorist group in Kashmir. The FBI's charge-sheet against them described them as members of the LET. It also said that three others involved in the case were absconding and were believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

15. Although the FBI officials said that there was no evidence of a plot against the US, the members of the group had pledged support for pro-Muslim violence overseas, hoarded high-powered rifles and received military training in Pakistan. Nine of the 11 accused were American citizens, and three had served in the US armed forces for some time in the past. The charge-sheet said that seven members of the group had travelled to Pakistan in the last several years, and some received military training in small arms, machine guns, grenade launchers and other weaponry at a camp in northeast Pakistan connected to the LET.

16. The 41-count indictment charged the 11 accused with conspiracy, firearms violations and plotting against a friendly nation — namely, India. US officials connected with the investigation were quoted by the media as saying that there was no evidence that the accused were considering an attack within the United States or had ties to Al Qaeda.

17. However, the officials charged that the men conspired to help Muslims abroad in violent jihad not only in India, but also in Chechnya, the Philippines and other countries. The men, the indictment said, obtained AK-47s and other high-powered weaponry and practised small-unit military tactics in Virginia.

18. The indictment charged that the accused pledged their willingness to die as martyrs in support of the Muslim cause and gathered in private homes and at an Islamic center in suburban Washington to hear lectures "on the righteousness of jihad" in Kashmir, Chechnya and elsewhere. They also watched videotapes showing Muslim fighters engaged in jihad. They had also organised a function to celebrate the crashing of the space shuttle Columbia. One of the astronauts killed in the crash was of Indian origin. A message read out on the occasion had described the USA "as the greatest enemy of the Muslims."

19. According to the indictment, one of the accused Masoud Ahmed Khan, a Maryland resident, had a document titled "The Terrorist's Handbook," with instructions on how to manufacture and use explosives and chemicals as weapons, as well as a photograph of F.B.I. headquarters in Washington.

20. At least two of the 11 accused were described as of Pakistani origin. One of them, Mohammed Aatique, 30, was a work (H-1) visa holder while Khawja Mahmood Hasan, 27, was a naturalized US citizen born in Pakistan. But at least one more suspect, Masoud Ahmad Khan, 31, also had a Pakistani sounding name although his nationality was not disclosed. The other accused were Randall Todd Royer, 30; Ibrahim Ahmed al-Hamdi, a Yemeni national and non-resident alien; Yong Ki Kwon, 27, a naturalized US citizen born in Korea; Seifullah Chapman, 30; Hammad Abdur-Raheem, 35; Donald Thomas Surratt, 30; Caliph Basha Ibn Abdur-Raheem, 29, and Sabri Benkhala, 28. Chapman, Hasan and Benkhala were stated to be living in Saudi Arabia.

21.Earlier, on June 20, 2003 FBI officials had disclosed that they had arrested in April Iyman Faris, also known as Mohammad Rauf, originally a resident of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), who had migrated to the US in 1994 and was working as a truck driver in Ohio and charged him with having links with Al Qaeda and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, said to be Osama bin Laden's operations chief, who is believed to have co-ordinated the terrorist strikes of September 11, 2001, in the US. Khalid was arrested in the house of a women's wing leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Pakistan at Rawalpindi in March, 2003, by the Pakistani authorities and handed over to the FBI.

22. According to FBI officials, as quoted in the US media, Faris had visited Afghanistan and Pakistan a number of times between 2000 and 2002, met Osama bin Laden and worked with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, in organising and financing jihad causes. After returning to the US from Pakistan in late 2002, officials said, he began examining the Brooklyn Bridge and discussing via coded messages with Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan ways of using blow torches to sever the suspension cables.

23. "The plotting continued through March, as Faris sent coded messages to operatives in Pakistan. One such message said that the "weather is too hot."FBI officials were quoted as saying that meant that Faris feared the plot was unlikely to succeed---apparently because of security and the bridge's structure-- and should be postponed. He was arrested soon thereafter. Sources in Pakistan described Faris, aged 34, as a Punjabi ex-serviceman settled in POK, before he migrated to the US.

24. The above-mentioned details of LET activities in the US have been covered in my latest book titled "Mumbai--26/11: A Day of Infamy" released for sale by the Lancer Publishers of New Delhi on October 26, 2008 (www.lancerpublishers.com ).

25. The plans of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the parent organisation of the LET, to carry out terrorist strikes in foreign territory against those insulting the Holy Prophet came to notice from the following report carried by the Pakistani journal "Ausaf" in its issue dated September 18, 2006:"Pakistan's Jamaat-ud-Dawa has issued a Fatwa asking the Muslim community to kill Pope Benedict for his blasphemous statement about Prophet Mohammad. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa has declared death to Pope Benedict and said that in today's world blasphemy of the Holy Koran and the Prophet has become a fashion. The leaders of the Jamaat were speaking at a Martyrs' Islamic Conference in Karachi. Prominent Jamaat leader Hafiz Saifullah Khalid said that in the present circumstances, jehad has become obligatory for each Muslim. Muslims are being declared terrorists and our battle for survival has already started. The Muslim world has rejected the Pope's apology and decided to continue protests and demonstrations in big cities. The Pope's apology is just a drama and no political leader has any power to pardon him. It is part of a crusade initiated by the US in the name of terrorism. Instead of accepting fake apologies, Muslims should realise Europe's enemity towards Islam and Muslim Ummah should prepare itself to defend its faith. Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Abdur Rahman Makki said the West and Europe have started a campaign against the Holy Koran and the Prophet and have abused jehad. We should take appropriate steps to deal with the champions of crusade. It is time for Muslim leaders to open their eyes and understand that the West had never been a friend of the Muslims and will never be so."

26. A perusal of the FBI affidavits indicates the following: Headley was a self-motivated jihadi who volunteered his services for the LET and Ilyas Kashmiri. He seems to have come into contact with the jihadi world in Pakistan by frequenting an Internet chat group of "Abdelians" ---- meaning former cadets of the Punjab Government's military cadet college at Hasan Abdal, 40 kms to the north of Rawalpindi, set up in 1954 to prepare young boys aspiring to join the armed forces. He had established independent contacts with an LET operative and Ilyas Kashmiri. While the LET operative was interested in using him to prepare the ground for a terrorist strike in India, Ilyas Kashmiri was interested in using him for a terrorist strike in Denmark. He had visited Denmark at least once to study the ground conditions there, but there is no indication of his having visited India. The role of Rana seems to have been to provide Headley with a business cover for his travels to Denmark and Pakistan. The two had discussed the operational plans of Headley during a long drive together in the US.

27. Al Qaeda, the LET and their jihadi associates are like homing pigeons. Once they draw up a plan for a terrorist strike, they focus on carrying it out whatever be the difficulties. It came out during the investigation of the November, 2008, terrorist strike in Mumbai that the LET had originally planned to carry it out in September, but postponed it---presumably because security had been tightened up at the hotels which it was planning to attack. It attacked on November 26, when the security had become slack. Its plans for a terrorist strike in India from US territory in 2003 with the help of White and other converts to Islam holding US and other Western passports were foiled in time by the FBI, but it did not give up this idea and has once again tried to give it shape. Despite its failure for a second time, it will continue looking for another opportunity.

Obama Al Qaeda Strategy

Can Obama Strategy Destroy Al-Qaeda?

By Kazi Anwarul Masud

President Obama’s strategy to fight the Taliban is yet to get unanimous support in all the quarters in the US. US Senate Foreign relations Committee Chairman John Kerry expressed in May that Pakistan with its nuclear arsenal, terrorist safe havens, Taliban sanctuaries and growing insurgency has become the most difficult challenge faced by the US. He added that Pakistan at present has the potential to be crippled by the Taliban or to act as bulwark against everything the Taliban represent. Senator Kerry underscored the Pakistani feeling of being used by the US and then left in the lurch and also the American policy of cooperation with the military while paying scant attention to the wishes of the people.

In May also President Obama’s Af-Pak representative Richard Hallbrooke testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that a stable, secure, democratic Pakistan was vital to the US national interest. He said that President Obama’s policy towards Pakistan was to ensure Pakistan’s stability necessary for the security of the US and the rest of the world through increased security, governance and development assistance to Pakistan. Halbrooke spoke of the trilateral engagement among the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan in which the three parties shared commitment to combat terrorism and extremism.

South Asian expert Rory Stewart told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the final goal of the Obama administration to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to prevent their return to either country in future, " is trying to do the impossible. It is highly unlikely that the US will be able either to build an effective, legitimate state or to defeat the Taliban insurgency".

In the same vein Pulitzer Prize winner journalist Steve Coll( New Yorker October 19, 2009)writes that since the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 attempts by foreign powers to shape events there have repeatedly been thwarted by what intelligence analysts call "mirror imaging" which is the tendency of the decision makers in one country to judge counterparts in another country through the prism of their own language and politics . Coll cautioned that safeguarding American interests in AfPak region to free it from the Taliban should not be confused with the quest for an honest President in Kabul where rulers often have not been trustworthy

This converges to some extent with Samuel Huntington’s proposition made in his book POLITICAL ORDER IN CHANGING SOCIETIES(1968) that authority, even of a brutal kind, is preferable to none at all and that the degree to which a state is governed is more important than how it is governed. Huntington felt that despite ideological differences the US had more in common with the USSR than it did with any weakly ruled states. Unsurprisingly neo-con Michael Ledeen (rediscovering American character-September 11, 2009) quoting Alexis de Tocqeville’s description of the Americans as "a restless, reasoning and adventurous race" has called for dismissal of claims that "all people are the same, all cultures are of equal worth, all values are relative, and all judgments are to be avoided". He calls the al-Qaeda terrorism as the "latest incarnation of servitude – this time wrapped in a religious mantle" that must be defeated.

While one cannot contest that terrorism in all forms must be defeated his praise of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who openly said that it was Islam and not al-Qaeda that posed danger to the world is worrying. The skepticism relating to practice of democracy in many developing countries is in agreement with those of Samuel Huntington, Francis Fukuyama, Bernard Lewis, Joseph Stiglitz and others that as the practice of democracy requires a degree of prosperity of a nation the Western countries should not expect a faultless administration in countries where they are engaged in fighting the Taliban menace.

Robert Blackwill of Rand Corporation ( The geopolitical consequences of the world economic recession) thinks that over time G-20 will become more influential than G-8. In the next decade or so G -20 will exert more influence on IMF but is unlikely to shape the UN Security Council. Blackwill’s prediction is based on reading the transcending events in history like the French Revolution bringing in Napoleon, Bolshevik Revolution producing the Soviet empire, the Great Depression reinforcing the demise of the Weimar Republic, the advent of Adolph Hitler and such other historical events.

The point is that though unipolar moment may have pased but the US, as Leslie Gelb writes in his book POWER RULES, " the global power is decidedly pyramidical- with the US alone at the top, a second tier of major countries( China, India, the UK, France , Germany and Brazil and several tiers) descending below" will be the key determinants of security in the 21st century. But if power is the capacity to make people do what they do not want to do, then the US after the Bush administration may not want to force the doctrine of preemption as the way to solve global issues and instead as Nobel Committee has said in its citation while awarding Barak Obama the Peace Prize the US may opt for a global reconciliation among different groups pledging allegiance to different faiths and opposing further dissipation of national sovereignty.

Equally China has not in recent past, except in the case of Tibet, displayed any intention of using coercive diplomacy in settling bilateral issues and has played a responsible role in the UNSC. The problem with other G-20 countries is poverty and/or lack of good governance that are likely to divert their attention from international issues to more pressing ones at home. US therefore with its global reach and its surplus wealth (discounting the current recession that may be on the mend) will remain the determining power in the world for the foreseeable future.

One may be treading the fault lines in global politics if one were to assume that peace and tranquility would rule the world. China’s resurgence in Asia would worry Japan and to an extent India given Chinese objection to Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh for election campaign, China’s ire at the refuge given by India to Dalai Lama since he fled Chinese occupation of Tibet, and India’s objection to the building of a dam in Tibet by China that may affect water flow in the rivers flowing into India and Bangladesh.

Europe in this matrix, free of neo-cons like Robert Kagan who suggested the Americans making the dinner and the Europeans doing the dishes and his "co-religionists" like Paul Wolfowitz. Richard Perle and others, may opt for a more internationally acceptable legal framework for a new global construct. The opposing views are not exceptional in most countries. In Australia, for example, the differences between the Conservatives and Labor was based on "realism" and "idealism".

In this evolution of a new global architecture it has become difficult to discern the religious factor in the al-Qaeda and Taliban sponsored terrorism. Pakistan is now virtually fighting for its life though in the eyes of Bruce Riedel and some others Pakistan is now the epicenter of terrorism. Hillary Clinton during her visit to Pakistan in October virtually accused the country of complicity with al-Qaeda. She found it difficult to believe that no one among Pakistani authorities knew whereabouts of the al-Qaeda leadership though al-Qaeda has had safe-havens in Pakistan since 2002. She also implicitly crotocised Pakistani military security establishment. It is believed that Pak-Afghan border region had been the base of 9/11 hijackers and many other terrorists and that most terrorist attacks from World Trade Center in 1993 have been traced to Pakistan and not to Afghanistan, Iran or Iraq.

The terrorism at Bali testifies that the largest Muslim country in the world was not spared. The argument proferred that terrorism in Muslim countries is to establish the pristine spirit and practice of Islam does not hold water as the victims of terrorism are often innocent and pious men, women and children who by no stretch of imagination can be termed as "degenerates" and many are not even Westernized. What then do the Taliban expect to achieve? Already they reportedly have become unpopular in Swat and Malakand in Pakistan where they ruled for sometime because of their harsh and brutal treatment of the people, especially of the women.

The world should not stand by and see Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan and Pakistan and risk the falling of nuclear materials into the hands of the fanatics.

Some of the US leaders have questioned the logic of greater support to Pakistan than to Afghanistan at a time when al-Qaeda is gaining ground in Afghanistan and the billions of dollars of assistance given to Pakistan is being misused either through diversion to bolster Pak military along Indian border or through outright corruption. Unknown to the US taxpayers successive US administrations have tolerated misuse of military and financial aid to Pakistan during the period of ousting the Soviets from Afghanistan and to other military dictators during the cold war. One should not forget that the Taliban were created by Pak President Ziaul Huq with American money and materials. The task was easy because the Taliban given their tribal background and being brought up in Islamist tradition took up arms against the communist Soviets who did not believe in God. As the terrorist attacks of 9/11 demonstrated the West had in effect created a Frankenstein capable of destabilizing a world order that was emerging after the end of bipolarity of the cold war period.

The Western concern about extremist Islamic terrorism has effectively put on the global stage Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory, dismissed by many Western scholars and political leaders, due to lack of solution of the Middle East crisis and general underdevelopment in Muslim countries the world may be divided along religious lines. Despite Bruce Riedels prescription for a democratic dispensation in Pakistan doubts has always remained whether Pakistani society being largely ruled by oligarchs where the individual still has to free himself from tradition, where primordial tribal loyalty predominates decision making process, where religious edicts by village Maulanas have quasi-judicial force, and gender inequality is accepted as normative social order, institution of Western liberal democracy would not remain a far cry. Benazir Bhutto was, perhaps, the most secular and determined among Pakistani leaders to face up to the increasing Islamic extremism in the country and was decidedly most favored by the Western powers among the political leaders in Pakistan. Her death, says Stephen Cohen, dealt a death blow to the idea of a liberal and moderate Pakistan. In Pakistan separatism did increase as did violent extremist Islamism.

Given the odds stacked against them it is not clearly understandable what is the end game of the Taliban. Eminent Muslim scholars by and large have condemned the Taliban claim to purge Islam of so-called western degenerative elements and to establish Caliphate of the 6th century Saudi Arabia. Indeed the Taliban consider the Muslim countries of abandoning the true faith as they understand Islam and have threatened to unseat the present regimes in Muslim countries.

It is undeniable that most of the members of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) would not fulfill the criteria of democracy practiced by the West. Yet to expect that these countries, all being developing or least developed countries would be adorned with the socio-political sophistication of the developed countries acquired over centuries is not practical. In making this statement the debate of what is democracy or its different forms has been deliberately avoided. In tribal societies it is difficult for the people in power not to help ones kith and kin, a sin and nepotism surely to be accused of in Western societies. Equally the preponderance of the values of common welfare over individual welfare in the Eastern societies cannot be wished away.

Luckily for the world George W Bush’s wrecking ball diplomacy and his determination to spread democracy everywhere is now a matter of the past. But the responsibility of the global players to keep the world safe for the present and future generations has to remain a constant in the agenda of the leaders of the world

India China Truce

Dalai Lama's Visit to Tawang: Studied Ambivalence

By B. Raman

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who discussed India-China bilateral issues with Prime Minister Wen Jiabo of China, on two occasions during his visit to Hua Hin in Thailand for the summit with ASEAN leaders, has maintained a studied ambivalence on the question of the reported plans of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh next month to declare open a hospital constructed with assistance from the Tibetan exile community in India. China has repeatedly protested against the proposed visit. The latest protest was handed over by the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs on the eve of the Hua Hin meeting between the two leaders.

2. Bilateral issues figured in the meeting of the two Prime Ministers in the margins of the summit on October 24, 2009, as well as during a dinner hosted by the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for the participants in the summit. While the subject of the Dalai Lama's proposed visit did not appear to have figured at the bilateral meeting, it did figure during the discussions at the dinner as reportedly stated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself during his interactions with the Indian journalists, who had accompanied him. It is not clear whether the Thai dinner preceded the bilateral meeting or followed it.

3. Dr. Manmohan Singh was careful in the formulation of his remarks on the Dalai Lama visit. He said: "I explained to Premier Wen that Dalai Lama is our honoured guest and he is a religious leader. We do not allow Tibetan refugees to indulge in political activities and proof of that is that we took resolute action against some Tibetans during Olympics (torch relay) last year following reports that some Tibetan refugees might create problems."

4. The most significant part of his formulation came in reply to a question from a journalist on the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Dr. Singh said HE WAS NOT AWARE OF THE DALAI LAMA'S PLANS. (Emphasis mine)

5. The proposed visit of His Holiness to Tawang in response to a local invitation from Arunachal Pradesh had been figuring in media reports for nearly two months now and the Chinese have repeatedly protested against it. India's Minister for External Affairs, Shri S. M. Krishna, had said that His Holiness was free to visit any part of India.

6. Till now, the Prime Minister himself had maintained a total silence on the issue. To have ruled out the visit would have been politically unwise for the Congress (I) in view of the recent elections in Arunachal Pradesh. Now that the elections are over and the Congress (I) has retained power, the Prime Minister no longer seems to feel the need to observe political caution on the subject lest the electoral fortunes of the Congress (I) be affected.

7. Is he preparing the ground for ending the controversy and defusing the tension with Beijing on the subject by quietly persuading His Holiness to postpone the visit for some personal reasons?