Here people, some weekend reading for you!
Also, my co-authored analysis of Australian Defence White Paper 2013, got published in ODT.
Here people, some weekend reading for you!
Also, my co-authored analysis of Australian Defence White Paper 2013, got published in ODT.
Right…so we “argumentative” Indians cannot stay out of controversial topics, compulsively…and this time, I delve into “Women in combat“.
My paper titled “ Women and War: Women in combat and the internal debate in the field of gender studies ” got published in the online edition of Global Policy Journal. I provide a broad critical overview, and mark the inter-Feminist debate about the subject. Read the full paper here!
Also, my Economics working papers are now among the top ten most downloaded papers in Social Science Research Network, I got their email just today!
Hope you all will enjoy some serious reading this week!
Terrible, ghastly act of Terrorism in Boston today. The situation is fluid, so one shouldn’t comment or speculate on that, and it is prudent to let the investigators finish their job and come to a conclusion.
Here are some photos which I got from around the internet of the event. (Warning : Not for the fainthearted!)
Thoughts and prayers go to the people of United States, especially my friends and colleagues, from a citizen of a nation which faced more terrorist attacks in modern history than rest of the World combined. Remember, Americans always get up back on the horse! So come on and giddy up! You are the good guys, and keep up the good fight! We’re with you, all the way!
(Published in USINPAC)
Among other interminable dross that were churned in the recently concluded 5th annual BRICS summit in South Africa, was the idea of a Development bank, by the five ever-rising economic powers. Although the details are vague, like any other diplomatic summit declaration trying to obfuscate the deep fissures within this coalition of unequals, the fact that India agreed to this disaster in the making is a new low in the foreign policy of a country, which is not much known for rational and realistic choices. The idea behind the development bank is indeed noble, “to address…the infrastructure gap in developing countries…”, especially in Africa. But the intention to make it successful or meaningful or the national interest of each member of the coalition is not clear. One thing, which is however clear, is Indian ambivalent skepticism about bandwagoning with any power simultaneously coupled with the Nehruvian idea of being a “messiah of the mass” and trying to be a leader of the third world, which reflects the mindset of Indian bureaucracy and ruling elite, is increasingly drawing India into a dilemma.
The BRICS is not an alliance. It is an arbitrarily formed group, mentioned in passing by an ex-banker, which was so captivating to the ruling elite of the grouped nations that they thought of formalizing it in an institution. Initially starting as rising economies, a perceivable counter balance to the G-8, these economies are no longer rising, with deep structural and institutional flaws, different modes of governance, deteriorating law and order situation and freedom of expression and censorship issues, different economic fundamentals and most importantly, absolutely different and divergent world view and interest. Joshua Keating pointed out why the BRICS couldn’t be more different than each other. The last addition to this coalition, South Africa, is the messiest of them all. The selection of South Africa is ofcourse controversial and political, regarded often as a quota position from the African continent, as it leaves out far more competent and growing economies like Indonesia, Turkey and South Korea. This comes when BRICS are accused of neo-imperialism, and banners like “don’t carve out Africa” were found everywhere near the summit in Durban.
It is well known, that the primary drivers behind the ideation in the BRICS are Russia and China. Russia wants to bandwagon with China to balance the influence of United States. The motivation and Great power nostalgia of Russian elite is simple enough to fathom. The Chinese interest is however far more complex. As a growing hegemon, China actually has interest in Africa, both geo-politically and economically. The resources of Africa are mostly still unexplored, and the market potential of cheap Chinese manufactured goods is enormous. This however comes at a time, when China is increasingly viewed with suspicion in Africa. The last couple of years have seen the murder of Chinese engineers by disgruntled and exploited African labourers, incessant strikes in Chinese operated industries and mines, and the now infamous op-ed by Lamido Sanusi, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, where he accused China of having neo-colonial ambitions. China now wants to portray itself as a benevolent and altruistic force, and therefore wanted to soothe Africa under the BRICS front. India, for all its independent and non-aligned foreign policy, is legitimizing Chinese actions.
It is puzzling to fathom why India is following Chinese and Russian lead. For a start, Russia is not what it used to be. It clearly views China as a far superior partner than India, and a market for superior weapons and technology, ironically at the same time when India received massive aid grant from Japan. India and China are not really partners, and as I wrote here before, will probably not be in the near foreseeable future. Nor is Indian business interest in Africa that important, scalable or maintainable. For example, assuming that India invests in some African country under the BRICS development bank, tomorrow if there is some kind of unrest, is India capable or willing to defend its business interest? India never showed any willingness to aggressively promote or defend its business interests, be it Afghanistan, Maldives, or South China Sea, and there is no reason to believe India would do that in Africa. India also lacks such far off power projection capability. Which brings us to question the wisdom; do the benefits of Indian investment in Africa outweigh the cost? What is the incentive of pledging tens of billions of dollars, all Indian taxpayers’ money, in a region which is beset by uncertainty, instability and conflict, or starting a monetary organization, potentially rival to IMF/World Bank which will not be of any direct benefit to the already slowing economy and growth rate?
On the other hand, India will eventually be viewed as just another neo-colonial resource grabbing power like China, if it continues to be with the BRICS. The respect that India enjoyed in Africa, and the goodwill as a potential democratic competitor of China will fade away, with India just being a satellite of Chinese ambitions, a satisfied mid level power in an institution guided by Russian and Chinese geo-political interests. Nor is Indian interest, in the BRICS assisted conflict resolution in Central African Republic understandable. Again, the question is geo-political, what IS India’s interest? Tomorrow if Russia leads the BRICS into conflict resolution in Syria, will India be willing to commit its resources?
As this Economist essay explains, India is utterly confused about its growing clout and new found respect as a rising power, lacks a political will, strategic culture, a status-quo bureaucracy, and timely and fast decision making infrastructure. Added to that is the notorious ambivalence towards aligning with the West, even though being perfectly aware that in the great scheme of the game, China stands as the largest potential rival. This ambivalence and skepticism stems from the utterly discredited NAM mentality which is still somehow widely followed among the Indian foreign policy circles, and the moral, altruistic, socialist Nehruvian world view, without any long term planning or Realist Raison D’etat. With the BRICS now attracting countries like Egypt, a slow and painful repetition of the outdated Indian NAM policies are in the process. Everyone knows how NAM turned out. One can only hope that India’s policymakers realize soon where her interests lie.
This is not a long post. Just a respect for our troops, who are fighting the battle for all that is good and civilised in some of the darkest corners of the World.
This past week, five Indian soldiers for the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, while escorting UN vehicles. More than 160,000 Indian soldiers served in UN missions across the World, in the past 60 years, with more deaths while peacekeeping operations than any other country.
This post is for all those brave soldiers we often forget, who sacrifice their today for our tomorrow…in our borders with China and Pakistan, in the highest battlefield on Earth in Kashmir and Siachen, guarding our seas and our ocean, maintaining the flow of commerce and trade near Somalian coast, Strait of Malacca and South China sea, guarding ships against pirates, in Congo, in Lebanon, in South Sudan.
The flag of Daily World Watch is halfmast.
Ladies and gentlemen, sorry again, for a long delay in blogging! That time of the year, new semester starts, new students come who want to change the existing problems of our planet with one swift sweeping statement about a theoretical paradigm they just read. And finally, also all the papers that one has submitted in the last six months, are coming out. Busy days!
But that’s not everything. Today we have the great fortune of having Dr. Pauline M. Kaurin, Associate Professor of Philosophy, as a guest blogger in DWW. Dr. Kaurin kindly agreed to write on the philosophical framework of the Tea Party movement, which is a fascinating subject given the last Presidential elections, and the changing socio-demographic dynamics of United States. You can follow her in twitter here.
The Tea Party and the Nature of ‘American’
“The White Establishment is now a minority….Obama wins because this is not the traditional America anymore. People want things.” – Bill O’Reilly, November 5, 2012
Regularly teaching courses in Philosophy and Race and Social and Political Philosophy (of late focused on the Tea Party in the US), has me reflecting on the intersection of ethnicity and race, and what it means to be an ‘American’ in an age of increasing racial, ethnic, cultural and religious mixing and diversity. The 2008 and 2012 President elections, as well as the 2010 midterm elections, were replete with ‘birthers’, calls to return to the values of the Founding Fathers and purity tests for both parties, in which debates about who or what is really ‘American’ were prominent.
The charge of lacking patriotism or being ‘unamerican’ is hardly a new phenomenon in US politics. We only need to recall the election of 1800, a notoriously nasty battle with all manner of insults, most of which directly impinged the moral character and patriotism of candidates Adams and Jefferson. In more recent elections, charges of being a communist, socialist, Marxist and/or having foreign sympathies have been common, particularly during the Cold War period. So in one sense, we can see attempts to cast Barack Obama as foreign, as an outsider with Kenyan roots, as Muslim and possessing anti-colonial, socialist sympathies in keeping with this tradition, just as John Kennedy was cast as a Papist pawn, or Mitt Romney was cast as a cultural and religious outsider for being Mormon.
And yet, Bill O’Reilly does seem to have put his finger on something real and important in American politics. Concerns with the cultural and religious influence of Islam and the desire of the Tea Party to return to the ‘values’ of the Founding Fathers, speak to a nostalgia for a time with a majority of a certain sort, where minorities where just that (especially in terms of power and influence) and where certain things could be unspoken and assumed – not subject to public debate, discussion and negotiation. Whether it is the ‘War on Christmas,’ narratives in social studies textbooks, what holidays or days take cultural precedence or language use, there were things that seemed, at least to some, given and certain.
So what is going on? What is the source of the conflict? Is it that classical liberal neutrality of the state with regard to the Good Life and morality has broken down? Or is that the classical conservative vision of ‘civilization’ and what American values are to be preserved has come under attack? One answer might be American Exceptionalism, which can sound like a kind of racial, cultural and religious triumphalism. Related to that is an uncritical hero worship of the Founding Fathers as moral and cultural archetypes, with these values representing a lost Paradise to which we should return. Another might be the fact that ‘liberty’ is under assault: the ‘liberty’ isn’t just formal political or economic rights, rather it is the right not to have to think about certain things and people, to be able to take a certain discourse and cultural context for granted. This conflict might, in fact, be rooted in the notion of a certain moral or normative discourse that need not be revised, negotiated and can be taken as given.
If this seems plausible, then the current discussions about who and what values are rightly to be considered ‘American’ is a fight about mythology. Let me be clear, by mythology I mean a narrative structure or set of discourses designed to give meaning to human experience, in this case, to our political experience, and order how we think about our life together. Alasdair MacIntryre argues in his classic After Virtue that both individual and social narratives are crucial in how we develop meaning and participate in moral discourse, and the role of narrative in our popular culture and daily life seem to bear this out.
The entrance of the Tea Party movement into US politics has revealed a tension (a long running tension in American political philosophy) between the classically liberal discourse of individual rights and State neutrality relative to moral and religious questions and the conservative desire for stability and preservation of tradition, order and forms of authority. This desire for preservation in conservatism has centered on political authority, religious institutions, marriage and family, but in this context what is to be preserved is the narrative of Americanism – patriotism, American Exceptionalism, the values of the Founding Fathers and this moral discourse, most importantly, is not subject to being questioned, to negotiation. The strongest enmity is, therefore, reserved for those who question, critique or want to renegotiate this discourse; that becomes foreign, unpatriotic, and “unamerican”.
2001 2002 India Pakistan Standoff, Agni, Battlefield, china, Cold Start, Cold War, General Padmanabhan, Hatf, India, Long Peace, Mearsheimer, Nasr, No First Use, Nuclear Doctrine, Nuclear Triad, Nuclear War, pakistan, Realism, russia, Second Strike, Tactical, United States
Pakistan test fired a short range battlefield nuclear capable tactical missile today, according to a press release and statement by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the press relations arm of their military intelligence. (Image from Facebook page of ISPR)
This was a long term goal of Pakistani Armed forces to introduce battlefield tactical nuclear weapons. With a range of 60 kilometers, and suitable low yield, this missile and a nuclear warhead can be used against a tank battalion or armored brigade. It could also be used to obliterate a large number of soldiers at one strike. (For a backgrounder, read this analysis by Shashank Joshi)
This move is also, however a dangerous escalation of the military nuclear doctrine and ethics in the World. Nuclear weapons are considered defensive weapons, primarily for deterrence and balancing, for ultimate destruction, to be used as the last act of a country after a devastating first strike. That had been the unspoken norm of nuclear doctrine.
This Pakistani missile, makes nuclear weapon tactical and offensive, to be used against enemy soldiers, in a limited and controlled battlefield situation.
The move is dangerous as it significantly reduces the threshold of a country to use nuclear weapons, which, since second world war, for better or for worse, were always considered as the last and ultimate weapon.
Also, since this weapon is clearly targeted at India, as Pakistan is not currently facing any other significant short range battlefield threat, real or perceived this move will also change the Indian nuclear doctrine in the foreseeable future.
Indian nuclear doctrine is based on second strike. India is the fourth country in the World to have a workable nuclear triad, and is the second country in this World to have a No First Use policy, after China. The second strike capability is based on the assumption that India won’t be the first country to introduce or use a nuclear weapon against an adversary, however she reserves the right to do a massive, disproportionate and deadly second strike if nuclear weapons is used against any part of her, including the armed forces. (Indian COAS, General Padmanabhan maintained this stance even during the tense days of 2001 – 2002 standoff)
If nuclear weapon is used even against a single soldier of Indian republic, the “No First Use” is nullified.
Terrible though it may sound, India would be free to use, without any legal, moral or ethical restrain, the full might of its nuclear arsenal and unleash hell.
Being a much larger country, by landmass, economy and population, a deeply scarred India might possibly survive a nuclear war.
Pakistan would be wiped off the map.
( Also re-published in Space Daily, Australia. )
Hello peeps, here’s the update of what’s going on!
I am now a member of the Research Group of Infinity Journal, London! Pretty stoked about it!
Also, one of my research paper came out in International Affairs Review, GWU…on the change in US Foreign Policy…
Finally, I’m proud to announce that I’m selected as one of the 12 young business and ideas leaders for a month long fully funded studentship by Upstart Business Incubator, funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Otago University, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin City Council, Deloitte and other private funding! Can’t express how happy I am, being the only foreigner in this great team! Totally looking forward to this incredible experience!
Now, to celebrate these, the lady and I decided to do a short trip…I always wanted to see a Seal! And boy, an experience that was!
More photos here! Enjoy!
( Previously published in Space Daily )
When Skynet became sentient, before sending Terminators to eliminate specified human enemies, it dispatched Hunter Killers…or in other words Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with artificial intelligence and analyzing capability, to track down, alert and notify and if possible terminate targets. That was in 1984. That was in a movie.
Reality in 2012 is a bit different, and a thousand times more interesting. The use of UAVs, both reconnaissance and combat changed the dynamics of modern warzones. In the modern battlefield, where soldiers don’t go muzzle to muzzle anymore, the threats are asymmetric, sudden and lethal, and Drones are arguably the best way to counter those threats without putting the lives of soldiers at risk. The United Nations recently proposed the use of Drones in Africa in both combat and intelligence gathering missions, a sensitive move that could be a precedent and could prove to be immensely controversial, especially in places like Congo, Libya and Somalia, where there are questions and controversies relating to international legality and mandate. The United States administration under President Obama, the World’s predominant power using Drones, is also charting new legal documents, which would set clear operational standards and procedures and legal framework for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for targeted elimination of immediate and disproportionate threats. Other nations are also operating and developing Drones and one can clearly say it will only continue to grow.
Here’s a list of ten current and future Drones, which are either in the final stages of development, or just operational and under a process of improvisation. The selection criteria were based on the country using the Drone and its operational experience, scope and accuracy and the chances of use and future international markets. We start with: Continue reading »