Thursday, July 31, 2003
All in a Day's Work

Hmmm... let me see if I understand it rite..... the Vatican has issued an edict to politicians of all countries that they had the duty to oppose Gay marriages. Apparently, the only thing homosexual that the church can tolerate and support is a priest shacking up with altar boys. It will be fine as long as one of the partners calls the other "Father" - it might even spend for such a holy relationship!

Ever since it came to existence, the Catholic church has been perpetrating this unholy use of political power to enfore its theology upon minorities - most prominently, the Jews. The Church has never been mindful of what it does to others using its powers that it accumulated in the most naked power grab history has seen. Of course, it is irrelevant for the Church that it is the most unchristian thing to do, for, simply put, was not a man called Jesus crucified by the Roman political power because it did not like his theology?

Anyways, I should say that those at the receiving end of the Church should not worry too much. After all, the Pope has apologized to Jews! He even shuffled up to the Wailing wall! That washed away all that pogroms that the Church endorsed for seventeen centuries. My advice to gays? Wait for the day Pope Jon Paul XI suddenly decides that his predecessors were wrong and decides to shuffle up to Stonewall.... it's ok to take all that the Church decides to heap on them in teh meanwhile... After all, did not Jews forgive the Pope Pius (now a newly minted saint) for watching mutely as they were dragged from their ghettos to concentration camps?

All in a day's work for the Papa!


Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hey, let's leave this intolerance to criticism to our neighbors. Let's compete with countries better than Bangladesh, for Heaven's sakes!!

I am strongly against this notion that we ought to ban books that "hurts" one community or the other. If u start that way, u will end up where the ONLY thing u will ever get to read is a watered down version of Romila Thapar. First off, IMHO, we were wrong banning Satanic Verses. So what if it has things that are not palatable for a group of people? Ditto for Midnight's Children (this time, it was the Shiv Sena that was "hurt"). Even worse was the ban on Nehru (by Stanley Wolpert).... all that was "objectionable" in that book was a brief, indirect hint that Nehru could have had some homosexual attractions in his adolescence and a more direct allegation that he and Lady Edwina Mountbatten shared a romantic relationship. If the Govt has the power to control the flow of info this much, we could never hope to loosen the grip of the Babus and the Politicos of India - the ONLY way out of the quagmire we are in rite now.

Besides, I do not even find Nat Geo completely objectionable. Ashamed would be a closer to my feeling then.

Sure, for those who are capable of plumbing the depths of the philosophy of Purusha Suktham, this allegation abt sources of the Varnas might sound silly. However, it is a widely held belief. Thus, the author might be wrong in contending that Hinduism is inherently unequal, but we should remember that when we deny it, we are doing it based on philosophical nuances. It is an undeniable fact that the Varna system was misused in India to create an unequal society.

Let's try to instead stay focussed on the real issue - in this case, the reality behind those pictures that Nat Geo published (I am a subscriber). Whatever fig leaf we find for spiritual Hinduism (as against the version that is practised), those people in the pictures exist - in that very state. Let's see what we can do abt that.


Dear Bloggers - Sorry for my long silence....I have not even been following the threads :-(

Anyway, I was on Yahoo and saw this rather interesting news item on news.yahoo.com
Bangladesh Bans Newsweek

This is about Bangladesh banning the latest Newsweek edition as anti-Islamic. The reason I have posted this is not because I agree with what I did. Rather it is because of something that did not happen!!!

The June issue of National Geographic carried an article on the untouchables and their condition in India. While the social conditions of these humans as reported appeared correct, the journalist had taken liberties at categorically stating that Hinduism inherently believes in inequality of human beings and the usual yada yada about the Varnas coming the four parts of the Supreme Being... I think this issue deserved banning in India because it definitely hurts Hindu sentiments!

Please try to grab a copy of that NatGeo from your local library or the hair salon to see what I mean.

Re: The Supreme Court and the Uniform Civil Code
Tariq Ansari writes in Outlook, on the reasons he supports UCC:
Second, I believe the most important demand that Muslims should make in secular India is that we are treated equally. That we have equal rights and opportunities as all other Indians and that the State will afford us the same protection of our rights and property as it would Hindus. I do not believe Muslims can make that demand when at the same time we want to be treated differently in matters of personal law. This is an irreconcilable inconsistency.
Precisely what I had states as the goal of every one belonging to a minority community should be.


Ghatkopar Blast

Just two quotes:

Congress calls SIMI ban 'naked attempt' to fan communal discord

Gujarat angle will be looked into: Shinde
The chief minister[Shinde of Maharashtra] said initial investigations point towards the involvement a lesser known terrorist group Al-Hadees in Monday's blast. He said Al Hadees was formed by Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists after the organisation was banned in the country.
Rediff.com (http://us.rediff.com/news/2003/jul/29blast1.htm)


Friday, July 25, 2003
Re: The Supreme Court and the Uniform Civil Code

> Chubby wrote:
> Are these your views - for a minute I thought I was reading Dilip D'Souza!

D'Souza?! Certainly not! In my understanding, ur complaint is that I am peddling the usual so-called secularist rhetoric in the name of liberal ideals. To an extent, it is true - I am indeed hoping to achieve a truly secular nation, and I am basing my reason on classical liberal ideals, which I am sure u share. However, unlike, Mr.D'Souza, what I have said is not intended to be a sentimental, heart-rending, tear-jerking anti-establishment account that appeals to nothing higher than the torso.

Moving beyond D'Souza, let me try to explain the stance clearer. My essential claim is that secularism is an overhyped, completely misinterpreted term in Indian politics. What should truly be the concern to all of us must be *equality* of all. Normally, secularism is one tool that helps achieve that goal, at least equality of all religions. Even that is not true in Indian context, because of the misinterpretation.

A secular state is indifferent to religion, something that does not pay heed to *any* specific religion. It evolves its own ethos and value system, which is most times a syncretism of local cultural tradition and Enlightenment ideas, and ideas common to any religion. However, in India, the opposite is what is called secularism - a state order that tries to satisfy the demands and desires of every religion. It ends up doing nothing but dividing up the people.

Even in a state where every single citizen is a follower of the same faith, it makes sense for the state to be secular. Why? The reason is that, while secularism is certainly helpful in achieving equality, that is not its ultimate goal. As an isolated concept, secularism has very little to equality among adherants of different faiths.

The true aim of secularism is to emancipate the populace from religious hierarchy, and vesting the individual with the state's respect. In some sense, Hinduism is the only practically hierarchical religion whose adherants have been experiencing secularism of the Indian state, as is evident in the erosion of Brahmin power over the years. In the case of minorities, however, Indian secular state, has always been empowering the religious orthodoxy and allowing them to ride rough shod over the lay folk, the concrete example of which was witnessed in the Shah Bano case.

Returning to the meaning of true secularism, the state and the Law should be completely blind to the religion of a particular individual, and set out its own parallel rules that, while carefully avoiding, as much as possible, trampling on the sensitivity of any believer, creates equality of all citizens, and inculcates ethos and values for all people in common. These shared values should bind people across all communal lines. For example, ethos such as respect for others' independence, rights and privacy, deference to the common law are all ethos that a state should inculcate, beyond to the individual's natural affinity towards his communal affiliation and its laws and ethos.

That caveat "as far as possible" is very important. Some times, it is essential that the state asserts its authority, in the course of administration. For example, a state can require a person (irrespective of his/her faith) to register her birth/marriage/death etc. Even if this is violative of his/her faith, since the state has a genuine interest in doing this, it could not be held as a violation by the state. In legal parlance, this is called strict scrutiny. In fact, this very order caused disturbances in Hyderabad recently when some Muslim groups objected to it (Apparently, they believed they needed to register only with Allah - if only we had an import filter for His Divine Database!). In true secular states, the state would have to overrule such frivolous objections - which, as could be expected, did not happen in AP.

Where then IS the limit for the state's power to enforce? That is where individual liberty comes in. Thus, the limiting criterion, as it is called, in a secular state is not really deference to religious sentiments, but to the individual citizen's liberty.

If the state is not secular, probability favors the situation where the state (esp a democratic one) leans to the majority's interests, sooner or later, due to their sheer number. The only pre-requisite for that the majority unite. This could not be good for the minorities or the population in general.

Even in a truly secular state, if a group divorces its rights from that of the rest of the populace, it essentially puts those rights at risk of being eroded by the others, who have nothing to lose by such erosion, but possibly something to gain. Hence my previous conclusion that the true interests of the minorities, in a true secularism, is in tying its rights to that of the majority.

As usual, I would welcome any criticism or comments.


Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Re: The Supreme Court and the Uniform Civil Code

S Q R Ilyas of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board told rediff.com, "It is against the fundamental principles of the Constitution. It is against the religious freedom enshrined by the Constitution to the people of India."

These idiots do not realize what damage they are doing to themselves by putting the Civil Liberties of the minorities at the mercy of elected executives. They should realize that the protection of minorities should derive from the Law - not from those who are at the mercy of majorities. Till now, the hindus have been too disunited for these ppl to feel the heat.

Gujarat gave a taste of what would happen if the executive goes out of the way to represent the interests of the majorities exclusively.

The only way Muslims or any minority, for that matter, can make their rights impregnable is by making them irrevocably tied to the rights of the majority.


The Supreme Court and the Uniform Civil Code

The SC has again regretted the fact that the Government of India has not evolved a Uniform Civil Code for all Indians. Many people seem puzzled as to why the SC did not just order the government to evolve a UCC. In fact, for a fleeting moment, I thought the Courts could just usurp the power of the executive and legislature and come up with broad, binding orders creating such a uniform law. It would be possible if the SC were considered a part of the State machinery. The courts in India are NOT included in the definition of the State. So, they cannot usurp the power and enforce the UCC.

They cannot even order the govt to enforce UCC. Article 44 comes under the Directive Principles of State Policy. These are advices that the framers of the constitution placed on record for all govts to come... So, UCC is not a fundamental right of the citizen. Directive Principles are not enforceable. The constitution itself states so clearly:

" The provisions contained in this Part shall not be enforced by any court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws."

In fact, the SC has only regretted, and not ordered the govt only because of this fact.

To make the point of unenforceability clearer, let me give u an example. Article 45 states that:
" The State shall endeavor to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years."

Forget 1960, to this day, this has not been achieved. This does not mean that the Government has acted unconstitutionally.

Some DPSPs are completely absurd even... Article 51 is a case in point:
The State shall endeavour to -
(a) promote international peace and security;
(b) maintain just and honourable relations between nations;
(c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised people with one another; and
(d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

It is possible to argue that Article 51(d) means that we *should* seek UN intervention in Kashmir dispute!

The fundamental problem is the idea of a benevolent state that the framers of the Indian constitution held. While the founding fathers of US like Thomas Paine held the concept of state in utter contempt, ours did not.

Sample this from Thomas Paine:
"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best stage, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one."

This kind of contempt led them to never trust the Governments of the future to do anything. They never trusted them to follow thru on any of their advice. They, in fact, as much as possible, took power away from the government. Hence their focus on individual liberty.

Indians did not hold such a contempt. They were so trusty of the Government, they even allowed the Governments to enjoy the full power of that very penal code which the British had used to run an imperial state. They believed that if the nature of the rulers determined the consequences of the laws - a fundamentally wrong assumption according to Paine and others.

Had the libertarians written the Indian constitution, even if they had reluctantly allowed a non-UCC in the first place, they would have made Art 44 it like this:
"All citizens shall enjoy a Uniform Civil Code from the commencement of the tenth year from the acceptance of this constitution. The Parliament shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. This article shall not be amended."


Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Good riddance

First it was Idi Amin in coma... and now Odai and Qusay dead... After quite a while, the world is getting some good riddance....


Saturday, July 19, 2003
Finally, the Indo-Israel alliance up the hill is out of the closet!
India, Israel Interests Team Up
Common Needs Lead to a Growing Lobbying Alliance
By Alan Cooperman


Friday, July 18, 2003
Runaway Right

Jaya will make an excellent PM, says Togadia

Just goes to show that the far-Right has the potential and the selfishness to destroy the nation as much as the far-Left...


History will forgive Blair


The guy makes me sick.

Welcome the newest US Tributary - England!

Anybody listened to Blair in DC? If not, u sure missed a couple of ironic stmts. Not only did he "...pay tribute to the leadership of President Bush...", he also set out the new "job" for the Brits - "to be there"... just when u thought the joblessness in US was the worst!!!



Thursday, July 17, 2003
And thus, peace was made... :)

Car thief does his bit for Mideast truce

July 17 2003 at 02:48AM

Jerusalem - An Israeli woman has told how a Palestinian car thief changed her tyre after a puncture left her stranded at night on a West Bank road.

"I felt lost standing next to my vehicle, south of Hebron, not knowing what to do and fearing the worst," Guishra Schwartz told the Ma'ariv newspaper on Wednesday.

"Suddenly a Palestinian came out of the shadows and offered to help. He got out of a vehicle he said he had stolen in Beersheva (southern Israel), and I was terrified," Schwartz said.

"But he immediately told me not to worry and started changing the wheel, explaining that it was his duty to help Israelis because of the truce," she said.

On June 29, four radical Palestinian factions announced a suspension of anti-Israeli attacks. - Sapa-AFP

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Hey Folks (if there are any out there!)

I was reading some quotes teday - and came across a hilarious bunch on Religion and God... being a theist myself, it could only be politically correct for me reproduce them here! :)

Which is it, is man one of God's blunders or is God one of man's?
- Friedrich Nietzsche

You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend.
- Yassar Arafat, on going to war over religion

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.
- George Orwell

God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

God always has another custard pie up His sleeve.
- Lynn Redgrave

To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.
- Woody Allen

Religion is a defense against the experience of God.
- Carl Jung

Organized religion: The world's largest pyramid scheme.
- Bernard Katz

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
- Voltaire
The biblical account of Noah's Ark and the Flood is perhaps the most implausible story for fundamentalists to defend. Where, for example, while loading his ark, did Noah find penguins and polar bears in Palestine?
- Judith Hayes

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
- Emo Philips

Why is it that when we talk to God we're said to be praying, but when God talks to us we're schizophrenic?
- Lily Tomlin

When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, "Why god? Why me?" and the thundering voice of God answered, "There's just something about you that pisses me off.
- Stephen King

If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?
- George Deacon

Religion is the fashionable substitute for belief.
- Oscar Wilde

The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists - that is why they invented hell.
- Bertrand Russell

I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.
- Oscar Wilde

Isn't it crazy with all these church scandals? I'm beginning to understand how all those Bibles ended up in hotel rooms.
- Jay Leno
If man had created man, he would be ashamed of his performance.
- Mark Twain

And, as to those folks who claim that this nation was founded by folks "Under God", here's a sample of what the founders thought!
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.
- Benjamin Franklin

What is it the Bible teaches us? - rapine, cruelty, and murder. What is it the Testament teaches us? - to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.
- Thomas Paine

So long!


Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Andrea Lafferty

Hey Guys

There was this woman from Traditional Values Coalition, essentially a evangelist fundo orgn, who went on C-SPAN day b4 to say that while we all are free to worship Hindu Gods here, Christians are not allowed to worship in India and Pakistan because they do not follow Judeo-Christian religions there.... The quote, I hear, was:

"Because America is based on Judeo-Cristian values, Hindus are allowed to worship here and Muslims are allowed to worship here. However, this is not the case in India and Pakistan, Christians are not allowed to worship."

While I do not expect anything more informed than that from such !@#$@$%#$~s, people have been shooting off mails to C-SPAN (journal@c-span.org) and TVC (Contact TVC) abt this stupid remark.... join the mela if u want! :)

PS: Since I know abt these airheads, I am planning to mail C-SPAN rather than TVC.

Monday, July 14, 2003
Washington Post on reservations in India:


OSU Grafix research in The Hindu!


On Mon, 14 Jul 2003, Sivaguru Sankaridurg wrote:
Good News: India rejects US request to send troops.

Ramki wrote:
Why is it a Good news?

On Mon, 14 Jul 2003, Sivaguru Sankaridurg wrote:
:) I was expecting that question.
I felt that India should not go in and clean up the mess, bcos we were never in support for the war.
Moreover, no WMD's have been found so far. Considering CIA Tenet's owning up and our intial take on the matter, I think it was the right decision.
It is good bcos it is the right thing to do.

Ramki Wrote:
These are two different issues... yea, they lied... but now that the mess is out there, I think the right thing to do is to help settle the place down... Iraq is too important a challenge to be left to Bushies to handle.
Besides, if every one decides this way, don't u think the place is going to go down in one bad cycle of violence, sooner or later?

On Mon, 14 Jul 2003, Sivaguru Sankaridurg wrote:

Not our problem Ramki.
Dont take that statement as one of indifference.
I understand Iraq is our friend. We need to help them.
And we will be ready to help them (eg hospital in Najaf) when they ask for it OR when UN sanctions it.
I dont think we should go in with our peace-keeping troops just bcos US requested us.

There are many facets to this.

1. US-India bilateral relationship will not be affected by our saying "NO". I think we have gone past the stage where a single incident can affect the relationship between these two countries.
2. Iraq is our friend. It must not seem to the ppl of Iraq that we are acting at the behest of US. US lied .. everyone knows that. Let ppl in Iraq understand that we are their friends and we will help them.... independently OR under UN. Definitely not under US pressure.

3. Consider our stand on the issue. We did not support war... an unjust war at that. Why should India clean up the mess left by US ? Not our problem.
4. There was also a lot of talk that US wants India's help for two reasons.
a. Indian soldiers get paid lesser -- therefore the cost will be lesser.
b. US soldiers are getting killed in sporadic acts of violence now. To avoid this.

The second reason is seen as tantamount to saying that "Indian soldiers are expendible".
If you dont want to put it that way ... then you can say that there is no need to put Indian lives (soldiers) at risk for an act of war that we did not support.

5. What is our payback ? Even if we had decided to send our troops, what could we get back in return. Would it be worth it ?

I disagree with the point you make. You are saying that everyone might think this way and Iraq would go down. I interpret it differently. I think that it is just a question of US being stubborn to the core. They do not want to let UN to handle it for known reasons. It all comes down to this .. doesnt it. ?

I bet most countries will be willing to help if UN gives the green flag.

US knows it screwed up -- let them accept it. Let them give control to UN. Then we will all help. Everybody will help -- I assure you, there will be no shortage of help to Iraq.

Saturday, July 12, 2003
Pop Quiz:

Who said this in praise of America?

Hail Columbia, motherland of liberty! It has been given to thee, who never dipped her hand in her neighbor's blood, who never found out that the shortest way of becoming rich was by robbing one's neighbors, it has been given to thee to march at the vanguard of civilization with the flag of harmony.


Monday, July 07, 2003
Mulling the Color of Beauty, a Conflicted India Debates Light-Skinned Loveliness

Re: Indians in Iraq

Regarding our soldiers under their command scenario:
Well, as bad as it seems at the first glance, there is a nuance here that is worth noting. I am going to go thru a rounded argument here - for argument's sake. Let me make clear that this could be the way the Uncle wants us to look at it.
1. We are not going to take part in combat operations in Iraq (at least not technically). We are going to be there as multinational peace keeping force.
2. This force is created as an alternative to an UN peace keeping force, the acceptability of which is seriously hampered because it would seriously question the authority of US over Iraq as an occupying power.
3. Thus, we should really be looking at it like we would look at any UN (which, after all, is just one of the multinational governmental entities) force.

Now, IMHO, this argument does not really sound convincing enuf. Question is, where is the pitfall in this sweet argument?

Reg the MacDonald report:
Sure, the Uncle (gee, I really like this term!) is pretty capable of once in a while nitpricks like this. But let's face it, if we want (and here I mean them too) cooperation on the ground, it's just a necessity that we iron out such problems at an early stage. It's not really a question of saying "it's really upto them". It sounds like nice rhetoric to say that they could go to Rawalpindi. But remember, we are also wooing them. Let's not get carried away here.


Re: Indian troops in Iraq

Ramki, the liberal justification scenario you stated is actually very interesting, and worth pondering for its longer-term effects, although in the short term it might be used as a neo-realist tool.

Regarding Indian soldiers under foreign command: it is unacceptable for us, unless indian officers are also part of the overall allied command structure. we cannot supply sepoys while the officers are all western. let's just say it is diplomatically unacceptable.

about the macdonald report: its not about feeling hurt at all. its only about appraising this report, and its intent. in terms of pure merit, the report is silly. that was all i said. the important thing is to understand the reason it was put out. it also gives us an idea of how Uncle works with his "allies".

regd the macdonald report, i'm copy-pasting this post from BRF from a member who has this hilarious style :))
these reports are american equivalent of Paki farting on soc.culture.indian - someone jumps out of woodwork and shouts "indians drink cow urine daily instead of hot tea" or "ganesha was a pervert to had sex with xyz" ...and 2000 earnest indians spend weeks replying seriously with details why that is untrue.

Its time to tell uncle to his face - if you want to dance with us get used to the large mosquitoes, the heat, the flies, earthen floor, a hole in floor for a toilet, no toilet paper, no hooters, no root-beer floats, no main street with kids eating icecream and cycling down to the sub shop, we pick our noses and scratch our arses in public as many times as we like and hard bajra roti and daal for dinner - no pasta, no bread.

If they want the white tablecloths and cucumber sandwiches from gloved wog-waiters, go to rawalpindi.

Sunday, July 06, 2003
Re: India in Iraq


I am not at all arguing on ideological or moral grounds. Let me clarify this...

When I talked abt liberal arguments etc, what I was trying to convey was that this interventionist ideology will continue in some form in the coming admns too. It's not going to go with the current admn, because even if indeed, a liberal succeeds Bush, he could easily see the liberal basis of the arguments that call for interventions such as Iraq.

Regarding ur views... I find the points u have raised pretty important... few comments:
1. Regarding dual use technology - well, I think it is either tame or unrealistic (depending on what level of dual use u are talking abt) to demand that they lift dual use tech ban. In fact, what should be on table is outright defence technology that could give us credible deterrence vis-a-vis China. Approval of AWACs is an encouraging sign, but we need to push more.
2. $3B for Pakistan was not really what Mushy came here for. It was not even what Bhutto got when she came here as Pak PM. Starving Pak could only destabilize it. Diplomacy never works with sticks alone.
3. I certainly agree on that MacDonald report. But instead of giving in to our propensity to get hurt, we should push for more joint exercises that could lead to more understanding on both sides. The report, to me, was not just a vain act of provocation. Rather, we must see it as a symptom of an underlying problem, which must be dealt with.
4. Umm... I am still not sure abt the implications of we going there under allied command. It would be good if u can shed more light on ur objections to it - if it is more than just national pride stuff.


Re: Indian troops in Iraq

Ramki, I completely disagree with your take, arguing the case based on ideological/moral grounds. Nevertheless, a brief response to what you said -- Wolfowitz, etc are not liberals. they are neo-realists, and their fundamental principle is national security. Yes, they do believe in the value of soft power and deepening its influence, which they see as liberal democracy in the case of the USA. But that is secondary.

Now to argue the case at hand based on some more realistic grounds:

Yes, India does need moral cover, but that's not all. In any case, such cover is not for our own consumption, but rather for the rest of the world. So we either need (a) a UN approved intervention (b) a Council of Iraqis with some control over administration there, which Bremmer hasn't been able to put together yet..or (c) last and least convincingly, some sort of survey and assurance that the Iraqi populace will not be antagonistic to Indian faces in uniform patrolling their territory.

Remember that Iraq was friendly towards India, but that is to say that the Saddam administration was India's friend. Iraq's masses are a different matter. In fact, as you can see, they are gathering around an Iran-returned Ayatollah -- not exactly in Saddam's footsteps.

Secondly, the USA will not be compensating us monetarily for the help. That's ok. But worse, its quite likely that our troops will be under foreign (US/UK) command. That's unacceptable.

Thirdly, we need to know for sure what our returns will be. (a) immediate and assuredly sustained transfer of hi-tech dual-use technology from the US? (b) assurance of bigger reconstruction contracts in Iraq? Note that the latter is tough to ensure, because it will be at least 2 years before some of these contract-works are even begun.

Fourth, some quid pro quo on US alms to Pak. $3 bn just received sin't a good signal.

Five, at least an attempt at better atmospherics from the US administration. The recent MacDonald report on our Armed Services is superficial and stupid, and meant to provoke and arm-twist, and demand obedience.

More could be added to the list. On the other hand, we don't want to be pre-empted by "other" countries, and be driven further away from Uncle. After all, it may be humiliating to "co-operate" with DC, but it can be much more painful to actively disagree.

If we decline, we must do it sweetly.

Re: India in Iraq

Frankly, I am trying to see the points on both sides of the debate... I am not willing to consider lack of precedent as a strong argument against. When comtemplating new strategies, and new ambitions, a nation has to take unprecedented steps. So, that argument, to me, seems weak. However, the genuine fear that we would be walking into a quagmire sure sounds a stronger argument.

On the other side, our presence in Iraq (esp the south) could be a good investment - precedent if u may - for the future. As I see it, the future - whether or not Bush wins in 2004, holds a lot more instances of such humanitarian interventions. Remember, in spite of not finding the WMDs, there is no howl of protest because the war is now projected as a humanitarian intervention. A point worth noting here. While the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz cabal is constantly blamed for taking US into an unnecessary war, the basic arguments for humanitarian intervention to advance democratization in different parts of the world, promoting 'democratic peace', are all liberal concepts. In some sense, at least the intellectual base of this admn - the Wolfowitz Brigade are indeed liberals of a gone day. In fact, you could directly trace back these benovolent hegemony ideas to Teddy Roosevelt, who was egged on by the then liberals. Even in the post-cold war era, the first intervention unapproved by the UN was in Kosovo - ordered by a Democrat. Now, without going into the merits and demerits of the policy, we could safely assume that this policy would continue, mutatis mutandis. In that case, India would have to risk it and wade into it, messy as it may be.

Now, I would really like to hear the others!


>>So, Indian troops in Iraq - for or against?

Boss, the least you could do is post your own opinion.

Friday, July 04, 2003
So, Indian troops in Iraq - for or against?


Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Another India-China economics comparison

The authors: Yasheng Huang is an associate professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tarun Khanna is a professor at Harvard Business School.

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