Monthly Archives: December 2010
The WikiLeaks saga has reconfirmed the status of Pakistan as a client state. Its leadership — civilian and military — as a matter of routine, involves external actors in matters of domestic policy and power plays. We knew this all along but the semblance of documentary evidence confirms the unfortunate trends embedded in Pakistan governance systems. However, the orthodoxy that it is the West which interferes is not the full story. The inordinate influence exercised by ‘friendly’ Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, is also a sad reminder of how warped Pakistan’s way of living is.
India is the principal enemy; and our Saudi and Gulf friends wish the other neighbour, Iran, to be bombed. We are obsessed with “legitimate” security interests in Afghanistan. This is a dysfunctional state of being and has made us addicted to western aid, leveraging global great games and denying that regional cooperation is in our ultimate self-interest. Such delusional ways of looking at the world has made the state splinter and devolve authority to non-state actors, which can advance its security policies.
What is the picture that emerges from the cable-mess: A president lives in fear of being assassinated; the army chief ‘considers’ options to dismiss the elected president and then changes his mind because he “distrusts” the alternative — Nawaz Sharif — even more! The state benefits from American largesse and hates it at the same time. Civilian leaders regularly reiterate their support to the US — the second A in the power trinity of ‘Allah, America and the Army’. Sadly, nothing new. Yet, deeply disturbing. Continue reading
The new Human Security Report (Report) from the Human Security Research Project at Simon Fraser University argues that long-term trends are reducing the risks of both international and civil wars. TheReport, which is funded by the governments of Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and will be published by Oxford University Press, also examines recent developments that suggest the world is becoming a more dangerous place. These include the following:
- Four of the world’s five deadliest conflicts––in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia––involve Islamist insurgents.
- Over a quarter of the conflicts that started between 2004 and 2008 have been associated with Islamist political violence.
- In the post-Cold War period a greater percentage of the world’s countries have been involved in wars than at any time since the end of World War II.
- Armed conflict numbers increased by 25 percent from 2003 to 2008 after declining for more than ten years.
By Adnan Syed
This three part series examines the rise of India as an economic giant, the threats that India faces in this remarkable rise, and implications for Pakistan.
The Rise of India
Indian economic growth is expected to be 8.50% this year. This is a remarkable rate of growth for any economy. But this rate is dwarfed by the double digit growth rates that China has been producing for the last 10 years. India’s growth rate is expected to accelerate in the coming years, and Morgan Stanley expects that within next three to five years, this growth rate will outpace the Chinese rate of growth. Many economists are now forecasting that India would have the best economic performance among all nations of the world for the next 25 years.
The biggest reason for this higher expected growth rate is the demography. Economic growth of any nation relies on increase in workers (or the working age population) and increase in productivity. In 2040, India would have 58% of population as workers. The same number for China is only around 40%. India’s working age population will increase by 136 million over the next 10 years. China’s will grow by mere 23 million. To give some idea, during the similar time frame, the European working population will decline by 15 million over the next 10 years.[i]
Stage managed events, speeches, ceremonies and the like have always been a part and parcel of political life – designed to thwart investigation and comment and present an extremely filtered and polished image of the political classes. They are the arena in which masterful politicians and spin doctors contrive to manipulate the media and thereby the general public. In the Regan era, he and his media guru, Michael Deaver, were consistently brilliant in their capacity to present Regan against a flattering backdrop and seldom did a poor picture of the president or a weak sound bite enter the consciousness of the American people. In the era of ‘Spin’ in the UK, Tony Blair and his now ubiquitously labeled ‘New Labour cronies’ were so manipulative that many remember their time in government more for its public relations and rhetoric than policy and substance. One of the most memorable instances of this was in Tony Blair’s very first day in office, when images of him entering Downing Street mobbed by massive crowds were flashed across the globe. Later the whole event turned out to be a contrived spectacle in which party members were mechanically transported en masse to greet and ‘cheer for’ the victorious Prime Minister. As Machievelli put it, ‘one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.’ Continue reading
by Pritha Kejriwal
After the expose of the Radia Tapes by Open and Outlook magazines, a lot of debate has followed…many allegations, many defenses, counter-allegations and counter defenses, followed by critiques of all and however much one may keep on dissecting the entire situation, its important to understand, the lessons that the viewer or the reader should learn from all of this? What should be their real debate? And how should this influence their patterns of media consumption?
It should be of minor significance whether, Barkha Dutt’s conversations with Nira Radia, technically amount to lobbying or what Manu Joseph and Vinod Mehta did was a breach of privacy and an unethical, slandering piece of journalism. Let them keep arguing as much as they want to. The audience as media consumers should understand that each one of them acted according to their own politics, their particular brand of journalism, their social consciousness, their concerns as journalists and their particular stance and space as opinion makers. And in doing what they are doing, each one of them becomes a metaphor for what they represent and the audience needs to interpret these metaphors and choose the ones that feel right to them. Continue reading
These excerpts from Said’s articles are being posted due to the torrent of comments posted here by some of our visitors. They tend to take a simplistic view of Islam and Muslims and repeat the same mantra over and over again. Therefore, we hope that Edward Said’s exceptionally nuanced comment will add value to the ill-informed rants posted on PTH. Raza Rumi
As a religious idea, Islam goes back to seventh-century Arabia and to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), God’s Messenger, whose book of divine revelations is collected in the prose-poetic surahs of the Quran. Having said that, however, one is only at the very beginning, and even primitive, level of what Islam is.
Islam is a world of many histories, many peoples, many languages, traditions, schools of interpretation, proliferating developments, disputations, cultures, and countries. A vast world of more than 1.2 billion people stretched out over every continent, north and south, including now the Americas, it cannot adequately be apprehended or understood simply as “Islam”. Continue reading