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Old 10-12-2011   #41
Ken White
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It gives me great insight that the US does not know what it does and is staffed with near incompetent, ponderous people at the helm of affairs, if I have understood correctly.
While that is of course sometimes true, issue dependent, most often we know in three or four variations what should be done. Any one choice of a course of action would likely be quite successful. The problem arises when our political milieu which strives for compromise interjects itself and we end up picking feature of two or more of those COA and the combination, as is always true of compromise, will not be as good as any single would have been. When confronted with real -- and serious -- emergencies we can and do act decisively but under ordinary circumstance, i.e 98% or more of the time in our view, we tend to putter a bit. It's a design feature and, as I said, has worked fairly well in the past -- I (and others) are not sure it's going to be adequate for the future due to changes in the speed and ease of communication and travel.
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It does leave me uncomfortable.
It leaves most of the world uncomfortable because what we do or do not do and how those things occur can have far reaching impacts.
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Though I will confess that it was not the impression I got when I interacted with the US military personnel...I thought they knew their job and missions.
They did and do but they inhabit a closed circuit, demanding heirarchial society within the broader far more open and less 'disciplined' (for lack of a better word) American society, the one in which the government operates. *
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But then since so many of you feel that the US policies are a huge sham and rudderless, so be it!
No one has said that, there is no sham (other than that practiced by politicians in every nation or that done deliberately by us to divert or disrupt...) and not rudderless, just with several steersmen.

Remember, that 'several steersman' bit is by design. Unlike Parliamentary democracies where the majority party(ies) ARE the government, here the parties most frequently split governance with all that implies. Many of us regret that check and balance thing intrudes on other nations but internally, we wouldn't change it.

As an aside, those aforementioned military folks { * ) really, really get frutrated with that competing steersmen bit -- not least due to the adverse impacts on organization and force structure, not to mention missions...
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Maybe it is better for many nations in the world to change boats, while the going is still good!
I've been hearing that since 1947 when I was old enough to start paying attention. As I moved about the world in uniform and out over the next 50 years, I heard it again and again. Often from the same nations for a second or third time. I've heard that several times from Indians and IIRC the first time I heard something along that line from an Indian military person was from Major-General Indar Jit Rikhye in 1965 who was quite scathing about the US in general and its conduct in the Congo and Dominican Republic (both places he and I bumped into each other) in particular.

Of course, he later retired -- to the US -- and lived here until his death in 2007...
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Old 10-13-2011   #42
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Everyone is wrong and hysterical!
No, but everyone who is hysterical is wrong, or at least ineffective.

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And every article, commentary around the world and think tanks including the US and the Congressional Inquiries are totally bosh!
Not all of them... maybe 97%, though. There's an incredible amount of nonsense on the Internet, and a huge majority of what passes for "analysis" starts with a conclusion and works backwards to try and justify it. A huge amount of skepticism and a whole lot of grains of salt are called for.

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Even the Chinese who have mentioned that there is a plot to encircle them reported in their print media have no idea of what they are saying!!
Of course they know what they are saying. That doesn't mean it's true, or even that the people on top believe it. Every tyrant needs an external threat to run up the flagpole: if people are afraid of the other and convinced that they need a strong government to defend them, they don't look too closely at what that strong government is doing to them.

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I presume that these people of the US Congress are also talking through their hat!
That's always a valid presumption when discussing the US Congress, but even were it not, there is nothing in this list of interests that requires or would be significantly advanced by having a US military presence bogged down in Afghanistan.

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I hope it will not be too much of a licence on my part to believe that the US Congressmen and Secretaries/ Asst Secretaries know their onions; or do laymen and armchair experts the last word on US policies.
You'd have a hard time finding an American citizen to agree with you on that. As Ken says, US foreign policy is driven by domestic political imperatives. That's what US Congressmen know, though they step on their equipment on a regular basis in that field as well.

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US does not plan ahead in time blocks of short term, medium term or long term?
Short term, sometimes. Medium term more rarely, and the plans often change midstream. Long term - meaning beyond typical political tenure - hardly at all, and what plans are made are generally ignored.

A lot of people outside the US find the oddities and vagaries of US policymaking frustrating and incomprehensible, but before jumping ship you might want to consider that the outcome is surprisingly resilient. After all, the Soviet system was extremely conducive to long term planning and policy continuity, and who was the last man standing in that showdown?

Re China, with a hat tip to Surferbeetle it may interest you to note that Credit Suisse recently revised its estimate of the non-performing loans held by Chinese banks from 4.5%-5.0% to 8.0%-12.0%, which ""would work out to 65–100% of banks’ equity" (Chinese banks run very high loan-to-asset ratios). What does that tell you about the unstoppable Chinese economic juggernaut and the invincibility of continuity and central planning?
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Last edited by Dayuhan; 10-13-2011 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 10-13-2011   #43
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Washington: Projecting an image, like power, can be tricky for a country because you should neither hype nor hide the real picture for maximum impact. The image can be designed to help achieve larger political and strategic goals. China has achieved a near-perfect balance where its aura-building bolsters its diplomatic agenda in the US and elsewhere. Americans feel a combination of fear, awe and reverence when they deal with the Middle Kingdom.

China has managed to create a parallel universe in the American mind, which it inhabits alone, largely unhampered by history or disputes or neighbours. To the extent they exist, they do so at their own peril. Chinese “sensitivities” must always be considered, or China will become an adversary, a self-fulfilling prophecy no one wants to contemplate. This is the mantra of many influential American academics and policy experts, the chanting of which is encouraged by Beijing and its vast network of friends. If China throws out a nifty slogan (Peaceful Rise in the 1990s) to obfuscate intentions, it is quickly adopted as part of the local discourse......

A US expert on China is rarely interested in India and reads history from one perspective - the Chinese.......

The director of China Studies at Johns Hopkins last month dismissed the spike in Chinese aggressive behaviour as "the unskilled period" of diplomacy which was already over. He clearly wasn't aware of the many recent instances involving India. He stressed the US was in no economic shape to fashion the new Asian order by showing up at what was essentially China's party. In other words, let China "deal" with Asia, a line that Beijing is happy to promote......

The evolution of this China-friendly narrative is not entirely natural or innocent. Beijing exercises extreme discretion and leverage over US academics it permits into the country. They go to officially sanctioned think tanks, meet certain Chinese academics and visit Communist Party bigwigs and come back to write "safe" analyses. Those who dare to write critically are denied visas and blacklisted. For life-long academics and heads of China departments, the lure of returning to China unhindered is often great, sometimes greater than the crush of reality or the denial of access to the rest of the one billion Chinese. There is also the blinding dazzle of China's extreme success: if they can deliver so much, so quickly and so well, they must be doing it right.....
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/h...w/10330871.cms
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Old 10-13-2011   #44
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The evolution of this China-friendly narrative is not entirely natural or innocent.
Neither is the evolution of the Sinophobic narrative. Always there are those with something to gain from the presence of an enemy. If there isn't one, they'll make one.

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There is also the blinding dazzle of China's extreme success: if they can deliver so much, so quickly and so well, they must be doing it right.....
Somebody's not looking at a large part of the picture. The reference above to the non-performing loan stock held by Chinese banks is but the tip of the iceberg. They're not "doing it right" (nobody ever does), and that will in time come back at them.
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Old 10-13-2011   #45
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Ken,

In a democracy, no political decision can be without political overtones that affect the domestic audience. It is true of the US as it is true of India and other democracies.

Only dictatorship, quasi democracies (under control of the military) and totalitarian regimes can take policy decisions that can ignore the domestic audience.

Therefore, to feel that the Govt and the bureaucracy dithers in a democracy is but a ‘flaw’ one has to pay for the freedom of thought and action that the citizens enjoy.

Militaries, all over the world and not only in the US, are frustrated by the Govt. The military looks at military solutions and rarely are concerned with the domestic or international political ramifications.

Given that, I don’t think the US is any less in resolve to achieve its aim. Though the posts have been disappointingly indicating a chaotic and rudderless knee jerk scenario, on second thoughts, I find it being extraordinarily simplistic an argument put forward to circumvent the view trotted that the commentaries, article, think tanks, Congressional Hearing are totally to be disregarded being fiction/ political chicanery/ fudges.

I also would be surprised if Cheney’s documents I mentioned (DPG and NEP) were as misdirected as his quail hunting foray and violating the provisions of the licence to shoot! Bush’s Iraq War was a copybook endorsement to what he has postulated that should be done. Therefore, it would be wrong of me to swallow hook, line and sinker that the US has no short term, medium term or long term assessments. Further, if one believed that, then one wonders why the NIA is not disbanded to save the taxpayer’s money since its Assessments are fiction and fantasy which has no bearing to the US Govt policy making or for that matter why have the NSA, CIA etc? Or for that matter why have the ‘Contractors’ meddling in Pakistan and attempting to change the direction of pursuance of the WoT? I hardly think that one has to go to such horrendous exercises merely to be knee jerk!

As far as Gen Inder Rikhye is concerned, he was a political appointee of Nehru and was related to the Royal family of Punjab. He was an adherent to the Nehruvian socialist vision. He was with the UN from 1959 till 1969. If indeed he thought it was with the USSR that India should hitch its future, it would not be unusual. Notwithstanding, Nehru’s socialist vision, which should not be surprising given the abject poverty, illiteracy and decadence prevailing, India initially wanted to be pro US in view since Nehru was a great advocate of democratic processes. However, he baulked given John Foster Dulles inspired US Foreign Policy which found resonance in Bush’s infamous lines – you are either with us or against us!!

To expect a nation that had emerged from the colonial yoke after 300 years to then switch masters, would be too thick an option to buy! Given that, India slowly veered towards USSR without selling itself to the USSR, unlike Pakistan, which totally aligned with the US and joined the CENTO and the SEATO!

It was when the Soviet Union collapsed and China showed it true colours, did India realise that the US was the best option so much so, the PM Manmohan Singh, possibly at the bidding of the National Mentor, Sonia Gandhi (Edvige Antonia Albina Maino) made that remark in the US (which he now rues) “Mr Bush, India Loves You!”.

Unfortunately for Manmohan, he must have realised that the US was merely dishing out cosmetic sops that meant nothing in real terms (strategic partnership, military exercises, the nuclear deal etc) except that it was in the US interest to enter the vast Indian market emerging from the shackles of socialism and hence raw meat, as also sell its defence goods. That is why there seems to be a change of tack, wherein awarding lucrative defence deals to non US parties and emerging out of the shadows of the US nudged foreign policy (Iran, Myanmar, Vietnam, address in the UN General Assembly, surprising trade agreements with Pakistan etc). I believe the Vietnam top man and also of Myanmar is in the Indian capital today!

It would be difficult to switch from the US to China, but the rise of Russia seems to once again attract. In the interim, it appears India is biding time with a more independent foreign and economic policy with a slight tilt to appear accommodating the US.

Pakistan is an ideal example to emulate in the game of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. On this count, India has much to learn from them, they having honed it to the realm of a fine art! They are doing a remarkable job indeed!

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Old 10-13-2011   #46
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INVISIBLE NEIGHBOUR

Winds of change are blowing through Myanmar. The new civilian government of President Thein Sein has of late been busy ushering in reform, of both political and economic kinds. There are unprecedented gestures of goodwill towards the democracy movement leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, freer debate in the parliament, crackdown on corruption, moves to bring competitiveness and transparency to the opaque business sector, some more freedom for the muzzled media. Even Myanmar’s fiercest critics are taking note of the changes, the only question being, is the government serious about staying the course? Doubt over sustainability is legitimate, given Myanmar’s past faltering at liberalization. But in India, we must take the shifting winds for real — these developments are both a challenge and an opportunity — and fine-tune our policy......

While on the subject of privileged relationships, there is speculation about China’s future standing. If they are able to find greater acceptance from the rest of the world with their new openness, would Myanmar’s leadership still need China’s protective umbrella? China not only stood steadfast, on innumerable occasions, between the old regime and global accountability, it also threw, even if as much in self-interest, vital economic lifelines that Myanmar needed when shunned by powerful nations. Starting in the late 1980s, especially volatile times for Myanmar, China cemented its position through astute policy and determined implementation. And this happened in spite of Beijing’s being caught on the wrong side of much of Myanmar’s modern history.

China’s current ranking as pre-eminent external partner is unlikely to change any time soon though, faced with greater openness in Myanmar’s society and potentially keener competition from others, Beijing may have to change its style of diplomacy. One is already hearing of bursts of popular discontent over China’s heavy-handed execution of infrastructure projects in sensitive ethnic minority areas, something that could have been easily taken care of in the old days. China is too big, strong and proximate to ignore. But it may have to be more accountable for its actions in future.....

The first change we need is in mindset. Unlike China, we have never consciously focused on our Myanmar relations. In spite of its indisputable strategic significance, Myanmar for us is an ‘invisible neighbour’. How often does it figure in policy debates in seminar rooms or the media, and if it does, is it for the right reasons? In interminable discussions over the need for a transit route for India’s Northeast, the focus is always — even if justifiably — on Bangladesh. Myanmar’s capacity to offer a similar route is hardly noticed, as also the fact that a transit project, Kaladan, is currently in implementation. In discourse on India’s Look East policy, Myanmar being an actual, and only, land bridge to the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations does not register.....

India does enjoy a healthy enough relationship with Myanmar. But the Northeast as spearhead can impart to our policy the edge that we may need in a changing Myanmar. In that sense, India’s Myanmar policy may be inseparable from India’s Northeast development policy.
http://www.telegraphindia.com/111101...y_14610494.jsp
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Old 10-13-2011   #47
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I would mention that India has mended, to a great extent, the void in the India Bangladesh relations.

India is improving her footprint, but there is a lurking feeling that the US is the catalyst!

Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski's advice to Carter to have proxies to fight US battles comes to mind.

And some feel that US is a dithering nation with no short term, medium term or long term policy to remain relevant and be the Number Uno!

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Old 10-13-2011   #48
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But what surprises me is the contention that policies of the Govt, Congressional Hearings, commentaries, news reports are to be taken as bogus, fantasies, and fables and hence cannot be relied upon.

And then comes the hedging when it becomes sticky!

Neither here nor there!

If that is so, what can be relied upon so that we have a bottom line for discussion.


Meanderings of the self acclaimed KNOWALLS?

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Old 10-13-2011   #49
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I find it being extraordinarily simplistic an argument put forward to circumvent the view trotted that the commentaries, article, think tanks, Congressional Hearing are totally to be disregarded being fiction/ political chicanery/ fudges.
No indicator should be totally disregarded by anyone IMO. Nor has anyone suggested that -- what has been said is that (a) one should not take at face value everything one reads or hears; (b) the US media is inept; (c) the US political system is more prone to divisiveness and discord than are most; and (d) the US cult of primacy of the individual overlays all that. That does not say "disregard" -- it says be skeptical, don't rush to judgement and be careful not judge US actions through the prism of ones own national proclivities. Please note the US has a bad tendency to do just that in reverse, thus compounding misunderstandings, ala the US and USSR or the US and China --or India...

On the Think Tanks, perhaps my personal bias comes through. Having worked with several of them over the years, my opinion of their net worth is quite low and I will note that to justify their existence, they are tend to manufacture minor 'crises' or surface 'problems' for which, given an additional fee, they will find 'solutions.' Note that they will bear no responsibility for the failure of those 'solutions' but will certainly tout any successes...
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Bush’s Iraq War was a copybook endorsement to what he has postulated that should be done.
True but Bush was no Neocon and he merely took A solution, the one offered by the Neocon crowd and implemented it in part to suit his goals. It is important to realize that Bush's acceptance of Cheney as his VP (and therefor of Wolfowitz, Bolton, et.;al.) was the condition of the big Republican donors contributing to his campaign; it was certainly not that Bush believed in Cheney or that they were even friendly. Bush adapted the Neocon solution for his own purposes. It was flawed, no question -- but IMO it was better than many alternatives that had powerful supporters and there is little question that something needed to be done to send the Middle East a message that attacks on American interests world wide were no longer going to be ignored (just as Afghanistan was to send the broader message that attacks on US soil were not going to be accepted at all).
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Therefore, it would be wrong of me to swallow hook, line and sinker that the US has no short term, medium term or long term assessments.
No one said we did not. What was said was that we don't do them at all well due to our electoral cycle at 2, 4, 6 and 8 years with often concomitant changes of direction AND that there were often competing assessments and the battles for selection often resulted in stalemates and unfortunate compromises.
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Further, if one believed that, then one wonders why the NIA is not disbanded to save the taxpayer’s money since its Assessments are fiction and fantasy which has no bearing to the US Govt policy making...
Nor was that said, though there's an element of truth in your statement in that the NIA is an unneeded bureaucratic overly that adds expense for little real gain -- it was added due to US domestic political concerns, post 9/11 -- not due to any real need.

The publicly released and discussed assessments are tailored for domestic consumption and will fudge reality toward the goals of the Administration (sometimes) or of the Intel Community (more often). All are not so skewed but some certainly are and the Iranian atomic effort of 2007 is and example. It is noteworthy the Classified stuff can differ markedly.
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or for that matter why have the NSA, CIA etc? Or for that matter why have the ‘Contractors’ meddling in Pakistan and attempting to change the direction of pursuance of the WoT? I hardly think that one has to go to such horrendous exercises merely to be knee jerk!
Heh. That's true but I suggest the 'Contractor' in Paksitan event is an example of less than stellar performance. We aren't super - but we aren't totally incompetent, either. We do perform a lot of "knee-jerks' because we're impatient and often, circumstances will not allow our ponderous decision making process time to do the right thing...

Note also that the NSA, CIA etc are in fact overly bureaucratic and due to our political and budgeting system very turf protective -- but they doesn't mean they're totally incompetent, just that they aren't as good as they could be. They do well enough overall.
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As far as Gen Inder Rikhye...
Understood and that's fine, merely cited him as but one example of something I've heard from many people many places.
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Notwithstanding, Nehru’s socialist vision, which should not be surprising given the abject poverty, illiteracy and decadence prevailing, India initially wanted to be pro US in view since Nehru was a great advocate of democratic processes. However, he baulked given John Foster Dulles inspired US Foreign Policy which found resonance in Bush’s infamous lines – you are either with us or against us!!
Yes, we've made many a foreign policy error -- too many driven by US domestic politics, as was the one you cite. Instead of a sensible and pragmatic decision based on US interests and the merits, it was a course dictated by strident opposition to anyone to the left of Attilla...
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Unfortunately for Manmohan, he must have realised that the US was merely dishing out cosmetic sops that meant nothing in real terms (strategic partnership, military exercises, the nuclear deal etc) except that it was in the US interest to enter the vast Indian market emerging from the shackles of socialism and hence raw meat, as also sell its defence goods.
No question the sales aspect is part of it; that's from part of the huge, fractious US government. There's also no question that the strategic partnership is part of it -- and that comes from another part of that huge, fractious government. Ponder that...
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It would be difficult to switch from the US to China, but the rise of Russia seems to once again attract. In the interim, it appears India is biding time with a more independent foreign and economic policy with a slight tilt to appear accommodating the US.
As they should be.
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Pakistan is an ideal example to emulate in the game of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. On this count, India has much to learn from them, they having honed it to the realm of a fine art! They are doing a remarkable job indeed!
Not so fine as to preclude you and I among others from noting that. The questions are under what circumstances and how long will the Hounds tolerate it...

Last edited by Ken White; 10-13-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 10-13-2011   #50
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Default What surprises me is your conclusion.

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But what surprises me is the contention that policies of the Govt, Congressional Hearings, commentaries, news reports are to be taken as bogus, fantasies, and fables and hence cannot be relied upon.
As be skeptical and wary is really quite far from "bogus, fantasies, and fables" your conclusion is a bit surprising. Though I'll grant Dayuhan and I did both mention fables -- they are in fact out there...

Evil American intent as opposed to normal minor American fumbles being a prevalent example.
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And then comes the hedging when it becomes sticky!
Hedging or trying to erase misperceptions from perhaps not well stated positions? IMO you have elected to take the dimmest possible view suiting your purpose of what's been said and tried to use those perceptions in the face of amplification which then becomes 'hedging' -- I do not think it is hedging anymore than I think your stated take on the issues is hedging.

This is an imperfect medium, a lot of nuance is missed.
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If that is so, what can be relied upon so that we have a bottom line for discussion.[/B]

Meanderings of the self acclaimed KNOWALLS?
Can't speak for others but I make no claim to be a know all. I know some things and can make an informed guess on others. On still many more others, I have no clue. I have no problem stating what I know, what I guess and acknowledging what I don't know. I am however open to learning new things and to modifying my position in the face of new information.

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Old 10-13-2011   #51
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Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski's advice to Carter to have proxies to fight US battles comes to mind.

And some feel that US is a dithering nation with no short term, medium term or long term policy to remain relevant and be the Number Uno!
Using proxies, including by the US, is a lot older than Zbig Brzezinski. Still works, too...

The US has only two long term policies. Open commerce and non tolerance of threats. That's been true for over 200 years and is not going to change (though the degree of tolerance acceptable and the domestic impact of open commerce can cause aberrations and adjustments due to the political climate in Washington)

It has a large number of medium term policies, strategic and commercial involvement with India being examples -- two different examples that may cause tension -- and that policy is likely to remain from Administration to Administration because it just makes sense (in both aspects). What will change is the relative amount of emphasis each of those policies receives and HOW the policies are implemented.

That implementation will become short term policy and it will vary in accordance with the nominal ability of a given policy maker in DC to affect the course of things and / or with the whims of Congress. Harken back to John Foster Dulles and our then treatment of India. If the Democrats had been in control (more friendly to socialism) things likely would have been different.

No one has said we do not have policies -- just that they are not consistently applied...

Last edited by Ken White; 10-13-2011 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 10-13-2011   #52
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That implementation will become short term policy and it will vary in accordance with the nominal ability of a given policy maker in DC to affect the course of things and / or with the whims of Congress. Harken back to John Foster Dulles and our then treatment of India. If the Democrats had been in control (more friendly to socialism) things likely would have been different.
In actuality, India has benefited from Republican Govts (except Nixon's era).
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Old 10-13-2011   #53
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In actuality, India has benefited from Republican Govts (except Nixon's era).
In the US, the two parties have come closer together in most things, differing mainly in almost unreasoning dislike of each other. That can occasionally give an impression of comity and continuity -- but it will fracture in a second over domestic power squabbles and certain bed rock policies.

India has, from the standpoint of the US, benefited from the fact that it is India, that there are many Indian emigres here, that it is handy with English -- and is large...
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Old 10-14-2011   #54
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Ken,

Just a point as to what can be believed and what can’t be believed and if we are to discard all that is in the open forum, then how will we proceed? Just to clarify, I am not here to prove any point, I am merely trying to share what is generally perceived in India and in turn, understand views that are generally felt in the western world on various issues.

Without doubt, nothing in the world is not agenda driven, be it the media, politics, Hearings or even life in general. Therefore, it is natural that one has to tread cautiously, to include being sceptical. Notwithstanding, as I see it, being sceptical should not, in any way, cripple the acumen for analysis and thought based on whatever is available, the events being beyond the average poster’s control.

Within this conundrum of belief, an analysis to fathom the issues has to be made. Therefore, one has to take each input (be it the media report, think tank analysis, Congressional Hearings etc), analyse it from all angles and try to see how far they fit into the mosaic that develops in tandem. And then see its place in the series of similar or near similar events/reports/conjectures/opinions of the past. It is obviously that a one off report cannot be taken as the Gospel, unless it is corroborated by other sources, preferably from the opposite sides of the fence, and better still, antagonistic in approach or is totally and irrefutably independent.

To wit, take the case of India building a road in Afghanistan.

Let us accept that it is being done for altruistic reasons. But when viewed with the India’s construction of the Chahbahar port in Iran and connecting it to this road built in Afghanistan as also having a military hospital and a Base in Tajikistan, and at the same time assisting in building the Afghan National Army, the obvious inference is that India has a growing interest in CAR, call it what you may, strategic, political, economic or whatever. Or else, what is all the effort in aid of? It does suggest that there is attempt to circumvent and even isolate the obstacle of the landmass of Pakistan and develop trade and even strategic ties in the CAR and ensure the ‘avenue’ to CAR is not bothersome. There are reports that that is not the aim, and instead it is to build ‘people to people contact’, ‘assist friendly countries’, ‘cement long standing and eternal historical ties’ and suchlike political rhetoric, which, given the events in the region, does suggest is mere smoke and mirrors.

So, what does one therefore analyse?

One has two options – analyse it and keep a watch and fit into the mosaic as it develops or rubbish it as not worth the paper it is written on.

History stands witness that when one reads the events to fit one’s own perception, or perfunctorily rubbish what does not fit one’s interpretation, then one comes a cropper. The suggestion is to avoid the obvious, and instead taking the inputs, dig deep, and see if it fits the mosaic developing and then accept or negate an input. Even then, one could not be 100% correct.

Take the case of Iraq. There was this evangelist zeal to spread ‘Freedom and Democracy’ and the American way of life as it was reported. It may have stirred some hearts, but the world saw it otherwise. After all, if it were to bring ‘Freedom and Democracy’, there were more deserving cases like Rwanda or even Mugabwe’s Zimbabwe and yet the US stood as a mute spectator!

Some claimed it was for Iraq’s oil, but was it? Media reported so and went to town. However, those who had read Cheney’s DPG and NEP (which when formulated was rubbished as kite flying and typical American ‘bolshiness’) and observed the events as it unfoleded, would realise that it was copybook of what was enunciated regarding not only in the field of energy security, but also in consonance to have ‘areas’ in world’s hot spots (post Cold War) so that US reaction was fast and not cumbersomely slow.

Therefore, what was taken to be rubbish when it was postulated was a design that was actually implemented.

The issue on which I have written/ stated is not the result of any ‘phobias’, it is just an attempt to analyse the events as reported from a variety of sources, western, Chinese, Indian, Asian and get the general western views on the subjects.

Since there are many posters who are highly placed one was only trying to find their views including those who felt that everything was rubbish. Indeed, if they are rubbish, the rational as to why they are rubbish would have helped and not merely by what I felt, rightly or wrongly, an attempt to dismiss the links and assume that one is the last word and that’s it! Or as the American’s say – Period!

I think you have misunderstood the Know All remark. It was not aimed at you for the simple reason that you gave your views with rationale and the inputs are appreciated. It was a generalised remark for reasons explained above.
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Old 10-14-2011   #55
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Just a point as to what can be believed and what can’t be believed and if we are to discard all that is in the open forum, then how will we proceed?
Cautiously and with some difficulty. Assessing open source information for validity in one's own nation is not easy, adding input from other nations compounds the difficulty. I tend to look for at least three sources, preferably competing, filter for their known or obvious bias if appropriate and then assess -- sometimes that works well, occasionally it does not.

However, you know all that. Only real advice I can give on that score in relation to this discussion is to be very skeptical of US mass media reports (the professional and trade media is a bit better but not by much). Our media is a part but not all of the problem in the be-clowning of the US in the eyes of many elsewhere in the world. It is, quite simply, not very good...
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Notwithstanding, as I see it, being sceptical should not, in any way, cripple the acumen for analysis and thought based on whatever is available, the events being beyond the average poster’s control.
Agreed.
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...Therefore, one has to take each input (be it the media report, think tank analysis, Congressional Hearings etc), analyse it from all angles and try to see how far they fit into the mosaic... preferably from the opposite sides of the fence, and better still, antagonistic in approach or is totally and irrefutably independent.
Again we agree, I have said and do believe that, for the US only, our media is marginal; I strongly distrust Think Tanks for the reasons I stated ; and our Congress is notorious here for playing to the Crowd -- many, not all, hearings, Committees and Super-Committees are charades and it's generally readily apparent which have substance (few) and which do not (many).
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One has two options – analyse it and keep a watch and fit into the mosaic as it develops or rubbish it as not worth the paper it is written on.
Agreed -- I tend to hew to watching...
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Take the case of Iraq. There was this evangelist zeal to spread ‘Freedom and Democracy’ and the American way of life as it was reported. It may have stirred some hearts, but the world saw it otherwise. After all, if it were to bring ‘Freedom and Democracy’, there were more deserving cases like Rwanda or even Mugabwe’s Zimbabwe and yet the US stood as a mute spectator!
True, we talk a lot of hypocritical trash -- "we" being mostly US politicians who are not much concerned with world opinion but are very much playing to the domestic voter. That is a critical point for foreign observers who are much more internationally aware than are most Americans -- US foreign policy is almost an afterthought and is very much driven by US domestic politics and voter whims...
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However, those who had read Cheney’s DPG and NEP (which when formulated was rubbished as kite flying and typical American ‘bolshiness’) and observed the events as it unfoleded, would realise that it was copybook of what was enunciated regarding not only in the field of energy security, but also in consonance to have ‘areas’ in world’s hot spots (post Cold War) so that US reaction was fast and not cumbersomely slow.
Generally correct. The issue though is not the resemblance but whether or not the Neocons and their project for a New American Century really reflected the medium term views of the entire US government. I am certain they did not. They did have a plan of sorts and were temporarily influential enough to exercise parts of that plan. The key word there is "temporarily" -- the electoral cycle in the US precludes even medium term 'control' of enough elements of government to create long term problems.
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Therefore, what was taken to be rubbish when it was postulated was a design that was actually implemented.
In part and because it fit the desires of the then President -- who was NOT a member or even a true believer of or in that group or its goals. It also (as opposed to several other options not employed due to a lack of capability...) was within the capability of the US Armed Forces who were -- and are -- not as well trained as they could and should be. Those forces, BTW, never bough into that vision -- they did what they were told but halfheartedly because they knew that the long-term plan would change and they'd be left holding the bag.
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The issue on which I have written/ stated is not the result of any ‘phobias’, it is just an attempt to analyse the events as reported from a variety of sources, western, Chinese, Indian, Asian and get the general western views on the subjects.
I know and I appreciate your insights. I did and do not dispute most of what you say, I merely was and am advising caution in assessing the US for all the various reason stated over these last few posts. We aren't incompetent but we are chaotic.
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Old 10-14-2011   #56
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US media and organisations may be suspect.

The Chinese too?

They are controlled to put out a certain view for the global audience or even test the waters!

Chaos in any democracy.

Some are pro Govt and some anti Govt.

One has to balance it with other independent sources, and then decide the situation.
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Old 10-14-2011   #57
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Fine.'

Democratic views are wrong or chaotic.

Could you explain the Chinese moves in CAR, Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, South China Sea, Afghanistan, even Xinjianng and Tibet (there is no dispute that it is a part of China) , changing the course of water in the Mekong and Brahmaputra and relate it to its 'Peaceful Rise'?

That is what I wanted to know.

Last edited by Ray; 10-14-2011 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 10-14-2011   #58
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Democratic views are wrong or chaotic.
Not necessarily wrong but, if essentially a democratic nation, the views will be divergent, sometimes strikingly so.

A Parliamentary system of government accepts divergent views but the the government of the day will decide on a course of action and generally implement that. In the US with our three arm Republican governmental system, The Legislative branch will not reliably support the government of the day. That is particularly true if those branches are of different parties but it can even occur if both are of the same party. The third branch, the Judiciary will not reliably support either of the other two branches and can effectively overrule one or both.

Thus one can be confronted with the Administration or the Congress announcing a policy which is then disavowed by the Congress or Administration. The Admin can implement a foreign policy and Congress can refuse to fund it. Congress can pass a law that says 'X' and the Administration can just not implement or enforce it. An Agency may be directed by the Admin to do 'Y' and drag its feet, waiting for a new Administration. ANY US citizen can take the issue to Court and, if given a bit of success can stall things for years. All democracy is, as you say, chaotic -- we are particularly so and usually slow to decide (when not rushed into knee jerk reactions... ).
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Could you explain the Chinese moves in CAR, Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, South China Sea, Afghanistan, even Xinjianng and Tibet (there is no dispute that it is a part of China) , changing the course of water in the Mekong and Brahmaputra and relate it to its 'Peaceful Rise'?
Dichotomy? That would be my explanation based on what I know at this time. Those moves may at this time be viewed as a sort of "Peaceful Rise" but they emphatically do not telegraph that as an ultimate goal...
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Old 10-14-2011   #59
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Dichotomy? That would be my explanation based on what I know at this time. Those moves may at this time be viewed as a sort of "Peaceful Rise" but they emphatically do not telegraph that as an ultimate goal...
If I can have your indulgence in knowing the facts that bring you to that conclusion since that is what I seek to know.
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Old 10-14-2011   #60
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If I can have your indulgence in knowing the facts that bring you to that conclusion since that is what I seek to know.
The 'facts' that I know are that China is large and has internal problems. Those facts are gained through open source material and your source are probably more varied then mine. The possibly factual things of which I'm aware are accounts which, in total, suggest all the things you cite and more as indicators that the Chinese are doggedly and aggressively pursuing both resource and a degree of economic investment and return if not hegemony worldwide to include in both Americas. Again, that's all open source and in sum appears reasonably factual but I certainly have not traveled enough lately to say much is indeed fact..

Long observation has led me to believe that a series of events tend to aim toward a logical culmination. The logical culminating event here would seem to be sole superpower. *

So I have no collection of facts, merely a series of reasonably plausible indicators and, as the Intel Wallas say, "Indications lead me to believe..."

* That may be the aim, may not be. If it is, even my limited math skills are adequate to say both your nation and mine can jointly or separately deter that should we wish -- and I do not mean militarily -- and I know (As I'm old...) that unforeseen things can intrude on the best of plans...
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