Random Thoughts

Political Palmistry for The Old, New and Third World

There is a serious dilemma for much of the third world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many countries in the prior impasse chose to align themselves with on of the two superpowers or to play the game to milk goodies from both poles to feather their nest while maintaining a self-respectable distance, while aligning themselves conveniently and or temporarily to suit their immediate self-interests.

The economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union with its resultant disintegration has left America as the sole projecting superpower, not withstanding the capability of the new Russia to stalemate American power when directly threatened by its devastating nuclear arsenal capable of mutually assured destruction. Russia is now looking to amalgamate its destructive military strength by achieving an accommodation with the EU's economic power by guaranteeing energy resources to the EU in return for peace, stability and the potential of weaning old Europe from the aggressive, stupid and destructive policies of an economically weakened America trying hard to project its military power to compensate for its waning economic power in a last ditch desperate attempt to retain its hegemony.

W is on the verge of withdrawing troops from Europe and Asia. He like Duryodhana, can do no right or good. His nature and intellect are to blame. He is just a zombie, an empty shell taken over by evil neo-con spirits. Where are the exorcists when our country desperately needs them?

Europe will be pushed to the decisional breaking point when by a referendum Britain decides to throw in its lot with one side or the other. If the UK opts for the EU, which doesn't seem likely, it will spell the death-knell for America. If the UK opts to be America's lapdog, as Blair seems to relish, it will create a dilemma for the residual EU and may lead to the final dissolution of NATO as we know it, and an independent foreign policy for Old Europe, as young Rummy calls it. This will constrain the new members from Eastern Europe to go along or face even more restrictive handouts from the old, rich, Western Europe to improve their sinking economies. The xenophobic Europeans have shown their character flaws by substantial votes for racist parties by favoring the BNP in UK, Le Pen in local elections in France and the obviously racist immigration laws for immigrant spouses in Denmark. Thus the most liberal statutes for tolerance for new immigrants in the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark have been reversed or annulled to appease a strong sentiment against non-whites.

Fortunately the EU is an economic power unwilling to translate its might into coercive military strength and addicted to providing economic security to its weakest inhabitants. The problem is that its racist xenophobia could alter its policies at any moment. This is why the brown inhabitants of the world prefer America because they know that any legal or illegal prejudices are likely to be directed against the Blacks thus insulating themselves against the first and most prevalent tier of prejudice. Partly it is an unannounced benefit of recessive genetic traits that the progeny of a brown and a white results most often in the birth of a white child as opposed to the battle of dominants in the admixture of black and white, that mostly results in the birth of a child more frequently identifiable as part black and thus labeled in this topsy-turvy world as all black. There are many carping, cantankerous critics, who rail, rant and rave about the inequities of the social taboos of the United States rightly, but not enough have the decency or honesty to tout that it is the fairest society of whites in comparison to the more liberal preaching but less practicing Europe. This is not to give America a free pass because it is still mired in prejudice.

Anyway the aim of this article is not to analyze the differential attitudes towards individuals with excessive pigment but to consider the options of lesser powers unfortunately on the basis of excessive pigment or for economic, political or incomprehensible reasons. The reality is that America is a waning economic power with overwhelming military capability. Its Achilles heel resides in its inability to tolerate human casualties as expected from the decreased susceptibility to loss of life or limb in any economically advanced society. As Thucydides would have analyzed, this is a natural evolution of he human psyche and dictates the fate of rich and powerful states by leading to their downfall. It is not the reluctance to jeopardize life or limb, which is the glaring weak point of America in comparison to the willingness to sacrifice life by the diehard fanatic Islamists. It is the setting of economic clout that makes the hegemony of America untenable in the intermediate term.

So what should relatively powerless third world nations do?

They are doing exactly what is needed to achieve a Nash equilibrium. There is verbal, artificial and not whole-hearted co-operation without overt rebellion, resistance or opposition. This is not associated with active co-operation or collaboration and ultimately leaves the US exposed to the vagaries of fate and chance as the withdrawal of many allied troops of the CPA has proved. Regrettably, there is prevalent a delusion of grandeur amongst the blind, deaf, dumb and unthinking partisan supporters of the most intellectually challenged President of the US, that this too shall pass. Time constraints, economic stress, a distaste for reading and a short attention span unable to comprehend anything beyond 30 second sound bytes further increases the handicap. On the contrary such handicaps are considered presidential abilities. Excessive religiosity leading to teach creationism in schools while rejecting evolution and a fanatic belief that the Bible is the word of God and absolute truth is reminiscent of other zealots with identical ideas about the Koran, Hadith and Shira. Hindutva fanatics need to learn a lesson from this. Fortunately its scriptures are not completely prescriptive like the Koran nor have been given the historically valid connections of the Bible as yet.

The critical point to bear in mind is that that no government does a 180degree U-turn of its foreign policy unless it is schizophrenic or constrained by economic circumstances.

The turnabout from supporting the Taliban to opposing it, tells us a lot about the desperation of the Pakistani government. These are desperate measures to stall bankruptcy. It is true that the backing of America can postpone the inevitable for a long time, but it is equally important for India to realize that these stopgap measures do not forestall the inevitable outcome, but just postpone it.

It is key to understand that America currently is a waning power and unless it puts it act together, an outcome highly unlikely due to its internecine warfare between parties and the total stupidity of the public, that totally hitching a country's policies to those of America is fraught with long-term disadvantages. It is also equally true that vehemently opposing the behemoth is likely to result in destruction or extinction. America has wooed Pakistan many times in the past fifty years but always left it at the altar. This time will be no different.

The last time America's obsession was monolithic communism and it destroyed the Soviet Union and wooed Pakistan to do so even at the cost of turning a blind eye towards Pakistan's nuclear proliferation. This time it is obsessed with nuclear WMDs falling in the hands of Islamic terrorists and sooner or later it will rectify its past mistakes. The loose nukes and terrorists are both in Pakistan. Its newest obsession has changed but its nature, instinct, strategy and methods are still the same and Pakistan has drawn the lines on its palm just like its illustrious native forebear, Panini. The latter achieved his fate by etching his own education palmer crease and so will Pakistan by erasing its palmer lifeline. Happy Birthday, but Caveat Donee! 


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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