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Third World, Bhagwad Gita and Pragmatism
by Gaurang Bhatt, MD Bookmark and Share

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 one 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 EUÕs 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.

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 the lapdog of America as Blair seems to relish, it will create a dilemma for the residual EU and may pose the final dissolution of NATO as we know it and an independent foreign policy for old Europe, which 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 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 genetics that the progeny of a brown and a white results most often in the birth of a white child as opposed to the dominant disaster of 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 or unfairly, but not enough have the decency or honesty to tout that it is the fairest society of whites in comparison to the more believing but less practicing Europe. This is not to give America a free pass because it is still mired in prejudice against blacks.

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 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. 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 or limb by the diehard fanatic Islamists. It is the setting of economic clout that makes the hegemony of America untenable.

So what should relatively powerless third world nations do?

They are doing exactly what Nash equilibrium would dictate. 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. It is a fair assessment of the intellectual capacity of the American public, but not of its unpredictable intellectually bankrupt vacillating unpredictability.

This is not an analysis of the voting preferences of the American public, which will be a subject for another article, The critical analytic point to bear in mind is that that no government does a 180 degree urn 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 kowtowing to America is fraught with long-term disadvantages, but opposing America is equally foolish in the short-term. China has sought out a difficult middle path between these Scylla and Charybdis and there is much to be learnt from its pragmatic policy. This is why Mahabharata is a superior epic to the idealistic Ramayana. The former is a pragmatic guide to living. It is important to realize that neither guarantees happiness. 'Wo chidiyaa kaa koi ghar nahi'

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28-Nov-2004
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