The War and the Circus

Perhaps most humans are congenitally belligerent and can be reasonably expected to get into fights. But it takes institutionalized big businesses to create a war machine that raises ordinary human belligerence to levels of superhuman insanity. The war machine — and one can argue that indeed there is only one such thing but with a global reach, even though its components are multinational in the sense that people from various nations participate in their creation and maintenance — is so pervasive that it seems to be as natural, unchangeable, and logical as the seasons. Like the seasons, the war machine dictates how people carry on with their lives unquestioningly. People generally accept the war machine as naturally they do the seasons.
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Incentives for Better Policies

This year, 2009 CE, marks the 200th birth anniversary of Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882), and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859). Contrary to what one may suppose, the phrase “survival of the fittest” does not occur in that book. It was Herbert Spencer (1820 -1903), who coined it in his book Principles of Biology, (1864).[1]

Spencer warned that “the ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.” That observation holds with special force in the context of the misgovernment of India. If the policy makers (the bureaucrats and politicians) are shielded from the ill-effects of their policies, they have little incentive to act prudently. Eventually, as the stock of bad policies keep building up, the country ends up in ruin. We have to remember that in the main, the success or failure of an economy is solely determined by the quality of its public policies.
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Tragedy and Farce — Part 2

{Continued from part 1.}

In the ultimate analysis, ideas matter. Ideas are what distinguishes humans from all known forms of terrestial living beings. The differences one observes in the development of various societies ultimately boil down to the set of ideas that a society developes, borrows, adopts, adapts, and uses. Ideas as embodied in the institutions and mores of society ultimately dictate how prosperous it is. A set of ideas that persist and pervade the collective consciousness of a society can be called an ideology. After controlling for all other factors such as natural endowments and accidents of history, the state of development and prospects of growth of a society (and therefore its economy) are fundamentally and inextricably tied to the dominant ideology of that society.
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Israel signals to Iran

BBC reports that Israel conducted an exercise that amounts to a rehearsal for an attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities. It is a strong signal — to all including the US, Europe, and Iran — that it is serious about halting Iran’s nuclear bomb-making ambitions. Good for Israel and good for the world.

All this goes to show that entertaining the idea of building a gas pipeline from Iran to India — via Pakistan, of all places — at the cost of a few billion dollars was silly beyond belief. The Iran-India Pipe Bomb is guaranteed to blow up in India’s face if India makes the mistake of making deals with nations led by lunatics like Ahmedinejad.

Money quote from Thug-in-chief Ahmedinejad:

“We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups and nations. It’s a universal ideology that leads the world to justice. We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world. We must prepare ourselves to rule the world.” [January, 2006]

Dream on, Mr Ahmedinejad, dream on. The Israelis will wake you up soon.

How to Shrink India

Only recently did I become aware that there is a local politician in Mumbai named Raj Thackeray and that he has been inciting people to violence to stop non-Marathi speaking people from migrating to Mumbai. The man, in my considered opinion, is a certifiable idiot and an evil one at that. But then there is nothing particularly remarkable in Raj Thackeray’s quest for votes through divisive politics. The British quite successfully implemented it and ever since political independence, politicians across the spectrum have been dividing India along regional, caste, and religious categories. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, instead of erasing caste distinctions, even went so far as to name a significant portion of Indians as “harijan” or “children of god” — thus implicitly, according to his adopted Abrahamic theology, categorized the rest as “children of satan.” The present Italian Gandhi continues that fine tradition and implements policies that discriminate against people that do not subscribe to some Abrahamic sky-god. I wonder if Raj Thackeray is going to be invited to join the Congress Party, seeing that he is a master of divide and rule?
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Quo Vadis, Pakistan

Pakistan matters critically to India. One could dismiss it as a failed tin-pot dictatorship and is of little consequence with respect to India’s development and economic growth. But it is just because it is a tin-pot dictatorship that it matters. Even more precisely, it has been made into a tin-pot dictatorship so that it can serve as a lever to indirectly control India. I deliberately say “made” because it is a tool used by the West and therefore fashioned by and kept in “good” shape to serve the purpose. Principally, it is the US which wields Pakistan most adroitly.

One cannot escape the fact that the US is the world’s reigning hegemon. Nothing much of any significance happens around the world is not in some way affected by what the US does. No large nation or a confederation of nations is immune from US influence to some extent, whether it be India, China, or the EU. But when it comes to small impoverished dependent nations, the US is the ultimate dispenser of their destinies. Pakistan is what the US wants it to be, and Pakistan does what the US wants it to do.
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What the world owes to the US

In a comment on my musings on “An entirely avoidable tragedy”, Jack Stack wrote

You are quick to point out issues (again) with the US. Yep, Iraq, but at the same time, we’ve done quite a bit for literally every nation since we became a nation. We can debate the merits of capitalism, democracy, etc or we can understand that India is still a young country that has needs – similar to many other countries.

I can appreciate Jack’s point of view. I stand entirely justifiably accused of pointing a finger at the US for much of the avoidable tragedies of the world. Only powerful nations are capable of great harm and one has to merely observe the world with a little bit of care to realize how much of the blame for the present state of the world rests at the feet of the mighty.
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The Dollar Auction Continues

It should come as no surprise that the US is selling arms to Pakistan.

“2,769 Radio Frequency TOW 2A missiles, 415 RF bunker buster missiles, fly-to-buy missiles in both these categories, 121 TOW launchers for wire-guided and wireless missiles, E-2C HAWKEYE 2000 Airborne Early Warning Systems, simulators and support equipment. Their total worth could be up to $1.04 Billion.”
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Dr Wafa Sultan

If publishing a bunch of cartoons results in significant death and destruction around the world, imagine what it must require to actually speak critically of Islam on an Arabic television program. Dr Wafa Sultan has — how should I put it — gonads the size of the globe. A Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, she is talking. Her talk is not pretty.
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