Archive

Posts Tagged ‘modi’

Quick Thoughts on the Current Situation Between Indian and Pakistan

February 27, 2019 15 comments

While “mainstream news” outlets in USA are focusing on the political theater surrounding Michael Cohen’s testimony and Trump’s latest brain-farts.. I mean tweets.. half a world away something of considerably more potential consequence is occurring right now. It all started about a couple of weeks ago when an Islamic suicide bomber driving a vehicle IED crashed into a bus full of Indian internal security forces in Kashmir, killing 40-42. At that time, the Indian government responded by condemning the attack and promising a suitable reprisal. Many establishment commentators in the west and their gungadin helpers, who pretend to be “India experts”, loudly proclaimed that India would not retaliate against Pakistan or do something small and localized.

As it turned out, they were wrong and after Indian warplanes crossed the international boundary in the early morning hours of 26th February and bombed a few training camps in Pakistan- as opposed to limiting themselves to targets in PoK. The Indian government claimed that about 300 people were killed, while its Pakistani equivalent denied it- as usual. We will find out what went down once pre- an post- strike satellite imagery of those sites is released. However, it is almost certain that they hit the designated targets with the precision guided munitions used during that attack. Anyway.. this penetration of Pakistani airspace made the PAF look kinda incompetent. So they decided to make a half-hearted attempt to drop some bombs on Indian territory.

As it turns out, they were challenged by many Indian aircraft and the PAF beat a hasty retreat after releasing their accordance on apparently uninhabited land. It also appears that there was a dogfight involving a Mig-21 and F-16 in which the Mig-21 shot down the former before being hit my either ground fire or SAM from the Pakistani side. Long story short, the F-16 as well as Mig-21 crashed on the Pakistani side of the border. While we do not know whether the pilot of that PAF F-16 is alive or dead, the Indian pilot was captured. Oh ya.. and there a helicopter crash (on takeoff) about 50 km from the border inside India. Of course, the Pakistani establishment, true to its form, started making up stories which were uncritically published by western “news” media.

So how will this potential conflict turn out? Well.. for starters I am not going to bore you with irrelevant bullshit about how both countries have nuclear weapons. Some might think that this is an odd thing to say, but as you will soon find out- nuclear weapons are, at best, peripheral to how things will turn out. In my opinion, the real factors driving this conflict and its potential outcomes have much more to do with political and other assessments by both sides rather than the dread of nuclear weapons. Moreover, as you will also see, the ground realities are not what people in the west, especially “credentialed” white people claiming to be experts, believe. Then again, why should it be surprising that people who were certain HRC was going to win in 2016 might also be wrong about a conflict between two countries on other side of the world.

So let me begin by stating the obvious..

1] The sheer size of India, its armed forces and resources available to it make any attempt by Pakistan to invade its territory highly suicidal- and this is a lesson which Pakistan has learned the hard way in past conflicts. In a full-scale war, India simply has vastly more people and stuff to throw at the problem than Pakistan. Similarly, India has no real desire to invade and occupy Pakistan, let one integrate it into itself, because almost nobody in India wants 200 million more Muslims within the Indian nation-state. So what do Indian military strategists dream about wrt Pakistan. Well.. they would like to dismember it into smaller pieces and maybe destroy their nuclear weapons- which leads us to the issue of how nuclear weapons might affect this conflict.

2] As some of you might know, India has a No-First-Use policy for nuclear weapons, or at least has said so in 2003. But over the years, things appear to have changed a lot and many senior bureaucrats have creatively interpreted that policy to not covering an imminent attack by another nuclear weapons state- which is a fancy way of saying that NFU policy is NFU in name only. In other words, India has made it clear that it will use nukes first (specifically to target the Pakistani nuclear arsenal) if it feels that Pakistan will use its own weapons. More importantly, India posses both the accurate nuclear missiles and space reconnaissance capability necessary to pull of a preemptive nuclear counterstrike. Will they get them all? No, but they don’t have to.

3] Here is the thing about having a couple of hundred nuclear weapons. Concentrating them at a handful of storage locations on land makes them kinda vulnerable- especially if your opponent has accurate nuclear missiles which can fly in unusual trajectories. Getting even 70-80% of them or the missiles used to launch them is enough to remove most of the threat. And given the escalation ladder inherent in an overtly nuclear conflict, it is likely that India might decide that a preemptive nuclear counterstrike is worth the risk once the conflict goes past a certain point. But how could this scenario occur? Aren’t Indians supposed to be cowardly lotus eaters who will meekly turn the other cheek and try to sue for peace?

4] A lot of white “credentialed experts” and their faithful brown flunkies in the west seem to think that nothing much has changed in India over the past five years. They are certain that India will respond in exactly the same self-defeating restrained manner it did in 1999 and 2009. But things have changed in more ways than the obvious one. See.. Modi is the first full-term PM of India who was born after 1947. Unlike previous occupants of that office, who grew up before partition, he has no affinity for the idea of dealing with Pakistan in a self-defeating “civilized” manner. Also, there is a general election within next 3 months and the popularity of his political party is not especially high, right now. In other words, he has a strong incentive to escalate this conflict.

5] Some of you might wonder why previous conflicts of this nature (for example 1999 and 2009) did not go as far as this one. Well.. the answer lies in the white-worshiping nature of past Indian political leadership. To make a long story short, previous Indian leaders were so craven for praise and pretend-acceptance from white men wearing expensive suits that they were eager and willing to sacrifice the interest of their people to ‘look good for the whites’. You might remember another series of posts where I described them as brown people who think they are honorary whites. Modi is somewhat different. While he certainly would enjoy being praised and accepted by whites, he also understands from his stuff is illusory. And then there is the issue of how his administration is structured or differently structured from previous ones.

6] For many reasons beyond the scope of this post, almost every politician in that administration other than Modi, Shah and a couple of others has no power over administrative decisions. This is a big departure from previous administration where every half-literate elected political weasel tried to influence every decision they could- usually to make money but often simply to assert themselves- which is another way to saying that decisions in this administration are usually made by tenured bureaucrats and administrators (who while corrupt, are nowhere as blindingly stupid and dysfunctional as the political class). That is why the decisions made by this administration, even the bad ones, are far more coherent than their predecessors.

So what does all of this mean as far as future developments in this conflict are concerned? Well.. for starters, Modi will take this much farther than any previous Indian prime minister. He kinda has to do that and also has the capability. Far more importantly, all major decisions are going to be made by administrators and bureaucrats with almost no interference from the incompetent political types. Now this could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. What it does however mean is that western pressure will have little effect (especially compared to past occasions) on how India escalates this conflict. And ya.. if nukes start flying, they will start flying very quickly- rather than follow some “ladder of escalation”.

What do you think? Comments?

Attempts to Implement a Beef Ban in India Will Backfire Badly

May 30, 2017 6 comments

A few of you might have heard about recent attempts by the right-wing-ish ruling party in India to implement a ban of people eating beef through a number of laws and rules. While I seldom write posts about events in India, especially nowadays, this attempt to implement a beef ban in India is very likely to generate a particularly nasty and systemic backlash against that party.

First, a bit of background. See.. many of you think Indians don’t consume Beef and worship Cows etc. However that is not true, especially in certain parts of India. Most Muslims in India, which has the second largest Muslim population in the world, eat Beef. Perhaps more importantly, non-Muslims in certain parts of India such as the North-east, Kerala, Goa and much of the west coast of India, large Metropolitan areas do eat Beef- even if they might not cook it in their homes.

Furthermore, the livelihood of many hundreds of thousands of people in India is linked to butchering and processing cattle for meat, leather etc. More problematically, many of those people belong to certain religions, castes and ethnicities- the reasons for which will become clearer later in the post. Then there is the problem of collateral antagonism from such actions. Anyway, I think it is best to list all the reasons why this Beef ban has an extremely high likelihood of backfiring on the ruling party.

1] Imposing your dietary beliefs, especially if they are based in religion, onto other people is likely to generate an especially harsh backlash. Have you ever wondered why previous national governments in India never seriously tried to ban butchering cattle? Here is a hint- they wanted to rule, and steal from the people, in relative peace. The simple fact is that India is not (and never was) a mono-religious or mono-ethnic country. Functional governance of such a diverse country requires the accommodation of populations with conflicting beliefs aka being pragmatic.

2] Most people who profess Hinduism in India are not especially religious. I would go so far as to say that making money is (and always has been) the real religion of India. Consequently, most Hindus do not see butchering cattle as inherently problematic, as long as they are not the ones doing it. It is no secret that most dairy farmers in India love the money made from selling older cattle to slaughterhouses for meat. Let us be realistic, why would dairy farmers keep on feeding livestock cattle who no longer serve their main function?

3] Butchering and handling dead animals has, for some fucked up religious reasons, been traditionally seen as lower-caste professions in India. Then again, jobs which involve honest and useful work are usually seen as low-caste in Hinduism. The end result of this belief system is that those involved in the whole business of butchering and processing animals are from the so-called “untouchable” castes or Muslims. Did I mention that those belonging to those castes and religions have no interest in being good Hindus? Also they do vote, in very high percentages.

4] The ruling party trying to push the Beef ban, known as the BJP, has historically been seen as the party of reactionary small businessmen from certain castes. In other words, most people in India have a less than favorable opinion of that party. The two main reasons why the BJP came into power in mid-2014 was the collapse of the previous ruling party and the current prime minister being able to project the image of being a competent and fairly secular manager. In other words, the ability of BJP to win any future elections depends on it being able to provide secular, as opposed to religious, goods and services.

5] The current prime minister (Narendra Modi) and his underlings have, so far, been able to provide competent and relatively scandal-free governance. They have been able to approve and speed up many important infrastructure projects, reform government rules and regulations, improve government transparency etc. To put it another way, the first three years of their five-year term have been reasonably good. However over the last three months, they have started dabbling into areas that are not linked to providing secular goods and services.

6] Some of their dabbling into non-secular areas, such as trying to make muslim divorce laws fairer towards women, have been generally well received. However that particular (and still ongoing attempt) at such intervention is largely seen as beneficial in secular terms. In contrast to that, immiserating and impoverishing millions of people via a Beef ban is likely to some up against very determined and prolonged opposition. Also, unlike attempts to reform muslim personal law, such laws will be perceived as religious discrimination.

7] While most muslims in India are fairly moderate and not that religious, it is likely that laws which discriminate against and impoverish them will lead to prolonged civil agitation- to put it mildly. At this stage it is also worth mentioning that many of the so-called “untouchable” castes, who are also involved in the business of processing animals, will likely see this as an attack on their identity and livelihood by a party made up of middle-caste small businessmen Hindus. It is not a good idea to piss off and motivate 20-25% of your population against yourself, especially if the reason for doing so are minor.

8] The popularity of Narendra Modi in India is largely linked to his ability to, so far, efficiently deliver secular goods and services. His administration has also, so far, been able to avoid major civil disturbances and breakdown of governance in most of India. In other words, the popularity of him (and the BJP party) are contingent on providing increasing prosperity AND security. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that any legislation which would create prolonged civil disturbances would not be helpful for improving public perception about internal safety and security.

9] But perhaps most importantly, most Hindus (especially in the more affluent parts of India) have little interest in inconveniencing themselves over something trivial as butchering cattle. Also certain states in India have enough people who consume Beef or depend on cattle butchering as a livelihood for such legislation to make implementation of such legislation very problematic- to put it mildly. Furthermore, the majority of Indians have (for very good reasons) a pretty unfavorable view of government rules and regulations. My point is that trying to push such laws and rules will encounter much more determined resistance than support.

In summary, this attempt by the BJP to target muslims and certain so-called “untouchable” castes is a remarkably stupid idea- especially from the point of maintaining political power. The best case scenario is that they will soon read the writing on the proverbial wall and cut their losses. The worse case scenario is that they end up creating conditions for prolonged civil disturbances in addition to losing power in 2019. Either way, the BJP fucked up with their attempt at banning Beef.

What do you think? Comments?