The Reality of Modern India: Recurrence of Corporate-State

The Reality of Modern India: Recurrence of Corporate-State

October 17, 2020

by Straight-Bat for the Saker Blog

For quite some time, I have been alarmed with the general lack of understanding on modern India among the readers and activists (Indians and foreigners alike). As soon as “India” word appears on the paper or computer screen, a section of the readers start imagining the philosophical and religious connotation of the word, they try to realise how great saints spent whole life to get insights of ‘life’, ‘death’, and ‘moksha’! Another section of the readers on hearing the word “India” get an adrenaline rush through their body, their mind gets full of apathy bordering on hatred about ‘uneducated’ people who would continue to get screwed by their master perpetually. A third kind of readers feel India is a land of religious fascists, so no point in thinking about it.

The truth is, like any other civilization, the Indian subcontinent also has both glorious and sordid past. As a truth-seeker in political-social-economic domain, my concern is with the present state of affairs in India. However, in order to understand the present society, one must look back into the recent past – this article takes the interested readers and activists into a journey through the significant historical facts, politics, society and economy from around 1720 CE till March’2020.

A word of caution – readers who wish to read about how present ruling party mixed up the question of governance and economy with Hindu religion/spiritualism to bring back ‘ancient glory’ OR readers who wish to broaden their understanding on how covid-19 wrecked Indian economy since last week of March 2020 till date, won’t find this piece of article at all useful.

 1.  Introduction

In the post-colonial modern era, the South Asian landmass consists of the following countries:

  • India claiming an area of 3287.26 thousand sq. km. with 1352.64 million population in 2016
  • Pakistan claiming an area of 881.91 thousand sq. km. with 212.23 million population in 2016
  • Nepal claiming an area of 147.18 thousand sq. km. with 28.09 million population in 2016
  • Bhutan covering an area of 38.39 thousand sq. km. with 0.75 million population in 2016
  • Bangladesh covering an area of 147.57 thousand sq. km. with 161.37 million population in 2016
  • Sri Lanka covering an area of 65.61 thousand sq. km. with 21.23 million population in 2016

[ Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asia ]

Each of the above 7 modern political entities possess quite a few characteristics that would enable them to qualify as a ‘nation-state’, while there exist a number of other peculiarities that would render such definition of ‘nation-state’ as pretentious. So, for our discussion in this write-up, I would like to identify any entity listed above as a ‘country’ – it is simple and expressive of the actual meaning. A ‘country’ has a geographical boundary, a population, and sovereignty of governance within the geographical boundary.

South Asian landmass, as a whole, has a very significant characteristic – ever since the Palaeolithic age dawned over this subcontinent, may be around 10,000 BCE, the only common thread that links geography of all regions and history of all eras of this landmass had been / has been – DIVERSITY. In this respect, South Asia is very similar to the European subcontinent – just like South Asia, with a wide variety of clan, tribe, language, religion, custom etc. Europe could / can never come near to a homogeneous society (other than genocide, which was once tried as a political project). Similarity doesn’t end there – in case of both South Asian and European subcontinents, formation of political entities had/has been a dynamic idea and reality! So many republics, principalities, protectorates, kingdoms and empires dotted the landscape for past 4000 years, that the most uncommon feature of political processes across the South Asian and European subcontinents had been / has been – CENTRALISATION.

Without getting into the details of past history or trying to cover the entire south Asian subcontinent, I’m restricting myself within the region of Indian subcontinent (presently India plus Pakistan plus Bangladesh) from Maratha domination around 1719 CE till liberation from British empire in 1947 CE, and partitioned India from 1947 to 2020 CE. Through a thorough but brief survey of the significant political and economic narratives of recent 300 years of history of the Indian subcontinent, I want to establish the following hypothesis:

a) English East India Company (EIC) created world’s first ‘corporate-state’ in Indian Subcontinent – that fete is being repeated now by Indian oligarchy

b) Behaviour of wealthy elites didn’t change over time – EIC’s primary objective of exploitation and extortion now taken up by Indian oligarchy

The journey will begin with review of Indian society as well as economy during Maratha domination and British era, then discuss the post-independence Social Democracy, and Neoliberal Oligarchy era. I will end with current semi-fascist corporatocracy, but won’t discuss future possibilities.

2.  Maratha-Dominated Indian Subcontinent

2.1  Expansion of Maratha Empire & Fall of Maratha Confederacy

Had Maratha power appreciated the diversity of India and tweaked their expansion policy to acknowledge the significance of alliance, as well as assigned importance to economic affairs as similar to military affairs, the Maratha empire would have seamlessly replaced Mughal empire as the central power based in Delhi – the British imperialist history of Indian subcontinent would be, in that case, aborted by 1790.

2.1.1 Starting from 1674, Maratha king Shivaji and his two sons built a kingdom in west region of India primarily on the basis of their expertise in guerrilla warfare against the Mughal empire. Shivaji’s grandson Shahuji, in 1713 CE appointed Balaji Vishwanath Bhat as Peshwa (the governing authority of Maratha kingdom). He marched to Delhi in 1719 CE and deposed the Mughal emperor. Thus the century of conflict started with sacking of Delhi, capital of Mughal empire by Maratha kingdom in 1719, thereafter Maratha kingdom grew into an empire, then transformed into a confederacy, and, with comprehensive defeat of Maratha Confederacy against the British East India Company in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818 the Maratha power was defeated and century of conflict ended.

During this period, marauding Maratha cavalry became a nightmare in northern, eastern, and southern regions (which were part of Mughal empire until a decade back and subsequently the ex-Mughal governors became independent rulers). Maratha power would extract annual tax chauth (levied at the rate of one-fourth the annual revenues of the region) and sardeshmukhi (additional 10% levy on top of the chauth) from all such regions as extortion tax. In the trend-setting incidence, in 1719, the-then Mughal emperor granted Shahuji the chauth and sardeshmukhi rights over the six Deccan provinces in exchange for his maintaining a contingent of 15,000 troops for the purpose of Mughal emperor.

2.1.2 After death of Balaji Vishwanath, his son, Bajirao was appointed in 1720 CE as Peshwa by Shahuji. An able military leader, Bajirao soon transformed the Maratha kingdom into Maratha empire. By the time Bajirao died in 1740, Maratha empire became strong and Maratha army was unconquerable. The regions under the Maratha empire in 1740 were:

  • Western part of present India except Solapur, Nanderh, Kutch, Junagarh regions
  • entire Central region of present India
  • Northern part of present India – Malwa

The Persian emperor Nadir Shah invaded the crumbling Mughal empire from January to May 1739 and sacked the capital, Delhi after defeating Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah. The loot was so ‘fabulous’ that Nadir Shah didn’t collect tax in Persian empire for next three years following his return. From that event onwards, effectively Mughal empire became a dead corpse which would still be showcased in Delhi, until 1857 when British forces would bury it. Three political powers active in India who were seeking expansion of their existing domain, got alerted – Maratha empire, Nizam of Hyderabad (erstwhile Mughal governor), and British East India Company (that didn’t have any territory by in 1740 apart from trading outposts).

The Mughal empire still had jurisdiction over the following regions in 1740:

  • Northern part of present India except Ladakh, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan

The governors/kings of erstwhile Mughal empire became independent rulers:

  • Northern region of present India – Uttar Pradesh (Awadh, Rohilkhand), Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jodhpur)
  • Eastern region of present India – Bengal-Bihar (Nawab of Murshidabad)
  • Southern region of present India – Maharashtra (Nizam’s portion), Telengana-Andhra (Nizam’s portion), Karnataka (Mysore), Tamil Nadu (Nawab of Arcot)

2.1.3 After death of Bajirao, his son Balaji Bajirao was appointed in 1740 CE as Peshwa by Shahuji. He expanded the Maratha empire to greatest height, but during his reign, lack of diplomatic statesmanship and lack of appropriate military strategy caused irreparable damages to the empire. Shahuji died in 1749. By the time Balaji Bajirao died in 1761, the Maratha empire established direct rule and indirect control over:

  • Western region of present India except Kutch, Solapur, Nanderh regions
  • entire Central region of present India
  • Northern region of present India – Malwa, part of Rajputana-Haryana-Punjab
  • Eastern region of present India – Orissa
  • Southern region of present India – part of Tamil Nadu

In 1751–52, the Ahamdiya treaty was signed between the Maratha and Mughal powers. Through this treaty, Mughal rule was restricted only to Delhi (currently greater Delhi). In 1752 when Ahmad Shah Abdali annexed Lahore and Multan, the Mughal Emperor entered into an agreement with Holkar and Scindia for protection against external and internal enemies granting the Marathas chauth tax of Punjab, Sindh, and Ganga-Yamuna Doab plus subadari of Agra and Aimer.

Ahmed Shah Abdali plundered Delhi in 1756, and Maratha army raided Delhi after Afghan withdrawal, defeating the Afghan garrison in the Battle of Delhi. Maratha power conquered North-west India successfully wresting Lahore, Attock, and Peshawar. However, Ahmed Shah Abdali came back soon to reoccupy lost territories. Afghani emperor Ahmed Shah Abdali invaded north-west and north India 8 times. During 1760-61 invasion the Afghani army took on the Maratha army. Afghani army in alliance with the army of Awadh and Rohilkhand routed Maratha army (with contingents from Maratha chieftains like Holkar, Scindia, Bhonsale, Pawar, Gaikwad etc.) which didn’t feel requirement of any alliance. Marathas maintained poor relations with most of the Rajput and Jat kings. Due to the defeat of Maratha military in January 1761 in the Third Battle of Panipat, Maratha power lost the wherewithal to replace Mughals to rule majority of Indian subcontinent from Delhi.

2.1.4 After death of Balaji Bajirao, his son, Madhavrao became Peshwa in 1761 CE. Maratha empire regained some of the lost glory during this period. In order to effectively coordinate the large empire through the satraps, Peshwa Madhavrao allowed autonomy to the most prominent of the satraps, and the Maratha empire became Maratha confederacy. However, after death of Peshwa Madhavrao I in 1772 CE, following chieftains became de facto rulers in far-flung regions of the empire:

  • Peshwa of Pune
  • Holkar of Indore
  • Scindia of Gwalior (Chambal region) and Ujjain (Malwa Region)
  • Bhonsale of Nagpur
  • Gaekwad of Baroda
  • Pawar of Dewas and Dhar

Even in the original Maratha kingdom of Shivaji many jamindars were given semi-autonomous charges of small districts like Aundh, Bhor, Phaltan, Miraj, Sangli etc.

There were two undercurrents simultaneously getting played out in Maratha confederacy:

  • Struggle for prominence and revenue collection among the Maratha chieftains
  • Struggle for capturing power within Peshwa family

There were two outstanding military leader-cum-statesman during the confederacy period:

  • Mahadji Scindhia controlled entire central and north India regions crushing all opposition from principalities and protectorate kingdoms of Jats, Rohilla Afghans, and Rajputs to Maratha rule between 1761 and 1793 CE – the period was termed as ‘Maratha Resurrection’. However, it remained one of the unresolved mystery of Indian history, why, even at the zenith of his power, Mahadji Scindia didn’t attempt to put a Maratha leader as the ‘emperor’ in Delhi.
  • Yashwantrao Holkar during the period 1799 through 1811 CE rebelled against the policies of the-then Peshwa Bajirao II and fought against the rising British power teeth and nail. He tried to unite all Maratha chieftains as well as other significant kingdoms of the-then Indian sub-continent communicating to them “First Country, and then Religion. We will have to rise above caste, religion, and our states in the interest of our country. You too must wage a war against the British, like me.” With most other dominions, principalities and kingdoms ruled by Indians signing treaties with the British, Yashwantrao Holkar had to also sign peace treaty in 1805 CE. His plan for final assault on British-held Indian territories didn’t materialise because of untimely death in 1811 CE.

2.1.5 Apart from seizing territory to expand the Maratha empire/confederacy, Peshwa also created a network of tributary/protectorate states all of which were part of Mughal empire in not-so-distant past. Maratha power imposed annual tax/protection money from these erstwhile provinces of Mughal power, while those erstwhile Mughal provinces/tributaries balked at paying extortions at any opportunity:

  • Nawab of Bengal (Bengal and Bihar; Orissa ceded to Marathas)
  • Nizam of Hyderabad (part of Maharashtra, part of Karnataka, Telengana, part of Andhra)
  • King of Mysore (part of Karnataka, part of Tamil Nadu)
  • Rajput kings of Rajputana (Rajasthan)

2.1.6 British East India Company played the role of ‘king-maker’ when it changed the Nawab (ruler) of Bengal-Bihar by winning the Battle of Plassey in 1757. However the significance of next British win in Battle of Buxar fought in October 1764 between British East India Company and combination of Nawab of Bengal-Bihar, Nawab of Awadh, and Mughal (Delhi) emperor was immeasurable – British East India Company became the de facto ruler of the largest revenue earning province of Mughal empire – Bengal-Bihar. By 1770 British company brought the following regions under direct ‘rule’:

  • Western region of present India – Mumbai (Bombay trading outpost)
  • Eastern region of present India – Kolkata (Calcutta trading outpost), Bengal, Bihar
  • Southern region of present India – Chennai (Madras trading outpost), coastal Andhra (Northern Sircars)

The most ferocious period of the 100-year conflict took place between 1766 through 1818 when eight significant wars were fought among British East India Company, Mysore, and Maratha (Hyderabad Nizam most of the time supported English EIC):

  • First Anglo–Mysore War (1766–69)
  • First Anglo-Maratha War (1777–83)
  • Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780–84)
  • Maratha-Mysore War (1785–87)
  • Third Anglo-Mysore War (1789–92)
  • Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1798–99)
  • Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–05)
  • Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–18)

Third Anglo-Maratha War resulted in the British control of most of the Indian subcontinent either directly or through dependency/protectorate treaty. Through meticulous planning, cunning diplomacy, and psychological manipulation of the Indian states, the British power defeated/subdued all of them, and spread their empire across Indian subcontinent.

2.2  Administration & Revenue system of Maratha Power

The Maratha king (Chhatrapati) had an enlightened Council of Eight ministry through which the Maratha empire was administered: Prime Minister (Pantpradhan / Peshwa), Finance Minister (Amatya / Mazumdar), Secretary (Pant Sachiv), Interior Minister (Mantri), Chief of Military (Senapati), Foreign Minister (Sumant), Chief Justice (Nyayadhyaksh), and Highest Priest (Panditrao). After 1761 during the confederacy times, the administration of became quite complex with central Peshwa following the old ‘council of eight’ concept while the autonomous chieftains introduced some new processes. Maratha empire-turned-confederacy was avowedly military-state. The chauth collected across Indian subcontinent was primarily distributed for military purpose – two-thirds remained with Maratha chieftains for maintaining their military troops, 25% went to the King (Chhatrapati), 6% went to the office of pant sachiv for managing the royal secretariat.

Maratha empire was administratively divided into two regions: directly ruled by the king (regulation areas) and ruled by the semi-autonomous/autonomous chiefs (non-regulation areas). Land revenue from regulation areas were based on assessment, accounting and other factors, but revenue from non-regulation areas were not based on any realistic assessment. More vociferous chieftains would resist demand of king’s tribute and pay less compared to more docile chiefs. The assessment-based revenue was almost fixed during the 18th century, with minimum change in valuation.

The regulation areas had ‘vatandar’ system wherein land rights (including right to sale) would be vested in a brotherhood of patrilineal relatives. Vatandar units of about 20 to 200 villages was under a Zamindar termed as DeshmukhVatandars were co-sharers of the produce of ‘land’ as well as ‘revenue exempt land’. There were two types of tenants: resident cultivators with hereditary rights of occupancy, and temporary cultivators.

During late 1750s and 1760s, Peshwa completed the ‘tankha settlement’ considering old and new arable land, quality of land, and thorough measurement (king’s share became one-sixth of the produce). 1790s onwards when the Peshwa needed more revenue to pay for mobilisation of armies and obligations to the British, revenue collection target was raised.

The administrative systems in the semi-autonomous statelets called ‘saranjam states’ (Holkar, Scindia, Bhonsle, Pawar, Gaikwad etc.) were similar in principle, but each of the statelet would run its administration in its own way. Both – land revenue collection system within territory as well as extortion tax from neighbouring statelets, were managed by a well-structured bureaucracy (more often than not, these appointments were done within extended family).

2.3 Economy & Commerce

Summarising the economy in Indian subcontinent during Mughal era (assuming 1526 CE to 1739 CE), The Cambridge Economic History of Indian mentioned “Centralized administration, a uniform revenue policy, a network of inland trade fostered by Mughal peace and active encouragement to an expanding overseas commerce created conditions in which economic stimuli travelled fast enough from one part of the empire to another. A few propositions stated above wouldn’t fit while describing the Maratha empire-cum-confederacy era between 1719 CE and 1818 CE, two factors especially stood out – firstly, ‘centralised administration’ was replaced by decentralised statecraft within Maratha confederacy and few other powerful statelets, secondly, ‘peace’ was elusive during this tumultuous period. Trading and crafts manufacturing activities in large urban cities like Delhi, Agra, Surat, Lahore, Dhaka etc. took a hit during the period of 1710s through 1720s. During this period, for common people (small landholders, agricultural labourers, craftsmen, soldiers), daily life became more stressful.

2.3.1 An estimate by Angus Maddison (Table B-18 in The World Economy, Paris: OECD, 2001) shows that, in early modern era the GDP of Indian subcontinent as a share of world GDP was highest during Mughal era and lowest during British Raj:

1600 CE1700 CE1870 CE
GDP (million 1990 int. $)% of World GDPGDP (million 1990 int. $)% of World GDPGDP (million 1990 int. $)% of World GDP
Britain6,00701.8010,70902.88100,17909.10
Western Europe65,95520.0283,39522.46370,22333.61
China96,00029.1482,80022.30189,74017.23
India74,25022.5490,75024.44134,88212.25
World329,417371,3691101,369

A safe conclusion from the above estimate can be made that, even if the internal disturbances during Maratha domination were detrimental to the economic growth, the drastic reduction in Indian subcontinent’s share of world GDP in 19th century had minimum linkage with 18th century Maratha era.

2.3.2 While discussing the economy of 18th century Indian subcontinent, it must be mentioned that there is an uncanny similarity with imperial China of that period – close to 80% of total population were rural peasants. While Mughal power was deriving their land revenue primarily from north, east and south regions (as well as tax revenue from trade in west, east, and south regions), Maratha power grew out of west and central India where agrarian settlement reached limits of its development. That resulted in persistent pressure of the Maratha power into stimulation of higher productivity in more fertile areas (under their direct rule) like Doab region in north, and Tanjore region in south.

The Maratha rulers adopted revenue collection based on concessional assessment (istava) and extended facility of loans. Another significant policy was encouraging/rewarding the citizens to build and repair agricultural facilities like dam. Fukuzawa has noted that state promotion of agriculture and revenue management system by the Maratha rulers made considerable impact to medium and large plot-holders (18 acres to 108 acres of land)

He further noted that, over the years 1790 to 1803 the small plot-holders completely disappeared while the large land holders increased in number. The economic condition of vast section of rural peasantry and rural labours worsened considerably due to increased population and increased taxation, apart from prices of food grains.

During the power transfer process from Mughal to Maratha era, the families of privileged and powerful aristocracy (state ministers, deshmukhs, military officers, financiers and traders) who combined multiple functions simultaneously, became controller of rural resources and source of income through hereditary offices, tax collection, tax-exempted land etc. More often than not, these families were from non-cultivating background.

2.3.3 Medium and small sized mints were a feature of market towns. Copper and cowries were imported in large volume to meet the demand of highly ‘monetized’ local markets. People in western region of India were paid daily and monthly wages for handicraft production, agricultural labour, and other services. Records dated 18th century pertaining to monetary and contractual dealings, loans in cash and kind, etc. were found.

Apart from cultivation of staple food, cash crops and manufacturing were part of the economy in western, eastern, and southern regions. The crafts manufacturing in the northern region were negatively impacted due to the continuous warfare in Maratha era. Credit institutions operating in town and countryside were not only a vibrant part of economy, but it also played a not-so-impressive role of creating an indebted nobility class.

2.3.4 Development of market forces had impacted the subsistence character of Indian agriculture. Even though the peasantry met family requirements of food out of his own produce, very poor peasants would depend on moneylenders for seed and food-grains during non-cropping period. By mid-18th century non-food grain production (mulberry, poppy, indigo, sugarcane, tobacco, maize, and mango) increased substantially. However, the rural areas could never become source of ‘demand / consumption of goods’ due to poor purchasing power, and remained only ‘producers’ in spite of housing vast population.

In a somewhat similar trend as that of China, the rural peasants were also involved in manufacturing (like spinning of coarse cloth) for their own consumption as well as partly for disposal in the market. For production of agriculture-based products like raw silk, indigo, sugar, oil, and salt peasants were responsible. This type of rural manufacturing co-existed with urban artisan industries (which was independent from rural influences) that catered to a growing export market.

At the village level, there were marketing complex (mandi), which were permanent wholesale markets attracting traders and commodity sellers from both neighbouring and distant locations. Part of the produces would distributed across the country as well as pushed into overseas commerce. Surat, Masulipatam and Hugli were famous centres of export, and Agra and Burhanpur were significant inland commercial centre. By 1770’s English EIC almost monopolised the overseas trade through privileges from which the native Indians were excluded.

2.3.5 The arrogance of provincial rulers and the avarice of government officials during late Mughals (as against the philosophy of ‘good governance’ espoused by the early Mughal emperors) had curbed the enterprising spirit and prevented the accumulation of capital over generations. That type of administrative shortcomings were in place even during the Maratha domination in the subcontinent which deterred many traders and financiers who commanded immense resources (even if they had considerable influence with the political authorities). In fact, during 1750’s and 1760’s few prominent the-then Bengal traders-financiers conspired with English EIC officials against the Bengal Nawab (erstwhile Mughal provincial governor) to bring English EIC as the ruler of Bengal-Bihar-Orissa by enticing the commanders of Bengal Nawab’s Army. These Indian traders-financiers expected EIC would provide good governance and extend special privilege to them for business – it was a short-lived affair that permanently changed the history.

2.4 Significant observations on Maratha-dominated Subcontinent:

2.4.1 Between 1757 and 1819 the English EIC established control of most of the Indian subcontinent. Due to factors like (a) disunity, distrust, and rivalry among the Maratha chieftains, (b) short-sighted “hindutwa” policy of Maratha Peshwa who didn’t want to ally with Mysore Sultan because of few cases of forced religious conversion programmes in south India carried out by the Sultan, and (c) consistently pro-British stand of Hyderabad ruler Nizam and other small kingdoms, seven most prominent statelets of the-then Indian subcontinent (four Maratha statelets- Maratha Peshwa, Gwalior Scindhia, Nagpur Bhosle, Indore Holkar, Mysore kingdom, Hyderabad Nizam, and Sikh kingdom) never joined forces to fight the British forces. History showed that, had any four of them formed a united front and fought the English EIC forces, British forces would got vanquished. On the contrary, Maratha Peshwa, Gwalior Scindhia, Hyderabad Nizam, and Sikh king allied with English EIC at different point of time for their fight against other Indian statelets!

2.4.2 Compared to the early modern Europe and China, early modern Indian subcontinent had been a laggard in application of science and technology in to agriculture and crafts manufacturing. Apart from spinning, canon, and ship, labour-saving techniques in different sectors of economy remained elusive. However, with arrival of French and British companies, the subcontinent started absorbing new techniques and technologies like raw-silk reeling, indigo and saltpetre manufacturing, cloth printing etc. An intriguing observation by Indian scholars including M K Gandhi was that, specialisation and division of labour based on caste and clan got developed in Indian subcontinent since ancient era which kept the economy of villages self-reliant and all households had near-guaranteed employment that at least ensured subsistence. This old heartless and inefficient but effective system didn’t bring any impetus for major technological changes and labour-saving. The English EIC brought technological and management changes that started to break down the entire rural economy and urban crafts manufacturing as early as 1770s.

2.4.3 During the 15th century late medieval era, southern region, western region, Deccan region, and Rajasthan region witnessed emergence of powerful families (mostly upper caste Hindu Brahman-Kshatriya-Vaishya) who, across generations, accumulated various rights, offices, and capital (land, labour, money) and contributed to state building under different kings/emperors (both Hindu and Muslim). During the same time, northern region, north-western region, and eastern region witnessed emergence of powerful Turkish-Iranian Muslim families who similarly accumulated various offices and capital under mainly Afghan and Mughal Muslim sultans/ emperors. This aristocratic wealthy ‘class’ had been involved in state administration (including land survey, revenue accounting, and record keeping) in dual role – as land-owner and as administrator. They were also main driver for commercial ventures (export and shipping) and banking matters. Maratha domination up to 1818, didn’t change the existing structure, but reinforced it with induction of hundreds of aristocrat families based in west India most of whom were upper caste Hindu.

3.  British Rule in Indian Subcontinent

3.1  Road to Corporate-State Passed Through Bengal

English East India Company (EIC) was established in London in 1600 December through a royal charter from English monarch Elizabeth I for monopoly trading with Asia. Initially, EIC formulated separate joint stocks for each voyage, whereby investors would decide to allocate capital on the basis of individual voyage. The EIC became a permanent joint stock corporation in 1657 CE. A new company was awarded the monopoly of Asia trade, but with the old company decided to merge with the new one in 1709 CE – after that EIC became a pillar of public finance through its loan extended to the British exchequer. EIC became a colossus for Britain accounting for between 13 and 15 per cent of all Britain’s imports between 1699 and 1774. EIC trading outposts in Indian subcontinent were established in Masulipatnam, Surat, Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta by 1710 CE. In 1717 CE the company received privileges (firman) for duty-free trading rights in Mughal empire.

3.1.1 Since beginning of 18th century English EIC had a strong base in Calcutta. Due to proximity to good raw materials, and highly sophisticated division of labour, Bengal offered the world ‘an unbeatable combination of high quality and low prices’ and ‘immense diversity, with over 150 different names for the textiles … covering muslins, calicoes and silk, along with mixed cotton and silk goods’. Bengal’s share of total EIC imports (into Europe) climbed to 66% by 1738–40 from just 12% in 1668–70. Few prominent Bengal-based traders-financiers like Jagat Seth, Amir Chand, and Nabakrishna Deb came close to EIC officials owing to business relationship. These Indian merchants-bankers teamed up with the commanders of Bengal Nawab’s Army and conspired with Robert Clive and few other English EIC officials against the Bengal Nawab to remove him and place the-then Army Chief Mir Jafar as Nawab. The ulterior motive was to remove the anti-British Nawab and make way for the English EIC, which in the long run, would ensure special privilege awarded to those Indian merchants for business and trading.

Coup at Plassey in 1757 was followed by looting of the-then Bengal’s treasury at Murshidabad by English EIC – according to heresay the EIC shifted the treasury’s gold, silver, and jewels to their base at Calcutta by a fleet of over 100 boats. If the reality was even a small fraction, the Battle of Plassey not only paved the way for creation of British Empire in India, but it also resulted in a windfall one-time revenue equivalent to hundreds of millions of pound in those days – apparently, most of it was personally distributed among Robert Clive, few senior EIC officials, and few Bengal conspirator financer-merchants. After winning Battle of Buxar in 1764, English EIC got the Mughal emperor’s authorisation as “diwan” of government tax collection in Bengal province (the-then Bengal-Bihar-Orissa) August 1765 onwards. Robert Clive calculated that, from this acquisition there would be a profit to EIC to the tune of Rs12 million or £1.65 million. In 21st century terms, this amounted to an annual surplus of over £150 million, with a profit margin of 49%. It was a phenomenal ‘acquisition’ that propelled the shareholders and company executives on a completely new path to prosperity English EIC’s share price went for a boom when the news reached London’s financial markets in April 1766. In reality EIC would collect total over £10 million during the next 4 – 5 years, generating a surplus of £4 million, much less than initially expected – however that was still far lucrative ‘business’ at a time when the company’s total exports from Asia before the diwani amounted to around £1 million each year. The company directors instructed its officials in Bengal to split the surplus from tax collection between purchase of Bengal textiles, sending the remainder to Canton to buy tea, for shipment back to Europe and North America.

3.1.2 In January 1769, EIC bought British Parliament’s support for the acquisition of Bengal (presidency) with a commitment of annual payment to Parliament of an amount £400,000. In exchange, the Parliament would not attempt to interfere much in the English EIC’s business or other activities. World’s first corporate-state was born. The company used its dominance to monopolise the internal and foreign trade of Bengal-Bihar-Orissa in the decade that followed – very soon, they pushed out the Indian and other European merchants in the process. The EIC officials were extracting ever greater sums from the Bengal populace to maximise revenue for:

  • More and more dividend for British shareholders
  • Extra pay-out to British Parliament
  • Rampant corruption by EIC Officials who sought to line their pockets, make a fortune, take retirement

EIC officials forced the cloth manufacturers to work for them at an under price, at the same time those officials prohibited all Indian or European merchants from dealing with weavers – according to William Bolts, “the methods of oppressing the poor weavers were … fines, imprisonments, floggings, forcing bonds on them”. Consequently, widespread poverty and indebtedness followed. But profit margins for EIC’s cloth import into Europe from Bengal (and India) touched new high as the cloth cost was pushed down through oppression.

The greed, corruption, negligence, and apathy of EIC officials in the agriculture and textile sectors and lack of monsoon rains resulted in massive Bengal famine of 1770, during which millions of impoverished people in Bengal died from hunger, and disease. It was followed by floods. As Horace Walpole said at the time, “we have murdered, deposed, plundered, usurped – nay, what think you of the famine in Bengal, in which three millions perished, being caused by a monopoly of provisions by servants of the East Indies (EIC – author)”.

Between 1757 and 1780 goods worth estimated £38 million were transferred back to Britain by EIC on an unrequited basis – in 21st century terms, this amounted to over £3.5 billion. Apart from that, during the same period remittances to Britain by company executives averaged £0.5 million every year. Noted Indian scholar R C Dutt wrote, “A change came over India under the rule of the East India Company, who considered India as a vast estate or plantation, the profits of which were to be withdrawn from India and deposited in Europe”.

3.1.3 Due to humongous corruption and inefficiency, EIC faced significant financial strain in the early 1770s – in 1772 the company had to request British Parliament for a bailout of an £1 million to avoid bankruptcy. Parliament’s bailout came along with regulatory actions:

  • As per Regulating Act of 1773 during the premiership of Lord North, even though the ultimate sovereignty over the Indian subcontinent stayed with the British Crown, EIC would act as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown. It could do this while concurrently being subject to oversight and regulation by the British government and parliament., Warren Hastings was appointed as the first Governor-General of Bengal Presidency to govern the British dominion in India (supervising both Madras Presidency and Bombay Presidency)
  • The India Act of 1784, or Pitt Act, attempted to redress the shortcomings of the 1773 Act. A dual administration was created whereby the EIC would be controlled jointly by the company shareholders and the British Parliament. Board of Control was created to oversee the company affairs which rendered the Board of Directors (Proprietors) less influential. The India Act of 1784 signified the legal transformation of EIC and asserted Parliamentary oversight over EIC

These regulating measures limited EIC’s autonomy (and operational areas were restrained). Also, extending Parliament’s control over appointment of Governor-General (of EIC) business considerations such as profit and dividend could become secondary while state administration could appear as primary objective. These acts by British Parliament, thus legalised the transformation of the EIC from a corporation into a corporate-state. Establishment of similar corporate-state by Dutch East Indies Company in Java (in Indonesia) followed close on the heels of EIC’s ‘achievement’ in Bengal.

Many historians, economists, businessmen consider East India Company as a transition from medieval forms of business entity like the guild and the regulated company, and the modern joint-stock company. However, they forget that, apart from carrying out trading business, EIC also maintained a standing army, vast territory, bureaucracy, a system of taxation, a judiciary with legal code; EIC combined the rights of private persons (like entering into contract, to sue, be sued) along with features of public sovereignty (like prerogative to wage war, sign treaty, govern over people, print/coin money). Niels Steensgaard pertinently pointed out, “The (early modern chartered – author) companies were created in a unique encounter between political power and market oriented entrepreneurship; they were the result of dynamic improvisations and experiments”Considering Lenin’s view on imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, it was no wonder that arrival of EIC as world’s first corporate-state on the world-stage was the final outcome of mercantile capitalist policy and monopolism promoted by the colonialist state of Britain.

3.1.4 The reforms of the 1770s, and 1780s had penetrated the Company’s autonomy as a business. ‘Industrial Revolution’ started impacting the industrial landscape of Britain – in 1781, mass production of British ‘muslins’ and ‘calicoes’ commenced. By 1793, a Lancashire mill operator had become about 400 times more productive than the average Indian weaver. Mill-made cottons took increasing slices of the EIC’s market share of textiles in both Britain and its key re-export markets in Africa, and America. 1790 onwards, EIC explored alternate business by promoting exports of raw materials (from Indian subcontinent) on a larger scale including sugar, silk, saltpetre, indigo.

Due to sustained campaign by merchants and bankers in Britain, in 1813 EIC lost monopoly of trade with India. Its commercial monopoly was removed for all except the China trade that was extended for another 20 years. 20% increase in import duties on Indian goods was added in 1813 to ensure that competition from Indian subcontinent couldn’t challenge the British mill owners. As a result, after 1813 textile imports from Bengal presidency and Indian subcontinent fell by three-quarters while exports to India of British textile rose more than fifty-fold. British textiles soon inundated the Indian markets – value of the textile imports grew from £5.2 million 1850 to £18.4 million in 1896. In 1818, EIC’s cloth ‘factory’ at Dhaka (now capital of Bangladesh) was wound up – by 1840, population of Dhaka had fallen from 150,000 to just 20,000. Not only the British rulers refused to give any tariff protection to Indian textile sector (until 1920) preferring imports from Britain, but in a grisly repeat of earlier cruelties, when machine-made yarns were first introduced into Dhaka in 1821, the ‘thumb and index finger of some of the renowned artisans began to be chopped off in order to disable them from twisting finer yarns’. The main aim of the British rulers was to transform Indian subcontinent into a consumer of British goods. Textile, metal, and glass industrial sectors in Indian subcontinent lost their traditional position as employer. In the beginning of 19th century, unable to compete with the British industry-made products, the Indian craft goods lost both their domestic as well as foreign market.

3.1.5 In the 19th century, the most lucrative trading for EIC was opium, which could generate up to 2000% profit from each chest of 63 kg opium sourced from Bengal presidency and Malwa region, and transported to Chinese empire through Canton port. As the textile export (mainly from Bengal) to Europe went down, opium export to China went up steadily – 2000 chests in 1800 CE, 12000 chests in 1824, 40000 chests in 1839, and 58000 chests in 1859 CE. Sticking to the original objective of ‘making profit’, EIC officials had no qualms about the ‘drug smuggling’ business. Tea, hides and skins, oil cake (used as animal feed and fertilizer) etc. became export goods 1860 onwards.

3.1.6 By 1832 CE, within Britain there were hue and cry from two sections of elite society:

(a) Merchants and businessmen wanted the trading charter from EIC to be completely revoked

(b) Few politicians, economists and social activists wanted to close down EIC for its blatant mismanagement of internal affairs in Indian subcontinent.

In 1833 CE, British Parliament put an end to EIC’s trading operations in India; EIC however, remained as territorial administrator in India; land revenue, opium, and textile imports into subcontinent became most important sources of revenue. The Governor-General of Bengal presidency was redesignated as the Governor-General of India.

3.2  Setting Up of ‘British India’ Empire by English EIC

Apart from the conflicts the English EIC had with the different political entities of Indian subcontinent, they also fought 3 wars with French East India Company primarily in Carnatic region (the coastal Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra) which was itself a dependency of Hyderabad Nizam – popularly known as ‘Carnatic War’. Between 1746 (initiation of the First Carnatic War) and 1818 (conclusion of the Third Anglo-Maratha War) English EIC spread their empire across Indian subcontinent.

3.2.1 First Carnatic War (1746–1748), Second Carnatic War (1749–1754), Third Carnatic War (1756–1763) were essentially a series of diplomatic and military struggle between the French EIC and the English EIC for dominance among the European trading companies within Indian subcontinent. The French company was defeated and was confined primarily to Pondicherry, and the British Company eventually established British empire in India generally called as ‘British Raj’. Even before English EIC bagged their first imperial dominion in 1765 as Bengal-Bihar-Orissa, they had 5 trading outposts across India and in order to fight with the French EIC for supremacy in Indian subcontinent they maintained a standing army of 18,200 spread over Calcutta, Madras, Bombay trading outposts. Between 1763 and 1805, EIC’s army had grown almost nine-fold from 18,000 to 154,500, far beyond what was required for self-defence – the continuous build-up of military strength fuelled a powerful dynamic in favour of further aggression. By 1857, EIC commanded an army of 350,538 out of which only 39,500 troops were British. It was briefly described in Section 2 how English EIC colluded, collaborated and controlled most powerful statelets of the-then Indian subcontinent (Maratha Peshwa and warlords, Mysore Sultan, Hyderabad Nizam, Carnatic Nawab, Awadh Nawab, Sikh emperor).

3.2.2 Richard Wellesley’s tenure as governor-general was the most important in EIC’s history of territorial expansion. He expanded beyond Bengal presidency subjugating Mysore, Marathas, Hyderabad, and Awadh. He was a shrewd practitioner of ‘Subsidiary Alliance System’ – it was an alliance system which left the Indian ‘princely state’ a measure of internal autonomy in matters relating to administration, taxation and finance, but were obliged to maintain minimum defence and no foreign affairs. A resident appointed by EIC coordinated affairs between the Indian statelet and EIC. Through such protectorate alliance, more than 550 statelets (about 200 statelets had sizeable land area and population while more than 200 statelets were as small as couple of villages with an area of less than 10 sq. mile) were absorbed in British empire by mid-19th centuryIn 1947 when British rule in Indian subcontinent ended, princely states covered about 40% of the area of pre-independence Indian subcontinent and constituted about one-fourth of its population.

Five most significant princely states with an individual British resident/envoy permanently stationed, were:

  • Mysore state (29,326 sq. mile)
  • Nizam’s Hyderabad state (82,698 sq. mile)
  • Dogra’s Jammu & Kashmir state (84,516 sq. mile)
  • Gaikwad’s Baroda state (8,164 sq. mile)
  • Scindhia’s Gwalior state (26,367 sq. mile)

Almost all of the remaining princely states – large and small – were incorporated within special entities called ‘agency’ where British political agents/officers coordinated the affairs of those states:

  • Baluchistan Agency (significant states – Makran 21,000 sq. mile)
  • Northwest Frontier States Agency (significant states – Swat 3,190 sq. mile)
  • Punjab States Agency (significant states – Bahawalpur 17,726 sq. mile, Mandi 1,140 sq. mile)
  • Rajputana Agency (significant states – Bharatpur 1,978 sq. mile, Bikaner 23,317 sq. mile, Jaipur 15,579 sq. mile, Marwar/Jodhpur 35,016 sq. mile, Mewar/Udaipur 12,694 sq. mile)
  • Central India Agency (significant states – Bhopal 6,902 sq. mile, Indore 9,518 sq. mile, Rewa 13,000 sq. mile, Dhar 1,784 sq. mile, Panna 2,596 sq. mile)
  • Western India States Agency (significant states – Bhavnagar 2,961 sq. mile, Junagadh 3,284 sq. mile, Kutch 8,250 sq. mile)
  • Deccan States Agency (significant states – Kolhapur 3,217 sq. mile)
  • Madras States Agency (significant states – Travancore 7,625 sq. mile, Cochin 1,480 sq. mile)
  • Eastern States Agency (significant states – Keonjhar 3,096 sq. mile, Kalahandi 3,700 sq. mile, Bastar 13,062 sq. mile, Surguja 6,090  sq. mile, Tripura 4,116  sq. mile)

Three princely states however remained out of such ‘agency’ but were British protectorate:

  • Kalat (73,278 sq. mile in Baluchistan region)
  • Manipur (8,456 sq. mile in Bengal-Assam region)
  • Sikkim (2,818 sq. mile in Bengal-Assam region)

The territorial expansion of English EIC from 1757 to 1857 happened through outright annexation in:

a) Calcutta – 24 Parganas – Bengal (part of present east India & Bangladesh) – Bihar – Orissa combined as Bengal Presidency;

b) Madras – Carnatic region (coastal Andhra & coastal Tamil Nadu) – rest of Andhra – Tanjore region – Mysore regions (part of Karnatake & part of Tamil Nadu) combined as Madras Presidency;

c) Bombay – Surat – Maratha Gaikwad territory (part of Gujarat) – Maratha Peshwa territory (part of Maharashtra and part of Karnataka) – Thar region – Sindh region (present Pakistan) combined as Bombay Presidency;

d) Benaras – Awadh territory (east and central Uttar Pradesh) – Maratha Scindia territory (west Uttar Pradesh) – Dehradun region – Jhansi territory combined as United Provinces (North-Western Provinces plus Awadh);

e) Maratha Bhonsle territory (Madhya Pradesh and part of Maharashtra) – Sambalpur region combined as Central Provinces ;

f) Assam – Kachhar region (part of present India) – Sylhet region (present Bangladesh) – Hills of Khasi-Jaintya-Naga combined as Assam province

g) Delhi – Sikh territory (Punjab in present India and Pakistan, Peshawar region in present Pakistan) – Kangra region – Shimla region combined as Punjab province

Supportive Map

3.2.3 In 1829 the British ruled territories were reorganised through establishing districts which were small enough to be controlled by an administrative Head (acting as revenue collector, police officer, and judge). The high-ranking civil service officers were mostly British until the 1920s when Indian Civil Service examinations began to be simultaneously held in UK and Indian subcontinent. Apart from district/provincial administration, education, healthcare, public works, postal, and railway services employed a large number of British citizens.

3.2.4 Indian social reformers and modernisers like Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar were leading social movements for modernisation of social life in Bengal presidency and Indian subcontinent. They instigated the EIC officials to initiate some far-reaching programmes to introduce modern education system which emphasized English language compared to vernacular languages and European justice system that blended customary Indian law (on the basis of religious community) with European concepts. But these changes didn’t bring major transformation in village society which was based on caste and religious identity, the position of downtrodden and untouchables, neither agricultural system changed.

The British officials demonstrated much less religious or cultural fanaticism in introducing Christianity and European culture into Indian subcontinent compared to what Spanish and Portuguese colonialists did in South America. Macaulay devised the education policy and its objective as: “It is impossible for us, with our limited means to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population” Thus, the ‘westernisation’ introduced by EIC in Indian subcontinent primarily served their main purposes of

a) creating a class of local professionals who would assist EIC in managing their business (administration of the vast empire itself was part of the business operation) for commercial profit and wealth accumulation in lieu of fat salary that placed them in a separate class

b) switching the loyalty of existing aristocracy (landlords-bankers-merchants-logistics owners etc.) from Mughal governors and Maratha warlords to British Crown by offering them a slice of land revenue as well as business opportunity

A new category of elites were formed who would embrace Western life-style and English medium education. The lifestyle and habits of EIC officials were copied by the new local professional elites (doctors, lawyers, business managers, higher education teachers, and businessmen). This new group of professionals, however, would still bear their caste identity sneakily – most of the new elites would come from Hindu upper castes: Brahman-Vaishya-Kshatriya.

3.2.5 In 1837 postal services was established in the British territory in Indian subcontinent. Network of post offices were established in the principal towns across the provinces. District collectors (of land-tax) coordinated the district post offices. By February 1855 telegraph lines (for paid messages) joined main cities of British India territory – Calcutta, Agra, Bombay, Peshawar, Madras – extending over 3,050 miles and touching 41offices. By 1857, the telegraph network expanded to 4,555 miles of lines and 62 offices.

Contracts were awarded in 1849 to three joint-stock companies to construct a 120-mile railway in Bengal presidency, a 30-mile railway in Bombay presidency, and 39 mile railway in Madras presidency. In 1854, the-then Governor-General Lord Dalhousie prepared a plan to construct a network of railway lines connecting significant regions of India. ‘By the turn of the 20th century, India (Indian subcontinent – author) would have over 28,000 miles of railways connecting most interior regions to the ports of Karachi, Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Chittagong, and Rangoon, and together they would constitute the fourth-largest railway network in the world.’ (Quoted from Wikipedia).

Such infrastructure programme opened avenue for British bankers and investors to invest surplus money in the construction of railways (with a guaranteed minimum profit of 5% by the government). Railways made trading in commodities much easier by providing faster and safer mode of goods transport between ports and internal markets, and also capital inputs like rail-lines, engines, coaches, wagons etc. would create demand for rolling stock industry. Thus it benefited the British businessmen and capitalists tremendously.

Rural infrastructure was not a priority for British rulers – out of about 565,000 villages less than 10,000 were electrified. While network of railways and highways connected the big and medium sized urban centres, most of the villages remained completely isolated.

3.2.6 In 1857, a partially organised rebellion broke out against the British rule, significant participants of which were native soldiers of EIC Army posted in Bengal Presidency and United Provinces, and the common people in United Provinces and Central Provinces. Third most important participants were few of the erstwhile princely states of northern and central regions like Awadh and Jhansi, that were annexed by EIC (ostensibly because rulers had left no heirs for the throne). Not only most of the princely states under ‘Subsidiary Alliance System’ remained in favour of EIC during the battles, but bulk of the native soldiers of EIC Army posted in Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency, Punjab province also remained aloof from the rebellion. The overwhelming superiority of military machinery-logistics-communication, loyal native troops, and coordinated military strategy of EIC Army against the spontaneous and localised Indian rebellion proved decisive for defeat of the first nationalist struggle by Indians.

3.2.7 In 1858, British Parliament replaced EIC with direct British rule in India. The British crown forged an alliance with the remaining native princes and stopped taking over new territory. As described in previous section 3.1, the corporate state of EIC became a principle pillar of the British economy. From the beginning of 19th century, EIC became a resource base for Britain providing troops and supplies to the state. Also, EIC acted as the agent of British empire throughout west, south and east Asia.

The Company’s demise in 1874 ended the era of the chartered corporation. EIC already played its role as the leading torch-bearer of British colonialism-capitalism-imperialism.

3.3  Agriculture and Land Revenue in British Era

3.3.1 There were three systems of revenue collection in the Indian subcontinent that was directly under EIC rule:

a) In place of complex systems of Mughal (and Maratha) era ownership with intersecting rights and responsibilities of peasant, zamindar/taluqdar/jagirdar, and officials, the Governor-General Cornwallis introduced the English model of land-lordship termed as ‘Permanent Settlement’ in Bengal presidency in March 1793 that targeted fixed revenue £3 million (at 1789 prices) in perpetuity. The new zamindars (often upper caste Hindu employees of EIC, many of whom didn’t have rural background) were given exclusive rights over their lands – ’20 million small landholders were dispossessed of their rights, and handed over, bound hand and foot to the tender mercies of a set of exacting rack-renters’. Forced labour of the peasants by the zamindars became widespread to meet the Company revenue demands. The zamindars were often unable to meet the increased demands that EIC had placed on them – within 3 decades, almost one-third of Bengal-Bihar-Orissa was put up for sale in search of ‘new’ zamindar.

b) Thomas Munro, who was appointed Governor of Madras presidency in May 1820 introduced ‘Ryotwari Settlement’, which was extended to the Bombay presidency also. Political economist John Stuart Mill who was working for EIC in 1857 wrote in a report, “Under the Ryotwari System every registered holder of land is recognised as its proprietor, and pays direct to Government. He is at liberty to sublet his property, or to transfer it by gift, sale, or mortgage. He cannot be ejected by Government so long as he pays the fixed assessment, and has the option annually of increasing or diminishing his holding, or of entirely abandoning it. In unfavourable seasons remissions of assessment are granted for entire or partial loss of produce. The assessment is fixed in money, and does not vary from year to year“. The levy was not based on actual revenues from the produce of the land, but instead on estimate of the production potential of the soil. Traditionally dominant castes mostly acquired land titles, while lower-caste cultivators became their tenants.

c) The ‘Mahalwari Settlement’ system was introduced by Holt Mackenzie and Robert Martins Bird in the states of Punjab, United Provinces, Central Provinces in 1822, and modified in 1833. The settlement was directly made with the village/estate/Mahal by the instruction of the settlement officers (patwari/qanungo), who would fix the annual rent after consulting the ‘lambardar’ (the chief or head of the household or family, usually the eldest male) and the rent payment would be shared by the cultivating peasants. Here, the settlements had neither been with hereditary ‘revenue farmer’ like the zamindars in Bengal presidency nor with the plot-owners like humble cultivators in Madras presidency.

In all areas other than the Bengal Presidency, land settlement work involved a continually repetitive process of surveying and measuring plots, assessing their quality, and recording landed rights, and constituted a large proportion of the work of Indian Civil Service officers working for the government. According to a survey initiated by British government in 1927-28, the distribution of land revenue settlement method was:

  • Rayatwari settlement system – 51%
  • Mahalwari settlement system – 30%
  • Permanent settlement (zamindari) system – 19%

None of the settlement system ever achieved targeted revenue. Often there were several layers of tenancy between the actual cultivator and the ‘land-lord’. The tenant cultivators as well small plot-owners were grinded into distress and poverty by extremely corrupt local and EIC officials as well as excessive state demands. The landless agricultural labourers grew in size to about 15% of rural population at the end of 18th century. British control of India started with a famine in Bengal in 1770 and ended in a famine in 1943 again in Bengal. Working in the midst of the 1877 famine, Cornelius Walford estimated that in the previous 120 years of British rule there had been 34 famines in Indian subcontinent – there could be no better yardstick to measure the adversity brought by the British rule.

After British Crown took over the administration from EIC in 1858, land tax burden was reduced progressively. By the end of the colonial period, in Indian subcontinent the land tax was only 1 per cent of national income – however, most of the benefits of the lower tax burden were appropriated by the landlords and .

3.3.2 Because of the emergence of ‘clear titles’ for cultivation lands, it was now possible to mortgage land. As moneylenders’ importance grew with time, a considerable amount of land changed hands through foreclosures. While the Economists point out that, moneylenders helped to root out imprudent and inefficient landowners, it was equally true that, almost nothing was done by the colonial government to promote agricultural technology, like use of fertilizers. The government however made some arrangements for irrigation.

Increase in population was not matched by increase in cultivated area. United Province was one of the examples. By 1880 the cultivated area of the United Province was calculated at 34 million acres (including double-cropping in about 2.5 million acres). By 1947 with the land carrying a population of 63 million instead of 45 million, the cultivated area had increased only to under 37 million acres (of which over 9 million acres were double-cropped). Scarcity of food almost became a ‘normal’ in British India.

3.4 Industry, Commerce & Economy in British Era

3.4.1 Edmund Burke coined phrase ‘the great drain of India’ which he calculated in 1783 as annual £1.2 million between 1757 and 1780. In India, the drain depressed consumption and savings, while ‘enabling Britain to live beyond its means, to consume, trade and invest at a greater rate than its own internal economy would allow’.

During the rule of EIC, official transfers of funds to Britain rose gradually until they reached about £3.5 million in 1856. During the period of direct British rule after 1858, official transfers were called the ‘Home Charges’ – by the 1930s home charges were in the range of £40 to £50 million each year.

There were substantial private remittances by British officials working in Indian subcontinent – during inter-war period these amounted to about £10 million each year. Apart from those, there were dividend and interest remittances by shipping and banking companies, traders and other investors – most of these commercial transactions were resultant of privileged position of British business in Indian subcontinent.

British India contributed over one million troops for WW I cost of which were financed from Indian budget.

The comparison of real GDP per capita of Britain and Indian subcontinent would be an eye-opener. While GDP per capita of Britain was a direct beneficiary of the imperial colonies and industrial revolution, Indians languished. As per the Maddison Project Database, version 2018, (by Bolt, Jutta, Robert Inklaar, Herman de Jong and Jan Luiten van Zanden), the estimated GDP figures are:

YearReal GDP per capita (in 2011 US $
BritainIndian subcontinent
170015911200
17411712
17812046
18212182968
18613314925
190155721152
1941101161532

3.4.2 Mughal empire (and Maratha domination) not only had a larger industrial output than any other country which became a European colony, but Indian subcontinent was also an industrial exporter in pre-colonial times. The early modern industrial landscape of Indian subcontinent was completely destroyed in course of British rule.

Noted Historian R.C. Dutt argued, “East India Company and the British Parliament, following the selfish commercial policy of a hundred years ago, discouraged Indian manufacturers in the early years of British rule in order to encourage the rising manufactures of England. Their fixed policy, pursued during the last decades of the eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth, was to make India subservient to the industries of Great Britain, and to make the Indian people grow raw produce only, in order to supply material for the looms and manufactories of Great Britain.”

The main powerhouse of Indian industry was textile. During the period 1896-1913, massive import of cheap textile goods supplied about 60% of cloth consumption in Indian subcontinent, and the proportion was still higher during most of the 19th century. While British goods imported into Indian subcontinent as duty free, excise duty on Indian manufactured products prevented them gaining a market share in Britain. Thus textile sector was pushed to death.

The crafts manufacturing sector had another story to tell. Since the British rule dawned over the subcontinent, consumption of British and European luxury goods became a symbol of social status for the native aristocracy and newly created professionals. Angus Maddison wrote about the demise of crafts industry, “about three-quarters of the domestic demand for luxury handicrafts was destroyed. This was a shattering blow to manufacturers of fine muslins, jewellery, luxury clothing and footwear, decorative swords and weapons.”

3.4.3 Reindustrialisation started with installation of first textile mills in Bombay were in 1851 by Indian capitalists (preceding Japan by 20 years and China by 40 years). In 1896 Indian mills supplied 8% of domestic cloth consumption which gradually increased to 76% in 1945.

First jute mill was built in 1854 in the vicinity of Calcutta by Europeans. Between 1879 and 1913 jute spindles multiplied tenfold. Faster expansion of jute industry was possible because most of jute products was for export. In 1911 first Indian steel mill was built in the-then Bihar (succeeding Japan by 13 years and China by 15 years). Coal mining started in Bengal, output of which reached 15.7 million tons by 1914.

Around 1945-46, large-scale manufacturing industry in Indian subcontinent employed less than 3 million people as compared with 12 million in small-scale industry and handicrafts, while total labour force was around 160 million. British policy permitted the emergence of a small but wealthy class of Indian entrepreneurs based in Calcutta, Bombay and Ahmedabad. At independence, exports were less than 5% of national income, probably worst among all Asian countries.

3.4.4 After EIC’s trade monopoly privileges were withdrawn in 1833, the former British employees of EIC set up ‘managing agencies’ to operate most of the industrial enterprises and international trade in Indian subcontinent. Those agencies were closely linked with British and European finance and shipping lines. The agencies got commissions from the enterprise-owners/investors based on sales and/or profits.

3.5 Demography & Occupation in British Era

In 1881, British government conducted first synchronous decennial census. Due to ongoing WW II accuracy of the 1941 census is debated. The 1931 census is considered last accurate British-administered census in Indian subcontinent (including Burma/Myanmar but excluding Portuguese Goa and French Pondicherry).

3.5.1 The population as per 1931 census reached 352,837,778 from 253,896,330 according to census in 1881. The total literate population of Indian subcontinent in 1931 was 28,131,315 (i.e. 8%) – with 12% literacy, the figure improved a bit by 1947. The urban population in 1931 was around 38,985,427 i.e. 11%.

Number of working people (including working dependent) in Indian subcontinent as per 1931 census was 153,916,050 (male 105,086,333 and female 48,829,717) – that signify less than 44% of total population was employed. While most of the males aged under 10 and over 60 form the bulk of non-working dependants, most of the males belonging to the age group 20 – 60 were working people. As per 1931 census, out of every 10,000 persons of Indian subcontinent (including Myanmar but excluding Portuguese Goa and French Pondicherry):

  • Non-working dependants – 5609
  • Working people (including working dependent) – 4391…. Out of which, significant occupations:
    • Cultivation of general crops – 2766
    • Cultivation of special crops – 47
    • Stock-raising – 100
    • Fishing & Hunting – 24
    • Exploitation of minerals – 10
    • Textile Industry – 117
    • Industries of dress and ‘the toilet’ (toiletries?) – 96
    • Food Industries – 42
    • All other Industries (including construction) – 183
    • Transport – 67
    • Trade in foodstuff materials – 110
    • All other Trades – 116
    • Military force & Police – 24
    • Public Administration – 28
    • Professions & Liberal Arts – 66
    • Domestic service – 311
    • Insufficiently described occupation
    • (Services in unorganised sectors) – 222
    • Unproductive (like jail inmate, beggar etc.) – 46

Hence, 64% of working people were engaged in cultivation, and 12% of working people were engaged in unorganised sectors like domestic services and service to miscellaneous establishments. The 1931 census laid bare the reality of relationship among agriculture-industry-occupation in British India better than any scholarly article and book – Indian subcontinent and Burma in the early 20th century were backward pre-modern economies.

A break-up of ‘Cultivation of general crops’ occupation is a pointer on how the agriculture sector accommodated employment among such huge work force in rural Indian subcontinent:

  • Non-cultivating proprietors taking rent – 3.36%
  • Cultivating owners – 27.85%
  • Tenant cultivators – 35.24%
  • Agricultural (landless) labourers – 32.46%
  • Cultivators of jhum, and shifting areas – 0.85%

The big landlords/zamindars were largely parasitic and would spend their time and money for extravaganza. The smaller landowner’s ambition was to stop working and enhance social status based on return from agricultural labourers toil. At the bottom of social structure in villages, condition of tenant cultivators and landless labourers (mostly lower caste Hindu, except in Bengal where majority were Muslim and Punjab-Sind where majority were Muslim and Sikh) remained wretched. Extreme level of poverty was quite common for those tenant cultivators and agricultural labours i.e. about 68% of all families who were involved in cultivation.

In urban areas, occupation in industry, transport, trade, public administration etc., though limited, helped creating new westernized ‘middle class’ Indians (educated in western education institutions). Here also, the upper caste Hindus seized the opportunity though the Parsis and Sikhs also did well.

3.5.2 The census since 1881 opened another Pandora’s Box. The fault lines between aristocratic upper caste wealthy Hindu families and aristocratic Turkic-Afghani wealthy Muslim families (which existed since 1192 CE when Turkic-Afghani rulers established empire in north-west, north, and east regions of Indian subcontinent by defeating local Hindu rulers of dozens of kingdoms) developed into deep chasm. For large section of aristocratic Hindu elites, their ancestral land was steadily being ‘usurped’ by Muslim foreigners, which was ‘substantiated’ by census data:

  • In 1931, Hindu population was 239,195,000 (proportion of population in 1931 became 68.24% from 74.32% in 1881)
  • In 1931, Muslim population was 77,678,000 (proportion of population in 1931 became 22.16% from 19.74% in 1881)

The reality was/is that, the majority of Muslims in Indian subcontinent were not foreigners, they were/are local converts (with much higher birth rate in the community).

3.6  Political Movement for Independence from British Rule

Three acts passed by British Parliament paved way for Indian natives to take part in the process of governance at province and central level: Indian Councils Act 1909 (known as Morley-Minto Reforms), Government of India Act 1919 (called as Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms), and Government of India Act 1935.

The last one authorised establishment of the ‘Federal Legislature’ at the centre and the ‘Provincial Legislature’ at the provinces. Legislative assemblies in all provinces of British India had seat distribution based on religion-race-caste-occupation of the electorate – a voter could cast a vote only for candidates in his/her own category.

Central parliament combining British India and princely states was blocked by the rulers of the princely states

3.6.1 Starting from 1870s, political movements started taking shape in Indian subcontinent. Contrary to popular belief of M K Gandhi and his team vs. British rule that was promoted by Anglo historians as well as a large section of Indian historians, there were wide range of socio-political movements based on different beliefs and ideologies. Significant ones were:

Indian National Congress – moderate (wing) members were primarily the founders of founder of the party that believed in gradual reformation of British rule in Indian subcontinent without pushing for political independence; most of the leaders were from upper caste Hindu and some members from Muslim and Parsi communities, with background of western education and professionals by occupation; they were non-communal in outlook and believed in European style of secular society

  • Indian National Congress – ultra-nationalist (wing) members were relatively younger generation leaders who believed in continuous agitation for self-rule replacing British rule in Indian subcontinent; most of the leaders were from upper caste Hindu, with background of western education and professionals by occupation; they believed Hindu society should be the future in Indian subcontinent
  • Indian National Congress – democratic unionist (wing) members finally wrested control of the party under leadership of M K Gandhi who believed in opportunity-based mass movements for self-rule replacing British rule in Indian subcontinent; most of the leaders were from upper caste Hindu, and some members from Muslim community, with western education and by occupation professionals, businessmen and landlords; mostly they believed each community in subcontinent should be free to live in their own way within European model of governance; a small but vocal group led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose was influenced by Socialist thoughts
  • All India Muslim League – unionist (wing) members were relatively conservative elites who believed in collaboration with British rule in Indian subcontinent; they believed Muslim society should coexist along with Hindu society in future subcontinent with Muslim-dominated provinces separated from Hindu-dominated ones
  • All India Muslim League – separatist (wing) members were mostly from aristocratic society and were more vocal about the necessity of separate country for Muslim and Hindu population as they believed Muslim religion is a way of life completely incompatible with Hindu way of life and society; they believed in collaboration with British rule in Indian subcontinent
  • Hindu Mahasabha members were almost Hindu version of Muslim League – separatist (wing) who wished either separate country for Hindu and Muslim population due to completely different philosophy of life and society, or single country with Hindu majority in governance and no special treatment like ‘community-wise reservation’ for Muslims; they also believed in collaboration with British rule in Indian subcontinent
  • Communist Party of India members were mostly from upper caste Hindu, and some members from Muslim community, with background of western education; they believed each community in Indian subcontinent should be free to live in their own way within a communist society in Indian subcontinent; Communists’ emphasis on economic status that completely ignored or bypassed the religious perspective and caste system, made limited appeal in Indian subcontinent
  • Armed revolution was another type of movement to which educated middle class youths were drawn into; primarily a phenomenon in Bengal presidency, Punjab province, and Bombay presidency the revolutionaries depended on terrorist attacks on British officials; couple of large-scale uprising across Indian subcontinent was thwarted by British government
  • Backward caste movement was primarily led by Dr. B R Ambedkar to emphasize social equality of the lower caste Hindu population; they became ally of Indian National Congress – democratic unionist after agreement on reservation for depressed/backward castes in legislature assembly (proposed under Government of India Act 1935); primarily it was restricted in Bombay presidency, Central province, and Madras presidency among the educated lower caste Hindu

3.6.2 The largest among the political streams, Indian National Congress (INC) was not organized as a Hindu party, but due to the large difference in level of western education between Muslims and Hindus, elite Hindus made up the majority of the INC leadership since its inception. INC demands for competitive examinations for entry in the civil service and academic institution riled the Muslim elites/leaders, as they felt that would favour the Hindus since Muslims were lagging behind in western education. Also, Hindu leaders of the INC would not give sincere assurance to Muslim leaders about community-wise representation in future governance system. In the absence of mutual trust between educated elites of two communities, elite Muslim leaders from United Province and Bengal floated All India Muslim League (AIML) to represent interests of the Muslim community.

3.6.3 The political atmosphere between 1935 and 1947 was a triumph of personalities and their political ambitions over ideology – it was the most tragic period in the history of Indian subcontinent. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, one of the most secular AIML politician who always sought communal harmony, became ardent supporter of two-nation theory (separate independent countries for Muslim and Hindu communities) because partition would guarantee fulfilment of his political ambitions. Jawaharlal Nehru, a socialist and an impeccable believer in Hindu-Muslim unity, became supporter of partition because that would create the opportunity for him to preside over the Hindu part without political competition from Jinnah. Subhas Chandra Bose, a socialist who first initiated deliberations on Indian economy considering Soviet model of economic planning, with his ambition to preside over an undivided subcontinent, went out of India, and opened a battle front with the help from Japanese fascists in the north-east of Indian subcontinent to fight the British power during WW II.

While Nehru and Jinnah along with their close circle of elites and aristocrats of Hindu and Muslim communities lorded over the newly independent entities of India and Pakistan, the common people of the subcontinent bore the brunt of the unplanned and illogical partition happily assisted by the British power (who worked overtime to create a permanently feuding subcontinent). M K Gandhi failed to rise to the occasion and was relegated to the side-lines, he would be assassinated in India after independence by a terrorist who was a Hindutwa fundamentalist.

3.7  Significant observations on British Rule

3.7.1 Between 1755 and 1765, the giants of trade and finance of the-then Bengal conspired with the English EIC top officials to remove the-then ruler of Bengal-Bihar-Orissa (the region that earned maximum revenue in Mughal empire). It was modern world’s most spectacular corporate conspiracy. French historian Fernand Braudel concluded that the EIC’s rise to prominence only came about with the “help, collaboration, collusion, coexistence, symbiosis” of the local merchant elite.

Once the EIC corporate juggernaut was set rolling, it first crushed the Indian traders and financers to establish monopoly over export from and import into Indian subcontinent, then it transformed into corporate-state to plunder the subcontinent, finally it destroyed the local crafts and industry by duty-free imports into the subcontinent. The EIC’s demise in 1874 ended the era of the chartered corporation. The leviathan of mercantile capitalism was no longer suited to the new empire of colonies that Britain was establishing across the globe for sourcing of raw material and selling of finished goods produced in its factories as an outcome of industrial capitalism.

3.7.2 It won’t be truthful to put entire blame on the British rulers for the abysmal poverty of the common people. Two categories of elites were equally responsible for such poor state of affairs: (a) the rulers and bureaucrats of princely states ruling over 40% of subcontinent, who were, by and large oblivious to unemployment and poverty, (b) the local politicians and bureaucrats of British ruled 60% of subcontinent, who were more mindful to seek prestige and wealth than to influence the British decision-makers for benefit of common people.

Karl Marx summed up British rule as the tool of Britain’s elites-aristocrats-oligarchs, “the aristocracy wanted to conquer it, the moneyocracy to plunder it and the millocracy to undersell it”. Marx, however, didn’t notice that most of the elites and aristocrats of Indian subcontinent (Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Jain alike) were complicit in the crime – only few patriotic aristocrats put up resistance to British rule.

3.7.3 The partition of Indian subcontinent was most irrational decision agreed by INC under pressure from AIML under continuous ‘guidance’ from British imperialists, fostering the following irregularities during the partition:

(a) AIML got 425 seats in the election to Provincial Legislative Assemblies in 1946 for which AIML chose its main election plank as separate country for Muslims; apart from the provinces in north-west and east regions which were to be affected by partition, AIML got substantial number of seats from other provinces: Madras presidency (29), Bombay presidency (30), United Province (54), Bihar (34), Central Province (13) – why neither British rulers nor INC-AIML parties arranged for mass migration of Muslim community to Pakistan as wished by those constituencies?

(b) For the princely states, there was no process of considering the choice of common people for inclusion in either of the newly independent political entities – the ruler of the princely state was authorised to sign documents of accession; Hyderabad Nizam ruling over 82,698 sq. mile land with majority of population as Hindu wanted to join Pakistan, but army of independent India forced him to join India, while Jammu & Kashmir king ruling over 84,516 sq. mile territory (though China never accepted boundary drawn by British officers) with predominantly Muslim population signed to join India, but militia of independent Pakistan occupied major portion of the princely state – why neither British rulers nor INC-AIML parties settled such well-known problem areas across the subcontinent and did an orderly transition?

4.  India From 1947 To 2014 – Socio-Political Landscape

Newly independent India faced enormous humanitarian crisis due to chaotic partition of the subcontinent that resulted in inter-religious violence as well as displacement of millions of people. Post-partitioned Indian part of the subcontinent witnessed two variants of political economy followed by the mainstream political parties – social democracy during the period August’1947 to May’1991, and neoliberal oligarchy from June’1991 onwards. A brief recapitulation of the social democratic era is noted below:

4.1  Politics during Social Democracy: 1947 to 1991

Immediately after the independence, between 1947 and 1949 India was bogged down with exchange of population with Pakistan on massive scale, integration of princely states, and war with Pakistan over Jammu & Kashmir. On 26 January 1950 India became a democratic republic with adoption of the Constitution of India (with strong provisions for Fundamental Rights of the citizens) which guaranteed a federal structure of governance in the country.

4.1.1 Most of the pundits on India miss the most important political reorganisation that happened in independent India since 1950. About 10 British era provinces and more than 500 princely statelets had been reorganised into Indian provinces (called as ‘state’) on the basis of language and cultural identity – the process continued till couple of years back resulting in 29 self-ruled states and 9 centre-ruled territories. By this process, the immense diversity of India has been acknowledged by the political leadership of the country.

Supportive Map :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_integration_of_India#/media/File:India_Administrative_Divisions_1951.svg

4.1.2 INC remained the most important mainstream party that professed socialism, but in reality the policies were that of a social democratic party. Soon after the independence, the existing support base in rural and urban areas expanded – however, party didn’t notice or simple didn’t care that, instead of more people from poor and backward families filling up the grass-root leadership, the wealthy and well-established families filled the leadership layers from grass-root up to province. Slowly but steadily INC became a training centre for grooming leaders – whenever any non-Marxist party would offer to disgruntled INC leaders a position in their political hierarchy that is more lucrative than existing position, the leaders from INC would join them. Hailing from mainly aristocrat/ elite families, they had no qualms for changing party as long as that improve their prestige and power.

Socialist Party and its offshoot, Praja Socialist Party were political outfits of non-Marxist socialist leaders of India who wanted to blend M K Gandhi’s thoughts and modern socialist thoughts on industrial civilization with Indian traditions. After two decades of existence the ideological influence waned at the central elections since the beginning of 1970s primarily because INC became rallying point for most of the socialist-minded workers (and a section of communists also). But various splinters groups of Socialist Party remained a force to reckon with in few of the Indian states particularly in state elections.

Communist Party of India was a well-known force in the-then Indian politics with its limited but committed mass base in rural areas and industrial belts – the turmoil in global communist movement resulting from the clash of CPSU and CPC took its toll in India (as it did in every country of Asia-Africa-South America continents). A splinter group of Indian communists came to power in couple of Indian states during this period – in fact the government formed by Communists in Kerala province was world’s first elected communist government.

Bharatiya Jan Sangh (latter became Bharatiya Janata Party) was established as rightist political wing of Hindu revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Hindu Mahasabha leaders became the backbone of Bharatiya Jan Sangh. The socio-cultural propaganda by RSS and Hindu Mahasabha has been to relentlessly spread the message of perceived ‘superiority’ of Hindutwa (similar to any right conservative outfit) through its dozens of social wings. The essence of the campaign not only by RSS during its existence for about 100 years, but also by its progenies like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing, can be summed up as below:

  • Aryan Hindu community has been living in Indian subcontinent perpetually since dawn of humanity,
  • Veda scriptures directly originated from Almighty God,
  • Veda is the storage of all significant knowledge in and about the universe,
  • Sanskrit has been the script of Hindu community since dawn of civilization in Indian subcontinent,
  • Caste system with Brahmans as ‘prime mover’ is way for socio-economic progress of Hindu society
  • Indian subcontinent is de facto Indian nation which is the ‘ancient Hindu nation’.

Swatantra Party was established by the right ideologues of INC and few of the royal family members from erstwhile princely states, who were peeved with Nehru’s leftist ideals and promotion of public sector economy. After a decade or so the party’s influence declined dramatically.

Indian Union Muslim League was established by Muslim elites after partition of India. The party represents religious conservatism in Muslim society of India. However, as a matter of fact, Muslim community in different provinces generally voted en bloc in favour of either INC or some strong regional party.

Apart from above mentioned political parties at the national level, there were a dozen of regional political outfits (based on language and caste based politics) which were more or less social democrats in policies. A significant point that should be mentioned here pertains to the conduct of the political parties vis-à-vis their professed ideology – during this period, all significant leaders and their parties not only would chalk out their policies and programs in line with their avowed ideology, but they would also try to implement those programmes if voted to power. It would be another issue that most of the time, such implementations would go haywire.

4.1.3 INC ruled at the centre for most of this period with Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister from August 1947 to May 1964, Indira Gandhi from January 1966 to March 1977 as well as from January 1980 to October 1984, and Rajiv Gandhi from October 1984 to December 1989. Apart from these 3 leaders, few other leaders associated with INC at different point of time came to power at centre for very short duration, mainly through coalition politics at centre.

In 1975, Indira Gandhi advised the President to declare a country-wide emergency that allowed the central government to assume sweeping powers and suspend civil liberties in states. Due to the unpopularity of emergency, Indira Gandhi lost 1977 general elections where ex-INC senior leaders played crucial role in creating Janata Party piecing together many opposition parties.

Two of the Prime Ministers were assassinated in this period – Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Though Indians hardly engage in conspiracy theories about these assassinations, a thorough analysis of cui bono might point out towards involvement of anti-Soviet Union world order and Deep State in removing both leaders, so that in absence of pro-Soviet leaders from Nehru-Gandhi family, India can be easily drawn into USA-oriented world order.

4.1.4 Nehru’s foreign policy was centred on Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of which India was a co-founder. But, Nehru secretly worked with CIA for keeping religious disturbances alive in Tibet, and provided logistics and moral support to Dalai Lama who was resisting the attempt of government of China to establish the rule of law in Tibet province of China. Indira Gandhi continued the NAM policy of her father, but practically steered India towards USSR camp (during Bangladesh liberation war Soviet support was instrumental) in order to safeguard country’s interests in international arena, to deter USA Navy approaching India and Bangladesh coast.

India fought 2 wars with Pakistan over Jammu & Kashmir, and a third war with Pakistan to help East Pakistan (Bangladesh) get separated from West Pakistan. A brief border war with China was fought. Sikkim was annexed as a state within Indian republic. India deployed troops for peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict during Rajiv Gandhi’s leadership – next government withdrew the troops when they became entangled in fighting the Tamil rebels itself.

During Indira Gandhi’s tenure in 1975 Sikkim was integrated with India as a province. Sikkim used to be protectorate of India after 1947. Though there had been criticism internationally as ‘annexation’ by India, the anti-monarchy movement within Sikkim was a key factor behind the willingness of Sikkim’s politicians for getting integrated with India.

4.2  Politics during Neoliberal Oligarchy: 1991 to 2014

Even during the neoliberal era, there was/is still an important differentiation among mainstream non-Marxist parties which related to the party’s close identification with some communities demarcated on the basis of religion/ caste/language/region etc. (as against Marxist parties who try to identify with livelihood/income class) – it was/is also called ‘vote bank’ politics. While mainstream national party like INC profess secular policies, it had no qualms to promote medieval culture of divorce within Muslim communities (where husbands summarily divorce wife without alimony, particularly in low-income households) to keep their Muslim vote bank undisturbed. Overall, INC maintained lip service to the concepts of constitution of India (where 4 different ethno-genetic groups, 15+ major languages and close to 100 minor languages, 5 major religions have been cohabiting for millennium). On the other hand, mainstream national party like BJP professes extreme religious intolerance to polarise majority Hindu voters and create a vote bank. This party was proud to demolish a medieval historical mosque which would have been treated as a serious offence against archaeological heritage in any modern country! BJP’s parent RSS popularised their slogan of Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan which delegitimise equal treatment of other religions other than Hindutwa and other languages except Hindi.

4.2.1 Indian National Congress (INC), the most important mainstream party, transformed itself into a neoliberal democratic party after killing of Rajiv Gandhi. The entire party machinery and leadership positions were grabbed by the so-called ‘realist-cum-pragmatist’ camp through a ‘seize from within’ campaign by the elites-businessmen-landlords-technocrats. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh led the transformation of INC into neoliberal fantasy-land after INC won elections at centre in 1991. The media and academia (which till 1991 used to paint a social democratic façade of INC) went full steam ahead to preach on benefits of the so-called LPG (liberalisation-privatisation-globalisation) regime introduced by Rao-Singh duo. I will come back to the so-called economic benefits in the next section, section 5. The semblance of social democratic ideology got eroded so much within a span of 23 years that, during the general election in 2014 INC couldn’t escape from being branded as party of ‘crony capitalists’.

The neoliberal oligarchy period has been the golden period for RSS and BJP-BMS-ABVP – RSS spread its wings unchallenged during this period. With INC openly promoting economy and governance away from the political philosophy of ‘welfare state’, a right conservative institution like BJP promoted by Hindu upper caste landlords and businessmen had no problem in catching wind in their sails. Standing on the ‘solid’ bedrock of Hindutwa socio-cultural propaganda by RSS across India, BJP planned a political movement based on Hindutwa and implemented the plan – (a) Babri Masjid (in UP province) demolition by RSS-BJP workers was carried out in December 1992, and (b) Godhra (in Gujarat province) train-burning (BJP alleged that Muslim community burnt the train, but officially reason couldn’t be ascertained) in February 2002. Both the ‘main incidents’ were followed by religious riots across India (during which most of the attacks were by Hindu fundamentalists). Such gruesome carnage took place when the neoliberal politicians from both INC and BJP were ruling at centre and/or state. BJP’s message for political manipulation was simple, which at one hand, created a sense of deep insecurity among common Hindu (majority) population, and at the other hand, the same population was offered relief from such ‘insecurity’ if they chose BJP.

Communist Party of India and its splinter groups squandered its limited mass base but wide appeal among the middle class sympathisers, due to both internal and external reasons – (a) dissolution of CPSU and Soviet Union, and adoption of capitalist market economy by CPC were portrayed in Indian media and academia as ‘proof of failure of communism’; Communist parties in India couldn’t effectively counter such nonsense, (b) dozens of splinter groups of Communist parties were mired in politicking which lacked consolidated plan and programme across the country, Communist parties in India couldn’t effectively unite and make a single plan of action during past six decades, (c) attitude of ‘intellectualism’ among the senior leadership simultaneously with ‘careerism’ of the junior apparatchiks deflected the Communists from their main strength – strength of Marxist humanitarianism. The different splinter groups of Indian communists have been drifting aimlessly (generally their aim has been to get voted into power in a province through election).

During this period, the regional parties regrouped with social democracy as their declared ideology – in fact, such parties filled in the vacuum created by withdrawal of INC from its old ideological base. There has been three kinds of such regional parties all of which revolve around cult of personality:

  • Backward caste and/or minority language based political parties in few provinces
  • Breakaway splinter groups of INC in few provinces, where province-level INC leaders were charismatic
  • Erstwhile junior leaders of now-defunct non-Marxist Socialist Party created new entity through mergers/demergers

4.2.2 INC ruled at the centre for most of this period with Narasimha Rao as Prime Minister from June 1991 to May 1996, Manmohan Singh from May 2004 to May 2014. BJP ruled for significant period with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Prime Minister from March 1998 to May 2004. Apart from these 3 leaders, few other leaders associated with different regional parties came to power at centre for very short duration through coalition politics at centre.

During this period of neoliberal oligarchy, the national bourgeoisie allied with the comprador bourgeoisie and influenced political programmes and economic liberalisation carried out by both INC and BJP. Substantial amount of foreign investment had been registered during this period, and Indian industrialists-traders-bankers happily collaborated with MNCs and vied for such FDI. In fact, an in-depth survey shows that, economic policy-wise there was no distinction between INC and BJP – both work tirelessly so that the top 1% of Indian population can amass wealth and power, and the fruits of economic growth gets shared by the next 9% population (as managers and implementers of all policies). The deep divide between INC’s secular socio-cultural platform and BJP’s Hindutwa socio-cultural base vanished when it came to economic liberalisation and westernisation assisted by capital from Zionist-Capitalist global oligarchy. It was only the style of election campaign that still demarcated them. Thus it is no wonder that, during past 7 years when Narendra Modi became crowd-puller for BJP’s campaign, hundreds of seasoned politicians of INC across India joined BJP for contesting elections at province and at centre.

4.2.3 The objectives of foreign policy was/is a peaceful global and regional environment in which Indian economy can grow as well as food security, water security and energy security are maintained. Along with the changing landscape of economic policies, Indian foreign policy also went for a makeover.

4.2.3.1 Background of Jammu & Kashmir Problem – All along, the main focus of Indian foreign policy has been the northern province/state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) which was/is the intersection of border disputes with both Pakistan and China. Fact remains that, it was the imperialist British power which created border problems in 1947 through a messy partition. British lawyer Cyril Radcliffe demarcated the so-called border in 1947 between India and Pakistan from the provinces/regions that were directly administered by the-then British government. British government neither issued notification on integration of the individual 550+ princely states with India or Pakistan (except those regions that would basically create the entity of Pakistan) nor arranged uniform procedures for general people of the princely states to choose between India and Pakistan. Even though in 1947 Dogra king signed accession document on behalf of J&K princely state with India government, Pakistan and China didn’t accept the legality, hence J&K became a permanent source of conflict between India and Pakistan as well as India and China:

  • India government controls more than half of the erstwhile J&K Dogra kingdom – part of Kashmir region, entire Jammu region, larger part of Ladakh region. India demands that Pakistan and China cede their control from all regions that were part of erstwhile Dogra kingdom of J&K
  • Pakistan government controls part of Kashmir region, entire Gilgit region, entire Baltistan region. Pakistan ceded a small part of Baltistan to China in mid-1960s. Pakistan further demands entire Kashmir region from India
  • China controls entire Aksai Chin region. China further demands part of Ladakh region from India

It wouldn’t be out of context to mention that, on behalf of princely state J&K, British government maintained foreign relations with Tibet kingdom (a protectorate of China) and Chinese empire, between 1857 and 1947. During this period, British government proposed boundary line between princely state of J&K and Tibet twice, namely Ardagh–Johnson Line in 1860s and Macartney–MacDonald Line in 1899. Chinese government didn’t sent formal acceptance to British government in either of the cases, but 1912 onwards with removal of Qing dynasty, Chinese government always denied the boundary demarcation proposed by British government. Upon independence in 1947, Indian government fixed official boundary that resembled Ardagh–Johnson Line (hence included Aksai Chin region), which was denied by China earlier.

4.2.3.2 Background of Arunachal Pradesh Problem – Border dispute with China has a second dimension in India’s north-east province/state of Arunachal Pradesh (earlier called as North-East Frontier Agency). British administrator Henry McMahon proposed the McMahon Line as the demarcation line between Tibet kingdom and the-then north-east region of British India at the 1914 Simla Convention signed between British and Tibetan representatives. Chinese government didn’t accept the legal status of McMahon Line because Tibet was a tributary state of China while Arunachal Pradesh was southern territory of Tibet.

India controls the Arunachal Pradesh region as per the McMahon Line border. During 1962 war, though China crossed the McMahon Line border and came southwards, soon Chinese troops were withdrawn to positions north of the disputed McMahon border line.

4.2.3.3 Possible Options of Solution to Border Problems – Till 2014, there could be only two options of solution to border problem vis-à-vis Pakistan and China. Best option entailed that all three countries meet in a conference in presence of UNO, discuss heart-to-heart and make adjustments with each other’s standpoint, and legalise the current line of actual control (LAC) with minor adjustment/accommodation as the de facto and de jure border demarcation. The other alternate option was that India or any country which felt aggrieved, would mobilise massive military forces to capture as much land as it wish and unilaterally try to redefine the border, in case the country wins the war against the adversary – but there would have been a gigantic cost to achieve such ‘success’ and sustain it, because all three countries developed strong conventional military power as well as semi-advanced capabilities of nuclear war.

4.2.3.4 After dissolution of Soviet Union, in order to adjust foreign policy to the unipolar world order dominated by USA, in 1992 the-then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao upgraded India’s diplomatic relations with Israel to ambassador level. Trade and investment were given a higher priority while building relations with USA, EU, ASEAN and China. Though relation with USA government temporarily went south after Vajpayee government conducted a series of underground nuclear tests in 1998, soon Vajpayee visited the USA and proclaimed that India and USA are ‘natural allies’. Manmohan Singh government pushed through the India-USA Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2006. In a major policy shift, India started rapidly moving away from Russian armaments and military technology and bring in USA and Israel as key suppliers for military hardware.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (also known as the Quad) forum was initiated in 2007 by Shinzo Abe of Japan, Dick Cheney of USA, John Howard of Australia and Manmohan Singh of India. Quad maintains summits, and military drills among member countries. India government also signed defence cooperation agreement with USA.

4.3  People and Society: 1947 to 2014

4.3.1 Indian society is highly diverse with hundreds (or thousands) of ethnic, linguistic, and caste groups as well as dozens of religious, and regional groups. On top of that, the differences on the basis of urban-rural and gender play crucial role. However, amid such differences and complexities of Indian society, there exist few socio-cultural themes that unify the social order even if that fail to bring social harmony. Across different ethnicities-religions-languages in India, a ‘male-dominated family’ is common basic building block of the society. In rural areas and semi-urban areas resources like land, building, or business are generally controlled by male members (even if legislation allows all Indian women to inherit real estate property). Traditionally women have control over precious stone and jewellery. However, as modern education has been making inroads into the society, male-dominated society is fading away slowly.

The other socio-cultural theme that ‘unite’ Indian society was/is ‘hierarchy of Caste’ – the people were/are grouped by birth, named and brought-up within caste based ‘entitlements’, forced into endogamous (in-marrying) groups, and employed within caste based ‘occupations’. As per old Hindu caste system, there were/are thousands of castes and sub-castes in India, where hierarchy-wise Brahmans are top ranking, Kshatriya-Vaishya-Kayastha groups are second tier, Shudra groups are third tier, while tribes (forest dwellers) are social outcasts. Indian Constitution identified 1,108 scheduled castes (SC, the Shudra) and 744 scheduled tribes (ST, the Forest dweller), and provided special reservation for higher education and government services which brought new hope for those marginal people (however, those benefits were/are more often than not cornered by a tiny section of SC and ST communities; in many crucial areas like medicine and scientific research such reservations had/has detrimental effects as well). With modern (western) education and government policies, in urban areas, the caste system is less divisive than 50 years ago. Rural India still has not only hierarchical caste system among Hindu population, but Muslim and Christian societies are also infected by the disease of caste system.

4.3.2 The key statistics related to total population, rural-urban divide, backward castes (scheduled castes and scheduled tribes), literacy, linguistic groups, religious groups as per census are given below (figures in million):

Data Element1971 census1991 census2011 census
Total Population (million)548.159838.5841210.854
Rural (as percentage of total)80.09%74.27%68.86%
Urban (as percentage of total)19.91%25.73%31.14%
Literate population (million)161.415359.324763.638
Average Life Expectancy at Birth (Years)45.658.767.0
Scheduled Castes population (million)[as percentage of total population]79.092[14.43%]138.223[16.50%]201.378[16.63%]
Scheduled Tribes population (million)[as percentage of total population]36.408[6.64%]67.758[8.08%]104.545[8.63%]
Literate – informal and below primary9.63%10.80%15.03%
Literate – primary and middle schooling15.84%21.27%26.26%
Literate – matriculate3.23%5.65%8.75%
Literate – intermediate and diplomaLess than 0.1%2.40%6.53%
Literate – technical diplomaLess than 0.1%0.26%0.60%
Literate – graduate and above0.60%2.46%5.64%
Illiterate70.55%57.15%36.93%
Population by religion – Hindu82.72%82.00%79.80%
Population by religion – Muslim11.20%12.11%14.23%
Population by religion – Christian2.59%2.34%2.30%
Population by religion – Sikh1.89%1.94%1.72%
Population by religion – Others1.60%1.61%1.73%
Population by language – Hindi36.99%39.29%43.63%
Population by language – Bengali8.17%8.30%8.03%
Population by language – Marathi7.62%7.45%6.86%
Population by language – Telugu8.16%7.87%6.70%
Population by language – Tamil6.88%6.32%5.70%
Population by language – Others32.18%30.77%29.08%

The significant inferences that can be drawn from the above statistics are:

  • Population of India (361.088 million in 1951) grew unrestrained over the decades to reach 1210.854 million in 2011. In 2011, Total Households 249.454 million and Average Population per Household was 4.85. Yearly growth rate of population peaked during 1973 to 1983 period when it hovered around 2.31% to 2.36%. Since then the rate has been slowly declining to 1.04% in 2018 (when population reached 1350 million). However, unevenness exist – on the basis of language, ‘Hindi’-speaking population in north, central, and east India show rise in share of total population, on the basis of religion, ‘Muslim’ community across India show rise in share of total population, on the basis of caste, SC and ST communities demonstrate marginal rise in share of total population.

Vast population was/is one of the key factors behind a multitude of socio-economic problems that has been afflicting the country since independence (because India has limited arable land and face scarcity of resources). However, massive population is not the only problem in India – institutionalised exploitation is even bigger problem.

  • Urbanisation has been increasing, but not as rapidly as government expected after policy changes in 1991. Also, in most of the tier-2 and tier-3 urban areas, management of basic civil amenities remain poor.
  • Life expectancy at birth has steadily increased over the decades, but standard of healthcare facilities vary widely across regions – while south and west regions are better than average north and east regions have below average healthcare facilities.
  • Indian government registered appalling performance in promoting literacy. Not only 37% of the population remained illiterate in 2011, but also less than 22% of the population were ‘employable’ who have academic qualification of matriculate and above. That signifies a whopping 41% of the population were ‘converted’ into literates by the over-zealous government officials of Education ministry (through luring the children into primary schools by arranging mid-day meals, who would drop out as soon as they become teenager to search any unskilled employment opportunity as a ‘child labour’).

Unless the children complete at least 10 years of formal education and clear matriculate, meaningful employment was/is not possible in a 21st century economy – overall productivity of labour as a crucial component of national economy remains a pipe dream.

5.  India From 1947 To 2014 – Economic Landscape

At the time of independence, Indian economy was mainly dependent on agricultural. Prime Minister Nehru’s development model envisaged a dominant role of the state, Industrial Policy Resolution of 1948 proposed a mixed economy of private-owned and state-owned enterprises. Narasimha Rao initiated the process of economic liberalisation and reform in 1991 which opened the Indian economy to global capitalist world order.

5.1  Economic Planning during Social Democracy: 1947 to 1991

Prime Minister Nehru and Professor Mahalanobis were the chief architects of planned economy in post-independence India. INC set the objective of Indian development strategy as to establish a society with self-reliance and socio-economic justice for all citizens as given in the constitution. Government set up the Planning Commission in 1950 to coordinate the entire economic planning, resource allocation, implementation and appraisal of five-year plans (basically modelled after Soviet planning system). The industrial policy reserved 17 industrial sub-sectors like Atomic Energy, Defence, Iron and Steel, Heavy Machinery, Coal, Petroleum, Electricity, Railways, Airlines, and Telecommunication etc. for the state-owned enterprises.

India’s first five-year plan (1951 – 1956) was focused on development of primary sector of the economy – agriculture and allied areas, power. The total planned budget of Rupees 23.78 billion was allocated as: irrigation and power generation (27.2%), agriculture and community development (17.4%), transport (24%), industry (8.4%), social services (16.6%), rehabilitation of landless farmers (4.1%), and for other sectors and services (2.5%). The target growth rate was 2.1% annual GDP growth; achieved growth rate was 3.6%.

India’s second five-year plan (1956 – 1961) was focused on development of industrial sector of the economy – primarily through state-owned industries especially in heavy industries and capital goods. The total budget was Rupees 48 billion was allocated to two broad sectors: industry and agriculture. Applying statistical models of Professor P C Mahalanobis the plan attempted to allocate investment between productive sectors in order to maximise long-run economic growth. The target growth rate was 4.5% and 4.27% was achieved.

The third five-year plan (1961 – 1966) put focus back on agriculture. But the conflicts with China in 1962 and with Pakistan in 1965 shifted the focus towards defence industry and military. On top of that there was severe drought in 1965. State electricity boards, State road transportation corporations, and State education boards were formed in provinces. The target growth rate was 5.6%, but overall failure resulted in 2.4% growth rate.

The fourth five-year plan (1969 – 1974) emphasised growth rate of agriculture as enabler of other sectors to grow. Family Planning programmes were amongst major targets of the Plan. Major Indian banks in private sector were nationalised. But a chunk of fourth plan resources were diverted towards war with Pakistan in 1971 along with refugee problem related to Bangladesh. The plan achieved 3.3% growth against target rate of 5.6%.

The fifth five-year plan (1974 – 1979) proposed to remove poverty (Garibi Hatao) and attain self-reliance particularly in agricultural production and defence. The plan promoted high rate of GDP growth, growth in the domestic rate of savings, and more equitable distribution of income. The central government entered into electricity generation and transmission. When Emergency was declared, Prime Ministers 20 Point Programme became the focal point. Even though in 1978 a new government rejected the plan, it was successful in achieving 4.8% growth rate against 4.4% target.

The sixth five-year plan (1980 – 1985) focussed on increase in national income, development of skill to reduce unemployment and poverty, modernization of technology, and providing slack season employment. Price controls were eliminated to a large extent resulting in increased cost of living. This plan onwards, the Military five-year plans became coterminous with national five-year plans by Planning Commission. Largely successful plan witnessed actual growth rate of 5.7% against 5.2% target.

The seventh five-year plan (1985 – 1990) strived towards social justice through anti-poverty programmes, agricultural development through increasing productivity of small and big farmers, ‘food, work & productivity’, and achieving independent economy through increased energy production. The plan targeted labour force to grow by 39 million people while employment was expected to grow 4% per year. The plan was quite successful with 6% growth rate of the economy against targeted 5%.

Industrial production index registered annual compound growth of 5.7% during 1951 – 1955, 7.2% during 1955 – 1960, 9.0% during 1960 – 1965 riding on quite high growth of basic goods and capital goods. The scale of investment in heavy industries were beyond the capital-raising capacity of the private-owned enterprises. A sort of complementary relationship grew between state-owned and private-owned business that resulted in good industrial growth during the period when overall prices remained stable in the country. Deceleration in industrial growth experienced during the period 1966 to 1980. The annual compound growth rate during 1965 – 1974 period was only 4.1% while 6.1% during 1974 – 1979 period. Finally, 1979-80 even recorded a negative rate of growth of Industrial production (-) 1.6%. Total factor productivity also registered negative growth of (-) 0.2 to (-) 0.3% per year during 1966-67 to 1979-80. The government put the blame on factors like wars in 1965 and 1971, Oil crisis of 1973, etc. However, a crucial factor was also present – low growth in agriculture sector created less demand of industrial goods. Industrial recovery during the period 1981 to 1991 witnessed much improved environment. Rate of industrial growth during 1981 – 1985 period was 6.4% per year and 8.5% during 1985 – 1990 period. The high growth rates were possible because of very robust growth in capital goods as well as consumer goods-durables. This growth was not associated with acceleration in growth of the factor inputs, but on higher factor productivity, which registered 3.4% per year growth during 1981 to 1985. Many commentators opine that liberal fiscal policies, and increased demand from agriculture and infrastructure sectors were key reasons for such recovery.

A close look at the planned economy and the overall parameters of performance reveal three key problems:

(a) Continuously rising population in India that negated the economic gains substantially, had never been tackled with due seriousness and resolve by INC leadership

(b) Even though five-year plans strived to achieve a lot on economic and social front, endemic corruption, faulty implementation, and lack of political resolve didn’t allow the period of planned economy to achieve greater efficiency

(c) Instead of long-term vision of a country free from all types of exploitation and poverty, INC leadership mostly used the planning process for scoring points for mid-term electoral success.

5.2  ‘Open’ Economy during Neoliberal Oligarchy: 1991 to 2014

The main objective of ‘new economic policy’ were liberalisation-privatisation-globalisation, as it used to be fondly called as LPG by the professionals in the 1990’s. The new policy wanted to convert the Indian economy into a full-fledged capitalist market economy by removing all kinds of government regulations and restrictions. It aimed at permitting unfettered international flow of goods and services as well as capital and technology. Another primary objective was to increase participation of private businessmen in all sectors of economy by withdrawing reserved government sector status from all sectors barring atomic energy and railways. Also, another compelling issue was stabilization of macro-economy through reduction of fiscal deficits (that was 5.4% of nominal GDP during 1991-92).

Some of the key economic reforms were:

(i) Removal of industrial licensing and restrictions

(ii) Abolition of restrictive trade practices through replacement of Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices act by other benign act

(iii) Freedom for expansion of Industrial production facility

(iv) Import of capital goods without restriction

(v) Increase in the investment limit for small scale industries

(vi) Free determination of interest rate by commercial Banks (within overall framework of central bank)

(vii) Transfer of ownership of state owned enterprises (in India it is called as ‘public sector unit’) to private businessmen at heavily discounted price

(viii) Reduction in import duty and tariffs

(ix) 100% FDI for high priority industries, increase in Equity limit of foreign investment in other sectors

(x) Partial Convertibility of Indian currency.

During this period, the existing process of five-year plan went on unhindered – eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth five-year plans were drawn up, budgets approved, and implemented. But with capitalist market economy progressing full swing under watchful eyes of successive governments, the five-year plans made little sense for the socio-economic parameters – common Indians soon learnt what is jobless growth, and uneducated literacy.

The new economic policy had a positive impact on foreign investments which rose to more than 5 billion USD in 1995-96 from a paltry 130 million USD in 1991-92. Nominal GDP increased from 14405 billion Indian Rupees in 1992-93 to 54821 billion Indian Rupees in 2012-13.

There was marked increase in inter-regional imbalance and inter-class imbalance in economic growth, upward movement of unemployment, poverty, and wealth gap in rural and urban areas. Crime rates increased across India. No mainstream politician would think about a balanced society any more.

5.3  Discussion on Economic Parameters: 1947 to 2014

5.3.1 Information of key parameters of Indian economic performance have been noted below (Data Source: Economic Survey 2019-20, Ministry of Finance – Government of India; Data-book for Planning Commission – Government of India; Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy – Reserve Bank of India):

(a) Data on GDP at factor cost at constant 2004-05 prices and share of sectors within GDP reveals that the share of the primary sector in GDP declined from 54% in 1950-51 to 33% in 1990-91 and further to 14.5% in 2010-11, while share of the secondary sector increased from 16% in 1950-51 to 27% in 1990-91 and further to 28% in 2010-11Statistics for GDP at factor cost has been officially withdrawn from 2012 onwards, instead of which Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic price has been brought in, that too with constant 2011-12 prices.

YearGDP at factor cost at constant 2004-05 prices(Billion Indian Rupee)Percentage share of sector in GDP at factor cost at constant 2004-05 price
Agriculture,forestry &fishingMining & quarryingManufacturing,construction,electricity & utility supplyTrade, hotels,transport &communicationFIRE, social & personalservices, other misc. services
1950-512796.1851.881.8416.1911.0118.51
1960-614102.7947.652.1620.0912.6417.55
1970-715897.8741.662.2023.6214.2818.98
1980-817985.0635.692.6225.6516.7720.88
1990-9113478.8929.523.4826.7017.6324.90
2000-0123484.8122.262.9627.2521.6428.84
2010-1149185.3314.592.2527.9227.3230.16

FIRE stands for Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate.

Data on GDP at market price at constant 2004-05 prices, and share of expenditures within GDP shows that economic growth was primarily fuelled by private consumption expenditure share of which came down from 83% in 1950-51 to 67% in 1990-91 and further to 56% in 2017-18 while contribution of gross fixed capital formation went up from a paltry 14% in 1950-51 to 23% in 1990-91 and further to 31% in 2017-18.

(b) Data on Per Capita Net National Income (Per Capita NNI) at market price and Per Capita Private Final Consumption Expenditure (Per Capita PFCE) at market price both at constant 2004-05 prices reveal overall dismal picture of Indian economy if average income and average expenses are estimated for a citizen:

YearPopulation(Million)NNI at market price at constant 2004-05 price (Billion Indian Rupee)Per Capita NNI at market price at constant 2004-05 price (Indian Rupee)Per Capita PFCE at market price at constant 2004-05 prices (Indian Rupee)Average Life Expectancy at Birth (in Years)
1950-51361.12697.247513678232.1
1960-61439.24115.199482814741.3
1970-71548.25964.7011025871445.6
1980-81683.37951.9311711968250.4
1990-91846.413420.31159961182558.7
2000-011028.722917.95224911535162.5
2010-111186.046574.38392702607467.0
2017-181316.073050.965551035566

5.3.2 Information on industrial productions of few significant goods and electricity have been noted below (Data Source: Economic Survey 2019-20, Ministry of Finance – Government of India; Ministry of Textiles – Government of India; Data-book for Planning Commission – Government of India; Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy – Reserve Bank of India):

(a) Data on basic industrial products and electricity reveals that even with increased production, pace of industrialisation was certainly inadequate for a country like India with vast population. Considering 1350 million population in 2018, per capita consumption of industrial products like finished steel, cement, and cloth was only 76 kg, 220 kg, and 49 sq. metre respectively, in case of finished steel and cement not even half of world average. Consumer price index shows unceasing inflation of food items.

YearIndex of industrial production(Base:2004-05 as 100)Consumer price index for industrial worker – food(Base: 1982as 100)Cotton & Manmade cloth(million sq. metre)Finished Steel (million tonnes)Cement(million tonnes)Coal and lignite(million tonnes)Crude oil(million tonnes)Electricity generated – utility & nonutility(billion KWH)
1950-517.917.01.02.732.30.306.6
1960-6115.621.02.48.055.20.520.1
1970-7128.138.04.614.376.36.861.2
1980-8143.181.089886.818.6119.010.5129.2
1990-9191.6199.02292813.548.8225.533.0289.4
2000-01453.04023332.399.2332.632.4554.5
2010-11888.56173076.3216.7570.437.7965.7
2017-181419.866845103.1297.7722.735.61483.2

(b) Data (computed by S V R Murthy from National Accounts Statistics, 2019, Government of India on the basis of GVA) on organised and unorganised sectors of shows that, Indian unorganised sector still contribute more than 52% of GVA and activities like agriculture and allied, construction, trade-repair-accommodation-food services are highly dependent on unorganised sector:

Economic ActivityPercent Share of GVA in 2011-12 byPercent Share of GVA in 2016-17 by
Organised sectorUnorganised sectorOrganised sectorUnorganised sector
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing3.296.82.897.2
Mining and quarrying77.422.677.422.6
Manufacturing74.525.576.423.6
Electricity, gas, water & other utility services95.74.395.05.0
Construction23.676.426.673.4
Trade, repair, accommodation & food services13.486.613.486.6
Transport, storage, communication & services related to broadcasting53.047.053.746.3
Financial services90.79.388.111.9
Real estate, ownership of dwelling & professional service36.963.146.853.2
Public administration and defence100.00.0100.00.0
Other services58.841.252.747.3
Total GVA at basic prices46.153.947.352.7

5.4  Agriculture in Independent India

At the time of Independence, agriculture was the main source of national income and occupation. Even though agriculture sector’s contribution in GDP steadily declined from about 52% in 1950-51 to 14.5% in 2010-11, agriculture sector employed disproportionately high 54.5% of country’s workforce in 2011.

5.4.1 From 1948 to 1965 agrarian reforms were undertaken through which, substantial land titles were transferred to the actual cultivators, major dams and irrigation projects were constructed, and cooperative credit institutions were strengthened. Still, India remained dependent upon imports and food aid to feed the rising population.

During 1966 to 1990 period, New Agricultural Strategy or Green Revolution was formulated by government to apply science and technology for increasing yield. The strategy included (a) increased use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, (b) increased use of high yielding varieties of grains, (c) crop rotation and multiple cropping programme, (d) increased area under cultivation, and irrigation. Thus application of agriculture technology was the main driver. Along with that, diversification into related areas like vegetables, fruits, fishery, poultry, dairy etc. helped increasing amount of produce (hence, GDP) as well as employment and income.

The third phase of agricultural policy was a fallout of economic reforms initiated in 1991. Opening up of domestic market due to international trade and WTO affected agriculture. To address new scenario formally a new agricultural policy was launched in July 2000. It set an objective of 4% growth in output per year. Sustainable and efficient utilisation of resources was stressed. With inherent constraints, Indian agriculture, indeed, continue to perform much better as a sector of economy compared to industrial sector.

It is worthwhile to note that the modern applications in agriculture gave rise to unsustainable agricultural practices which deteriorated soil nutrients, reduced ground water table, and reduced biodiversity.

5.4.2 Information of key parameters of Indian agriculture sector performance have been noted below (Data source: Agricultural Census Division, Ministry of Agriculture; Agricultural Statistics at a Glance 2018, Registrar General of India; Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation – Government of India)

(a) There were 48900 million operational holding in 1960-61 with covered area of 131400 million hectares. The number of holdings increased to 115580 million in 2000-01 with covered area of 163357 million hectares which imply that average plot size reduced. Number of marginal (avg. size – 0.39 hectare) and small (avg. size – 1.43 hectare) holdings and area under such holdings have increased while number of semi-medium (avg. size – 2.76 hectare), medium (avg. size – 5.90 hectare), and large (avg. size – 17.33 hectare) holdings and area under such holding have reduced. Thus, number of uneconomical holdings are increasing regularly with increase in marginal and small plot holdings which means that (a) more and more cultivators are joining the ranks of agricultural labourers average income, (b) growth rate in average real income is poor, may be negative.

Plot sizePercent share in1960-611970-711980-811990-912000-01
Marginalnumber of holding40.6950.6056.4059.4063.00
operated area6.609.0012.0015.1018.82
Smallnumber of holding22.2919.1018.1018.8018.80
operated area12.1711.9014.1017.4020.18
Semi-mediumnumber of holding18.8015.2014.0013.1011.70
operated area19.9318.4021.2023.2023.96
Mediumnumber of holding13.4011.309.107.105.40
operated area30.5129.8029.6027.0023.84
Largenumber of holding4.903.902.401.601.02
operated area30.7430.9023.0017.3013.21

(b) As the rural population increased along with rising population of India, the ratio of Cultivators and Agricultural Labourer became skewed in favour of Agricultural Labourer – it signified that number of landless labourers steadily increased with rising population in rural areas along with rising level of povertyTill 2011, only 45% of net area under cultivation has been brought under irrigation.

YearRural population(Million)Net Area Sown (million hectares)Net IrrigatedArea (million hectares)Rural Agriculture workersFood-grains produced(million tonne)
CultivatorsAgricultural LabourersTotal (Million)
1950-51298.6118.7520.8569.927.397.250.8
1960-61360.3133.2024.6699.631.5131.182.0
1970-71439.0140.8631.1078.247.5125.7108.4
1980-81525.6140.2938.7292.555.5148.0129.6
1990-91630.6142.8748.02110.774.6185.3176.4
2000-01742.6141.3455.20127.3106.8234.1196.8
2010-11833.7141.5663.67118.8144.3263.1244.5
2017-18890.6285.0

(c) Rice and Wheat productivity and production increased steadily while per capita availability of coarse cereals and pulses steadily declined over the decades. 429.8 gram (Rice 178.1, Wheat 65.9, Other Cereals 119.4, and Total Pulses 66.4 gram) average availability of total food-grains per capita per day during the decade of 1951-60 increased to only 464.2 gram (Rice 198.1, Wheat 143.3, Other Cereals 83.2, and Total Pulses 39.6 gram) during decade of 1981-90Main reason for such marginal level of food security was lack of robust improvement in productivity of coarse cereal and pulses, and ever-increasing population.

YearRice CultivationWheat CultivationTotal Pulses Cultivation
Area (million Hectare)Yield (Kg/HectareArea (million Hectare)Yield (Kg/HectareArea (million Hectare)Yield (Kg/Hectare
1950-5130.816689.7566319.09441
1960-6134.13101312.9385123.56539
1970-7137.59112318.24130722.54524
1980-8140.15133622.28163022.46473
1990-9142.69174024.17228124.66578
2000-0144.71190125.73270820.35544
2010-1142.86223929.07298826.40691
2016-1743.99249430.79320029.45786

5.5  Occupation, Income & Poverty in Independent India

5.5.1 The key statistics related to population, rural-urban divide, and employment status in 1951, 1971, and 1991 census are given below (Data Source: Census, Government of India). The term ‘main worker’ is defined as those who work for 183 days or more in a year, ‘marginal workers’ are those who work for less than 183 days in a year.

Data Element1971 census1991 census2011 census
Total Population (million)548.159838.5681210.854
Population of 0-19 age (million)277.803391.400492.970
Population of 20-64 age (million)251.916408.540647.209
Population of 65 & above age (million)18.32433.93266.185
Population of unknown age (million)0.1164.6954.489
Total Workers (million)180.583314.131481.888
Main Workers (million)[of which workers of 20-64 age]180.583285.932[238.672]362.565[318.642]
Cultivators78.176110.65695.84
Agricultural labourers47.48974.62886.16
Household industry workers6.3536.86212.33
Other workers48.35593.785168.10
Marginal Workers (million)[of which workers of 20-64 age]No concept28.199[21.572]119.323[93.831]
Cultivators13.98722.85
Agricultural labourers11.39258.16
Household industry workers0.7616.00
Other workers2.05832.27
Non-Workers (million)367.576524.436728.966

A close look at the above mentioned data shows the unemployment and underemployment in India has been rising over the decades (obviously because of the known problem of employment opportunity lagging behind the rise in population):

(a) the proportion of total workers to total population increased from 33% in 1971 to 39.8% in 2011; but the lack of employment among working people of age-group 20–64 years was very high at about 36% in 1991 and 2011 census (official definition-jargon-statistics split off a smaller component as ‘unemployment’, but larger part remained a ‘disguised unemployment’).

(b) the proportion of marginal workers to total workers increased, which mean underemployment increased frighteningly from 9% in 1991 to 25% in 2011 census; within marginal workers, not only agricultural labourers, but workers in industrial and service sectors have also increased substantially.

(c) More than 13% of the (self) cultivators left the occupation between 1991 and 2011, a pointer to the fact that cultivation has become uneconomical for most of the small plot-holders; between 1991 and 2011 number of agricultural labourers increased by 5 times showing that landless labours and small plot holders increased leaps and bounds.

(d) As per report 568 of NSS round 68 carried out by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of Government of India, in 2012 the worker population ratio for age 15 years and above is 54.7% which was uneven for males with 78.1% and females with 30.5%. So, the lack of employment among working people of age-group 15 years and above was astonishingly high at more than 45% in 2012 NSSO survey.

5.5.2 There exist another segregation so far as employment is concerned in India, apart from being organised or unorganised – the formal and informal category of employment. Informal workers don’t have any written contract with their employers, they have neither paid leave nor health benefits, and they don’t have any social security. The key statistics (Data Source: NSS 68th unit level data on employment unemployment, 2011-12 and Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017-18) reveal that even in organised sector there exist substantial number of informal workers, besides the fact that unorganised sector is almost entirely comprised of informal workers. Even very recently in 2017-18 unorganised sector provided close to 87% of employment in India.

Worker CategoryPercent Share of Employment in 2011-12Percent Share of Employment in 2017-18
Organised sectorUnorganised sectorOrganised sectorUnorganised sector
Informal9.882.65.285.5
Formal7.20.47.91.3
Total17.083.013.286.8

5.5.3 Income distribution:

In India, there was/is no government initiative to document income of individual earning citizens except income tax filing procedure carried out by central government every year. However, out of 481.9 million working citizens in 2011, a paltry 37.9 million (i.e. roughly 7.8% of all working citizens) filed income tax return papers during 2013-14, which later went up to 68.4 million in 2017-18.

Indian Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation conducts all-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey through National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). The data gathered during this exercise reveals the average expenditure on goods (food and non-food) and services which gets collated to estimate the household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure as well as the distribution of households over the MPCE. While expenditure and poverty can be estimated with high accuracy through NSSO reports, income distribution remained a grey area in India.

The Inter University Consortium for Applied Political and Social Sciences Research (ICPSR), based at University of Michigan, provides easy access to India Human Development Survey, which was conducted in 2004-05 and 2011-12 among more than 40 000 households from rural and urban areas. The survey attempted to provide detail information on both household income and consumption. ‘Consumption’ related questionnaire matched NSSO questionnaire (expenditure item categories and referencing periods) while ‘Income’ related queries included all sources of income: labour income (wage, salary, pension), capital income (rent, interest, dividend) as well as business incomes. Government benefits were excluded from the analysis for consistency with tax tabulations. Thomas Picketty and Lucas Chancel in their paper “Indian income inequality, 1922-2015: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?” estimated a detail pre-tax income distribution combining ICPSR survey data with Indian national accounts data and NSSO survey data. Key data is given below:

Income GroupPre-tax Income Distribution in 2015Approx. Share of National Income in 1990Approx. Average Annual Income Growth
Number of Adult (million)Share of National IncomeAverage Annual Income (Indian Rupee)1970 to 19791980 to 19891990 to 19992000 to 2015
Bottom 50%397.1514.7 %40,67122.3%1.25%1.65%1.15%2.20%
Middle 40%317.7229.2 %101,08444.0%1.55%1.85%0.80%2.40%
Top 10%79.4356.1 %776,56733.5%(-) 0.8%3.80%3.80%7.20%
Incl. top 1%7.9421.3 %2954,38610.7%(-) 4.6%7.20%6.00%7.20%

[ Link: https://wid.world/document/chancelpiketty2017widworld/ ]

The above data can be used logically to categorise Indian population into income groups as given below:

(a) The POOR class in India covers largest part of the working and nonworking adults – 50%.

(b) The LOWER MIDDLE class in India covers 20% of the adult population – rural lower middle may own less than 1.5 hectare cultivation land, urban lower middle may own a dilapidated small flat, but all of them are devoid of access to credit and meaningful deployment of capital to increase their income.

(c) The MIDDLE class in India covers 20% of the adult population who has some amount of money for spending in semi-luxurious items – rural middle class may own more than 3 hectare cultivation land, urban middle class may own a small shop, with access to limited credit from banks.

(d) The UPPER MIDDLE class in India covers 9% of the adult population who has high level of regular income from either job or business and splurge large sums of money on luxury goods – rural affluent class may own more than 10 hectare cultivation land, while urban upper middle class may be senior ranking officers in private and state-owned enterprises, owners of small industry, trading, and service providing companies, with access to very substantial credit from banks.

(e) The OPULENT class in India really owns capital in all forms – 1% of the adult population.

5.5.4 Consumer Expenditure and Poverty:

(a) The key statistics related to percentage of population below poverty line calculated as per Tendulkar method on Mixed Reference Period (Data Source: Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy – Reserve Bank of India):

Poverty Data1993-942004-052011-12
Rural MPCE at current prices (Indian Rupee)281.40579.21,287.17
Rural Poverty Line (Indian Rupees)446.68816.00
Rural population below poverty line50.1%41.8%25.7%
Urban MPCE at current prices (Indian Rupee)458.041104.602,477.02
Urban Poverty Line (Indian Rupees)578.801000.00
Urban population below poverty line31.8%25.7%13.7%
Total Poverty Ratio45.3%37.2%21.9%

The above data substantiates that the criticism against the basis of “poverty live” calculated by officials of government of India was/is too mild compared to the devilish act of intellectual skulduggery they engage inThe officials since 1950s had/have been artificially constructing “poverty line” which was/is at least 40% – 50% underestimated. If it is accepted by the current neoliberal politicians-bureaucrats-intellectuals-businessmen that an urban family of 4 belonging to the ‘poor’ class has a natural right to eat a breakfast and two square meals every day, then in 2012 the family would have spent at least 5000 Indian Rupees for purchasing food items and for cooking. Assuming a ‘poor’ would have very little money to spend for non-food items apart from electricity/cooking fuel and transport, the total expenditure per month would be 6000 Rupees for the 4-member family. Hence in 2012 the ‘poverty line’ of monthly per capita expenditure should have been 1500 Rupees instead of 1000 Rupees published by government.

(b) NSSO gather data during sampling rounds on two categories: food and non-food expenditures by Indian households. Food is further sub-categorised into cereals, milk and milk products, egg-fish-meat, vegetables, other food items, while non-food is further sub-categorised as betel-tobacco-intoxicants, fuel and light, clothing and bedding, education, medical, conveyance, other consumer services, other non-food items. The key statistics related to social group/caste wise percentage break-up of Average Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) in 2011-12 (Data Source: NSS round 68, report 562, Government of India):

Expenditure Item & MPCE in 2011-12Social Groups
Scheduled Caste (SC)Scheduled Tribe (ST)Other Backward Caste (OBC)Other CommunityAll
Rural
MPCE (Indian Rupee)12521122143917191430
Food: Total55%56%53%51%53%
Non-Food: Total45%44%47%49%47%
Urban
MPCE (Indian Rupee)20282193227532422630
Food: Total47%44%45%40%43%
Non-Food: Total53%56%55%60%57%

The above data indicates the following:

(i) In terms of the regular monthly expenditures, all backward castes (SC, ST, and OBC) were found to be lagging behind the other castes and communities – the gap is more in urban areas compared to rural areas. This is obviously because of lower income in backward caste households. It would be fair to state that more than 90% of the population from three categories of backward castes are in the ‘poor’ and ‘lower middle’ class, while less than 10% of backward caste people are in the ‘middle’ and ‘upper middle’ class.

It is obvious that ‘poor’ and ‘lower middle’ classes who made up 70% of the population, also contain huge army of school drop-out and educated but unemployed people from upper castes.

(ii) Even after two decades (1991 to 2011) of ‘LPG’ economic reforms, household consumption has not increased substantially – average MPCE of Indian Rupees 1430 in rural area and Rupees 2630 in urban area. The fact which non-Marxist politicians, wealthy businessmen, bureaucrats, and professionals continue to hide is that the revenue share of growth during 1991 to 2011 never ‘trickled down’ to the ‘poor’ and ‘lower middle’ classes who jointly made up 70% of the population

(iii) Top 10% of population consisting of ‘upper middle’ and ‘opulent’ classes extracted most of the revenue and asset generated during the period of economic reforms – interestingly more than 90% of top 10% are from the upper caste Hindu community.

5.6  Significant observations on Independent India

5.6.1 INC has been transformed from being a party of elites representing all nook and corner of India (during British period there were indomitable INC leaders even in Pashtun-dominated regions of the present Pakistan-Afghanistan border) into a fiefdom of Nehru-Gandhi family after independence. As long as astute politicians like Jawaharlal Nehru or Indira Gandhi came from the family, there was no major impact of this despicable transition on the party. But after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, the weakness of INC as a political outfit became too apparent to be ignored. The wife and son of Rajiv Gandhi kept the control with the family, but lack of political acumen resulted in slow demise of INC, which in turn helped immensely opening up of the political opportunity for RSS-BJP to come to limelight and fill the political vacuum.

5.6.2 INC leaders from Nehru-Gandhi family were mainly populists with leaning towards non-Marxist socialist and social democrat ideas. To broaden mass appeal during general election during prime ministership of Indira Gandhi, during 1970s INC took a decisive turn against the wealthy class of people that resulted in negative rate of growth in income of ‘upper middle’ and ‘opulent’ classes. Notwithstanding such ‘peronist’ policies, after death of Rajiv Gandhi, the party was hijacked by the neoliberal politicians-intellectuals-businessmen who formed coterie around remaining members of Gandhi family, and worked tirelessly to create an oligarchy where national capitalists was supreme in setting policy. Thus INC became unabashedly pro-businessmen and pro-capitalists during the Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh premiership.

5.6.3 India till 1991 failed to attain many parameters, but heavily concentrated wealth was surely not one of those parameters. Since INC ruled for most of the time, it was the INC’s monumental failure that even in 2012 exactly 64 years after independence, 37% of population failed to read and write, or 36% of 20–64 years age-group didn’t have employment – no amount of argument can justify this hopeless scenario! Well known economists Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze made so pertinent observations in their book ‘India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity’ as “ While the case for economic reforms may take good note of the diagnosis that India has too much government interference in some fields, it ignores the fact that India also has insufficient and ineffective government activity in many other fields, including basic education, health care, social security, land reforms and the promotion of social change. This inertia too contributes to the persistence of wide spread deprivation, economic stagnation and social inequality.”

5.6.4 Massive military conflict at northern and north-eastern borders was/is the recipe for socio-economic doom for India and Pakistan, hence none of the leaders in Pakistan or India since 1947 had/has been interested in conflicts beyond limited manoeuvre. Even if Bangladesh got partitioned from Pakistan in 1971, for Pakistani leaders, the solace was India didn’t grab its land (practically correct). China with its vast economy can afford massive military mobilisation in a tad more effectively than India. But experience shows that, China wasn’t interested to increase its landmass by getting back few thousand square kilometres into Tibet autonomous region from Indian control – otherwise, Chinese troops wouldn’t withdraw to north of McMahon line in 1962 in north-east.

The above mentioned status and obvious facts were/are known by all senior politicians and bureaucrats in India-Pakistan-China all through these decades. Chinese government can take any decision to legally accept/modify their boundary vis-à-vis other countries – China demonstrated it through signing of a series of border pacts with most of their neighbours. India and Pakistan governments can’t take such decision to make agreement to accept LAC as legal border (and ignore the ‘ideal’ border line soaked in ‘nationalism’ and claimed by government and public from both sides, existence of which has been taught since the school days of every generation) because the political opponents will misuse such wise action by the governing party, through cheap politicking of ‘surrender and sale out to a foreign power’On the contrary, with a tough stand on border dispute, the politicians in India and Pakistan earn extra mileage for campaigning during periodic elections. As a result, the border problems have been lingering on for decades with no end at sight.

6.  India Since 2014: Reappearance of Corporate-State

Since 1950, while formulating policies, the political and bureaucratic institutions of independent India tried to uphold the directive principles of ‘welfare state’ policy enshrined in the Indian constitution. However, while implementing the policies within unavoidable limitations, all mainstream political parties and their leaders surreptitiously represented businessmen-landlords-elites -– end result of such duplicity has been noted previously in section 5.

6.1 The Protagonists

Let’s briefly discuss how the protagonists stack up in the political economy of India during 2010s:

a) The main difference among the dozens of non-Marxist political parties (two of them national, rest regional) which have been controlling the government at centre and the provinces for past 73 years relates to form rather than substance. Fundamentally, almost every senior and junior leader of all non-Marxist political parties across wide spectrum of professed ideologies, treat their association with the party as profession to ‘make money’ if and when the party comes to power at centre or province. Such ‘professional‘ type of politicians join the mainstream national and regional political parties as a professional engagement to create accounted/unaccounted wealth using political and administrative power (a) by entering into business dealings in informal/unorganised sector as well as formal/organised sectors of economy, and (b) by swaying government/bureaucratic decision-making process in favour of their favourite oligarchs/businessmen.

All other activities like spending time and efforts for the sake of the political party (in the role of a party official) and/or for the sake of governance (in the role of managing public administration, when voted to power) become instrument of achieving the primordial target of making wealth. Hence shifting from one political party to another became a sort of professional move for all non-Marxist politicians. While shifting from one party to another, the leader is expected to carry his/her team of unemployed goons who would make required arrangements for winning the election (through booth capturing, false voting, electronic voting machine hacking etc.) – the team of muscleman would be provided protection from police force. These musclemen generate another type of regular revenue for their leaders if and when the party comes to power in any province – (a) ‘protection money’ from unorganised/informal sector of economy involving small manufacturers, small real estate companies, small traders, retail shopkeepers, roadside hawkers, and (b) ‘extortion money’ from organised/formal sector of economy consisting of real estate companies, construction companies, medium sized manufacturers, entertainment sector, etc. Such team, popularly known as ‘social worker’ may comprise of a couple of hundred local rowdies plus couple of petty criminals in case of leaders at provincial Assembly level, while leaders at national Parliament level commands up to thousand rowdies plus up to a dozen of hard-core criminals.

Some of the key information of 543 elected representatives at India’s Loksabha called as Member of Parliament (MP) who are the law-makers of the country:

Data related to MPIn 2009 general electionIn 2014 general electionIn 2019 general election
Elected on INC ticket (no.)2224452
Elected on BJP ticket (no.)112282303
Elected from other Non-Marxist parties (no.)185206182
Elected from Marxist parties (no.)241106
Elected with Declared Criminal cases (no.)162185233
– Out of which…Serious Criminal cases (no.)76112159
MP with education qualification intermediate and below (no.)127130
MP with asset valuation more than 10 million Indian Rupee (no.)315443475
Average asset per MP (million Indian Rupee)53.5147.0209.3

[ Link: https://adrindia.org/content/lok-sabha-elections-2019 ]

‘Serious Criminal cases’ as per Indian penal code include rape, crimes against women, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping etc. It is obvious from the above data that, not only Indian Parliament have been steadily turning into a den of criminals (in 2019, as many as 43% of MPs have criminal cases against them), but law-makers’ declared assets increased leaps and bounds (between 2009 and 2019, average asset of MPs increased by 4 times). The situation of assembly members in the provinces follow similar logic. In his book “Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule” M K Gandhi wrote in 1933 about British Parliament, “That which you consider to be the Mother of Parliaments is like a sterile woman and a prostitute. Both these are harsh terms, but exactly fit the case. That Parliament has not yet, of its own accord, done a single good thing. Hence I have compared it to a sterile woman. The natural condition of that Parliament is such that, without outside pressure, it can do nothing. It is like a prostitute because it is under the control of ministers who change from time to time.” Isn’t it right time to slightly modify M K Gandhi’s legendary statement to describe Indian Parliament as “…a prostitute who is at the centre of brawl among wealthy gangsters…”?

b) There was/is a limited group of educated people across the country who would join some Marxist party (since 1960’s it has become difficult to track the exact number of fragments of the old Communist Party of India, but at least 5 Marxist political parties significantly have small but committed activists and followers) believing they will fight the unjust system to further socialist cause. These ‘amateur’ type of politicians would be dedicated intellectuals throughout their life, instead of being dedicated revolutionaries. Hence, most of the leaders assigned more importance to debating over the theory than to mobilizing millions of hungry unemployed people in their own region. They lack unity and cohesion among themselves, lack robust socio-political action plan, lack resources, and most importantly they lack enthusiasm to change the social-political-economic realities in India. Very few leaders who assigned supreme importance to mass mobilisation, were actually voted into power in some significant provinces like Kerala and West Bengal through existing electoral democratic process.

The conduct of Marxist party functionaries during the period when they run the provincial governments were sometimes became controversial and the governance was not always efficient due to resource crunch. They couldn’t fight concerted campaigns against them conducted by the top 10% who owned all mainstream parties and media. A significant distortion in operational aspects of few Marxist parties can be noted during past two decades – they started believing that election campaign is the supreme task. Another development can be noted – economic reforms did create ‘reformist’ leaders many of whom are imitating professional politicians to leave their Marxist party to join other mainstream political party for, may be, gaining stature.

c) The third, arguably the most significant protagonist is wealthy oligarch families, the 1% OPULENT class, more than 95% of whom belong to the upper caste Hindu namely Brahman-Vaishya-Kshatriya Aryan and Vaishya-Kshatriya Dravidian ethno-genetic people (just like USA, another ‘great’ democracy, where oligarchy mostly comprises of Jewish, Anglo-Saxon ethno-genetic people). Similarly, the 9% UPPER MIDDLE class has more than 90% of the people belonging to upper caste Hindu community. Control of the space of banking-financial service-industry-trading-service business-large cultivation farm-politics-bureaucracy-judiciary-technology-medicine-professional services etc. by these two classes would put the 20th century British colonialists to shame! Regularly and almost religiously, the media and academia who are part of the top 10% have been shedding tears for progress or lack of progress (depending on which mainstream non-Marxist party they prefer) of the Indian society and economy, and pontificate about how the country should be or should not be governed – as a matter of fact, these are essentially an attempt to create a semblance of existence of difference of opinion in a ‘vibrant democracy’ of India while maintaining deafening silence over increasing exploitation of 90% population and atrocities against women, and minority communities (exactly similar to the hue and cry in mainstream media in USA over mistakes of Democrats party and Republican party, but never touching the real issue of endless exploitation by the zionist-capitalist oligarchy that controls both banks, businesses, political parties, media, academia, entertainment, and what not!).

Related data shows how effective the small oligarchic coterie (1%) has been for past 10 years in India to amass wealth while a larger group of elites (9%) applauded about ‘democracy’ and ‘rule of law’ in India:

Data related to Indian Oligarchy201020142019
Total Adult population (million)719.062775.767865.783
Median wealth in US Dollar (current)130010063042
Adults with wealth < median wealth50%50.0%50.0%
Adults with wealth [median – 10,000] US Dollar42.9%44.5%28.2%
Adults with wealth [10,000 – 100,000] US Dollar6.6%5.1%20.0%
Adults with wealth [100,000 – 1000,000] US Dollar0.4%0.3%1.7%
Adults with wealth above 1 million US Dollarnumber of Adult with 1 – 5 million US Dollarnumber of Adult with 5 – 10 million US Dollarnumber of Adult with 10 – 50 million US Dollarnumber of Adult with more than 50 million US Dollar0.02%154,93315,20310,1301,7720.09%666,92654,78132,4414,460
Gini wealth coefficient77.8%81.4%83.2%

[ Link- https://www.credit-suisse.com/about-us/en/reports-research/global-wealth-report.html ]

In the report ‘Time to Care’ published in January’2020, Oxfam India mentions “India’s top 10% of the population holds 74.3% of the total national wealth. The contrast is even sharper for the top 1%. India’s top 1% of population holds 42.5% of national wealth while the bottom 50%, the majority of the population, owns a mere 2.8% of the national wealth. In other words, the top 1% hold more than 4 times the amount of wealth held by the bottom 70% of the population. The bottom 90 percent holds 25.7 percent of national wealth.”

d) Finally, coming to the much maligned and slandered among all protagonists – the poor and lower middle class, the working and unemployed proletariat who are generally termed as ‘lazy-bones’ by intelligent elite managers/professionals in the corporate world. Truth be told. During past 30 years, whether central government or provincial governments which have been run by the mainstream national/regional ‘professional’ political parties (except few cases when Marxist parties formed government in province) campaigned invariably projecting the ‘interest of poor and downtrodden’ as the topmost agenda if they come to power. But barring few rare instances, across India the mainstream political parties ONLY GREASED THE OLIGARCHY – hypocrisy, thy name is politician! In 2015, World Bank estimated that a whopping 50.4% of Indians live below WB poverty line of $3.2 (2011 PPP) per day which was equivalent to 50 Indian Rupees per day. Previously while discussing consumer expenditure and poverty in sub-section 5.5.3, I have mentioned my opinion as “Hence in 2012 the ‘poverty line’ of monthly per capita expenditure should have been 1500 Rupees instead of 1000 Rupees published by government”. I will add that, World Bank officials at least were more ingenuous compared to India government officials.

[ Link: https://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/poverty/33EF03BB-9722-4AE2-ABC7-AA2972D68AFE/Global_POVEQ_IND.pdf ]

The 70% population (poor and lower middle class) at bottom of income and expenditure pyramid earn so insignificantly small amount to live a hand-to-mouth daily life that they can never build bare minimum asset like a 600 square feet house/flat. They just slog on day-after-day to buy daily daal-roti or daal-rice while directly and indirectly supporting the top 10% amass wealth and power. The inflation has been rising so stubbornly that, during 2019 and 2020 it would be a cruel joke to discuss about $3.2 (even in terms of nominal current exchange rate i.e. 224 Indian Rupees) per day expenditure as poverty line. Whether it is a village or town in India, apart from two meals a day what would be left for the poor fellow to meet other daily requirements like breakfast, snacks, medicine, and toiletries? How a poor man would arrange for local conveyance and mobile communication? How monthly requirements like cooking gas, electricity, house rent, clothing, education of kids would be met? In the words of a commentator, “the worker is becoming impoverished absolutely, i.e. he is actually becoming poorer than before; he is compelled to live worse, to eat worse, to suffer hunger more, and to live in basements and attics.” Has the world witnessed similar travesty of natural justice anywhere in the world in 21st century?

6.2 Reincarnation of Corporate-State under Modi’s BJP

Even before the year 2000, most of the successful billionaire capitalists of India belonged to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu provinces who collectively steered industrial economy of India– during two decades of 1980s and 1990s, based on industrial sector, Gujarat’s economy registered a remarkable growth rate of over 14% against the country’s around 5.5%.

6.2.1 Between 2002 and 2014, Gujarat province became the experimental laboratory of BJP for developing the concept of pseudo-religious authoritarian corporatist system of governance under Narendra Modi which was termed as ‘Gujarat Model’ – mainstream media owned by businessmen did the tomtoming of the model across India. Briefly the three characteristics of that experiment can be described as:

a) Pseudo-religious – section 4.1.2 lists down the essence of RSS-BJP campaign on how and why Hinduism has been the supreme ‘religious philosophy’ and Hindus were/are the ultimate ‘religious community’. However, as it happened with any other pseudo-religious groups, none of the propaganda has anything to do with God and spiritualism which remained the central theme of all religions in humankind. Every propaganda point relates to political objectives of (a) bringing the diverse sects of Hindus under BJP’s political umbrella, (b) implanting a belief among all disparate sects of Hindus that south Asian subcontinent belongs to ONLY them, (c) regimenting the Hindus to follow a hierarchical caste system with Brahmans as de facto leader of Indian society as written in book Manusmriti in Sanskrit, (d) inculcating supremacist ethos among Hindu children and youth about past history and civilization (some truth mixed with mostly fabricated narratives). Thus, the pseudo-religious characteristic turned the entire academic discourses of Indian archaeology-history-anthropology-sociology upside-down, and the academic arena had been converted into a ‘battle’ to uphold ‘India’s/Hindu’s glorious past stretching back to 15000 BCE’.

b) Authoritarian – section 4.2.1 lists down the political messages propagated by RSS-BJP that slowly but surely vitiated the social bonding between communities and the stage was set for further manipulation of the entire political environment. Within few months of Narendra Modi’s swearing in as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002, Godhra train-burning incident took place, Modi and BJP used that incident to create terror and carnage of mainly Muslim people. Though Pakistan’s involvement in Islamic terrorism in India was decades old history, there was no robust proof within few days of Godhra train-burning. But Modi’s BJP utilised that event to build a fabricated narrative: (a) demographic growth of Muslim community is far more than Hindu community, unless Hindus ‘resist’ socially and politically, Muslims would once again initiate partition of the country, (b) Hindu community should continue to teach Muslim community unforgettable lessons, and, on behalf of Hindu community BJP will do the needful, (c) BJP is the only political party in India that fights for the larger interest of majority Hindu community, (d) Declaring India as ‘Hindu nation’ discarding the secular constitution, and cornering the minorities are the only solution for ‘bringing back the old glory’ of Hindu civilization, and only BJP can transform India into a Hindu nation. It goes without saying that such propaganda based on false narratives using lies and half-truths helped building an aura of authoritarian Modi that transformed BJP into authoritarian entity.

Voice of opposition parties, trade union leaders, farmers, social activists, and academicians, especially those who represent religious and caste minorities was suppressed by using police and revenue department officials – slapping of criminal cases against dissenting voice was the standard procedure. The mainstream media became an instrument of public campaign in Gujarat province under Modi’s BJP. The sessions of the legislative Assembly were squeezed so that elected representatives from opposition parties don’t get enough time to raise questions/clarifications on various bills and reports.

c) Corporatist – While Oligarchy has been controlling all levers of power at the centre and at the provinces, by and large the corporate honchos preferred to stay at the backstage of governance. Since 2003 the corporate honchos in Gujarat were sucked into part of governance through a fusion of government and corporate interest. The roles and responsibilities that Gujarat government should have played were curtailed and corporates were offered to fill in the vacuum. Among the beneficiary class were/are the Gujarati-Marwari corporate honchos like the Ambanis, Adanis, Ruias, Sanghvis, Mehtas and other big industrialists, and dozens of contractors who got their share of the pudding of various projects of infrastructure development. The new industrial policy of 2003 permitted dilution of laws of labour relations to the extent permissible at the province level. Industries were exempted from getting ‘no objection certificate’ from the pollution control board. Quick possession of farm land by industrialists and businessmen were facilitated. The cronies of Modi’s BJP were rewarded with lower than market price of land in most of the cases. The politicians belonging to BJP and government bureaucracy worked extra time and walked extra mile for the benefit of private capitalists – the whole programme was packaged as ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ and non-stop campaign was undertaken in media for public consumption.

The 2009 industrial policy was designed for transforming Gujarat province as world’s most attractive investment destination – megaprojects with investments more than Indian Rupees 10 billion were mainly targeted. Gujarat government’s industrial nodal agency acquired 21,308 hectares of land between 2001 and 2011 (starting with 4,620 hectares in 2001). Modi had become the favourite chief ministers of Indian capitalists especially Gujarati and Marwari businessmen who would attend the Vibrant Gujarat investors’ meetings and would shower praise on him and fill the coffers of BJP party fund. During these investors’ summits held between 2003 and 2011, Memorandums of Understanding were signed for investment totalling more than 4 trillion Indian Rupees – only 8% of promised investment, amounting to just over 300 billion actually came through. Another analysis showed from 2000 to 2012 Modi’s Gujarat could not attract many foreign investors (4.5% of FDI went to Gujarat, as against 32.8% in Maharashtra, 19% in Delhi, 5.6% in Karnataka, 5.2% in Tamil Nadu). By focusing on capital-intensive megaprojects, ‘Gujarat model’ benefited the big companies balance sheets and industrial growth rate, but job creation remained chimera – after all, the corporatist policies were indeed aimed at (jobless) growth of corporates!

6.2.2 The 16th national general election, held in early 2014, resulted in a huge victory of the BJP, the party gained an absolute majority and formed a government under the premiership of Narendra Modi, till then BJP Chief Minister of Gujarat province. Indian bankers-industrialists-merchants-big landowners who formed 1% opulent class wanted a stable government which would safeguard their long-term interest of endless accumulation of capital. For that, they needed a commercialised political party which has authoritarian background. BJP was best fit – hence, this class spent billions of Indian Rupees in donation to BJP election fund and provided 100% support in all types of media owned by them for 2014 election campaign. As the Modi government settled down at centre, the ‘Gujarat Model’ was quickly being redesigned keeping entire India in view.

67 years after the partitioned independence, in 2014, the hen has come home to roost! To fulfil political ambitions of few south Asian leaders, the Indian subcontinent was bifurcated. But (truncated) India never publicly or constitutionally accepted that fact that Muslim elites separated in 1947 to safeguard and multiply their wealth and power (not to keep the Muslim population in the newly created country hale and hearty), hence Indian constitution declared secular multi-religious multi-ethnic country. As we look into the break-up of capital-holding 1% opulent class) we note that, 95% belong to upper caste Hindu community. People with personal experience of staying and knowing different regions and provinces of India opine that, this opulent class wanted a sort of ‘official declaration’ that would perpetuate their hold on political POWER and WEALTH. Since 1947 INC or any non-Marxist political party at centre or at provinces could never think anything near to this ‘wish’ of the brute majority of Indian opulent class EXCEPT NARENDRA MODI’S BJP IN GUJARAT. Not even BJP government at centre led by Vajpayee could read the pulse of most of the Indian capitalists. The Indian corporates and the opulent class elites got their messiah in Narendra Modi. Thus, Corporate-state returned to India. Henceforth, the government of India would live for the corporates, work for the corporates and, more importantly, die for the corporates.

And what happened to the 9% upper middle class when their role-model, the 1% opulent class has been busy for manipulating the Indian democratic architecture for perpetuation of their not-so-indirect rule? They merrily chugged along with the 1% – with western education, high-paying salary, decent homes, and motor vehicles the prosperous upper middle class seized the opportunity to increasingly dictate the country’s political economy. Large number of this upwardly mobile and consumerist class of people have close ties with their relatives living abroad, mainly in 5-Eyes countries – this resulted in a notion that English language and western capitalism combination is the way for salvation to achieve prosperity. No wonder that the upper middle class also understood the underlying foundation of the western zionist-capitalist economic system that exploited world-wide colonies for sourcing materials and labour at (almost) no cost for five centuries – Indian opulent class and upper middle class applied same logic in India whereby the 90% population would be sucked dry in order to build the wealth of 10%. Only complete seizure of ‘state institutions’ can provide the power required to achieve such ‘economic miracle’. So the upper middle class was on board for the new journey towards ‘prosperity’.

What has been different in the second coming of corporate-state? So far as the ‘substance’ is concerned, there is no difference at all between English EIC corporate-state and BJP Hindu corporate-state. The dynamics of corporate-state clearly works in a fashion so that all government wings – legislature, executive, and judiciary – work in tandem towards maximisation of benefits of corporate interest and limitless accumulation of profit, and in turn the corporates extend illegitimate benefits to the decision-making persons/entities of government wings. Among many differences of ‘form’ most important ones are:

a) In case of the first appearance of corporate-state in 1769, governance of newly acquired Indian ‘state’ got added as an outer layer of function to the existing core function of corporate business; during the second appearance in 2014, governance of existing Indian ‘state’ acted as the body onto which the corporate business was injected as new blood

b) In case of the first appearance of corporate-state in 1769, foreign capitalists (specifically Anglo-Saxon and Jewish ethnic businessmen) were the most significant gainers while Indian capitalists played the role of lackeys; during the second appearance in 2014, Indian capitalists (specifically Gujarati and Marwari ethnic businessmen) are the most significant gainers while foreign capitalists (specifically Anglo-Saxons and Jewish ethnic businessmen in USA-UK) have been playing supportive role till now

6.2.3 Policy Vectors of Current Corporate-State

This sub-section lists few observations about key stated and unstated policies of BJP, as one could notice during past 6 years.

a) Creation of a virtual reality through print media (newspapers), broadcast media (television), digital media (social networking) which would ‘manufacture’ fake news, fake history, fake glory of fake entities, fake socio-economic parameters, in other words, a forged reality gets created on 24×7 basis by a specially created BJP IT Cell (employing thousands of IT professionals) that manufactures the messages to conform to the RSS-BJP’s social-political-economic-cultural propaganda. This virtual reality is transported to the poor, lower middle, and middle class of population i.e. 90% of population through Indian-owned media as well as USA-based Zionist-capitalist media especially social networking behemoths. Majority of Indians have very little education, who easily fell prey to these deceitful propaganda.

b) Creation of a virtual identity through broadcast media (television), digital media (social networking) through which the people who would come forward to raise voice against misrule and corruption, would be identified as anti-national as against the patriots meaning who would remain silent. BJP IT Cell members using thousands of real and fake accounts in social media would abuse and intimidate any dissident until he/she become silent. Thus, even the leaders of the opposition political parties are silenced by the pro-BJP media houses.

c) Exercise direct control over all key government institutions like bureaucracy, judiciary, and defence by installing RSS-BJP sympathiser at all key positions. Thus, for the first time in independent India, the Supreme Court judgements are being questioned among educated people, or Defence Force issues statements that are overtly political. All checks and balances (there were many, including some which were unnecessary) within governance system has been upturned. Many basic tenet of Indian constitution (‘democratic’, ‘secular’, ‘welfare’, ‘socialist’, ‘justice’ etc.) are being challenged and violated by BJP agenda.

d) Redefine citizenship criterion through a series of self-contradictory bills and amendments whereby all Indian citizens would have to prove through official documents that either their parents took birth and lived in India or they migrated to India due to religious persecution. While it is undeniable fact that illegal immigrants exist in India in large numbers, the same should have been dealt through administrative checking and controlling measures. However BJP utilised the problem of illegal immigrants to redefine the citizenship, which would result in a situation where most of the ST and SC population and many Muslim people won’t be able to furnish required official documents (living under abject poverty they spend all efforts and time to earn livelihood). Suffice to say that ST, SC, and Muslim communities fundamentally remain outcast in the RSS ideological frame of Hindutwa supremacy.

e) Modi government has been systematically using the very large Indian diaspora. The high-profile outreach of Modi himself in Anglo-American countries were/are to achieve certain objectives like – (a) proselytising the ‘hindutwa’ ideology in Hindu community who were/are well established in profession and business, (b) making inroads into top level executives of top Information Technology companies to enlist their committed support to BJP IT Cell, (c) entice the Hindu businessmen for FDI in India either by their business entity or by their Anglo-American associates, (d) donations from wealthy Hindus for BJP party fund.

f) Ostensibly to bring in digital economy by promoting use of digital monetary transactions and by suspending counterfeit currency notes, BJP government suddenly delegitimised use of notes 1000 and 500 denominations by 30 December 2016. To double down BJP government implemented Goods and Service Tax (GST) from 1 July 2017 without appropriate preparedness of infrastructure and training. Result of the ‘pincer movement’ on economy was spectacular – slowly but surely the cash-flow dried up in the unorganised sector of economy which used to provide 87% of employment among working population contributing 52% of value addition in the economy. Indian economy moved backstage instead of marching into digital economy.

A section of small-marginal businessmen is inclined to think that through ‘demonetisation’ and ‘GST implementation’ Modi’s government wanted to marginalise the unorganised sector of economy so that the wealthy businessmen can move into the hitherto uncharted territory of such sectors traditionally cornered by unorganised business – they point out to consumer retail stores, trading of agricultural produces, textile and garments etc. as the proof, where unorganised business took a beating even if sectorial turnover was/is huge, and organised big business stepped in with huge investments. Interestingly, big businesses were present in such sectors even earlier, but they were unable to compete with agile small businesses.

g) Gigantic scale of privatisation of state-owned enterprises (SOE) which couldn’t be even imagined during the era of economic reforms 1991 – 2014. While in the earlier days there would be privatisation of the sick and non-profitable SOEs after carrying out due diligence of assets, 2015 onwards the BJP government targeted handover of even the highly profitable SOEs (in sectors like mining, oil and gas, defence machinery, logistics etc.) and Nation-wide service networks of government (like railways, airlines, telecommunication) to private industrialists at a throw-away price. Being a corporate-state the primary objective is to support the crony capitalists in building their business turnover and profits. Slowly the government would retire into a small shell where taxpayers’ money would be used to run the three wings of governance, and government would have no responsibility or commitment towards welfare of common people of India. This conforms to the more subtle agenda of corporate-state – corporates would provide every possible goods and services that are required to live a daily life in India, and people who can’t afford to pay, will perish.

h) In March 2019, large borrowers accounted for 53% of the total loan portfolio in the banking system, they also represented 82% of the share of gross non-performing assets (GNPA) almost 90% of which is in state owned banks. India’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India has been alarmed that if the top three stressed borrowers failed to repay, the impact will be severe for eight banks in the country. State owned banks found their GNPA at 10.7% of total credit as of March 2020.

A close scrutiny shows a very diabolical game is being played by the corporates. While it was/is normal for businesses to make losses and close down (particularly electricity generation and infrastructure construction sectors performed poorly in India), it is abnormal for businesses to declare bankruptcy en masse when a particular political party is governing at centre. Bad loans written-off in state owned banks:

  • During the period 2004 to 2013 (both inclusive) Indian Rupees 1.238 trillion were written-off
  • During the period 2014 to 2019 (both inclusive) Indian Rupees 5.487 trillion were written-off

Bad debt which was still in the books of public sector bank before April 2020 (when additionally covid-19 impacted the economy) would surely be written off within next 2 – 3 years, amount of that future write-off is estimated as more than Indian Rupees 8 trillion. Thus the 1% Indian oligarchs (that includes mainly industrialists and businessmen, ruling party politicians, a section of bureaucrats, a section of professionals in banking and finance) have been siphoning off the public money through systematic collusion after formation of the new corporate-state. No business anywhere on earth can convert loan (a liability amount) directly into cash profit, as it has been happening in corporate-state of India. It reminds us of the loot of the fabulous treasury of Bengal provinces in 1757 by English EIC.

[ Link: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/k-c-chakrabarty-bad-loan-rti-write-offs-a-scam-small-loans-rarely-in-it-says-former-rbi-deputy-governor/ ]

[ Link: https://www.moneylife.in/article/51st-anniversary-of-bank-nationalisation-has-all-stakeholders-edgy-and-unhappy-time-for-government-to-rebuild-confidence/60935.html ]

i) Modi government significantly invested in the Asian NATO programme of the zionist-capitalist Deep State led by successive governments of USA-UK-Australia-NZ-Canada. Defence cooperation continue to expand with signing of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), and Industrial Security Agreement (ISA). The Anglo-American military industrial complex views India as a promising area for their business growth.

The corporate-state of India under Modi’s BJP would utilize the burgeoning relationship with world order Deep State for – (a) short-term objectives like creating a bargaining power vis-à-vis China for border dispute and vis-à-vis Sri Lanka for autonomy of Tamil population, (b) mid-term objectives like becoming a permanent member of Asian NATO which would propel India to become de facto naval power in the Indian ocean, (c) long-term objectives like becoming a part of extended supply chain for MNCs belonging to primarily, Anglo-American ownership. The long-term objective is the most significant wish of the Indian capitalists for decades – they hardly understand that western societies got saturated in terms of consumerism, it is Asia and Africa where consumption will continue to increase for decades. Indian capitalists could have clocked more robust business benefits by joining the 3+ trillion US Dollar BRI programme of China.

[ Link: http://bharatshakti.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Indo-US-Foundational-Agreements-CNA.pdf ]

[ Link: https://www.orfonline.org/research/strategic-convergence-the-united-states-and-india-as-major-defence-partners-52364/ ]

j) The seven decade old border problems with Pakistan (related to erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir province of India) and with China (related to erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir province, and Arunachal Pradesh province of India) acquired a new dimension when Modi government bifurcated Jammu & Kashmir province into two parts – Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, and withdrew special autonomy enjoyed by the erstwhile province. Apparently BJP government wanted to integrate the region with other provinces for free movement of people and capital. There exist another view which suggest that, India wants to strengthen its military posture vis-à-vis Pakistan and China, and the new move on Jammu & Kashmir would facilitate the same.

As I have noted earlier in sub-section 4.2.3, all border problems were creation of British imperialist power, and three Asian countries may either resolve through dialogue or try to resolve by force (which would be too costly for any of these countries). Notwithstanding the USA oligarchy’s pompous statements, there won’t be any tangible support to India if it chooses to fight, USA would be happy to sell the dated military machinery at hefty prices though!

None of the policy trajectories mentioned above address the economic downturn that has been troubling the Corporate-State of India in the wake of demonetisation and GST implementation. It seems nobody in RSS-BJP is bothered about the worst nightmare in India in seven decades with immediate burning concerns like (1) slowing quarterly GDP growth rate 2017 onwards, (2) total debt increase by 38 trillion Indian Rupees in past 6 years while total debt was 53 trillion Indian Rupees as on March’2014, (3) no significant growth in finished goods exports, and (4) highest rate of unemployment in last 45 years among job-seekers of age 15 years and above.

Welcome to BJP’s Hindutwa Corporate-State of India!

7. Conclusion

As I have noted in the ‘introduction’ chapter, South Asian landmass has been very diverse in terms of people and society, as well as much decentralised in terms of political processes. And the discerning readers of ‘The Saker’ website who all are reading this article, must have concluded that even the political entity of ‘partitioned India’ would be very similar to its parent, the Indian subcontinent. Over and above that, widespread and tacit acceptance among the educated Indians about proliferation of (a) corrupt (b) criminal (c) uneducated ‘leaders’ across all non-Marxist political parties, resulted in such an impasse, that it is herculean task for any mainstream political party to steer present India away from being a ‘corporate-state’ into a ‘welfare state’. Only a Marxist political party that TRULY represent the downtrodden 90% of population which has been under repression by the class-caste combined institution for at least one millennium, can lead future India where everyone gets full security of food, education, and employment, and neither ‘developmental’ projects of the oligarchy trample human rights of poor citizens nor the citizens block economically beneficial environment-friendly large projects.

I would like to share couple of distinctly personal thoughts about Indian subcontinent:

  • Apart from the ruling oligarchy and their policy implementation team in all 3 countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh – nobody among 90% common people were benefitted in the long run from the partition of Indian subcontinent. Primarily, small group of 1% oligarch families consisting of bankers-merchants-industrialists-big landlords-politicians-bureaucrats that managed the politics plus economy, by and large, reaped all sorts of benefits during past 73 years from old class-caste institutions;
  • 90% common people in all 3 countries are kept busy with all sorts of divisive issues that were/are created by and sustained by the ruling oligarchy. Fissures along the lines of caste-clan-religion-region-language-education etc. were/are continuously created and publicised to maintain the division among common people so that, they never unite across the country on common economic and political agenda. During past 73 years, time and again real possibilities of mass movement got defeated due to the confusion generated among common people (by the ruling elites cutting across political party lines) using such divisive issues;
  • More often than not it has been found that after winning an election the political party that come to power don’t bother about the pre-election promises on different aspects; could there be amendment in constitution in the way of inclusion of article/clause whereby the performance of the political party that comes to power would be judged vis-à-vis their election manifesto?

As on date, India is firmly moving on the path of Indonesia model – as it happened in post-Sukarno Indonesia, the 90% population disowned by the State but owned by the Clergy, don’t have opportunity for getting ‘education’ (different from concept of ‘literacy’), and hence don’t go through the pain of realisation that they are being thoroughly screwed from-cradle-to-grave by vote-seeking politician, profit-seeking businessmen, and attendance-seeking clergy (more often than not, these three wings of oligarchy are rolled into one within an elite family where different family members establish themselves in a particular wing – family uses all those wings to accumulate ‘wealth’ and ‘power’ for generations). Only difference in BJP’s India is ‘clergy’ belongs to RSS and not to Muslim fundamentalists as in Indonesia.

Socio-economic as well as socio-political future is uncertain in India, possibilities galore. Future is wide open for the oppressed masses in India to even create revolutionary history, may be through a path that blends Russian revolution and Chinese revolution or may be through an altogether different path that directly leads towards a community-ownership of all means of production. But that would be only possible if a revolutionary Marxist party crystallises with coming together of Communist splinter groups who still have ideological existence, and all of them relinquish their inhibitions about others, publish a single manifesto based on current realities of India, make a long-term strategy and formulate mid-term plan, educate and unite the oppressed masses without sidestepping the class-caste conundrum. The Marxists have a long way to go. And, for the sake of 90% Indians, they need to embark on the journey afresh.

I would welcome any criticism from readers that is backed by facts and appropriate and correct data analysis. Though I have taken utmost care to present statistics directly from publications by government of India and globally acclaimed institutions, there could still be inadvertent mistakes.

Finally, before ending, I must acknowledge that in many aspects of this lengthy article – the basic hypothesis, and analysis of social-political-economic aspects – my father’s inputs were freely used that he imparted to me during 2006 – 2010 when I used to be informally part of his study-circle.

Reference:

  1. The Cambridge Economic History of India Volume 2
  2. The Corporation that Changed the World by Nick Robins
  3. Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Mughals by A. Maddison

Short profile:

By profession I’m an Engineer and Consultant, but my first love was and is History and Political Science. In retired life, I’m pursuing higher study in Economics.

I’m one of the few decade-old members of The Saker blog-site. Hope that this website will continue to focus on truth and justice in public life and will support the struggle of common people across the world.

A nature-lover since childhood, I’m an Indian by nationality with firm belief in humanity.

يوم إقليميّ دوليّ فاصل: 18 تشرين الأول

ناصر قنديل

خلال العقدين الأولين من القرن الحادي والعشرين، تحوّل المشهد الدولي القائم من جهة، على وجود مشروع سياسي عسكري اقتصادي للقوة الأميركية العظمى التي فازت بنهاية الحرب الباردة مع سقوط جدار برلين وتفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، ومن جهة مقابلة على بدء تبلور ممانعة دولية متعددة المصادر لهذا المشروع من قوى كبرى ومتوسطة، على خلفيات مصالح إقتصادية وإستراتيجية قومية تحت عنوان رفض عالم أحادي القطبية، وشكلت روسيا الجديدة مع الصعود السريع للرئيس فلاديمير بوتين، والصين الجديدة مع الصعود التدريجي للرئيس جين بينغ، لكن إيران التي كانت تتعافى من نتائج وتداعيات الحرب التي شنّها النظام العراقي عليها، كانت تدخل معادلة القرن الجديد من باب واسع، فهي تتوسّط قلب المنطقة الساخنة من العالم، التي ستشهد حروب الزعامة الأميركيّة للقرن، وهي الداعم الرئيسي للمقاومة التي انتصرت بتحرير لبنان عام 2000، وقد بدأت برنامجاً نووياً طموحاً ومشاريع للصناعات العسكرية تحاكي مستويات تقنية عالية، وتشكل خط الاشتباك المتقدّم مع المشروع الأميركي ضمن حلف يتعزز ويتنامى على الضفتين الروسية والصينية، ويحاكي خصوصية أوروبية فشل المشروع الأميركي باحتواء تطلعاتها ومخاوفها.

خلال العقدين الماضيين كان الخط البياني التراجعي للمشروع الأميركي، بعد فشل الحروب الأميركية على العراق وافغانستان وسورية والحروب الإسرائيلية المدعومة أميركياً على لبنان وغزة، تعبيراً ضمنياً عن خط بياني صاعد لموقع ومكانة إيران، التي وقفت بصورة مباشرة وغير مباشرة وراء الفشل الأميركي، وفي قلبه صعود في خلفية الصورة لمكانتي روسيا والصين وتقدم لتمايز أوروبي عن السياسات الأميركية، ويمثل ما كان العام 2015 نقطة تحوّل في السياسة الدولية، مع توقيع الاتفاق الدولي بقيادة أميركية مع إيران على ملفها النووي. كان هذا الاتفاق تسليماً بمكانة إيران الجديدة، دولياً وإقليمياً.

جاء الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق النووي ترجمة لهجوم معاكس يقوده ثلاثي أميركي إسرائيلي خليجي، يقوم على إنكار حقائق المواجهات السابقة، ومحاولة لصياغة معادلات بديلة، وكان عنوان هذا الهجوم على جبهتين، جبهة إقليميّة تشكلت من جهة على ترجمة الحلف الجديد بمشروع إقليميّ حمل اسم صفقة القرن لحل القضية الفلسطينية وعزل إيران عن التأثير بمساراتها، وانتهى بالتطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي من جهة وتوحّد الساحة الفلسطينية كمعني أول بالمواجهة، خلف شعارات المقاومة التي تدعمها إيران. من جهة موازية، كانت الجبهة الثانية دولية تشكلت على خلفية السعي لتعميم نظام العقوبات وصولاً لخنق الاقتصاد الإيراني، وفرض تفاوض جديد بشروط جديدة عليها، وكانت النتيجة من جهة تعاظم الضغوط الناتجة عن العقوبات الأميركيّة القصوى على إيران، ومن جهة موازية عزلة أميركية دولية في فرض منهج العقوبات على إيران، وفشل واسع في الحصول على دعم أمميّ لها، بما تخطى الرفض التقليدي لروسيا والصين لسياسة العقوبات، مع انضمام أوروبا إلى المصوّتين ضد الدعوة الأميركية.

في 18 تشرين الأول عام 2020، يسقط بموجب الاتفاق النووي، الحظر الأممي على السلاح بيعاً وشراء بالنسبة لإيران، بعد محاولات مستميتة فاشلة بذلتها واشنطن لتجديد الحظر، وكان واضحاً ان إيران بذلت جهوداً دبلوماسية معاكسة مع اوروبا تضمنت ضبط إيقاع المواقف الإيرانية من الاتفاق النووي بما يحفظ بقاءه كإطار دبلوماسي قانوني على قيد الحياة، وقد كانت فرصة اللقاء مع وزير الخارجية الإيرانية محمد جواد ظريف في مطلع العام بعد نهاية زيارة مفوض السياسات الخارجية في الاتحاد الأوروبي جوزف بوريل إلى طهران، مناسبة لسماع موقف إيراني عنوانه، انتظروا 18 تشرين، إنه الموعد الفاصل بين مرحلتين، والفوز الإيراني بحلول هذا الموعد وتثبيت حق إيران بسقوط حظر السلاح عنها، سيكون فاتحة مرحلة جديدة نوعيّة، يتقاطع انطلاقها زمنياً من باب الصدفة مع اقتراب الاستحقاق الرئاسي الأميركي.

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

By Ken Leslie for the Saker Blog

The Poglavnik of the East[1]

“I know no way of judging the future but the past.”

Patrick Henry, 1765

“This time, it’s different”

Any gambler bleeding thousands of dollars at a table in Las Vegas

These days we all seem preoccupied with daily events which are taking a turn for the worse. No, not everything is “bad” but only those who are sound asleep do not hear the cold winds of war rattling the windows. My previous essay “Two clicks to midnight” has caused quite a stir with over 20000 views and hundreds of comments. I put it to you that this is not the result of my brilliant writing and analytical skills (I mean this) but the ability to express something that many people keep hidden inside—questions about the true nature of the system in which we live, their inchoate fears and half-buried memories. I believe in the cathartic power of the truth (the way I see it) and it appears that so do many others. This in itself is encouraging because it means that under layers of lies, anxieties, complexes and dogmas, there lies a good human heart capable of love and redemption. Given the current state of the world, this is the only way I know of fighting for a more hopeful tomorrow—warts and all.

Our gracious host has achieved fame (he might disagree!) through a knowledgeable and timely analysis of the Western military-political nexus that is using all its power to destroy Russia and China. His prescient and nuanced assessments of the situation in the “East” have made many of us loyal visitors and contributors to this blog. Now, I can’t hope to offer anything like the military analysis a la Saker of Andrey Martyanov. And that is just as well because they are doing an excellent job. What I can do well is to observe certain historical patterns and try to interpret them in the modern setting. As knowers say, history does not repeat itself but it rhymes. It is these “rhymes” or similarities between historical events that tell us all we need to know about the limited cognitive grasp of the human beings as well as partial predictability of human behaviour. Of course, the complexity of the systems in question precludes any confident claims but nevertheless—past is all we have and we’d better learn how to use its lessons pronto.

Of course, there is danger of overestimating the importance of past events but it is equally dangerous to ignore them. In applied probability, these two types of bias are called “Hot Hand” and “Gambler’s fallacy” and they hamper any analysis of complex events. Yet, as noted by Patrick Henry above, all we have is the past and we’d better study it carefully—if judiciously.[2] And then, there are the emotions—yearning for justice in the face of a blatant injustice and anger at the abandon with which criminal elites hiding behind the holiest of principles have destroyed innocent human lives. After decades if not centuries of demonisation of Russia in all its forms, the time has come to fight back—to turn the light of history on its enemies. As some of you might have noticed, I have focussed almost exclusively on Roman Catholicism at the risk of alienating some readers. This does not mean that evil is the exclusive province of the Vatican but that a large proportion of recent historical tragedies are closely linked with if not caused by it. Given the nature of these tragedies, I intend to explore the nefarious role of this “Official” Christianity in some detail.

In the infernal Encyclopaedia of human beastliness that is kept bound and chained to the gates of Hell there are few events as heart breaking and anger provoking as the War in Vietnam, one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in modern history. “Conflict” is not the right term here. Rather, the Wars in Vietnam which started in 1945 and ended in 1975 represent an archetype of naked criminal aggression and genocide waged by all weapons in the arsenal of the Western “democracy” against an old and proud people which only wanted to see the backs of foreign invaders. 19th Century was very unkind to the peoples of East Asia in that it brought with it an unstoppable surge of Western imperialism greedy for raw materials and cheap labour. The British, the Dutch and finally the French swooped on the rich rubber and timber-growing fields of Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam respectively, crushing any resistance with the aid of modern weapons and advanced political warfare techniques. Although each of these examples deserves in-depth treatment, I wish to devote and dedicate this essay to Vietnam, whose suffering brings tears to any feeling person’s eyes even today 45 years after colonel Ted Serong clambered up the rickety ladder on the roof of the Saigon embassy leaving the long-suffering country in utter ignominy. If you are wondering who this is, you’ll need to wait for part II.

You may ask—why now? There are several reasons. First, historical amnesia is very dangerous and as stated by President Putin, deliberate attempts by those who fought on the side of evil to embellish their role and soothe their ravaged consciences can only bring us closer to another global tragedy. Change is inevitable and needed but not at the expense of the rehabilitation of the worst human instincts and thirst for iniquity. Second, even in the bloody milieu of European colonial conquest, Vietnam stands out as a symbol of martyrdom—in the Christian sense, despite or because most crimes against the Vietnamese people were committed in the name of a Church which calls itself the only true Christian faith. Third, obsessed by Eurocentrism, we tend to forget that lives and struggles of other peoples are equally as important. Finally, the topic I shall focus on is highly relevant in the modern era of limited and “targeted” military and paramilitary operations underpinned by a vast human and electronic intelligence apparatus and the largest military in the world. There are a lot of parallels between what happened in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1973 and more recent US-sponsored or executed crimes in different parts of the world.

Although I’d love to expound, this is not the place to retell the story of the tragedy of Vietnam which began with a mid-19th Century scouting expedition by several French Jesuits on behalf of French capital. Their demise at the hands of Vietnamese patriots served as a pretext for what Wikipedia describes as follows: “Vietnam’s sovereignty was gradually eroded by France, which was aided by the Spanish and large Catholic militias in a series of military conquests between 1859 and 1885.”[3] Although the Vietnamese fought bravely against the legions of newly-converted “rice Christians”, they could not withstand the onslaught of one of the premiere imperial powers of the day.[4] After a couple of decades of resolute resistance, the kingdom of Vietnam became another French colony to be exploited and visited by adventurers.

In their obsession with the hard-nosed “it’s all about the money” agenda, many seem to ignore the fact that the conquest of a people requires the destruction and erasure of their spiritual and cultural identity. While money is of paramount importance, it is useless if the people resisting are aware of their history and culture. This allows them to draw from deep wells of history and replenish their strength. Very often, they come out victorious in the end. The strategists of the global spiritual conquest in the Vatican have been well aware of the power of religion as a weapon to be wielded against indigenous cultures. The psychology of religious conversion is a fascinating psychological topic which deserves a separate article. Once a person converts (for personal gain or under duress), he or she becomes isolated from or ostracised by their family and wider community. Exposed to the opprobrium and shame, the new convert turns to his new family—priests and laymen who are masters at leveraging the sense of guilt and anger. This is combined with the “carrot”—the convert is told that they are special because they belong to the “true” faith. They are initiated within the new ingroup and are soon ready to turn their anger against their former friends and kin.[5]

In Vietnam, this spiritual war (which for me is the most pernicious and least explored form of aggression) resulted in the formation of a class of Vietnamese Catholic converts who struggled to reconcile their origins with a foreign religion and culture to which they were now irrevocably bound. These people became members of a nascent Vietnamese middle class whose ambition to better themselves involved supporting the French occupation and generally renouncing their Buddhist heritage. They often received a French education and tried to emulate French culture and mores. The ones who excelled were employed as low-level bureaucrats or officers. This soon brought them into conflict with those Vietnamese who saw French presence and religious encroachment for what it really was—a brazen attempt to behead the Vietnamese civilisation (which owes a lot to China) and replace it with a docile population of useful “supplétifs”, that is, deracinated aboriginals who are given just enough incentives to keep them in check. The hatred of their community would do the rest.

The ignominious defeat of the French state in 1940 was momentous for France’s colonies which soon had to decide between Petain’s Vichy and De Gaulle’s Cross of Lorraine. That same year, the seemingly unstoppable Japanese Imperial Army occupied the French Indo-China and hammered out a pragmatic agreement with the Vichy colonial government which allowed the latter to continue governing the colony with the Japanese taking on a largely overseeing role. Needless to say, the fruits of the colonial plunder started travelling due East resulting in deadly famines and the birth of a movement of Vietnamese patriots who were guided by (but never subservient to) the precepts of Marxism-Leninism.[6] This cell of exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to the struggle for freedom having spent (cumulatively) over 300 years in French prisons were led by the most exceptional of their number—one Nguyễn Sinh Cung better known as Ho Chi Minh. A tireless revolutionary, socialist, humanist and fighter against oppression, Ho had led an incredible life of adventure, adversity and reincarnation. After being largely side-lined for most of his political life, Ho grabbed the moment in 1944, when he and his comrades organised and led the indigenous guerrilla resistance to Japanese occupation. The name of the movement for the liberation of Vietnam became world-famous as the Viet Minh.

Following the war, Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam in August 1945. He was keen to enlist the help of the United States whose anticolonialism under Roosevelt offered hope to many liberation movements. However, with the death of FDR, the US foreign policy doctrine experienced a U turn. Instead of continuing their assistance to Ho provided by the OSS in the fight against the Japanese, the newly-hatched American Empire decided to defend the colonial status quo on the pretext of fighting communism. Although exhausted and shamed by its wartime record, France reneged on any promises made by the pre-war Blum government and decided to restore its colonial empire in the hope that the false grandeur of pith helmets and white dress shoes would constitute a sufficient recompense for being a willing partner of Hitler’s own empire just a year earlier (resistance excepted).

To cut a long story short, after eight years of bloody struggle, the Vietminh succeeded in liberating their country following a brilliant victory at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. This gave rise to an international conference at which the USSR and China convinced Ho to agree to a temporary partition and a unification following a “free and fair” election in 1956. There was some anger at the time at the role Ho’s two mentors played but their reticence was understandable given the current political and economic situation as well as the hawkishness of the US foreign policy apparatus. Nevertheless, this was the crucial point in the evolution of Vietnamese Golgotha because the names of Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap became household names overnight—the great heroes of the liberation struggle—so much so that even the Americans knew that were an election to take place, the Viet Minh would take the vast majority of votes. This was absolutely unacceptable to warmongering criminals the Dulles brothers and their minions. A free Vietnam friendly to China and the USSR was a nightmare which called for a nightmarish solution. The first task for the dark cabal was to find somebody who could rival Ho as a figure of national prominence and significance. This was impossible in principle because most prominent Vietnamese politicians (including the emperor Bao Dai) were in France’s employ and the people of Vietnam at that point would rather eat raw nettles than countenance another French puppet ruling over them. However, everything was not lost.

In one of many Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States, an austere, celibate Vietnamese man, short in stature but full of noblesse oblige was waiting to be interviewed by one of the leading RC politicians of the era, Senator Michael Mansfield. Diem had left Vietnam in 1950 ostensibly to take part in a Vatican celebration but in reality, to lobby for the RC takeover of Vietnam under his family. Diem’s reputation as a nationalist who equally opposed the French and the Vietminh was played up for the media.[7] What was kept in the background was that Diem was a scion of the most powerful RC family in Vietnam as well as the fact that he had collaborated with the Japanese during the war. One of his brothers, Bishop Ngô Đình Thục was one of the most senior RC clerics in Vietnam and the co-ordinator of the takeover of this largely Buddhist country. Having been vetted by “Hitler’s Pope” Pius XII, Diem immediately acquired access to various offices discretely tucked away inside the massive brownstone buildings of Georgetown in which the fate of Vietnam was being decided at that very moment.[8] Having received the necessary instructions from his Padron in Rome, the ultra-powerful Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Francis Spellman put into motion a process that would result in one of the greatest instances of unprovoked carnage in history.

Diem’s religious zealotry and hatred of Buddhism made him an immediate hit with the Roman Catholic elites in the USA who yearned to redeem the catastrophic “loss of China” to the Communists. Immediately, a “Vietnamese Lobby” was formed consisting of some of the most prominent and influential Roman Catholic personalities on the US scene including Cardinal Spellman, Joseph and John Kennedy, judge William O. Douglass, senator Mike Mansfield and many others. Needless to say, Diem was favoured by the Dulles brothers who would play a crucial role in the formation of his semi-secret system of oppression. Under their tutelage and boosted by American money, the hitherto unknown Catholic zealot would turn Vietnam into a bulwark of anti-Communism modelled on fascist Catholic satrapies such as Spain, Croatia and Slovakia. It did not matter that Diem was almost completely unknown to the people or that up to 90% of Vietnamese population was Buddhist. These inconvenient facts would be overcome by enthusiastic CIA engineers of chaos whose task was to ensure Diem’s rule at all costs.

What happened after this is generally well known. With the help of the CIA man Edward Lansdale, Diem crushed his opponents and became president of Vietnam after a 98.2% victory in a sham election. Soon after, he instituted a reign of terror primarily targeted against Buddhists, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects as well as members of the Viet Minh who had remained in South Vietnam after the partition. On the instigation of his American bosses, he reneged on the promise of reunification and in order to strengthen his shaky hold on power organised a massive transfer of Roman Catholics from North to South Vietnam. Despite the North’s leniency towards their religion, many fell for the expensive and effective propaganda campaign funded by various US Catholic Charities and the CIA. “Virgin has gone to the South” was a potent call for hundreds of thousands of Catholic believers to leave their ancestral homes and start afresh in the newly born Civitas Dei.[9]

This unprecedented demographic shift had a twofold effect: it strengthened Diem’s popular base with Northern Catholics being vastly over-represented in his oppressive apparatus including military, intelligence, police as well as countless Catholic militias strewn around South Vietnam (e.g. Father Nguyen Lạc Hoa’s “Sea Swallows).[10] On the other hand, the population movement increased the political homogeneity of the North making its preparations for a war of liberation easier. Here is a quote from a research essay by Peter Hansen: “Jean Lacouture, for example, suggested that Ngô Đinh Diệm deliberately created a “ring of steel” by strategically placing settlements of loyalist Bắc Di Cư around Sài Gòn to protect himself both from communists and from potential enemies within the RVN: ‘As a result, surrounded by fortifications turning them into strategic hamlets, some villages filled with refugees formed a sort of a belt surrounding Saigon; it was as though the beleaguered [Ngô Đinh Diệm] regime wanted to fortify its capital with an iron guard composed of those people most hostile to communism and most violently attached to militant Catholicism.’”[11]

By 1955 everything was in place. The influx of American military and academic advisers, law-enforcement officials and economic experts gave Diem an ostensibly modern system of state repression together with his own FBI, special units, a plethora of secret services and even his own political party (Can Lao, a child of his brother Nhu’s political ambitions) which underpinned the regime’s security through the infiltration by its members into all important institutions. Diem’s secret police was headed by Dr Tran Kim Tuyen, a Catholic who excelled at cruelty and pro-regime zeal. The signal was given for an all-out campaign of anti-Buddhist and anti-left terror. Tens of thousands of innocent Buddhists were imprisoned in animal-like cages or killed by Diem’s assassination squads (akin to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen).

Like in Croatia, whole villages converted to Catholicism in order to avoid imprisonment, torture and death.[12] Hundreds of thousands were relocated into American-funded Potemkin villages called Agrovilles which were supposed to disrupt the traditional patterns of village life deemed unfriendly to the ways of the Catholic puppet Poglavnik. The terror reached its peak in 1958 and 1959. Hitherto dormant on the orders of the Hanoi government, the surviving remnants of the Vietminh started to organise and offer minimal resistance to the crazed crusader. The signal from the North to transition to armed struggle was issued with great reluctance—only after the vast majority of old and experienced cadres was eliminated by Diem’s death squads and there was a serious risk of a rebellion against the Socialist Lao Dong party by the disgruntled activists in the south.

Despite his best (worst) efforts, Diem could never overcome the ultimate barrier which separated him from the people of Vietnam—his religion. He always viewed his role as that of a Roman Catholic autocrat who holds the power of life and death over his flock. Like most religious transplants, he did not appreciate the deep animistic, Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist roots of the ancient Vietnamese civilisation. He did try to emulate these superficially for the sake of appearance but ultimately failed. He even emulated Pavelic and his successors by trying to create a congregation of “loyal” Buddhists who would support his anti-Buddhist crusade.[13] Nevertheless, for a short time, Diem was lionised by his masters in Washington as… oh, think of something… George Washington of Asia who stood alone in his deadly struggle against “Communist oppression”!. The honeymoon might have lasted longer but for the rapaciousness and zealotry of Diem, his family and his regime enforcers. The rumours of the nation-wide killing spree which had resulted in a large number of dead, imprisoned, dislocated and dispossessed non-Catholics started to reach the pricked ears of the Western media. No amount of slick propaganda could hide the horrors of Diem’s torture chambers and death squads (shades of Papa Doc Duvalier and his Ton Ton Macoutes). Not only did Diem antagonise the absolute majority of Vietnamese people including many hitherto loyal Catholics, but his masters in Washington were starting to get alarmed—similar to the German and Italian unease with the genocidal rage of Pavelic’s Ustashe whose cruelty threatened to upset Hitler’s European apple cart.

John F. Kennedy who had by then replaced an aging Eisenhower was faced with a serious problem. As a loyal Roman Catholic and a protégé of Cardinal Spellman, he was a passionate supporter of Diem and his Independent Croatia on the Mekong. As a young senator, Kennedy owed the support of his (mainly Irish Catholic) Boston constituents who were clamouring for a war against the USSR to his rabidly anti-Soviet and anti-communist pronouncements. Once he reached the top spot, he had to face some hard truths: First, Roman Catholics were still a minority in the USA and he had to moderate his inclinations and instincts in order to appeal to the majority. Second, the instability of South Vietnam caused by Diem’s persecution of the Buddhists (large-scale resistance started only in 1961) was threatening America’s wider interests in South-East Asia. Until the very last moment, he procrastinated. Removing Diem would not only end Spellman’s dream of a Catholic Vietnam but Kennedy would have to betray all that he held dear.

To assuage his guilt, he decided to revamp the war strategy in order to bolster Diem’s regime. First, he ordered a large increase in the number of “military advisers” who by now were taking an active part in the fighting. Second, following the doctrine outlined by General Maxwell Taylor, Kennedy placed the accent on the role of the special forces—specially trained paramilitary units used for targeted attacks, sabotage, training various collaborationist forces and assassination. The so-called Green Berets have their origins in the darkest days of the Cold War when the 10th Special Forces Group was placed in Germany in order to create an elite stay-behind army. The Lodge-Philbin act ensured that large numbers of East European Catholics, many of them with strong Nazi inclinations, received the green headgear and later proved their “mettle” in Vietnam.[14]

Kennedy’s efforts proved in vain. The elan and fighting spirit of the Viet Minh (now called Viet Cong by its enemies) could not be matched even by the heavily armed and US-assisted South Vietnamese ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam). Helicopters and fighter-bombers flown by American officers and large-calibre artillery were largely helpless against a lithe and mobile guerrilla force motivated by patriotism and belief in a better future. The most egregious example of the impotence of Diem’s military and their US advisers was the battle of Ap Bac which took place in early 1963 and was described in great detail by Neil Sheehan in his famous book.[15] The defeat of Diem’s army and the US strategy reverberated far and wide. But this was only a side issue. By the spring of 1963, the Buddhists of Vietnam had had enough. Having failed to stop Diem’s terror through protest and civil disobedience, they resorted to the ultimate weapon of non-violent religions—public suicide.

A number of monks and nuns burned to death in city centres in full view of foreign news cameramen. Diem’s obduracy and unwillingness to heed the protest convinced many in the United States that Diem was beyond salvation (pun not intended) and that America’s interest would be better served by somebody else. The two quarrelling factions bickered for months until the newly-appointed ambassador to Saigon, Henry Cabot Lodge (a protestant and a political rival of the Kennedys) started organising a coup. Diem and his brother Nhu were aware of America’s deadly grudge and tried at the last minute to start negotiations with the North Vietnamese government. But time had run out. The ever-loyal Kennedy had to accept his advisers’ recommendation and OK the removal of the would-be Catholic emperor of the East. This was executed by a junta of non-Catholic generals with a little help from an experienced CIA agent of French extraction, Lucien Conein.

Diem was overthrown soon and after an adventurous escape attempt ruthlessly killed, together with his brother while on his way to surrendering to the new government. When he heard the news, Kennedy was genuinely distraught and bereaved. Clearly, his emotions had nothing to do with the fight against communism in which Diem had been failing terribly, and everything to do with the fact that he himself was responsible for the murder of the last openly Catholic leader in Asia. Only three weeks later, he, the first Catholic leader of America would meet the same fate.

The early hope that a less repressive regime in Saigon would motivate the people to turn against the Viet Cong proved empty. Disaster after disaster followed with the guerrillas strengthened by infiltrators from the North Vietnam destroying large ARVN units without suffering major losses. Indeed, the Buddhists were not as good as Diem at killing “commies” and after a couple of years of chaos, the chastened and worried US empire decided to up the ante. The new strategy was two pronged. On the one hand, the old Catholic hands had to be quietly reactivated in order to form a “patriotic” core within the government and the army and second, the fighting would have to be done by the Americans.

By 1964, the stage was set for a drawn-out and bloody denouement of Vietnam’s struggle for freedom and independence. In its attempt to crush the Vietnamese resistance, the Americans employed every weapon and killing technique known to (in)humanity. Having laid out the broad historical context, in part II of this essay I shall analyse the strategy behind and impact of one of the most horrifying weapons wielded in an already horrific war—the Phoenix Programme.

  1. “Poglavnik” was the official title (meaning the Head or Leader) of Ante Pavelic, the leader of one of the bloodiest regimes in modern history—The Independent State of Croatia. 
  2. Another analogy is the distinction between a person suffering from delusions seeing connections and references everywhere (which does not necessarily mean they don’t exist) and another person with amnesia who is incapable of learning from past experiences. 
  3. This is not quite correct. The Jesuit infiltration into Vietnam began much earlier. The fact that these early “explorers” happened to be Portuguese is relevant for what is to follow. Numerous Catholic militias existed well into the 1960s and were an inextricable part of the French and American war efforts. They are also mentioned in Grahame Green’s “The Quiet American”. 
  4. There are close parallels between the Vietnamese struggle and the Chinese Boxer rebellion which was also triggered by the excesses of the (mainly RC) missionaries. 
  5. Please remember this bit because it is directly related to the topic of the essay. Also, what I describe here has been the modus operandi not only of the right wing of the Roman Catholicism but also many militant schools of Sunni Islam. 
  6. An excellent analysis of Vietnamese communism can be found in Gabriel Kolko’s “Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience”. 
  7. That this was total nonsense became clear when Diem started to arrest, kill and torture anyone who had fought against the French. 
  8. This refers to the book by John Cornwell: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. 
  9. The personal accounts by Catholic refugees largely fail to mention Lansdale (who might have been inflating his own role) and ascribe the decision to move to the local clergy—disciplined soldiers of the Vatican. 
  10. JFK was particularly impressed by Father Hoa and his fiery anticommunism. 
  11. Hansen, P. (2009). Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 4, Issue 3, pps. 173–211. 
  12. Exactly the same thing happened in the Independent State of Croatia. 
  13. From “Vietnam: Why did We Go?” by Avro Manhattan: “Before engaging upon a thorough persecution against the Buddhists, President Diem attempted to form a body of Buddhists who would support his policies of coordination and integration.” 
  14. See William Simpson’s “Blowback” for a detailed account of this infamous episode. 
  15. The book “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam” is an excellent if sanitised source of facts on the American strategy in Vietnam. One just needs to fill in the gaps with executions, secret torture chambers and other CIA special desserts. 

Naqqash: I predict US civil war after 2020 Presidential Election

Source

October 14, 2020

Iran TV host admits to Tehran's attempts to assassinate regime opponents  abroad | Al Arabiya English

In a recent interview with Syrian television, senior Lebanese political analyst Anees Naqqash says that he predicts that an American ‘civil war’ will ensue from the 2020 US presidential election on November 3, regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses the election.

Source: Syrian Al-Akhbariya, via the ‘Kalam Siyasi’ YouTube channel

Date: October 11, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript:

Naqqash:

Today, if we want to talk about America, we cannot confine our discussion (to America’s situation) in eastern Syria and Iraq, rather, we need to talk about America (as a power) within America (itself). What is the situation of America in America?

I’m one of those who are predicting – following the US elections – the outbreak of widespread chaos in America, to such an extent that it may lead to (the United States) becoming a failed state. Meaning that things will get out of control to such an extent that (Americans) will not be able to identify who is actually (president); they won’t be able to have central decision-making; there will be rebel states; and there is a high possibility that a civil war will ensue.

However, (what is more confidently anticipated is that) violence will become prevalent, and some of the states will rebel against federalism and the federal government in Washington. As for Washington represented by the figure of Trump, it will not accept the election results, in case Trump fails in the elections.

Host:

What do you predict (will happen)?

Naqqash:

I personally predict a civil war. (I base this prediction upon the available) statistics, studies, and my (long-running) observation of the dynamics (of the United States).

Host:

Will a civil war break out due to the re-election of Donald Trump or due to his failure to be re-elected to the White House?

Naqqash:

In both cases. The severe ideological, ethnic, intellectual, social and economic polarisation between the very wealthy classes (and the poor) – it is embarrassing to use this term ‘class’ even, because when you have only 10% of Americans possessing 88% of (America’s) wealth, this is no longer a class, this is (more accurately understood) as an “elite” (group) that is holding onto all of (America’s) wealth, this while the poverty of other (Americans) worsens day by day.

There is a critical situation in the United States, till now gone unnoticed to many in the world, because they continue to see (America) as this invincible power that cannot fall. Yet, the Soviet Union was like (the US today) and we all saw how it collapsed. All empires collapse suddenly because they have been (critically) damaged from the inside.

I predict we’ll see violence (in the US). So far, Trump hints that (he will deem) the election “rigged” if he loses. Meanwhile, (opponents) say that if Trump wins again the coming years will witness the destruction of America. There are Democratic states that cannot bear to be ruled by Trump for another four years. They cannot bear it.

During the Corona (pandemic), these (states) began to disobey and rebel against Trump. How could they bear a second term of Trump, especially if this causes their destruction? They cannot bear (another 4 years of Trump), neither culturally, nor economically, nor politically.  

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هل الثورة مقبلة إلى الولايات المتحدة؟ المقارنة مع روسيا

زياد حافظ

في سلسلة من المقالات والأبحاث المعمّقة أشرنا إلى تعاظم الاحتمال لانهيار داخلي في الولايات المتحدة. تسارع الأحداث في شوارع المدن الأميركية والانفلات الإعلامي في الفضاء السياسي والفوضى في الحوار التصادمي بين مكوّنات المجتمع الأميركي، فكلّ ذلك ينذر بأنّ شيئاً ما سيحدث قريباً. في مقال مثير للباحثة هيلين اندروز على موقع «الأميركان كونسرفاتيف» (الأميركي المحافظ) كتبت في مطلع هذا الشهر أنّ المناخ السائد في الولايات المتحدة يشبه المناخ الروسي سنة 1917. أن يصدر كلام من هذا النوع في الولايات المتحدة أمر لافت للنظر ولكن أن يصدر من موقع محافظ فهو دليل على خطورة الوضع الداخلي.

اعتبرت الباحثة انّ عام 2020 عام التدحرج نحو مناخات 1917 ذلك رغم الإنذارات المتكرّرة منذ الستينات في القرن الماضي والتي شهدت أعمال عنف وتمرّداً من قبل الشباب. لكن تلك الإنذارات لم تترجم إلى عمل يقود إلى الثورة ما جعل النخب ترتاح أن «الثورة» لن تحدث في بلد كالولايات المتحدة. لكن ما يحدث اليوم قد يكون مختلفاً عما حدث في الستينات من حركات احتجاجية لم تؤدّ إلى التغيير المطلوب آنذاك. وتسترسل الباحثة في سرد المناخ القائم في 1917 في روسيا مع ما يحدث اليوم في الولايات المتحدة. لكن «الثورة» المقبلة قد تكون مختلفة عن الثورات في العالم التي تريد التغيير. فهي «ثورة» تريد تثبيت الأمر الواقع وتقوم بحركة مناهضة لأيّ تغيير!

فحركة المقاومة في الولايات المتحدة (نعم هناك حركة اسمها المقاومة تهدف إلى خلع الرئيس الأميركي) تقول بوضوح إنها لن تقبل إعادة انتخاب ترامب في 2020 كما رفضتها في 2016. فالرئيس الأميركي كان ظاهرة تتمرّد على التوازنات القائمة وبالتالي حاولت تلك «المقاومة» الإطاحة بترامب عبر فضيحة «روسيا غيت» أيّ التدخل الروسي المزعوم في الانتخابات سنة 2016. ويعتبر الكاتب والأستاذ الجامعي مايكل ريكتنوالد أنّ الجبهة العريضة المعادية لترامب والتي تسعى الإطاحة به بأيّ وسيلة ممكنة مؤلّفة من ماكينة الحزب الديمقراطي، الديمقراطيين الأوفياء، المعادين لترامب من داخل الحزب الجمهوري تحت يافطة «أبداً لا لترامب» منهم من المحافظين الجدد كـ وليام كريستول ودوغلاس فيث، والدولة العميقة المؤلّفة من الجهاز البيروقراطي والمؤسسات الأمنية والمجمع العسكري الصناعي والمالي، ثم مجمل الإعلام الشركاتي المهيمن باستثناء بعض الجزر الصغيرة المستقلّة، وحركة «انتيفا»، وحركة «بي أل أم» (حياة السود مهمّة) المموّلة من الشركات الكبرى المالية والمعلوماتية على حدّ سواء. هذا التحالف يعيش وفقاً للكاتب في عالم موازي بعيداً عن هموم المواطنين الأميركيين العاديين ولا يريد التغيير. الاحتجاج ضدّ العنصرية «مقبول» من قبل الدولة العميقة طالما لا يمسّ بالمعادلات الاقتصادية والمالية القائمة.

وما يزيد من قلق المراقبين هو تباشير عن إمكانية تدخّل القوّات المسلّحة الأميركية حلبة الصراع القائم لصالح القوى المناهضة لترامب ما يزيد في وتيرة البارانويا في صفوف الجبهة الأخرى. ويعتبر الباحث أنّ تصريحات وزير الدفاع السابق في إدارة ترامب جون ماتيس حول ضرورة اقتلاع كلّ من لا يحترم الدستور تحذيراً لترامب. كما أنّ رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة انتقد الرئيس عندما أراد الأخير زجّ الجيش في قمع المظاهرات الاحتجاجية ضدّ العنصرية. ويُضاف إلى ذلك ضلوع مدير مكتب التحقيق الاتحادي السابق جيمس كومي في تبنّيه لملفّ مزوّر من أحد العاملين في وكالة الاستخبارات حول تورّط الرئيس الأميركي مع روسيا خلال الحملة فيضيف إلى مصداقية التهم التي يوجّهها ترامب وأنصاره إلى تواطؤ الأجهزة الأمنية في محاولات الإطاحة به. فالإيحاء بأنّ القوّات المسلّحة ومختلف الأجهزة الأمنية تنظر بعين الرضى لمشاريع الإطاحة بترامب جعلت المرشّحة السابقة هيلاري كلنتون تحثّ جوزيف بايدن على عدم القبول بالهزيمة فيما لو فاز ترامب في تشرين الثاني.

في المقابل يعمل أنصار ترامب، مع أنهم لا يحظون بتأييد الإعلام المهيمن، على نبش كلّ الفضائح التي تعود إلى المرشح بايدن ونجله هنتر. الاعلام المهيمن إما يتجاهل عمداً الاتهامات الموجّهة ضدّ فساد جوزيف بايدن ونجله أو يستحفّ بمصداقيتها. ونذكر أيضاً تصريحات وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو حول عزمه لنشر الرسائل السرّية لهيلاري كلينتون تثبت تورّطها في فضائح عديدة وذلك خلال الأيام المقبلة قبل موعد الانتخابات. كما أنّ الحركات اليمينية المتطرّفة والعنصرية البيضاء تساهم في استمرار موجة الكراهية السائدة في البلاد. فالحقد والكراهية بين الفريقين المتنافسين يأخذ أبعاد خطرة للغاية حيث إمكانية التفاهم أصبحت شبه معدومة وأنّ الفصل قد يكون في الشارع.

أما الباحث الأميركي الذي يكتب تحت اسم جون كوينسي آدامز، وهو اسم مستعار للرئيس السادس للولايات المتحدة وهو ابن جون آدامز الرئيس الثاني وأحد مؤسّسي الدولة الأميركية، فيعتبر أنّ الولايات المتحدة «انتهت» كما كتب في مقال في موقع «استراتيجيك أند كلتشر فونداشين» (موقع مؤسسة الاسترتيجيا والثقافة) وذلك في 25 أيلول/ سبتمبر 2020. ويقيم مقارنة بين واقع الحال في الولايات المتحدة وواقع الحال في روسيا قيل عشرين سنة.

النقطة الأولى تعتبر أنّ من يتحكّم بالقرار في الولايات المتحدة الآن هي الاوليغارشية المالية التي لم تساهم في بناء الجسور والطرقات والمرافق العامة ومجمل البنى التحتية والقاعدة الصناعية والزراعية. بل هي مجموعة من مضاربين ماليين في معظمهم. في المقابل فإنّ الاوليغارشية التي لم تبن أيضاً أيّ شيء في روسيا بل استفادت من التفكك والفساد لبناء ثروات طائلة وتحكّمت بروسيا بعد تفكيك الاتحاد السوفياتي تضاءل نفوذها بشكل ملحوظ مع صعود الرئيس بوتين.

النقطة الثانية هي أنّ الثقة في الدولة تتزايد يوماً بعد يوم في روسيا بينما تتراجع بشكل سريع في الولايات المتحدة. معظم الروس يعتبرون السياسيين من اللصوص والنصّابين إلخ… في المقابل تشير استطلاعات الرأي العام في الولايات المتحدة ازدياد حالة القرف من السياسيين ومن الحكومة والدولة. فثقة الأميركيين بالدولة تراجعت بسبب عدم الشفافية (69 بالمائة) كما أنّ العلاقات والخطاب السياسي فقد الحدّ الأدنى من اللباقة والتهذيب (72 يالمائة).

النقطة الثالثة هي تراجع الكفاءة والقدرة العسكرية الأميركية بينما تتصاعد بشكل ملحوظ في روسيا. أشرنا في مقالات سابقة إلى عدم الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية وذلك على لسان رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة وتقارير مراكز الأبحاث. كما أنّ الإخفاقات في الميدان ظهرت للجميع، سابقاً في فيتنام، وحالياً في أفغانستان والعراق. كما أنّ نوعية التسليح الروسي أفضل وأقلّ كلفة من التسليح الأميركي وخاصة في السلاح الكاسر للتوازن.

النقطة الرابعة هي أنّ الولايات تنفق الكثير على التسليح ومعظمه يذهب هدراً بينما روسيا أكثر ترشيداً ورشاقة في نفقاتها العسكرية. فروسيا تحرص على عدم تحويل وارداتها إلى التسلّح مستفيدة من تجربة الماضي في سباق التسلّح الذي أدّى إلى انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي. التركيز هو على السلاح النوعي والأقلّ كلفة. لذلك نرى تزايد في الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي وتراجع في الإنفاق العسكري الروسي.

النقطة الخامسة هي أنّ كلّ من روسيا والولايات المتحدة تشهد تراجعاً ملحوظاً في معدّلات الولادة. فخلال العقد الماضي تراجع عدد السكان في روسيا بنسبة مليون بسبب انخفاض معدّلات الولادة وتزايد معدّلات الوفيات بسبب الكحول. وإذا استمرّت الحال فإنّ روسيا قد تخسر ثلث عدد سكّانها الـ 146 مليون في عام 2050. في المقابل فالولايات المتحدة تواجه تراجعاً في الولادة وتزايداً في الوفيات بسبب المخدّرات والإقبال على الانتحار. لكن الإحصاءات الأخيرة تشير إلى أنه تمّ تثبيت معدّلات الولادة في روسيا بينما عدد السكان في الولايات المتحدة يتراجع. وهنا تكمن المشكلة لأنّ الحلّ في تثبيت عدد السكّان لن يأتي إلاّ عبر الهجرة. والهجرة يعني تغييراً كبيراً في نسبة المكوّنات العرقية في الولايات المتحدة وما يرافق ذلك من تغيير في الثقافة والقيم والتي تصطدم مع الموجة العنصرية المتفشية في الولايات المتحدة.

كلّ ذلك يدّل على أنّ الوضع في روسيا أكثر استقرار مما هو عليه في الولايات المتحدة وأنّ الأخيرة في طريقها إلى الانهيار الداخلي إنْ لم تصحُ النخب على الواقع وتقوم بالإجراءات الجذرية اللازمة. لكن ما نشهده في هذه الأيام هو تأجيج متزايد نحو مواجهة في الداخل الأميركي خارج إطار المؤسسات بسبب موقف «المقاومة» للتغيير وموقف من يريد التغيير وإنْ لم تكن ملامح التغيير المطلوب واضحة. وهذا ما يزيد خطورة في الوضع لأنّ غياب هدف مشترك ينذر بالتفتّت والانشقاق.

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*كاتب وباحث اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

أميركا تستجدي وقف العمليات ضدها في العراق.. هل تبحث عن كسب الوقت؟

المصدر: الميادين 12

تشرين اول 00:10

تبحث الإدارة الأميركية عن تهدئة في المناطق التي تحتلها قواتها، ولا سيما في العراق تجنباً لما ينغص على ترامب رهاناته الانتخابية، وقد وصل الأمر حد استجداء وقف العمليات، فهل ستشهد مرحلة ما بعد الانتخابات تصعيداً ضد الأميركيين في المنطقة؟

“فلترحل القوات الأجنبية طوعاً أو كرهاً” بذلك حسم العراقيون موقفهم سياسياً.. ومن بعد بالسلاح

تقر القوانين الدولية والأعراف، وتجمع الدساتير المحلية، على حق أي شعب بمقاومة الاحتلال. وفي التاريخ شواهد على أن الاحتلال مهما تجبر، فإنه لا يدوم. وتثبت التجارب أن القوة وحدها السبيل إلى ضمان الحرية وصون الكرامة.

“فلترحل القوات الأجنبية طوعاً أو كرهاً”، بذلك حسم العراقيون موقفهم سياسياً، ومن بعد بالسلاح.

لا فرق عند المقاومة العراقية أن يحدث انسحاب أميركي كامل بين رئاستين أو في حال استمرار الرئاسة الأميركية الحالية، فلا بديل أمام الأميركيين إلا جدولة انسحابهم بشكل واضح ودونه تصعيد في القتال.

لكننا قلما نسمع عن احتلال يستجدي المقاومة عدم استهداف جنوده حتى ينسحبوا، كحال الاحتلال الأميركي للعراق، وفقاً لما كشفه الناطق باسم كتائب حزب الله العراق للميادين.

من اللافت أن ترسل أميركا برسائل استجداء للمقاومة العراقية تناشدها وقف عملياتها ضد القوات الأميركية، خطوة أبلغتها الميادين على لسان المتحدث باسم كتائب حزب الله العراق محمد محيي، فبعد أن تمادى الاحتلال في جرائمه، وبعد طلب رسمي نيابي وحكومي بخروج القوات الأجنية من العراق، كان الحل الرد على المماطلة، عسكرياً.

مشاريع الأميركي وخططه فشلت في أفغانستان والعراق وسوريا، وبات أمام خيارين الانسحاب طواعية أو الانسحاب بالقوة.

قد يكون تكتيكاً من الرئيس الأميركي الذي يريد استخدام التهدئة كورقة انتخابية، وقد ينسحب الأمر على سوريا إذ تخاطب واشنطن الحكومة السورية خطاباً دبلوماسياً، فتدعوها إلى اتخاذ إجراءات لمكافحة الحرائق حماية للأرواح.

وفي غزل متبادل، تشيد طالبان بالرئيس الأميركي وتبرق بأمنياتها أن يكون الفوز من نصيبه، ما يثير تساؤلات حول ذاك الخطاب إن كان بناء على طلب من إدارته.

تبدو أميركا في انقطاع كامل عما يحدث في العالم، فصمتها ميزة رافقت حرب القوقاز رغم تداخل المصالح وتضاربها إقليمياً ودولياً، وأهمية المنطقة استراتيجياً، فهل تحاول إدارة ترامب إيهام الناخبين بنجاحات دبلوماسية في بؤر عديدة للتوتر؟ 

يؤكد الباحث السياسي والاستراتيجي، ريتشارد ويتز، أن “واشنطن ترغب بوقف الهجمات ضدها في العراق”، لافتاً إلى أن “واشنطن تعزل نفسها عن الازمات الخارجية حتى لا تلحق أي ضرر بالانتخابات”.

وقال ويتز للميادين، إن “الانسحاب الأميركي لن يتم خلال شهر أو اثنين لكن هو أمر تريده واشنطن”، مشيراً إلى أن “التطورات الميدانية والسياسية في العراق أدت الى تراجع النفوذ الأميركي هناك”.

من جهته، الباحث في مركز الهدف للدراسات، كاظم الحاج، يقول إن “المشروع الأميركي في العراق على وشك الانهيار، وقرار الشعب العراقي سيسرع ذلك”.

وأضاف الحاج للميادين، أن “الشعب العراقي لا يهتم من هو رئيس أميركا، وقرار إخراج القوات الأميركية لا رجعة فيه”، مؤكداً أن “مؤشر محور المقاومة ماض في اتجاه صحيح بافشال المشروع الأميركي في المنطقة”.

الحاج أوضح أن “في العلاقة بين طالبان وواشنطن تبادل منفعة ومصالح”، لافتاً إلى أن “أحلام الأميركيين في المنطقة تم دفنها عام 2006 بعد هزيمة إسرائيل في لبنان”.

 وقال إن “دول محور المقاومة واعية لما يخطط له الأميركي في المنطقة”، معتبراً “الإرادة والشجاعة لدى محور المقاومة ستنهي الأحلام الأميركية في المنطقة”.

وشدد الحاج على أن “الوكيل الأميركي في المنطقة أوهن من بيت العنكبوت”، منوهاً إلى أن “لا الوكيل الإسرائيلي ولا الأصيل الأميركي يستطيع فرض أي شيء على شعوب المنطقة”.

بدوره، الكاتب والمحلل السياسي، مهند الضاهر، قال إن “ما يفكر به ترامب حالياً ليس الانسحاب بل الفوز بالانتخابات”.

وأضاف الضاهر للميادين، أن “المشروع الأميركي وصل إلى مرحلة الانحسار في المنطقة”، مشيراً إلى أن “لغة السفارة الأميركية في دمشق تجاه سوريا ليست لغة دبلوماسية”.

الضاهر اعتبر أن “الأميركي يبحث عن المزيد من الفوضى في سياسته في المنطقة”، مؤكداً أن “الأميركي يدرك أن القادم من الأيام صعب جداً عليه”.

John Lennon at 80: One Man Against the Deep State ‘Monster’

By John Whitehead

Source

“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil. The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a revolution. It’s not thinking logically, it’s out of control.”—John Lennon (1969)

John Lennon, born 80 years ago on October 9, 1940, was a musical genius and pop cultural icon.

He was also a vocal peace protester and anti-war activist, and a high-profile example of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority.

Long before Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was Lennon who was being singled out for daring to speak truth to power about the government’s warmongering, his phone calls monitored and data files illegally collected on his activities and associations.

For a while, at least, Lennon became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Years after Lennon’s assassination it would be revealed that the FBI had collected 281 pages of files on him, including song lyrics. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI at the time, directed the agency to spy on the musician. There were also various written orders calling on government agents to frame Lennon for a drug bust. “The FBI’s files on Lennon … read like the writings of a paranoid goody-two-shoes,” observed reporter Jonathan Curiel.

Document with portions of text blacked out, dated 1972.

Confidential (here declassified and censored) letter by J. Edgar Hoover about FBI surveillance of John Lennon (Public Domain)

As the New York Times notes, “Critics of today’s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. ‘The U.S. vs. John Lennon’ … is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined.”

Indeed, all of the many complaints we have about government today—surveillance, militarism, corruption, harassment, SWAT team raids, political persecution, spying, overcriminalization, etc.—were present in Lennon’s day and formed the basis of his call for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.

For all of these reasons, the U.S. government was obsessed with Lennon, who had learned early on that rock music could serve a political end by proclaiming a radical message. More importantly, Lennon saw that his music could mobilize the public and help to bring about change. Lennon believed in the power of the people. Unfortunately, as Lennon recognized: “The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn’t represent the people. It controls them.”

However, as Martin Lewis writing for Time notes: “John Lennon was not God. But he earned the love and admiration of his generation by creating a huge body of work that inspired and led. The appreciation for him deepened because he then instinctively decided to use his celebrity as a bully pulpit for causes greater than his own enrichment or self-aggrandizement.”

For instance, in December 1971 at a concert in Ann Arbor, Mich., Lennon took to the stage and in his usual confrontational style belted out “John Sinclair,” a song he had written about a man sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. Within days of Lennon’s call for action, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair released.

What Lennon did not know at the time was that government officials had been keeping strict tabs on the ex-Beatle they referred to as “Mr. Lennon.” Incredibly, FBI agents were in the audience at the Ann Arbor concert, “taking notes on everything from the attendance (15,000) to the artistic merits of his new song.”

The U.S. government, steeped in paranoia, was spying on Lennon.

By March 1971, when his “Power to the People” single was released, it was clear where Lennon stood. Having moved to New York City that same year, Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the “monster” that was financing the war in Vietnam.

The release of Lennon’s Sometime in New York City album, which contained a radical anti-government message in virtually every song and depicted President Richard Nixon and Chinese Chairman Mao Tse-tung dancing together nude on the cover, only fanned the flames of the conflict to come.

The official U.S. war against Lennon began in earnest in 1972 after rumors surfaced that Lennon planned to embark on a U.S. concert tour that would combine rock music with antiwar organizing and voter registration. Nixon, fearing Lennon’s influence on about 11 million new voters (1972 was the first year that 18-year-olds could vote), had the ex-Beatle served with deportation orders “in an effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement.”

Then again, the FBI has had a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures. Most notably among the latter are such celebrated names as folk singer Pete Seeger, painter Pablo Picasso, comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, comedian Lenny Bruce and poet Allen Ginsberg.

Among those most closely watched by the FBI was Martin Luther King Jr., a man labeled by the FBI as “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” With wiretaps and electronic bugs planted in his home and office, King was kept under constant surveillance by the FBI with the aim of “neutralizing” him. He even received letters written by FBI agents suggesting that he either commit suicide or the details of his private life would be revealed to the public. The FBI kept up its pursuit of King until he was felled by a hollow-point bullet to the head in 1968.

Lennon and Ono sit in front of flowers and placards bearing the word "peace." Lennon is only partly visible, and he holds an acoustic guitar. Ono wears a white dress, and there is a hanging microphone in front of her. In the foreground of the image are three men, one of them a guitarist facing away, and a woman.

Recording “Give Peace a Chance” during the Bed-In for Peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal (CC BY 2.5/Roy Kerwood)

While Lennon was not—as far as we know—being blackmailed into suicide, he was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him “neutralized” and deported. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times points out, “The F.B.I.’s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics.”

As Lennon’s FBI file shows, memos and reports about the FBI’s surveillance of the anti-war activist had been flying back and forth between Hoover, the Nixon White House, various senators, the FBI and the U.S. Immigration Office.

Nixon’s pursuit of Lennon was relentless and in large part based on the misperception that Lennon and his comrades were planning to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. The government’s paranoia, however, was misplaced.

Left-wing activists who were on government watch lists and who shared an interest in bringing down the Nixon Administration had been congregating at Lennon’s New York apartment. But when they revealed that they were planning to cause a riot, Lennon balked. As he recounted in a 1980 interview, “We said, We ain’t buying this. We’re not going to draw children into a situation to create violence so you can overthrow what? And replace it with what? . . . It was all based on this illusion, that you can create violence and overthrow what is, and get communism or get some right-wing lunatic or a left-wing lunatic. They’re all lunatics.”

Despite the fact that Lennon was not part of the “lunatic” plot, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Equally determined to resist, Lennon dug in and fought back. Every time he was ordered out of the country, his lawyers delayed the process by filing an appeal. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country when he was granted a green card. As he said afterwards, “I have a love for this country…. This is where the action is. I think we’ll just go home, open a tea bag, and look at each other.”

Lennon’s time of repose didn’t last long, however. By 1980, he had re-emerged with a new album and plans to become politically active again.

The old radical was back and ready to cause trouble. In his final interview on Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon mused, “The whole map’s changed and we’re going into an unknown future, but we’re still all here, and while there’s life there’s hope.”

The Deep State has a way of dealing with troublemakers, unfortunately. On Dec. 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows when Lennon returned to his New York apartment building. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman, in an eerie echo of the FBI’s moniker for Lennon, called out, “Mr. Lennon!”

Lennon turned and was met with a barrage of gunfire as Chapman—dropping into a two-handed combat stance—emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four hollow-point bullets into his back and left arm. Lennon stumbled, staggered forward and, with blood pouring from his mouth and chest, collapsed to the ground.

John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He had finally been “neutralized.”

Yet where those who neutralized the likes of John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and others go wrong is in believing that you can murder a movement with a bullet and a madman.

Lennon and Ono performing at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in December 1971 (Public Domain)

Thankfully, Lennon’s legacy lives on in his words, his music and his efforts to speak truth to power. As Yoko Ono shared in a 2014 letter to the parole board tasked with determining whether Chapman should be released: “A man of humble origin, [John Lennon] brought light and hope to the whole world with his words and music. He tried to be a good power for the world, and he was. He gave encouragement, inspiration and dreams to people regardless of their race, creed and gender.”

Sadly, not much has changed for the better in the world since Lennon walked among us.

Peace remains out of reach. Activism and whistleblowers continue to be prosecuted for challenging the government’s authority. Militarism is on the rise, with local police dressed like the military, all the while the governmental war machine continues to wreak havoc on innocent lives across the globe.

For those of us who joined with John Lennon to imagine a world of peace, it’s getting harder to reconcile that dream with the reality of the American police state.

Meanwhile, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, those who dare to speak up are labeled dissidents, troublemakers, terrorists, lunatics, or mentally ill and tagged for surveillance, censorship, involuntary detention or, worse, even shot and killed in their own homes by militarized police.

As Lennon shared in a 1968 interview:

“I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal means. If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government and the Russian… Chinese… what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing. I think they’re all insane. But I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

So what’s the answer?

Lennon had a multitude of suggestions.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

“War is over if you want it.”

“Produce your own dream…. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders…. You have to do it yourself. That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”

“If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.”

And my favorite advice of all:

“Say you want a revolution / We better get on right away / Well you get on your feet / And out on the street / Singing power to the people.”

No 2nd stimulus? Time to admit both parties want to destroy the average American

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrives at McCarran International Airport October 9, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by AFP)
No 2nd stimulus? Time to admit both parties want to destroy the average American

Saturday, 10 October 2020 3:20 PM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 10 October 2020 3:24 PM ]

By Ramin Mazaheri cross posted with The Saker

With both parties unwilling to agree on a desperately-needed 2nd stimulus package amid Great Depression-levels of economic suffering, it should be crystal clear that both Democrats and Republicans are happy to destroy the average American in their lust for power.

It’s incredibly devilish, but just to achieve their short-term goal of winning the November elections both parties have proven that the ruin of Main Street is a perfectly acceptable price to paid.

Republican intransigence at least has an ideological component, albeit a terrible one: the largest pillar of neoliberal ideology is to slash the size of government at all levels – this explains why they refuse to concede to the Democrats’ intelligent call for hundreds of billions in stimulus funding for state and local governments.

Yet Republicans don’t seem to understand that their beloved “democracy with American characteristics” does have a flaw or two: the US is a federal system – the fundamental structure of this type of government is to empower local government and to reduce the power of the central government. Therefore, in any type of crisis the federal government is handicapped from the very start – US citizens are forced to depend on local governments. Yet a crisis like this – which saps local funding and tax revenue – makes a federal/national response the difference between life or death.

Democratic intransigence is harder to understand: why did they go months without even mouthing condemnation towards anarchic situations in places like Portland and Minneapolis, or against cases of violent looting which topples far more small-business households than corporate insurance companies? Why do they refuse President Trump’s call for a stand-alone stimulus package consisting of another $1,200 check to households? Everyone reading this is aware of the general statistics: as recently as two weeks ago 42% of all US households said they have endured job losses or reductions in wages – more aid is urgently, urgently needed and has been for months.

It is irresponsible to not objectively consider the widespread claim over here: Democrats are sowing as much disorder and suffering as possible in order to oust the incumbent because, of course, how can an incumbent possibly survive this catastrophe? Democrats have history on their side (if perhaps not the popular vote): the only one-term presidents in the past 50 years – Jimmy Carter and George Bush I – were doomed by recessions far, far more minor than this one.

So it seems as if Republicans are fine with – on an ideological level – the social chaos necessarily caused by a people without a government. It seems that Democrats are fine with – on a practical level – months and months of hellish social and individual suffering if it means they can win back the presidency. 

The answer in almost every country would be obvious: surely a third party must be turned to?

But the duopoly in the US system is so firmly entrenched that there simply is no third party. Democrats throw up huge obstacles to keep left-wing parties like Greens or socialists from even being on local ballots, while Republicans do the same for more right-leaning parties like the Libertarians. Beyond this very real collusion, which in any non-Western country would be denounced as rendering elections not at all “free and fair,” a “winner take all” system means that third parties can make no incremental gains, only sweep to power in a landslide. Such a shift hasn’t happened here since the collapse of the Whig Party in the 1850s.

Trump, however, was indeed something of a third-party landslide, history will prove:

Because they were so fed up with the disregard and corruption of Washington half the country elected a totally non-partisan non-politician like Trump (he has changed his party affiliation five times), mainly because of his promise to drain “the Swamp” and, thrillingly, dangling the promise of prosecuting people like “crooked Hillary” in a China-like anti-corruption drive. Unfortunately for these voters not only has Trump proven to have no coherent political ideology at all (nor the ability to acquire one over four years of daily political briefings), but he has depressingly done his very best to win the acceptance of the political establishment. Trump has “become the Republican Party” even though he was voted in to destroy it and to provide an alternative to it. The Republican Party knew that – this is why they rejected Trump’s candidacy all the way until May 2016. Indeed, it’s too bad that Trump handles rejection so well.

Despite his stupidities, vulgarities and baggage, in 2016 Trump was indeed the “vote for change” to half the United States. Yet due to his four-year effort to win “The Swamp’s” approval, which is proof that he is not a truly “populist” politician at all, in 2020 he cannot be considered, like Barack Obama in 2008, the “hope candidate”.

So who is the “hope candidate” for an already deeply cynical and embittered American populace which is now also economically-desperate and patriotically aghast?

Because Trump has actually rendered no genuine change in Washington – he has merely been absorbed by the Swamp’s quicksand – there are only two choices, and both choices are the same as they were prior to the 2016 Trump phenomenon: inconsequential third parties or abstention.

A vote for third parties like Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Green Party or even the Libertarians is the only ballot an American with free will can cast and truly feel like they have not sanctioned the 2020 destruction of their own country by the entrenched elite.

Trump is accused of being a “strongman” or a “caudillo”, but 2020 proves it is the Clintons, McConnells, Bidens, Bushes and Pelosis who are the largely-despised and clearly incompetent leaders who could not care less if the country goes to ruin as long as they don’t lose their slices of privilege.

2020 has removed the emperor’s clothes: the US is a banana republic, and the one interest which predominates is not fruit but elite privilege.

“Privilege” is not a word one hears in the United States: the Iranian Islamic Revolution was openly “anti-privilege”, but this term (when used politically) is so foreign that it is not at all comprehended by the average American, I have found. So, clearly, the problem is cultural and not just limited to the area around Washington DC.

Regardless, in the 21st century votes must be made. Or not made – by not voting an American does indeed give powerful ammunition to non-Americans to assert that this current US system is domestically rejected. But the decisions of Washington’s duopoly in 2020 are absolutely incomprehensible unless one considers the possibility that they are not at all concerned with the citizenry.

The lack of a 2nd stimulus is incomprehensible and completely shameful, but both parties are clearly behind it. All of the “Trump Derangement Syndrome” of the past four years cannot explain the actions of the Democratic Party since March.

And make no mistake: an additional $1,200 – if it does somehow arrive – is totally inadequate, given the prices in the US: From March until October $1,200 works out to less than $7 per day. Trust me that the average American is screaming every day about this paltry sum, even if their Mainstream Media prefers to talk about stock prices every hour.

The reality is that the redistribution of wealth which we are discussing – a “People’s QE” – is something which the US has only seen one of, ever. Why should we expect the right-wing, dog-eat-dog American system to release a second tranche of direct aid to privilege-less American households?

Economically, culturally and politically the United States is lost in the modern wilderness – how very far gone they are? But in just a few weeks they could cast a single vote to change one of these things immediately, but not with a vote for a Republican or a Democrat.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

US Is the Top Human Rights Violator in the World, and It’s Not Even Close

By Danny Haiphong

Source

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Few things are more politicized and distorted in the United States than the subject of human rights. Over the last two generations, the U.S. political class and its conduits in the corporate media have weaponized human rights to serve an imperialist agenda. NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International tend to focus much of their time crafting human rights narratives on matters of critical importance to the U.S. Department of State. Syria, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and a host of countries have been condemned by these organizations for alleged human rights violations. Since 2018, China has been targeted for the same treatment.

China is accused of detaining millions of Xinjiang-based Uyghurs in “concentration camps.” Thanks to Ajit Singh and The Grayzone, we know that the sources for these allegations are far from reliable. We know that the principle source for all things Xinjiang in the U.S. is Adrian Zenz, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who believes he is led by God to overthrow the Communist Party of China. We know that the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders responsible for the study that conducted a total of eight total interviews to derive conclusions of mass Uyghur internment is heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA-linked organization. We also know that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) currently leading the charge to demonize China on human rights issues is sponsored by military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The primary concern of institutions such as ASPI is not the issue of human rights, but rather the creation of an atmosphere of war that will service its donors in the U.S. weapons industry. This is exactly what the propagation of the “Uyghur oppression” narrative has achieved. While relying completely on speculation, faulty satellite imagery, and testimonies from Uyghur-exile groups funded by the NED, the successful penetration of the baseless claim that China is detaining millions of Muslims in camps has played an important role in building up public support in the U.S. for a New Cold War against China. U.S. public opinion of China has dropped significantly over the past year. The U.S. has used the Uyghur human rights narrative to successfully sanction businesses and Communist Party of China officials in Xinjiang.

When U.S. officials accuse other countries of human rights violations, what comes afterward is always far worse than the allegations. After 9/11, U.S. intelligence agencies accused Saddam Hussein of stockpiling non-existent Weapons of Mass destruction. The U.S. went on to invade Iraq in 2003—a war that caused the death of over one million Iraqi civilians and poisoned thousands more with toxic depleted uranium. In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was accused of “murdering his own people” only to have Libya transformed into a failed state following a more than six month bombing campaign by NATO to protect a jihadist insurgency. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons “on his own people.” Syria has been mired in an endless war with both the U.S. and its regional allies which has left hundreds of thousands of dead, millions displaced, and nearly one-third of its oil-rich and water-rich territory occupied by the U.S. military.

These examples are just a few of many that demonstrate why the U.S. is the chief human rights violator in the world. However, it is important to note that how the United States conducts itself abroad is a reflection of the myriad of ways that it violates the human rights of people living in the United States. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown are just a few of hundreds of examples of Black Americans that have been killed by police officers without redress. An average of 1,000 people in the United States are killed by police officers each year. Unlike the U.S.-led Xinjiang narrative, it is well-documented that over 2 million people reside in U.S. prisons and that nearly three-quarters of that prison population is Black, Latino, or Native American.

The U.S. is home to a quarter of all prisoners in the world. Around 80,000 of these prisoners are held in solitary confinement, a practice of prolonged isolation that the U.N. has firmly declared to be an act of torture. Research suggests that solitary confinement is directly linked to a host of psychological maladies from psychosis to suicide. Solitary confinement also causes lasting structural damage to the brain, especially in the hippocampus region responsible for memory and spatial awareness. Widespread use of solitary confinement in the U.S. is not a benign practice but one that specifically targets racial groups. Over forty percent of all male prisoners in solitary confinement are Black American. The world has long known that the U.S. engages in torture abroad at CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay Prison but fewer are aware of how torture is commonplace in the U.S.’ numerous prisons.

For decades, the U.S. has accused countries such as China of the very policies that make up the foundations of its domestic and foreign policy. U.S. elites have accused China of suppressing free speech but say little about the NSA’s massive surveillance program or the attempted extradition of a non-citizen in Julian Assange for publishing documents relating to U.S. war crimes. China has been accused of sterilizing ethnic minorities yet U.S. officials have failed to scrutinize documented cases of sterilization within U.S. immigration detention centers or its mistreatment of Muslim citizens since the War on Terror was declared in 2001. The Economist has accused China of using its anti-poverty campaign to build loyalty to the Communist Party of China but has yet to call out Joe Biden or Donald Trump for ignoring the needs of the forty percent of people in the U.S. who have virtually no disposable income. China is routinely accused of possessing an “aggressive” foreign policy by the same policy makers and thought leaders who have kept the U.S. at war for more than two-hundred years of its existence.

The ideology of American exceptionalism has created the illusion that the U.S. deserves to hold a monopoly on the issue of human rights. American exceptionalism presumes that the United States is the model example for countries and peoples all over the world. However, the days when the world was forced to bow to the U.S. are over. Most of the world sees the U.S. as the biggest threat to human rights and a peaceful existence. The U.S.’s human rights track record suggests that the world is correct, and it is the entire planet that suffers when issues such as war, climate change, poverty, and racism are blamed on China rather than addressed with solidarity and cooperation at a global level. 

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

October 09, 2020

THE SAKER • OCTOBER 10, 2020 

This war is officially a war between Azerbaijan and the (unrecognized) Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (RNK) aka “Republic of Artsakh” (ROA) which I shall refer to simply as Nagorno Karabakh or “NK”. As is often the case, the reality is much more complicated. For one thing, Erdogan’s Turkey has been deeply involved since Day 1 (and, really, even much before that) while Armenia has been backing NK to the hilt since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is even worse: Turkey is a member of NATO while Armenia is a member of the CSTO. Thus a war started over a relatively small and remote area could, in theory, trigger an international nuclear war. The good news here is that nobody in NATO or the CSTO wants such a war, especially since technically speaking the NK is not part of Armenia (Armenia has not even recognized this republic so far!) and, therefore, not under the protection of the CSTO. And since there have been no attacks on Turkey proper, at least so far, NATO also has no reason to get involved.

I should mention here that in terms of international law, NK is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Still, almost everybody agrees that there is a difference between NK proper and the kind of security zone the army of NK created around NK (see map)

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

(note: the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic is part of Azerbaijan)

The reality on the ground, however, is very different, so let’s look at the position of each actor in turn, beginning with the party which started the war: Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has been reforming and rearming its military since the Azeri forces got comprehensively defeated in the 1988-1994 war. Furthermore, for President Aliev this war represents what might well be the best and last chance to defeat the NK and Armenian forces. Most observers agree that should Aliev fail to achieve at least an appearance of victory he will lose power.

Armenia would have been quite happy to keep the status quo and continue to form one country with the NK de facto while remaining two countries de jure. Still, living in the tough and even dangerous “neighborhood” of the Caucasus, the Armenians never forgot that they are surrounded by more or less hostile countries just like they also remained acutely aware of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology which, sooner or later, would make war inevitable.

Iran, which is often forgotten, is not directly involved in the conflict, at least so far, but has been generally sympathetic to Armenia, primarily because Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology represents a danger for the entire region, including Iran.

Turkey has played a crucial behind the scenes role in the rearmament and reorganization of Azeri forces. Just as was the case in Libya, Turkish attack drones have been used with formidable effectiveness against NK forces, in spite of the fact that the Armenians have some very decent air defenses. As for Erdogan himself, this war is his latest attempt to paint himself as some kind of neo-Ottoman sultan which will reunite all the Turkic people under his rule.

One of the major misconceptions about this conflict is the assumption that Russia has always been, and will always be, on the side of Armenia and the NK, but while this was definitely true for pre-1917 Russia, this is not the case today at all. Why?

Let’s examine the Russian position in this conflict.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Armenia (proper, as opposed to NK) is a member of the CSTO and should anybody (including Azerbaijan and/or Turkey) attack Armenia, Russia would most definitely intervene and stop the attack, either by political or even by military means. Considering what Turkey has done to the Armenian people during the infamous Armenian Genocide of 1914-1923 this makes perfectly good sense: at least now the Armenian people know that Russia will never allow another genocide to take place. And the Turks know that too.

And yet, things are not quite that simple either.

For example, Russia did sell a lot of advanced weapon systems to Azerbaijan (see herefor one good example). In fact, relations between Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev are famously very warm. And while it is true that Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, Russia and Azerbaijan have retained a very good relationship which some even characterize as a partnership or even an alliance.

Furthermore, Azerbaijan has been a much better partner to Russia than Armenia, especially since the Soros-financed “color revolution” of 2018 which put Nikol Pashinian in power. Ever since Pashinian got to power, Armenia has been following the same kind of “multi-vector” policy which saw Belarus’ Lukashenko try to ditch Russia and integrate into the EU/NATO/US area of dominance. The two biggest differences between Belarus and Armenia are a) Belarusians and Russians are the same people and b) Russia cannot afford to lose Belarus whereas Russia has really zero need for Armenia.

On the negative side, not only has Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, but Azerbaijan has also joined the openly anti-Russian GUAM Organization (which is headquartered in Kiev).

Next, there is the Turkey-Erdogan factor as seen from Russia. Simply put, the Russians will never trust any Turk who shares Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman worldview and ideology. Russia has already fought twelve full-scale wars against the Ottomans and she has no desire to let the Turks trigger another one (which they almost did when they shot down a Russian Su-24M over northern Syria). Of course, Russia is much more powerful than Turkey, at least in military terms, but in political terms an open war against Turkey could be disastrous for Russian foreign and internal policy objectives. And, of course, the best way for Russia to avoid such a war in the future is to make absolutely sure that the Turks realize that should they attack they will be suffering a crushing defeat in a very short time. So far, this has worked pretty well, especially after Russia saved Erdogan from the US-backed coup against him.

Some observers have suggested that Russia and Armenia being Christian, the former has some kind of moral obligation towards the latter. I categorically disagree. My main reason to disagree here is that Russians now are acutely aware of the disgusting lack of gratitude of our (supposed) “brothers” and (supposed) “fellow Christians” have shown as soon as Russia was in need.

Most Armenians are not Orthodox Christians, but members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which are miaphysites/monophysites. They are also not Slavs.

The ONLY slavic or Orthodox people who did show real gratitude for Russia have been the Serbs. All the rest of them have immediately rushed to prostitute themselves before Uncle Shmuel and have competed with each other for the “honor” of deploying US weapons systems targeted at Russia. The truth is that like every superpower, Russia is too big and too powerful to have real “friends” (Serbia being a quite beautiful exception to this rule). The Russian Czar Alexander III famously said that “Russia only has two true allies: her army and her navy”. Well, today the list is longer (now we could add the Aerospace forces, the FSB, etc.), but in terms of external allies or friends, the Serbian people (as opposed to some of the Serbian leaders) are the only ones out there which are true friends of Russia (and that, in spite of the fact that under Elstin and his “democratic oligarchs” Russia shamefully betrayed a long list of countries and political leaders, including Serbia).

Then there is the religious factor which, while crucial in the past, really plays no role whatsoever in this conflict. Oh sure, political leaders on both sides like to portray themselves as religious, but this is just PR. The reality is that both the Azeris and the Armenians place ethnic considerations far above any religious ones, if only because, courtesy of the militant atheism of the former USSR, many, if not most, people in Armenia, Azerbaijan and even Russia nowadays are agnostic secularists with no more than a passing interest for the “spiritual values which shaped their national identity” (or something along these lines).

One major concern for Russia is the movement of Turkish-run Takfiris from Syria to Azerbaijan. The Russians have already confirmed that this has taken place (the French also reported this) and, if true, that would give Russia the right to strike these Takfiris on Azeri soil. So far, this threat is minor, but if it becomes real, we can expect Russian cruise missiles to enter the scene.

Finally, there are major Azeri and Armenian communities in Russia, which means two things: first, Russia cannot allow this conflict to sneak across the borders and infect Russia and, second, there are millions of Russians who will have ties, often strong ones, to both of these countries.

Though they are not currently officially involved, we still need to look, at least superficially, at the Empire’s view of this conflict. To summarize it I would say that the Empire is absolutely delighted with this crisis which is the third one blowing up on Russia’s doorstep (the other two being the Ukraine and Belarus). There is really very little the Empire can do against Russia: the economic blockade and sanctions totally failed, and in purely military terms Russia is far more powerful than the Empire. Simply put: the Empire simply does not have what it takes to take on Russia directly, but setting off conflicts around the Russia periphery is really easy.

For one thing, the internal administrative borders of the USSR bear absolutely no resemblance to the places of residence of the various ethnicities of the former Soviet Union. Looking at them one would be excused for thinking that they were drawn precisely to generate the maximal amount of tension between the many ethnic groups that were cut into separate pieces. There is also no logic in accepting the right of the former Soviet Republics to secede from the Soviet Union, but then denying the same right to those local administrative entities which now would want to separate from a newly created republic which they don’t want to be part of.

Second, many, if not most, of the so-called “countries” and “nations” which suddenly appeared following the collapse of the Soviet Union have no historical reality whatsoever. As a direct result, these newborn “nations” had no historical basis to root themselves in, and no idea what independence really means. Some nations, like the Armenians, have deep roots as far back as antiquity, but their current borders are truly based on nothing at all. Whatever may be the case, it has been extremely easy for Uncle Shmuel to move into these newly independent states, especially since many (or even most) of these states saw Russia as the enemy (courtesy of the predominant ideology of the Empire which was imposed upon the mostly clueless people of the ex-Soviet periphery). The result? Violence, or even war, all around that periphery (which the Russians think of as their “near abroad”).

I think that most Russian people are aware that while there has been a major price to pay for this, the cutting away of the ex-Soviet periphery from Russia has been a blessing in disguise. This is confirmed by innumerable polls which show that the Russian people are generally very suspicious of any plans involving the use of the Russian Armed Forces outside Russia (for example, it took all of Putin’s “street cred” to convince the Russian people that the Russian military intervention in Syria was a good idea).

There is also one more thing which we must always remember: for all the stupid US and western propaganda about Russia and, later, the USSR being the “prison of the people” (small nations survived way better in this “prison” than they did under the “democratic” rule of European colonists worldwide!), the truth is that because of the rabidly russophobic views of Soviet Communists (at least until Stalin – he reversed this trend) the Soviet “peripheral” Republics all lived much better than the “leftover Russia” which the Soviets called the RSFSR. In fact, the Soviet period was a blessing in many ways for all the non-Russian republics of the Soviet Union and only now, under Putin, has this trend finally been reversed. Today Russia is much richer than the countries around her periphery and she has no desire to squander that wealth on a hostile and always ungrateful periphery. The bottom line is this: Russia owes countries such as Armenia or Azerbaijan absolutely nothing and they have no right whatsoever to expect Russia to come to their aid: this won’t happen, at least not unless Russia achieves a measurable positive result from this intervention.

Still, let’s now look at the reasons why Russia might want to intervene.

First, this is, yet again, a case of Erdogan’s megalomania and malevolence resulting in a very dangerous situation for Russia. After all, all the Azeris need to do to secure an overt Turkish intervention is to either attack Armenia proper, which might force a Russian intervention or, alternatively, be so severely beaten by the Armenians that Turkey might have to intervene to avoid a historical loss of face for both Aliev and Erdogan.

Second, it is crucial for Russia to prove that the CSTO matters and is effective in protecting CSTO member states. In other words, if Russia lets Turkey attack Armenia directly the CSTO would lose all credibility, something which Russia cannot allow.

Third, it is crucial for Russia to prove to both Azerbaijan and Armenia that the US is long on hot air and empty promises, but can’t get anything done in the Caucasus. In other words, the solution to this war has to be a Russian one, not a US/NATO/EU one. Once it becomes clear in the Caucasus that, like in the Middle-East, Russia has now become the next “kingmaker” then the entire region will finally return to peace and a slow return to prosperity.

So far the Russians have been extremely careful in their statements. They mostly said that Russian peacekeepers could only be deployed after all the parties to this conflict agree to their deployment. Right now, we are still very far away from this.

Here is what happened so far: the Azeris clearly hoped for a short and triumphant war, but in spite of very real advances in training, equipment, etc the Azeri Blitzkrieg has clearly failed in spite of the fact that the Azeri military is more powerful than the NK+Armenian one. True, the Azeris did have some initial successes, but they all happened in small towns mostly located in the plain. But take a look at this topographic map of the area of operations and see for yourself what the biggest problem for the Azeris is:

Almost all of NK is located in the mountains (hence the prefix “nagorno” which means “mountainous”) and offensive military operations in the mountains are truly a nightmare, even for very well prepared and equipped forces (especially in the winter season, which is fast approaching). There are very few countries out there who could successfully conduct offensive operations in mountains, Russia is one of them, and Azerbaijan clearly is not.

Right now both sides agree on one thing only: only total victory can stop this war. While politically that kind of language makes sense, everybody knows that this war will not end up in some kind of total victory for one side and total defeat of the other side. The simple fact is that the Azeris can’t overrun all of NK while the Armenians (in Armenia proper and in the NK) cannot counter-attack and defeat the Azeri military in the plains.

Right now, and for as long as the Azeris and the Armenians agree that they won’t stop at anything short of a total victory, Russia simply cannot intervene. While she has the military power to force both sides to a total standstill, she has no legal right to do so and please remember that, unlike the US, Russia does respect international law (if only because she has no plans to become the “next US” or some kind of world hegemon in charge of maintaining the peace worldwide). So there are only two possible options for a Russian military intervention:

  1. A direct (and confirmed by hard evidence) attack on the territory of Armenia
  2. Both the Azeris and the Armenians agree that Russia ought to intervene.

I strongly believe that Erdogan and Aliev will do whatever it takes to prevent option one from happening (while they will do everything in their power short of an overt attack on Armenia to prevail). Accidents, however, do happen, so the risk of a quick and dramatic escalation of the conflict will remain until both sides agree to stop.

Right now, neither side has a clear victory and, as sad as I am to write these words, both sides have enough reserves (not only military, but also political and economic) to keep at it for a while longer. However, neither side has what it would take to wage a long and bloody positional war of attrition, especially in the mountain ranges. Thus both sides probably already realize that this one will have to stop, sooner rather than later (according to some Russian experts, we are only talking weeks here).

Furthermore, there are a lot of very dangerous escalations taking place, including artillery and missile strikes on cities and infrastructure objects. If the Armenians are really pushed against a wall, they could both recognize NK and hit the Azeri energy and oil/gas infrastructure with their formidable Iskander tactical ballistic missiles. Should that happen, then we can be almost certain that both the Azeris and the Turks will try to attack Armenia, with dramatic and most dangerous consequences.

This conflict can get much, much more bloody and much more dangerous. It is thus in the interests of the entire region (but not the US) to stop it. Will the Armenian lobby be powerful enough to pressure the US into a more helpful stance? So far, the US is, at least officially, calling all sides for a ceasefire (along with France and Russia), but we all know how much Uncle Shmuel’s word can be trusted. At least there is no public evidence that the US is pushing for war behind the scenes (the absence of such evidence does, of course, not imply the evidence of the absence of such actions!).

At the time of writing this (Oct. 9th) Russia has to wait for the parties to come back to reality and accept a negotiated solution. If and when that happens, there are options out there, including making NK a special region of Azerbaijan which would be placed under the direct protection of Russia and/or the CSTO with Russian forces deployed inside the NK region. It would even be possible to have a Turkish military presence all around the NK (and even some monitors inside!) to reassure the Azeris that Armenian forces have left the region and are staying out. The Azeris already know that they cannot defeat Armenia proper without risking a Russian response and they are probably going to realize that they cannot overrun NK. As for the Armenians, it is all nice and fun to play the “multi-vector” card, but Russia won’t play by these rules anymore. Her message here is simple: if you are Uncle Shmuels’s bitch, then let Uncle Shmuel save you; if you want us to help, then give us a really good reason why: we are listening”.

This seems to me an eminently reasonable position to take and I hope and believe that Russia will stick to it.

PS: the latest news is that Putin invited the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Moscow for “consultations” (not “negotiations”, at least not yet) with Sergei Lavrov as a mediator. Good. Maybe this can save lives since a bad peace will always be better than a good war.

PPS: the latest news (Oct 9th 0110 UTC) is that the Russians have forced Armenia and Azerbaijan to negotiate for over thirteen hours, but at the end of the day, both sides agreed to an immediate ceasefire and for substantive negotiations to begin. Frankly, considering the extreme hostility of the parties towards each other, I consider this outcome almost miraculous. Lavrov truly earned his keep today! Still, we now have to see if Russia can convince both sides to actually abide by this agreement. Here is a machine translation of the first Russian report about this outcome:

Statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia

In response to the appeal of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin and in accordance with the agreements of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I.G. Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N.V. Pashinyan, the parties agreed on the following steps :

1. A ceasefire is declared from 12:00 pm on October 10, 2020 for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead, mediated and in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

2. The specific parameters of the ceasefire regime will be agreed upon additionally.

3. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement, begin substantive negotiations with the aim of reaching a peaceful settlement as soon as possible.

4. The parties confirm the invariability of the format of the negotiation process.

When Wall Street flies with Icarus’ wings

When Wall Street flies with Icarus’ wings

October 08, 2020

by Jean-Luc Baslé for The Saker Blog

Wall Street is forever rising. The S&P500 index rose to 3,581 on September 2nd, 2020 – the highest level it has ever reached since its creation. This makes no sense. Wall Street is a reflection of the state of the economy which is in recession since February[1], the worst recession since 1929. How can share prices rise when the economy is falling? To answer this question, let’s analyse the economic policy of the United States these past few years, taking Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech of August 27th, 2020 as our starting point. Going back in time, we see that American leaders ignored the fundamental laws of economics. We note that foreign leaders, such as the European Central Bank governors, followed the same path. We conclude that stock prices do not reach the sky, and that the United States is caught in a bind from which the only way it can extricate itself is through a dollar depreciation. This bodes ill for the American Empire. The dollar is one of its main pillars.

Jerome Powell questions the validity of quantitative easing

Depending on their editorial stand, the media understood Powell’s speech as a return to inflation, giving greater attention to unemployment. But this summary ignores the essence of the message which questions the validity of quantitative easing – a policy followed by the Federal Reserve since November 2008. This is what Powell said: “With interest rates generally running closer to their effective lower bound even in good times, the Fed has less scope to support the economy during an economic downturn by simply cutting the federal funds rate.” In short: pushed to its limit, quantitative easing loses its capacity to alter employment and inflation. Quite logically, Jerome Powell and the Federal Open Market Policy (FOMC) call for a softening of the rules governing inflation and employment: “appropriate monetary policy will likely aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time”, and “a strong labor market, particularly for many in low-and moderate-income communities”.[2] This was understood as a return to inflation which it is not. It is an attempt to rescue quantitative easing while waiting for a return to more traditional economic policies.

By dropping surreptitiously quantitative easing, Jerome Powell is sending a message to Congress: economic policy cannot rest solely on monetary policy. Congress has at its disposal another tool: the budget. Over the past thirty years, priority has been given to monetary policy for several reasons. For conveniency reasons: monetary policy is essentially defined by one man, the Federal Reserve Chairman with the FOMC congruence. Budgetary policy, on the other hand, is defined by Congress and the President. It takes time for the two to agree, especially if Congress is split between a Democrat and a Republican majority. For efficiency reasons: changes in monetary policy are felt quite rapidly in the economy: six months to a year. It takes a lot longer (one to two years) for changes in the budget to be felt. For practicality reasons: budgetary measures imply taxation or indebtedness. Taxation is not very unpopular with the electorate, and indebtedness, if overused, leads to higher interest rates and slower economic growth. For all these reasons and the more theoretical ones set out by Milton Friedman and the monetarists, monetary policy became the policy of choice for the last thirty years, with quantitative easing being its most advanced form.

Priority being given to monetary policy with the budget playing second fiddle, the budget deficit should have come down and, with time, turned into a surplus. It did not happen. Worse, it has grown over the last twenty years to reach -4.6% in 2019. The initial figure expected for 2020 (-4.6%) will be substantially larger due to the Covid-19 virus. The $2,200 billion CARES Act approved by Congress in March to provide much needed relief to individuals, families and businesses, will translate into a much higher deficit, and a much higher level of debt.

Quantitative easing and the economy

Excessive money creation by central banks is anathema to financial markets since it is synonymous to inflation, higher interest rates, slower growth and the collapse of the stock market. It must be prohibited at all cost. Yet, that’s what quantitative easing is all about, and quantitative easing saved Wall Street and the economy after the 2008 subprime crisis. How can this be? In the fall of 2008, banks’ balance sheets were loaded with corporate bonds whose market value were well below their face value. To avoid a collapse of the market, the Federal Reserve bought the bonds, in effect replacing junk bonds with cash on banks’ balance sheets. The Fed’s bailout commitment totaled $29 trillion.[3] In view of this amount, it is no wonder that the program worked… to Wall Street’s satisfaction. Trust returned, the economy took off, and shares regained and exceeded their previous values. All is well and good, except the Federal Reserve exceeded its mandate. Its job is to provide the liquidity the economy needs to grow and achieve full employment without generating inflation. Under normal circumstances, the banks whose equity was washed out by bad investments, due to senior management’s poor decisions, should have been allowed to fail. To avoid a collapse of the economy, the government would have bought the banks’ shares at their market value, fired the management, and re-introduced the banks on the stock market once their business was back to normal. But these were no “normal circumstances”. Neither Congress which oversees the Federal Reserve policy, nor Barack Obama who was anxious to move past the crisis, blamed the Federal Reserve for outstepping its legal framework. As for Wall Street, it had every reason to rejoice. Not only was it saved from total collapse, but within five years the market value of its stocks, as measured by the S&P500, exceeded its pre-crisis value. It has more than doubled (graph 1).

The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing did not result in a depreciation of the dollar, as could have been expected. In fact, the subprime crisis strengthened its value somewhat, as it was perceived by foreign investors as a safe haven to protect their wealth in a tumultuous environment. This strength of the dollar and the relative stability of foreign exchange market is also due to the interconnexion of world’s economies. The subprime crisis first emerged in the United States but spread rapidly around the world. Faced with a potentially damaging economic crisis, world leaders of the largest twenty economies – the G20 – met in Washington DC on November 14-15, 2008, i.e. only two months after Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy. Asian and European central banks agreed to espouse the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy. Money creation around the world being essentially the same in relative terms, currencies retain their value in relation to each other, as shown by graph 2 (note: exchange rates are expressed as an index, and the value of the pound sterling and the euro have been inversed to make them comparable to the yen and yuan).

Money creation saved Wall Street without depreciating the dollar, but what about employment? The United States’ performance is excellent. The December 2019 unemployment rate is 3.5% – a rate lower than all other advanced economies with the exception of Germany and Japan. The picture is less rosy if one looks at it from a different angle: the length of time it takes to return to full employment. It took 15 months after the 1973 recession, 30 months after 1990, 46 after 2001 and 75 months after 2008, i.e. over six years (graph 3). Quantitative easing which served Wall Street so well, did little for Main Street. Of course, as noted by Jerome Powell, there are other factors to be considered besides monetary policy when studying labor issues. Nonetheless, the conclusion is inescapable: quantitative easing worked better for Wall Street than it did for Main Street.

What about inflation? Ever since Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker put a brutal end to stagflation[4] in letting the overnight rate go over 21% in June 1981, inflation has been subdued. Quantitative easing which is an inordinate increase of money in the economy should have, according to the quantity of money theory, led to inflation. It did not. The large quantity of money injected in the economy by the Federal Reserve had no impact on the price level. Graph 4 compares the velocity of money[5] with the Consumer Price Index – the velocity (blue line) is inversed to underline its exceptional rise in the last few years. Full employment did not lead to higher prices either. Jerome Powell observes that “the historically strong labor market did not trigger a significant rise in inflation”, as the Phillips Curve[6] would predict. He then notes that “inflation that is persistently too low can pose serious risks to the economy”. Clearly, the United States is in a peculiar situation where neither money creation nor full employment translates into higher prices, as economic theories tell us. Several hypotheses may explain this abnormality.

The fairly rapid opening up of the American market[7] in the early 1990s, followed by the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994, shaped a new environment in which the procurement of a given product was no longer restricted to the home country. Bilateral trade relations among advanced nations became global to include developing nations, such as China which joined the WTO in 2001. Competition among manufacturers became global, pushing prices down. Corporations offshored their production to take advantage of lower wages in developing nations. This weakened the negotiating power of trade unions who were faced with an unpalatable deal: accept lower wages or lose jobs to the Chinese. The digital revolution also played a role in bringing costs down with many firms “rightsizing” their labor force thanks to the adoption of the personal computer. Finally, Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire 11,000 air controllers in 1981 had a tremendous impact on middle income employees who realized status did not protect them anymore: they could lose their jobs as easily as manual workers could. These events put an end to what was known as cost-push inflation – an overall increase in prices due to higher labor and raw material costs.

Increased energy efficiency, as measured by the ratio of oil consumption to GDP[8], also helped contain inflation. The ratio doubled over the last twenty years. While a barrel of oil produced $450,000 of economic wealth in 2000, it produced $920,000 in 2019. This is why the rapid rise in oil prices over the last fifteen years had little if any impact on the state of the world economy, as opposed to shocks inflicted by the 1973 and 1979 price hikes.

In summary, inflation remained subdued due to globalization, the Reagan and digital revolutions, and energy saving. These watershed events spare the United States a rise in price levels that quantitative easing would normally have brought up. Quantitative easing is not inflation-free, it benefited from exceptional conditions. With respect to employment, the Federal Reserve’s performance is dismal when compared to previous periods. But Wall Street has every reason to be satisfied with it.

The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy in the recent past.

The decoupling of quantitative easing and inflation partially explains why Jerome Powell is distancing himself from this much vaunted but, in truth, inefficient policy. Besides the dual, yet incompatible inflation-employment objective Congress assigned to Federal Reserve, he must also watch over the largest banks’ financial health to make sure it remains strong. In fact, this was the main role the Federal Reserve Act assigned to the Federal Reserve in 1913. This duty is crucial. Economic crises often arise from a bank failure, as was the case with Lehman Bros.’ bankruptcy in September 2008. From this standpoint, Jerome Powell deserves our praise for he averted two crises in the recent past even though one may argue about the reasons they were conducted.

The first rescue took place in September 2019. Without warning, interest rates on the “repo” market shot up to 10% in mid-day on September 17th., 2019.[9] This market is a corner stone in Wall Street’s architecture. If it fails, the whole structure crumbles. The Federal Reserve had to act promptly to calm the market down. This is what it did in injecting $41 billion into the market that very day. Interest rates plummeted. On September 18th, they had returned to their September 16th level. The cause of this ephemeral panic remains a mystery. But the fact that the Federal Reserve had to keep intervening for several months, leads one to conclude that structural causes might have been at work.

This incident was the prelude of a much worse crisis which was averted thanks to the combined effort of the Federal Reserve and Congress. On February 19, the S&P500 reached a new high: 3,386, then dropped abruptly reaching its lowest level in the year: 2,237 on March 23, i.e. a 30% fall in 36 days. This time, the Federal Reserve was slower in reacting. It’s only on March 11th, nearly a month after the stock market began to tumble, that it began injecting liquidity into the economy, propping up the stock market (graph 5). On March 13th, two Congressmen from the Democratic Party offered to help people who lost their job due to the pandemic. It took the form of The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act for short, which was unanimously approved by the Senate on March 25th and signed by Donald Trump on the 27th. It took only 15 days to ratify a law granting $2,200 billion, or about 10% of the gross domestic product – the largest amount ever approved in the history of the United States – to dodge an economic crisis in the making. Considering that by March 11, only 37 people had died from the virus while the S&P500 had already lost 19% of its value, one may question the politicians’ motivation. Was it the Covid-19 or was it Wall Street which led them to act decisively? Generous as it is to the unemployed, the CARES Act is equally generous to corporations which already benefited from the Federal Reserve’s action. Wall Street resumed its rise.

May the stock market rise to the sky? One is tempted to believe it when considering its performance. Could investors be the victim of an “irrational exuberance”? Not so, say some analysts who attribute the market rise to the “big tech” corporations (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft), also known under the acronym GAFAM. They account for about 20% of the market value and they are pooling up the market. But, excluding them from the S&P500 would mean excluding them – as well as other outperformers such as Tesla, Netflix, Nvidia, or Salesforce – from the American gross domestic product. One cannot dissect the market according to one’s view. The market is a reflection of the economy at large: the more profitable the corporations, the higher the value of their shares. Right? Wrong. Over the last few years, the stock market is disconnected from the economy. Net income has been flat since 2017 while share values gained 43% (graph 6). This makes no sense. The market is acting irrationally. It’s a matter of time before it corrects itself.

Returning to orthodoxy

In the 50’s and 60’s, the American government was a paragon of virtue. The budget was in quasi-equilibrium. There was little debt, no inflation, and the workforce was fully employed. Things have changed since then. The deficit is rising, the debt is growing ever-larger, and employment is not what it is purported to be. In the trio it makes up with the Federal Reserve and Wall Street, the federal government is the most important element for it defines the economic policy.

This brings us back to Jerome Powell’s speech. A lesser importance granted to monetary policy, as he posits, means a great one given to budgetary policy, assuming of course that the government has the latitude necessary to do so. This is not the case. The deficit is on a downward slope ever since the late 1960s, with the exception of a four-year gap from 1999 till 2002[10]. The federal debt rose from 40% of GDP in the early 1980s to 107% in December 2019. The combined Federal Reserve/CARES Act rescue package pushed it up to 137% as of June 30th – a level higher than at the end of World War II (119%). Giving a greater role to budgetary policy means either higher taxes or more debt, or both. Taxes have never been very popular with the electorate, and the federal debt reached a level beyond which the United States’ credit rating may fall and the value of the dollar may drop. Authorities are caught between a rock and a hard place: monetary policy lost its effectiveness at a time the budget deficit should be reined in.

With 29.7 million unemployed (including the 13.6 million “gig” workers with no insurance coverage), the situation could quickly become worrisome, politically and socially. Aware of the danger, members of Congress had hoped to prolong the CARES Act for the unemployed, but electoral rivalry with the upcoming presidential election quickly set in and any attempt to maintain some of the benefits of the CARES Act were doomed to failure. On August 8th, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order granting $300 a week to unemployed people – humanitarian and electoral reasons no doubt explain his decision. The Center for Control Disease and Prevention declared a moratorium forbidding tenant evictions until the end of the year, bringing some relief to the most vulnerable families. Praiseworthy as the decision might be, it carries a risk: bankruptcy for real estate owners who, deprived from rental revenues, may not be able to reimburse their bank loans. In turn, this may weaken the banks’ financial health and be the cause of a crisis.

The situation is becoming inextricable. The on-going deterioration of the economy increases the budget deficit and the public debt beyond reasonable levels while monetary policy has lost its effectiveness. The government’s two main levers to direct the country’s economic policy have become ineffectual. Due to the presidential election, no new measures are likely to be implemented between now and February or March – a time lapse during which the economy is likely to deteriorate further.

To prevent such an unwelcome development, Ms. Loretta Master, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland suggested on September 23rd to credit every American’s bank account with “digital dollar” directly from the Federal Reserve. Her proposal was well received. Market analyst Wolf Richter calculates that a $3 trillion transfer would translate into a $28000 sum for a household of two adults. This would prop up consumer spending and pull the American economy out of recession. But it would also create inflation and depreciate the dollar. A digital dollar is a dollar. Ms. Master’s proposal is another form of money creation. The total of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet which amounted to 40% of the gross domestic product in the 1960s, rose to 100% in December 2012. It now stands at 125%. Is the United States on its way to repeating the Wehrmacht Republic’s mistakes of the 1920s? What will happen to the dollar, if the Federal Reserve pursues its money creation policy? And what will happen to the United States’ credit rating?

Icarus’s wax is melting

Whatever measures are eventually agreed upon the public debt will rise. Who will finance it? About 70% of it is presently financed by the American public, federal agencies and the Federal Reserve. The remaining 30% is financed by foreigners. The percentage is dropping. In the summer of 2012, foreign investors held 34% of the public debt. The trend is likely to continue if we use gold prices. Gold is a yardstick of investors’ confidence. For several years, worried investors have been exchanging their dollar-denominated U.S. Treasury holdings for gold, pushing up its price. Graph 7 is most interesting in that it shows the investors’ change of mood. Following the 2008 subprime crisis, they put their financial assets into dollar and gold. Today, they are moving out of the dollar into gold. This is not a good sign for the dollar.

Meanwhile, the stock market is fumbling. After reaching its highest value ever on September 2nd (3,581), it is falling. Share values, like Icarus, do not rise to the sky. If the stock market fall continues which is most likely due to the state of the economy, the American recession will translate into a world recession, since the U.S. economy accounts for 15% of the world economy. In turn, the world recession will aggravate the American recession in a vicious circle analogous of the Great Depression. This could mean the demise of the American Empire.

Jean-Luc Baslé is a former Citigroup (New York) Vice President, Columbia University graduate, Princeton University graduate, 20 years in the United States, author of “The International Monetary System: Challenges and Perspectives” (1982), “L’euro survivra-t-il ?” (2016).

  1. National Bureau of Economic Research. 
  2. “New Economic Challenges and the Fed’s Monetary Policy Review”, Jerome H. Powell – August 27, 2020. 
  3. $29,000,000,000,000: a detailed look at the Fed’s bailout by funding facility and recipient. James Felkerson, Dec. 2001. 
  4. Stagflation is an unusual combination of inflation and recession (unemployment). 
  5. The velocity of money is the ratio of money to the gross domestic product. 
  6. Higher level of employment leads to higher wages and higher inflation. 
  7. In the 1960s, U.S. imports amounted to 5% of gross domestic product. They averaged 16.5% in the last decade. 
  8. Gross domestic product 
  9. A repurchase agreement “repo” is a short-term secured loan: one party (usually a financial institution) sells securities to another and agrees to repurchase them within a short period of time. 
  10. This was due to the “peace dividend”. 

Navalny Incident – A Made-in-the-USA False Flag to Harm and Contain Russia?

Stephen Lendman | Author | Common Dreams

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The US has much to gain from Navalny’s illness.

Most obvious is its aim to block Nord Stream 2’s completion.

If Russia’s gas pipeline to Germany becomes operational next year, it will double what Gazprom can supply Germany and other Western countries.

If the project is suspended or halted altogether, it will advantage US LNG producers — despite the much higher cost of this energy supply.

Republicans and Dems have greater aims.

They want Russia harmed economically, geopolitically and strategically. 

They want the country marginalized, weakened, and isolated.

The above objectives have been US policy throughout the Cold 

War and after its aftermath to the present day — no matter which right wing of its one-party state runs things.

Post-WW II, containing Russia became official US policy. 

US diplomat/envoy to Soviet Russia/presidential advisor George Kennan (1904 – 2005) was “the father of containment.”

He was a core member of so-called foreign policy “wise men” in Washington. 

His 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow and 1947 “Sources of Soviet Conduct” claimed its government was inherently expansionist. 

In February 1948, his “Memo PPS23” said the following:

“(W)e have 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. (It makes us) the object of envy and resentment. 

“Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships (to let us) maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national society.” 

“We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction…”

“We should dispense with the aspiration to ‘be liked’ or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism.”

“We should (stop talking about) unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization.” 

“The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.” 

“The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans (ideas and practices), the better.”

In July 1947, his so-called “X” article on the “Sources of Soviet Conduct urged countering it “effectively.”

The US “can never be on Moscow’s side,” he stressed.

In March 1948, NSC 7 detailed “The Position of the United States with Respect to Soviet-Directed World Communism,” saying:

“(A) defensive policy cannot be considered an effective means of checking the momentum of Soviet expansion.”  

“Defeat(ing)” communism was considered “vital to the security of the United States.”

NSC 68 (April 1950 — issued weeks before Harry Truman’s preemptive war on nonbelligerent North Korea) officially inaugurated anti-Soviet Russia containment.

It called the country an enemy “unlike previous aspirants to hegemony…animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.” 

Ignored was the scourge of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan — or that WW II devastated Soviet Russia, requiring years of rebuilding.

Its government posed no threat to the US — not then, notably not now.

After Soviet Russia’s dissolution in December 1991, capitalism replaced its communist system.

It remains Russian Federation policy today. 

Because Moscow is independent of US control, made-in-the-USA adversarial relations continue.

No Russian threat to US/Western interests exists so it was invented, notably since Vladimir Putin became president.

Bipartisan hostility toward Russia in Washington is all about wanting the country transformed into a US vassal state.

It’s about gaining control over its vast resources and population, along with eliminating a strategic rival — whose overtures for normalized relations are consistently spurned.

The Trump regime is using the Navalny incident to further its strategic interests.

It’s pressuring Germany and the EU to punish Russia for an incident no evidence suggests it had anything to do with.

Last week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said that if the chemical watchdog OPCW — an imperial lapdog serving Western interests — says Navalny was poisoned by novichok exposure, “I am convinced that (EU) sanctions will be unavoidable” on Russia, adding:

“(S)uch a grave violation of the International Chemical Weapons Convention cannot go unanswered.”

Earlier, a German military lab and facilities in France and Sweden claimed that the deadly nerve agent caused his illness.

Unmentioned by these countries was that exposure to novichok — the deadliest known toxin — causes death in minutes.

Navalny is very much alive over a month after falling ill. 

Discharged from hospitalization in Berlin, German doctors expect him to recovery fully or near-fully.

If poisoned by novichok, he’d have died before boarding a flight from Tomsk, Russia to Moscow.

What’s obvious is suppressed in the West by hostile-to-Moscow political officials and media.

Heroic efforts by Russian doctors in Omsk that saved Navalny’s life was erased from the EU’s historical record.

So was their biological analysis — finding no toxins in his blood, urine, liver, or elsewhere in his system.

According to former German diplomat Frank Elbe, Europe is “making a giant step backwards – back to the Cold War” by allying with US hostility toward Russia instead of normalizing relations, adding:

US policymakers are furious about an alliance by Germany and other EU countries with Russia to construct Nord Stream 2, “pursu(ing) their own independent policy.”

Elbe urged Europe to break from the US when their interests diverge — to uphold their sovereign independence.

Most often, European countries bend to Washington’s will — even  when harming their interests.

So far, opposing the Trump regime’s pressure to abandon the landmark JCPOA nuclear deal is an exception to the rule — if it sticks.

Will Nord Stream 2 be another? 

Will Germany support its completion or shoot itself in the foot by allying with US interests against its own?

Tucker: Anarchists are working to tear down America

لبنان لن ينهار مسيو ماكرون وأميركا هي المرشّحة للانفجار

محمد صادق الحسيني

تقول الحكاية مع هذا الأوروبي صاحب التجارب المليئة بالمجازر المباشرة وغير المباشرة ضدّ شعوب منطقتنا العربيّة والإسلامية إنّ: طعن الخديعة أخطر من عدو بلا خرطوش…!

أميركا لم يعد لديها ولا رصاصة في جعبتها لتطلقها ضدّ إيران…!

لكن خديعة أوروبا أخطر من هذا الموقف الأميركي العاجز…!

ظريف الأكثر تفاؤلاً يقول إنها لم تنفذ 11 تعهّداً لها تجاه إيران…!

تتظاهر أوروبا كذباً أنها لا تزال ملتزمة بالاتفاق النووي،

لكن لم يعد أحد في إيران يصدّق أوروبا حتى أكثر المراهنين عليها.

ولما كان المؤمن كيّساً فطناً، وليس كيسَ قطن، فإنّ على لبنان أن يأخذ الدرس مما حصل معه في ما بات يسمّى بالمبادرة الفرنسية أو خريطة طريق قصر الصنوبر…

ها هو ماكرون ينحاز عملياً وبشكل لا لبس فيه لصالح أميركا وينضمّ الى فريق ترامب الانتخابي…

إطلاق النار السياسية على حزب الله وتحميله مسؤولية فشل مبادرته والتلويح بالخيار «الإسرائيلي» السعودي الذي أبطنه عندما قال:

لا يستطيع حزب الله أن يكون جيشاً لمحاربة «إسرائيل» و»ميليشيا» في سورية وحزباً سياسياً «محترماً» في لبنان…!

وسنصبر 4 الى 6 أسابيع لنرى، هل سيختارون الخيار الديمقراطي أم الخيار الآخر…!؟

وهو الذي ضمّنه شروحه وهو يتحدث عن الكيانين «الإسرائيلي» والسعودي اللذين قال إنهما يطالبان بإعلان الحرب على حزب الله…

والذي وصفه في بداية المؤتمر الصحافي بأنه مغامرة…

بينما لوّح به في نهاية المؤتمر الصحافي…!

لكن ما لم يقله ماكرون في المؤتمر الصحافي هو المهمّ والأخطر، فما هو:

إنني، أي ماكرون، كلفت من قبل الإدارة الأميركية بتجريب فكرة المبادرة لحشر الحزب والمقاومة، فإنْ نجحت بها أكون قد أدخلت لبنان بنفق الحرب الناعمة التي تأخذ لبنان من خلال «حكومة المهمة»‏ الى الصلح والتطبيع مع الكيان الإسرائيلي، من بوابة ترسيم الحدود البحرية وووو…

وإنْ لم أنجح في ذلك، حمّلت الحزب وسلاح المقاومة المسؤولية، وعندها أترك المجال للأصيل الأميركيّ أن يخوض المعركة المباشرة وأنا ذيلٌ مراوغ له، كما فعلت مع الحالة الإيرانية في غمار لعبة البوليس السيّئ والبوليس الجيد التي يلعبونها هو وسيّده الأميركي مع إيران منذ انسحاب الرئيس المهرّج دونالد ترامب من الاتفاق النووي…!

وعودة إلى لبنان من جديد، فإنّ ما لا يعرفه ماكرون المدّعي، عن لبنان هو أنّ هذا البلد أكبر مما يتصوّر ولا تلخصه سلطة فاسدة ولا أحزاب تخون وطنها، كما قال وكلاهما اصلاً من صناعته وصناعة أسياده، بل إنّ لبنان بات راشداً وكبيراً وذا همّة عالية ومنغرسة أوتاده في أرض تطهّرت بدماء عشرات ومئات وألوف الشهداء القادة، ولم يعُد أحد، أيّ أحد، مهما تجبّر واستعلى أن يحرّك فيه حجراً عن حجرـ من دون إرادة سيد لبنان وسياج لبنان المحصّن بثلاثية الجيش والشعب والمقاومة…

ولبنان هذا غير قابل للانفجار ولا الانهيار أبداً…

تهويلكم مردود عليه إذ لدينا من خزائن المفاجآت ما سيجعلكم تنبهرون وتبلعون ألسنتكم…!

مَن سينفجر وينهار هي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية التي باتت كتلة ميليشيات متعدّدة بمئات الألوف تهدّد وحدة الاتحاد الأميركي وأمن أميركا القومي والحرب الأهلية على الأبواب مباشرة بعد الانتخاب فاز ترامب أم بايدن. فالأوّل سيأتي بالتقسيم والانفصال والتجزئة وصولاً الى الحرب، بينما الثاني سيقود مباشرة الى الحرب الأهلية كما يقرّ، ويعترف كبار محللي وكتاب الأعمدة الأميركيين ومنهم توماس فريدمان على سبيل المثال لا الحصر…

وسيّدك ترامب هذا يا مسيو ماكرون هو بعظمة لسانه قال إنه لن يسلم السلطة اذا فاز منافسه، ما يعني انّ كذبكم وخداعكم حول ديمقراطية الغرب باتت على المحكّ وبالمباشر على التلفاز وهو ما سنحضره جميعاً على الهواء مباشرة بعد الثالث من تشرين الثاني نوفمبر المقبل مجدّداً بكلّ شفافية ووضوح…!

فعلى مَن تكذب ولماذا تراوغ وعلى مَن تتحايل عندما تقول إنك تحبّ لبنان وتحبّ مساعدة لبنان..!؟

انت لا تحبّ إلا نفسك وعائلة روتشيلد، وما أنت إلا مدير بنك في هذه المجموعة، تصرّفت هكذا حتى في المؤتمر الصحافي وأنت تعامل طبقتك اللبنانية الفاسدة والخائنة كزبائن مفلسين تريد تغييرهم حسب هندسة مالية دولية جديدة صدرت تعليماتها إليك، ولم تكن رئيس جمهورية فرنسا أبداً…!

الآتي من الأيام والأسابيع سيبيّن للناس مَن هو الصادق ومَن هو الكذاب مع أول آذان بعد يوم نصر مبين آتٍ سنشهده نحن الممهّدون لجغرافيا آخر الزمان!

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Hegemon USA v. Humanity

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US rage for dominating other countries by hot and/or cold wars poses an unparalleled threat to humanity.

US drive for hegemony is in stark contrast to the multi-world polarity agendas of China, Russia and Iran — prioritizing peace, stability, and mutual cooperation among all nations.

On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif said the following:

“To meet the special challenges of our time, we need to solidify our cooperation within the framework of CICA (Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia).” 

“We need to secure a pivotal role for the organization, to advance multilateralism, and to ensure inclusive collaboration.” 

“It is imperative for us to pool our resources to jointly tackle the enormous challenge(s)” of our time.

Days earlier, Iran’s envoy to Britain Hamid Baeidinejad slammed the US for “behaving like a bully,” its actions “isolat(ing) itself from the international community.”

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the “interdependence and interconnectedness of all states without exception in all spheres of public life is the most important” way to deal with vital issues of our time,” adding with reference to Washington’s hegemonic agenda:

“(O)ur common misfortune has failed to smooth out the differences between some states.” 

“On the contrary, it has exacerbated many of them.” 

“The very moments of crisis that we observed in international relations earlier have resurfaced.” 

“A number of countries are increasingly…look(ing) abroad to find those who are responsible for their problems at home.” 

“There are obvious attempts by individual states to use the current situation to promote self-serving and fleeting interests and to settle scores with unwanted governments or geopolitical rivals.”

“(T)he practice of imposing unilateral, illegitimate sanctions persists, (notably by the US) which undermines the authority and prerogatives of the UN Security Council.”

Again with reference to the US, Lavrov called attacks on the UN system “absolutely unjustified.”

Stressing the importance of supporting and maintaining world peace, stability and security, Lavrov’s call for permanent Security Council members to prioritize this agenda fell on deaf ears in Washington, London and Paris, nations run by belligerent regimes.

“(O)vercom(ing) the most pressing problems of humankind” is only possible by mutual cooperation among all nations, especially major ones, said Lavrov.

It’s been unattainable throughout the post-WW II period because of US-dominated NATO’s rage for endless wars by hot or other means.

On Thursday, China’s UN envoy Zhang Jun sharply criticized slanderous Trump regime attacks on his country, saying the following:

What the world needs now is global cooperation against a made-in-the-USA “political virus,” its blaming other nations for its own wrongdoing, its “unilateralism and bullying,” adding:

“(T)he US keeps withdrawing from international treaties and organizations, severely undermining the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law.”

“The US flexes its (political and military muscles (globally, unlawfully) interfering…in the internal affairs of other countries…”

It “instigat(es) ‘color revolutions,’ jeopardizing (world) peace and stability.”

Its “cold war mentality” and drive for hegemony “push(es) the world into a dangerous situation.” 

It’s “erecting protectionist barriers and destabilizing the world supply and industrial chains.”

It’s “wielding the big stick of unilateral sanctions, frantically containing and suppressing foreign (countries and) companies, and attempting to artificially cut off the international flow of capital, technology, product, industry and personnel.” 

“(T)hese (actions) pose a serious threat to world peace and development.”

Jun’s call for the US to change its unacceptable ways fell on deaf ears of its one-party state with two right wings.

In February 2019, Trump appointed Kelly Knight Kraft as Washington’s UN envoy.

A dubious figure, wife of billionaire coal-mining tycoon/large GOP donor Joseph Craft, she’s notably unqualified for the high-profile diplomatic post, shown by her remarks — sounding like right-wing extremist/geopolitical know-nothing Nikki Haley.

On Thursday, she used the world stage to bash China and Iran unjustifiably.

Falsely accusing Iran of “funding and arming terrorists around the world” — a US specialty, not how Tehran operates anywhere — she shifted her venom at China, reciting a litany of bald-faced Big Lies, sounding like Chinaphobe Pompeo.

Time and again, GOP and Dem hardliners falsely blame countries they want transformed into pro-Western vassal states for high crimes committed against them.

A “safer and more secure world” is unattainable because of Washington’s geopolitical agenda, its hegemonic aims, its war on humanity, its abhorrence of peace, stability, cooperation among all nations, and the rule of law.

Trump v. Biden: The Evil of Two Lessers

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Readers who’ve followed my writing for years know I began in retirement at age-70 by accident.

It happened despite no intention to begin what I didn’t imagine during my formal working life — first as a marketing analyst, then in small family business.

I never had a home computer until convinced to get one by my daughter after retiring.

She showed me the basics and it changed my life. Each day I look forward to doing more pro bono. No one pays or directs what I do.

My mission is truth-telling on major domestic and geopolitical issues — polar opposite how establishment media operate as press agents for wealth and power interests.

In one of my early articles, I discussed the shame of the nation, a bipartisan conspiracy against peace, equity, justice and the rule of law.

I noted Benjamin Franklin’s warning to the nation’s founders on the uncertainty of whether the newly created republic would last into “remote futurity.”

Asked if a republic or monarchy was formed, he responded: “A republic if you can keep it.”

A modern-day Diogenes would search in vain for the likes of him, I said in my article, a figure with the wisdom of the ages, an observer in Philadelphia, not a delegate.

The notion espoused long ago and now that “all men (and women) are created equal” is a meaningless figure of speech, belying how things are in a nation governed of, by, and for the privileged few at the expense of most others — how it’s been from inception in America.

I noted at the time that the republic was flawed from birth, that today we’d call the founders a Wall Street crowd.

African-Americans were considered property, not people until the 14th Amendment (1868) granted citizenship to everyone “born or naturalized in the United States,” including former slaves  — everyone granted “equal protection under the laws” in name only.

The 15th Amendment granted all citizens of voting age the right to exercise their franchise — with no exception “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Women were excluded until the 19th Amendment in 1920. So have been countless numbers of disenfranchised citizens from the nation’s inception to now — for invented reasons, not legitimate ones.

The right to vote is at the discretion of individuals who run the country — overriding the law of the land.

Throughout US history, there were brief moments of fairness during the progressive movement of late 19th/early 20th century, the New Deal, Fair Deal and Great Society.

Trilateralism countered what dark forces running things called a “crisis of democracy” — meaning too much of it they wanted replaced with dirty business as usual that’s been de facto reality for most of the last half century, notably since the neoliberal 90s, especially in the new millennium.

America is more police state than democracy, its inner-city streets battlegrounds, Blacks, other people of color, and the poor of all races, creeds and colors treated like fifth column threats.

The federal income tax was all about having the public pay interest to bankers on America’s debt. 

As long as private interests control the nation’s money, debt entrapment will continue – along with booms, busts, inflation, deflation, instability and crises.

The 1913 Federal Reserve Act empowering bankers to control the nation’s money was the most destructive legislation in US history — an issue I discussed in my book titled: “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War.”

The road to hell especially from the Clintons to Bush/Cheney, to Obama, and now Trump seeking a second time around has been paved with pure evil intentions.

Separately I wrote about the denouement of freedom in police state America post-9/11, the mother of all state-sponsored false flags.

It was exceeded this year by manufactured pandemic and economic collapse that’s been all about transferring unprecedented amounts of wealth from ordinary people to privileged interests, letting corporate favorites gain greater power by eliminating competition, and convincing most Americans to sacrifice their civil liberties by accepting voluntary house arrest, falsely promoting it as a way to protect public health.

Both right wings of the one-party state are responsible for growing tyranny in the nation’s fantasy democracy — conditions today more dismal and disturbing than ever before.

Plutocrats, oligarchs, and kleptocrats never had things better.

Protracted main street depression conditions affect most others at a time when the remnants of social justice are on the chopping block for elimination altogether no matter which wing of one-party state rule runs things.

For young people, it’s the wrong time to be growing up in America.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal said “MBAs are usually swimming in job offers by now. Not this year.”

Likely not next or the year after. The small family business I was part of for most of my formal working life was highly cyclical.

Had we experienced what’s now ongoing, we’d have been out of business, never to reopen, years of market development washed away permanently.

When I received my MBA in February, 1960, completing a two-year curriculum in three semesters plus summer school, jobs for graduates were plentiful at a time when the economy wasn’t robust.

I recall taking one day off post-graduation, then showing up for work at the firm that hired me as a marketing analyst.

Today I’d be out of school, out of luck, and wondering how I’d begin a career and earn a living.

he Journal noted that “(t)raditional recruiters of business school graduates are nowhere to be found this fall.”

The job market for new grads looks to be no better next year or perhaps for some time thereafter.

On Monday, the South China Morning Post asked if Beijing favors Trump or Biden in November.

Will one “make a difference” over the other? Is one candidate the “lesser of two evils” or is it “too late to reset relations?”

The notion believed by some that a Biden presidency offers a “return to normalcy” after four tumultuous years of Sino/US relations under Trump is unrealistic wishful thinking.

On major domestic and geopolitical issues, both figures are flip sides of each other.

They’ll continue policies written in stone by dark forces running things, the nation’s power elites that assure continuity following all elections.

There may or may not be what geopolitical analyst Pang Zhongying called “a fleeting window of opportunity for both sides to climb down from the cold war-like confrontation, whoever wins the White House.”

Trump once hailed what he called  “tremendous progress in (US) relation(s)” with China — shifting from “my good friend” Xi Jinping to a reinvented “yellow peril.”

Both wings of the US one-party state consider China public enemy number one.

Whether Trump or Biden wins in November, US policy toward China and all other nations free from its control is highly likely to remain at least largely unchanged.

Hegemons don’t change spots when batons are passed from one leader to another.

All sovereign independent nations are on Washington’s target list for regime change whether Republicans or Dems are in charge — China and Russia most of all because of their ability to challenge America’s hegemonic agenda.

The last taboo: A postscript and way forward

The last taboo: A postscript and way forward

September 17, 2020

By Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

Dear reader, this time I shall not test your patience by producing another behemoth. Rather, I would like briefly to summarise and extend the lessons of my previous article as well as discuss some of the reaction to it.

First, let me thank Saker again for giving me a platform and Vladimir, Epithet, Djole, Marko, Katerina and many other comrades who were not cowed by the din of disapproving voices. But thank you also to the disapproving voices!

The first thing I noticed was the offended-disappointed tenor of some comments. It goes something like this: Yes, this is an interesting article, but why did you have to poke the hornet’s nest? It is not doing anybody any favours and will only bring harm to your tribe. This is the tone of a slightly annoyed Southern town Sheriff (let’s call him J. W. Pepper) circa 1962 when he realises that those uppity (SELF-CENSORED) have decided to protest the burning of their churches and lynching of their young. “I’m a reasonable God-fearing man and I am keeping my cool, but if you… persist in causing trouble, I’ma call Billy Bob and his boys…”. Unlike J. W. who is uneducated and a bit clumsy, the defenders of the Holy Empire are often sophisticated and subtle. Like J. W., they can rely on assassination squads made up of primitive and bloodthirsty Slav rednecks to enforce their dictate and fight the schizmatics.

But it’s that tone… It was in the 1990s that the notorious hangout for the British intelligence, Dominic Lawson, wrote in the Telegraph riled by threats by some anonymous Serb who in turn had been aggrieved by Lawson’s open support for the Croatian and Moslem Nazis (despite the fact that he was Jewish). One phrase: “but we know where you live” stayed with me. It is a kind of mental “we know where you live” that permeates this thread. Instead of embracing the idea and discussing it openly, the sleepers of the Empire react with fear and anger. As I said elsewhere, this topic is like ultraviolet light—it rouses vampires from their holes and fills them with ire. At this stage, the ire is still controllable. Unable to offer a coherent response, they indulge in whataboutery (although I hate having to use that excuse for drowning out justified criticism), petty insults, appeals to one’s “humanity”, shooting the messenger and other techniques of stifling dissent and promoting a racist, supremacist agenda of their masters.

Look, you are full of passion when discussing the plight of the Palestinians or Yemenis or Iraqis. And I support you 100%. But you are completely and shamefully silent when discussing a much larger and more pernicious holocide which happened in the middle of Europe more than a thousand years ago and is ongoing as we speak. There can be no excuse for that, full stop. Your silence is even more surprising given that the victims are completely white and represent the “flower” of Aryanism. But here, I am exposing your irredeemable fascist and racist leanings and you like that even less. For the Slavs are white and clearly Aryan yet are the greatest enemy of Catholic fascism and Nazi racism (at least most are).[1] This causes cognitive dissonance and you withdraw sulking to a debate about whether Trump is good for Russia and other nonsense. For you, it is not about the truth but about comfort, cosiness (Gemütlichkeit) and cheap self-validation—the sense that your ego is fed and massaged by others like yourself without having to do any hard work or take any risks.

If you are one of the fake leftists infecting the cyberspace these days, ponder the only group of people today that is allowed to be thought of as subhuman, oppressed and discriminated against, openly in front of your cold merciless eyes. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and similar numbers expelled from their homes by the Vatican’s Nazi legions in the last 30 years—this time with the full support of the American Jews and their useful idiots. You are no more of the left than I am Kenny G (thank God).

You like to think of yourself as standing on the vanguard of the anti-imperial struggle but are struggling with your own sense of guilt—and this mutates into raging hatred as soon as your amour propre (sigh) is challenged. You are not righteous just because you’re Irish or Moslem or Slav—there is much more to it. Learn from true freedom fighters or exceptional scholars and spiritual leaders such as Sheikh Imran Hosein.

I’ve noticed something else. The ultimate hypocrisy as always lies with the Catholics. They are the ones playing fervent nationalists (the Poles, Croats and Irish for example) ready to die for their fatherland and religion. And yet, they are slaves to the most openly globalist, internationalist imperialist dogma of all time—Roman Catholicism. Vatican’s political Catholicism is the ultimate source of fifth-columnism and it needs to be rendered harmless if not completely impotent before the Slavs can prosper. This doesn’t mean that we unconditionally support Jewish grievances against the Catholics. All we are asking is: “But is it good for the Slavs?”

Attacks on me are understandable and even welcome—for if everyone agreed (as they often do in many other articles), I wouldn’t be saying much, would I? At first, attacks are unpleasant and can deter a less than sturdy soul. But after a while, they become a sort of a compass—the louder they are, the closer one is to some uncomfortable truth. Of course, this is only a rough guide.

The paradox lies in the juxtaposition of the hundreds of semi-nonsensical conspiracies (e.g. COVID) which are debated passionately by millions of people and a simple and painful truth that causes even the staunchest “anti-imperialist” to go shtum in a nanosecond and run away. Their silence (or anger) tells me better than any words that I am on the right track.

I was also surprised by a lack of response from people who I would expect to be interested. But then, I understand—many are fed up and disgusted by another possible “false spring”—it could simply be the British preparing another “Slav federation of the unwilling”. For those who abhor the idea as the main threat to their Weltanschauung (here I go again)—various Catholicised and Germanised Slavs—again, I understand. The conditioning will not disappear overnight. Until it does, let me briefly sketch out a few start-up suggestions.

First, any attempts at a revival of the Slav idea will be immediately attacked and threatened by the sophisticated information and intelligence warfare capabilities of the West.[2] This is why the movement if any must grow slowly from a few seeds. People think that successful movements must be lavishly funded. Perhaps, but I don’t think so. What really needs to happen is for a few people of pure heart and sound mind to get in touch and form small, local cells involved in research and discussion of political, historical and cultural ties between Slavs and how these ties could be restored and strengthened. If there is true interest, eventually those cells will connect with each other to form larger bodies capable of attracting funds. There can be no brotherhood by ukase—bottom up all the way or not at all.

Regarding the topics for discussion, I suggest several to start with:

  • Analysis of the geopolitical situation with a focus on the Slav civilisation, its history and interests
  • Developing the idea of common interests and ways of furthering them
  • Learning about, making contact with and supporting endangered branches of the Slav tree—the Sorbs, the people of Donbass, expelled Serbs of Srpska Krajina, Ruthenians, Baltic Russians, Slavs in Albania, Serbs in Montenegro and others[3]
  • Replacing the false Austro-German account of Slav history with a genuine one
  • Discussing the project of repatriation of the Slavs to their native lands in Northern Germany and the Baltics. Making contact with Die Linke in Germany and starting a dialogue about the holocide of the Slavs and how this might be remedied.
  • Roman Catholic Church in the Slav lands needs to be replaced by national Catholic churches which retain the western rite and symbolism while being independent of Rome and focussed on the pastoral needs of their flocks. This was attempted unsuccessfully in the 1930 in some places but this time it mustn’t fail. It is both necessary and sufficient condition for the renaissance of the Slav nations.

If it is to live, the movement must transcend national boundaries but NOT I repeat NOT the boundaries of Slavdom. That means that there can be no talk of forming links if these are sponsored by Western intelligence agencies or involve the Vatican. People with true intentions will recognise each other.

More to come soon if there is interest.

Yours,

Ken Sharp… sorry, Leslie

  1. I repeat that I do not consider the Slavs in any way superior to any other group. In any case, true superiority manifests itself as charity and helping the fellow human being to regain their freedom and honour—like the Soviet Union which helped liberate countless third-world countries from Western colonialism. Despite their despicable political present, most Poles and Ukrainians fought against the Nazis. 
  2. Unless there is a sudden rupture between the Anglo-Saxons and German Europe, it is sensible to think in terms of a united West. 
  3. Of course, Slavs in any Western countries are welcome to participate and reflect on their situation. 

Why Today’s India is on the Wrong Side of History

Why Today’s India is on the Wrong Side of History

September 13, 2020

by Allen Yu for the Saker Blog

Recently, I wrote a short comment in the piece India’s border policies line with Thalassa noting that “India is on the wrong side of history.” It was too “conclusory” a comment deserves to be better explained. So I’d like to take a brief time why I think India is on the wrong side of history in siding with America against China today.

I’d first like to take a larger view of history.

Historical Context

Human history has for the most part gotten better over the last few tens of thousands of years. Our technology has advanced. Our life expectancies have increased. The last 200 or so years have seen the most explosive advances. The pace of scientific and technological advances has created a world beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors.

And if we believe that the human spirit of ingenuity will continue, as there is no reason not to, then the best is still yet to come. 90% of all scientists that have ever lived are alive today. If we can have peace and the world allowed to be free from hegemonic oppression, I’d say the future is bright for the human species.

Unfortunately, ominous dark clouds have hung over the world despite all the positive momentum of history. We live in a time of great paradoxes. Though the world is currently in a “time of peace,” with technologies and economies fast advancing, in relative overall prosperity, sponsored Color Revolutions and civil wars have been unleashed upon many nations, devastating regions from Iraq to Afghanistan to Ukraine to Egypt to Syria to Hong Kong. Economic sanctions have ravaged whole generations of peoples in regions from N. Korea to Turkey to Iran to Venezuela.

WWII by most accounts represents a righteous high point in history. It represents the defeat of the axes of fascism and colonialism. Yet, fascism and colonialism never left us. It got transformed and embedded into our new world.

The more things changed, the more we realize that many things haven’t changed. The poor and disposed of the colonial era are for the most part still poor and dispossessed. Russia is still the target of Western aggression after hundreds of years of antagonism. Even China – the presumed challenger to the West – has not escaped the trajectory of this history. Western powers – with their allies – are now actively scheming and working hard to suffocate China economically and technologically in an attempt to shove it back to a place of perpetual subservience to Western interests.

Some may argue say that Russia and China’s problems are that both had overplayed their hands. Russia had overextended itself in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and crossed the West’s “red line” in Ukraine. China has crossed the “red line” in the S. China Sea, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, etc.

The truth is that it is the West that has crossed the line in Europe, the Middle East and in Ukraine … and in S. China SeaHong Kong, and Xinjiang.

India’s Strategic Blunder

It is at this critical juncture that India has decided to pivot toward the West. India is making a gigantic strategic mistake. Here are some reasons why.

  • It does not make sense to make an enemy of 1.4 billion people. It’s is one thing to fight a border war, but it is quite another to actually join a group of others to contain the development and growth of 1.4 billion people. The wrath and actions coming out of the U.S. against China has been truly surprising and depressing. It is against the basic rights and dignity expressed in the UN charter. Why should India join that chorus? Chinese have no animosity toward the Indian people. However, the Indian populace – fanned by an irresponsible media with much rumors and fake news – has allowed itself to be whipped into a giant anti-China frenzy.
  • America – and the broader West – will not help India to develop. Many Indians fancy that India – after America decouples from China – will take the place of China and that the West is going to help pull India out of poverty the way it has helped to pull China out of poverty. That is just not going to happen. There are a few reasons for this.
    • First, America has squandered much of its capital since becoming the sole superpower with its endless wars since the fall of the Soviet Union. America today thinks the world as set up after WWII is set against it, with much of the world leaching off America’s largess. America will have no more of it. Enough has been enough! Never again will America work for another country!!! America now wants the world to serve it, not the other way around. If Indians think America had pulled China out of poverty (Chinese mince at that notion since they believe it is they themselves who pulled themselves out of poverty), they can rest assured America will not be able to do the same for India.
    • Second, the West has come to see the world not in win-win terms, but in zero sum terms. For a brief while, the West did experiment with some version of win-win globalism. While it infused globalism with its own suffocating ideologies and rules to benefit itself, it did for a while work on a flatter world. In this “flat world,” people the world over get to exchange ideas and goods and services with each other, for each other’s own benefits, all in a win-win fashion. But that period soon ended. It’s not just Trump. It’s the whole establishment and populace. The jealousy by which the West has come to guard their knowhow, markets, and manufacturing resources for Covid-19 vaccines represents just the tip of the ice berg. The West used to think of itself as a shining beacon for the world. It had first rate technology and science that attract the world over to learn and disseminate back to the world. Now, it considers people coming to learn and bring back knowledge as “stealing.” It considers manufacturing abroad as stealing. It considers R&D abroad as “stealing.” Whatever India hopes to get from America and the West, it is not going to be good jobs or know-how. America wants its manufacturing back. It has drawn from China’s rise the (incorrect) lesson that it should never help or allow another power rise. It doesn’t want to depend on China – or anyone else – to make anything but the lowest value items. It becomes suspicious when others make its masks, medical equipment, pharmaceutical products, software, cars, computers, etc. It will think twice, thrice, about ever helping to create a new peer competitor again.
    • America – and the broader West – is in decline. The West is in decline. There is no doubt about it. The writing is on America’s economic wall – or more accurately, in its Fed balance sheet. An economy cannot go on printing money. An economy cannot stay productive with prolonged low interest rates and paper printing, where the most productive and valuable thing it produces are military weapons. Many people talk about America’s “soft power.” I say B.S. If you take away America’s military, do you think America’s “soft power” will stand on its own? No. America’s “software power” will vaporize. American soft power stands on its military power. And America’s military power stands on the might of its economic power. Recently, that economic power is buttressed in part by China (through trade). But now America no longer wants to rely on faraway lands for anything. Once it starts decoupling from China, it will soon realize how weak it economically is. An economic reckoning will come. Such a inflection point would not necessarily bad for the American people. Stripped of its imperial duties and obligations, Americans can focus on the important things that had made America “America” again. But it means the days of the American Empire are ending. The days of America helping to lift another nation from poverty has long gone.
  • America – and the broader West – is not capable of negotiation. The West cannot keep any agreement that goes against their interests. When even the slightest of circumstances change, they find a reason to tear up the agreements, with the Iran nuclear deal but one example. Whatever deal India think it is going to get, it is not going to get what it thinks it will get. The relationship will only work song as so India gives up much more than it receives. This is the Western way. Forget about getting a fair deal. Forget about even getting a good deal. India is thinking about forging a long-term deal … I say be realistic. There is nothing special about India that will make the West change. Beggars can’t demand change. The West is not going to change its fundamental ways for you.
  • India will miss the boat in the rising Asian Century. The engine of the new global growth for the foreseeable future will be China and its surrounding neighbors. No one doubts that. Many ASEAN nations – despite having intractable territorial disputes with China in the S. China Sea – have decided to join China in building a shared future. India too has been invited but it has decided time and time against joining China because of its territorial disputes with China. This is short-sighted. China and India are old sister civilizations that have long interacted with each other. The notion of a straight line fixed territory is a Western concept. When we fixate on boundaries to the exclusion of everything else, we get led down a zero-sum intractable dispute.

China’s “community with shared future for mankind”

China is pushing forward a framework of “community with shared future for mankind” for foreign relations. This is a rejection of both traditional ideological based framework of international relations as well as the cold “realist” approach.

It is a rejection of traditional ideology in the sense it is truly agnostic about what forms of government or other ideologies other nations follow. As Deng Xiao Ping has been quoted to say, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” It doesn’t matter if you have a left leaning or right leaning, or capitalistic or socialist, or “democratic” or “authoritarian” government, what matters is if you deliver good governance for the people.

It is a rejection of traditional realistic approach because it doesn’t really view might as the end and be all. While China acknowledges cold realism, it also aspires for a new world order that promotes global justice – which can be summarized as true sovereignty of each nation to develop as it chooses for its people.

The way to a stable world then – according to China – is to create an environment where we can raise the water for each other, shelving all conflicts as much as possible. Once everyone is better off enough – hopefully much better off than today – many issues – including territorial disputes – will become much easier to resolve.

Why Shelf Territorial Dispute?

So if we go back to the India and China territorial dispute: sure, the two neighbors can always fight to the death over a piece of territory, but that is missing the forest for the trees. What they need – above all else – is to develop each other’s society, to pull its peoples from poverty, to provide a better future for its people. What they need then is to meet each other somewhere in the middle and to enable each other to cooperate with each other. China’s faith – which should be India’s as well – is that the benefits of cooperation will in the future outweigh – far outweigh – any territorial concession each can make. It will outweigh territorial concessions because the sky is the limit to where each nation can develop.

If you think lifting 800 million out of poverty over 4 decades is amazing, think lifting 1 .4 billion between India and China over the next 4 decades! That’s the kind of vision and possibility we are looking at!!!

The way out of today’s intractable territorial dispute is to shelf it and to focus on things both sides can cooperate on, leaving the problem for a much more prosperous generation to settle on. The important thing is to build a bigger pie for our future generations instead of bickering over today’s limited pie.

Unfortunately India has decided to not only reject that vision, but to ally with U.S. to suppress China’s win-win shared common future from arising.

From China’s view, the world has been held hostage by the West for too long. Too many nations either cannot or do not want to stand up for their right to develop. The cost of standing up to the hegemon just seems too high. Many actually want to work with the hegemony, hoping to for fleeting crumbs of good will and vague rewards, even if it means enabling the hegemon to continue its pillaging and oppression over them.

The human psyche is a strange thing. While human beings have been known to rise to the highest of braveries in defense of justice, righteousness, honor, and faith, they can also be exceedingly weak and feeble. There are too many stories of a man or woman being beaten to death by a criminal, with passive crowds and strangers watching and passing by, doing nothing.

“Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.” The world must go beyond taking short-term benefits from the West and learn to fish by themselves. It cannot always beg for a fish scrap here and there. It cannot keep fighting against or sabotaging each other for favors from the rich.

Too many of the areas of the world with territorial conflicts have arisen from their colonial legacy. The China-Indian territorial disputes arose from British colonial legacy (others that come to mind include the Palestinian issue, Cyprus, Kashmir, Pakistan-India animosity, etc.). The world must be able to through this trap to free themselves collectively from their colonial legacy.

The West – despite all its follies – continue to be strong. It has the most wealth, technologies, and strongest military. It can buy allies anywhere around the world. It can bribe and corrupt most governments around the world. But in the long term, it cannot last. The rest of the world must learn to stand up by itself.

Freedom and Development with Strings Attached

As the world currently stand, if nothing major is done, much of the fruits of science and technology will continue to accrue only to a few nations. The U.S. and the “West” has been the undisputed leader across a wide swath of science and technology in the 20th and 21th century. By their actions throughout history and today, we know Western dominance rests exclusively on their scientific and technological prowess. If their ideological prowess, not their technological prowess, is the source of their power, why are they so quick to demand others adopt their ideologies while remaining so protective of their technologies?

I mean … have you wondered why the West would want to shove down the rest of the world’s throat their version of “democracy” and “rule of law” … but get so worked up when others learn from them knowledge about science and technology?

Today, China is the only power capable of challenging all dimensions of the Western grip on of scientific and technological dominance – at least in the foreseeable future. But just as China begins to appear to be a credible competitor or alternative, the West is mounting an all spectrum attack on China to suppress its ability to access technology and markets around the world.

Thus we see that the West’s preaching of “free markets” and “rule-based economy” has always been a mirage. The British demanded “freedom” because they wanted the “freedom” to pillage on their own terms. They know that since they had the best technology and companies, the world is there for their picking if the barriers are broken down. Hence they worked to knock those barriers down!

The U.S. took on their mantle … and demanded “freedom” … too, also for the U.S. to pillage the world on their own terms. But when their dominance is threatened, the veil of “free markets” and “rule-based” trade systems has come down too.

From the Chinese view, the U.S.’s lack of confidence about China’s rise shows how insincere and hypocritical the West has always been about the world. Many Chinese have long seen through the façade of “ideologies,” and “norms” and “rules” masquerading hegemony real politik.

China’s dreams for win-win shared future are not false ideals. After all, it is not completely devoid of precedence. After U.S. helped to rebuild Europe and/or Japan, has the U.S. not received benefits from those regions? Of course! Not only have they contributed to advances in science and technology, they also provided a market for the U.S.

But there is a critical limit about American good will. Europe and Japan were allowed to succeed – but only up to a certain level. The main value of allowing Europe and Japan some prosperity is not in making those regions better off per se. The main value was in using those regions to contain Soviet Union / Russia and China. Europe and Japan understand their roles as subservient powers – and their roles as first lines of containment against Russia and China.

A Disgruntled West

Today, with U.S.’s political system and social fabric deteriorating, the U.S. is going through a fundamental rethink. The U.S. now openly thinks allies like Japan and Europe have been “taking advantage” of the U.S. The U.S. now wants payback. From its allies, it seeks better trade deals and more “protection money.”

And against China, it is on a crusade to stop its development. In China’s view, this is a red line and truly tragic. China believes the fundamental right of every people is the right to develop. It is the right of the U.S. to want to decouple from China. But to try to form an alliance to constrain the growth of 1.4 billion, as it had already with lesser powers such as N. Korea, Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela is to cross China’s fundamental red line.

India is on the wrong side of history because it is siding with a West that is going to such levels to extend its grip on dominating the world. Some time ago, I remember seeing Trump tweet out an edited version of Time’s cover of Trumpism outlasting Trump … lasting “4EVER”! There is an important kernel of truth to that video!

The West has changed. It is now open about wanting to dominate the world through suppression instead of being the light that draws the world.

Painting Itself into a Corner

In wanting to join the Western crusade against China, India too has crossed to the wrong side of history. In the coming multipolar world, India is positioning itself in a place where it will be difficult for it to develop. The capital and knowhow that can flow from a renewed China will no longer flow to India. By rejecting the Belts and Road Initiates and the RCEP, India is decoupling from Asia’s coming century.

Losing all that, but what does India have to gain? India will not be able to tease more territory out of China by playing tough. If India believes it can hang on the disputed territories against China, so too can China hang on to its disputed territories against India. Whatever India thinks it can do against China, China can do the same to India. This should be beyond any doubts!

So no new territories will be gained (or lost) through India’s current posture. What is lost however is the space for cooperation and mutual growth. India’s rejection of strategic cooperation perceived tactical gain is India’s tragic mistake today.

China is strong enough to go along without India if necessary. It is moving full steam ahead with its Belts and Road Initiative, RCEP, CJK, etc. It has formed a formidable relationship with Russia not based on ideology, alliance, political preferences, etc. – but based on building up and emphasizing common interests between two previous competitors. China and Russia will be friends not necessarily because the people “like” each other – although Chinese generally do have overwhelming positive feels toward the Russian people – but because their leaders have worked hard to ensure that they have develop and enhance many overlapping common interests.

A Relationship of Mutual Respect and Shared Common Future

Russia and China represents the sort of respectful, cooperative give and take relationship that China believes will represent the future of man-kind. They will succeed because such thinking not because you either join China or get kicked out on the high way. No, it will succeed because it will create far more than the West’s zero sum approach.

Now, don’t think everything is jolly good between Russia and China. I am sure the leaders have had many “frank” discussions about their differences … often. Historically China and Russia has had many issues. But rather than just hyping up (or burying, which is just as bad) their past, they have chosen to work on cooperating with each – to each other’s mutual benefits.

There is still time for India to join China. For eons China and India have coexisted with each other without a clearly demarcated border. Yes, in our modern world, we all long for clearly defined boundaries. But if that’s not possible, it should not be the end all and be all! Through cooperation, India and China can build a bright, shared future together, notwithstanding the territorial disputes. Now is the time for India’s leaders to decide if petty adventures on the border and allying with a dying hegemon are truly in India’s interest. Will India go down defiant, proud, and loud – but weak, petty, and trapped in the history of time?


Allen Yu is an IP attorney in Silicon Valley, a founding blogger at blog.hiddenharmonies.org, as well as an adjunct fellow at the Chunqiu Institute for Development and Strategic Studies. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a D. Engr., M.S., and B.S. from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

9/11 ended the American dream, says Lebanon’s Talal Atrissi

By Mohammad Mazhari

September 12, 2020 – 18:21

TEHRAN- Head of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Lebanon says the American dream promoted by its cinema has come to an end and “we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy and kill.” 

 In an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times, Dr. Talal Atrissi says that the American dream has become an “ugly image” for the nations around the globe.
“There is no longer what we call the American dream,” adds Atrissi.
Following is the text of the interview: 

 Q: Who are the main beneficiaries of the September 11 attacks?

A: The September 11 attacks helped neoconservatives in the U.S. advance their project of changing the Middle East (West Asia) under the pretext of “war against terror.” 

After 9/11, Washington was involved in regional wars, and its policy turned into a direct military offensive policy.

 It occupied Afghanistan and then occupied Iraq, and demanded Syria close Palestinian organizations’ offices, and encouraged Israel to launch the 2006 war on Lebanon. 

So, after the September 11 attacks, American foreign policy turned into a direct occupation policy in order to implement the vision and project of the neoconservatives in the world.

Q: What are the repercussions of the wars that the U.S. launched against Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11?

A: The wars launched by the United States on Afghanistan and Iraq showed the fact that the United States has become a direct occupying power in the region.

 In Afghanistan, the U.S. becomes a neighbor to Iran and Russia, and other countries in Asia.

 In Iraq, it became close to Iran and Syria, with a large military force that could threaten the countries that disagreed with its policies or oppose American hegemony.

As a result, the United States faced violent resistance, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, as far as U.S. presidents from Obama to Trump have admitted that the country has paid thousands of billions of dollars and human losses due to these wars.

That is why Obama decided to withdraw from Iraq, and Trump came to say that he does not want to wage new wars in the region. As a result of these wars, the United States of America is declining and losing its influence in the region.

The resistance has become stronger and more experienced, and the idea of resistance has been welcomed and has spread, whether in Iraq, Lebanon, or even Afghanistan.

So, the occupation brought complete havoc for the United States besides failure for neoconservatives in their projects.

Q: Why have the Americans embraced negotiations with the Taliban, whom they called terrorist, after two decades of war?

A: The U.S. negotiations with the Taliban reveal that Washington does not make a deal according to principles, but rather uses slogans and then outweighs its interests.

 During the war against the Soviet army in Afghanistan, America and its media used to call the fighting groups, including the Taliban, “Mujahideen,” and not terrorists.

After the Soviet army left Afghanistan, and these groups started to fight the U.S., these groups were classified as “terrorists.”

So, the United States of America is negotiating today with the Taliban because it really failed in Afghanistan. This means the admission of failure in Afghanistan after paying huge losses. 

 For this reason, the U.S. wants to withdraw the largest number of its forces from there and negotiate with the Taliban about its participation in the government of Afghanistan.

But Al-Qaeda organization is originally an American-backed entity that was exploited in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and when its date expired, Trump accuses Clinton and Obama of being involved in the manufacturing of al-Qaeda.

This is why all America’s claims about terrorism are uncovered and unacceptable, and it has become known that the United States allied with al-Qaeda in more than one place in West Asia. 

“All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks.”

Q: What happened to the American dream after 9/11?

A: The American dream is over, and the United States no longer can present itself as a globally attractive destination.

After September 11, using force, oppression, occupation, torture, and prisoning of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan has become the United States’ predominant face.

The mutual accusations between the American presidents showed the true face of America. 

Even the American lifestyle is no longer the one that anyone in the world dreams of having, and therefore there is no longer what we call the American dream. 

The American dream was ruined, in a cracked structure, which was no longer coherent. The American dream created by cinema has ended, and we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy, and kill, and does not respect human rights.

 From that time until now, we can say that the American dream has become an ugly image for the world’s nations.

Q: Why doesn’t the U.S. sue Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks? 

A: The U.S. doesn’t want to sever its relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while it has become clear that most of those who carried out the September 11 attacks were Saudis.

 Although there were discussions and calls to cut ties with Saudi Arabia or impose sanctions on it, the matter met American silence because the relationship with Saudi Arabia is profitable for Washington.

The Saudi Kingdom is the largest buyer of weapons, and it is an ally of the United States in the face of Iran; and therefore, the United States is silent about such an operation and does not directly accuse the Saudis.

 All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but the Trump administration tries not to ruin the ties.

 So, the issue of terrorism is an optional issue to Washington.  The U.S. president is who chooses when to fight terrorism or fight the countries accused of being behind terrorism. 

That’s why the United States of America was silent and did not talk about accusing Saudi Arabia directly, although some information indicates that some figures in the Saudi ruling family provided funding to the attackers. 

Q: What have been the consequences of 9/11 for U.S. internal security, especially when the freedoms were restricted under the pretext of fighting terrorism?

A: On the American domestic level, what happened was the U.S. policy reversed into a militant policy, a policy of suppressing freedoms and spying on citizens.

Suppressing freedoms under the pretext of fighting terrorism and concerns about individuals’ relations with terrorists has become a prevailing issue in the U.S. A big debate heated in the United States on the importance of freedoms, but the government continues to restrict citizens. The Americans lost a large part of their freedoms under the motto of “fighting terrorism.”

Q: How could the September 11 attacks spread Islamophobia in the West? 

A: Islamophobia is a complex topic that has historical roots and cultural reasons and causes related to terrorist operations. The American and Western media, in general, shed light on the September 11 attacks and emphasized that Muslims were the main actors who carried out this operation.

Of course, this approach contributed to creating an anti-Muslim atmosphere in the United States of America for a long time.

But at the same time, Islamophobia is also widely widespread in Europe, and this is partly because of terrorist operations that were carried out on European territories.

Still, Islamophobia has been misused inside the United States and Europe in the struggle between political forces and accusing Muslims of economic, social, and cultural problems.

In fact, some Muslims cannot integrate into Western culture. Thus they face the isolation process and tend to engage in terrorist groups.

In addition to that, Muslims in Europe, for example, live in the suburbs and lack adequate services, which encourages young generations to join extremist organizations.

The United States of America, because of its anti-Muslim policies, has created an atmosphere of extremism among some Muslims. That’s why it can be said that the September 11 attacks contributed to the spread of Islamophobia.

Moreover, the American media has a pivotal role in creating this Islamophobia wave by inciting Muslims and covering up the Saudi Kingdom’s crimes.

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توسّع أردوغان في شرق المتوسّط مسمار نعش النهاية..

سماهر الخطيب

وجّهت الولايات المتحدة بالأمس دعوة إلى الحليف الناتوي تركيا لسحب قواتها من شرق المتوسط.

وجاءت الدعوة على لسان وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو عشية زيارته إلى قبرص بهدف التوصل إلى حل سلميّ يُنهي التوتر في المنطقة.

وبحسب بومبيو فإن «زيارته لقبرص تأتي استكمالاً لاتصالات أجراها الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب مع نظيره التركي رجب طيب أردوغان ورئيس الوزراء اليوناني»، مشدداً على «ضرورة حل النزاع بطريقة دبلوماسية وسلمية». كما أشار إلى «دور ألمانيا في السعي إلى خفض التوتر».

فيما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع المطلة على المتوسط في ختام قمتها بشأن الأوضاع في شرق المتوسط استعدادها لـ»فرض عقوبات على تركيا ما لم تتراجع عما وصفته بتحركاتها الأحادية الجانب في المنطقة».

كما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع “دعمها الكامل وتضامنها مع قبرص واليونان في وجه التعديات المتكررة على سيادتهما وحقوقهما السيادية والأعمال التصعيدية من جانب تركيا”، وفق ما جاء في البيان.

وندّد الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون أول أمس، بـ”لعبة الهيمنة لقوى تاريخية” في البحر الأبيض المتوسط وليبيا وسورية، مسمياً تركيا. وقال ماكرون إن «دول المتوسط السبع تريد حواراً بنية حسنة مع تركيا التي تقود سياسة توسعية في البحر الأبيض المتوسط».

وفي المشهد التركي يبدو أنّ أردوغان ماضٍ إلى نهاية حقبته «الأردوغانية»، بعد أن أصبحت نزعته «السلطانية» المتحكمة والمسيطرة على أفعاله وأقواله. وهو يعلم جليّاً بأنّ تلك النزعة التوسعية فاقدة أي شرعية أو مشروعية وخالية من أي سند قانوني يدعمها أو حق تاريخي يؤصّلها، ليس في مياه البحر الأبيض المتوسط، فحسب، إنما في معظم الأراضي السورية التي سلخها أجداده عن أمها السورية بلا حق وها هو اليوم يفتح عليه أبواب مواجهات قاسية وقاصمة، قد تصل إلى حد الحرب.

ومنذ أن وقعت تركيا اتفاقية ترسيم الحدود مع الوفاق الليبية ولم تكل ولم تهدأ بتوجيه تهديداتها لجيرانها في منطقة شرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط، وبخاصة قبرص واليونان، وذلك من خلال إعلانها الخاص بتوسيع نطاق عملياتها لاستكشاف حقول الغاز في المنطقة المتنازع عليها شرقي المتوسط، وتأكيدها على مواصلة سفينة التنقيب التركية “ياووز” أعمالها، خلال الفترة الممتدة من 18 آب، وحتى نهاية أيلول الحالي.

وصرّح أردوغان مراراً أن بلاده ستستأنف عمليات التنقيب وستبحث عن مصادر الطاقة قبالة جزر يونانية، متوعّداً بعدم التراجع عن توغل بلاده في شرق المتوسط، زاعماً أن لبلاده «الحق تماماً» في المنطقة المتنازع عليها مع اليونان.. وإذا ما فتحنا دفتر الحساب حول الحق المزعوم فسنجد أنّ هذه «الحقوق العثمانية» ما هي إلا الأوهام مجرّدة من المصداقية بنت إمبراطوريتها السابقة على المجازر التي ارتكبتها كالمجازر الأرمنية والسريانية واقتطعت الأراضي بلا أدنى حق متذرعة بقوة السيف من جهة وباتفاق مع حلفاء الحربين العالميتين الأولى والثانية من جهة أخرى..

إنما هروب أردوغان من الجهة الغربية نحو جهة المتوسطية سيكون مسماراً في نعش النهاية الحتمية لجنون الحقبة «الأردوغانية» التي عاشتها بلاده ودفعت وستدفع أكلافها عالية وغالية..

إذ أضحى أردوغان عدواً مشتركاً للغرب وللشرق بتصرّفاته الرعناء ولم تقتصر تلك العداوة على الخارج بل ظهرت وتغلغلت داخل بلاده وبين مواطنيه..

ودخل في دوامة الخلافات مع محيطه الشرقي والغربي وبات العمق الاستراتيجي أضغاث أحلام ولم يعد يساوي الحبر الذي كتب فيه أحمد داوود أوغلو كتابه موجهاً دعواته لحزبه السابق حزب العدالة والتنمية بالتوجه نحو الشرق والداخل المشرقي وباتت رؤية “صفر مشاكل” صفراً على شمال طموحات أردوغان الرعناء.. فأصبح الإقليم برمته ضدّه، فبينما تلوّح أوروبا بورقة العقوبات، تحرّك فرنسا قطعها الحربية إلى المتوسط، وواشنطن تفتر علاقتها به وتطلب منه بصريح العبارة سحب قواته من المتوسط وتدين “الجامعة العربية” تصرفاته وتطالبه بسحب قواته من سورية وليبيا وغيرها من البلاد التي عاث فيها فساداً ليبدو وكأنّ الجميع اتفق عليه ويتجه نحو تشكيل حلف جديد في رحم المنطقة لملاقاته، والذي يبدو في الزمن القريب قدراً مقدوراً..

في المحصلة تبدو نهاية «الأردوغانيّة» أمراً محتوماً وحقيقة مؤكدة، وفي التاريخ الكثير من أمثولات أطماع أردوغان وأوهامه التي تسببت بانهيار إمبراطوريات كبيرة واندثرت حضارات عظيمة، إذا ما افترضنا أنّ تركيا «حضارة» وإن كانت، فإنما حضارة مسروقة مبنية على مجازر..

وفي العودة إلى التاريخ، فإن كثيراً من الإمبراطوريات انهارت وفسدت واضمحلت من داخلها، بسبب تصرفات حكامها وما محاولة أردوغان لبناء دولة خلافة تركية من جديد، إلا أوهام مضادة لحركة التاريخ وتزييف لتطور البشرية..

وإذا ما استمرّ في تجاوزاته لكل الخطوط الحمر فإن نهايته حتماً ستأتي على يد تحالف دولي إقليمي، قد يتحول إلى حلف عسكري في القريب العاجل، للقضاء على أوهام السلطان الذي لم يعد له صاحب أو صديق..

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