15 April 2014

Shyam Saran: India-China border dispute - Coping with asymmetry

Sustaining the status quo depends on our ability to make attempts to change it risky for the other side

Shyam Saran 
April 13, 2014

In 1983, when I was serving in our embassy in Beijing, there were a series of informal and confidential exchanges on the possibility of resolving the border issue. The Chinese leadership was keen on a visit to Beijing by then India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had also taken over the same year as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement. It was pointed out to our Chinese interlocutors that such a visit would hardly be possible without the border issue being resolved in a satisfactory manner. The answer was to point to Deng's package proposal, i.e. to formalise the status quo. Our counter was that something more than the status quo would be necessary given the grievous blow to Indian psyche that the 1962 war had delivered. There was some indication that if Gandhi would be ready to visit, then some additional territory in the western sector, occupied as a result of the 1962 operations, may be conceded. Unfortunately, the Indian side did not follow up on this and the opportunity was lost.

In 1985, the Chinese side formally reinterpreted the package proposal saying that we had misunderstood Deng's words. The fresh Chinese position was that since the area of largest dispute was in the eastern sector, India had to make meaningful concessions in that sector and the Chinese side would then make appropriate and corresponding concessions in the western sector. Additionally, an explicit demand was now advanced for ceding Tawang, which the Indian side was accused of occupying at a much later date after its independence. It was pointed out to us that since the fifth Dalai Lama had been born in Tawang, the place was of special significance for the Chinese people, in particular for China's Tibetan nationality. This remains the current Chinese position on the border dispute and the Indian side, of course, rejects it.

In 1992, an informal suggestion was made to the Chinese side that India gives free access to Chinese pilgrims to Tawang, while China reciprocally gives similar access to Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar. The Chinese never responded. One reason for the insistence on Tawang being conceded may be the fear that if the next Dalai Lama were to be "discovered" in Tawang , a Chinese rival may not enjoy the same legitimacy. As will be apparent, the issue of Tibet continues to be embedded in any consideration of the border.

Nitin Pai: Our foreign policy is 8% growth

Nitin Pai 
April 13, 2014 

I took the opportunity on one of my infrequent visits to New Delhi last week to have coffee with one astute observer of the Indian policy scene. The discussion strayed, as discussions often do these days, into the composition of the new cabinet. I was struck by most of his choices, but most of all by his views on the foreign and defence portfolios.

He couldn't care less, he said, because these are mostly irrelevant to India's national priorities at this stage. Wars involving us are unlikely, neighbouring countries are caught up in webs of their own making and most international developments don't involve us, even if they sometimes affect us a little. In his view, therefore, the foreign and defence ministries are best used to balance competing political factions within the ruling party, rather than to house the best qualified person for the job. The key economic portfolios, on the other hand, ought to go to the best talent the ruling party or coalition can muster.

It is hard to contest this assessment at a time when growth has slowed down, inflation remains high and investment is yet to pick up. Getting back onto the path of high growth is the single biggest policy agenda before the new government. Students at Pune's Symbiosis International University were taken aback last year, when I argued, in a lecture on geopolitics, that "our China policy is 8 per cent growth, our America policy is 8 per cent growth and our Pakistan policy is 8 per cent growth". Now more than ever, it is important for India's foreign policy establishment to acquire a deep understanding of the economic bases of national power. It would be fruitless, almost absurd to talk about the new government's foreign policy agenda without rooting it firmly in the economic agenda. Now, more than ever.

Despite some attempts by some eager foreign analysts to over-read the semantics of party manifestos, there has been more continuity in the substance of India's foreign policy than it would appear. The 1998 nuclear tests were in the works under three prime ministers. The India-US strategic partnership was initiated by at least one previous government and realised by its successor. Negotiations with China have been taking place for two decades under different governments. There have been changes in tone, in style, in rhetoric and in specific priorities, but there have been few sharp departures. It is in reaction to events where these are most discernible. Different governments responded differently to terrorist attacks and national security crises in different ways.

Siachen Unmasked

IssueNet Edition| Date : 08 Dec , 2012

Much water has flown under the bridge since 2nd October 2012 when Atlantic Council of Ottawa put out the news bulletin titled “India-Pakistan experts agree on confidence-building measures at Lahore meeting”. The bulletin stated that since November 2011, militaries of both India and Pakistan held several rounds to boost confidence building measures, these meetings having been held in Dubai (20-21 November 2011), Bangkok (23-25 February 2012) and Lahore (23-25 September 2012) and that additionally, working group meetings took place in Chiang Mai (21 April 2012) and Palo Alto (30-31 July 2012).

With respect to Siachen, the bulletin said, “….as a part of the comprehensive resolution of the Siachen dispute, and notwithstanding the claims of each country, both sides should agree to withdraw from the conflict area while retaining the option of punitive action should the other side renege on the commitments”.

Notwithstanding the fact that above means withdrawing from Indian Territory and in effect acquiescing to the absurd Pakistani demand for the LC be to drawn from NJ9842 directly to KK Pass, inclusion of the following paragraphs too are ridiculous to say the least:

What is the logic (read wisdom) of this when Indian posts dominate the crest-line of the Saltoro Range and Pakistanis are sitting much below to the West? 

“Withdrawal from Indian and Pakistani posts within line of sight of each other is to be coordinated so each side can observe the activities of the other”. What is the logic (read wisdom) of this when Indian posts dominate the crest-line of the Saltoro Range and Pakistanis are sitting much below to the West? 

“Both sides should agree not to interfere with the other’s national technical means”. Are we naïve enough to believe that Pakistan would own up if she does indulge in such acts? Has she owned up to 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks beyond recent signals that it was the handiwork of LeT? What about Ajmal Qasab’s statement of having received training from Pakistani Navy? Does Pakistan acknowledge cyber attacks by the Pakistan Hackers Club (PHC) and the G Force under tutelage of the ISI? Has Pakistan owned responsibility for unleashing viruses like ‘Sea Brain’ 

Revisiting India’s nuclear doctrine

IssueNet Edition| Date : 11 Apr , 2014

In its manifesto for 2014 general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to review India’s nuclear doctrine. But does India really have a proper nuclear doctrine in strict sense of the term? In my considered opinion, we do not have a proper nuclear doctrine. We in India, and I think that it is a part of our strategic culture, love to keep things and policies as ambiguous as possible, leaving them to many and different interpretations. Unlike the cases in many leading countries, our leaders hesitate to enunciate clear policies or doctrines.

In the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will also retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.

What we have actually is a “draft nuclear doctrine”, released on August 17, 1999, by the then national security advisor Brajesh Mishra. Some clarifications on this draft were “shared with the public” on January 4, 2003, through a press release by the then Cabinet Committee on Security. I do not think any major power will ever deal with such a sensitive issue in such a cavalier manner.

Be that as it may, the BJP manifesto says: “The strategic gains acquired by India during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime on the nuclear programme have been frittered away by the Congress. Our emphasis was, and remains on, beginning of a new thrust on framing policies that would serve India’s national interest in the 21st century.” That, according to the manifesto, will mean “study in detail India’s nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times”, “maintain a credible minimum deterrent that is in tune with changing geostatic realities, and “invest in India’s indigenous Thorium Technology”.

Time to end the subcontinent's family feud

By Arshad M Khan 

India is holding elections. A massive undertaking, the process is expected to take five weeks to allow the 800 million eligible voters an opportunity to vote. But the issue that can bring Armageddon to the subcontinent is not open to debate. Relations with its nuclear-armed neighbor have not improved, despite attempts by Pakistan's newly elected President Mamnoon Hussain in the last year, because no party would like to appear soft on Pakistan prior to the election. However, the post-election period could present an opportunity. 

The next Independence Day will celebrate 67 years of self-rule for India and Pakistan. Yet the two countries are unable to resolve their differences, and extremism is on the rise in both. What a shame, because the cultural roots are identical, and the peoples lived in relative harmony for a millennia until proactive colonial policies sundered the fabric of a multi-religious, multi-ethnic society. But there are ways to leave differences behind, which the two countries can learn from the experience their own colonial power.

In 1906, the border between the US and British Canada was demilitarized when the British withdrew the last of their troops. It has remained so. Except for a nominal passport and customs check, people travel back and forth freely. How did this happen when the US and Britain had been intense rivals, fighting three wars in the previous century? 

The road to peace began with a dispute (in the 1890's) between British Guyana and Venezuela, when the British Admiralty informed their government they could not spare the resources to take on the US opposition to the British position. The British backed off and agreed to arbitration. 

In return, the US softened its stance on several issues. Fishing rights were agreed upon, then the Panama Canal, which had been opposed by the British. Finally, the Alaska/Canada border was settled. Much of this was behind the scenes, and kept secret from the British public and even Parliament - the opposition would have skewered the government because public sentiment was strongly anti-American, given that the two countries had been at war off and on for more than a hundred years. 

Thereafter, in 1898, Britain was the one major power that supported the US in the Spanish-American War. By 1903, US president Teddy Roosevelt was likening a war with Britain to fratricide. The special relationship was born. 

"Democracy Dividends from the Afghanistan Investment"

"Democracy Dividends from the Afghanistan Investment"
April 8, 2014
Authors: David H. Petraeus, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Michael O'Hanlon

With an enthusiastic election turnout on Saturday, the Afghan people took a major step toward electing a new president—a crucial step for a young democracy seeking to demonstrate that it can peacefully pass power from one leader to another. This will be a first for Afghanistan, a country where most transitions have been violent. But we need to be patient and realistic as we watch and support this process as it plays out over the spring and summer.

To be sure, the show of democracy in action on Saturday was impressive. When one of us commanded coalition forces during the last major elections there, the parliamentary vote of 2010, security efforts were led by the International Security Assistance Force. Afghans had somewhat more than 200,000 uniformed personnel of varying degrees of preparation, and the Taliban carried out some 500 acts of violence. About five million Afghans voted; more than a million of those votes were ultimately disqualified. Similar figures characterized the 2009 presidential vote, when Hamid Karzai won his second term.

This time, foreign troops, only one-third the number deployed in 2010, played a decidedly secondary role. Afghan forces, now 350,000 strong, provided security, and violent incidents declined to 150—still too many, but a big improvement. More than seven million Afghans appear to have voted, after a vigorous campaign that included debates and large rallies across the country, and extensive media coverage.

But as well as the election went, this was just the start. Here are the steps that lie ahead:

1) Vote counts must be officially certified. This is the stage where fraud is uncovered, and remedial steps taken, by independent election authorities within Afghanistan. The formal and final results should come in a few weeks.

2) Assuming that no candidate gets more than 50% of the initial vote, the top two finishers will contest a runoff election. The third-place finisher will have to accept that, despite his high hopes, he will not lead the country into the future, and ask his followers to calmly accept the result.

A view from the India-Bangladesh border

Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific 
8 April 2014
Author: Jason Cons, Bucknell University 

On 18 December 2013, the Indian National Congress party government introduced a bill in parliament to facilitate the realisation of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh. This bill was the latest in a long series of attempts to enable the exchange of 161 enclaves — tiny pieces of Indian territory completely bounded by Bangladesh and vice-versa — by absorbing them into their bounding states. 

Residents of these enclaves face an absurd territorial dilemma, where to effectively exercise their rights as citizens they must illegally cross two borders. Yet, enclave exchange has proved a persistent and proverbial fly in the ointment of India-Bangladesh relations. Even the bill’s introduction was heatedly contested, with members of a range of opposition parties raising vociferous protests calling the bill a ‘Bangladesh giveaway’. 

What are we to make of such protests? And what do they tell us about the India-Bangladesh border more generally? 

The Land Boundary Agreement’s controversy hinges on both local and national disputes over the meaning of the border and its broader relationship to nationalist politics. Indeed, such struggles offer clues to the politics of postcolonial territory that haunt discussions of Bangladesh and its futures in both countries. 

India’s border with Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) has been a locus of contention since 1947. Hastily and haphazardly demarcated, the line dividing Bengal occasioned massive migration and violent dislocation of both Hindus fleeing the newly formed East Pakistan for India and Muslims moving in the opposite direction. 

Since Partition, the border has in practice gradually been worked out, formalised, and ossified into a highly securitised political boundary. The border, itself, is a communal marker — the nominal division of a Muslim majority population from a Hindu majority one. And, indeed, that religious divide continues to dominate much debate over border politics. 

Rich can help BIMSTEC poor bloc

By Vibhanshu Shekhar 

The leaders of seven countries of South and Southeast Asia - Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand - gathered in Naypyidaw, Myanmar last month to take part in the third Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit. 

BIMSTEC was set up in 1997 as an expression of the convergence of economic interests coming out of India's Look East policy and Thailand's Look West policy. Its objective was to integrate the regions on both sides of the Bay of Bengal. Representing one fifth of the world's population, including nearly a third of its poorest members, the bloc's member states are

At the recent summit, they were deliberating over three key issues: development, connectivity and economic integration. Though the BIMSTEC nations are rich in resources, they remain underdeveloped and disconnected from Asia's growth story. And even though the member states are connected via regional cooperative processes, they have remained on the margins of Asian market integration. 

The third summit saw three important decisions. First, the member states agreed to set up a permanent secretariat in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with Sumit Nakandala, a veteran diplomat from Sri Lanka, as its first secretary general. Until now, BIMSTEC has been run largely through the foreign-affairs offices of its member countries. The secretariat will provide a platform for more effective debate on the priorities of the bloc. 

The second important decision was for BIMSTEC states to expedite negotiations on a free-trade agreement (FTA) in goods by the end of 2014. A BIMSTEC FTA would create an integrated market of 1.5 billion people with a combined economic strength of US$2.5 trillion. But member states, even after 19 rounds of FTA negotiations stretching over 10 years, have not been able to reach a consensus over issues like market access or a dispute-settlement mechanism. his is in contrast to the FTA between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN ) and India, which was proposed in 2003 and came into effect in 2010. 

Third, the BIMSTEC states established a network of policy think tanks, a welcome step that was suggested by the Indian government during the second summit in 2008 in New Delhi. 

BIMSTEC's two challenges

Notwithstanding these decisions, the group continues to be an underperformer, with vital elements of cooperation remaining incomplete. BIMSTEC's limited accomplishments can be attributed to two critical problems: lead-actor inertia; and structural constraints on member states in the form of limited technological, financial and even operational capabilities. 

First, New Delhi's contribution to the bloc has not been commensurate with its place in it. India is the lead actor in BIMSTEC, representing more than two-thirds of its constituency, and thus assumes greater responsibilities. New Delhi has sought to use the group as a platform for the development of its landlocked and troubled northeastern states and their integration with Southeast Asia, for the building of stronger ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar, and for the extraction of the vast energy resources available within the sub-region. But these projects remain incomplete. 

Doing China’s Bidding in Nepal

APRIL 12, 2014

A Human Rights Watch report released this month shows how far Nepal has gone in capitulating to Chinese pressure in cracking down on Tibetan residents and refugees. It details a long list of shameful actions against Tibetans in Nepal, including restrictions on their activities and movements, surveillance and intimidation, arbitrary detention and forcible return to China.

In effect, Nepal has turned itself into a partner of China’s anti-Tibetan policies.

Nepal has long been a way station for Tibetans fleeing China. Many continue on to India, where the Dalai Lama lives and where they can obtain refugee status. Still, some 20,000 Tibetans live in Nepal. Most were born there, yet the government of Nepal refuses, according to Human Rights Watch, to issue at least half of them official identification.

Even those Tibetans who arrived before a 1989 rapprochement with China have no right to own property, or to gain official employment or access to higher education.

Tibetans in Nepal know that wherever they gather to socialize or worship, they are likely to be spied on by Nepalese security forces who make no secret of their close links with Chinese authorities. Nongovernmental organizations that seek to monitor the situation or are engaged in humanitarian work with Tibetans in Nepal are also under surveillance and have been accused of disloyalty.

In February, Nepal’s Parliament elected the longtime democracy activist Sushil Koirala prime minister. Nepal’s Constituent Assembly is tasked with drafting a new constitution before February 2015. Nepal now has a fresh opportunity to reform its unjust policies toward Tibetan residents and refugees. But this will not be easy.

Aware of Nepal’s urgent economic needs, China has invited Mr. Koirala to attend the China-South Asia Exposition in Kunming, China, in June and pledged to increase tourism to Nepal, a poor country heavily dependent on Chinese help and investment. The Nepalese press reports that China has also offered lawmakers financial assistance in drafting the new constitution.

The government of Nepal has every right to seek positive trade and diplomatic relations with China. But it must stop allowing China to dictate policy regarding Tibetans in Nepal.

Mr. Koirala and Nepal’s Constituent Assembly should move quickly to guarantee resident Tibetans legal status that respects their basic rights, and to treat Tibetan refugees in accordance with Nepalese and international law. Without these steps, Nepal’s struggle to achieve lasting democratic governance will remain woefully incomplete.

US unsettled by China's 'three warfares' strategy: Pentagon report

April 11, 2014 
Asia Pacific editor for Fairfax Media

Tony Abbott greets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao business forum. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The US and its military partners are reaching for new tools to counter an unconventional ''three warfares'' strategy that China is using to advance aggressive territorial claims, according to a Pentagon report.

It says the People's Liberation Army is using what it calls ''legal warfare'', ''media warfare'' and ''psychological warfare'' to augment its arsenal of military hardware to weaken the resolve of the US and its regional partners to defend islands and oceans in the East and South China seas.

''They have introduced a military technology which has not previously been considered as such in the West,'' says the report, China: The Three Warfares, which was commissioned by the Pentagon's most senior strategist, Andrew Marshall, and circulated to the US Pacific Fleet. This technology has ''sidestepped the coda of American military science,'' it says.

The report's warnings of China's use of ''coercive economic inducements'' and other non-traditional methods underscores Prime Minister Tony Abbott's challenge in balancing economic and security interests, as he prepares to meet China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on Friday night. This week Mr Abbott signed a landmark agreement to develop military technology with China's arch-rival, Japan, while Australian business leaders joined a forum at Bo'ao that was initiated by representatives of a PLA ''influence'' platform, as revealed last year by Fairfax Media.

China’s Undersea Nuke Arsenal Could Match U.K. and France

Beijing prepares fifth missile submarine 
OSIMINT in War is Boring

Imagery from Oct. 10, 2013 shows a Type 094 Jin-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine at a dry dock in Huludao, in northeastern China.

If confirmed, this would be the fifth Type 094 hull observed on satellite imagery.

The Jin-class boats are the Chinese navy’s first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent. The predecessor Type 092 class was wholly unreliable. With five effective SSBNs, China could soon have the capacity to emulate the operations of Western atomic states like France and the U.K.

Paris and London possess four missile boats apiece, compared to America’s 14. The Western subs are more reliable than China’s Jins.

Previous overhead imagery from February 2013, available in Google Earth, showed a Type 094 and a Type 093 attack submarine variant at the fitting-out pier of China’s Bohai Shipyard No. 431.

A new imagery update would suggest that those submarines had finished construction while another Type 094, measuring approximately 136 meters, had emerged from the fabrication shop.

1962: A Chinese View to a Kill

By V Sudarshan
Published: 12th April 2014

As Nehru altered the de facto line of control in the forward areas with China, Beijing was scrupulously clear that it would not fire the first bullet at what it regarded was India’s blatant aggression. By the end of June 1962, says John Garver (China’s Decision for War with India), who has perused Chinese declassified records and other publications, “Indian foreign office reported that Indian forces had brought under control more than 2,000 sq. miles of Chinese claimed territory.” The Chinese had been responding to Nehru’s forward policy with what Mao called “armed coexistence”. The Chinese perception is critical, especially given New Delhi’s lack of transparency in this regard.

According to Maj. Gen. (Retd) PJS Sandhu, who has written a number of papers for the United Services Institute (USI), the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC) had issued strict terms of engagement with India. Telling is his paper 1962: War in the Western Sector (Ladakh) A view from the Other Side of the Hill published a few months ago in the USI journal. He has reconstructed the events after going through Chinese accounts, talking to people who took part in the operations, the Indian Prisoners of War. Under CMC guidelines, Chinese troops were directed, “Firstly follow the principle of not firing the first bullet; adopt the measure of ‘you encircle me, I encircle you; you cut me off, I cut you off’. Secondly, if the Indian forces attack us, warn them, if warning is ineffective time and again carry out self-defence. While laying siege of Indian forces try not to kill them; leave a gap for Indian forces to retreat. If the Indian forces try to fee, let them flee, do not stop them. If Indian troops do not withdraw, then stalemate them.” The Chinese had a game plan but wanted to avoid premature commencement of hostilities. They were busy consolidating, opening roads, deploying more forces, armaments.

By the end of July, says Henderson Brooks, there were some 36 new posts which “obviously further dispersed our meagre resources and depleted our strength in vital bases. Thus, whereas we needed added strength at our bases to back up the new posts, we now had weakness”. Maj. Gen. Sandhu notes, “By the end of September 1962 Chinese had set up 57 posts in key areas and Indians had set up 77 out of which 43 were considered as intrusions by the Chinese”. Brooks in his report says the Indian deployment was essentially that of showing the flag rather than for fighting. The troops were being pushed forward even without the back-up deployment of (at least) a division which was felt as the minimum to meet the Chinese threat in Ladakh a requisition that had been submitted as late as September 1961 but which was not forthcoming. At a meeting in PMO on November 2, 1961, the IB director declared that Chinese were not likely to use force against our posts even if they were in a position to do so. (The Military Intelligence was convinced of the opposite.)

With the two sides eyeballing each other, a number of firing incidents took place, four of them in July; on July 22, according to Brooks, “discretion was given to all post commanders to fire on the Chinese, if their posts were threatened. Tension had reached a pitch were a small incident would spark off widespread hostilities”. Was India prepared for what was to follow?

Sudarshan is most recently author of Adrift

India needs a new personality

IssueNet Edition| Date : 11 Apr , 2014

Tectonic changes are required on the diplomatic and military fronts for India to emerge happy and confident, and with an industry that can compete with world players. As far as world competition goes, India’s success is often measured by capital un-intensive measures such as cricket and software, and there it seems to linger, with bollywood music as backdrop.

India did not send troops to Tibet in 1951 at the suggestions of Sardar Patel can probably be argued as the biggest foreign policy and military blunder by India.

Earlier, India had to hide its true intention of being a partner in the US-Australia-India trilateral agreement because India apparently wishes to appease China for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. This went to show how distant India’s policies have led it to ignominy, such that it must deceive its citizens to achieve ends that should be won by merit rather than beggaring. And all this after India’s was the strongest voice in the United Nations in the 1950s to admit China to the UNO. Imagine India’s potential, and then look at its world status, and anyone can see a massive lacuna of astronomic magnitude.

How does India believe it is viewed in the world? How much introspection does its Ministry of External Affairs do? How much creative thinking is allowed in government, in contrast to following political and bureaucratic dictates? Does India think it should adhere unwaveringly to policies established in the 1950s and take pride in assuming a principled stand by not budging from those policies even in the wake of changed systems around the world? After all, the Berlin wall was torn down, Germany reunited, the USSR disbanded, Vietnam united, Yugoslavia disassembled, Bangladesh created, apartheid abolished in South Africa, Afghanistan unleashed on the world, and 9/11 and 26/11 shook the world … five additional countries became nuclear powers, and one hundred and eleven (111) new countries joined the United Nations from 1960 to 2006 – all after India had gone down the path of non-alignment. Has not much water gone down the Ganges in the last 50 years to suggest to India that geopolitical changes have taken place o a geological scale?

Non-alignment policies got India nowhere, but instead earned India the wrath of the West – the ones with capital and technology.

Non-alignment policies got India nowhere, but instead earned India the wrath of the West – the ones with capital and technology. While South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Japan and Germany enjoyed USA’s patronage, India snuggled itself into the communist orbit, though it was never a communist-minded country, only because it wanted to be the champion of the countries emerging from colonialism. India never became that champion, got diplomatically kicked in the teeth for its twisted vocalism on Korea, and was betrayed in the Sino-Soviet communist conspiracy by the well-planned Chinese invasion of an unsuspecting India in 1962. And because India was unwilling to become a military partner with Britain and USA in the 1950s, the US chose Pakistan over India to become a partner in CENTO and SEATO, thus sidelining a more powerful and culturally rich India, and sealing its fate.

That India suffered because of that and India’s subsequent proximity to the USSR, is obvious: India was deprived of essential technology and education needed to spur military growth; had to return 93,000 POWs to Pakistan without settling the Kashmir issue owing to US threats, notwithstanding the Indo-Russian friendship treaty of 1971; and the USA was emboldened to find a partner in China in 1971 to oppose the USSR – the results of which are obvious today with China having a GDP thrice that of India, when India and China were tied for GDP in 1990. Now, China’s ugly dragon literally breathes fire down India’s neck from over the Himalayas. Of course, that India did not send troops to Tibet in 1951 at the suggestions of Sardar Patel can probably be argued as the biggest foreign policy and military blunder by India.

Looking east, India has not recognized the power of Buddhism in Chinese and Southeast Asian society and politics, and failed to make anything of Buddhism in fifty years

The diplomacy, wars, and politics of the last half-century show abundantly that every country that opposes the USA receives the raw end of the stick. Pakistan is today on shaky ground commensurate to its now hot-now cold, pro US-anti US policies; and China, an economic competitor to the USA, faces the demise of its communist regime as a long term US strategy that has begun to take shape. On the other side, every country that whole-heartedly partnered with the USA gained riches, technology, education, talent, and economic and military success. Even today, while people speculate on the economic slide of the USA, the US dollar is welcome currency in every country of the world, including in USSR, Vietnam, and China. Consequently, the USA is the only major power in the world, such that China’s blue-water navy is one weeks’ work for the US Navy to sink. India’s planners have to learn to read the writing, and this is not about reading tea leaves. No one should underestimate the USA, a nation that could have physically ruled the world after it made the atom bomb, but didn’t.

It follows that it is imperative that India see the lights for where they are, and earnestly participate in military operations with the United States to make the USA a true ally. For example, the USA long urged India to contribute troops to Iraq, and even requested Indian troops for Afghanistan (though Pakistan threw a wrench into that proposal). Again, this is not about forsaking one’s independence and sovereignty to a foreign power, but simply a method to retain it, given particularly that India’s military is not as strong as its military planners need it to be to fight a war on two fronts, inspite of all the hype and official claims on the matter. For Indian analysts, let it be clear that the evil empire is not USA, but more possibly Russia and China.

China funds India’s communist and Naxal activities and supplies armaments to them, India doesnt even send a demarche. Which ghost possesses India that it cant raise its head?

Thus, India must not only discard its non-alignment philosophy and extricate itself from Russian influence that comes with military dependency and delayed military contracts, but must next look anew westward at its support of Palestine and Arab Street. Having new friends would likely bring India new respect. India needs to flock with nations of its type, in the spirit of its democracy and secularism. None on Arab Street comes anywhere close to a semblance of institutional democracy. For every day since independence, India encouraged the emerging countries of the Middle-east, only to find them criticize India in every war with Pakistan. In addition, we cannot forget that Iran and Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan military hardware during the 1965 war, and had their fighter aircraft on standby for Pakistan to use in the 1971 war. If a friend of India is not a friend in need, that is no friend indeed. On the contrary, Israel stuck its neck out for India at every turn, offering to bomb Pakistan’s Kahuta nuclear plant in the early 1980s – an operation that nearly materialized; supplied active military assistance during the Kargil war; and reliably sells India high-tech military equipment. Yet, India denounced Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, voted for Palestine’s admission to UNESCO in 2011, and now plans to vote in 2012 for Palestine’s admission to the UNO, forgetting that modern terrorism all started with the PLO in the sixties. India’s actions are not the acts of rationality. A sagacious country will bat for its friends and keep the lid on its enemies; Instead, India apparently backs its detractors and slights its benefactors.

Looking east, India has not recognized the power of Buddhism in Chinese and Southeast Asian society and politics, and failed to make anything of Buddhism in fifty years (or 3,000 years as you look at it), even though original Buddhist shrines of Lord Buddha exist in India. Fortunately, some talk has begun to emerge in India on this topic. But, now is a time to heavily sponsor Buddhist activities in China and Myanmar and all Southeast Asian countries to gain essential goodwill: a moral deed, indeed. In fact, consider this expense as a necessary military expense, because it will earn India military cooperation. And, while China funds India’s communist and Naxal activities and supplies armaments to them, India doesn’t even send a demarche. Which ghost possesses India that it can’t raise its head?

To attain to its full potential, India must inevitably shed its old personality and adopt the aura of a country reborn: a country that preserves its military and sovereign interests every day, just like every other self-respecting country

If there had been no obstruction to level-headed thinking in diplomatic and military matters, India would have massively invested decades ago in developing its engineering skills to nurture its indigenous industrial-military complex. But, India can turn around, though it has tried for years to advance a global foreign policy that has not served its interests. And, only a complete turnaround will suffice. India must forget its past diplomacy and focus fully on the present. Only in recent years do we see evidence of a partial turnaround with the nuclear service agreement and silent participation in regional efforts to hold down China, though India lost the window of opportunity to easily quadrifurcate Pakistan before it owned a nuclear device while China was still weak in the mid 1970s. The support that the USA gave to Pakistan, owing to India’s recalcitrance to ally with the USA in the 1950s, played a great role in preventing India from stuffing Pakistan to the trash heap of history. With the USA turning a blind eye, Pakistan developed its nuclear program after Pokhran. In addition, the whole support that the USA gave Pakistan is coming back to haunt not only the USA, but India, as well, who now faces the undesirable consequences of a nuclear holocaust at the hands of irrational terror in Pakistan. That’s why it can be said that India has managed to successfully work against its own interests, inspite of its best hopes otherwise.

To attain to its full potential, India must inevitably shed its old personality and adopt the aura of a country reborn: a country that preserves its military and sovereign interests every day, just like every other self-respecting country, in a world where shark eats shark (though we only wish it wasn’t like this). In an age where competition is increasing for scarce resources, a situation that can easily escalate to war when the issue of survival is at hand, only real friends will help each other. Refer China’s mining of mineral resources in the Indian Ocean, where the slightest omission or investigation by an Indian naval ship can potentially lead to shots fired in anger. Wars of the future will be justified for natural resources. But, India must emerge into this new century with a new song and new set of friends to protect her, without having to veil her face. India must realize itself for the tiger she is, rather than the cat she behaves like. Only with this new armor can India truly shine.

Evolving tale of two Chinas

APR 11, 2014

OSAKA – Popular democratic protests against the ways in which democratically elected leaders are — allegedly — abusing their powers are becoming something of the flavor of the month across the world.

In one small place — I hesitate to call it a country for obvious reasons — mostly student demonstrators have shut down Parliament and decorated it with cherished portraits of founding father Sun Yat-sen and cruel caricatures and ugly slogans of the current president, accusing him of selling out to big money and to China. They proffer their symbol, the sunflower, which they present as a sign of hope.

This may be described as a tale of two Chinas.

Undoubtedly the biggest economic success story of recent years in the world has been the steady rise of the People’s Republic of China — from an impoverished country dancing to a hardline Communist Party tune to the world’s second-biggest economy with distinct capitalist characteristics still under the hard-line political leadership of the same Communist Party.

But there has been another Chinese success story that has been less heralded. The place in question is a diplomatic pariah since it dares to call itself the Republic of China and claims to be the legitimate government of all China, even though it is a small offshore island of 35,833 sq. kilometers with 23 million people, whereas everyone knows that the real China is a giant land of 9.7 million sq. km and 1.3 billion people.

Just 22 countries today recognize the Republic of China, headquartered on the island of Taiwan, as the government of China. Taiwan was the island to which the Kuomintang (KMT) government of Chiang Kai-shek fled in 1949 after it was defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces.

Until Oct. 25, 1971, the Republic of China held the United Nations seat for China. But then the general assembly voted to replace it with the People’s Republic of China, and most countries followed the U.N. by taking their diplomatic flags to Beijing.

The remaining countries that recognize Taiwan are mostly small Caribbean and Oceanic states plus the Holy See, which stays with Taiwan because the new Communist rulers of Beijing kicked it out of the country in 1951, and talks to re-establish the Vatican’s mission in Beijing have floundered over the Communist rulers’ determination to keep the Christian churches “patriotic.”

In spite of its political pariah status, Taiwan has enjoyed great economic success. Growth of gross domestic product since 1992 averaged 4.5 percent, and per capita income reached $20,706 in nominal terms in 2012 according to the International Monetary Fund, or $38,400 in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Income in PPP terms makes Taiwan the 18th-richest territory in the world ahead of even Japan (on $35,855 in 22nd place). For comparison, China’s GDP per capital was $6,569 in nominal terms and $9,055 in PPP, putting China in 93rd place by PPP.

Working with China on key issues necessary

Former World Bank president says nation faces multiple challenges

April 11, 2014 
By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer

The air pollution challenges facing China are so severe they are potentially destabilizing for the Asian giant, according to former World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

Zoellick, who is currently a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, spoke at Harvard’s Science Center on Wednesday.

Many democratization movements got their start with environmental parties, Zoellick said, because severe pollution is something that directly affects people. “People can see it, feel it, touch it in their daily lives.”

Though the thick air pollution blanketing many Chinese cities is potentially destabilizing, Zoellick also said that Chinese officials are acutely aware of the problem and are gathering information and seeking ways to address it.

Zoellick made the comments in response to questions from Michael McElroy, Harvard’s Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies and chair of the Harvard China Project. (The China Project focuses on research on China’s energy, economy, and atmospheric environment.)

Zoellick spoke to a crowd of about 150 as part of the Harvard University Center for the Environment’s (HUCE) “China 2035: Energy, Climate, Development” lecture series. HUCE Director Daniel Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and professor of environmental science and engineering, introduced the event, saying that it’s important to understand China because it looms so large on the world stage.

With one-seventh of the world’s population, China consumes more coal than the rest of the world, emits 30 percent of greenhouse gases, and will likely install the most renewable energy in the world, Schrag said.

“It’s impossible to think about the future of the global environment without thinking about China,” Schrag added.

Within the Q-and-A format, where audience members asked questions, Zoellick outlined several challenges facing China, but also said that the U.S., Europe, and other nations should engage with China on issues of global importance.

There may be many areas of dispute, he said, but understanding can begin by talking about areas where we agree. Disputes over China dumping below-cost solar panels on the U.S. market, for example, should be settled through negotiation, not lawsuits, because the U.S., Europe, and China all share an interest in low-cost solar power.

Russia: The Usual Suspects

April 13, 2014

The recent Russian operation to take the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine had a bracing effect on the other countries that, until 1991, were part of the ancient Russian Empire. In part this is because the Crimean operation was the second such land grab Russia has undertaken in the last five years. The first was against tiny Georgia in 2008. Many of these former Russian subjects feel that the Russians are trying to get their empire back. Ask many Russians that question and most agree that it would be a nice thing. Some Russians are more outspoken and bluntly call for the empire to be reassembled no matter what. In reaction to all this the fourteen nations (the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the five Central Asian “stans” of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) that were part of the Soviet Union until 1991, as well as many East European states that were subject to Russian occupation from the end of World War II to 1989 have become very nervous. Poland is particularly agitated because large parts of Poland were part of the empire for most of the 18th and 19th centuries. Same deal with Finland, which broke away after World War I and had to fight off a Russian invasion in 1940 and many threats since then to stay independent. That makes the forlorn fourteen the scared sixteen. All of these nations have noted what happened to Georgia and Ukraine with great trepidation and are responding in expected, and unexpected ways. Poland and the Baltic States managed to join NATO after the Cold War ended and are hoping that the mutual defense terms of the NATO alliance will dissuade Russia. Nevertheless all four, plus Finland, have increased their military readiness this year and are seeking assurances from the West that they will have help against Russia. Many Finns have called for Finland to join NATO, but a large minority has opposed this because of the fear it would anger the Russians. There was a similar division in Ukraine but now more Finns are thinking that NATO membership is preferable to trusting Russia to always behave. 

Even Sweden, never part of the Russian empire and successfully neutral since the early 19th century is thinking about joining NATO for protection from an increasingly aggressive Russia. The stans of Central Asia have another option; China. The stans have been very receptive to Chinese diplomatic and economic cooperation. This bothers Russia, but not to the extent that threats are being made, as was the case with the former imperial provinces to the west. The stans also have a problem with never having been democracies. When the Russians conquered them in the 19th century, the local governments were monarchies or tribes. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, locals who were former Soviet officials held elections and manipulated the vote to get themselves elected "president for life." But many people in the stans want clean government and democracy, as well as continued independence from Russia. China is no help with that because the Chinese prefer dictators. In the Caucasus Georgia still seeks closer ties with the West. Armenia, because of disputes with Azerbaijan and long-term fear of Turkey remains a close ally of Russia. Azerbaijan maintains good relations with Russia mainly because Iran claims Azerbaijan as a lost province (stolen by Russia in the 19th century). 

Russia has long been quite open about wanting to rebuild the old Tsarist Empire that the communists managed to lose in 1991 when the Soviet Union came apart and half the population of that empire went off and formed 14 new countries or reconstituted old ones the Russians had conquered. Russia is proposing things like customs unions, military cooperation and rebuilding the old Soviet air defense system that used to defend everyone in the empire. There’s been some progress, but many of these 14 nations want nothing to do with Russia. Meanwhile Russia has to face that fact that when the Soviet Union broke up half the population willingly went to the 14 new countries and most of those people were quite enthusiastic about ending the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was basically the Russian Empire cobbled together by the old czarist monarchy over more than two centuries of conquest and expansion. Thus in the Soviet Union half the population felt like conquered people, not part of any union. The Soviet Union dissolved quickly in 1990-91 because over half the population really wanted it to happen and had wanted it for a long time. Moreover many ethnic Russians were tired of supporting a lot of the less affluent conquered people and were fed up with the economic failures of communism. 

Putin Can Take Ukraine Without an Invasion, and Probably Will

Andrei Illarionov, a Putin advisor turned critic, has been predicting the twists of the Ukraine crisis. Now he says Putin will be able to achieve his goals without firing a shot.

A former top advisor to Vladimir Putin says the Russian president probably thinks at this point he can whip Ukraine back into line without having to resort to a full-blown invasion. Although it appears no Western power is willing to take military action to defend Kiev, overt Russian military action would risk deeper and more disruptive Western economic sanctions. So Putin’s willingness to play a longer-term game rests on his “cynical recognition” that he has three years to accomplish his objective before there is a change of leadership in the White House and the possibility of a more resolute American response. 

“Putin’s objective remains to regain control of Ukraine, but I suspect he now thinks he can do this without ordering in the tanks,” says Andrei Illarionov, a former Putin economic policy advisor and now an unstinting critic of the Russian leader. 

Illarionov tells The Daily Beast he expects Putin to maintain an intimidating offensive build-up of Russian forces along the Ukraine border, nonetheless, and that there will be no let-up in the fomenting of separatist agitation in the eastern Ukraine towns of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lugansk andnow Sloviansk. The aim is to destabilize Ukrainian politics, weaken Ukrainian state institutions and help Putin’s political allies reassert their power in Kiev. 

Illarionov has predicted accurately various stages in the current Ukraine crisis, including his early warnings that the Kremlin would grab Crimea after the February ouster of Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych as Ukrainian President. Speaking in his office in the Washington D.C.-based think tank the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow, Illarionov warns, “Putin will not leave Ukraine alone until he has achieved what he wants – pulling the country back in the Russian orbit. And he will do that one way or the other.” 

The threat of Russian military intervention combined with separatist agitation in eastern Ukraine already is bearing results. 

Patrick Cockburn: Al-Qa'ida's second act - the full five-part series

21 March 2014

Our foreign correspondent's investigation into the jihadi resurgence 

Twelve and a half years after 9/11, al-Qa’ida-type organisations control an area the size of Britain in western Iraq and eastern Syria. Include Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia and the territory they rule is larger in size than the UK. What is so extraordinary – and blameworthy – is that this vast expansion of jihadist groups comes even as the US, Britain and others are waging a “war on terror”. In the name of such a struggle, great sums have been spent; wars have been fought in Iraq and Afghanistan; civil rights have been curtailed; and torture, rendition, detention without trial and domestic espionage have been justified. But attempts to eliminate the supposed enemy have wholly failed. 

It is to consider the roots of this failure that The Independent published a five-part investigation by our distinguished correspondent Patrick Cockburn this week. The aim of the series is to show the extent to which jihadist organisations identical in ideology and methods to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida have survived, flourished and are now stronger than ever.

The US has spent billions of dollars to counter the threat of global terror and succeeded in killing Osama bin Laden three years ago. Yet today, al-Qa'ida-type groups are numerous and powerful. 

Saudi Arabia has been perhaps the jihadists’ greatest ally – but will the Kingdom be forced to change tack in the face of American impatience and anarchy in Syria?

On the growing influence of Isis, formerly al-Qa’ida’s force in Iraq, which dominates Sunni areas and is wreaking havoc among the Shia majority

How extremist Islamists have turned the uprising against President Assad into a sectarian war and forced out seculars.

How Sunni fundamentalist groups are successfully winning recruits through well-funded internet propaganda.

Are Iran and Israel Trading Places?

APRIL 11, 2014 

STANFORD, Calif. — Although the Israeli and Iranian governments have been virtually at war with each other for decades, the two countries have much in common.

Both are home to some of the oldest civilizations on earth, and both are primarily non-Arab states in a mostly Arab region. In the 1950s, David Ben-Gurion’s Israel and Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s Iran were bastions of secular nationalism; the shah pushed authoritarian modernization, while Ben-Gurion advanced a form of nonreligious Zionism. Only after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran did radical Islam all but eclipse this secular brand of politics. It held on for much longer in Israel but is now under threat.

Both Iran and Israel are now entering potentially challenging new stages in their relations with the outside world, and particularly with the United States. Over the last seven years, United Nations Security Council resolutions have imposed sanctions on Iran with the aim of halting its nuclear program. For years, Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against the “Great Satan.” But even if Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is still opposed to reforms, it appears that some officials inside Iran have finally realized that continued intransigence and bellicosity will beget only more sanctions and catastrophic economic consequences.

As the winds of change blow across Iran, secular democrats in Israel have been losing ground to religious and right-wing extremists who feel comfortable openly attacking the United States, Israel’s strongest ally. In recent months, Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, called Secretary of State John Kerry “obsessive and messianic,” while Naftali Bennett, Israel’s economy minister, labeled Mr. Kerry a “mouthpiece” for anti-Semitic elements attempting to boycott Israel.

Israel’s secular democrats are growing increasingly worried that Israel’s future may bear an uncomfortable resemblance to Iran’s recent past.

For more than three decades, Iran’s oil wealth has allowed its religious leaders to stay in power. But sanctions have taken a serious economic toll, with devastating effects on the Iranian people. The public, tired of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s bombastic and costly rhetoric, has replaced him with Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist who has promised to fix the economy and restore relations with the West.

But Mr. Rouhani’s rise is in reality the consequence of a critical cultural and demographic shift in Iran — away from theocracy and confrontation, and toward moderation and pragmatism. Recent tensions between America and Russia have emboldened some of Iran’s radicals, but the government on the whole seems still intent on continuing the nuclear negotiations with the West.

Iran is a land of many paradoxes. The ruling elite is disproportionately made up of aged clerics — all men — while 64 percent of the country’s science and engineering degrees are held by women. In spite of the government’s concentrated efforts to create what some have called gender apartheid in Iran, more and more women are asserting themselves in fields from cinema to publishing to entrepreneurship.

Many prominent intellectuals and artists who three decades ago advocated some form of religious government in Iran are today arguing for popular sovereignty and openly challenging the antiquated arguments of regime stalwarts who claim that concepts of human rights and religious tolerance are Western concoctions and inimical to Islam. More than 60 percent of Iranians are under age 30, and they overwhelmingly believe in individual liberty. It’s no wonder that last month Ayatollah Khamenei told the clerical leadership that what worried him most was a non-Islamic “cultural invasion” of the country.

As moderate Iranians and some of the country’s leaders cautiously shift toward pragmatism and the West, it seems that many Israelis are moving away from these attitudes. In its 66 years, Israel has seen its share of ideological shifts from dovish to hawkish. These were natural fluctuations driven mainly by the country’s security situation and prospects for peace.

But the current shift is being accelerated by religion and demography, and is therefore qualitatively different. While the Orthodox Jewish parties are currently not part of the government, together with Mr. Bennett’s Jewish Home, a right-wing religious party, they hold about 25 percent of seats in the Knesset. The Orthodox parties aspire to transform Israel into a theocracy. And with an average birthrate of 6.5 children per family among Orthodox Jews (compared with 2.6 for the rest of the Jewish population), their dream might not be too far away.

By contrast, Iran has a falling birthrate — a clear indication of growing secularism, and the sort of thing that keeps Ayatollah Khamenei awake at night.

The long-term power of these demographic trends will, in our view, override Iran’s current theocratic intransigence and might eclipse any fleeting victories for liberalism in Israel.

Israel’s shift toward orthodoxy is not merely a religious one. Since the vast majority of Orthodox Jews are also against any agreement with the Palestinians, with each passing day, the chances of reaching a peace deal diminish. Nor is time on the side of those who want to keep seeing a democratic Israel.

If Israel continues the expansion of settlements, and peace talks serve no purpose but the extension of the status quo, the real existential threat to Israel will not be Iran’s nuclear program but rather a surging tide of economic sanctions.

What began a few years ago with individual efforts to get supermarket shoppers in Western countries to boycott Israeli oranges and hummus has turned into an orchestrated international campaign, calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli companies and institutions.

From academic boycotts to calls for divestment on American university campuses to the unwillingness of more and more European financial institutions to invest in or partner with Israeli companies and banks that operate in the West Bank, the “B.D.S.” movement is gaining momentum. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently called B.D.S. advocates “classical anti-Semites in modern garb.”

In the past, Israel could rely on Western nations and especially the United States to halt such initiatives, but as the fabric of Israel’s population changes, and Jewish populations in the West become less religious and less uncritically pro-Israel, the reflex to stand by the Jewish state, regardless of its policies, is weakening.

Moreover, as Western countries shift toward greater respect for human rights, the occupation is perceived as a violation of Western liberal norms. A new generation of American Jews sees a fundamental tension between their own liberal values and many Israeli policies.

This, coupled with the passing of the older generation and a high rate of interfaith marriage among American Jews, means the pro-Israel lobby will no longer be as large or as united as it used to be. While American presidents from Lyndon B. Johnson to Barack Obama have declared that the United States’ commitment to Israel flows from strategic interests and shared values, in a generation or two, interests may be all that’s left.

An opposite shift is occurring in Iran’s diaspora. An estimated five to seven million Iranians live in exile. Their economic, scientific, scholarly and cultural achievements are now well known in the United States thanks to people like the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. They are increasingly establishing themselves as a powerful force advocating a more democratic Iran and better relations with the United States. Just as a united Jewish diaspora once helped the new state of Israel join the ranks of prosperous, industrialized states, Iran’s diaspora could one day play a similar role for a post-theocratic Iran.

One of Israel’s most popular singers, the Iranian-born Rita Jahanforuz, laments on her recent album, “In this world, I am alone and abandoned, like wild grass in the middle of the desert.”

If Iran’s moderates fail to push the country toward reform, and if secular Israelis can’t halt the country’s drift from democracy to theocracy, both Iranians and Israelis will increasingly find themselves fulfilling her sad prophecy.

Abbas Milani heads the Iranian studies program at Stanford and is co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. Israel Waismel-Manor is a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa and a visiting associate professor of political science at Stanford.