An IDC Analysis from London


New Delhi, 25 May 2003  

Our IDC representative had the privilege of being in strategic circles in London and this may sound weird but the circles there were talking of the fourth world war. The third world war was the Cold War and change is the only constant and we have seen how USA under Gung Ho President Bush attacked Iraq and got away. Even if Tony Blair and Australia had not cooperated Bush would have gone ahead.

It is a pity that the likes of Brajesh Mishra visit USA and chat with Condelezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld and even President Bush drops in for 15 minutes 末 spend Government money 末 but do not feel it necessary to inform the world of what they discussed. Well in the UK there is anger at India cooperating with Iran for Chabahaar and Kilo class submarine upgrades and support and they say HAL will support MIG 29Ks. There is anger at terrorism and USA feels only a new type of war on terrorism in the Middle East and South Asia would be able to settle matters. That means US power and economy should never be challenged. France realised this years ago and had planned for it, UK watches this and supports USA.

Europe is fed up with the terror threat and does not mind USA taking extreme steps. Well let us be the first to tell you about the thoughts in UK in strategic circles. India must be ready for it.

As we go to upload Raja Menon and VP Malik are in UK in Oxford attending the Stimson Centre seminar on 'ESCALATION REDUCTION' and these are attempts for USA to be ready for what they see as a different type of 'FOURTH WORLD WAR'.

We also append two relevant pieces from our friend Ben Boothe who predicted the Iraq war almost to the day one year ago and he too smells a rat. 

From Ben Boothe

My friend Yankila Sherpa is a Member of Parliament of Nepal and a noted businesswoman. She owns the world famous "SNOW LEOPARD TREKKING" company of Nepal and was one of the first women to achieve great business success in Nepal. She sent us this report on Nepal, which is copied in part.

"Nepal has had 2 rounds of peace talks with the Maoists. This has brought great hope into the lives of the Nepali people. Since October 4th 2002 His Majesty King Gyanendra has taken a big role and responsibility to initiate this peace process. With the great economic, political and social crisis resulting from the Maoist conflict of seven years and the total failure of past governments to come up with a sound plan and action to solve this problem, the common citizen remained helpless and hopeless. The King has stepped up his role to bring genuine peace in Nepal. This was initiated by dissolving the then government and establishing a new interim government whose central responsibility would be to deal with the Maoist problem.

The present government is an interim government born out of the chaos in Nepal. The leaders in the past have failed in their attempt and commitment to restore peace in Nepal. The Nepalese people in frenzy and crisis resulting from widespread corruption, immoral leadership and lack of responsibility, embraced the King's move to step up his role to deal with this crisis. Ever since, we are seeing a smooth recovery from this crisis. The present government has been successful in declaring a ceasefire with the Maoists and has also held two rounds of talks with the Maoists. The ceasefire and the peace process is only a means to achieve ultimate peace in Nepal. The present government has invited all political parties, Maoists and representatives of the civil society to participate in the round table to bring an end to the conflict. This initiative was cheered by the people, the Maoists and the International community. However some of the leaders of past governments are starting a new wave of opposition, which could prove fatal to this peace process. After seven years of widespread war, Nepal has finally seen a positive hope to heal but this hope could be easily wiped out if we do not act wisely and responsibly. Now with the dialogue process going on the government is trying to create an atmosphere for local and national level elections so that the House of Representatives is restored. Therefore to have people's representative back in the government we need to hold elections, which were not possible due to the conflict in Nepal. We hope that the government is successful in including all parties in a round table so that they can come to an agreement, which will bring lasting peace in Nepal.
Ben, tourism seems to be reviving in Nepal. This year 2003, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in May of 1953.

Report From France

Sunita Narain is a prominent writer and is with the Center for Science and Environment in India. He recently met with Jacque Chirac in his presidential palace. I thought you would enjoy his perspective. He sent me this report copied in part on ORDERING A NEW WORLD

"I met Jacques Chirac this fortnight. Just before he made the call to George Bush and just before he left to attend the European Union summit in Athens, the French President met some 20 of us in his presidential palace for discussions on what would be the future of this increasingly unilateral world. This was the last working session of a two-day conference organized by an extraordinary French woman, Laurence Tubiana, who had put together a diverse group of people 末 from presidents, ministers, academics and activists 末 to deliberate on the challenges of global governance in the new world.

It was a fascinating meeting. The world has changed after Iraq. But just how much. The picture that is emerging from the contemplations of the most powerful minds sets out the game-plan of a drastically changed world. Today's foreign policy is based on security concerns. Terrorism is an invisible enemy and can never really disappear. So the world will be ordered by a doctrine of 'search-destroy-control'.
Sources of insecurity have been redefined too. It is not only enemy states that are threats. But insecurity arises from the 'new wars' 末 violence of the state against civilians, organized crime and the 'new viruses of national and religious extremism'. These threats breed in what are known as collapsed or failed states 末 authoritarian regimes, unable to adapt to the pressures of globalization.
The theory is that the natural resource regions of the world 末 oil-rich, mineral-rich, forest-rich 末 remain marginalized and poor because the elite and powerful in these nations appropriate the enormous wealth. Natural resources like oil become an impediment to democracy and wealth distribution. These are the resource-rich, low-income nations, with weak institutions and failed public policy. The 'failed' state breeds civil wars and growing cycles of violence. Therefore, there is a need for global intervention so that the rule of law can be established, new institutions built and natural resource wealth equitably distributed. 'Oil for the people' would be the war dividend in Iraq and in many other countries, where such intervention would be ordered.

Therefore, it is argued that peace, order and stability can best be furthered, "not by reconfiguring the distribution of power among states but by altering the authority structure within states". In other words, America's protection demands that it should fix messy-nations quickly. Speed is part of the foreign policy design. Traditional interventions through the UN or through the aid and assistance programs of multilateral agencies take too much time and are inefficient. Therefore, the principles of international legal sovereignty, under which intervention was possible through international agreement must be abandoned and replaced by the doctrine of coerced regime change.
The new principle is about "shared sovereignty" 末 in which external actors take on the management of the resources of these repressive and corrupt regimes. What is being discussed, certainly in top US academic-security levels and perhaps in the top echelons of the administration, is to look for new and innovative and institutional methods 末 other than military action 末 for coercing change.

For instance, proposals are to use external actors like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the oversight and management of national central banks; American law enforcement officials operating in these countries; foreign government and even private firms taking over the running of the different departments of the "collapsing" countries. There is also the possible creation of a corporate style board of directors 末 comprising of World Bank, IMF and oil companies and even civil society 末 as permanent and long-term arrangements of states.

The Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline project of the World Bank, which has created a trust fund for revenues and oversight by global civil society, is cited as an instance that can be replicated at a much larger scale. The plan is delicious because it is so simple. Run the country, deliver justice and share the proceeds of the natural resources with the people, not the elite. The world will be a giant US trusteeship. But what the old imperialists 末 Europe 末 should tell the USA 末 is that such plans often go awry. It is not always easy to foster democracy through the gun or even the dollar.
But this is the realist world-view, which places priority on the sacred selfishness of countries and the defense of their self-interest. This is also the view, which is gaining over the fading multi-lateralist world-view, which demands giving up sovereignty in some areas, so that international rules for cooperation can be the basis of action. The problem is that the rule-making class 末 Europe and its allies 末 are seen as the wimps. The warrior class is on the ascendancy.

But all is not lost. To bring change it is important for us also to accept that the global problem-solving mechanisms are not working adequately. We need the redesign or reform current global institutions or new ways of working around the system 末 networks of institutions朴rivate朴ublic actors to rebuild the global consensus once again. Rethinking the old world order is vital if we want to reinvigorate it. The world is increasingly interdependent. It is increasingly small. It requires the cooperation of all, not the coercion of some.

It can be done. Chirac put it simply at the end of our meeting: "Strong ideas have the power." This is our hope. Nothing else. 

Sunita Narain

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