22 May 2013

The Chinese Message and What Should the Reply Be?

May 21, 2013 

That Chinese troops regularly and frequently intrude across the Line of Actual Control [LAC] both in the western as well as in the eastern sector is rather well known. India often explains this aberration by pointing out that there are differing perceptions about the alignment of the LAC, although Chinese spokespersons have never admitted to this and have always maintained that Chinese troops have never crossed the LAC. China also refuses to come to an agreement on the alignment of the LAC; possibly to retain the option of utilizing different versions as and when required depending upon the political exigencies of the day. That China uses the uncertainty regarding the LAC alignment for wholly extraneous reasons is also rather well known. Witness the threats to India in 1962, 1965, 1967, 1971 and again in 1986. None of these threats had anything to do with the boundary issue or the LAC alignment. 

Let us consider the 1962 events first. Was the Chinese military action in October-November 1962 for territory or as a result of a boundary dispute? Not, if you are to believe Chinese leaders. According to Mao, ‘the major problem was not the McMahon Line, but the Tibetan question.’1 PM Zhou told President Nixon that ‘he [Nehru] was so discourteous; he wouldn’t even do us the courtesy of replying, so we had to drive him out.’2 President Liu Shaoqi told the Sri Lankan leader Felix Bandaranaike and the then Swedish Ambassador to Beijing that, ‘China had taught India a lesson and would so again and again’ [emphasis added].3 Notice none of the then Chinese leaders claimed that there was a ‘boundary problem.’ And to prove the point, Chinese troops went back and north of the McMahon Line in the eastern sector; soon after the Chinese declared a unilateral cease-fire. 

What about 1965? A Chinese government statement of 7 September 1965 made the astonishing claim that, 'India’s aggression against any one of its neighbors concerns all its neighbors’ [emphasis added]and therefore China was right in ‘threatening’ India across the Sikkim-Tibet border! Incidentally, the Sikkim-Tibet boundary line is not only delineated on a map, but fully demarcated on the ground and accepted by the present Chinese government. So it could not have been the ‘boundary issue’ that troubled the Chinese. Similar is the story in 1971. Apart from making verbal ‘threatening’ noises, the Chinese refrained from any military action conscious of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of 1971. 

Let us go a little forward in time. In early 1986, about 200 hundred PLA soldiers intruded into the Sumdorong Chu area in Arunachal Pradesh, some 7 kilometers across the McMahon Line inside Indian Territory. They built wooden shacks and helicopters were pressed into service to support the troops. A little earlier, the then Soviet leader, Gorbachov in a famous speech at Vladivostok in an effort to normalize relations with China, conceded the three basic Chinese demands for better relations. These were [1] Soviet acceptance of the Chinese position that the riverine boundary between the two countries be settled according to the ‘thalweg’ principle i.e. the median line [2] withdrawal of bulk of Soviet troops from Mongolia and [3] to urge Vietnam to withdraw from Cambodia. Ever the pragmatists, the Chinese in addition wished to test whether the Indo-Soviet treaty of 1971 still stood firm or was it now of little consequence. The Chinese also wished to test the mettle of the new young Indian PM, Rajiv Gandhi. 

The Chinese stood vindicated when Gorbachov on a visit to India in December 1986 refused to clarify or give an unequivocal answer on Soviet support to India; even when pressed to do so consistently, both at the official and public level. In January 1987, the Soviets withdrew an Armored Division from Mongolia at the height of the Sumdorong Chu confrontation. The Chinese felt reassured that Soviet support for India would not be forthcoming. 

Fortunately for India, PM Rajiv Gandhi not only clearly understood the political import of the far reaching developments in Sino-Soviet relations, but also knew that the Chinese were trying to test his leadership qualities. PM Rajiv Gandhi in tandem with the Indian army moved not only swiftly, but with great alacrity and determination. Between 18 and 20 October 1986, an Indian army brigade was deployed on the heights above the Chinese troops near Sumdorong Chu. But what was even more telling was the deployment of Indian army tanks, both in Ladakh, as well as in northern Sikkim. The appearance of Indian army tanks unnerved the Chinese. The Chinese were caught completely off guard; for they never expected the young Indian PM and the Indian army to show such speed and determination. It was they who blinked first and asked for a flag meeting which was held on 15 November 1986. The Chinese realized that their forward positions could have been destroyed at any time. The Chinese Military Attaché at Delhi and the Tibet Military Commander were both sacked! 

Let us now fast forward to present times. Chinese troops would have never intruded in the Depsang area in Ladakh, some 19 kilometers across the LAC, into the Indian controlled area without express clearance from the Chinese leadership, for the PLA is a highly disciplined force and subject to CCP authority [emphasis added]. Invariably most Chinese military actions, no matter however insignificant, are never open ended or without a political content. They are certainly not ‘local’ affairs. Intrusion and withdrawal are both matters of strategy, policy and political expediency. Witness the events of 1962 and the Sino-Vietnam conflict of 1979. 

Wisdom of the Crowd

What 1.2 billion Indians think about democracy, America, and the world. 

With 1.2 billion people and counting, India is projected to become the most populous country on the planet by 2030. Amazingly, we have long known very little about what the citizens of this democratic behemoth think about their future in the world. For decades, the country's foreign and security policies have been defined and driven by the preferences of a tiny elite -- notably, a professional diplomatic service numbering in the mere hundreds. Now, a comprehensive new opinion survey sheds light on the worldview of Indians from all levels of society -- urban and rural; educated and illiterate; young and old; rich, poor, and aspirational. 

So what do Indians like? Among other things, most like America, their military, and their democratic rights. What do they fear? Pakistan, China, and scarcity of energy, food, and water. What do they want? For starters, they want their government to do something about the country's myriad problems -- from advancing India's interests abroad to maintaining social harmony and fighting corruption at home. 

The poll provides stark and sometimes startling insights into Indians' hopes and fears at a time when the narrative of the country's unstoppable rise has been called into question ahead of national elections next year. It also illustrates the depth of Indian mistrust towards Asia's other giant: China. Eighty-three percent of respondents consider China a threat to India's security. But the poll also reveals Indians' desire for that to change. Sixty-three percent of respondents would like to see relations with China improve, as opposed to just 9 percent who think ties are too close already and appear resolutely opposed to rapprochement. This, at least, should be good news for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who was in India this week to meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. 

The survey, carried out by the Lowy Institute for International Policy, an independent Australian think tank, in partnership with the Australia India Institute, is based on face-to-face interviews conducted in late 2012 with 1233 adults in seven languages across 11 of India's 28 states. Like all such surveys, it's not perfect; its statistical margin of error is calculated to be 3.6 percent. 

Even so, the results throw up some striking patterns, and not a few surprises. Forget stereotypes about Indians having an excess of national pride. It turns out that many instead have a sense of perspective, realism, and even humility about their country and its reputation. Only 23 percent of the poll respondents say they think India receives less respect from other countries than it deserves -- while 36 percent think it receives too much. 

Still, there is a surprising level of confidence in India's economy, at least over the medium term. Despite a marked slowing in the country's growth rate, 74 percent of respondents are optimistic about their economic prospects over the next five years. But Indians are divided about whether the fruits of growth are being justly distributed: While a narrow majority (56 percent) of Indians see themselves as economically better off than five years ago, about 18 percent feel worse off and 27 percent do not think their economic situation has changed. 

And most Indians see major problems looming on the horizon. Shortages of energy, water and food -- along with climate change -- register as the country's most important challenges, with 80-85 percent of respondents rating these issues as "big threats" to India's security. Other issues rated as "big threats" by large majorities include possible war with Pakistan (77 percent), home-grown terrorism (74 percent), foreign jihadist attacks (74 percent), possible war with China (73 percent), and a continuing Maoist insurgency (71 percent). 

Four walls and the cry for help

Vani S. Kulkarni Manoj K. Pandey Raghav Gaiha 

Every hour 25 women fall victim to crimes; 11 suffer cruelty by husbands and other relatives; three are raped; and there is one dowry death.

Horrific crimes against women have, in fact, continued unabated. What is worse is that there has been an acceleration of such crimes in recent years, with the annual rate rising from 5.9 per cent in 2006 to 7.8 per cent during 2006-2011. Cases of domestic violence against women by their husbands and other relatives comprised over 43 per cent of all crimes against women in 2011. Domestic violence also accelerated, with the annual rate rising from 8.25 per cent in 2006 to 11.41 per cent between 2006-2011 despite a landmark legislation in 2006 declaring “wife-beating” a crime (National Crime Bureau Report).

Violence is rooted in dowry issues — women are beaten, threatened, burned and even killed to extract gifts of money, jewellery and consumer durables (e.g. a television set, fridge) from their families. Such cruelty is not confined to cases around dowry, however. Negligence of domestic duties, poorly prepared food and going out alone without permission, a sign of independence, are often dealt with just as cruelly.


Our analysis, based on the India Human Development Survey 2004-05, throws new light on the perceptions of patterns of domestic violence as well as some correlates. Since perceptions may not accurately reflect actual cases of domestic violence, the margins of error are difficult to assess. By contrast, actual cases are likely to be underestimates for fear of provoking further violence. Therefore, neither the National Crime Bureau nor the National Family Health Survey data on actual cases can be taken at face value. Another issue is the overlap between seemingly distinct forms of violence (e.g. marital rape, dowry-related, stemming from neglect of domestic duties). Hence, occurrence of multiple forms of domestic violence is typically more likely (e.g. dowry-related violence and that associated with the neglect of domestic duties) than any specific form alone (e.g. dowry-related). To circumvent this difficulty, we have constructed, for example, categories such as whether dowry-related violence was perceived as occurring with any other form of violence (e.g. associated with going out alone, neglect of domestic duties). This allows us to compare the incidence of a few dominant forms of domestic violence but without an unambiguous and mutually exclusive classification.

Out of the four categories considered, the highest incidence of violence was associated with going out alone without permission (about 39 per cent), followed by neglect of household duties (about 35 per cent), badly cooked meals (about 29.50 per cent), and dowry-related (about 29 per cent).

Political factor

If we classify States by the party in power, i.e., Congress-ruled, BJP-ruled, a coalition of either with other parties, and regional/State parties, the variation in domestic violence reveals a mixed pattern. Dowry-beating was highest in Congress-ruled States, and lowest in regional party-ruled States while violence resulting from going out alone was highest in BJP-ruled States and lowest in regional party-ruled States.

Locational differences are striking. Slums show the highest incidence of all forms of violence, followed by rural and urban areas. Violence associated with neglect of domestic duties was over 44 per cent in slums, over 37 per cent in rural areas and about 27.50 per cent in urban areas. A similar pattern is observed for bad cooking, with the highest violence in slums (over 33 per cent, 32 per cent in rural areas and about 21.50 per cent in urban). Dowry-related violence was also highest in slums (about 33 per cent), followed by rural areas (31.50 per cent) and then urban (22 per cent).

In the metros

A disaggregation into six major metros (Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) does not corroborate the north-south divide that has been the staple of demographers. Dowry-related violence was highest in Bangalore (48.55 per cent), followed by Chennai (about 33.50 per cent) and lowest in Delhi (about 18 per cent). Violence associated with neglect of household duties follows a slightly different pattern, with the highest incidence in Chennai (53 per cent), followed by Bangalore (over 47 per cent) and lowest in Delhi (about 11 per cent). While Bangalore overtakes Chennai in violence associated with bad cooking (about 47 per cent and over 35 per cent, respectively), Delhi exhibits the lowest incidence (6.20 per cent).

Watching the watchmen

Arghya Sengupta 

The appointment of Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma as the next CAG creates a conflict of interest as he will sit in judgment on his accountability in military procurements made during his tenure 

Union Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma has been appointed the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), replacing Vinod Rai who retires today. While Mr. Sharma is by all accounts an officer of the highest integrity who enjoys the confidence of the government, his choice causes deep misgivings about the continued independence of the CAG and the motivations of a government that has been repeatedly chastised by the Supreme Court for failing to respect the autonomy of independent institutions. 

From December 2003, apart from three short stints elsewhere, Mr. Sharma was a key functionary throughout in the Ministry of Defence. His appointments in the Ministry, crucially as Director-General (Acquisitions) from August 2007 to September 2010, and Defence Secretary from July 2011 till today, lead to a fundamental conflict of interest. Not only will Mr. Sharma be a key functionary to be held accountable for defence procurements made under his watch but, specifically, his inputs regarding the contract signed by the Ministry with AgustaWestland, U.K., for the supply of 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters will have to be closely scrutinised. The CAG is currently tasked with both these functions. Crucially, the CAG’s audit report on the helicopter contract and perceived irregularities therein are yet to be tabled in Parliament. 

Perception of impartiality 

In these circumstances, appointing Mr. Sharma as the CAG creates an inevitable conflict of interest and adversely impacts the perception of impartiality. Nemo judex in causa sua, i.e. no person shall be a judge in his own cause, is a fundamental principle of administrative law that governs conflicts of interest. Though the CAG is not a judge in law, his task of auditing government accounts, as a matter of principle, requires independence from the government analogous to that enjoyed by a judicial officer. Such a principle will unarguably be violated when Mr. Sharma audits his own Ministry’s actions, especially concerning the hugely controversial helicopter contract, irrespective of how upright he himself might be. 

Even if Mr. Sharma recuses himself from such audits, the manner in which his appointment has been made adversely affects the perception of impartiality that is necessary for an independent constitutional office-holder. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the test for determining whether a decision-making authority is perceived to be impartial is whether there is a reasonable apprehension of bias from the point of view of an average honest man. One of the key factors giving rise to such an apprehension is the manner of appointment. 

By all available accounts, Mr. Sharma’s name was recommended by the government to the President without any public discussion whatsoever, on the criteria used for evaluation and the merits and demerits of available candidates. Was there a shortlist drawn up? If so, on what basis? What qualifications did the candidates possess for being the CAG? In what way was Mr. Sharma considered to have superior credentials? These are some of the many questions that remain unanswered. Seen in light of the embarrassment that several reports of Vinod Rai caused to the government, these unanswered questions give rise to serious concerns regarding the government’s motivations in making such a recommendation. Consequently, a reasonable apprehension of bias concerning the future functioning of the CAG in the public mind is undeniable. 

Independence of CAG 

That the CAG should not just be impartial but be seen to be so was a key desideratum that influenced the drafters of the Constitution. Specifically, Dr. Ambedkar felt that the CAG “is probably the most important officer in the Constitution of India” (Constituent Assembly, 30 May 1949). As the chief enforcer of financial accountability of the government, it was imperative for the CAG to remain independent of the political executive and for the Constitution to demonstrate as such. This was guaranteed by provisions protecting the salary, tenure and pensions, prohibition on his removal save by impeachment and a bar on post-retirement employment. Curiously, no analogous protection was devised in the appointments mechanism which would be at the sole discretion of the executive. A combination of a lack of consensus regarding an alternative appointment method and faith in the executive acting with utmost probity are probable explanations for this conspicuous omission. 

An anomaly 

What was a conspicuous omission at the time of drafting the Constitution has, over time, regressed to an egregiously controversial anomaly. Controversial, since the lack of appointment criteria has meant that the position has led to a turf war between the Indian Audits and Accounts Service (IAAS) and the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Anomalous, since other independent institutions such as the judiciary and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) have seen the executive being divested of its unfettered power of appointment. The anomaly has been rendered egregious by the fact that it has not been rectified in case of the CAG despite repeated calls to do so. A High Powered Committee of The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution recommended that the power of appointment be kept “outside the exclusive power of the Executive”. Eminent public figures, such as Era Sezhiyan and Ramaswamy Iyer, have, in the pages of this newspaper, called for introspection and reform. Most recently, Jay Panda, Member of Parliament, introduced two Private Members’ Bills to reform the appointments process. Rather than deliberating on these suggestions, the government has deemed it prudent to continue exercising its power of appointment consonant with the opaque letter of the Constitution, disdainfully oblivious to its exalted spirit embodied in Dr. Ambedkar’s words. 

Nawaz’s Decisive Victory Opens Door for Rethinking Pakistan Security Policy

May 21, 2013 

The May 12 parliamentary election in Pakistan was its most consequential since its founding in 1947 for three reasons. For the first time, a popularly elected civilian government ended its first term with a successful election and was not curtailed by a military coup or intervention. A new civilian government was chosen by the electorate and will succeed its predecessor in an orderly, democratic way. That a determined 60 percent of the eligible population voted, notwithstanding nationwide violence throughout the election period by both party advocates and anti-state terrorists, only adds to the importance of the election. Second, the successor civilian government will be headed by the former opposition party, so the elections resulted not in a successor mandate for the existing government but in an opposition victory. Perhaps simplistically, two alternations of power through elections is often taken as a marker for a successful transition at least to electoral if not substantive democracy. This was the first alternation. Third, the defeat of the incumbent government was resounding. A more minor but possibly significant result was the strong showing of Imran Khan’s relatively new Pakkistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the possibility therefore of three, not just two, contending political parties. 

The election has shaken the civilian political landscape. One of the two traditional parties, in fact the one with support across provinces, was resoundingly thrashed, even humiliated. The Pakistan People’s Party headed by the Bhutto family for over 50 years was deeply wounded by its historic opponent, the eponymous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz headed by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab. Unlike its opponents which were tied almost entirely to a single province, the PPP had arguably been the dominant party in Pakistan with support in all four provinces. Now it is left with seats only in its home province of Sindh and two seats in Punjab while the PML-N is the party with seats in all four provinces. The election has left the PPP with around 30 seats out of 272 in the National Assembly against 130-140 for PML-N and 30 (an equal number to the PPP) for the upstart PTI of Imran Khan, which had before won only a single seat and will now form the government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Province. Few observers predicted the PML-N dominance, let alone the PPP collapse. Most thought that Nawaz would probably receive the plurality of seats in the Assembly but not that many more than the PPP and therefore that the PPP or PML-N would be the largest but not the predominant party in a ruling and probably unruly coalition. Not anymore. 

The political landscape of Pakistan is now less predictable than ever before. The Karachi-based and Muhajir-centered Mutahidda Qaumi Movement, long a majority-contributing coalition partner of the PPP was reduced in Sindh. The relatively moderate Awami National Party, based in K-P (and more recently also in Karachi) has been virtually wiped out with only one seat left in K-P. Both the PPP and the PLM-N have suffered defeats and victories in the past but they have been relatively more moderate than in this election. The PML-N will be the core party in the governance of Punjab, the PTI will be the same in K-P, and the PPP will be reduced to Sindh. There will be no cross-provincial party with substantial seats in three of the provinces. 

Internally, the PML-N and the PPP have been dominated by two families. Indeed, some have claimed that the parties were instruments of, respectively, Nawaz and his brother Shabazz for the PML and the Bhutto family for the PPP. Clearly Asif Ari Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s husband and political caretaker of the PPP after her assassination in December 2007 (by the terms of her personal will in fact, virtually demonstrating that the Party belonged to her like so much other property), was unable to carry the party to a second victory. The unwillingness or incapacity of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, their son and presumed Bhutto political heir, to campaign vigorously calls his political future into doubt as well. The PPP itself will almost certainly experience an identity crisis and an organizational crisis after this drubbing. For the first time since its founding in 1967, control of the PPP and its future as a party is uncertain. Formerly senior and even mid-level party leaders will be jockeying for power, for its future and identity, and of course for its electoral viability. The long-feuding Bhutto extended family will naturally fight to hang on to its patrimony. It remains to be seen how deeply wounded it is and how feudal it remains. Along with the performance of Imran Khan, PPP instability will engender a much more dynamic political and electoral landscape in Pakistan as a whole. 

But the greatest immediate and existential threat to Pakistani society and the Pakistani state comes from the terrorists. Nawaz’s victory could provide the opportunity to address the insurgents. It could have profound effects for Pakistan’s security strategy. It could lead to a formal change in the army’s strategic doctrine, in which the threat to Pakistan’s security has historically presumed to lie with India on its eastern border instead of anti-state terrorism originating on the western border in FATA and K-P. Indeed, one of the most active terrorist groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba has been supported by the army and the Inter -Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI ) for terrorist attacks on Indian targets in Kashmir. But Lashkar has now turned on its Pakistani masters in a new mission: to replace Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s “secular” state with an Islamist one. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Nawaz on his victory, invited him to India, and said he hoped the two countries could chart a new, friendlier relationship. Reciprocally, the day after the elections, Nawaz told reporters that he wants to establish friendly ties with India and he that he would invite Prime Minister Singh to his witness his swearing-in. Nawaz may now urge the largely independent military establishment to turn its attention to the much more profound threat of domestic terrorism. It may be too optimistic to hope that Nawaz will also address the growing insurrection in Baluchistan and will carry the military with him. 

China’s No-First-Use Policy Promotes Nuclear Disarmament

By Hui Zhang 
May 22, 2013 

On April 16, the Chinese Ministry of Defense released the eighth edition of China’s bi-annual white paper on defense since 1998. However, unlike the previous editions, this one does not reiterate China’s long-standing doctrine of no-first-use nuclear weapons. The obvious omission has sparked a debate over whether China is changing its nuclear doctrine. If China abandons its no-first-use nuclear pledge, which has guided China’s nuclear strategy since its first nuclear test in 1964, it would severely undermine the global disarmament process, potentially preventing the U.S. and Russian from further reducing their nuclear arsenals and even encouraging the U.S. to expand its nuclear forces. Is China really changing its nuclear policy? 

Colonel Yang Yujun, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Defense, answered this question unambiguously during a briefing on April 25 when he stated: “China repeatedly reaffirms that China has always pursued no-first-use nuclear weapons policy, upholds its nuclear strategy of self-defense, and never takes part in any form of nuclear arms race with any country. The policy has never been changed. The concern about changes of China’s nuclear policy is unnecessary.” 

Colonel Yang also explained that all former White Papers (with the same general title “China’s National Defense”) were comprehensive (zonghe xing), and elaborated on China’s nuclear policy in detail in sections on “national defense policy” and “arms control.” But this latest edition for the first time adopts a “thematic” model (zhuanti xing) and focuses specifically on the employment of China’s armed forces; it does not address nuclear policy in detail. 

While the new white paper does not explore generally its no-first-use policy, it emphasizes that the PLA Second Artillery Force (PLASAF) is “primarily responsible for deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons against China, and carrying out nuclear counterattack.” It also explains clearly how the PLASAF employs its nuclear force during peace and war time: 

“[China] keeps an appropriate level of readiness in peacetime… If China comes under a nuclear attack, the nuclear missile force of the PLASAF will use nuclear missiles to launch a resolute counterattack either independently or together with the nuclear forces of other services.” 

It should be noted that the term “nuclear counterattack” in the context of China’s nuclear strategy generally means “nuclear retaliation to a first nuclear strike” or “second nuclear strike.” 

Many experts and scholars are suspicious of China’s no-first-use pledge, with the Pentagon’s 2013 annual report on the Chinese military calling it ambiguous. But China’s nuclear force posture has all the features of a meaningful no-first-use policy. It has a much smaller and simpler arsenal with a much lower alert status than required for a first-use option. 

Some security analysts challenge whether China can maintain its no-first-use pledge for some extreme scenarios, such as if an enemy uses conventional weapons to attack China’s nuclear arsenal. These analysts suggest China might consider a conventional attack the equivalent of a first nuclear strike and consequently initiate a retaliatory nuclear strike. However, in practice, since 1980, when it initiated China's nuclear modernization, the PLASAF has focused on increasing the survivability of its nuclear force by deploying mobile missiles and moving missiles underground, to ensure that the country's limited number of land-based strategic missiles can survive a first strike— nuclear or not. 

The Prickly Politics of Aid

Development aid is inherently political - and that's not a bad thing. 

In a fiery May Day speech in La Paz, Bolivian president Evo Morales announced that he was expelling the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), accusing it of conspiring against his government. He did this despite the fact that USAID shut down its democracy and governance programs in the country several years ago in response to Bolivian government objections. The Americans then pledged to work only in apparently uncontroversial areas like health and environmental conservation. 

Bolivia's decision to end U.S. assistance to the country after nearly 50 years of USAID presence reflects the ideological tensions between Bolivia's first-ever indigenous-led government and Washington. But Morales isn't the only one targeting aid providers. Last September, Russia asked USAID to leave, making similar accusations of political interference. Earlier that year, the Egyptian government charged a group of Americans, Egyptians, and other employees of five Western democracy and rights organizations with illegal activity, driving almost all of the Americans out of the country. 

These cases are only the most visible examples of growing pushback by governments around the world against foreign assistance they deem too political. Dozens of governments have proposed or enacted measures to limit or block foreign aid flows to domestic groups, vilified local non-governmental organizations for working with foreigners, and harassed or kicked out international NGOs. 

By its very nature, foreign aid is politically sensitive. Efforts by one country to change basic elements of life in another through injections of financial and technical resources are inherently intrusive. The modern aid enterprise that emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s attempted to address this sovereignty concern by limiting their efforts in two crucial ways: they would pursue only socioeconomic objectives -- economic growth and other public goods like basic infrastructure and health care -- and they would direct their aid to governments, not to competing domestic actors. 

For more than 30 years the aid community largely held to these implicit terms. But in the early 1990s aid providers moved beyond this formally apolitical framework. Frustrated with decades of poorly performing programs and unmet development objectives, donors embraced the idea that governance failures in aid-receiving countries were often at the core of disappointing socioeconomic results. Sustainable advances in education, agricultural productivity, economic growth, or other key priorities require more than technical knowledge and capital -- they need well-functioning government institutions. Focusing on governance meant focusing on politics, no matter how much aid providers initially tried to portray the concept as neutral and technical. It meant fighting corruption, confronting patronage networks, and many other politically sensitive tasks. 

In the same years, the dramatic spread of democracy in the developing and post-communist worlds prompted many Western aid groups to adopt democracy as a goal. They embraced a new orthodoxy which held that democracy and socioeconomic progress go hand in hand. Donors created a whole new range of programs to support democratic transitions, from elections assistance and political party aid to civic education programs and legislative support. Western aid programs aimed at democracy and governance now total somewhere around $10 billion annually. 

With these political goals came more political methods, including a sharp increase in foreign assistance to nongovernmental actors. This move initially reflected a desire to support an independent civil society as an essential element of democratization. Yet it spread further when development agencies -- including those, like the World Bank, that do not explicitly support democracy -- concluded that they could advance socioeconomic goals (such as improved public services) by empowering citizens to demand better governance. 

Cause for Hope and Fear in Pakistan

Los Angeles Times 
Peter Tomsen 

May 19, 2013 -- There is reason for hope in Nawaz Sharif's victory in the recent Pakistani elections. Sharif, who has twice served as Pakistan's prime minister, has said he wants to build a more robust democracy, revive the country's shattered economy and end the military's 40-year domination of its politics. He has also promised to improve relations with India and take on the radical Islamist terrorism that has tormented Pakistan. The United States should assist him in every way possible to achieve those goals. 

But there is also ample reason for caution. The U.S. has a long history of "betting on the come," of unwarranted optimism that the transfer of billions in unconditional aid will influence Pakistan to withdraw its support for the Afghan Taliban insurgency based in Pakistan. With a new Pakistani leader in place, it is time to begin linking Washington's huge military and economic assistance programs more directly to U.S. interests, including anti-terrorism and regional stability. 

Perhaps Sharif's greatest challenge - as he knows all too well - will be ending the Pakistani military's outsized influence on foreign and defense policy, which is implemented largely through its powerful intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. In 1999, the last time Sharif served as Pakistan's prime minister, he attempted to improve Indo-Pakistani relations and replace the head of the army, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Instead, the army ousted Sharif in a coup, and Musharraf assumed power. Since 2008, Pakistan's elected leaders have tended to cede key decisions to the military in order to survive. 

Moreover, Sharif does not have an unblemished record in his willingness to confront extremists. During his second stint as prime minister in the 1990s, he played an influential role in the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, which was seen to be in Pakistan's interest. Recently, Taliban extremists in Pakistan spared Sharif's party in their violent pre-election attacks on political rallies and candidates. Against this backdrop, and given Sharif's stated opposition to U.S. drone strikes, it seems unlikely that the new prime minister will vigorously combat extremism in Pakistan. 

This sobering environment makes it incumbent on Washington to conduct its relations with Pakistan patiently, positively, candidly and in a transactional manner, emphasizing both equality and give-and-take. America's ineffective policy through successive administrations has seemed paralyzed, tolerating Pakistan's phony insistence that it does not support Mullah Mohammed Omar's Afghan Taliban insurgency and the notorious Haqqani network operating from Pakistani territory. With the new prime minister comes an opportunity to change that dynamic. Sharif, for his part, must understand that he will not be able to accomplish any of his goals — including economic prosperity and stability in Pakistan — unless the ISI's radical Islamist infrastructure in Pakistan is dismantled. 

Another part of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship that needs resetting is Washington's continuing hope, against much evidence to the contrary, that Pakistan will be useful in guiding Afghan peace talks. In fact, any Afghan political process organized by foreigners, including the U.S.-sponsored Qatar initiative that has languished since 2010, is doomed to failure. Rather than trying to act as the catalyst for talks between the Taliban and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government, the U.S. should step back, encourage the Afghans to reach agreement on their own and insist that Pakistan also step back. It would be nothing less than foolish to continue to work with Pakistan to convert the ISI's Taliban and Haqqani network proxies into genuine peace negotiators instead of what they are: Al Qaeda-linked terrorists bent on violence to achieve their extremist version of an Afghan Islamist state. 

Pakistan’s Elections: A Personal Experience

May 21, 2013 
By Sonya Rehman 

Our correspondent votes for the first time in her life, and senses real change in her country. 

This year, on the 11th of May, I voted. As a Pakistani citizen, I voted for the first time in my life. 

My polling station was a quick five minute drive from my house in the Cantonment area in Lahore. It was a hot, mildly breezy morning, but I was jumpy. The weeks leading up to voting day were super-charged, electric, and yet almost fragile, almost as if anything could happen at any given time. Political parties had been campaigning in full swing and the local television channels, local newspapers, local radio stations and even social media sites were fired up: “change,” “democracy,” and “revolution” were on everyone’s lips in the days leading up to the 11th. 

It was, after all, a historic time for the young country: the elections this year would mark the first time in Pakistan’s history that a civilian government would complete its full term, handing power to another in democratic elections. 

The polling station was a large public school. Families – primarily women – lined up outside airy classrooms, as old ceiling fans whizzed and wheezed in the excited heat of the morning. Sons and husbands stood in small clusters, waiting for their mothers and wives to stamp their ballot papers, while little children ran about the schoolyard like a haze of animated dots. 

“I don’t even have to ask you who you’re voting for,” an elderly woman, standing in line with me, had said slyly. She was implying Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf – the handsome, cricketer-cum-politician who had immense youth support, as depicted by the mass youth turnout at his recent rallies. “I’m voting for him too you know,” she said, smiling. She was a slim, hard-faced woman, who took it upon herself to direct confused first-time voters to the right line. She was particularly worried about the senior citizens; plenty had shown up at our polling station, walking slowly, holding onto family members for support as they made it across the expanse of the parking lot to the classrooms. 

“I’m 62-years-old,” the woman had said, “I’m voting for the first time in my life. I couldn’t not come out and vote today, how could I? Things have to change here.” 

I’d felt the same way. After an hour-long wait in line, I finally made it to the bespectacled, middle-aged polling agent. She was hunched over her desk, stamping ballot papers, barely slowing her pace, even to catch her breath. For a first-time voter, the voting process can be an exceedingly unnerving, yet exciting time. There are questions and concerns, and yet, there’s this unmistakable feeling of hope: as if the country’s destiny truly lies in your hands. Just yours. And suddenly, in the midst of it all, you realize how significant your role in society is; that you count, that your participation in the future of your nation really and truly does count. 

Almost ready to receive my green ballot paper, I was informed that I had to go back to another polling agent for verifications – they had to check my name on the list since I was thoroughly confused about a code (imperative for clearance). Even though the code was right under my nose, listed on my notepad, nerves had gotten the better of me. Dejected, I left my spot in the line and made my way to a young polling agent outside the classroom. It took a good 15-20 minutes for the issue to get sorted out. Luckily, a young woman who had stood in line with me at the time (and was now at the front, collecting her ballot papers), looked at me in concern and ushered me across to her. “Don’t worry, I kept your spot,” she’d said cheerfully. Tears of relief and gratitude filled my eyes, partly because during the verification process I was nursing a sinking feeling of doom, indulging in pessimism and paranoia – thinking I wouldn’t be able to vote. 

The young woman was a bubbly, chirpy little thing. She realized I was utterly frazzled and as we received our ballot papers simultaneously, she made some light-hearted jokes to take the edge off my obvious anxiety. “Do you know, my Aunt and Uncle flew in from the US especially to vote? They’re here for barely two days. Imagine that,” she said. 

Threat from Within

U.S. military braced for surge in Taliban ‘insider’ attacks after recent statement 

Burned bus after it collided with the wreckage of a truck that was attacked by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan / AP 

May 21, 2013 5:00 am 

Taliban insurgents recently vowed to carry out new “infiltration” attacks aimed at killing and demoralizing U.S., allied, and Afghan military forces as part of the spring military offensive, according to U.S. officials. 

The expected increase in what the Pentagon calls “insider” attacks by Taliban sympathizers or infiltrators followed an April 27 statement by the Islamist terror group. 

It was the first time the Taliban identified insider attacks as a key tactic. 

U.S. military officials have said the Taliban shifted to insider attacks as U.S. and allied forces became more adept at countering improvised explosive devices—deadly roadside bombs that have killed and injured hundreds during the 12-year war. 

Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks said the military is aware of the threat. 

“As we approach the traditional fighting season, the frequency of insider attacks is likely to increase,” Speaks said. “But we will not allow this insidious tactic to erode our will to complete the mission or hinder our partnership with the [Afghan National Security Forces] in defeating those who threaten Afghanistan’s future.” 

Sixty-two coalition troops were killed in 46 attacks in 2012, Speaks said, noting that from 2007 to 2011, 42 insider attacks resulted in 69 coalition deaths. A total of 34 Americans were killed by the method last year. 

“So far for 2013, there have been four attacks and four coalition deaths,” he said. 

The most recent incident occurred May 4 when two U.S. Marine Corps special operations group commandos were killed by an Afghan National Army soldier who fired on them. 

The Taliban statement announcing the spring offensive was posted on the group’s official Voice of Jihad website under the name of the “Islamic Emirate’s Leadership Council.” The council is headed by Taliban leader Mullah Omar. 

The statement signaled the beginning of the fighting season in Afghanistan. Insurgent attacks generally decline during the fall and winter months and take off in the spring and summer. 

The Taliban are calling their latest offensive the “Khalid bin Walid” offensive and called planned insider attacks as a “qualitatively unique military tactic” targeting foreign “invaders.” Khalid bin Walid was a companion of Muslim founder Muhammad. 

In addition to insider attacks, the Taliban also are planning “collective martyrdom attacks,” presumably a reference to car bombs and other bombing attacks. Announced targets include military bases, diplomatic centers, and air bases. 

However, the reference to insider attacks has raised concerns at the Pentagon, officials said. 

The Taliban statement said there would be the “systematic and coordinated” use of “infiltrating attacks.” 

The infiltration operations will be targeted on gaining access “inside the enemy’s centers.” 

Insider attacks are carried out by Afghan security and military personnel who are influenced by the Taliban, or who are double agents dispatched or converted while in the Afghan security forces. The terrorists pose as members of the Afghan National Security Forces or Afghan police and then carry out shootings against coalition forces or Afghans working for the central government. 

The goal of the spring offensive is to gain “liberation of the remaining regions of the country” from domination by “infidels” and the establishment of a government based on Islamist Sharia law, the statement said. 

Last year’s statement on the spring offensive did not mention insider attacks or collective martyrdom operations. It said the group would seek to expand Taliban influence rather than reaching a concluding victory. 

“The threat of insider attacks is very real and creates deep distrust at time when training the Afghan forces is critical to the way ahead,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee. 

“These attacks add an extra dimension to the security mission that existed previously, but maintaining the right security procedures and precautions are absolutely critical,” Hunter said. “At this stage of the Afghan mission, it’s important that we stay on offense.” 

China’s hackers are still at it; Iran’s are getting better

Posted By John Reed 
May 21, 2013

Not only is APT1, the Chinese-government hacking group made famous by Mandiant last February back at its old tricks, but other Chinese espionage outfits have been hacking away undeterred by the public naming and shaming of their colleagues. 

Even as APT1 (formally known as Unit 61398 of the People's Liberation Army) took a break after Mandiant publicized its exploits, the rest of China's advanced hackers stayed on the offensive, stealing data any way they could. 

"A lot of the press reporting has been saying that China took a break for three months and now they're back, [but] that was just one group ... the rest of them just kept up the regular pace of operations; no discernable change from our point of view," Richard Bejtlich, Mandiant's chief security officer told Killer Apps yesterday, regarding APT1's actions in the wake of his firm's February report detailing their activities. "It's not like they received any sort of tasking that said, ‘hey, the U.S. is onto us, we'd better take it easy.' It was more like, ‘we don't care, let's just keep on conducting operations.'" 

As for APT1, they did some "cleanup activities and then they took a break from, for the most part from breaking into targets that we had seen them going after," said Bejtlich. "In the last four weeks or so, they seem to be making a push back to their normal levels of activity, it's not all the way back there in terms of the numbers of victims we see them in but they are coming back." 

"We've seen them attempting to get access to some of the previous victims as well as trying their hand with some new victims," said Bejtlich of APT1's renewed cyber activities. 

These advanced Chinese hacking groups are among the roughly 24 highly skilled cyber espionage outfits around the world -- sometimes collectively called Advanced Persistent Threats (the APT in the moniker, APT1) -- that Mandiant tracks, according to Bejtlich. (Most of the APT groups Mandiant tracks are Chinese but some are Russian.) 

In the meantime, Mandiant has also seen a rise in Middle Eastern hackers, suspected of being Iranian, who appear to be honing their abilities to penetrate and stay in the networks of both governments and businesses. 

"We may have eyes on some Iranians as well," said Bejtlich. "I don't know if they're necessarily at the APT level, but they're distinct enough that we can track them and have a decent idea of where they're coming from." 

The Middle Eastern hackers aren't "in any way" as sophisticated as groups like APT1, according to Bejtlich. "The limited activity that we've seen seems to be almost educational on their part, it seems like they're trying to determine what it's like to operate on a live network." 

While Chinese hackers know what antivirus software to expect, how the network will be built, and even how its defenders will react to their presence, "the Iranians don't tend to have that, from what we see but we think they're taking steps now to develop those skills," said Bejtlich. 

He went on to say this activity may be a "leading indicator" that Iranian espionage operatives may be gearing up to conduct more advanced online operations. 

"We typically haven't seen digital work done on the theft side, but that's starting to change," said Bejtlich. "We think we've seen them on networks, which is new for us." 

He acknowledged that while this is the first time Mandiant has tracked suspected Iranian hackers inside a corporate network, other cybersecurity researchers may have come across Iranian operatives in cyberspace. (Last summer's famous cyber attacks that wiped hard drives on 30,000 of oil giant Saudi Aramco's computers have been blamed by some on Iranian-backed hackers. Then there's last fall's denial of service attacks that were pinned on Iran.) 

Learning Chinese on the Rise in Cambodia

May 22, 2013 
By Irwin Loy 

For ambitious young Cambodians, Chinese is becoming the obvious second language to master. 
When 20-year-old Suon Chiva was choosing a language to complement his native Khmer, it didn’t take him long to decide. He saw where the products in his local markets were made and where the new investments in his country were coming from. Learning to speak Chinese, he decided, made the most sense. 

“Cambodia now has a lot of business people coming here from China,” Chiva says. “They’re investing a lot of money. So it’s very important to speak their language.” 

It’s a view shared by most here in a stuffy classroom in Phnom Penh. Chiva and a dozen other students sit on wooden benches, whirling fans pushing warm air around the room, as their young teacher runs through a lesson on Mandarin tones. 

The school is one of several that have popped up on the same busy road in the Cambodian capital in recent years. Brightly coloured signs splayed with Chinese script tower above the traffic. Inside, the aging building is a warren of interconnected classrooms. Out front, employees in matching shirts hand out brochures for part-time classes, or sell textbooks to the students who dart in and out. 

They’re catering to young Cambodians looking for a step up in an emerging economy. For years, learning English has been a prerequisite for many Cambodians wanting to get ahead. But with China’s increasing clout and its conspicuous investment in the region, speaking Chinese has also become a valuable skill. 

The results of China’s soft power efforts are up for debate. But here in Phnom Penh, many young people are just as eager to learn about Chinese culture and language as China is to export it. A local association of Chinese-Cambodians claims there are some 30,000 full or part-time students now learning the language—many of them in places like Jing Fa Chinese School, which offers basic Chinese lessons at modest prices. 

In a ground-level classroom open to the street, students step around parked motorbikes and find their seats. At the whiteboard in front, director Long Sochea speaks slowly to the beginners’ class, raising his voice to be heard over the din of the passing traffic. 

When Sochea started teaching Chinese in the 1990s, he only had a handful of students—mainly Cambodians with Chinese roots trying to brush up on a distant ancestral tongue. Now, he says, almost all his students are Khmer with no Chinese heritage. Learning Mandarin, they hope, will give them an advantage in the business world. 

“Cambodian families are encouraging their children to study Chinese,” he says, “because they want their children to get jobs.” The school also offers basic lessons in other languages, including English, Korean and Vietnamese. But when new students ask him for advice, Sochea says he steers them in one direction. 

“I tell them to look at the investments other countries are making,” he says. “The real money in Cambodia is coming mostly from China.” 

China has become a dominant investor here. Since 2005, approved investments from Chinese companies in Cambodia have exceeded $8 billion USD, according to the Cambodian Investment Board—far above the sums expended by the next closest, Korea. But these figures offer just a partial picture of Chinese ventures in Cambodia; they represent only projects approved for tax exemptions and other incentives. They also don’t include investors in the country’s special economic zones, or smaller projects approved by provincial authorities. 

The U.S. Army’s Anti-Access Strategy

By James R. Holmes 
May 22, 2013 

Maj. Robert M. Chamberlain avers in Armed Forces Journal that land power "trumps" air and sea power in the Obama administration's pivot — or rebalance, or whatever the term du jour is for this formidable yet soft and cuddly strategic venture — to Asia. Or rather, he suggests that it should win out. Having broached similar ideas (along with my doughty coauthor Toshi Yoshihara) a couple of years back, I violently agree! 

Well, mostly. To claim categorically that one thing trumps another is generally to overpromise. That's an ill-starred choice of term. Although … let's bear in mind that editors, not authors, write the titles in many publications. Hype is commonplace when driving up circulation or web traffic is your goal. That may have been the case here. 

Anyway. Maj. Chamberlin maintains, in effect, that air and sea power are intrinsically offensive and destabilizing in character, whereas the U.S. Army could anchor a defensive posture in places like Japan or the Philippines. By developing land-based weaponry, and by organizing to shape events on the high seas, the army could field its own, strategically defensive, relatively unprovocative anti-access capability. 

And indeed, there is ample scope for quasi-static, land-based defenses in the Western Pacific. They could deter war. The United States and its allies must mount an anti-access strategy of their own. 

How? Surface fleets are increasingly vulnerable to shore-launched weaponry. That idea constitutes the substructure on which China's anti-access strategy is built. But reciprocity is a good thing. Beijing hopes to deter U.S. forces from attempting forcible entry into the Western Pacific in wartime. The PLA will field strong anti-ship capabilities, and few doubt the political leadership would use them under certain circumstances. Beijing hopes Washington will balk at the heavy price of access. Ergo, deterrence. 

The U.S. Army can repay the favor by plausibly threatening to deny access to its own offshore waters and skies. And the army can do so from dispersed, dug-in sites that are far less exposed than a ship or plane. Mobile missile batteries, moreover, are exceedingly hard to find, target, and dislodge — witness coalition air forces' fruitless Scud hunt in western Iraq in 1991. Hide-and-seek is a game U.S. and allied troops can play as well. 

Deterrence is negotiation through credible threats. The PLA can threaten allied movement at sea; the allies can tacitly reply that Asian waters will become a no-man's land should war come. The prospect of mutual assured destruction of surface navies will make for sobriety. So by all means, let's harness the logic of anti-access for the defenders of truth, justice, and the American (and Japanese, and Australian, and …) way. 

But let's not overstate the ease with which this metamorphosis will occur. A journal article is not enough. Operating from more or less fixed island sites on a more or less permanent basis would run counter to the U.S. Army's big-war tradition, whose proponents beseech the service to return to its roots as a conventional fighting force after a decade-plus of unconventional Middle Eastern conflicts. That's one influential group of opponents. 

It would also run afoul of counterinsurgency and counterterror proponents, who see Iraq and Afghanistan not as wars that have come and gone but as harbingers of things to come. They too could find turning seaward a novel and unwelcome if not foolish prospect. In short, both major schools of thought within the ranks could align against the anti-access cause. 

I wish advocates of land-based sea power well, then, but any serious effort along those lines is apt to encounter fierce bureaucratic headwinds. Finding a sponsor — say, a maritime-oriented four-star or civilian secretary — would be a good start as access deniers beat into those winds. 

Army Strong!

Too Fast, Too Soon

Why Obama's embrace of Myanmar is putting the cart before the horse. 

On Monday, Myanmar President Thein Sein had a historic meeting with President Barack Obama -- the first time a head of state from the country has visited the White House in nearly 50 years. Obama praised Thein Sein's leadership "in moving Myanmar down a path of both political and economic reform," before discussing joint projects that U.S. assistance will focus on in Myanmar, such as improving agriculture. A pleased Thein Sein replied, "I will take this opportunity to reiterate that Myanmar and I will continue to ... move forward so that we will have -- we can build a new democratic state -- a new Myanmar." 

Talk about a reversal of fortune. Only three years earlier, not only would this meeting have been impossible, but nearly every top leader in Myanmar had been barred from entering the United States and most other leading democracies. Sanctions hobbled the country's economy. Members of the U.S. Congress regularly castigated Myanmar as one of the most tyrannical societies on Earth. Former President George W. Bush in 2007 even canceled a planned summit with the regional body the Association of Southeast Asian Nations simply to avoid having to interact with Myanmar. 

In the days before Thein Sein's visit, nearly every U.S. official who spoke publicly about the country painted it as a potential model of emerging democratization -- a bright spot in a world where democracy has regressed for the past seven years, according to the global monitoring group Freedom House. Since the United States began easing sanctions in 2012, American companies have started to flow into Myanmar -- perhaps the largest untapped emerging market the world. In April, Ford announced that it will open a car dealership in Myanmar, the first major automaker to do so, while General Electric, Caterpillar, and many other multinationals are looking to expand their businesses there. The U.S. view on Myanmar has indeed switched 180 degrees -- yet it remains dangerously black and white. 

While the country has taken important steps toward democratization, its opening has also unleashed dangerous forces that have led to scores of violent attacks against Myanmar's Muslim minority, which make up about 4 percent of the country's 60 million people. As Reuters reported in mid-May, "In an echo of what happened in the Balkans after the fall of communist Yugoslavia, the loosening of authoritarian control in Myanmar is giving freer rein to ethnic hatred." The attacks are destabilizing the country and creating the possibility of nationwide violence, upsetting Myanmar's fragile transition and creating instability in the middle of the most important region in the world for the United States. (Militants in Indonesia, angry at the attacks on Muslims in Myanmar, reportedly tried to bomb the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta.) 

The attacks, which in 2012 killed at least 192 people but seemed confined to the western state of Rakhine, have since spread -- and the Myanmar press reports burnings, beatings, and evictions of Muslims throughout the country. In an April report, Human Rights Watch labeled the violence "ethnic cleansing" and "crimes against humanity," noting that state security forces participated in the attacks alongside mobs -- together burning mosques, driving Muslims from their homes, and preventing people from assisting the injured and dying. 

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's leading moral authority, has said little about the attacks against Muslims. In a statement to Global Post in May, Aung San Suu Kyi's spokesman claimed that his boss has little interest in supporting the Rohingya's claims for rights and citizenship -- a shocking response by the Nobel laureate, renowned around the world as a champion of freedom and rights. "She believes, in Burma, there is no Rohingya ethnic group," the spokesman said -- in other words, that they do not deserve the protections Myanmar's constitution grants to other ethnic groups.