7 December 2013


Saturday , December 7 , 2013

On December 16, 1971, the war between India and Pakistan on the eastern front ended with the unconditional surrender of the Pakistani forces in Dhaka. Soon after, Indira Gandhi announced a ceasefire on the western front as well. On learning of this announcement, the American president, Richard Nixon, was rather pleased. His national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, piped up: “Congratulations, Mr. President. You have saved W[est] Pakistan.” This bout of self-congratulation underscored the extent to which these self-professed practitioners of realpolitik were also prey to self-deception. As Gary Bass shows in his most admirable and thorough book, The Blood Telegram: India’s Secret War in East Pakistan, Nixon’s and Kissinger’s handling of the Bangladesh crisis was an unmitigated failure on all counts: moral, political, and strategic.

An accomplished scholar of human rights, Bass draws on a mass of documents and tapes to shed light on the United States of America’s involvement in the crisis of 1971. Nixon and Kissinger did nothing to prevent the Pakistan military led by General Yahya Khan from overturning the verdict of the first general elections held in the country. Once the Pakistan army cracked down on the Bengalis of East Pakistan, they were loath to urge their ally to exercise restraint. They refused to contemplate even minor measures such as telling Pakistan to stop using American arms and ammunition against the Bengali population. This, Bass writes, was “one of the worst moments of moral blindness in U.S. foreign policy”. 

Bass’s account, however, is not particularly moralizing. In his detailed narrative of the US’s handling of the crisis, Bass excavates a number of factors that drove its policy. For a start, there was the deep-seated bias Nixon and Kissinger had against India and in favour of Pakistan. Their conversations are replete with snarling references to Indians in general —“a slippery, treacherous people”, “devious”— and Indira Gandhi in particular —“bitch” and “witch”. Yahya Khan, by contrast, is repeatedly proclaimed to be an “honourable” man. 

It is tempting to explain their stance on the crisis simply by referring to their prejudices. Bass rightly insists that there were other — more pressing — considerations in play. Pakistan was an important US ally in the Cold War. India was seen as being much closer to the former Soviet Union. More important, Yahya Khan was playing an important role as an intermediary in Nixon and Kissinger’s secret effort to reach out to China. Kissinger made a furtive visit to China (via Pakistan) in July 1971; thereafter Nixon’s own trip to Beijing was formally announced. Acknowledging the historic importance of the opening to China, Bass argues that the slaughter of Bengalis was “the forgotten cost” of this initiative. 

Vohra: Need to form national security doctrine

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 6
Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra today stressed the need for a national security doctrine to ensure speedy production by defence public sector undertakings and cohesiveness in operations of three Services.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra (left) at the National Security Lecture-2013 on Civil-Military Relations: Opportunities and Challenges, in New Delhi on Friday. 
Vohra, who was Defence Secretary and Home Secretary during the PV Narismha Rao Government (1991 to 1996), was delivering the National Security Lecture-2013 on Civil-Military Relations: Opportunities and Challenges, organised by the United Service Institution of India, here today. Former Army Chief General Shankar Roychowdhury chaired the lecture.

Calling on all three Services to shed reservations and establish meaningful cohesiveness, Vohra said: "Any delay in the finalisation of the joint doctrine covering all aspects of integrated operations would come in the way of the Armed Forces preparing themselves for delivering an effective response when an emergency arises".

A separate national security doctrine, said Vohra, should form the basis of which integrated threat assessments could be made. The Defence Ministry must ensure that the ordinance factories, defence PSUs, DRDO establishments and others deliver on time. "Prolonged delays cause serious difficulties for the Armed Forces and large economic losses as the lack of certainty about supplies from indigenous sources compels expensive imports", he said while citing how during the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan, India resorted to imports.

He also touched upon the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), saying that the force is duty bound to ensure people’s civil rights are protected, it is equally necessary for the Centre and the affected states to collectively evolve an acceptable approach which ensures that the personnel of the military formations are provided the requisite legal protection.

Without naming former Army Chief General VK Singh, Vohra said needless controversies had marred the Army's glorious image.

A look back at the South African leader's legendary life -- in his own words.

'I Am Fundamentally an Optimist'
With Nelson Mandela's death, a look back at the South African leader's legendary life -- in his own words.

The educated Englishman was our model; what we aspired to be were "black Englishmen," as we were sometimes derisively called. We were taught -- and believed -- that the best ideas were English ideas, the best government was English government, and the best men were Englishmen.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Nelson Mandela poses for a photo circa 1937 -- the year he began attending Healdtown, which at the time was the largest African school below the equator. Mandela's early experiences at the Methodist mission school left an indelible impression on him, which he later chronicled in his memoir, Long Walk to Freedom. Mandela, who was born in the village of Mvezo on July 18, 1918, spent his early years herding cattle and was the first in his family to go to school. Both of his parents were illiterate.

Wikimedia Commons

I cannot pinpoint a moment when I became politicized, when I knew that I would spend my life in the liberation struggle. To be an African in South Africa means that one is politicized from the moment of one's birth, whether one acknowledges it or not. An African child is born in an Africans Only hospital, taken home in an Africans Only bus, lives in an Africans Only area, and attends Africans Only schools, if he attends school at all.

When he grows up, he can hold Africans Only jobs, rent a house in Africans Only townships, ride Africans Only trains, and be stopped at any time of the day or night and be ordered to produce a pass, failing which he will be arrested and thrown in jail.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela burns his pass book in protest of "pass laws" in 1952. An integral part of the apartheid system, these laws mandated that black Africans carry identity documents when in "white" areas.

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The speech I recall best was given by Winnie's father. He took note, as did everyone, that among the uninvited guests at the wedding were a number of security police. He spoke of his love for his daughter, my commitment to the country, and my dangerous career as a politician. When Winnie had first told him of the marriage, he had exclaimed, "But you are marrying a jailbird!" At the wedding, he said he was not optimistic about the future, and that such a marriage, in such difficult times, would be unremittingly tested. He told Winnie she was marrying a man who was already married to the struggle.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela poses with his second wife, Winnie, during their wedding in 1957. By the time of their marriage, Mandela was already heavily involved in political activism through the African National Congress (ANC), an organization founded to resist apartheid. He was even briefly arrested with fellow members and convicted in 1952 on charges of promoting communism.

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Orlando West was a dusty, spartan area of boxy municipal houses that would later become part of Greater Soweto, Soweto being an acronym for South-Western Townships. Our house was situated in an area nicknamed Westcliff by its residents after the fancy white suburb to the north.… It was the very opposite of grand, but it was my first true home of my own and I was mightily proud. A man is not a man until he has a house of his own. I did not know then that it would be the only residence that would be entirely mine for many, many years.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: A photograph of Mandela and his dog on display at Mandela's home in Johannesburg. Mandela moved to the Soweto home in 1946 with his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase. After their divorce, his second wife, Winnie, lived there with him and their children. His political resistance made him a target for authorities and eventually forced him to go underground. He remained on the run until his arrest in 1962.


I had always known that arrest was a possibility, but even freedom fighters practice denial, and in my cell that night I realized I was not prepared for the reality of capture and confinement. I was upset and agitated.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: African women demonstrate in front of the Law Courts in Pretoria on June 16, 1964, after the delivery of a verdict in the Rivonia trial, in which eight ANC leaders, including Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of sabotage and attempts to overthrow the government. The defendants faced the death penalty, but the presiding judge in the case ultimately ruled that he would not impose "the supreme penalty."

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Winnie always dressed up for prison visits, and tried to wear something new and elegant. It was tremendously frustrating not to be able to touch my wife, to speak tenderly to her, to have a private moment together. We had to conduct our relationship at a distance under the eyes of people we despised.… Regulations dictated that conversation had to be in either English or Afrikaans -- African languages were forbidden -- and could involve family matters only. Any line of talk that departed from the family and verged on the political might mean the abrupt termination of the visit. If one mentioned a name unfamiliar to the warders, they would interrupt the conversation, and ask who the person was and the nature of the relationship. This happened often, as the warders were generally unfamiliar with the variety and nature of African names. It was frustrating to spend precious minutes of one's visit explaining to a warder the different branches of one's family tree. But their ignorance also worked in our favor: it allowed us to invent code names for people we wanted to talk about and pretend that we were referring to family members.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Winnie Mandela reads messages written to Nelson Mandela at his 70th birthday, held in Johannesburg in July 1988.


It was a breathtaking moment, for in one sweeping action he had virtually normalized the situation in South Africa. Our world had changed overnight. After forty years of persecution and banishment, the ANC was now a legal organization. I and all my comrades could no longer be arrested for being a member of the ANC, for carrying its green, yellow, and black banner, for speaking its name. For the first time in almost thirty years, my picture and my words, and those of all my banned comrades, could freely appear in South African newspapers.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: A jubilant Sowetan holds a newspaper announcing Mandela's release at a mass ANC rally in February 1990. That year, South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted a 30-year ban on the ANC and moved to release multiple political prisoners, including Mandela, who had spent a total of 27 years in prison.


Within twenty feet or so of the gate, the cameras started clicking, a noise that sounded like some great herd of metallic beasts. Reporters started shouting questions; television crews began crowding in; ANC supporters were yelling and cheering. It was a happy, if slightly disorienting chaos. When a television crew thrust a long, dark, furry object at me, I recoiled slightly, wondering if it were some newfangled weapon developed while I was in prison. Winnie informed me that it was a microphone. When I was among the crowd I raised my right fist and there was a roar. I had not been able to do that for twenty-seven years and it gave me a surge of strength and joy.… My ten thousand days of imprisonment were over.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela and his wife Winnie raise their fists upon his release from Victor Verster prison on Feb. 11, 1990.


Time may seem to stand still for those of us in prison, but it did not halt for those outside.… Change is gradual and incremental, and when one lives in the midst of one's family, one rarely notices differences in them. But when one doesn't see one's family for many years at a time, the transformation can be striking.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela holds his grandchild Bambata at their Soweto home 10 days after his release from prison on Feb. 21, 1990. Mandela, who was married three times, had six children and 17 grandchildren, as well as multiple great-grandchildren.


The first leg of the trip took Winnie and me to Paris, where we were treated in very grand style by François Mitterrand and his charming wife, Danielle, a longtime ANC supporter. This was not my first trip to the European mainland, but I was still entranced by the beauties of the Old World. Although I do not want to stint on the loveliness of the City of Light, the most important event that occurred while I was in France was that the [South African] government announced the suspension of the State of Emergency. I was pleased, but well aware that they had taken this action while I was in Europe in order to undermine my call for sanctions.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela and Winnie attend a ceremony in his honor at Trocadéro plaza in Paris in June 1990. Mandela emerged from prison as an international icon and was widely celebrated on a European tour.


Soweto, the teeming metropolis of matchbox houses, tin shanties, and dirt roads, the mother city of black urban South Africa, the only home I ever knew as a man before I went to prison. While Soweto had grown, and in some places prospered, the overwhelming majority of the people remained dreadfully poor, without electricity or running water, eking out an existence that was shameful in a nation as wealthy as South Africa. In many places, the poverty was far worse than when I went to prison.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela hugs a girl in October 1990 as he visits the black township of Soweto near Johannesburg, where he lived before his imprisonment.


I have never cared very much for personal prizes. A man does not become a freedom fighter in the hope of winning awards, but when I was notified that I had won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Mr. de Klerk, I was deeply moved. The Nobel Peace Prize had a special meaning to me because of its involvement with South African history.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela and South Africa's last apartheid president, F.W. de Klerk -- who was instrumental in securing Mandela's release and ending the system of racial segregation -- pose after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in December 1993. De Klerk would later serve as Mandela's second deputy president until 1996.


The first stage of our election effort was what was known as People's Forums. ANC candidates would travel all over the country and hold meetings in towns and villages in order to listen to the hopes and fears, the ideas and complaints, of our people. The People's Forums were similar to the town meetings that candidate Bill Clinton held in America on his way to the presidency. The forums were parliaments of the people, not unlike the meetings of chiefs at the Great Place that I witnessed as a boy.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela, clad in traditional clothes, releases a white dove for peace at a March 21, 1994, rally to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the 1960 massacre of 69 black demonstrators by the police in Sharpeville, south of Johannesburg.


Just as we told the people what we would do, I felt we must also tell them what we could not do. Many people felt life would change overnight after a free and democratic election, but that would be far from the case. Often, I said to crowds, "Do not expect to be driving a Mercedes the day after the election or swimming in your own backyard pool." I told our supporters, "Life will not change dramatically, except that you will have increased your self-esteem and become a citizen in your own land."

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: ANC supporters climb onto a billboard to see Mandela at a pre-election rally just outside Durban on April 16, 1994.


Before I entered the polling station, an irreverent member of the press called out, "Mr. Mandela, who are you voting for?" I laughed. "You know," I said, "I have been agonizing over that choice all morning." I marked an X in the box next to the letters ANC and then slipped my folded ballot paper into a simple wooden box; I had cast the first vote of my life.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela casts his ballot in South Africa's first democratic and all-race general elections on April 27, 1994.


For the past few days, I had been pleasantly besieged by arriving dignitaries and world leaders who were coming to pay their respects before the inauguration. The inauguration would be the largest gathering ever of international leaders on South African soil. The ceremonies took place in the lovely sandstone amphitheater formed by the Union Buildings in Pretoria. For decades, this had been the seat of white supremacy, and now it was the site of a rainbow gathering of different colors and nations for the installation of South Africa's first democratic, nonracial government.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Becoming South Africa's first black president, Mandela takes the presidential oath during his inauguration in Pretoria at the first session of the country's post-apartheid parliament on May 9, 1994.


Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.

--Remarks at the Laureus World Sports Awards, 2010

Above: Mandela hands the Webb Ellis Cup to South Africa team captain Francois Pienaar after the team won the Rugby World Cup final on June 24, 1995. This moment, which inspired the Oscar-winning film Invictus, proved a seminal one in South African history. As John Carlin, who authored a book on the event, notes, it marked "the final submission of white South Africa to [Mandela's] charms." Carlin recounts the powerful moment, saying, "Ellis Park Stadium, 95 per cent white on the day, stood in dumb, disbelieving silence. Then someone took up a cry that others followed, ending in a thundering roar: 'Nel-son! Nel-son! Nel-son!'"

David Rodgers/Getty Images

We have had very good relations with the United States of America. I must point out that the first head of state to congratulate me when I came out of prison was the president of the United States of America at the time. And he invited me to this country. Our relations have deepened considerably since President Clinton took over power. He has helped us to ensure that democracy in our country is deeply entrenched. And it is always in that spirit that we think of him. And it is in that spirit that I'm here today to have these discussions with the president.

--Remarks with Bill Clinton, 1995

Above: Mandela and U.S. President Bill Clinton share a laugh prior to their bilateral meeting on Oct. 22, 1995, at the United Nations.


These are my heroines.… I don't want to be emotional, but this is one of the greatest moments of my life.

--Remarks to journalists and photographers, 1997

Mandela displayed a flash of his dry wit upon coming face to face with the Spice Girls. Above: Mandela shares a joke with Prince Charles, his grandchildren, and members of the Spice Girls at his residence in Pretoria on Nov. 1, 1997.


Robben Island had changed since I had been there for a fortnight's stay in 1962. In 1962, there were few prisoners; the place seemed more like an experiment than a fully-fledged prison. Two years later, Robben Island was without question the harshest, most iron-fisted outpost in the South African penal system. It was a hardship station not only for the prisoners but for the prison staff. Gone were the Coloured warders who had supplied cigarettes and sympathy. The warders were white and overwhelmingly Afrikaans-speaking, and they demanded a master-servant relationship. They ordered us to call them "baas," which we refused.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela sits outside his former prison cell after returning to Robben Island on Nov. 28, 2003.

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The fight against AIDS is one of the greatest challenges the world faces at the start of the 21st century. I cannot rest until I'm certain that the global response is sufficient to turn the tide of the epidemic.

--Speech at the 2004 International AIDS Conference

Above: Mandela hands out gifts to children with HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day in December 2001. After his presidency, Mandela personally acknowledged his administration's failure to address the AIDS epidemic that plagued South Africa. In his post-political career, he devoted much of his attention to the issue.


As we celebrate, let us remind ourselves that our work is far from complete. Where there is poverty and sickness, including AIDS, where human beings are being oppressed, there is more work to be done. Our work is for freedom for all.… We say tonight, after nearly 90 years of life, it is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.

--Remarks on his 90th birthday party in London, 2008

Above: Mandela and his third wife, Graca Machel, share a laugh behind his birthday cake at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in August 2008 in Houghton, a suburb of Johannesburg.

Juda Ngwenya/Nelson Mandela Foundation via Getty Images

It is now several years since Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel came to me with their idea for The Elders. Since then I have watched the concept grow, gain structure and strength, and become a real, viable, and pragmatic initiative. I believe that, with their experience and their energies, and their profound commitment to building a better world, The Elders can become a fiercely independent and robust force for good, tackling complex and intractable issues, especially those that are not popular.

--Speech at the launch of The Elders, 2007

Above: In May 2010 in Johannesburg, Mandela is reunited with Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland, and other members of The Elders, a group of ex-statesmen founded by Mandela with the goal of using the former leaders' wisdom and political savvy to work on peace and human rights issues.

Jeff Moore via Getty Images

I never seriously considered the possibility that I would not emerge from prison one day. I never thought that a life sentence truly meant life and that I would die behind bars. Perhaps I was denying this prospect because it was too unpleasant to contemplate. But I always knew that someday I would once again feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sunshine as a free man. I am fundamentally an optimist.

--Long Walk to Freedom

Above: Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, wave to fans in July 2010 before the World Cup soccer final in Johannesburg between the Netherlands and Spain -- in what would be Mandela's last public appearance.


Nobel Lecture 'Let A New Age Dawn'

Nobel Lecture 
'Let A New Age Dawn' 
Twenty years back, Nelson Mandela gave his Nobel Lecture on 10 December 1993, in the Oslo City Hall, Norway. 
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Your Majesty the King,
Your Royal Highness,
Esteemed Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Honourable Prime Minister, Madame Gro Harlem Brundtland, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Ambassadors, Fellow Laureate, Mr. F.W. de Klerk, Distinguished Guests,
Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for elevating us to the status of a Nobel Peace Prize winner. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate my compatriot and fellow laureate, State President F.W. de Klerk, on his receipt of this high honour. 

Together, we join two distinguished South Africans, the late Chief Albert Lutuli and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to whose seminal contributions to the peaceful struggle against the evil system of apartheid you paid well-deserved tribute by awarding them the Nobel Peace Prize. 

It will not be presumptuous of us if we also add, among our predecessors, the name of another outstanding Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Rev Martin Luther King Jr

He, too, grappled with and died in the effort to make a contribution to the just solution of the same great issues of the day which we have had to face as South Africans. 

We speak here of the challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace, violence and non-violence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty and human rights, poverty and freedom from want. 

We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people. 

I am also here today as a representative of the millions of people across the globe, the anti-apartheid movement, the governments and organisations that joined with us, not to fight against South Africa as a country or any of its peoples, but to oppose an inhuman system and sue for a speedy end to the apartheid crime against humanity.

which country does best at reading, maths and science?

Where is India? Web Master 

Pisa 2012 results: which country does best at reading, maths and science? 
How do countries compare for reading, maths and science performance? The latest Pisa results from the OECD show which countries are making the biggest improvements and which could do better 

Pisa 2012 results - how do scores compare by subject and country. Click on the image for the full size graphic 

The latest Programme for International Assessment (Pisa) results are out today. The release by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that the UK has seen slight improvements in maths and reading performance but has slipped down four places in the overall ranking for science.

The UK is ranked 23rd for reading, 26th for maths and 20th for science. In 2009 it was placed 25th, 28th and 16th respectively. Shanghai tops the overall ranking with Singapore and Hong Kong being placed second and third place respectively. 

Since 2000, the OECD has attempted to evaluate the knowledge and skills of 15-year olds across the world through its Pisa test. More than 510,000 students in 65 economies took part in the latest test, which covered maths, reading and science, with the main focus on maths - which the OECD state is a "strong predictor of participation in post-secondary education and future success."

The triennial results provide a wealth of data - from which countries are making the biggest improvements in education ranking to how the gender gap varies by subject. We've picked out some key figures from the report:
Who's top of the class?

"Asian countries outperform the rest of the world", according to the OECD, with Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau and Japan amongst the top performing countries and economies. Students in Shanghai performed so well in maths that the OECD report compares their scoring to the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. 

Of the 64 countries with comparable data up to 2012, 32 improved their reading performance while 22 showed no change and 10 deteriorated. If you look at performance at maths, 25 show an average annual improvement, 25 show no change, and 14 show a deterioration in performance.

Qatar, Kazakhstan and Malaysia recorded an average improvement in maths performance of more than eight points per year. The OECD report also praises Brazil, Chile, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Tunisia and Turkey who it claims have "shown a consistent improvement" over time in maths performance. 

Qatar had the highest reading score-point difference associated with one calendar year although the OECD warn that when looking at annualised change that "the average change experienced over successive PISA assessments doesn't capture the extent to which this change is steady, or whether it is decelerating or accelerating".

Of 64 countries with comparable data, 19 reported an average annual improvement in science performance, 37 showed no change and eight recorded a decline. 

Kazakhstan, Turkey and Qatar all reported annualised change of more than five points in science performance.
Boys perform better than girls in maths

Boys scored higher than girls in maths in 37 out of the 65 countries and economies, while girls outperformed boys in just five countries; Jordan, Qatar, Thailand, Malaysia and Iceland. The OECD claim though that the gender gap is relatively small - in only six countries is it greater than the equivalent of half a year of schooling. 

According to the OECD, girls "feel less motivated to learn maths and have less confidence in their abilities than boys".

Clash of economic traditions


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On the wrong side of the divide… Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Raghuram Rajan.
Our policymakers are pushing a US-UK economic model, driven by financial markets rather than banks. But our people, like Germans and Japanese, would have none of it.

At the G20 summit in April 2009 where the world leaders were struggling to stem the financial tsunami, French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to wreck the summit in a rumpus over the “Anglo-Saxon model”.

The Anglo-Saxon model was till then a subject of debate in the guild of economists. But post 2008-meltdown, it turned into a political issue between France and Germany on one side, and the US and the UK on the other.

France and Germany blamed the Anglo-Saxon – read the US – model for the mess in the world economy. Sarkozy’s threat to walk out if the Summit did not devise steps to reverse the Anglo-Saxon policies and practices in financial markets led to the G20’s powerful campaign against the tax havens. The G20 also disowned the old Washington consensus which was the mother of the Anglo-Saxon financialism.

The Anglo-Saxon financial model evolved mainly in the US and was followed by the other English speaking nations — Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. The model is “capital market based” — that is finance mediated mainly by stock markets “at arms length”.

The other financial model, known as “Continental” Europe’s, is mainly “bank-based” — that is, finance largely intermediated by banks. The financial model intermediated by banks operates on ‘relational’ basis.

The debate brings out a crucial fact not debated in India — namely that the financial model of the West is divided into bank-led model and market-led model. See how it translates into numbers. In 2002, the banks’ share of financial assets was 22 per cent in the US, against 72 per cent then in Germany. In 2011, the banks’ share in the US remained the same, while in Germany it was still high, but declined to 62 per cent — the effect of the Anglo-Saxon financial model on Germany.

Why do Germany and France accuse the US of dynamiting the world of finance? Here is the simplest of evidences. What brought down the world economy was the US sub-prime lending which created the housing bubble in the US — entirely a creation of the market-led financial model.

See how the housing price index inversely moved in the market-led US and the UK and the bank-led Germany. The 1989 housing index rose by 90 per cent between 2000 and 2006 in the market-led US and in the UK by 133 per cent. This house price inflation morphed and marketed as wealth torpedoed the US and UK finances, later the world’s.

But in the bank-led Germany, in the same period, the housing index fell — yes, fell — by 8 per cent. In Japan it fell, by more, 26 per cent. The bank-led Germany and Japan obviously knew more than the market-led US and UK that a housing bubble was incubating. Result. Germany and Japan were least affected by the global financial meltdown.

The world now wonders how Germany escaped the 2008-tsunami. The Bank of Japan proudly declared in 2009 that even as the world finance was in turmoil Japan was safe. So much for the all-knowing arms-length market’s knowledge about finance, as opposed to the relational bank system.

But in this divide between the bank-led and market-led financial thought and practices, where does the Indian financial model stand?

Indian policy makers Manmohan Singh, Montek Ahluwalia, P. Chidambaram and Raghuram Rajan are all admirers of, or trained in, the Anglo-Saxon economic theories and practices.

In his study along with Zingales (2001) Raghuram Rajan faulted bank-based models and celebrated market-led models. It needs no seer to say that the Indian establishment’s economic thinking is undoubtedly Anglo-Saxon. But are the Indian economic players — the savers, the entrepreneurs and the rest — Anglo Saxon in their outlook? Read on.

The India-Pakistan war that influences South Asian politics to this day

Manoj Joshi

05 December 2013

On the evening of December 3, 42 years ago, Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft launched a surprise attack on some 11 Indian airbases triggering the third India-Pakistan war.

The military outcome was a historic victory for the Indian Army, which succeeded in capturing the capital of the erstwhile East Pakistan, Dhaka, and taking more than 90,000 Pakistan Army personnel prisoner in just 13 days.
The political consequences were even more portentous, a new nation - Bangladesh - was created. 
And an embittered Pakistan embarked on the path of making nuclear weapons, a development which has permanently altered the geopolitics of the region. 

Past and present

The events of the time still resonate today. This year some half a dozen Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, who collaborated with the Pakistan Army in acts of genocide then, have been convicted and sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment and even death. 

This year has also seen the publication of two significant books on the subject - Gary J. Bass's The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide and Srinath Raghavan's 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh. 

Bass's book brings out the various facets of US policy towards the event, principally the manner in which the administration willfully ignored evidence of the large-scale killings that took place in the erstwhile East Pakistan because of their bias against India and a desire to protect Pakistan which was acting as a channel for Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon's opening to China. 

Raghavan's study has shown how the key steps towards the creation of Bangladesh must be seen through the prism of global and regional politics. 

In his view, India's decision to delay intervention from March 1971, when the crackdown began, to December 3, when the Pakistanis attacked, was a grievous strategic error that led to much loss of life and property and suffering. 

Over time, many myths have come to be associated with the events. One reason for this is that the government of India still refuses to issue an official history of the war, though a draft readied for publication was put up on the Times of India website in 2001 by this writer. 

This has been cited by many scholars, but the fact of the matter is that this is not formally the official history. 


Nevertheless, this history does reveal that the war did not quite begin on December 3 with the Pakistani air attack, but had actually began much earlier when Indian forces were ordered to make a limited push into the erstwhile East Pakistan from mid-November onward. 

India had no plans of liberating Bangladesh as such. Army Headquarters' Operational Instruction No 53 of August 1971 saw its tasks as defending Sikkim and NEFA (Arunachal) against the Chinese, contain the Naga and Mizo insurgenciesand "destroy the bulk of the Pakistani forces in Eastern Theatre and occupy the major portion of East Bengal…."

TAPI Pipeline: Will 2013-14 be the Tipping Point?


D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS 
Email: subachandran@ipcs.org 
The idea of constructing a 1,700 km long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Indian pipeline, which was in limbo for more than ten years, suddenly seems to be picking up in the recent months. Where does this enthusiasm come from? Will the project get implemented in 2017, as is being envisaged?

For a long time, the security issues haunted the idea of pipeline from Turkmenistan, especially from an Indian perspective on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The proposed pipeline from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan will have to cross the insurgency prone Southern Afghanistan and Balochistan in Pakistan. Substantial part of the pipeline will have to go through a region, where the writ of the State in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not run deep. If their own writ and legitimacy is being challenged by insurgent groups in these regions, how can the State in Pakistan and Afghanistan provide security assurances? If Pakistan has problems in protecting its own pipelines in Balochistan, how can it assure the safety of TAPI pipeline? This was a primary concern, (perhaps, at times even used as an excuse) for going slow on the project.

Second concern was the political situation and bilateral relations concerned with three primary actors in the region – Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Pakistan-India. Though Indo-Afghan relations enjoy a high degree of understanding and assurance, Afghanistan-Pakistan and Pakistan-India political relations have seen an unstable curve. Pakistan and Afghanistan have been struggling hard to establish a productive and mutually accepted Afghan-Pakistan Trade and Transit agreement. Pakistan is extremely interested in importing electricity from Central Asia through Afghanistan, but does not want to extend transit to Afghan goods to India.

Political relations between India and Pakistan need not be underlined, in terms of its volatile nature. More than the political relations between the two countries, the hard reality is civil-military relations and militant-State relations within Pakistan play a role in deciding Indo-Pak relations. Consider the fatwa issued by the TTP after Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement; the media in Pakistan was warned by the Taliban not to praise Tendulkar too much as he is an Indian! 

Besides the security and political relations, two other issues also played a role in creating negative sentiments about the TAPI pipeline. First was the ability to fund such a huge project. None of the four countries involved in the pipeline – either individually or collectively were/are in a position to fund such a huge project. While international gas and oil giants such as the Chevron were interested in taking up the project, they did not want only to just build the pipeline. They would like to have the exploration rights in Turkmenistan as well; truth is, for the international giants there is more money in the exploration, than just building a pipeline. Second, there was also a concern, whether Turkmenistan will have sufficient gas to export to Pakistan and India. One of the questions raised is, how much gas would be available, after Turkmenistan-China strategic agreement on gas supply. China has signed agreements to take substantial percentage of Turkmenistan’s gas exports. Unlike us, the South Asians, China went ahead and has laid the pipeline already, when we are still contemplating the feasibility study! Even if Turkmenistan has a reserve in their South Yolotan fields, do they possess enough infrastructure to explore the same and transport? 

Finally, there was a fear that the US has a vested interest in Turkmenistan reserves and would want to upset any larger Russian diplomatic initiative in the region and be a crucial factor in gas supply and pricing. It is no secret that the US wanted to undermine the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline and promote the TAPI as an alternative. 

These were some of major concerns until recently. Suddenly, during the last few months, there were multiple positive developments, providing new impetus to the TAPI project. Consider the following. 

In a meeting in Ashgabad, few weeks earlier, the countries in the region including Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to fast track the TAPI project and even appoint a consortium. Countries involved in the TAPI have agreed and concluded Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement. Even Afghanistan, which was initially interested in only transit rights have signed an agreement with Turkmenistan to buy a portion of gas for domestic use. (India and Pakistan are to purchase 38 percent each of the total gas from Turkmenistan).

Another major positive development in the TAPI process has been the approval by Asian Development Bank (ADB) as Transaction Advisor and the signing of the “Transaction Advisory Services Agreement (TASA).” Under the agreement, the four countries have agreed to pay (50,000 USD per month to the ADB. In return the ADB will advise and assist forming a consortium to take the process forward.

Besides what is happening within the TAPI, few developments outside will also gives a new confidence to the entire process. First, the foreign minister of India has made a statement that Russia is keen to join the TAPI process. The Ambassador of Kazakastan to India has been quoted in an interview stating that his country will also be happy to be a part and be willing to export the crude to India along with the TAPI pipeline. If TAPI could be extended in the north to tap the Russian fields and get Moscow into the process, the TAPI process would not only get strengthened but also expand the process. Presence of other countries such as Russia will not only expand the stakes and interests, but also provide an international assurance.

Besides Russia, the US has also made a huge positive statement, which would have an impact on the TAPI. The Iran nuclear deal essentially means the willingness of Washington to work with Teheran. More than what Iran would get out of the deal, what is it would be important to understand how this deal with Iran would impact on the regional energy cooperation. After committing to Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, New Delhi had to withdraw its support to the IPI, primarily due to the pressure from the US. Obsessed with strangulating Teheran through sanctions, the US came down heavily on India and pressurized New Delhi to go slow on the IPI pipeline. 

Now, with a nuclear deal from its own side, US will have less leverage to pressurize India against the IPI. For India, both the pipelines are important, if it has to meet the energy demands and maintain the economic growth.

So what do the above mean? TAPI will become a reality in 2017, and gas will start flowing into India from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and Pakistan? There are still issues – bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Pakistan and India; and the political situation in Afghanistan post 2014. However, recent developments also highlight, despite the inherent issues, the target looks less unlikely. Perhaps 2013-14 could very well become the tipping point in implementing the TAPI pipeline. 

By arrangement with Rising Kashmir

Diminishing Drones


Anurag Tripathi
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management
As the drawdown deadline inches closer, the United States (US) appears to have begun to appease its ‘ally’ in the war against terror, to ensure support for a safer passage to its troop as they return home. Crucially, US drone operations in Pakistan have been considerably scaled down. This is a significant change from what was witnessed during the earlier years of Barack Obama's presidency. 
According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the US has carried out at least 277 drone attacks, resulting in over 2,548 fatalities since 2005 (all data till August 25, 2013). While drone strikes and resultant fatalities increased every year till the peak of 2010, they started to fall thereafter. Significantly, in comparison to 273 fatalities in 34 drone attacks in 2012, till August 25, the current year has witnessed only 15 such attacks and 112 fatalities over the same period. 
Drone attacks in Pakistan: 2005-2013

Hamid Karzai’s Labyrinthine Politics

By Najib Sharifi Tuesday, December 3, 2013

While all eyes were glued on Afghan President Hamid Karzai's opening speech at the Loya Jirga, the grand assembly of more than 2,500 Afghan elders who were tasked with advising him on signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States, nearly two weeks ago, an unprecedented, amusing, and thought-provoking incident occurred. Almost 40 minutes into Karzai's speech, a female senator, Belqis Roshan, from Farah, a province which lies along the border with Iran, raised a banner covered with anti-BSA slogans that compared the signing of the agreement to committing Watan Feroshi, or treason.

What the senator had not judged was the response she received from other participants. Chants of "Death to slaves of Pakistan" and "Death to slaves of Iran" suddenly filled the hall, prompting even Karzai to laugh, something he has not done publically for years. He finally intervened, urging calm, and called on the jirga participants to not accuse those who opposed the BSA of being spies for neighboring countries.

For wary Afghans, the incident demonstrated the overwhelming support that existed in the jirga for signing the security pact. But it was interesting that any opposition to signing the BSA was viewed as a subversive act by Afghanistan's two neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, both of whom disapprove of the agreement.

Additionally, Karzai's cleverly crafted speech reinforced the jirga's preliminary support for signing the BSA. He touched upon Afghanistan's vulnerabilities, stressed the need for ending civilian casualties caused by American forces, and eloquently provided a convincing rationale as to why the deal was important for the future of the country.

After four days of intense deliberations, the assembly not only overwhelmingly endorsed the BSA, but also called on Karzai to sign it before the end of the year. And this support even went beyond endorsement. Some committees also called on the Americans to establish a base in Bamiyan, Afghanistan's central province and home of the ethnic Hazara minority, who are mostly Shiite Muslims, and where Iran is perceived to have influence.

The jirga, which is the ultimate source of national decision-making in Afghanistan, illustrated a distinct paradigm shift as Afghans have never been receptive to the presence of foreign militaries in their country. However, despite this widespread support, Karzai rejected the jirga's recommendations and refused to the sign the BSA unless his newly-raised demands were met, creating an uproar both inside and outside of Afghanistan.

Karzai's new conditions include no U.S. interference in next April's presidential elections, the termination of U.S. military raids on Afghan homes, the release of Afghan detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and U.S. help in restarting the stalled peace talks with the Taliban. Coming after the jirga approved the BSA, Karzai's stated demands and delaying tactics have perplexed almost everyone. Some argue he does not want to sign the BSA. Others say he will lose his final leverage if he signs it now. However, many may have missed the nuances behind his bizarre gesture.

Did we achieve anything by PM not being in Colombo?

 Vikram Sood

06 December 2013

By next year, we will have in our armoury nuclear capable Agni-V missiles capable of hitting targets 5000 kms away. We already have an aircraft carrier that is the size of three football fields, is 20 stories high and can cover 600 nautical miles in a day. We are the proud owners of the Chandrayan mission to Mars and have the Brahmos missile which is the world's fastest cruise missile and can be launched from submarines, land or eventually be tested for launching from our Sukhoi SuMk30 aircraft. India is the largest country, with the largest population, the largest and paramilitaries in the sub-continent backed by the third largest GDP (in PPP terms) in the world. And one day, the country aspires to be a permanent member of the UNSC. All this should give us immense confidence in handling our relations with other countries. Yet, when it comes to handling affairs with our neighbours, we seem to be diffident and indecisive.

The latest in this are our relations with Sri Lanka, a neighbour where an Indian Prime Minister last visited in 1998 and that too to attend the SAARC conference. There has not been a bilateral visit all these years, an adequate reflection of our attention span. There was an opportunity to visit the island nation earlier this month for the CHOGM conference and convey our message but we snuffed it. The reason for our absence was not because the CHOGM in its present form has become a quaint and irrelevant fossil but because we let sectional interests over ride national interests. We were driven by competitive electoral opportunism of regional politics and New Delhi's inability to ride above short term interests and take care of the country's long term interests. 

The decision not to go to the conference after weeks of indecision would be defensible if it were in the national interests but becomes inexplicable to the host nation in the context of bilateral relationships. So when President Rajapakse remarked that he understood why PM Manmohan Singh was unable to come, we all knew what he understood what he meant. In bilateral relations, local conditions and local sentiments in either country do matter but they cannot be allowed to become over riding factors. In that sense a foreign policy cannot be allowed to become 'federal' where the regional parties for their local political battles seek to influence national foreign policies to the extent that has happened in this case.

Bangladesh: Democracy Stumbles


Opposition lawmakers protest
Image Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
The country is once again in the grip of authoritarianism and political violence, the roots of which run deep.
By Nisha Sharmeen Ali
December 06, 2013
The announcement of the schedule for elections to the tenth Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) on November 25 has stoked an already volatile political situation in Bangladesh. The ready reaction of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance to the chief election commissioner’s televised speech to the nation, during which he announced that the general elections will be held on January 5, 2014, came in the form of what was initially a 48-hour countrywide blockade of road, rail and water ways, subsequently extended to 71 hours, beginning from November 26. The blockade ended on November 30, but the BNP commenced another 72 hour countrywide blockade the next day, which was ultimately extended until the evening of December 5. The alliance has called for yet another blockade to begin on Saturday, December 7.

In the meantime, there has been widespread violence and vandalism: vehicles are torched, public and private property destroyed. The death toll as reported on December 4 had reached 40 and scores more have been wounded. Many of the casualties were caused by an explosion of crude bombs and arson attacks on public transport. According to Samanta Lal Sen, the coordinator of the burn and plastic surgery unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, the premier public hospital in the country, several of the victims of political violence, admitted with severe burn injuries in the last one month, had died and quite a few are in a critical condition.

The BNP-led alliance has been engaged in street agitation for months now in its demand that Sheikh Hasina resign as prime minister, given that her Awami League government completed its term on October 25. The opposition alliance claims that polls conducted under the government will not be free, fair or transparent. While the two sides continue their finger-pointing over the ongoing political impasse and social disorder, arising out of the failure of the ruling and opposition political alliances to reach a consensus on election-time government, there have reportedly been informal contacts between the feuding camps, supposedly geared towards a dialogue. Still, publicly at least, the two camps have thus far produced only contradictory statements about what the media has dubbed as “clandestine” meetings between the general secretaries of the Awami League and the BNP.

A History of Acrimony

Mutual mistrust, acrimony and recrimination between the two major political parties have come to mark Bangladeshi national politics, especially since the ouster of HM Ershad’s military regime in 1990 and the subsequent restoration of parliamentary democracy in 1991. In any case, intense political unrest has marked almost every election cycle in Bangladesh since the country won independence in 1971. For instance, during the 2001 elections, which the BNP won, approximately 400 people were reportedly killed and more than 17,000 injured, primarily in street clashes between members and supporters of competing political camps. The next election cycle in 2007 also resulted in several deaths and injuries, leading to an extra-constitutional takeover by a military-backed interim government. The elections to the ninth Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) were eventually held in December 2008, with a 14-party alliance led by the Awami League scoring an electoral landslide victory.

The Role of Myanmar’s Military in Democratic Transition and Implications for India


Brig (Retd) Vinod Anand, Senior Fellow, VIF

Myanmar military’s ethos can be traced back to the country’s national struggle for freedom with its founding fathers being of socialist persuasion rather than professional soldiers (Burma Independence Army; founded by a group of nationalists known as Thirty Comrades).
Click here to read full Paper

Does 'South Asia' Exist?

November 26, 2013

The following article originally appeared on Foreign Policy's 'AfPak Channel'. An excerpt is included below and the full text can be accessed here.

While a confusing construct, the term ‘South Asia' persevered in America's strategic consciousness, despite the inevitable dehyphenation of India and Pakistan. Among non-specialists in the counterinsurgency era, it was often used as a casual and more politically-correct synonym for AfPak, marginalizing not just India, but also Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, all important countries in their own rights. I recall reviewing the syllabus of a graduate studies course on South Asia at a major American university two years ago, and you could have been forgiven for thinking that the India-Pakistan border constituted South Asia's eastern frontier.

A real concern is that a conceptual resurgence of ‘South Asia' -- especially as an outgrowth of ‘AfPak' -- could be accompanied by the conscious or subconscious rehyphenation of India and Pakistan, and the prolonged side-lining of other states in the region. As the anonymous genius behind the Twitter handle @majorlyp has caustically written:

Indians are Indians and Pakistanis when caught in tight situations (like in Airports) are Indians too. In other circumstances they are South Asians. Being "South Asian" offers many advantages. Such as an overwhelming numerical advantage.
Example: When faced with the question "Is radicalization a problem"? South Asians can reply with a straight face "Only 170 million, or less than 10% of the South Asians are radicalized". Which sounds entirely reasonable. The author writes in somewhat cruel jest, of course, but like the best parody, there is more than a grain of uncomfortable truth in what he says. Will U.S. discourse related to South Asia come to be dominated by the problems of terrorism, Islamist extremism, nuclear proliferation, and anti-Americanism at the expense of the incredible opportunities and challenges associated with dynamic economic growth, raucous democracy, immense social and cultural diversity, and broad support for a U.S.-led international system? Let's hope not.

Categories: Foreign Policy

China: ADI Zone May not be Brilliant Tactics


China’s ADI Zone may not be Brilliant Tactics 

Paper No. 5615 Dated 5-Dec-2013 

By Bhaskar Roy 

China’s unexpected declaration of its AIR DEFENCE IDENTIFICATION ZONE (ADIZ) on November 23 in the East China Sea may have ramifications beyond intended targets. To a certain degree China cannot be denied its own DIZ. South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, to speak of the region concerned, have their AIDZs. But their AIDZs do not over lap each other and leave air corridors unaffected, whereas the Chinese one does not. 

The Chinese claim there is nothing wrong with their action, it is non-provocative and underlines normal defensive position of their country. The Chinese declaration demands not only war planes but even civilian passenger aircraft to identify themselves before entering the zone. The US and Japan reached strongly and sent their military aircraft through the zone. Chinese aircraft only trailed their projectory but made no contact. South Korea, Taiwan and Australia have also expressed concern as the Chinese identification zone interferes with free international air corridors. 

China may have won the first round. The US has advised its international civilian flights to act in line with the Chinese identification demand, rest there be a mistake and a civilian aircraft brought down by the Chinese could set the region into fire. Such mistakes are not impossible given the training or the lack of it in the operational levels of the Chinese forces in handling sophisticated equipment. The issue was further complicated when a PLA air force major general Qiao Liang told (Nov. 27) in an interview in Beijing that Chinese pilots had he right to shoot down any aircraft that disregarded warnings. Qiao, however, went on to say it would be irrational to fight a war over the ADIZ, and territorial disputes should be resolved through negotiations. 

Interestingly, Hu Jixian, editor-in-chief of the daily Global Times, a highly nationalist newspaper, said something different on the Sina Weibo micro blogging site. He said ADIZ was not equal to air space and China could not force US and Japan to inform their flight plane on the AIDZ, and neither will Chinese air planes do so when they enter their ADIZ. 

This difference of approach between a senior military officer and the edito-in-chief of an official newspaper which usually supports China’s positions, raises questions. Qiao Liang may be airing some views in the PLA. Hu Jixian could quite possibly be reflecting the views of certain sections in the civilian hierarchy who are against the issue escalating to a military conflict. 

In the first place, the ADIZ has been enacted by Beijing to more forcefully position its claims on the Senkaku (Daioyu in Chinese) Islands in the East China Sea. An issue left over from the last world war , the conflict over sovereignty lay dormant till the Japanese government bought these islands from a private Japanese owner. This one act was confirmation to the Chinese leaders that Japan was moving quickly to establish full sovereignty over these islands. Its first concrete response was to submit to the United Nations baselines to demarcate a territorial sea around the Diaoyu islands. Military shadow boxing was resorted to by both sides till it reached serious proportions. 

In establishing its ADIZ, China has trespassed on South Korea and its ADIZ. It also includes the Seoul-controlled submerged rock Ieodo which has been disputed by the two countries. The Ieodo is a very sensitive territorial claim and protected by the South Korean naval operations, making it a source for potential conflict. This may cost China politically and may halt the recent closing of China-South Korea relations targetting Japan. The ADIZ has put South Korea and Japan in the same camp. South Korea’s internal politics may witness an important shift towards the US and the presence of the US military in South Korea. The usual anti-US political mindset may be moving towards appreciation of the American protective shield against and increasingly assertive China. If China approaches the Ieodo rock sovereignty issue in the same way as it is dealing with the Diaoyu islands, instability in the region will certainly increase.

China: America Hedges Its Bets

December 6, 2013 

China’s sudden declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea is yet another vindication of U.S. policy in the region. While there have been a number of criticisms of President Obama’s pivot to Asia, the policy was and remains prudent. The decision to re-orient itself back to the Pacific was largely in reaction to a perception that a lack of diplomatic focus had not been good for the region. U.S. regional allies, such as Japan, Singapore, and the Philippines, argued that a continued absence of focus by the United States in the region had become increasingly dangerous as China began to inexpertly exert its power, particularly over maritime-domain disputes. It has done this through a long-term incremental approach to de facto sovereignty over the East and South China Seas. In many ways, these claims have resurrected the logic of balance-of-power politics, and while Southeast Asian states have striven to avoid choosing between Washington and Beijing, the feeling was that China was taking advantage of the vacuum to assert a power-based hierarchical order. While Washington has also tried to avoid a zero-sum competition with China, the Bush administration and Obama administration began to carefully shift their view of China as it behaved with increased hubris in the region. 

In the year following the announcement of the pivot policy, Chinese pundits accused the United States of containment, decrying a purported U.S. plan to stem China’s rise as a great power. This accusation is mistaken for a number of reasons. First, it ignores America’s prominent role in developing China’s economy. Throughout the 1990s, the United States granted China most favored nation trading status, making this permanent in 2001. In addition, the United States sponsored China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. While there are no statistics on this topic, U.S. investments into China since the 1970s could be over the trillion dollar mark. 

Robert Manning from the Atlantic Council has argued if the United States wanted to enact a policy of containment of China, it would look quite different from the complex policy package that we see today. It would, for example, involve far more balancing behaviors, including the attempted the diplomatic sidelining of China, a military build-up aimed specifically at Chinese platforms, and the creation of further alliances in and around China’s periphery. The United States is not attempting such policies, nor does it think such policies are possible. Instead, as Evan Medeiros has argued convincingly, Washington is carrying out a policy of strategic hedging, a dual-track policy in which it pursues two broad policy objectives: one of engagement, and one of simultaneous balancing. This article seeks to show how the United States came to follow such a complex policy, while also examining the strengths and weaknesses inherent in such a policy. 

The rise of China and its increasing willingness to exert diplomatic and even military power—albeit restrained—over other regional states, especially regarding the South and East China Seas from 2008 on, is a characterization shared by policymakers in the United States, East Asia and Southeast Asia. While the United States did not and does not take a stance in these disputes, it has deep strategic interests in the region, and has undertaken great efforts to reassure allies and constrain Chinese adventurism. U.S. interests are vitally affected: not only do these conflicts have the possibility to affect U.S. trade; they can also affect the energy and trade routes of its primary alliance partners, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. Furthermore, if U.S. commitments to its allies are to remain credible, it must protect the maritime trading order built over the post-War period. 

The Pivot in Context 

So how did the United States come to enact a policy of hedging towards China?