||This article appears in the October 23, 2009 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Now, More Than Ever
by Ramtanu Maitra
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Oct. 14A vast section of the Eurasian landmass, stretching from Iran to Myanmar, encompassing Central and South Asia, is in a state of violent turmoil. This turmoil has been exacerbated by an eight-year war in Afghanistan, where the United States and NATO troops have been trying vainly to stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan, and in the process, have deeply aggravated the regional situation. The foreign troops' objective, roughly defined, is to subdue the Afghans, and eliminate the Islamic fundamentalists operating within, and in the bordering areas of, Afghanistan.
While that objective is recognized by many as a tall order, one that could lead to a Vietnam War-like escalation of hostilities, the three major regional powersChina, India, and Russia, whose combined populations represent nearly half the world's 6.7 billion peopleremain wholly unfocused and, seemingly, divided.
The threats that the turmoil has unleashed are multiplied by an order of magnitude, by the global financial collapse that is systematically wiping out the physical economy, worldwide, while generating oceans of paper money and hyperinflation, and the criminal generation of cash. The threats that the region, and China, India, and Russia, in particular, face, are neither of a single nature, nor are they confined within Afghanistan, or its immediate borders. The Islamic militants, who are fighting in tandem with other Afghans to push the foreign troops out of Afghanistan, are also extremely active on the southern flank of RussiaChechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and South Ossetia in particular; they are deep inside China's Xinjiang province; all over Central Asia and Pakistan; in India's northwestern disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, and have set up networks elsewhere in India; and have begun to show up in large numbers in Bangladesh.
The exclusive ownership of this vast network belongs to Saudi Arabia, which funds and sustains the network for its own designs. The Saudis intend to dominate the Islamic world and have joined hands with the British empire-servers, who have a huge network in this area, where the Empire has operated for hundreds of years. During this period, the British have created an elite, which has adopted the Empire's "divide and rule" policy, to keep the conflicts going. With their vast financial resources, and the Empire's "mind-control" networks, the Saudis and the empire-servers have recruited footsoldiers from Central Asia, the Maghreb nations, Xinjiang province, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and trainers from Pakistan, as well.
Subversion by Opium
But, those are not the only threats that the region faces: The production of 44,000-plus tons of opium during the last eight years of U.S. and NATO occupation, along with thousands of tons of hashish and other narcotics in Afghanistan, has not only created hundreds of thousands of opium addicts in the region, but has developed a massive criminal network throughout Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, and Xinjiang province, with direct links to the international drug cartel, which is undermining the sovereignty of all the nations where they operate.
The drug-generated cash, whose estimated street value has been about $400 billion a year, over the last eight years or so, has helped to fund the recruitment, training, and arming of these terrorists, and to generate enormous amounts of cash, laundered through the offshore banks, that finds its way into many of the top consumer and investment banks, for instance, in the City of London and Wall Street. It is evident that no one in power anywhere today has the gumption to take on this monster, created by the empire-servers and holders of their coattails, and the monster has now grown big enough to break up the smaller sovereign nations in the region, the way it did in Africa.
The issue that confronts the protectors of the Eurasian regionChina, India, and Russiais: Will they sit around, hoping the United States and NATO will succeed in their impossible task, and "protect" the region on behalf of others? Or, will they face reality and cooperate in resolving what the outsidersthe United States and the European nationswill most certainly fail to resolve? In which case, Beijing, New Delhi, and Moscow must realize that the U.S./NATO failure, now all but a certainty, will have a terrible effect on the region, and, long before that happens, these three major nations have to come forward, in collaboration with the United States, and take the necessary steps to stabilize the region.
The enormity of their task has increased in the past two years, because of the global financial collapse, the massive drug trafficking, and the recruitment and training of thousands of armed militants. However, looking ahead, it is evident that there is no other option available to bring stability to the region.
One of the hallmarks of the British colonialists, more so than the Dutch, French, and Belgian varieties, is to imbue in the minds of the elites of the subject nations, the very notion of "deriving benefits from maintaining conflicts." In reality, however, the only ones who benefit from such policies are the servers of the empire. While the "empire," in the form that the 18th-20th-Century observers knew, has ceased to exist, what has remained, throughout the colonies of the former British Empire, is the "divide-and-rule" principle, which the Empire used successfully to annex and control large swathes of land, to collect taxes and loot resources. But, the embrace of the same policy by the "elites" of the former British colonies has done more damage than what is openly visible. It has sowed among the powers-that-be of each nation the seeds of "suspicion" about its neighbors, and the communities, ethnic, and religious groups inside each country. The only ones these powers-that-be do not become suspicious of are their fellow empire-servers.
The Bitter Legacy of the Raj
Take, for instance, the history of the Indian Subcontinent, since 1947, when the British Raj left, dividing the country in two parts: The powers that took control of their respective countries pursued the only "system" they were "taught," leading to the further break-up of the Subcontinent. Now, there are three nationsIndia, Pakistan, and Bangladeshand, since the mindset of the rulers has not changed, even one iota, there is the possibility that still more "nations" could emerge there, if the disease is not identified and cured.
Once again, Pakistan, which lost its eastern wing in 1972 (with the formation of Bangladesh), is facing a threat of another break-up. The new threat is along its western borders with Afghanistan, where the U.S. and NATO troops have been engaged in a pointless war for the last eight years. One such area is Balochistan, located in southwestern Pakistan, and comprising nearly half its land area. Instead of integrating Balochistan, and its 12 million people, with Pakistan, in order to root out an entrenched feudal system which is sheltered by the British, Pakistan's powers-that-be have treated their own citizens in Balochistan over the last 60-plus years as unwanted foreigners.
In 1954, Islamabad merged the four provinces of West PakistanBalochistan, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the Punjab, and Sindhinto "One Unit." This was done to counter the population strength of East Pakistan (which later became Bangladesh). One Unit was formed without adequate dialogue and, as a result, an anti-One Unit movement emerged in Balochistan. This led the Baloch opponents of the One Unit to engage the Pakistani Army in pitched battles. Later, in 1973, when then-Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dismissed the elected provincial government of Balochistan, wide-ranging protests erupted there. This brought in the Pakistani Army. That 1973 crackdown by the Pakistani Army created deep divisions between the Baloch people and Islamabad, and left the Baloch vulnerable to London's machinations.
Islamabad's British-colonial-like policy towards Balochistan did not end in 1973. The Baloch internal security situation deteriorated following the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Between December 2005, when the Pakistani military launched its most recent assault on Balochistan, and June 2006, more than 900 Baloch were killed, about 140,000 were displaced, 450 political activists (mainly from the Baloch National Party) disappeared, and 4,000 activists were arrested, some reports indicate.
Another area of open conflict in Pakistan is the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which is now under the gun of the Pakistani Army. A full-fledged operation in South Waziristan, one of the major districts of the FATA, has been planned at the behest of the United States.
The FATA, which borders Afghanistan, is now a hotbed of Wahhabi-influenced jihadi movements. It is divided into seven districts called agencies, and has a population of about 3 million. These inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Pushtun and tribal. Contrast this with Pakistan's total population of about 170 million, and it becomes clear that the FATA is very thinly populated; it also has a very rough terrain. The total Pushtun population in Pakistan and Afghanistan is about 36 million (31 million in Pakistan and 5 million in Afghanistan). Cross-border ties are strong, and movement is hardly restricted by the non-demarcated Durand Line, a line in the sand, drawn arbitrarily by the British Raj, more than a hundred years ago, and which is supposed to serve as a "border."
Although Pakistan has gone through immense changes, materially and politically, since its formation in 1947, the FATA has remained untouched. One government after another left it alone, putting no effort into integrating this crucial area within Pakistan. It was particularly important to do so, because the Pakistani leaders were well aware that Pushtuns inside Pakistan have long aspired to form a Greater Pushtunistan (or, Pakhtoonistan) in collaboration with their Afghan cousins.
While the rules and regulations that control the FATA have remained virtually the same as those imposed by the British rulers, the FATA has become a major center of smuggling. The Lahore-based Daily Times pointed out that remittances sent by FATA workers in the Persian Gulf, funneled through the notorious hundi (money-laundering) system, have financed the smuggling of a vast array of goods, such as automobiles, consumer durables, electronics, and cloth, all of which can now be purchased in, or ordered, via the tribal belt. This has badly undermined the country's industrial and tariff policies. Industry is deprived of legitimate protection, and the treasury has lost huge revenues in recent years.
Even more dangerous, is the flow of opium and heroin through FATA. In the 1990s, FATA itself became a major producer of opium, producing about 800 tons annually. An American intervention through monetary enticement, and Islamabad's law enforcement intervention, has led to the end of opium cultivation in most areas. However, the explosion of opium on the other side of the Durand Line has criminalized the FATA tribal people, and has accompanied the rise of the Pakistani Taliban.
India's and China's Failures
India's failures are no less important. Although, in the post-independence years, India had a much superior political leadership, which was committed to strengthening the nation, the British mindset had come to undermine many of its achievements. India is now ridden with internal turmoil. The Maoists have once again emerged as a major disruptive force, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has identified them as the primary menace to the country's security.
The northeast, the land area through which India plans to connect itself to Southeast Asia and China, has remained violent, even after 60 years. New Delhi has failed to formulate a comprehensive policy to integrate the people of the northeast into the rest of India, by pursuing the British-taught policy of encouraging tribal, ethnic, and sub-ethnic identities, which often flower into pseudo-national identities, and provide the mooring for violent movements. The Indian authorities, who have adopted the British colonial "divide-and-rule" policy toward both their internal populations and their neighbors, should note that while the British system is "good" for creating and maintaining conflicts, it is a useless tool in integrating the disparate groups created by the British Raj.
India has not succeeded resolving its many disputes with Pakistan, the most celebrated one being that of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, a parting kick of the British Raj. The failure to resolve these disputes has had a common refrain, which is blaming the other party as "belligerent" and wholly "uncooperative." There is no question that the Pakistani military benefits materially and politically, from keeping the Kashmir dispute alive for many reasons, while the Indian leadership has failed to grasp the fact that normalizing relations with Pakistan would be to the benefit of the Indian people whom it serves.
Instead of blaming Pakistan, and keeping the conflict alive, making the empire-servers happy, New Delhi should have unleashed within the country a strong political campaign, decades ago, pointing out how the people of both India and Pakistan would benefit from the resolution of their disputes. An aggressive political movement in India, seeking the solution of all disputes, would allow some in Pakistan to pick up that thread, and politically challenge the anti-India militancy promoted by the empire-servers within Pakistan. New Delhi must make clear to the Indian people that it does not want to perpetuate this conflict on behalf of the empire-servers, but wants, instead, to resolve the disputes to benefit the citizens of both nations.
Although the differences between India and China are by no means as acute as those between India and Pakistan, there are many rough edges which must be smoothed out quickly, through larger cooperative roles. Otherwise, it will not only be the people of these two countries who are affected, but the failure to cooperate closely would weaken the region as well.
The problem here again is the same. The suspicion of each other, embedded by the British colonialists, and perpetuated by leaders of both countries over the last five decades, has prevented them from looking at each other as potential solutions to the problems that the region faces. China's incessant suspicion about India's "real motive" in Tibet, and India's endless suspicion about what China wants along India's northeast borders, in Myanmar, and in the Indian Ocean-Arabian Sea theater, have given rise to a section of influential individuals of both countries obsessed with each other's military arsenal. There is no doubt that the empire-servers will gain a major victory in the years to come if they succeed in pitting these two giants against one other.
In addition, China's building of a section of the Karakoram Highway through the Pakistan-held part of disputed Kashmir has compromised China vis-à-vis the Kashmir dispute. This action by China indicates to New Delhi that Beijing does not accept India's claims to the entirety of Jammu and Kashmir. Though the Indian claim in the present context is absurd, the backhanded approach by China is indicative of the way a British mindset works.
Order of the Day
The consequences of the failure, up till now, of China, India, and Russia to cooperate in the region, have become visible in the context of the ongoing Afghanistan war. Both Russia and India are of the view that the U.S. and NATO troops should stay in Afghanistan to ensure their security. While Moscow has some reservations about both NATO's presence and its advance to Russia's southern flank, New Delhi acts hapless, and wishes the American troops to stay in Afghanistan. The reason that Moscow and New Delhi want this untenable situation to continue, is that they have not developed together a mechanism that would be able to counter the threat they fear. At the same time, neither the Indians, nor the Russians, are willing to put their own troops in Afghanistan to fight the Islamic militants.
The ultimate objective of setting up a regional security arrangement, through cooperation among China, India, and Russia, will never happen, unless a focused effort is made to develop each other's trust. Developing such trust cannot be accomplished in the abstract; it has to be concrete, and based on genuine acts of mutual goodwill.
Take, for instance, Sino-Indian relations. There is no doubt that China-India trade is soaring, and it will continue to grow. Thanks to initiatives by certain individuals within both governments, India and China have taken some common stands in international forums, in areas such as their joint fight against the climate change mafia, and against imposition of some destructive World Trade Organization (WTO) diktats. While these are positive developments, they have not been enough to undo the colonial mindset, which continues to show up, again and again, to the detriment of, at least, 2.3 billion people.
What needs to be realized, and acted upon, is the utilization of each nation's strengths to help their vast populations. For instance, India has a well-developed nuclear power generation program, and both nations have developed a strong base for agro-industries, in addition to their achievements in space. India's thorium-based nuclear power test reactors, should be brought into production at the earliest possible time, but certain technological problems need to be resolved. Russia, meanwhile, has done a significant amount of work in this area, and cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi can be of great help with this. As a result, India will not only be in a position to supply reactors to the region, but will be able to develop and produce, on a large scale, small reactors which will help desalinate seawater, providing clean water for drinking and commercial purposes, all along its coast, and China's coastal areas. Hundreds of millions of people in both India and China do not have access to clean water and electricity.
While both China and India have developed their agricultural potential to feed their populations, there exists a huge gap in rice productivity between the two giant countries. These projects, and projects to develop infrastructure to link India, China, and Russia with South and Southeast Asia, through high-speed railroads, will lay the foundation for cooperation among the three to ensure security for the entire region. Then, neither New Delhi, nor Moscow, will have to depend upon the United States to provide them with security from the terrorist groups that operate in the region.
In this context, it should be noted that Russia and China, which were hostile to each other during a significant part of the Cold War days, have come to realize the importance of exploiting each other's strengths to benefit both. During his three-day visit to China, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin laid the foundation for stronger economic cooperation, including joint projects to develop Russia's vast northeast Asian mineral resources and joint construction of high-speed rail projects in eastern Russia.
According to China's Global Times, Putin "wants a high-speed rail system," and wants China to help him build it, noting that Putin and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will sign a memorandum to do just that. In the 1950s, the Soviet Union had helped China build railways, Zhou Shijian, senior researcher at the Institute of Sino-U.S. Relations at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times. "Now, it's our turn to help them build railways," Zhou said. China has developed trains which can travel at 350 kph, and a new train that can run on both normal, and special high-speed tracks.
An article published on Oct. 12 in the Russian business daily Vedomosti announced that a comprehensive document, the "Russia-China 2018 Cooperation Program," for building 205 joint projects in the Russian Far East, western Siberia, and northeast China, was approved by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao in New York Sept. 23. The article was datelined Vladivostok, where Putin stopped on his way to Beijing. There, he announced that construction of new infrastructure, to ready the city for the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economy Cooperation (APEC) summit, was making Vladivostok Russia's "Pacific Gate," and was creating tens of thousands of jobs.
Lyndon LaRouche has often pointed to the economic potential of this region, and the necessity of using the most advanced technologies to exploit its huge mineral reserves, as well as the necessity of building infrastructure projects such as the Bering Strait tunnel, which would expand Eurasian projects into intercontinental ones. In addition, the extreme weather and geological conditions of much of this huge region present useful scientific challenges. As LaRouche has emphasized, it will be necessary to achieve a Four-Power (China, India, Russia, and the United States) agreement of sovereign nations to dump the bankrupt current financial system, to ensure there is credit for such development.