|Asia News Digest
Clinton: U.S. Policy Contributed to Pakistan Crisis
April 25Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that U.S. backing for the mujahideen operations against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, had played a role in creating the crisis in Pakistan today, in testimony to a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee given on April 23. "We can point fingers at the Pakistanis. I did some yesterday, frankly," Clinton said. "And it's merited because we are wondering why they just don't go out there and deal with these people. But the problems we face now, to some extent, we have to take responsibility for, having contributed to it. We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan.
"Let us remember here, the people we are fighting today, we funded them 20 years ago, and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union. It was President Reagan, in partnership with Congress led by Democrats, who said ... let's deal with the ISI [Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence] and the Pakistan military, and let's go recruit these mujahideen. And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahhabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union." The Soviets were forced out, and their defeat contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Clinton said.
While this might have been a good investment in bringing down the Soviet Union, "let's be careful with what we sow, because we will harvest," she warned.
Mahathir Is Back in Malaysia
April 19 (EIRNS)The scrappy former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, sworn enemy of George Soros and Al Gore, is back in a position of significant influence in Malaysia, after the recent change of government. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak became Prime Minister earlier this month, taking over as head of the governing Umno party from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and thus becoming Prime Minister.
Mahathir had originally backed Badawi to replace him as Prime Minister when he resigned in 2003, but turned against Badawi when he reversed several of the nationalist policies launched under Mahathir's leadership. The major factor driving the split was Badawi's acceptance of globalization, while Mahathir continued to denounce it.
After a disastrous election last year, in which Umno barely held on to its majority, it was decided by the party that Najib would replace Badawi.
The swing in power has became clear with the appointment of the new cabinet. Two of Mahathir's closest allies during the Asian crisis of 1997-98, when Malaysia stood up to Soros and the IMF in defense of its people, have been placed in key economic posts. While Najib will retain the post of Finance Minister himself, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed will be Minister of International Trade and Industry, or "Second Finance Minister," and Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop will be Minister in the Prime Minister's Department. Nor Mohamad will also be the Economic Planning Unit Minister, involved in restructuring the economy.
Najib has given Mahathir a clear and public welcome. When Photon, the Malaysian national auto manufacturer, introduced its new Proton Exora model, Najib and Mahathir presided over the ceremonies. Mahathir's closeness to Photon, as a symbol of Malaysian industry, is well known.
Japan 'Science' Award to Psychotic Dennis Meadows
April 24 (EIRNS)Dennis Meadows, the co-author of the 1972 book Limits to Growth, which Lyndon LaRouche exposed at the time as a psychotic attack on both science and on the American System (see LaRouche's There Are No Limits to Growth), was granted the Japan Prize from the Science and Technology Foundation in Tokyo, for supposedly leading the world in a "transformation towards a sustainable society in harmony with nature's supply." The Limits to Growth hoax, put together at MIT, was one of the first efforts to replace actual physical science with computer modeling, "proving" that the Earth's ecosystem and mankind's progress were incompatible, and that we had just better accept mass death and depopulation.
Demonstrating a severe problem within the Japanese institutions, the author of this quackademic monstrosity was presented with the $500,000 award by Emperor Akihito, before dignitaries including (according to the Foundation's website) "the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of House the Councillors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, foreign ambassadors to Japan and about a thousand other guests, including eminent academics, researchers and representatives of political, business and press circles."
At the ceremony, Meadows repeated his Malthusian apology for the ongoing destruction of the world economy: "If demand against the planet rises above its carrying capacity, the carrying capacity will decline. Growth will not end gradually and peacefully in the distant future. It will end soon and suddenly through overshoot and collapse." As evidenced by the "unfolding collapse of the global credit markets and the precipitous decline in production," Meadows said that mankind has failed to learn its lesson, and must give up "the current faith in technological advances." Indeed, he claimed, the most common policy for solving current economic problems is a desperate effort to get the growth of the physical economy back onto its historical, exponential track," he said. "I know this policy will not work."
China Will Not Turn to Overseas Food Plantations
April 21 (EIRNS)The Deputy Agriculture Minister of China, Niu Dun, said that his country will not pursue the policy of outsourcing farming in order to supply its home food needs. Niu was speaking yesterday in an interview with the Financial Times at the agriculture ministers' conference in Italy. "We cannot rely on [investments in] other countries for our own food security," he said. Some of the existing Chinese food-for-export projects in Southeast Asia and Africa have come in for intense local opposition. Niu said, "We have to depend on ourselves."
The leading countries outsourcing their agriculture are the Persian Gulf states and South Korea. For example, UAE Abraaj Capital contracted for 324 square kilometers in Pakistan in mid-2008. Pakistan reportedly is offering up to 1 million hectares of farmland for foreign purchase or lease, including armed protection. There are many projects in Africa.
This neo-British East India Company model has come into use over the past 20 months, as world markets have become dysfunctional, and no collaborative emergency action has been taken. The World Bank even intends to release a "code of conduct" this Spring on how to make foreign plantation agriculture "fair." It can be expected to be about as equitable as "free" trade is free. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization plans to hold a conference this Summer on outsourcing farming "fairly."
Thaksin: The King was Briefed Before the Coup
April 20 (EIRNS)Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, according to today's London Financial Times, said that the King was briefed by his privy councilors before they carried out the coup against Thaksin in 2006. Despite loud cries from the palace and the government that it is not true, it is known to all that the brains behind the fascist mobs and the military coup was privy council chief Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, and his deputy, Gen. Surayud Chulanont, who was appointed Prime Minister during the military rule after the coup.
The Financial Times wrote that, "According to Mr. Thaksin, the coup was presented as a favour to the king, with his privy councillors accusing Mr. Thaksin of disloyalty. Mr. Thaksin said he had later been told this by General Panlop Pinmanee, who has in the past confirmed that he met Mr. Thaksin but denied politics was discussed."
The paper quotes Thaksin: "General Surayud, Gen. Prem and another privy councillor went to have an audience with his majesty the king and told his majesty that they will do a favour for him by getting me, because I am not loyal to the king. That started the whole process."
Naming the King pushes the conflict to a new level. As the April 24 EIR reported, the near-civil war situation has now become explicitly a conflict between the nascent republican policies of Thaksin's associates, of modernization and support for the education, health, and general welfare of the population, vs. a British-sponsored "noble peasant" policy of relative backwardness sponsored by the King, the world's longest-reigning and richest monarch, backed by the military and the Bangkok aristocracy.