Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C

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"..The Struggle for Tamil Eelam is a National Question - and it is therefore an International Question.." note by tamilnation.org Given the key roles played by India , the United States and now China (with supporting roles for the European Union, Japan and Pakistan) in the Struggle for Tamil Eelam, it is not without importance for the Tamil people to further their own understanding of the foreign policy objectives of these countries - this is more so because the record shows that states do not have permanent friends but have only permanent interests. And, it is these interests that they pursue, whether overtly or covertly. Furthermore, the interests of a state are a function of the interests of groups which wield power within that state and 'foreign policy is the external manifestation of domestic institutions, ideologies and other attributes of the polity'. In the end, the success of any liberation struggle is, not surprisingly, a function of the capacity of its leadership to mobilise its own people and its own resources at the broadest and deepest level."

International Relations
in the Age of Empire

Power & Interests News Report (PINR)

"The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is a global organization that provides analyses of conflicts and other international events. We are currently independently funded giving us the freedom to analyze objectively. PINR seeks to provide insight into various conflicts, regions and points of interest around the globe. We approach a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader."

10 September 2007 Pipeline Politics: India and Myanmar Report Drafted by Gideon Lundholm

" Recent developments in the gas field projects of Myanmar have served to highlight the intense resource diplomacy that is ongoing in the region. The government of Myanmar withdrew India's (under the Gas Authority of India Limited or GAIL) status of "preferential buyer" on the A1 and A3 blocks of its offshore natural gas fields and instead declared their intent to sell the gas to PetroChina. .. The most viable of the proposed pipeline routes for moving the gas to India would have proceeded through Myanmar's Arakan state before entering India's Mizoram and Assam provinces and finally terminating in West Bengal at the proposed Jagdishpur-Haldia distribution line.

Implications for India

First of all, India has clearly lost an important diplomatic initiative in the attempt to counter Chinese influence in Myanmar. Even after the deal was sweetened with US$20 million in "soft credit" and the proposed construction of a power plant in Myanmar, it would appear that Indian influence was quietly denied by the inevitability of China's international support for Myanmar. Beijing's use of its veto to keep Myanmar's human rights record off of the U.N. Security Council agenda turned out to be more important to the Myanmar junta than the economic incentives....

Implications for Myanmar

First of all, on the diplomatic front, the military junta has signaled where its strength lies. The military government has had a long history of a strong relationship with China which it would not risk in this scenario. ... However, the junta must continue to walk a fine line between alienating neighbors, already suspicious of China's growing influence in the region, undermining its own sovereignty and losing the support of its largest strategic partner, China, by playing it off against other regional interests.


The junta is insisting that the rules of the gas fields have little to do with political decisions; rather, that it is the business as usual approach of offering the sale to the highest bidder. The decision to sell to PetroChina, however, emphasizes the complexity of resource diplomacy for all players within the region...An important consideration, unexamined here, is that India will not likely rock the diplomatic boat as long as its companies continue to enjoy privileged access to a country that is closed to U.S. and European competition. Exploration, after all, is still ongoing in the offshore blocks while Myanmar's onshore basins remain largely untapped.

30 July 2007 India's Interests at Stake in Relationship with China - Dr. Harsh V. Pant http://www.pinr.com

As India embarks on redefining its foreign policy priorities to match its growing weight in the international system, it has become imperative for Indian policymakers to learn from the country's past in order to frame appropriate policies for the future. The Central Intelligence Agency recently declassified its decades-old documents, referred to as the "family jewels," which included the CIA's own assessment of the reasons behind India's debacle in the 1962 Sino-Indian war.. The coverage of the recently declassified CIA documents in the Indian media seems to underline the apparent "cunningness" of the Chinese and how they were able to deceive Nehru and India. The so-called Chinese "betrayal" of Nehru is a lesson that the Indian media and many others seem to have taken to heart. The argument is being made that the Chinese cannot be trusted because of their behavior in the 1950s and the 1960s.

Yet, reading the documents and examining China's behavior reveals that it was no different than the behavior of major powers across millennia. ..Today, as China and India emerge as major powers in the global hierarchy, it is imperative that Indian policymakers take note of their history... Pursuit of friendly relations with China seems to have become an end in itself when it should be a means toward achieving India's larger strategic objective of emerging as a major regional and global player. Diplomacy without an overarching conceptual and intellectual framework of foreign policy often becomes a technical exercise in splitting differences, thus shading into what many might consider appeasement.

There is nothing really sinister about China's attempts to expand its own influence and curtail India's. China is a rising power in Asia and the world and as such will do its utmost to prevent the rise of other power centers around its periphery like India that might in the future prevent it from taking its place as a global player. It did so in the 1960s and it is doing so today.

China's all-weather friendship with Pakistan, its attempts to increase its influence in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Burma, its persistent refusal to recognize parts of India such as Arunachal Pradesh, its lack of support for India's membership to the United Nations Security Council and other regional and global organizations, all point toward China's attempts at preventing the rise of India as a regional and global player of major importance. It is this strategy that China has consistently and successfully pursued without any apologies.

This is not much different than the stated U.S. policy of preventing the rise of other powers that might threaten its position as a global power. Just as the United States is working toward achieving its strategic objective, China is pursuing its own strategic agenda.

There is also nothing extraordinarily benign in China's attempts to improve its bilateral relations with India in recent times. After cutting India down to size in various ways, China does not want India to move closer to the United States in order to contain China. On this geopolitical chessboard, while both Washington and Beijing are using India toward their own strategic ends, India has ended up primarily reacting to the actions of other.

A rising China will not tolerate a rising India as its peer competitor. Even if a rising India does not have any intention of becoming a regional hegemon, China will try its best to contain India as it has already done to a large extent. It is this containment that India has to guard against. China's intentions vis-à-vis India may seem entirely peaceful at the moment, but that is largely irrelevant in the strategic scheme of politics. India should recognize that the future of Sino-Indian relations remain highly uncertain in large part due to the opacity in Chinese intentions.

Yet, contrary to what many in India might think, China is not a malevolent, sinister international entity out there to demolish India, but a state which is simply pursuing its own strategic interests in a hard-headed fashion on its way to great power status. It is time for India to realize that India's great power aspirations cannot be realized without a similar cold-blooded realistic assessment of its own strategic interests in an anarchic international system where there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.

23 March 2007 Pakistan's Strategic Goals and the Deteriorating Situation in Afghanistan - Dr. Harsh V. Pant

"...Musharraf's decision to sack the chief justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has ignited widespread public protests around the country and his government's heavy-handed handling of the protests has made his position all the more tenuous. The protests are now acquiring pro-democracy overtones and have ripped off the thin veneer of democracy that Musharraf had given his regime. Given Musharraf's self projection as a force that stands between the West and a group of nuclear-armed mullahs, he must be keenly aware that this uproar on the streets of Pakistan is not good for his own future as well as for regional stability.

(Also) ...Islamabad is working to prevent India from expanding its influence in Afghanistan. It has refused to allow the passage of goods and aid from India to Afghanistan. Plans to build a gas pipeline linking Iran, Pakistan and India are progressing slowly. In recognition of the role of India and Pakistan on Afghanistan's stabilization, the United States has urged India toward acknowledging some of Pakistan's concerns, and has avoided pushing the Indian military to play a peacekeeping role in Afghanistan to avoid exacerbating Pakistani sensitivities. India, however, is also a key partner for Washington in the region.

Security and stability in Afghanistan are dependent on relations between India and Pakistan and their ties to Kabul. Competition between New Delhi and Islamabad for influence in Afghanistan poses a threat to their peace process and to Afghan development. An improvement in ties between India and Pakistan could help to stabilize the situation, but peace talks are unlikely to yield substantial results in the short- to medium-term. " more

13 March 2007 American Ballistic Missile Defense (B.M.D.) Debate Heats Up in Europe - Dr. Federico Bordonaro

"After the United States last month officially initiated talks with Poland and the Czech Republic about the installation of missile defense facilities in their territories, a heated political debate on the issue followed in Europe. The Pentagon plans to establish radar bases in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland.

Moscow expressed irritation at Washington's objectives and used language reminiscent of the Cold War era, while Berlin and Paris reacted cautiously and called for a renewed strategic dialogue between the United States and Russia (via N.A.T.O. and multilateralism) in order to clarify important political and military aspects of the issue.

Some high ranking Russian military officers evoked surprise as they declared that Moscow would be prepared to target American Ballistic Missile Defense (B.M.D.) facilities in Central and Eastern Europe if they are installed, and that Russia will have the capability to destroy them. Such statements have almost shadowed the crucial security issue of U.S. defensive capabilities against Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (I.C.B.M.) that Iran or Syria may launch against U.S. targets in the future.

Defense against ballistic missiles is again becoming central in Washington's military doctrine, and the subject will have a deep impact on U.S. political-strategic relations with Russia, the European Union, and the world. PINR warned on July 25, 2006 that "while the mainstream media has covered the question of nuclear proliferation in recent years, ballistic missile proliferation is emerging as an increasingly crucial, yet less publicized, strategic issue." [See: "Ballistic Missiles: A Crucial Strategic Issue for the United States and Europe"]...

Washington is finally reaching its long term goal of setting up a B.M.D. system in Europe, largely as a result of the pro-U.S. governments in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Pentagon can be expected to push for achieving the final agreements, even though Germany and the Western European powers will try to mediate between Moscow and Washington.

The European Union, therefore, will be forced to make its choice: either it can propose to the United States the joint development of a common B.M.D. system -- possibly in cooperation with Moscow -- or it must accept the occurrence of a severe fracture between the Atlanticist and the Continentalist states within the Union itself. In the latter case, bilateral strategic ties between the Atlanticist countries and the United States will make the B.M.D. issue in Europe a reality, but one that Brussels will not control, kissing goodbye the chances to forge an effective European security and defense policy. more

27 September 2006 China's Geostrategy: Playing a Waiting Game

[see also PINR analysis on "China's Strategy of Containing India"]

" The National Defense University (N.D.U.) of the People's Liberation Army (P.L.A.) is China's foremost military education institution. An average of 1,000 Chinese officers graduate every year in diverse fields of study. For many years after its founding in 1984, the N.D.U. has been relatively unknown to the outside world, with very few foreign officers being allowed to attend the more advanced courses.

Those who were accepted came primarily from countries perceived to be friendly to China such as Cuba, North Korea and various other third world states that usually had poor relations with the West. The very few Western officers who attended the N.D.U. were usually confined to short symposium type courses with very little of substance being offered.

Until recently, the N.D.U. was a very closed and discrete club, open only to China's military elites and its foreign "friends." To this day, the N.D.U. does not host a website where prospective students could obtain the most basic information about the university. Information is provided to future students directly by the Chinese military attaché in their respective countries, with students only gaining access to the school's site a few days after enrollment.

Despite these restrictions, the N.D.U., just like China, has been fast opening up to the world. From a very limited number of foreign students, the N.D.U. today graduates an average of 400 foreign officers every year. Military officers and senior civilian officials from more than 100 countries have graduated from its various courses.

..China's military education programs have given Beijing some tangible benefits with many of its graduates assuming senior positions in their respective countries. Among them is President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in addition to a few chiefs of staff and cabinet ministers in Africa and Asia. While most countries still send their very best, the chief of staff material, to Western academies, many officers reaching less senior positions such as one star and two star generals are increasingly being trained in China.

All armies in Africa and a few in Latin America and Southeast Asia have N.D.U. graduates at the ranking of colonel or brigadier. In countries such as Nigeria, Poland, Nepal and Indonesia, the Defense and Strategy Course has become a promotion course, while in Indonesia it is also being use to compensate for the decrease in interaction with the American and Australian militaries and for the lack of vacancies at the country's top strategy school.

China is also assuming a major role in regions where the U.S. presence has been curtailed by domestic politics, such as in the cases of South America and some parts of the Middle East. From Venezuela alone, an estimated 30 officers have graduated from various P.L.A. academies in recent years..." more

5 July 2006 Intelligence Brief: North Korea's Missile Tests

North Korea's decision on Wednesday morning to test six to ten missiles demonstrates Pyongyang's assessment that the United States will not react decisively to its new show of force. Instead, Pyongyang sees these latest missile tests as an opportunity to demonstrate its perceived threat potential, which it presumes can be used at a later date to extract concessions from the United States and its allies. Indeed, the timing of the tests was meant to coincide with the Independence Day holiday in the United States, and also possibly with the Discovery space shuttle launch in Florida. The last time North Korea tested a ballistic missile was in 1998, which rocketed over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. This time it fired a series of short- and medium-range missiles and also apparently tested its new Taepodong-2 multi-stage missile with a range of 3,500-4,300 kilometers (2,190-2,690 miles), enough to hit Alaska -- that rocket, however, failed shortly after launch.

The July 5 missile tests may have also been partly a response to the recently augmented military relationship between the United States and Japan; on June 26, Tokyo and Washington agreed for the first time to deploy Patriot interceptor missiles on U.S. military bases in Japan. The joint U.S.-Japan decision was in response to what was then North Korea's potential ballistic missile test, and the move elicited a negative reaction from North Korea and China; Beijing sees the joint U.S.-Japan move as partially aimed at containing China's military growth.

Since the end of 2002, Pyongyang has executed sporadic acts of aggression, such as admitting to a secret nuclear weapons program in 2002, withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003, declaring the possession of nuclear weapons in 2005, and resuming missile tests in 2006. These acts have been aggressive, yet cautious, with Pyongyang aiming to increase its threat potential without forcing the hand of the United States and its allies; its actions have been threatening, yet not so much as to demand an overwhelming response. Furthermore, while many of these aggressive actions may have been too risky if executed before the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Pyongyang has accurately assessed that Washington's current interventions have made it less likely to intervene in new conflicts.

This assessment can be seen by Washington's lack of action toward North Korea, instead pursuing a policy that aims to contain the North Korean threat until the United States is in a better position to confront it (after a drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq). This power dynamic is demonstrated by the prolongation of the Six-Party Talks. Despite the repeated failures of these talks, they continue forward so that it at least appears some form of de-escalation process is underway. Part of the reason for the failures of the talks is due to the conflicting interests between the parties involved in them...more

2 May 2006 Poland Fumes Over Russian-German Projects; Meeting in Lithuania to Counter Russian Influence in F.S.U.

"Recently, Polish Defense Minister Radek Sikorski reiterated Warsaw's sharp criticism against the Russian-German Baltic gas pipeline and the two countries' energy cooperation. In a speech in which he even recalled the 1939 Molotov von Ribbentrop pact to draw analogies with today's Moscow-Berlin cooperation, Sikorski highlighted the alleged anti-Polish character of the North European gas pipeline deal.

As PINR previously noted, Warsaw perceives the project as a way to neutralize Poland's influence in the complex European energy geoeconomic game. First of all, the Russian-German pipeline bypasses Ukrainian and Polish territories, thus depriving the two states of any negotiating power and economic advantage over the new corridor....

Berlin's "special relationship" with Russia is causing malaise in the Old Continent, and Poland is raising its voice as it knows that both Brussels and Washington are interested in countering Moscow's aggressive energy strategy that uses gas supplies to regain political influence in Eastern Europe...

The most likely consequence of Poland's rigid stance against the Russian-German Baltic pipeline is going to be political in that it will stress Brussels' inability to speak with only one voice in energy deals. Since Germany will take the helm of the E.U.'s rotating presidency in July, expect the next six months to be crucial for the definition of a European energy policy. Germany may use its influence in Moscow to propose a comprehensive E.U.-Russian energy deal, notwithstanding Poland's discontent, in order to contain likely increases in natural gas prices...

In Central Asia, U.S. moves in Kazakhstan aim at containing the influence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (C.S.T.O.), thus countering the growing Russian-Chinese regional cooperation. In Eastern Europe, Washington's interests are both geostrategic and political since the U.S. needs a strong and extended Euro-Atlantic alliance to keep its status of the world's main power... The U.S. and Russia will continue to compete for influence in the broader area connecting the Baltic Sea to Central Asia via the Black Sea and the Caucasus.

17 April 2006 S.A.A.R.C.: A Potential Playground for Power Politics - Dr. Sreeradha Datta

"At the Dhaka meeting of its Standing Committee held on April 10-11, 2006, the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (S.A.A.R.C.) agreed in principle to admit the U.S. and South Korea as "observers." This move comes against the background of the earlier decision taken during the summit meeting in November 2005 to bestow a similar status to China and Japan. The European Union has also shown its interest for a similar status. In short, major global economic players are too eager to be formally associated with S.A.A.R.C. Because its track record as a cohesive and vibrant organization for regional economic cooperation has been anything but impressive, why is there a sudden rush for "observer" status?...

From the organizational point of view, inclusion of observers might energize S.A.A.R.C. toward greater economic cooperation and positive dynamism within the member states and with the outside world, especially vis-à-vis the observers. It might even minimize political differences that often cloud its economic cooperation and progress. While all of these extra-regional powers are economic powerhouses, their political calculations are different and often in competition. While all of them maintain close economic ties with India, some of them maintain political soft corners for states that at times have adversarial relations with New Delhi. The presence of such states, especially China, within its framework makes S.A.A.R.C. a potential playground for power politics. In short, while expansion might contribute to the economic growth among member states and the organization, it also entails a new great power rivalry in South Asia..." more

22 March 2006

Washington's 2006 National Security Strategy Confirms a Policy Void - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

".Rather than resolving the differences between the unipolarists and the multipolarists, the new National Security Strategy incorporates both perspectives without synthesizing them, so that the report confirms a continuing policy void at the highest levels of Washington's power structure. The lack of a coherent vision appears starkly on page 37 of the report, where the contending positions are jammed together: "...we must be prepared to act alone if necessary, while recognizing that there is little of lasting consequence that we can accomplish in the world without the sustained cooperation of our allies and partners..."

6 February 2006 China's Strategy of Containing India - Dr. Mohan Malik

"...India's so-called "healthy competition with China" is becoming one of rivalry. In fact, China's behavior toward India is not much different from that of the U.S.' behavior toward China for the simple reason that China is a status-quo power with respect to India while the U.S. is a status-quo power with regards to China..."

1 February 2006 Condoleezza Rice Completes Washington's Geostrategic Shift - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"..Rice's announcements culminate a major revision of Washington's overall geostrategy that has been in the making since 2004 when the failures of the Iraq intervention exposed the limitations of U.S. military capabilities and threw into question the unilateralist doctrine outlined in the administration's 2002 National Security Strategy... Rice's reforms are significant because they are embraced by a multipolar perspective on world politics that brings Washington into line with the other major power centers. Her reforms put into place concrete measures that follow from that perspective, even though they are -- as should be expected -- just a beginning.... other power centers will welcome Washington's acknowledgment of multipolarity at the same time that they will be challenged by it..."

27 January 2006 The U.S. -India Nuclear Deal: The End Game Begins - Dr. Harsh V. Pant

"...Much to India's chagrin, Iran's nuclear problem has once again emerged as a complicating factor in India's efforts to finalize its nuclear deal with the U.S.... the E.U.-3 (United Kingdom, France and Germany) along with the U.S. have called for an emergency meeting of the I.A.E.A. on February 2 which will discuss whether to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council. Once again, India has come under pressure as the nature of its decision at the meeting of the I.A.E.A. Board of Governors could impact its own nuclear negotiations with the U.S. In fact, U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford went public with his warning that if India did not vote to send Iran to the U.N. Security Council, the effect on the deal would be "devastating" since the U.S. Congress would "simply stop considering the matter" and the initiative will "die." It remains to be seen if the Indian government decides to repeat its past voting pattern in the I.A.E.A. or succumbs to domestic pressure emanating from its coalition partners. Nevertheless, an open warning from the U.S. may have further muddied the waters for the Indian government... The Bush administration believes that it is in the strategic interests of the United States for India to emerge as a major global power, and the administration has made it clear that it will do its best to help India achieve that goal. "

28 October 2005 India's Interests Collide Over Iran - Dr. P.R. Kumaraswamy

"India's growing desperation in wanting to resolve Iran's nuclear crisis diplomatically has more to do with its own foreign policy dilemmas than any desire to punish Iran. After voting for a U.S.-backed International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) resolution on September 24, 2005 that condemned Iran for not complying with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (N.P.T.), New Delhi frantically hopes that in the November 24 meeting of the I.A.E.A. it will not be forced to endorse a resolution calling for the immediate referral of Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. Conflicting signals emanating from New Delhi underscore the different pressures facing the Congress-led government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Iran"]

The September 24 vote did not go over well with the Indian public, with senior Indian coalition members planning nationwide agitation over the issue. With the winter session of India's parliament just around the corner in November, the fallout will only increase for the current Indian government....

Thus, as long as the nuclear question was confined to the I.A.E.A., India could afford to be indifferent. Its passive stand did not threaten the interests of any major parties and was even interpreted domestically as an attempt to resolve the issue diplomatically. As Western patience wore thin, especially following the unexpected victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this policy was no longer possible.

At the same time, the September vote was not without its share of drama. For many observers, the vote looked sudden and abrupt. During the weeks prior to the vote, Indian leaders, especially those in the Foreign Ministry, were advocating caution and seeking more time for diplomacy. The Ministry's pro-Iranian stand in public was suddenly reversed when New Delhi decided to vote against Tehran.

Therefore, having voted with the U.S. in September, India will not be able to make another somersault in November and vote against U.S. policy. Such a stand would damage India's credibility both in the U.S. and elsewhere. At the same time, domestic pressure, especially from the Left, might compel India to opt for a middle path and abstain when the referral issue finally comes up in Vienna. Prime Minister Singh might find it easier to withstand pressure from Washington than from his coalition partners on the Left. .."more

20 October 2005 Intelligence Brief: Iran

"...India voted for the I.A.E.A. resolution due to pressure from the United States. In July 2005, India and the U.S. signed a nuclear deal that granted New Delhi access to civilian nuclear energy cooperation; however, the U.S. Congress has not yet approved the entire deal. The United States implicitly hinged its agreement with India on New Delhi's support for the September 24 resolution. Yet, as PINR argued on September 26, "because India was not behind drafting the resolution, and has shown little outspoken regard for punishing Iran due to its nuclear program, Tehran views India in a different light as it does the U.S. and the E.U.-3."

Indeed, since the September 24 vote, Iran has refrained from punishing India. Iran sees India as an important regional partner and wants to avoid a deterioration in relations. Additionally, the Indian government is internally divided over supporting further action against Iran, and despite its vote for the resolution, New Delhi has shown little interest in verbally condemning Iran and has instead tried to focus on the positive relations between the two countries. How Iran will react if India supports the United States in an actual U.N. resolution condemning Iran remains to be seen. India is no doubt doing its best to avoid such a development..."

20 September 2005 Intelligence Brief: Norway - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

Norway's political landscape underwent a seismic shift in the September 12 elections, in which the center-left Red-Green coalition gained a majority of seats, the populist right-wing Progress Party rose to capture the second largest number of seats and the center-right coalition, which had formed the previous minority government, lost one-third of its seats.

The electoral results reflected a closely fought campaign that centered on how the surplus revenues generated by Norway's booming oil exports should be spent. The center-right, which had instituted tax cuts during its four year tenure, argued that they should be extended. The center-left responded that some of the cuts should be rolled back and that the surplus should be applied to shoring up and expanding the country's highly developed system of social services. The populist right advocated even deeper tax cuts than the center-right proposed and suggested that Norway's vast fund of oil revenues that are applied to preserving its social services for future generations -- after the oil runs out -- should be tapped for current welfare spending.

Most generally, the vote registered widespread concern that Norway's system of "social capitalism," which provides a high level of social services, would be jeopardized or at least weakened under continued center-right rule, as that system was slowly moved in the direction of a more market-oriented capitalism. Given the sharp increase in support for both the center-left and the populist right, the verdict of the elections was a judgment against the market model championed by Washington and London, and in favor of the social model.

9 August 2005 On Economic Nationalism

"...As rising economic powers throughout the world become more competitive, the U.S. is bound to lose comparative advantage in many industries, setting off moves for protection that will be opposed by industries that gain or maintain advantage. Look for Washington to lose its role as leader in the drive for open markets and to become a player in a complex international system of markets that remain global but are hedged by restrictions and do not move in the direction of neo-liberal models of "free trade."The greatest threat to normal bargaining that would set off a decisive tendency toward protectionism would be the mobilization of popular nationalist sentiment that political classes are unable to contain..."

20 July 2005 India's Project Seabird and the Indian Ocean's Balance of Power - Adam Wolfe, Yevgeny Bendersky, Federico Bordonaro

News on New Delhi's foreign policy has recently been among the top stories in the media. On April 11, 2005, India started a strategic partnership with China, and, on June 29, 2005, signed a 10-year defense agreement with the United States. Western observers, however, have paid less attention to an ambitious Indian move in the military field: Project Seabird. This plan -- with origins from the mid-1980s -- is to be assessed in light of two geopolitical triangles juxtaposing on the Indian Ocean's background: U.S.-India-China relations and China-Pakistan-India relations. In this complicated geopolitical configuration, New Delhi is not simply a partner of China or the United States: India is emerging as a major power that follows its own grand strategy in order to enhance its power and interests...[See: "Great and Medium Powers in the Age of Unipolarity"]... Such a political and diplomatic framework is the background of India's ambitious Project Seabird, which consists of the Karwar naval base, an air force station, a naval armament depot, and missile silos all to be realized in the next five years...

...The rise of India as a major power, coupled with the better-known -- and frequently analyzed -- Chinese rise, is changing the structure of the world system. Not only is U.S. "unipolar" hegemony in the Indian Ocean facing a challenge, but the strategic triad U.S.-Western Europe-Japan, which has ruled the international political economy for the past few decades, is now also under question. Nonetheless, when confronting the new reality, Washington seems eager to help India rise in order to counter Beijing's growing influence. Moreover, India's increasing power is also a part in the process of a major shift occurring in international relations, from U.S.-based unipolarity to a "multifaceted multipolarity," which could be the prelude of a new multipolar order. [See: "The Coming World Realignment"] more

20 June 2005 The Coming World Realignment - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein, Yevgeny Bendersky

"Since the U.S. intervention in Iraq revealed the limits of Washington's ability to implement its security strategy of becoming the unquestioned political and military arbiter of the globalizing world economy, the underlying tendencies towards a multipolar configuration of world politics have crystallized into hard and obvious fact... The scenario of U.S. power dominating in every region of the world for generations to come was always an ideological construction that was bound to be contradicted by the rise of regional power centers with interests at variance with Washington's aims; the difficulties encountered in the occupation of Iraq simply hastened the awareness of competing power centers that Washington could be opposed effectively without incurring unacceptable costs...

The short term interest in stability that is apparently shared by all of the major power centers is based on particular circumstances in each case and is actuated either by a perceived need to retrench or by the goal of protecting processes of economic and military development. The restorationist power centers include the United States, the European Union and Russia; the rising power centers are China, India and Brazil...

With the limits of its former military-based geostrategy revealed, Washington has emerged from an ensuing policy void and has begun to craft -- under the leadership of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- a classic balancing strategy dependent upon partnering with regional allies against perceived or potential adversaries. The U.S. remains a genuine world power with global reach, but Washington no longer nurses the illusion that it can act alone, which accounts for its turn towards multilateral diplomacy in dealing with nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Japan, and its reluctance to exert decisive pressure against Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Major aims of Washington's current policy include partnering with Tokyo to contain Beijing, restoring its influence in South America in the face of resistance from Brasilia, stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, encouraging further pro-Western movements in Russia's near abroad, and leaguing with the peripheral states in the E.U. to balance the Franco-German combine. None of those goals depends for its realization on further military interventions..." more

20 April 2005 Courting New Delhi: Washington and Beijing Compete for Influence - Adam Wolfe

"Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a visit to India where she discussed Washington's desire to help India become a "major world power." Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao followed suit with Beijing's most recent wooing of New Delhi by announcing a "strategic partnership" between the world's two most populous countries. India has clearly become an object of desire for the major powers in Asian politics; how this courtship plays out will have global ramifications

It is Beijing's and Washington's ties to Pakistan that remain the greatest obstacles to forming a greater partnership with India. However, both states have been able to maintain their good relations with New Delhi even after a change in India's government last year. India would like to continue the courtship from both countries, as long as it can remain noncommittal on hitching its future to either power. As long as Washington and Beijing continue on their current path of avoiding direct conflict, India will see gains from this strategy. As Washington and Beijing jockey for position in South Asia's geopolitics, India will be the main benefactor, something that it hopes to exploit in the future..." more

16 March 2005 India Recovers Lost Ground in the International Energy Game

"In the words of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, "China is ahead of us in planning for its energy security -- India can no longer be complacent." These words conveyed the sense of urgency that India holds over meeting its energy needs. India is playing catch-up with other major players in the global energy game. This realization has not come a moment too soon given the advent of rising oil prices, India's unprecedented growth levels, lack of energy-efficient technologies and reliance on energy-heavy industries for its development. Power shortages and blackouts continue to plague India's major cities and undermine the confidence of investors and foreign companies operating in India. These power shortages have been fueled by a combination of burgeoning growth rates, inefficiencies by the state-run power sector and power being stolen or siphoned for votes...

India, as the world's number six energy consumer, is also in a more desperate situation compared to its peers. For example, oil imports account for two-thirds of India's oil consumption while China imports one-third of its crude oil consumption. Furthermore, China's proven oil reserves stand at 18 billion barrels compared to five billion barrels in India. Indian-owned Oil and Natural Gas Company (O.N.G.C.) has invested $3.5 billion in overseas exploration since 2000 while Chinese-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (C.N.P.C.) has made overseas investments of an estimated $40 billion...

However, conflict over increasing energy needs is not inevitable. The need to access energy resources on the world stage can be as much a catalyst for cooperation as it can for conflict. For example, the Iran-Pakistan-India and Myanmar-Bangladesh-India natural gas pipelines raise the stakes for regional states to resolve their differences." more

24 January 2005 Warning to Washington: 'Project 2020 - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"..On January 13, the United States National Intelligence Council (N.I.C.) released the report of its "2020 Project," which is aimed at describing the possible configurations of world politics fifteen years from now.... As was the case with the two previous public reports, "Project 2020" is based on consultations with a variety of experts from inside and outside the U.S. government. Preparations for the latest report involved the widest outreach yet -- more than 1,000 specialists were consulted from around the world...

Although the report identifies the release of a weapon of mass destruction -- particularly a major bio-terrorist attack -- as the greatest danger to global security, it does not place trends in the "war on terrorism" front and center. That position belongs to economic globalization, the only "mega-trend" named in the report. According to the Council, globalization -- "growing interconnectedness reflected in the expanded flows of information, technology, capital, goods, services, and people throughout the world" -- is "a force so ubiquitous that it will substantially shape all the other major trends in the world of 2020."

Politically, globalization means that everyone everywhere is drawn into the same great game of determining the balance of power in an era of fundamental readjustment: "At no time since the formation of the Western alliance system in 1949 has the shape and nature of international alignments been in such a state of flux."

Although it shuns geostrategy scrupulously, the report realistically and precisely does the necessary preliminary work of describing the emerging world balance of power. Its major conclusion is that China and India, along with possibly Brazil and Indonesia, will be "new major global players" that "will transform the geopolitical landscape, with impacts potentially as dramatic as those in the previous two centuries. In the same way that commentators refer to the 1900s as the 'American century,' the 21st century may be seen as the time when Asia, led by China and India, comes into its own." ..The result of the rise of Asian powers will be the erosion of U.S. power, although the U.S. "will remain in 2020 the most important single country across all the dimensions of power" -- "an important shaper of the international order," but not its architect..." more

[note by tamilnation.org: The US National Intelligence Council (NIC) is the US Intelligence Community's (IC's) center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking and functions with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - and the report on project 2020 is a public report]

7 January 2005 China's Geostrategy: Playing a Waiting Game - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"...Despite the growth and proliferation of international and transnational political organizations, the basis and framework of world politics remain the configuration and distribution of power among states, each one applying a strategy to realize the interests perceived by its decision makers. At present, the configuration of world political power is confused, somewhere between a pattern of unipolar U.S. dominance and multipolarity, in which a number of regional powers with varying degrees of global reach and influence cooperate to keep the globalizing world economy stable, and compete for strategic advantage on the margins of their respective regions. It is impossible to predict confidently which of the two paradigms will become dominant, although in the aftermath of the U.S. intervention in Iraq, a drift toward multipolarity has become discernible...At present, China is what historian John Gittings calls a "status-quo power that often punches below its weight in international politics." That is a realistic position for a power to take that expects its situation to improve over time, as it builds up its economy and military to full potential. For the moment, Beijing's interests are best served by adopting a "defensive" posture and a foreign policy geared to promoting stability. That is likely to change to a more assertive stance the more that China's power resources increase. more

15 December 2004 Testing the Currents of Multipolarity - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"The tendency toward a multipolar configuration of world politics, in which a number of regional power centers compete for hegemony over their spheres of influence within a framework of international agreements and institutions, is a long term process involving incremental gains and losses for the major players. The transition to multipolarity -- if it prevails -- has been set off by the severe problems confronted by the United States in its occupation of Iraq and by the decline of the dollar in international currency markets...

Except where Washington had the support of Europe, which stood to gain most from successfully confronting Moscow over Ukraine, its geostrategic aims suffered setbacks at the six international meetings that were held during the week of December 5. The drift toward multipolarity has been confirmed by the E.U.'s move to lift its arms embargo on China, Brazil's success in starting a South American Community as an alternative to the F.T.A.A., India's opposition to U.S. arms sales to Pakistan, the Franco-German combine's refusal to support the training mission in Iraq, and Euro-Arab insistence on coupling the Palestine issue to democratic reforms.In most international meetings, a consensus is reached in advance so that conflicts will not be highlighted under the glare of publicity. Washington's loss of leadership is indicated by the fact that the meetings in which it participated during the week of December 5 were marked by clear public opposition to its policies..." more

3 December 2004 Lessons from Romania - Europe's New 'Sick Man' - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"....As in all lagging states that are transitioning from state-dominated or relatively statist economies to globalized capitalism, Romania is characterized by a deep social division between those who believe that their lives will improve by integrating into the new competitive arena and those who fear -- often with good reason -- that they will not be able to compete successfully. The same divide is present in more economically advanced states, but, in them, the sector of the population that fears that it will be left behind by globalization is relatively small, allowing politics to be based on multiple issues, of which the globalization divide is one among many. Lagging states do not have that luxury and their societies tend to become polarized along the lines of would-be haves and anxious have-nots... As the E.U. bids to become a regional power with a foreign policy geared to its own interests and independent of the United States, incorporation of Romania, which is already a member of N.A.T.O., appears to be the most prudent option to the European political class..." more

12 November 2004 The Geostrategic Implications of the U.S. Presidential Election - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"Geostrategic decisions made by states and international organizations can be traced primarily to the efforts of their ruling groups to pursue their perceived interests. As a rule, the policies that have been adopted and adapted over time to satisfy persisting interests take precedence over shifts in public opinion. Yet, especially in democracies, popular sentiment influences decision makers, reinforcing or weakening pre-established tendencies. Elections are the most important vehicles for popular sentiment because they establish the constituencies on which leaders depend for their support.

The presidential vote starkly confirmed the divisions in the U.S. electorate that had crystallized in the 2000 election. The electoral map, broken down by counties, showed Kerry's support to be concentrated in urban areas on the two coasts and the upper midwest, and Bush's to repose in the rest of the country. Bush defeated Kerry by 57 to 42 percent in small towns and rural areas, and by 52 to 47 percent in the suburbs. In contrast, Kerry won cities with more than 50,000 people by 54 to 45 percent.

Beneath the superficial divides between urban and rural, and secular and religious sectors is the familiar modern tension between cosmopolitanism and provincialism. Translated into political terms, the Kerry vote, especially its middle-class component, was internationalist and the Bush vote was nationalist.

A popular support base that is conditioned to accept and affirm the moribund neo-conservative paradigm is only one added factor in an array of persisting conditions that impedes the administration's ability to change direction in order to pursue U.S. interests more effectively. Only in the unlikely case that Washington manages to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq in the short term will other powers think twice about probing U.S. vulnerabilities...

The geostrategic constraints on Washington are exacerbated by the financial limits posed by the budget deficit and the possibilities of a precipitous decline in the dollar and rising raw materials prices...

In Bush's second term, Washington will primarily be a responder, because it is mired in the failures of the unilateralist thrust.. It is possible that the administration will not pursue its agenda aggressively and will seek compromises, but that is not likely because of pressures within the Republican Party. The same constituencies that voted in Bush elected a Republican congress, and its members face reelection contests and the consequent need to satisfy their bases...

As Washington drifts, the rest of the world will test it, probing for weaknesses. Under steady pressure from many sides, the Bush administration will be drawn toward retrenchment, retreat and eventually retraction in international affairs. The scenario of American empire has faded into memory and the prospect that the U.S. will eventually become a dominant regional power with some global reach becomes more probable...." more [see also New world, far less order - Mikhail Gorbachev at Sharanya's International News Watch from Singapore ]

1 November 2004 The Waning Influence of Neo-Conservative Strategists - Erich Marquardt

"Brought to power through the inauguration of the Bush administration, a group of individuals who pursued neo-conservative ideology managed to institute their policy directives during the window of opportunity created after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The central goal of this neo-conservative faction was, and remains, to sustain the U.S. as the unchallenged superpower in the world, capable of launching military strikes against any states or groups that threaten this status.....Critics worried that the faction's security strategy of pre emptive military warfare and regime change threatened to embroil the United States in an assortment of violent conflicts, endangering U.S. interests... In the aftermath of the first major execution of neo-conservative strategy, that of the pre emptive war in Iraq, it has become perfectly clear that the central goals of the neo-conservative faction are deeply flawed. Not only has the outcome of the Iraq intervention resulted in the exact opposite of the faction's predicted scenarios, but it has done so in almost every way...

For example, the faction assured that there would be weak internal resistance to a U.S.-led occupation. Instead, the opposition to the U.S.-led occupation has been strong, consisting of an assortment of local- and foreign-based insurgents... Now... the U.S. is embroiled in a difficult conflict in Iraq, only marginally successful in its intervention in Afghanistan, and is witnessing a rise in Islamist activity around the world -- couple this with a mounting a U.S. budget deficit, and the United States is in a precarious geopolitical position...

This development would help to accelerate a global trend toward multi polarity, with each major power consolidating its interests within its region of influence...." more

20 October 2004 An Era of Instability in World Politics - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"... Until the failure of Operation Iraqi Freedom became plainly evident, there was a brief period in which neoconservative and Wilsonian liberal writers put forward the idea that, ....American "empire" was the destiny of world politics - the formula for world order. Carrying forward the claim that America is the indispensable nation, the new imperialists envisioned a world in which the United States would spread market democracy and police world capitalism overtly, using its military supremacy to enforce an order that other powers would have to accept because they would have no alternative... Dreams of American empire are today only memories. More than anything else, Operation Iraqi Freedom has exposed the limitations of American military power at the same time that it has severely impaired the country's diplomatic resources...The suspicion that the United States will find it difficult to undertake another pre emptive war and will be hesitant to play its military card in regional trouble spots -- yet might still do so -- creates a general climate of uncertainty across the globe.. Although it is impossible to predict with accuracy the future configuration of world politics, it is reasonable to expect that a stable pattern will not crystallize in the short term and that the coming decade will be a period of testing by state and non-state actors to determine how much of their agendas they can achieve. " more [see also The New Regionalism: Drifting Toward Multipolarity]

8 September 2004 Chechnya: Russia's Second Afghanistan Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"Russia has geopolitical and geostrategic interests in the Caucasus, the heart of which is Chechnya, and developed N.A.T.O. countries also have interests in the Caucasus. This war is over these interests. The interest of the United States in the Caucasus is control over oil supplies from the Caspian Sea, which involves securing compliant regimes in the southern Caucasus, including Azerbaijan, where the oil is extracted, and Georgia, through which the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline will pass.

As a consequence of this dominant interest, the United States is also committed to thwarting any attempt by Russia to expand its influence in the Caucasus. From the American viewpoint, Russian failure in Chechnya is welcome, as long as it does not get to the point that Chechnya becomes a base for Islamic revolution worldwide.

In the current strategic environment, the United States is constrained to give public support to Russian efforts to curb terrorism, but that does not mean that it takes Russia's side in practice.
The United States and the European Union have called for Russia to negotiate with the separatists. France and Germany have played both sides of the table, distancing themselves from the United States.. Their ambivalence is based on their desire for stronger relations with Russia to counter American influence in Eastern Europe and to build economic relations, particularly in the oil sector. At the same time, they also want Caspian Sea oil free from Russian control..." more

1 September 2004 U.S. Troop Redeployment: Rational Adjustment to an Altered Threat Environment -Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"In August, U.S. President George W. Bush announced an ambitious ten-year plan for the redeployment of U.S. military forces around the world...The redeployment plan is based on a realistic assessment of where emerging threats to U.S. interests are likely to arise in the future... The heart of the plan is to move 30,000 U.S. troops from Germany and approximately 15,000 from South Korea... Troops that remain abroad after the withdrawal from Germany and other parts of Western Europe will be positioned protectively around and within the centers of oil production and distribution in the Middle East, Caspian Sea and Africa. As demand for oil rapidly grows in China, India and other emerging industrialized states, the United States is constrained to gain control over energy supplies so that its domestic and security interests are satisfied...A supplementary rationale for the troop redeployment plan is that it bases U.S. forces in states that are more pliable to Washington's will. Regimes in weak and poor states, particularly those in close proximity to regional powers, are better disposed to an American presence than are mature industrial powers that are integral to the international trading system and have stable governments...There is little doubt that the closest approximation to an American "empire" would be the cultivation of dependency on the United States in weak states and regimes..." more

18 August 2004 India - A Rising Power - Yevgeny Bendersky

"...Since the end of the Cold War, the United States underwent major strategic reassessments of its capabilities and geopolitical reach around the globe. As the threat of a single force -- the U.S.S.R. -- receded and then disappeared altogether, new challenges arose. One such challenge was the relationship with several countries that began to gain clout and importance on the world's political, military and economic scene. ...a country somewhat neglected by U.S. policymakers steadily gained in importance and has the potential of being one of the world's major geopolitical players -- India...India's future rise to prominence will not be a result of a Cold War-style alliance, but the culmination of several factors that will allow it to harness the full potential of the country.

First, its emergence as one of Eurasia's chief economies will be both a combination of its economic improvement and the sheer numbers of its population...India's second contribution to its rise as a regional and global power is its military establishment. Already, India has one of the world's largest armed forces. ... The Indian Navy already has the largest presence in the Indian Ocean after the United States, and fields an aircraft carrier, which allows it to extend operations beyond its immediate landmass...The Indian Air Force has recently demonstrated that it can be counted among the world's top by besting American aircraft in a series of joint war games...

Furthermore, in the emerging geopolitical picture, it is India, rather than Russia, that can check the rising Chinese influence in Eurasia, and Washington's closer cooperation with this subcontinental power can help enhance its own influence. India's proximity to Afghanistan and its own war against Muslim fundamentalists in Jammu and Kashmir make it a potentially powerful ally in the global fight against terrorism..." more

(see also the Buddha Smiled - Nadesan Satyendra, June 1998 "...New Delhi will need to recognise that, in the end, the strength of India will lie not in the nuclear bomb, but in its peoples. The economy of India will not grow unless the different peoples of India are energised to work together to achieve their shared aspirations. Here, the failure of successive Indian governments to openly recognise that India is a multi-national state, has served to weaken the Indian Union rather than strengthen it. Nuclear capability will not guarantee unity. The nuclear bomb did not prevent the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the non-nuclear states of Latvia, Estonia and Georgia. Peoples speaking different languages, tracing their roots to different origins, and living in relatively well defined and separate geographical areas, do not easily 'melt'. And in any event, a 'third world' economy (even if it be a growing one) will not provide a large enough 'pot' for the 'melting' to take place...A people's struggle for freedom is also a nuclear energy and the Fourth World is a part of today's enduring political reality. India may need to adopt a more 'principle centred' approach towards struggles for self determination in the Indian region...")

30 July 2004 Intelligence Failures and the Problem of Access - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"...The centers of globalized power, led by the United States, can be expected to continue to pick away at the Islamic revolutionary networks, gaining only partial success. They will also proceed with the paper chase to cut off funding for the networks. Keeping up with such measures will go some way toward containing the revolutionaries, but it will not eliminate them as a significant adversary. The only way that can be done is to stop the flow of recruits.The Islamic revolutionary movements gain their recruits from the vast numbers of young males in the Islamic world who face dead-end lives in stagnant societies ruled by corrupt authoritarian regimes that have been supported by the capitalist powers. ... The truth of the neo-conservative perspective on Middle Eastern conflict is that "democratization" along the lines of a market economy would open up opportunity and blunt the appeal of Islamism. Its defect is that the policies of the great capitalist powers have allowed Islamic revolution to gain a foothold to the point at which it has become a permanent alternative to the status quo -- one that is more present and vivid than market democracy. The dilemma of the power centers of globalization is that, under current circumstances, democratization is the only way to diminish the power of revolutionary groups in the long run, but, in the short run, it is likely to lead to unwanted Islamist regimes. This dilemma leaves the great capitalist powers in a bind that forces them to support the very undemocratic regimes that provoke revolutionary opposition... The capitalist powers lack both the will and the means to open up real channels of opportunity for the ever growing pool of recruits to Islamism and its revolutionary sectors." more

28 July, 2004 Beijing Tests Washington's Resolve in East Asia - Erich Marquardt

"Washington's persistent struggle with the insurgency in Iraq has resulted in the unexpected deployment of 140,000 U.S. troops in the country for an extended period of time. This heavy usage of U.S. troops has eroded Washington's foreign policy leverage in the world since it is now less likely that the U.S. will be willing to conduct a similar style invasion elsewhere, so long as U.S. troops remain embroiled in the conflict in Iraq... Additionally, the failure of Washington to successfully pacify Iraq has demonstrated the limits of American power. While Washington retains a tremendous military advantage over other states in the world, that advantage is primarily technological, and only extends to the point of when an occupation of a foreign country becomes necessary. The perceived erosion of American power has led to a loss of U.S. power since other states potentially hostile to U.S. interests now believe that Washington will be less likely to directly challenge them"...more

21 July 2004 Keep a Watchful Eye on Russia's Military Technology - Yevgeny Bendersky

"Over the last twelve years, it has become customary to refer to the Russian military establishment as decayed, under-armed, under-trained, and under-supplied, thereby effectively writing it off as second-rate...However, even in the current dire circumstances, Russia never stopped being a powerful entity that produced state-of-the-art military technologies.. In spite of financial and economic difficulties, Russia still produces state-of-the-art military technologies that continue to impress the world. ....(One) reason has to do with Russia's current military doctrine, which adheres to the concept of multi polarity. The articles of the doctrine state Russia's conviction that the social progress, stability and international security can only be accomplished in a multi polar world. The doctrine further states that the Russian Federation will work towards the establishment of such a world with all the means at its disposal..."

02 July 2004 Readjustment to American Weakness: Signs of a Power Vacuum - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"Indications are growing of a shift in the world balance of power in the wake of the American occupation of Iraq. Two events reported widely in the press on June 24, 2004 show the broad ramifications of the loss of power incurred by the United States through its Iraq intervention. A reversal of policy on the North Korea nuclear issue and failure of the United States to renew its exemption from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court at the United Nations Security Council show in different ways a slackening of American influence. Neither of them marks a decisive readjustment and realignment, but together they point to a tendency that moves in a single direction -- the erosion of American power. In the dimension of world politics, the strategic intentions of the Iraq intervention were to stabilize the Middle East through a successful demonstration project of market democratization and to convince the other "rogue states" of Iran and North Korea that they would face unacceptable consequences if they did not abandon their nuclear programs. Neither of these goals has been met; indeed, they are farther from realization than ever..."

24 May 2004 Abu Ghraib Means Impunity - Dr. Michael A. Weinstein

"What happened at Abu Ghraib? Was it torture? Aggressive interrogation? Production of pornography? All of those apply, but none of them is sufficient to grasp the events as a coherent whole. What happened at Abu Ghraib was impunity. ... Impunity is the ultimate form of terrorism, taking its power from the fear that it evokes in the captives, throwing them back upon themselves with no resources to defend themselves. Apart from the pleasure that it provides for captors, it is meant to destroy the captives' wills permanently and to frighten those associated with the captives into submission when tales of the degradation rituals leak out. It serves multiple purposes, the least of which is extracting information..." [see alsoAbu Ghraib Means Terrorism 4 June, 2004]

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