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If by fascist, you mean “adherent of a movement determined to seize state power with the help of violence committed by a disciplined and armed auxiliary, if necessary, to reorder society to achieve extra-constitutional, self-defined racial or ethnic objectives embodied by a charismatic leader”, that is. Narendra Modi and his BJP party, in my reading,... Read More
The divided south Asian mountain state of Kashmir is like a volcano: forgotten when quiescent, but terrifying when it comes alive. After the first India-Pakistan War in 1947, in which the British Indian Raj was divided into Hindu and Muslim-dominated states, India ended up with two-thirds of the formerly independent mountain state of Kashmir, and... Read More
A while back I wrote a piece, The Most Dangerous Letters in the World Aren’t SCS…They’re CPEC. I made the case that the South China Sea was a case of high-functioning, cautious states not interested in blowing each other up…while in South Asia the core Chinese gambit, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, was at the mercy... Read More
Once upon a time, if a war was going to destroy your world, it had to take place in your world. The soldiers had to land, the planes had to fly overhead, the ships had to be off the coast. No longer. Nuclear war changed that equation forever and not just because nuclear weapons could... Read More
A Nuclear Armageddon in the Making in South Asia
Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades, the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might -- given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors -- lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case... Read More
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India is now the belle of the ball, as most of the world and Asian regional powers make pilgrimages to New Delhi to flatter and flirt with India’s dynamic Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi and India come with a certain amount of unpleasant baggage, which their suitors do their best to ignore. Modi himself is... Read More
I’ve covered 14 wars and seen a lot of combat. But being shelled or shot at never scared me half as much as the fear of serious illness in the field. While reporting on the 1980’s war in Afghanistan with the mujahidin warriors (“freedom fighters” back then/today “terrorists”), we were involved in a fierce battle... Read More
Both, actually (see endnote). That’s a duality that the United States is prepared to accommodate as it looks to a revitalized India as a strategic asset if not an outright ally in its crusade to counter “Rising China”. And it drives US government efforts to shield Modi from the consequences of his alleged involvement in... Read More
And is Joe Biden the Designated Whipping Boy? There has always been an implicit contradiction between Shinzo Abe's declared desire to "bring Japan back" and the US wish to lead "Free Asia". The divergence of aims has been obscured by the eagerness of the US defense establishment to encourage Japan's increasing heft as a "security"... Read More
The week started well with Abe in full regional statesman fig delivering a “China must be contained” speech at Davos (Yes, I know, nobody openly uses the "C" word, "containment" but if anyone can come up with a better descriptor, let me know). Ian Bremmer and a significant contingent of think-tank poobahs seemed primed to... Read More
[Correction: I incorrectly identified ex-Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi as Shinzo Abe's father-in-law; he was actually Abe's maternal grandfather. Thanks to a knowledgeable and sharp-eyed reader for catching the mistake. PL 6/21/2013] In a dismaying week for the PRC, India turned its back on China...and thereby drifted further away from the narrative of Japanese criminal aggression... Read More
In the later 1990’s, I was invited to a small dinner in New York given for the Dalai Lama. All of the guests came expecting to hear His Holiness explain the meaning of life. To their bewilderment, the Dalai Lama gave a rather long, detailed talk about the history of Himalayan border problems between India,... Read More
[This piece originally appeared at Asia Times Online on May 3, 2013.  It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.  I was rather amused to see Paul Eckert of Reuters trolling the comment thread at Asia Times.  Not the way to build the Paul Eckert brand, let alone the Reuters brand.]... Read More
While the United States beats the war drums over North Korea and Iran’s long-ranged nuclear armed missiles –which they don’t even possess – Washington remains curiously silent about the arrival of the world’s newest member of the big nuke club – India. In January, Delhi revealed a new, 800km-ranged submarine launched missile (SLBM) designated K-15.... Read More
A Parsi woman in traditional costume, painted by Raja Ravi Varma (source) The Parsis are renowned for achievement in many areas of life—trade, education, philanthropy, and popular culture. Yet they number only about 100,000 in the entire world (Wikipedia, 2013). What qualities made them so successful? The most often-cited ones are their thrift, foresight, skillfulness,... Read More
ISTANBUL - Reports of fighting along Kashmir’s cease-fire line don’t normally receive much attention in the western media. Last week, for example, saw a series of clashes on 8 and 10 January that killed both Pakistani and Indian troops. One of the Indian soldiers was decapitated, provoking fury across India and calls from its extremist... Read More
[This piece originally appeared at Asia Times Online on November 6, 2012.  It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.  Rehashing the Sino-Indian War, with India's unwise fetishizing of the McMahon Line and the principle of sovereignty over genuine national interests that are strategically and tactically viable, has interesting implications for... Read More
“India launches first intercontinental ballistic missile,” the world media misreported this week. True enough, India did launch a new, 5,000 km-ranged Agni-V missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to Beijing and Shanghai. Previously, India’s 3,500-km Agni-III did not have the range to hit China’s major coastal cities. But Agni-V is not an intercontinental ballistic... Read More
Does anyone remember Kashmir? Well, we certainly should. If nuclear war ever breaks out, the most likely place would be in Kashmir. The fabled state of Kashmir lies in majestic isolation amid the towering mountain ranges of the Himalayas and Karakoram that separate the torrid plains of north India from the steppes and deserts of... Read More
Getting out of the Washington goldfish bowl is also good for American presidents, particularly after an electoral shellacking. It must have been a relief for President Barack Obama to see smiling Indian officials on his visit to Delhi rather than snarling Republicans back home. India is a hugely important nation by any measure, so it... Read More
Most Americans still have not figured out the difference between Shia and Sunni or Kurds. Or, for that matter, Bosnians and Kosovars. But the insatiable demands of our imperium keep plunging us into new, mysterious places and murky conflicts. Welcome to Kashmir, the divided Himalayan state that is world's longest-running and certainly most dangerous international... Read More
Will there be a major war between China and India? That’s the 64,000 rupee question addressed by the highly respected British magazine “The Economist” in a major article in their 21 August issue. The “Economist” warns that the long contested border between the two giant Asian rivals risks sparking future clashes or even a full-scale... Read More
Western media is always on the alert for China’s insults to its Uighur and Tibetan minorities. Certainly, China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950 has been a brutal, bloody botch that killed upwards of half a million Tibetans during the rebellion in the 1950s and during the Cultural Revolution. Despite China’s determined efforts to fulfill its... Read More
…Kinda
Nepal’s government has decided to notify the international community formally of numerous violations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by the Nepalese Maoists. The last straw was the declaration of two newly minted autonomous regional governments in Maoist strongholds in eastern Nepal. Good. Maybe then the world will take notice of Nepal’s slide back into... Read More
…and a Catastrophe for Pakistan and China
Well, I guess President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is going to go into the record books with a big, fat asterisk next to it. I have an article up at Asia Times Online Beijing broods over its arc of anxiety addressing the implications of the U.S. plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. As... Read More
Since the mid-20th century, ‘skin bleaching’ has become more and more common among dark-skinned populations. It involves lightening skin color by means of topical preparations that contain hydroquinone, cortisone, or mercury. These products are effective, but prolonged use may damage the skin by making the epidermis thinner and by breaking down collagen fibers. Despite being... Read More
Parsing Sino-Indian Tensions
I have an article up at Asia Times Online under the pen name Peter Lee entitled Dalai Lama at apex of Sino-Indian tensions. It's keyed to a high profile news item--the Dalai Lama's provocative visit to a border town in territory held by India but disputed by China--and a significant but rather underreported development--the escalating... Read More
Yesterday’s post, The Mumbai Paradox, placed the Mumbai attacks within the context of America’s persistent efforts to rein in pro-Taliban elements of Pakistan’s ISI and neutralize unsympathetic and powerful ex-ISI officers like retired General Hamid Gul. Gul was Director General of the ISI during its salad days running the anti-Soviet mujihadeen effort in Afghanistan. Gul... Read More
As India Bleeds, Pakistan Gets Pushed Closer to its Breaking Point
The rhetoric of the Global War on Terror doesn’t seem to have its old magic anymore. In the aftermath of the horrendous Mumbai attacks, it seems there were just as many articles in the papers saying this wasn’t Mumbai’s 9/11 as there were efforts to raise the bloody flag of America’s catastrophe over the carnage.... Read More
India is as warm and comfortable as ever. Over thirty years have passed since I roamed around in her cities and temples as a young long-haired white-cotton-trousered journalist cub, but coming back is easy. Things on the ground have not changed much – but they have changed. It is the same dense, busy crowd in... Read More
When China Matters got named in that “5 blogs that make me think” thingee, I didn’t do anything, mainly because the China blogs I read were all taken already. However, I do have a list of non-Chinese blogs that make me think, mainly because they provide an inside look on places and people that I... Read More
The Bush Administration's serial blunders in the Mideast have not only seriously undermined American influence over the region, they have opened the way for new, emerging superpowers to vie for its energy resources. Energy security has become the primary and most immediate strategic concern of Asia's two rising giants, India and China. The Middle East... Read More
America’s campaign against Iran may result in an undesirable by-product: a regional alliance of Russia, China, and India. Foreign ministers of these three countries met in New Delhi for a mini-summit and issued a Joint Communique concerning their shared desire to work together on energy, terror, security, and trade. Although carefully stating that their cooperation... Read More
Travels with Sainath, Being an Indian Diary, of Third of Three Parts
April 4 Sainath tells me he’s had difficulty sleeping since he covered the suicides in Andhra Pradesh from the late 90s on. All told, he’s visited 300 families in which a suicide has occurred. How did it all begin? From the early 90s forward, zero investment and a collapse of credit ravaged Indian agriculture. The... Read More
Travels with Sainath, Being an Indian Diary, First of Three Parts
March 25, 2005 Mumbai’s an old-style airport, unlike Hong Kong’s, which is the last word in modernity, where you can rent a cubicle, have a shower and a snooze, and fancy yourself an upscale member of the traveling classes. Here in Mumbai I meet Sainath, and off we go in a diesel Toyota taxi; I... Read More
Early on Biperdhar Sukumar was resentful of everyone and everything around him: when Mukarjee’s son Ravi got a brand new bicycle, he told himself it was because his shop keeper father cheated his customers, taking advantage of the ignorant cane cutters. When he nagged his father into eventually buying him a bicycle, he rode through... Read More
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PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?