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Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a family photo before a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Contact Group on Afghanistan, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Sputnik via AFP
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a family photo before a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Contact Group on Afghanistan, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Sputnik via AFP

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting of Foreign Ministers on Wednesday in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, may have been an under-the-radar affair, but it did reveal the contours of the big picture ahead when it comes to Afghanistan.

So let’s see what Russia and China – the SCO’s heavyweights – have been up to.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi laid out the basic road map to his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar. While stressing the Chinese foreign policy gold standard – no interference in internal affairs of friendly nations – Wang established three priorities:

  1. Real inter-Afghan negotiations towards national reconciliation and a durable political solution, thus preventing all-out civil war. Beijing is ready to “facilitate” dialogue.
  2. Fighting terror – which means, in practice, al-Qaeda remnants, ISIS-Khorasan and the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Afghanistan should not be a haven for terrorist outfits – again.
  3. The Taliban, for their part, should pledge a clean break with every terrorist outfit.

Atmar, according to diplomatic sources, fully agreed with Wang. And so did Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin. Atmar even promised to work with Beijing to crack down on ETIM, a Uighur terror group founded in China’s western Xinjiang. Overall, the official Beijing stance is that all negotiations should be “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.”

There is no sign yet that the Taliban will enter a power-sharing arrangement with President Ashraf Ghani’s government. Photo: AFP/Wali Sabawoon/NurPhoto
There is no sign yet that the Taliban will enter a power-sharing arrangement with President Ashraf Ghani’s government. Photo: AFP/Wali Sabawoon/NurPhoto

It was up to Russian presidential envoy Zamir Kabulov to offer a more detailed appraisal of the Dushanbe discussions.

The main Russian point is that Kabul and the Taliban should try to form a provisional coalition government for the next 2-3 years while they negotiate a permanent agreement. Talk about a Sisyphean task – and that’s an understatement. The Russians know very well that both sides won’t restart negotiations before September.

Moscow is very precise about the role of the extended troika – Russia, China, Pakistan and the US – in the excruciatingly slow Doha peace process talks: the troika should “facilitate” (also Wang’s terminology), not mediate the proceedings.

Another very important point is that once “substantive” intra-Afghan negotiations resume, a mechanism should be launched to clear the Taliban of UN Security Council sanctions.

This will mean the normalization of the Taliban as a political movement. Considering their current diplomatic drive, the Taliban do have their eyes on the ball. So the Russian warning that they should not become a security threat to any of the Central Asian “stans” or there will be “consequences” has been fully understood.

International Policy Research Institute
International Policy Research Institute

Four of the five “stans” (Turkmenistan is the exception) are SCO members. By the way, the Taliban have sent a diplomatic mission to Turkmenistan to ease its fears.

Break for the border

In Dushanbe, a special meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, established in 2005, for the first time was held at the foreign minister level.

This shows that the SCO as a whole is engaged in making its “facilitate, not mediate” role the prime mechanism to solve the Afghan drama. It’s always crucial to remember that no fewer than six SCO member-nations are Afghanistan’s neighbors.

During the main event in Dushanbe – the SCO Foreign Ministers Council – the Russians once again framed Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy as an attempt to deter China and isolate Russia.

Following recent analyses by President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Russian delegation explained to its SCO counterparts its view counterposing Moscow and Beijing’s effort to develop a polycentric world system based on international law, on the one hand, with the Western concept of the so-called “rules-based world order.”

The Western approach, they said, puts pressure on countries that pursue independent foreign policy courses, ultimately legitimizing the West’s “neocolonial policy.”

On the ground

While the SCO was discussing the drive towards a polycentric world system, the Taliban, on the ground, kept doing what they’ve been doing for the past few weeks: capturing strategic crossroads.

The Taliban already controlled border crossings with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkmenistan. Now they have taken over ultra-strategic Spin Boldak, bordering Balochistan in Pakistan, which in trade terms is even more important than the Torkham border crossing near the Khyber Pass.

Taliban in Spin Boldak, the very busy commercial border between Afghanistan and Balochistan in Pakistan. Photo: AFP
Taliban in Spin Boldak, the very busy commercial border between Afghanistan and Balochistan in Pakistan. Photo: AFP

According to Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, “the Spin Boldak district in Kandahar province has been cleared of the enemy” – Kabul’s forces – “and the district is now under the control of the mujahideen.” The term “mujahideen” in the Afghan context means indigenous forces fighting foreign invaders or proxies.

To have an idea of the importance of Spin Boldak for the Taliban economy during their years in power, see the third chapter of a series I published in Asia Times in 2010, here and here. Eleven years ago, I noted that “the Afghan-Pakistan border is still porous, and the Taliban seem to believe they may even get their Talibanistan back.” They believe that now, more than ever.

Meanwhile, in the northeast, in Badakhshan province, the Taliban are getting closer and closer to the border with Xinjiang – which has led to some hysteria about “terrorism” infiltrating China via the Wakhan corridor.

Nonsense. The actual Afghanistan-China border in the Wakhan is roughly 90 kilometers. Beijing can exercise full electronic surveillance on everything that moves.

I crossed part of the Wakhan on the Tajik side, bordering Afghanistan, during my Central Asian loop in late 2019, and on some stretches of the Pamir Highway I was as close to Xinjiang as 30 kilometers or so through no man’s land. The only people I saw along the geologically spectacular, desolate landscape were a few nomad caravans. The terrain can be even more forbidding than the Hindu Kush.

If any terror outfits try to get to Xinjiang, they won’t dare cross the Wakhan; they will try to infiltrate via Kyrgyzstan. I met a lot of Uighurs in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital: mostly businessman, legally going back and forth. On the Kyrgyz-Xinjiang border, there was a steady flow of cargo trucks. ETIM was dismissed as a bunch of nutcases.

The Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan, seen from the Tajik side. Photo: Pepe Escobar, November 2019
The Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan, seen from the Tajik side. Photo: Pepe Escobar, November 2019

What’s way more relevant is that the Ministry of Public Works in Kabul is actually building a 50-kilometer road – for the moment unpaved – between Badakhshan province and Xinjiang, all the way to the end of the Wakhan corridor. They will call it the Wakhan Route.

No imperial graveyard ahead

SCO member Pakistan remains arguably the key to solve the Afghan drama. The Pakistani ISI remains closely linked to every Taliban faction: never forget the Taliban are a creation of legendary General Hamid Gul in the early 1990s.

ORDER IT NOW

At the same time, for any jihadi outfit it’s easier to hide and lie low deep in the Pakistani tribal areas than anywhere else – and they can buy protection, irrespective of what the Taliban are doing in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his circle are very much aware of it – as much as Beijing. That will be the ultimate test for the SCO in its anti-terror front.

China needs an eminently stable Pakistan for all the long-term Belt and Road/China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and to fulfill its goal of incorporating Afghanistan. Kabul would be bound to benefit not only from increased connectivity and infrastructure development but also from future mineral including rare earth exploration projects.

Meanwhile, Hindu nationalists would love to outflank Pakistan and extend their influence in Kabul, encouraged by Washington. For the Empire of Chaos, the ideal agenda is – what else? – chaos: disrupting Belt and Road and the Russia-China road map for Eurasian integration, Afghanistan included.

Added hysteria depicting Russia and China involved in Afghan reconstruction as but a new chapter in the never-ending “graveyard of empires” saga does not even qualify as nonsense. The talks in Dushanbe made clear that the Russia-China strategic partnership approach to Afghanistan is cautiously realistic.

Taliban negotiators Abdul Latif Mansoor (right), Shahabuddin Delawar (center) and Suhail Shaheen (left) walk to attend a press conference in Moscow on July 9, 2021. Photo: AFP / Dimitar Dilkoff
Taliban negotiators Abdul Latif Mansoor (right), Shahabuddin Delawar (center) and Suhail Shaheen (left) walk to attend a press conference in Moscow on July 9, 2021. Photo: AFP / Dimitar Dilkoff

It’s all about national reconciliation, economic development and Eurasian integration. Not included are a military component, hubs for an Empire of Bases, foreign interference. Moscow and Beijing also recognize, pragmatically, that fulfilling those dreams will not be possible in an Afghanistan hostage to ethno-sectarianism.

The Taliban for their part seem to have recognized their own limits, hence their current inter-regional diplomatic drive. They seem to be paying close attention to the inevitable heavyweights – Russia and China – as well as the Central Asian “stans” plus Pakistan and Iran.

Whether all this interconnection dance will herald the beginning of a post-war Afghanistan as a real functioning state, all we can say is insha Allah.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Rahan says:

    Russian presidential envoy Zamir Kabulov

    Zamir Kabulov

    Kabulov

    • LOL: Svevlad
  2. Bayviking says:

    China builds. The USA destroys.

  3. “Whether all this interconnection dance will herald the beginning of a post-war Afghanistan as a real functioning state, all we can say is insha Allah.”

    The less US influence remains, the better the chances.

  4. antibeast says:

    This will mean the normalization of the Taliban as a political movement.

    Exactly my sentiments as expressed in an earlier post in another thread.

    That the USA had to sign the Doha Peace Accords with the Taliban which is treating it as an ‘instrument of surrender’ implies a political victory for the Taliban, right after the US military hastily left Bagram in the middle of the night without extending the courtesy of notifying the Afghan National Army.

    The Taliban for their part seem to have recognized their own limits, hence their current inter-regional diplomatic drive. They seem to be paying close attention to the inevitable heavyweights – Russia and China – as well as the Central Asian “stans” plus Pakistan and Iran.

    This new geopolitical reality of Central Asia — a Taliban-led Afghanistan surrounded and supported by Russia, China, Central Asian ‘stans’ as well as Pakistan and Iran — should serve as the final coup de grâce to the wetdreams of the US Deep State apparatchiks to destabilize Central Asia, either by deploying their Al-Qaeda/ISIS assets to wage a hybrid war or by using US allies such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia to wage a proxy war.

    Whether all this interconnection dance will herald the beginning of a post-war Afghanistan as a real functioning state, all we can say is insha Allah.

    Amen! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

  5. Pakistan is the key to stability in Afghanistan. It will need to prevent its tribal areas from being used as safe-havens for US financed insurgents, and I’m not convinced that Pakistan has either the capability or willingness to do that in any watertight manner. Same for the prospective Taliban government in Afghanistan – I doubt they’ll have the long term capability or willingness to control border crossings with Pakistan.

  6. I have tried to imagine what a Taliban restoration would be like. Perhaps it would be an Islamist Turkmenistan – by which I mean, a country as insular as Turkmenistan, but governed by an Islamic ideology.

  7. Only United States of America virtues of freedom democracy human rights can be universally applied –under the wrap of war…..permanent war—worldwide war—–

    • LOL: Bayviking
  8. Poor old Pepe. Always so desperate.

  9. Miro23 says:

    During the main event in Dushanbe – the SCO Foreign Ministers Council – the Russians once again framed Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy as an attempt to deter China and isolate Russia.

    The evidence shows that Washington is doing more than just deterring China. The propaganda orchestra and media manipulation looks more like priming the public for a war against China. A war, no doubt involving Taiwan and an economic blockade (closing the S. China Sea).

    That could put Russia in an interesting position – keeping out of the fighting but at the same time neutralizing the background US nuclear threat. In other words, staying neutral but allying with China in the case of US first use of nuclear weapons. This recognizes the fact that the US completely dominates China in ICBMs and would serve to remove that leverage.

    • Replies: @antibeast
  10. antibeast says:
    @Miro23

    The evidence shows that Washington is doing more than just deterring China. The propaganda orchestra and media manipulation looks more like priming the public for a war against China. A war, no doubt involving Taiwan and an economic blockade (closing the S. China Sea).

    The US Deep State chickenhawks don’t have the balls to start a nuclear war against a nuclear-armed State like China.

    That could put Russia in an interesting position – keeping out of the fighting but at the same time neutralizing the background US nuclear threat. In other words, staying neutral but allying with China in the case of US first use of nuclear weapons. This recognizes the fact that the US completely dominates China in ICBMs and would serve to remove that leverage.

    China has enough nuclear weapons to vaporize the Yanks to Kingdom Come and destroy the USA. That principle is called nuclear deterrence, intiendes?

    A bunch of stupid gringos suffering from their humiliating limp-dick debacle in Afghanistan don’t have what it takes to start a nuclear war against China. PERIOD.

    • Replies: @Mulga Mumblebrain
  11. “However the USA has intellects like Tommy Cotton — Donald Trump— Hunter Biden — Blincken and many others to make the enemy retreat in fear ” and this is how Mick McGurk views the world from his penthouse in Mousebreath Kansas…..

  12. Malla says:

    This is one of the best video on Afghanistan you would ever find, by a top ranking and very intelligent Pakistani Lieutenant General.

    America abandoned its strategic ally India in Afghanistan?

    Dr. Moeed Pirzada (Editor of GVS Pakistan) has a provocative interview with Pakistani Army Gen. Tariq Khan, ex Head Pakistan’s Central Command and Frontier Corps that defeated Pakistani Taliban (TTP).

    Lieutenant General Tariq Khan, HI(M) was a Pakistan Army General officer who was the Commander of I Strike Corps at Mangla. A Pakistani war hero, he led the Frontier Corps to victory against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in the Battle of Bajaur in 2009. Highly informative discussion.

    • Replies: @Malla
  13. Malla says:
    @Malla


    According to Gen. Tariq Khan, Washington has abandoned its ally India and the Afghan Kabul regime in another shift of US politics. According to him the leaving of American troops from Afghanistan is the biggest blow to India who could only operate in Afghanistan with U.S military presence there. India supporting Baloch independence movement as well as India trying to disrupt CPEC. They have found Indian weapons at the borders.
    But Gen. Tariq Khan busts the myth of Afghan invincibility as well as the Myth of “Graveyard of Empire” meme floating around by pointing out how both the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the British Empire had repeatedly defeated and humbled the rulers of Kabul when it made Afghanistan a frontier buffer state against the expanding Tzarist Russian Empire up North to protect India.
    At 15:15 minutes he disputes this Graveyard of Empire myth. At 15:50 minutes he says that Afghans make bad soldiers, they are very indisciplined!!! From the time of Alexander the Great, the Afghans had never stopped anybody, whoever wanted to go to Afghanistan did it. (At 16:18 minutes) he says that when we speak about the British Empire, the British went into Afghanistan because they wanted to use Afghanistan as a buffer State against the Russian Empire, which was the Great Game. They went there to put their own guy Shah Shuja on the throne as the rival Dost Mohammed was Tzarist Russia’s proxy. And they succeeded in putting Shah Shuja on the throne in 1839 and they stayed ther till 1942. Their Army was destroyed and routed during a withdrawal, suddenly attacked by Akbar Khan near Khyber Pass and Jallabad. But it only led to the British Imperial retribution under Frederick Roberts who went up to Kabul and they never left a tree standing, the British took their revenge. That was followed by the second Anglo Afghan War, where the British went in and had the treaty of gandamak where the British gained a lot of territory from the Afghans. In the Third Afghan war, the Afghans (allied, funded and armed by the Kaiserite Germans, Austri-Hungarians and the Ottomans) attacked British India territory during the WW1. The tactical victory was a British victory and strategic victory was a Afghan victory, as the Afghans could now have their own official foreign policy. Till 1926, Afghanistan was a British protectorate.
    At 18:17 minutes, he talks about the Sikh Empire under Emperor Ranjit Singh taking territory from the Afghans too. Later when the British conquered the Sikh Empire, Abdur Rehman, the Emir of Afghanistan wanted the borders recognized with the British Empire at its borders. So he wrote a letter to Lord Dufferin.It was an Afghan initiative to have a British commission to come down and mark out the territory boundaries which gives us the Durand Line in between Pakistan and Afghanistan today. Abdur Rehman, Emir of Afghanistan wrote a letter to Lord Dufferin who instructed Viceroy of India Lord Lansdowne to go ahead with it. Mortimer Durand who was head of the British border commission went to Kabul unarmed, without any weapon!!!

    • Replies: @Malla
    , @Mulga Mumblebrain
  14. Malla says:
    @Malla

    He also says in the above video how Afghanistan as we know it came about during the Duranni Empire, there was no Afghanistan as we know it today before that, when it was mostly part of Persian Empires, Persian was the court language then, common language was Pastun. Also only Pastuns/Pathans were earlier considered Afghans, Pastun would mean Afghan that is it. Afghanistan was land of the Pastuns only. Others (Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks etc…) were accepted as Afghans only far later in the 1964 constitution, before that they were not considered Afghans.
    About the Soviets, he says, the Islamic World was united against the Soviet invasion and money poured in, but the main reason of Soviet defeat was the stinger missiles brought in by the CIA. It just made the operations very expensive, losing 300 + helicopters and 100+ fighters. The Soviets could have won and defeated the resistance otherwise easily. As far as the USA, the Pakistani General says that (25:03 minutes) the Americans have not lost a single tactical battle in Afghanistan, not one. It is just the whole cost of maintaining the operation, the Americans made a political decision as it was not worth it, not a military decision. He says that it will be the first war (NATO in Afghanistan) which would be recorded in history as a war being fought in search of strategy.
    Finally at 27:14 minutes, the General says bluntly that Pakistan and India are two enemy states and will remain for a long time to come. India will ALWAYS take an opportunity to damage Pakistan and Pakistan will ALWAYS take an opportunity to damage India, there is nothing to be surprised about that. Simple as that.

    • Replies: @anon
  15. anon[334] • Disclaimer says:
    @Malla

    USA has lost the war . The meaning of losing the war has evolved . Occupation of Vietnam or iraq or Syria or Afghanistan do not have same significance as of pre 1946–1960 decolonization but the motives were same . USA thinks it can achieve the same goals without firing single shot from the grounds of the occupied countries . Time will tell.
    Winning by perception is often more important .USA has lost that story . It is perceived as wounded defeated super power . Demoralization is what described Yeltsin era military not the actual fighting capacities .

    The war at least has refocussed on the essence of the 21st century’s war . War is not essential and fruitless unless you have borders. American self -confidence that it can win a war even when the war is not necessary will be more undermined and be in short supply when it has to fight a war which it knows that it may not win.

    Self chosen war is waged by generals and pundits who dont have skins the game and never be questioned for failures . They dont know any other skill . War will always be a good source of income for them just like its for a lot of terrorists . This segment of USA has been defeated . Its personal for them .
    War has also corroded democracy civil society mental health and economy at home and has punctured the myth of US -NATO power . This will resonate for decades to come to inspire Afghan and demoralize US-NATO and convince the neighboring countries that they dont have to fall at the feet of USA. These countries know they have options and tehy can always mount the staying power shown by Taliban . Worst of all is the fact USAwill never be able to build a coalition of the willing or democracy .

    That farce has died on the burial ground of Kabul. No need to arrange a funeral.

    American love affairs doenst last more than 20 yrs have again been demonstrated -this time to India. But neither Pakistan nor India will buy .Problem is India has no other supplier of love.It is stuck.

    • Agree: antibeast
    • Replies: @antibeast
  16. @Malla

    India the USA’s ‘strategic ally’? It is to laugh!!! India the Hindu door-mat is more accurate. One day the poor punka-wallahs will work out that they are patsies, NOT ‘honorary Whites’.

    • Replies: @Malla
  17. @antibeast

    A blockade in the South China Sea is impossible, because a shit-storm of Chinese hypersonic missiles would sink all the White Bosses’ ships in minutes. If it worked, and the supply of cheap goods ceased flowing to the USA, the serfs would revolt in days. No wonder Yank rhymes with wank.

    • Replies: @antibeast
    , @Malla
  18. Malla says:

    This segment of USA has been defeated . Its personal for them .

    And that is a very positive thing. America according to its founding fathers was never meant to be an Empire. I hope it goes in a more positive direction. Hope the Zionist lobby and the Military Industrial Complex die out. This would be for America’s own good. America does not need to go anywhere, never needed to. With a prosperous and gifted land filled with people of high IQ Northern European descent, mixed with good work practice culture, it was bound to be prosperous anyways. All they had to do was send the the Jews packing to India and the blacks back to Africa. They could have lived happily blessed with splendid isolation from the shittery of Eurasia. A beautiful Northern Euro descended nation with Native Americans, enjoying the bounties of a beautiful country away from all trouble. All this Empire building has only damaged the USA and it was unnecessary in its history.

    Problem is India has no other supplier of love.It is stuck.

    This may actually be a good thing. Hopefully, India will give up its brahmanical megalomania of becoming a super-power, of creating a Brahminism ruled “British Raj” (dreams of Akhand Bharat), and instead concentrate on its own socio-economic development. As well as its brahmanical Superiority-Inferiority complex feelings it gets with respect to the White and Yellow races. Both its superiority complex feeling of being the only civilization of worth on Earth while others are fake barbarian people, “we are the true “natural sons of the soils” with great culture while others like Chinese, Whites, Arabs, blacks are fake artificial people with shameless culture” mentality’. has to go. As well its inferiority complex feelings of proving to Whitey and Yellow “evolved” races that we are nothing less and spend loads of money on Space programs and Nuclear weapons while people live in slums in poverty and backwardness, has to go too. The best foreign policy which India or any one else should emulate (if reality permits them) is that of Switzerland, neutrality. Not only does Switzerland has a more true version of democracy, direct democracy with referendums unlike the corrupt democracies everywhere else, it has the most sensible foreign policy. Or even Finland during the Cold War. The best option for India is to not take any sides, but trade with all. Be neither on the side of China vs the USA or USA vs China. Trade with both, trade with all but do not get involved. Develop the country and increase happiness of people like Bhutan does. That would be the most sensible policy.
    India does not really need ally, it is a self contained country. Even within the British Empire, it was a self contained entity and because of its size, it was a mini-Empire in its own right. If Britain was the Sun of the British Empire, India was the Jupiter.
    As Ramsay Muir wrote correctly about India within the British Empire, From “The character of the British empire” by Ramsay Muir
    https://archive.org/download/characterofbriti00inmuir/characterofbriti00inmuir.pdf
    “She is a self-dependent state, all of whose resources are expended on the development of her own prosperity, and expended with the most scrupulous honesty and economy. ”
    …snip….
    “She is a self-contained country, whose resources are devoted to her own needs.”
    So India can be self contained even now as it was then within a vast Empire, though India is smaller in size than British India. Does not matter. The best policy India can make is become much more friendlier with China but not get too close. Keep up friendship with the USA, even if we have clandestine anti-India Biden Government BUT NEVER GET TOO CLOSE. India cannot always expect a friendly president like Donald Trump all the time. Also increase distance from Israel, not get too involved with that Zionist entity, not very trustworthy. Indeed try as far as practically possible within limits to improve relations with Pakistan,as much as practically possible. Pivot to Russia, India’s old ally. And concentrate on the advanced countries of Eurasia like those of Europe including Russia and Japan and South Korea. Instead of the USA, we could look to improve relations with Britain and Germany and France and Japan. India could also build its own mini QUAD if it needs for defense with our trusted ally Japan and Vietnam and the Philippines or even with Mongolia. With the Muricans out, this would be a truly defensive QUAD, if any us gets invaded in a future war, all of us declare war. That is good enough, no need of the treacherous USA which can elect scumbags like Biden. Also good relations with Australia and Indonesia, Thailand etc… so that India can concentrate on becoming an Indian Ocean power, after all, the ocean is named after our nation, no other ocean is. China and Australia may have problems with each other, but it is none of our business, we can (and should) have good military and economic relations with Australia, especially if we want to become an Indian Ocean power, our true destiny, we cannot ignore a power like Australia in this region.

  19. antibeast says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    The UK just announced their decision to ‘park’ their aircraft carrier in Japan, as if that move would intimidate a nuclear-armed military power such as China. Someone ought to tell the UK that gunboat diplomacy is 19th century kid’s play that is obsolete in this day and age of nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles.

  20. antibeast says:
    @anon

    Methinks the 20-year-long ‘War on Terror’ has turned the US Empire into a spent force, having squandered $7 trillion on MOABombing goat-herders living in caves and drone-striking camel-riders living in the desert. Other than destroying Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, what did the USA accomplish after 20-years of the ‘War on Terror’? Instead of turning those places into pro-American countries with Western-style ‘democracies’, the US-led ‘War on Terror’ has turned those Muslim countries into hotbeds of anti-Americanism, which would have strategic ramifications on the foreign relations of the USA with the whole Muslim World for decades if not centuries to come.

    A few years from now, most Americans won’t even remember when the USA invaded Iraq or Afghanistan but most Muslims will remember the ‘War on Terror’ unleashed upon them for 20-long years. They won’t forget nor will they forgive the stupid gringos who are clueless as to what they were getting themselves into when the USA launched the ‘War on Terror’ on the Muslim World. They will harbor their visceral hatred of the USA… FOREVER. That’s ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’.

  21. Malla says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    India the Hindu door-mat is more accurate

    What rubbish. Why do you say so? Explain. You are obviously blabbering bullshit but I would love to see your explanation on thus?
    BTW that is a major Pakistani news outlet, the Pakistanis are calling us America’s strategic ally. Take up the issue with them.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  22. Ron Unz says:
    @Malla

    You certainly seem very knowledgeable and quite objective about events in India.

    As you’ve probably heard, an important analysis just came out suggesting that the true Covid death toll has been perhaps 10x greater than the wildly-ridiculed official figures. The claim is that something like 4 million Indians may have already died from Covid, making it the worst disaster in eighty years or so:

    https://apnews.com/article/business-science-health-india-pandemics-334c326d86efa73a0631bf7cb6e3f92e

    I’m curious whether this huge estimate is getting any attention there, and whether you or others regard it as credible. If so, do you think it will destroy Modi’s popularity? Or are his voters too stubborn and ignorant to pay any attention? In the US, a large fraction of the Trump voters don’t believe that Covid is dangerous or are much more fearful of the vaccines.

    • Replies: @Malla
    , @Malla
  23. Malla says:
    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    A blockade in the South China Sea is impossible

    What about the Andaman and Nicobar Island?

    ‘India’s Biggest Weapon Against China: Andaman & Nicobar Islands’
    The Indian News outlet Quint’s Nishtha Gautam speaks to former Lt Gov, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lt Gen (Retd) AK Singh. Lt. General Ajay Kumar Singh PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM (Retd.) is the former Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as the former Commander in Chief of Southern Command of Indian Army.

  24. Malla says:
    @Ron Unz

    Thank you for your kind words.

    perhaps 10x greater than the wildly-ridiculed official figures. The claim is that something like 4 million Indians may have already died from Covid,

    Well it is very hard to make an estimate because, the numbers are truly fudged. $ million seems like a lot but since India is such a vast country, it is very hard for me to say. However what I know is that the official numbers coming from hospitals did not match records coming from cremation grounds/ crematoriums (for Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs) as well as grave yards (of Muslims and Christians).
    1] There has been an enormous increase in bodies coming to cremation/funeral grounds and grave yards than (non-pandemic) normal periods.
    2] The bodies coming to these places of last rites in a particular effected cities was multiple times the numbers of COVID deaths reported by the total Health care establishments (Hospitals and the like) reported to the Government and then published by the Government.
    Those Indian media houses still not brought under the clandestine control of the BJP Party/ Modi Government (NDTV, Quint etc…) have been reporting this difference in numbers while media houses bought over by the Government (called Godi media in India*) are trying to ridicule this.


    Covid Deaths In Lucknow Underreported? Cremations vs Government Data

    *Godi means Lap in Hindi, so those media houses sitting on the lap of the Govt, as pets.

    So the deaths have been surely under reported but I do not know on average up to what extent or to what order of magnitude. In some reports it is 10 to 20 times the official figures but I cannot say it that has been the case over a long period of time to come to a conclusion or they are just random peaks.

  25. Malla says:
    @Ron Unz

    If so, do you think it will destroy Modi’s popularity? Or are his voters too stubborn and ignorant to pay any attention?

    Sure this has surely put a dent in Modi’s popularity, no doubt. But there are still many who are extremely loyal to Modi, so I cannot say what percentage dent we can see but it is significant. But even now there are many among the masses who are devoted to him.

    Modi’s popularity did not take a big hit with demonetization as well as his taxation system (GST or Goods and Services Tax) even if they caused enormous hardships to the economy and people. Modi’s popularity started taking a hit with
    1] Farmer’s protests because of his Agriculture Bills. Farmers are “holy” in India. There is a saying “Jai Kisan, Jai jawan”. Victory ot kisans (farmers), victory to jawans (means youth but it also means Indian soldiers). Farmers feed us, soldiers protect our country. Both are considered holy or untouchable in the national conscious. By getting into a feud with farmers, his popularity started taking the first major hit. Even though the pro-Govt media houses were trying to twist it as rich farmers or kulaks leading the demonstrations against laws which would help the small poor farmers. So Modi supporters started attacking the demonstrating farmers as “privileged kulaks’. Out of the Communist playbook.
    2] His popularity took a second hit with this pandemic. Even during the Pandemic, he allowed the State elections of the Indian State of West Bengal to go on. While the protesting farmers were accused of spreading COVID, the elections led to mass political processions and after the elections led to an outbreak of COVID in that state. This hypocrisy actually partly cost him the elections in that state to his sworn enemy Mamata Banerjee. West Bengal was an important state because the BJP never won it ever, a state which like many South Indainstates defied the Modi wave, it was one of those states they desired to conquer but could not. Modi even grew his beard to look like Rabindranath Tagore, extremely popular poet among Bengalis of West Bengal, Nobel laureate and the composer of the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh (East Bengal). After losing his elections, he cut his beard short. LOL. Basically Modi has been finally outed as person more interested in winning elections than governing, his right hand man, Amit Shah, the Home Minister has turned the BJP into an election winning machine.
    3] One more point leading to his fall in popularity is rising petrol and diesel prices since the pandemic, India has seen record increase which can have a serious affect in a country of poor people. Diesel used to be subsidized and thus was far below petrol, but Modi is reducing these Govt subsidies, rising diesel prices affects transpiration costs and thus we are seeing inflation in everything.

    See Modi is a phenomenon which represents the “Great Savior Man”. He is popular because he was a kind of man the nation was looking for. “A people’s man with a humble childhood, a true nationalist traditionalist who would make the country proud and strong and give a tough message to our enemies who constantly pick on peaceful victim India.” That is how he is looked at.
    See the poisonous Marxist theory of “Britain looting India” which was basically rubbish, led to hopes that India in 1947 will automatically become rich as the looting will stop. But obviously nothing like that happened. So now this theory has taken a mind of its own. The Indian National Congress party which led India’s Independence used this fake theory to rile up the masses against the British Raj Government is now itself a victim of these theories. Add to that many scams and scandals worth billions of rupees (3 G scam being one example) which were outed in a few years in the ruling Congress few years before Modi plus the fact that the country remains poor means the Congress is now in the same boat as the British Raj. So people now accuse the Congress for keeping India with corruption and looting and socialism. As well as the Congress was looked upon by the people as appeasing minorities too much, anti-national, anti-Hindu, traitorous, brown British, English speaking snobs, British agents, Chinese agents, Pakistani agents, hate India etc…Modi was supposed to be this promised man, traditional simple Hindu man, son of the soil, connected to the common man, proud son of the country. Modi’s victory was considered by the masses, India’s Independence Day 2.0. Modi is popular among both the poor masses as well as a significant section of the middle class. Modi is kind of this last hope, if Modi fails, all hope fails, it would mean going back to the same Congress party and the same situation for the last 70 years. That is why people stick to him. This phenomenon is very common in many Third world country where this “Colonial looting” rubbish theory is believed.
    India’s problems like that of many Global South Third World countries are caused by internal characteristics, its habits of the people, third world mentality, low trust behaviour, low productivity. By blaming the British or China and with this magical dependency on some great “rescuer great man”, Indians like many other Third Worlders refuse to face their own societal short comings and make amends. Modi can also be called the Erdogan of India. Modi is actually more similar to the Obama phenomenon than the Trump phenomenon. Many White Americans thought that Obama was this magic n**ro and that this great savior saint man becoming President, would put an end to the race problem and the country can finally move forward from race and racism. But Obama was a disappointment on this account which led to the backlash of Trump. Modi is s similar great savior saint man in a right winged way as India is a very traditional, nationalist country, far far more than the West.

    • Thanks: Yevardian
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