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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 1

We are Politically Correct—for What?

Tuesday 25 December 2007, by T J S George

It’s on the principles of Gandhism that political India is at its most hypocritical. In such an India it is not ironic that Gandhi’s memory is most severely insulted in his home State of Gujarat, now turned unabashedly violent. Nor was there any irony in Sonia Gandhi waxing eloquent in the UN about non-violence without a word about the violence in India or in freshly bleeding Burma. When did we last hear India’s political establishment raising an ethical voice against violence or dictatorship anywhere? Politically correct silence might have been at least understandable if, in return for it, we were gaining strategic advantages of a tangible kind.

That is the preserve of China which is more shrewd in handling these issues. Consider the naval base they have set up in Burma’s Great Coco Island, within hailing distance of Andaman’s northern tip. Consider the mountain highways and the deep-water port they built and command in Pakistan. For every ounce of effort invested, China gets ten-fold returns. For the massive effort we made for the freedom of Bangladesh, we got a new enemy on our border. And a bad writer like Tasleema Nasrin on our head.

Nixon sent a menacing aircraft carrier to the Bay of Bengal to scare Indira Gandhi over Bangladesh. It is difficult to believe that Dick Cheney’s greedy eyes have not fallen upon the natural resources of Burma, said to be richer than Iraq’s.

Or have they? Chief Dictator Than Schwe’s son-in-law Teza has risen from nothingness to being the richest man in Burma. Hovering around him must be big deals and big contracts and big purchases. (He owns an airline among other things.) Beautiful situation for favoured companies like Haliburton to work for democracy, sanctions or no sanctions.
This is not as far-fetched as may seem at first. Some old secrets that have recently come out show how unseen American hands operate in the most unexpected ways.

Remember the 1988 Lockerbie disaster when a Pan American passenger plane exploded in the air? Americans pursued the case diligently until a Libyan was found guilty and convicted on the evidence given by a shopkeeper from Malta. It now appears that the shopkeeper was offered two million dollars in return for giving evidence. The Libyan is appealing.

Remember Soviet troops getting bogged down in Afghanistan in the early eighties? This was brought about by French and American intelligence agencies. The French suggested that if the Russians get stuck in Afghan soil, it would destabilise the USSR itself. Reagan’s America jumped at it.

According to B. Raman’s The Kaoboys of Raw, the French plan included turning Soviet troops into heroin addicts (using Afghanistan’s trademark crop in abundance) and encouraging jihadis from the world over to gather in Afghanistan. Among the jihadis so encouraged with American arms and money was Osama bin Laden. The plan worked too well. USSR collapsed in due course. But so did George Bush’s presidency. And Bin Laden is triumphant enough to ask Americans to convert to Islam.

Don’t be surprised if America has a hand in the goings-on in Burma as it has in the goings-on in Pakistan. And in Delhi.

(Courtesy: The New Sunday Express)

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