A Pox upon Mr. Armstrong’s Wonderful World:
Date: Saturday, February 10 2007
"Of Illusory Democracies, Rogue States, and Accelerating Humanity’s Demise"
by Jason Miller
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world….
In an increasingly frightening and unstable world, there is one nation we know will stand firm and resolute in its commitment to freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Without the relentless, selfless efforts of the United States, humankind would plunge into a seething cauldron of tyranny, slavery, chaos and endless war. Besides Israel, severely weakened as it is by the constant strain of fending off the barbarian hordes seeking to “wipe it off the map” and Great Britain, incessantly pressured by its Leftist, pacifist neighbors to appease and negotiate, the home of the brave wages its courageous struggle virtually alone.
But fear not. The time draws nigh when an aspiring superpower will stand firmly alongside the United States in its defense of humankind. India, the world’s largest democracy and a haven for the free market economics of Capitalism, is forging a deep alliance with the United States.
What a wonderful world it will indeed be when two nations, each of which was forged in the crucible of revolution against the imperial tyranny of Great Britain, can ally themselves to fend off the twin evils of terrorism and Islamofascism as they unite to spread democracy and corporate benevolence.
As Robert Blackwill, ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003, deputy assistant to the president, deputy national security advisor for strategic planning, and presidential envoy to Iraq from 2003 to 2004, noted in The National Interest(1):
“Not only do our vital national interests coincide, but we share common values as well. The policies of United States and India are built on the same solid moral foundation. India is a democracy of more than one billion people—and there are not many of those in that part of the world. Indian democracy has sustained a heterogeneous, multilingual and secular society. In the words of Sunil Khilnani, the author of The Idea of India (1999), India is a "bridgehead of effervescent liberty on the Asian continent." George W. Bush fastened onto the genius of Indian democracy very early on, long before he was president. This has now become an even more central element of American foreign policy, given the march of freedom across the Greater Middle East and the president’s emphasis on the growth of pluralism, democracy and democratic institutions in that region.”
After considering the above, if resplendent roses and deciduous trees of all manner are not overwhelming your imagination with a stunning display of vernal regenerative beauty, better check your pulse.
Yet closer examination indicates that a number of the exaltations heaped upon the United States’ new confederate in the Far East are both unwarranted and highly disingenuous.
Admittedly, one can find a degree of ambivalence concerning the deepening relationship between the United States and India in our daily doses of agitprop. Yet by and large, the corporate media applauds what it portrays as an expanding partnership between the world’s most powerful democracy and its most populous democracy.
Their propagandistic deception begins with the simple use of the word democracy. Neither country qualifies as a constitutional republic, let alone a true democracy. Rife with election fraud, Corporatism, gross wealth disparities, militarism, belligerent expansionism, toxic nationalism, and a laundry list of traits characterizing a fascist state, the United States could easily qualify as one of democracy’s greatest foes. India does not lag far behind.
Hype and spin aside, determined investigation and fastidious scholarship by people like Bangladeshi barrister M.B.I. Munshi, researcher Isha Khan, and many others reveal the ugly realities behind India’s corporate media façade. India and the United States do share a number of commonalities, but few of them relate to “democracy”, “liberty”, or “solid moral foundations”.
While it is true that both nations were founded by noble people who wrested themselves free of the yoke of Great Britain’s imperial oppression, like degenerate trust fund children, the heirs of liberty have defecated on their family’s reputation and squandered their fortune.
India’s Monroe Doctrine
Providing painstaking documentation in his 2006 book, The India Doctrine, M.B.I. Munshi clearly exposes India’s unwritten and unacknowledged ambitions to realize Akhand Bharat (a unified India). India’s desire to attain superpower status is no secret, but its power elite and decision-makers are loathe to admit their tenacious pursuit of imperial supremacy of the subcontinent.
As Munshi’s exhaustive research demonstrates, India’s policies, attitudes, and actions toward its neighbors are quite analogous to the machinations of the United States throughout Central and South America. Replete with its own version of the Monroe Doctrine (Akhand Bharat) and an intelligence agency called RAW (their version of the CIA), India has a long-term commitment to wielding undue power and influence throughout the subcontinent.
Of the Wealthy, By the Wealthy, and for the Wealthy
In his recent book, In Spite of the Gods: the Strange Rise of Modern India, Edward Luce notes:
"This is a country where 300 million people live in absolute poverty, most of them in its 680,000 villages, but where cellphone users have jumped from 3 million in 2000 to 100 million in 2005, and the number of television channels from 1 in 1991 to more than 150 last year….India’s economy has grown by 6 percent annually since 1991, a rate exceeded only by China’s, yet there are a mere 35 million taxpayers in a country with a population of 1.1 billion. Only 10 percent of India’s workers have jobs in the formal economy."
Luce’s brief assessment above merely provides a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg. India has embraced the “Washington Consensus” with such fervor that the tenets of American Capitalism are virtually a religion amongst the power elite in Delhi
In his Yahoo Finance fluff piece, Why What’s Good for India is Good for Us(2), which is laden with hosannas for India’s emergence as a powerful democracy with free markets, economist Charles Wheelan points out that a third of the world’s impoverished reside in India and concludes that the American Way is their ticket to prosperity.
Never mind the fact that free trade, deregulation, privatization, the emasculation of organized labor, militarization, an insatiable demand for growth, and corporatization are destroying the environment, condemning at least half of the world’s population to abject poverty, maintaining a state of perpetual war, and have caused the United States to devolve into a failed state. India represents another billion workers and consumers to power the engine of capitalism. Consequences be damned! There are profits to be realized!
Israel’s Second-Best Friend?
Heavily tainting its credentials as a nation modeling and promoting democracy is India’s close relationship with Israel, a state with a foreign policy that is perhaps more belligerent, hubristic, and criminal than that of the United States, if such an “accomplishment” were possible. In 2005 India bought nearly $2 billion worth of weaponry from Israel, which qualified them as the Israeli “defense” industry’s number one customer. India officially recognized Israel as a state in 1992 and has since become Israel’s second-largest trading partner(3). While the Indian government enriches Israel (a nation engaged in the ruthless oppression and collective punishment of the Palestinians), further destabilizes the subcontinent with its heavy militarization, and prioritizes spending on weaponry over humanitarian needs, a third of their population wallows in profound economic misery.
It’s Just Another “Goddamned Piece of Paper”
Perhaps one of the most telling hypocrisies entangled in the intricate web woven by the ruling elite of Washington and Delhi is the Bush-Singh nuclear agreement. Barring unlikely resistance from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the United States will begin supplying India with uranium sometime this year. While the United States will almost certainly go to war with Iran to squash its attempt to develop nuclear capabilities, it is preparing to provide India with nuclear materials. Rogue states that it is, the US is unilaterally altering the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by denying Iran, a party to the treaty, its right to develop nuclear power, and enabling India, which has not signed the NPT, to further its nuclear program. Coupling this with Ehud Olmert’s recent admission that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal denudes the deeply duplicitous agenda of the United States (and its allies) and further destabilizes our world in a profound way.
Did Blackwill write of “solid moral foundations”?
Please do hold the music, Mr. Armstrong. Those illusory springtime blossoms accompanying the US-Indo alliance wither rapidly in the face of relentless wintry blasts of truth concerning the widespread, persistent human rights violations and social injustices in India:
Ostensibly armed with “rights and liberties”, most people in India grapple with an archaic and ineffective justice system. The poor and middle class are subject to a woefully inadequate judiciary and law enforcement apparatus which is heavily biased toward the wealthy and powerful(4). (Sound familiar, America?)
The Indian government is a slow, inefficient and deeply corrupt bureaucracy. (Feel the resonance on this one too?)
While the rigid caste system has relaxed to some degree, the Dalits (aka “Untouchables”) still face tremendous discrimination at the hands of the Brahmins (the Hindu elites). Even after the valiant efforts of the late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a Dalit who rose to great prominence and became the principal architect of the Indian Constitution, true social justice for the Dalits is still but a tantalizing mirage(5).
Despite laws banning the traditional mandatory dowry, India’s National Crime Record Bureau has determined that there is still one dowry death every 77 minutes! The rampant consumerism and materialism engendered by India’s love affair with the US socioeconomic system has heightened demands made by grooms and their families. Often, when a bride’s family is unable to “deliver the goods”, the groom brutalizes or kills his wife. Like many of the laws India has passed to uphold human rights, the legislation banning the practice of dowry demands is rarely enforced(6).
Another tragic result of dowry demands is the wide-spread practice of infanticide. Many Indians consider having a daughter to be a huge liability. Since 1987, ten million female infants have died at the hands of parents unwilling to face the hardships imposed by the deeply ingrained dowry system. One common technique parents employ to murder these precious innocents is to pour sand in their mouths just after they are born(7).
Representing another egregious violation of human rights (and yet another feeble effort by the government to protect the victims) is the existence of an estimated 12 million child laborers in India. That figure comes from the power brokers in Delhi. Various NGO’s and charitable organizations assert that the number of Indian children enduring the deprivation of their childhood, hard work for ridiculously paltry wages, and physical beatings is much higher(8).
The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend
One of the oft-heard reasons that the United States and India constitute a match made in heaven is that India is an ideal ally in the “War on Terror”. Remember that the United States and its collaborators are actually waging a war on Islam. They are the enemy because a large number of Islamic people have the sheer audacity to dwell in a region possessing a significant percentage of the world’s remaining oil reserves and in and around the land the Zionists, with British and American complicity, elected to steal.
Mother India is certainly doing her part to quell the “Muslim rabble”. Aside from her close alignment with Israel and the United States, her ongoing war with Pakistan over Kashmir, and her pursuit of domination of her Muslim neighbors on the subcontinent (i.e. Bangladesh), she is home to a pathological strain of Hindu nationalism known as Hindutva. A spokesman for RSS, perhaps the most radical Hindutva organization, stated:
“The entire world acknowledges that Israel has effectively and ruthlessly countered terror in the Middle East. Since India and Israel are both fighting a proxy war against terrorism, therefore, we should learn a lesson or two from them. We need to have close cooperation with them in this field."
In February of 2002, Hindu nationalists slaughtered between 2,000 and 5,000 Muslims and left another 150,000 homeless in the Indian state of Gujarat. In her book, The Gujarat Genocide, Garda Ghista observes(9):
“Even after the initial 72 hours, the violence continued with the active support and collaboration of local police,”
And noted author and human rights activist Arundhati Roy wrote this of the Gujarat massacre:
“We’re sipping from a poisoned chalice—a flawed democracy laced with religious fascism … Gujarat has been the petri dish in which Hindu fascism has been fomenting an elaborate political experiment.”
Recently, the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee conducted a study on India’s minority populations. The results are now in the hands of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Consider some of the report’s findings relative to the Muslims of India [who encompass 140 million people or about 15% of the Indian population](10):
• In rural areas: 94.9% of Muslims living below poverty line fail to receive free food grain.
• Only 3.2% of Muslims get subsidized loans.
• Only 2.1% of Muslim farmers have tractors, while just 1% own hand pumps.
• 54.6% of Muslims in villages and 60% in urban areas have never been to schools. In rural areas, only 0.8% of Muslims are graduates, while in urban areas despite 40% of the Muslims receiving modern education only 3.1% are graduates. Only 1.2% of Muslims are post-graduates in urban areas.
• While West Bengal has 25% Muslim population, only 4.2% are employed in state services. In Assam, with a 40% Muslim population, only 11.2% are in government employment. Kerala has 20% Muslims, but only 10.4% of government employees are Muslim.
• In Karnataka, where the Muslim population is 12.2%, 8.5% are employed in government services. While in Gujarat, of the 9.1% Muslim population, 5.4% are in state jobs; in Tamil Nadu, against a 5.6% Muslim population, 3.2% are employed in government.
• Though West Bengal is known as a political bastion of the left bloc, the ones who have always spoken strongly against parties entertaining communal bias, the state has zero% Muslims in state PSUs. While Kerala has 9.5% in state PSUs, Maharashtra has only 1.9%.
• Though the Sachar committee was not able to secure data regarding the presence of Muslims in the armed forces, it is fairly well-known that their percentage here is not more than three.
• Muslims form only 10.6% of the population in Maharashtra, but 32.4% of the prison inmates here are Muslims. In New Delhi, 27.9 % of inmates are Muslims, though they form only 11.7% of the population here. While in Gujarat, Muslims form 25.1% of the ones imprisoned, they form 9.1% of the population. In Karnataka, Muslims form 12.23% of populace and 17.5% of those imprisoned.
It would appear that India deals with its “Muslim problem” in much the same way that the United States deals with its “Black problem”.
Careful scrutiny of the consummation of the US-Indo relationship and India’s meteoric rise toward superpowerdom via American Capitalism raises serious doubts about our collective sanity as we perpetuate an exploitative system conceived in the minds of men whose thinking was heavily shaped by their imperialistic and colonial socioeconomic paradigm. Concluding mass psychosis becomes even more probable when one considers that corporate personhood, monopolies, plutocratic tyranny, and unbridled avarice have so perverted what might have evolved as an ethical and sustainable socioeconomic system.
Why are so many people so deeply committed to an economic scheme which truly rewards so few? Driven by greed, ruthless competition, and oppression, this virulent system is truly beneficial for the mere handful of the world’s 6.5 billion human beings who parasitically monopolize most of the available wealth. Paradoxically, in a world still abundant with resources, a large percentage of the population wages a constant (and for many futile) struggle to attain the necessities of life.
Our ugly manifestation of Capitalism has relegated most of the human race to some form of slavery, serfdom or indentured servitude. It is an irresistible force devouring Mother Earth’s resources faster than she can renew them, befouling the environment with toxins and pollutants, and causing the extinction of animal and plant species at an alarming rate.
So the next time a think tank propagandist or corporate media pundit crows about India’s conversion to the “American Way”, remember that their sophistry amounts to a twisted celebration of the demise of humanity and the Earth.
From birth, it is burned into our cerebrums that the “freeing individualism” of Capitalism and the “stifling collectivism” of Communism are the only socioeconomic models from which we can choose. This is a despicable lie. We are not intellectually constrained to adhere to an ill-conceived economic philosophy hundreds of years old. Nor are we bound to its antithesis, which Marx formulated as a radical reaction to the harsh brutality of Capitalism. Somewhere between these two extremes lies a synthesis that could incorporate the best of both.
As human beings, we have been blessed with highly developed frontal lobes. If we are to survive as a species, we must use this gift to find a viable middle ground between Capitalism and Communism…hence enabling some semblance of Mr. Armstrong’s “wonderful world”.
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically, his essays have appeared widely on the Internet, and he volunteers at homeless shelters. He welcomes constructive correspondence at email@example.com or via his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/
Sources and Further Reading: