Sunday, March 13, 2005

Mixed Opinions

A good chance to clean up some loose ends. -=blogdai

The World Bank. Recently announced the suspension of some 70 million in aid to Nepal. blogdai says: three cheers! World Bank means big, culturally insensitive projects with little concern for human and environmental impact. Mostly, they screw up the developing world by building dams. Their disastrous 121 million dollar failure with the Arun III hydro project in Eastern Nepal is a classic World Bank fiasco. http://www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/v3i1/wldbnk31.htm Seems they, and our wonderful former Nepali g0vernment, failed to adequately address and compensate Nepalis who's land was snatched-up to make room for the dam. Big dams don't work in Nepal. Melamchi, Kali Gandaki and others have all had their share of monumental problems. Does this bother the World Bank? Not a chance. Good riddance. Blogdai has a soft spot in the heart for one Deborah Moore; formerly of the World Council of Dams. She is a tireless crusader on water issues and frequently butts-heads with the World Bank. Google her, she's the real deal.

The Political Parties: Well now, Monday is rolling around in Kathmandu and our intrepid, supressed political parties are planning a protest. They are now touting their new "arrest policy" which means they'd rather go to jail for effect rather than actually compromise or negotiate. Is this the best that they can do? Seems that all they want to do is garner that simplistic, knee-jerk world condemnation of the takeover rather than work out a plan. Hint to the parties: The Western media is tiring of the Nepal story so stop with the drama.

We are also hearing reports of former government officials being indicted for conspiring with the Maoists and for Murder. Blogdai and other Kathmanduites are not surprised. These people, throughout the years, have shown that they would ally with anyone or anything that would give them even the slighted political leverage.

Ramesh Nath Pandey: Your inexperience is showing. What did you think would happen during your India visit? India is still posturing for the high ground - it's all they know. Lot's of rhetoric while Pakistan and China are taking care of business on the ground. Sorry mister minister, you've been used. You walked right into that public snubbing.

Anonymous comments: We at nepalnow.blogspot.com ask for contributions from any and everyone. We are more concerned about the strength of ideas than the resume' behind them. Some might feel compromised and inhibited if they were forced to leave a verifyiable name as a source. We prefer to hear your ideas in their fullness and with no self-censoring. So, post away - use a fake name if you'd like - and keep the ideas strong, thoughtful and reasonably lucid.

Predictions: A lot of you say "who the hell does this blogdai think he/she is" when we make predictions on this blog. Blogdai says: read all the postings and all the threads and you will see that we are trying to raise our level of play (RYLOP) past the lazy blathering of the Western media. Keep track. We've been on target and ahead of the media in our predictions. Some of our correct predictions include:

1. Pakistan will step up and sell arms to Nepal (read below)

2. Political parties have been, and will again seek alliance with the Maoists (here and below)

3. China will play an increased role (read below. Also, China's foreign minister announced a
Nepal visit for this April. Knowing the Chinese, look for this to occur around April 1: another
prediction)

So, for fun, let's make more predictions:

1. India will relent on their arms ban to Nepal.

2. The political parties, sensing futility, will compromise and allow the King something like
a "grace" period to enact reforms.

3. The U.S. will never formally ban weapons sales or aid to Nepal.

4. The political parties will formally align with the Maoists. (No, really, they will)

5. (A stretch) India will back-down on Kashmir negotiations with Pakistan over their
weapons deal with Nepal.

-=blogdai

14 Comments:

At 10:38 AM, March 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogdai, just curious to know what your reaction is to the latest Nepali Times article:

http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue238/editorial.htm

 
At 10:45 AM, March 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another interesting link for discussion:

http://www.sebsonline.org/forum/forum_view.aspx?F=1&T=62308

 
At 10:47 AM, March 14, 2005, Anonymous A said...

Another prediction:

The Nepali government will never take up the Pakistani offer.

The Pakistani offer was brilliant. It was not only an opportunity to offer a gesture of solidarity towards the king in his time of need but more so another opportunity to unsettle India. But will Nepal take up such an offer?

G is not only a king but a HINDU king. He knows very well that, whatever the immediate politics in India, a significant proportion of the Indian population do have a soft corner for him and his Hindu “Rastra”. Ashok Shingal's Vishwa Hindu Parishad has unequivocally supported G's move and so has the RSS. These two political/religious organizations also happen to be part and parcel of the BJP. BJP's politics, as we very well know, is grounded in this idea of "Hindutwa" which if I may venture to add is one potent force that drives the Indian psyche. And, bear in mind, though a secular congress party is in the seat of power today - India in the vernacular is often referred to as Hindustan.

If G were to accept any offer from Pakistan, a country that has been at loggerheads (just to put it mildly) with India since its creation, he would in one suicidal move squander all the goodwill and support from the general Indian populace. Then, he would have to deal with an aggressive India working for nothing less than a regime change. And this for sure would signal the end of the Shah dynasty.

The Indian establishment knows very well that Nepal will not turn to Pakistan. The ambassador’s comments would hardly have attracted Indian attention were it not for the China factor. What is unnerving for India, I think, is the possibility of a China signaling via Pakistan.

If the King is pushed to the corner and if he has to seek assistance it will be China he will turn to. Seeking assistance from a communist China to quash a Maoist rebellion would be far far more palatable to the Indians rather than a Nepal turning to the Pakistanis. This G understands.

The foregoing analysis is of course based on the event that India maintains its current position and turns the screws on G even tighter.

What will happen I think is that India will reassess its position vis a vis military assistance to RNA. It will not want to open up any space whatsoever for a Chinese entry into Nepal. On the political front, however, we can expect the Indians to keep on pushing all the levers that they have access to. G for sure will not be given the luxury of having a good night's sleep.

A

 
At 11:11 AM, March 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Nepal should not be fooled by Pakistan's offer. We are historically and more importantly economically tied to India. We should look at India's concern and push India to look at ours.
India cannot afford to double play. While giving shelter to Maoists and then calling them terrorists should not be the policy of India.

King G is safe, the Americans and the Chinese are the counter weight to India. India will try to meddle but I think King G is smart and shrewd.
King G must have a more capable Foreign Minister.

 
At 1:10 PM, March 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Pakistan will try to squeeze in Nepal's radar and I think behind the scenes are persuading the Chinese to be more active in Nepal's affair.
More or less, the Chinese will come and I do not understand how the Indians will lose from this scenario. Nepal simply cannot write India off and China or Pakistan cannot bail us out.
And
Why the hell did FM go to India?

 
At 5:11 PM, March 14, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

THE NEPALI TIMES ARTICLE.

Something to hide? MIN BAJRACHARYA
TIMES: It is difficult for us in the media to look for a light at the end of the tunnel when that light could very well be another train. There are many things that puzzle us about the past month, but none more so than the crude way that the media has been bludgeoned. A counter-insurgency war is no picnic, we grant that, and it would be foolish to seek subtlety and sophistication in these times. But such a broad swipe at civil liberties risks endangering the very institutions you are trying to preserve. The treatment is more damaging than the disease. After all, what are we up against here? An underground group that doesn’t believe in democracy, freedom, pluralism, a free press or non-violence. How does it help to fight it by undermining the institutions which believe in those very same values? Political parties which have been the worst victims of Maoist atrocities and believe in non-violence are supposed to be on your side. Civil society is a bulwark against extremism. A free press, besides being a fundamental right, allows people to vent off steam so pressures don’t build up.

BLOGDAI: Steam is always directional, there is seldom a "venting" allowed without an agenda behind it. A free press in Nepal can be a manipulative press as well. G wanted to put a damper on the rampant tabloidism that was bound to surface had the press been given free reign. Is this democratic? Probably not but blogdai has said that this is a time of correction. The king wanted nothing to do with a press-induced ratcheting up of public hysteria. Plus, there was bound to be some sympathetic reporting on Maoism as some sort of grand “people’s struggle.” Blogdai thinks that G. simply didn’t have the patience for all of that static.

TIMES: How then does it help to weaken those who are on your side? Imprisoning parliamentary leaders helps only those who have no use for parliaments. Harassing civil society strengthens only those who believe power comes out of the barrel of a gun. Gagging the press emboldens those who abhor freedom.

BLOGDAI: If they had acted, legislated and represented the people like a real parliament, they wouldn’t have been in prision. “…barrel of a gun” statements help make blogdai’s point about tabloidism and ratcheting up the hysteria.

TIMES: These are not western concepts being rammed down our throats by outsiders. The Nepali people have by now been accustomed to political choice, to think and speak freely. They have come to rely on a vibrant and independent media to inform them of events and interpret them from a wide range of perspectives and opinion. Turning the clock back may buy time, but the people won’t take it for long.

BLOGDAI: They understand political choice, but are by no means certain of how to exercise their rights to choose and dissent or they wouldn’t have let this go on for so long. In today’s world, it is impossible to “turn back the clock” to what I assume the reference to be: the Panchayat era. G. has not banned political parties or branded them useless as was done in that era.

TIMES: Hitting the mute button has silenced not just the media, but the people as well. It’s not just journalists who miss press freedom, the people want it too. Some won’t like us saying it, but we’ll say it anyway: the people don’t trust the official version of events even if it is the truth. Even as a counter-insurgency strategy the press needs to be kept free and credible. The information gap across Nepal is now being filled by clandestine rebel broadcasts, or by the BBC in Nepali (see Radio). Gagging FM news means outlandish rumours run rife. How does all this help fight terrorism?

BLOGDAI: Letting an unrestrained Nepal media loose would multiply the rumor index tenfold.

TIMES: The only reason we can see is that someone somewhere has something to hide. But even that is the wrong reason because the harder you try to hide the more obvious the deception becomes.

BLOGDAI: Hide what? Explain. This is pure theater. Blogdai wants press freedoms restored as soon as possible, but why would I want to get information from this sanctimonious, self-righteous journalist? Ask yourselves, is this person being objective? Is this the kind of journalism that we could count on for an unbiased representation of the facts? No. G. knows this as well. The entire media “hook” on this Nepal issue is the suppression of ‘democracy.” It stirs emotions and gets people to buy newspapers. All stories will or would have had some reference to a tyrannical king and a poor repressed political system. The sad thing is, almost none of those types of stories would or will be written by someone who has actually set foot in Nepal, much less has a handle on the political machinations therein.

 
At 5:16 PM, March 14, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Thanks, these ideas are fresh!

Looks like G. played his Pakistan card. You are right, it is designed to piss off India; howeve, G. needs arms so he will keep that door open.

Blogdai thinks India will "turn the screws" tighter only as political theatre. Already, back-channel contacts are having an effect and we will see India privately supporting the king- if only for the reasons you mentioned: balancing china's influence. -=blogdai

 
At 2:52 AM, March 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey that article in nepali times is not by Min Bajracharya ...he just took the photo next to the article...thats an editorial

 
At 2:49 PM, March 16, 2005, Anonymous P said...

DId you know about this blog??
http://freenepal.blogspot.com/

 
At 5:27 PM, March 16, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Yes I do and it is, for the most part, wonderful. freenepal is the perfect examply of what blogdai has been saying all along: Nepalis are knowledgable and passionate about their politics. I recommend that all our readers give it a look.

It can be rather raw, but that's politics in Nepal. Blogdai welcomes any of their readers to nepalnow.blogspot.com. -=blogdai

 
At 10:34 AM, March 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just apply this to Nepal and the American policy...

""SO-CALLED ‘democracy promotion’ has become the leading theme of declared US policy in the Middle East. The project has a background. There is a


'Where democracy appears to fit in well with US security and economic interests, the United States promotes democracy,' Carothers concludes. 'Where democracy clashes with other significant interests, it is downplayed or even ignored.' ""©2005 by Noam Chomsky

 
At 4:50 PM, March 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blog dai has become lazy in the past days, already 19th and not new blogposts ? I need some taja khabar.

 
At 8:08 PM, March 19, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Many apologies dai,

blogdai is going to washington for a meeting and must prepare.

Will have lots of new stuff when I return. How about some riot photos for now? Let me put some up..

-=blogdai

 
At 7:48 PM, March 24, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Anon 10:34, that was very insightful. Few are aware of the tremendous duplicity in democratic practice.

It all boils down to self-interest.

Where we all fail is in believing that democracy is some sort of natural state where everything will eventually work itself out for the good of all. Nope, democracy is a difficult system to maintain. It's just plain hard work that requires constant vigilance to keep from crumbling under the weight of self-interest, greed, factionalism and all those other things that come natural to us humans. -=blogdai

 

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