Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Diplo-Speak Revisited


U.S. Ambassador James Moriarty doing hand-strengthening exercises in anticipation of his next golf outing.

We haven't done this for a while, so let's look at some related events and some of the remedial ramblings of our diplomatic community. (blogdai commentary in blue)Here is U.S. Ambassador Moriarty, none too subtley, trying to condition Nepal on the main thrust of U.S. policy: GET RID OF THE MAOISTS. Anything else the Yanks say or do is designed to either placate world hysteria or soothe some special interest.

Moriarty's quote timeline:

December 2004, "There is a real possibility that there will be a Maoist government here."Nice, there, ambassador. Scare the hell out of everybody. His tone here suggests his relative newness in office, and that he is still pouting over the Nepal assignment; he really, really wanted to work in China, darn, darn, darn!

May 24, 2005: “If the government and the parties do not find ways to reconcile... There is a very good chance that the Maoists could find a way to turn all of this to their advantage and ultimately end up marching in the Singh Durbar [the central government secretariat]," Mr Moriarty told the BBC. Still the hysterical, desperate imagery but notice how the tone has softened a bit. This is a minimalist approach to diplomacy. Take U.S. policy and make unapologetic, absolutist statements from it. More childish tabloidisms.

June 6, 2005, “Nepal would have been at the economic take off without the Maoist conflict”Realizes people aren't responding to the political angle, decides to try economics. This is a subtle reference to U.S. economic assistance, implying the Yanks would have taken a greater interest in Nepal's economic situation withouth the Maoists.

June 24, 2005: "Should we give $2 million of security assistance this year, or $500 million to refugee camps scattered throughout India in the not too distant future?" Shows his impatience here. Tries to equate a very American argument about saving money to a situation where lives are lost and people are scared and panicked. A typical ham-fisted Moriarty statement. What do poor Nepalis care about the costs? They care about peace and safety. Moriarty thinks that by converting a humanitarian crisis into a potential budgetary crisis he will win more support back in the U.S.

So, after Moriarty's crude policy bombs, both Donald Camp, this week, and Christina Rocca before him, add fuel to the anti-Maoist fire:

June 28: Donald Camp, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs (Needs 2 business cards just for his title) said that the Maoists are the "most immediate threat to a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Nepal". Diplo-speak: The U.S. is going to deal with this "immediate threat" before anything else; democracy later. Using the word "immediate" means that this is the U.S.'s first priority.

Quoting US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Camp said, "Giving security priority over democracy gives us neither... Democracy is the only idea powerful enough to overcome division, hatred and violence." Contradicts his above statement. This is a placating statement designed to appease the world community. Typical American sense of hegemony here. Arrogantly states that democracy is some free-standing concept that is a cure-all for every culture.

Extra from Camp:

Also, From Kantipur Online June 28: "Commenting on the king's announcement of holding municipal elections, Camp said free and fair election is always important component of democracy. However, he added that during his meeting with Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala earlier on the day, the former didn't urge Koirala to participate in the municipal elections." This is the second time Girija has been told to sit down and shut-up by the Yanks. Christina Rocca did it as well, if you'll remember. The fact that two representatives of the U.S. Government took the time to tell Girija to get out of the way speaks volumes. Girija, for all his corrupt senility, is still the symbol of multi-party democracy in the eyes of many Nepalis. The Americans are saying that the old form of democracy is unacceptable. We want a new democracy with new people.

Epilogue: I can't find the article just now but apparently Surya Bahadur Thapa returned from India and breathlessly announced that (paraphrasing) "...India is ready to help with the Maoist problem." This is just fine, says blogdai. Where were they the last 10 years when Maoists were fighting and winning larger battles that they are now? No, this is India trying to beg its way back into the process: too little too late. Maybe they should ask China for permission?

-=blogdai



Update: July 1, 2005. "Scoop" gets it right by publishing probably the best summary and analysis of the situation blogdai has read to date: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0507/S00003.htm

In the article,Madan Prasad Khanal gets it right as well; basically reiterating everything we've all been talking about here at blogdai, and, does the whole thing with more patience and aplomb than blogdai could muster on a handful of Paxil.

Is the media finally starting to think?

24 Comments:

At 5:12 AM, July 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like our friends at Samudaya have had their website blocked by the government:

http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=44526

naagboy

 
At 8:14 AM, July 02, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

It's a shame, this sends the wrong message to the world.

All of us are being scrutinized by G. There was a hint that our blog was blocked in Nepal after some particularly egregious Paras bashing, but there was no way to confirm this.

There is no mistaking Samudaya's pro-parliament, perhaps pro-party bend. We've certainly run headlong into their pro-ICG bend.

It is a pity that G cannot see the implications of this type of censorship. Samudaya has it's position, sure, and it is a bit anti-monarch, sure, but if you are G and trying to convince the world that you are going to re-establish democracy then why attack one of democracies greatest attributes: freedom to dissent?

-=blogdai

 
At 10:08 AM, July 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could be some over-zealous, toady official looking for brownie points. There's plenty of them around after all.

In any case a proxy such as can be found at http://www.proxy.org/ should do the trick.

naagboy

 
At 10:55 AM, July 02, 2005, Anonymous ratomato said...

I think this is where arguments for support of the king's move run into very murky grounds. How do you support something that is trying its best to supress the very being of your existence - the right to dissent. Surely its more than just a PR mistake on part of the king's men. Fine you say you dont support the methods but this has been going on for almost six months now. You'd have thought they would have learnt their lessons by now.
Anyway, good to see you coming out in support of Samudaya.

 
At 12:05 PM, July 02, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

I don't really support Samudaya's practices and pro-party leanings.

I do support giving everyone, pro and con a fair voice; it doesn't help G's cause if he stifles any side of the debate.

Anyway, in that spirit I've invited Samudaya to use our blog as an unedited posting cite for their views, since we here at blogdai are not currently banned in Nepal.

This is not designed to be some sort of barometer of Samudaya's commitment to democracy, but more of an attempt to show G that it is not the pros and cons that matter so much in a debate; rather more an unwavering belief in the principles of free speech to the extent that we will support the publishing of opposing views in an effort to maintain the integrity of such principles.

So King G, welcome to Democracy 101, lesson one.

-=blogdai

 
At 12:45 PM, July 02, 2005, Anonymous ratomato said...

Right, point taken.
That's what I was thinking of when I meant support anyway.

 
At 2:21 PM, July 02, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

I agree - it is not a good idea to block Samudaya. I disagree with a fair amount of its content (and get seriously bored with the volumes of hot air/personal aggro that it seems to attract) but there is also a great deal of valuable, considered opinion expressed.

In any situation where differences of view give rise to 'troubles' I strongly believe that the only way to a peaceful solution must include the widest possible dissemination of what people actually think. Ignorance of other people's views only fuels polarisation, in my opinion.

 
At 8:24 PM, July 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is out of context, but wow really interesting blogspot. Just came across by chance. hope to visit more often.

 
At 8:48 PM, July 02, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

You are always welcome, bring your opinions!

-=blogdai

 
At 12:12 AM, July 03, 2005, Anonymous PoliticalKanchha said...

Blogdai,

By trying to take different statements by different people made in different contexts you have only tried to complicate the US government's stance towards Nepal.

I am pretty sure any clear-eyed diplomat realizes that KG is the best hope for Nepal. He is our only path to STABILITY and ultimately democracy (even if we have to wait till 2015).

It's just that in the post-9/11 (cum democratic idealism) world, nations that have supported the Iraq effort just cannot support a monarch who seems to be moving in the opposite direction. Hence the nuance.

Don't bet on any military aid coming from the US!

 
At 8:25 AM, July 03, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

No, try again, the statements are related, that's why they are together; they clearly show a coordinated pattern of thought and of policy; read it again.

What do you mean by democratic idealism?

What do you mean by nuance?

What do you mean by clear-eyed?

Can you back up why you think the U.S will not send military aid when they have done nothing but make statements to the contrary?

-=blogdai

 
At 11:37 PM, July 03, 2005, Anonymous Politicalkanchha said...

Blogdai,

I don’t mean to start a war with you! After all, we are on the same team (and there’s very few of us. There’s commies are all over, dude!!)

All I meant was that now that the US has put so much effort to plant the seeds of democracy in Iraq, the Bush administration has staked it all in that mission. Just listen to what Condi said in Egypt! [democratic idealism]

I am pretty sure there’s many US expatriates all over the world questioning “Can we really give birth to democracies in country without a homogenous population (Iraq)? Can democracy take root in a country without a sufficient middle class (Nepal)?” And more importantly the clear-eyed (pragmatic) ones would understand that the only way to block the Maoists from causing damage to our nation is to support the king!

PK

 
At 4:53 AM, July 06, 2005, Blogger Pradeep Chand said...

Dear Blogger,

I came across your blog when I was searching for blogs related to Nepal. I think its really well presented blog with quality posts. But I am amused why you have stopped adding contents. I think you should pursue with your blog.
I have also started a new blog about Nepal. You can visit the blog at Nepal Blog . Can you please give me some suggestions about the techniques you use for blogging? Like how do you generate your content? Do you have multiple authors? and so on....
Contact me at pradeep.pradmail@gmail.com.

Waiting for your reply,
Pradeep

 
At 8:15 AM, July 06, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Hello Pradeep,

Cannot seem to raise you at your e-mail address, so here we go.

Blogdai is not driven by the need to constantly Post all the time. Our Stories are news-driven and we don't necessarily respond to every quirk that surfaces in the media.

We do have some underlying themes, however, Media accuracy is my pet issue so you will see us going after shaky and inaccurate stories on Nepal. Also, any chance I get to ridicule a Koirala or Paras will be acted upon.

For content, YOU are the content of your blog. Write something you think is new and refreshing. Write about the things you know and don't act as if you know too much, readers are smart and will pick up something phony.

Above all, do your research. Get the background information that tells the real story, not just the story you may think is correct.

Good luck saati,

-=blogdai

 
At 5:24 PM, July 06, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Blogdai has confirmed that Samudaya.org has in fact been blocked in Nepal. There was some controversy yesterday, but it appears as though the block is in effect.

Our own Roger has picked up Angela's thread over at Samudaya. I hope he knows what he's getting into.

Good luck Roger!

-=blogdai

 
At 5:33 AM, July 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well London has been bombed in a coordinated attack. I suppose it was bound to happen - payback time.

Tony Blair made a good and statesman like speech under distressing conditions.

Wander what effect this will have on the international notion of terrorism.

Naagboy

 
At 6:21 AM, July 07, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

Mr Blair said ..."It is important that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world,"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4659933.stm

 
At 7:35 AM, July 07, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

I keep thinking about a Bush sound byte: "Freedom is on the march.." and I wonder if it is marching in the wrong direction.

-=blogdai

 
At 8:34 AM, July 07, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

My feeling is that 'marching' is not a 'peaceful' activity.

 
At 10:56 AM, July 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well ...tony blair didnt think about determination against terrorism when it came to supporting the war against maoists..intresting read...andrew duncans letter to tony blair after arms aid was cut off. http://peacejournalism.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=1405

 
At 4:44 AM, July 09, 2005, Anonymous Brit said...

Perhaps he needs reminding

 
At 9:40 AM, July 09, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

I'm not convinced that Nepal was ever on Blair's radar, other than as a vehicle for influencing public opinion towards Britain's policies.

Blair, or more specifically, Jack Straw can and do or say whatever they think will win public support on Nepal because no real, principled opinion is required from the Brits; they're not significant players in Nepal despite the media's crowing to the contrary, so they can be the cheerleaders of mass-opinion all day if they like.

-=blogdai

 
At 12:26 PM, July 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that Zhang Mu has been a regular source of military aid to Nepal for both the government and the Maoists.

Sssh. Don't tell the Indian.

 
At 2:03 PM, July 14, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Well, Zhangmu has usually been a source of really ugly prostitutes-- and most recently, the plague. It seems that the Chinese practice of "eat anything that moves" caught up with them when some restaurant owner served up some rotten marmot meat, yum!

Seriously, RNA and special police have apprehended a few folks smuggling arms from Tibet into nepal. This inflow from China is but a small trickle when compared to the truckloads of munitions that travel across India's porous border with nepal, however.

Blogdai suspects that chinese weapons are not in Nepal due to some government mandate of China, but rather they are the result of the usual trade in PLA service-issue weapons that find their way into the black-market. We do see a lot of those Chinese mock-ups of the Russian Tokarev TT pistol series in Nepal. It's an older weapon and leads one to believe that the type of weapons that makes it to Nepal from china are phased-out, retired, or obsolete PLA-issued weapons. When we see the wholesale movement of heavy mortars or tanks from China, then we should worry.

-=blogdai

 

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