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?
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?