Saturday, July 29, 2006

What We Must Do Part II: Clean House

We've come a long way with U.S. ambassador to Nepal James F. Moriarty here at blogdai. Today, ol' James waded once again into the fray by sticking his polarizing nose where it doesn't belong. Using his usual diplomatic "cattle prod" style, Mr. Moriarty bluntly throws his and the U.s.'s weight around the peace process by calling flatly for the Maoists to lay down arms before any interim government can be formed Next, in a typical self-contradiction, ol' James chimes in with: "...the rebels could someday endup overpowering the state, given the way they are casting their influence in every walk of life.”
Does this man have any idea about the level of confusion he is causing by his conflicting statements? Moriarty says that, in order for the Maoists to get what they want, they must lay down arms; yet almost in the same breath he says that their armed campaign has a real chance of giving them what they want.
U.S. ambassador to Nepal, James F. Moriarty, illustrates with his hands how close Nepal is to achieving peace and stability as a result of his meddling.

Contradictions aside, it's a little too late for ambassador Moriarty to call for the Maoists to disarm or cease anything. These are the same Maoists that he helped usher through the back-doors of power with his cheerleading encouragement. What more can Prachanda ask when the spokesman for U.S. policy in Nepal says things like:

May 24, 2005:
“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."

July 2005: "
Why would the Maoists be willing to give up now? Their party fought insurgency for nine years and now they see their opponents crumbled, dividing themselves, mired in acrimony." "If I were a Maoist, I'd think I was making good progress...I would try to put differences between the parties and the palace, and get them to do the Maoist business of tearing down the political structure,"

February 2006: "Maoists will feel no need to abandon their goal of absolute power as long as they believe they are winning and as long as the King and parties remain divided. The Maoists will rightfully conclude that they are winning.”

April 2006: " I have a gut feeling that ultimately the King will have to leave if he does not compromise. And by ultimately I mean sooner rather than later. The King will lose his kingdom, if he does not move fast". Moriarty is also reported to have said in an interview with CNN that the "US did not want to see King Gyanendra forced to flee clinging on the wings of a helicopter".

Very Bush-like "gut feeling" James, but what makes you think that the Maoists will now heed the turncoat advice of their biggest fan and give up their weapons? Are you trying to scare Nepali politicians into doing something? I've got news for you James, they're already scared but still too inept to do anything.

Yes, by all means the Maoists should disarm before any interim government can be formed, but this statement from Moriarty has lost all credibility in light of his other counterproductive and uniformed rantings.

He should have played the part of neutral broker yet he has inflamed and frustrated all parties in the peacetalks and blogdai feels the damage from this is not yet done.

Prachanda, who has been an outspoken critic of Moriarty, will use the ambassador's utterances as a catalyst for his upcoming withdrawal from the peacetalks. On the other side, the inept SPA can claim they had everything worked out until Moriarty threw a wrench in the mechanism. Koirala and the boys love to point the finger at others-- it shifts attention and blame away from their own failings. It looks like it will be Moriarty's meddling comments that will get SPA off the hook this time.

blogdai has noticed a shift in attitude among those foreign service workers in Nepal who have contact with the ambassador. Previously, there was a light-hearted contempt; lots of grousing about how difficult is was to work for such an aloof and detached individual. Now, blogdai's friends are zipped-up and quiet. Something is in the works here, people. Moriarty is either an isolated pariah, or there is an official edict of some sort that forbids any public discussions about the man. We are under no such shackles here at blogdai. In fact, I feel a large, obnoxious proclamation coming on...



The Bush administration is on "India autopilot" when it comes to a cogent Nepal policy. Basically, Moriarty apes the administration's position, i.e. India's position. This was fine for a while, but ol' James is a bit of a maverick. He likes to shoot from the hip and spout off. He locked horns with Donald Rumsfeld over Taiwan once and lost. You'd think he would learn his'd be wrong. Moriarty once rightly condemned the SPA/Maoists 12-point agreement as a lot of fluff; then a funny thing happened: Bush visited India to welcome Singh into the nuclear "boy's club" and, like magic, the next thing coming out of Moriarty's mouth was how useful the agreement between SPA and the Maoists was as an instrument for cooperation.

blogdai speculates that Moriarty may get another one of his high-level slap-downs and be forced to come off the disarmament statement a little. After all, a fully disarmed Maoists movement in Nepal runs contrary to India's vision of an unstable and dependent Nepal.

By his own admission, James F. Moriarty knows little or nothing about politics in Nepal. What he does know is how to destabilize, frustrate and disrupt a process with uninformed and often contradictory rhetoric. We need to start a process that ultimately leads to his removal from office. Ambassadors supposedly represent the best and most rational nature of a country's foreign policy. They are sent to nations as a means to calm disputes and clarify the stances of the governments they represent. They are NOT supposed to antagonize or provide blythe, inflammatory commentary. To this end, ambassador James F. Moriarty does not represent the feelings of either the U.S. government or its citizens. He is a loose canon that is ill-suited for a volatile Nepali political climate. He is the wrong man for the job and he is doing it the wrong way at the wrong time. He needs to go. Let's begin our campaign to help Nepal clean its house of one of the most counterproductive diplomats in history.
So, loyal readers, below are listed some very basic addresses to which you can voice your opinion on ambassador Moriarty. Take a few minutes and, if you are so inclined, send off your opinions of the man and his agenda to the U.S. embassy in Nepal. Say what you want but it might be good if we all mentioned something about Moriarty's destabilizing influence and the sense of an unfocused U.S. Nepal policy we all feel from his utterances. Most of all, politely ask for his permanent recall to the United States.

Try these addresses and good luck: (E-mail for the U.S. embassy in Kathmandu)


If you're feeling ambitious, Send a letter or call Moriarty's boss at:

U.S. State Department
Public Communication Division: PA/PL, Rm. 2206 U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, D.C. 20520

Update: August 7. blogdai's friends at State say that Moriarty has no future schedules or "postings." Meaning, and entrenched bureaucrat like Moriarty is now out of options. His career is up after this Nepal blundering. Look for the 9 month out-of-Nepal prediction we made here to shorten up a bit. Maybe 6 months?




At 2:42 AM, July 31, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pray tell us Blogdai, what _your_ training and background is for knowing so much about Nepali politics. You can't just get away with saying "I'm a Western observer based in Nepal, just read my blog".

I would be happy to write to the State Department but I need to know where you are coming from.

At 10:39 AM, July 31, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Thank you for the query.

If the content of the last posting makes good sense to you, then you should write the state department. Content of ideas, not blogdai's resume' are the key.

Does knowing something about blogdai somehow add credibility to what has been said here? Certainly not.

If YOU feel Moriarty is an idiot, then write. blogdai merely presents a compilation of readily-available Moriarty quotes and forms an opinion.


At 1:39 PM, July 31, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Get away with..." what is that?
Bd can say and post whatever whenever. What exactly is there to "get away with?"

At 8:16 AM, August 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bd can say and post whatever whenever.

So can any idiot. What separates the two is that Blogdai wants us to act upon his writings. If that is so, can he really post whatever whenever?

At 8:26 AM, August 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly is there to "get away with?"

Get away with taking potshots at public officials from behind a veil.

At 10:32 AM, August 01, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Babu Ram want us to act on his writings, yet we do not. Kim Jong Il wants us to act on his rantings, yet we do not. Why? Because humans should and usually do exercise individual judgement.

blogdai wants you to think. If you are looking for someone to lead you by the nose in order to take the burden of deep thinking away from you, or if you must have an automatic, blind trust in an individual in order to believe them, perhaps you should try govrnment or foreign service: you may just have the knack.

How sad it would be if everyone had to verify credentials before speaking their minds. Is this your type of democracy?

Moriarty deserves more severe scrutiny than my verbal "potshots." Had you done a little research of your own, you would have known that the potshot is an admittedly favorite technique of our good ambassador. By his own admission he seeks to create controversy and have people wondering "..what's Moriarty doing, now." (para.) Just google him and get a look at the hole he's dug for himself. (Oh, sorry, that would be independent research, not blind trust).

The disconnect here is that you are in the world of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather journalism. We trusted these individuals because of their history and resume. We believed in them. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has used and betrayed this public trust to the point where we now see many trusted media institutions being called into question for their ethics.

Blogs are different. We do not ask for your trust here, and hence we offer no credentials. Take a look at those "potshots" I took at Moriarty. Everything taken was from mainstream media sources. Those items of personal interview and conjecture are labeled as such. In the Blogosphere, if I were presenting boldface lies about the man, our readership would only be too happy to lower the boom on blogdai, and we would lose our readership through the court of public opinion.

What Nepal needs (remember, this is my opinion, so do your best to think independently) is more discussions like ours; not a pious credential-waving fest.

Moriarty has blundered time and time again. The mainstream media refuses to study Nepal issues to any kind of logical depth, so those of us who can, point out what we see to be problems and leave it up for the readership to decide. If not me then who?

"Potshots from behind a veil," how laughable. It just shows how far down the actual strength of one's ideas has fallen. You would have me lift the veil only for the purpose of returning the potshots, I'm sure. He said, she said: welcome to political discourse in the new millenium.

You think it's a potshot? Well, yes, it very well may be; but tackle the merits of the potshot not the author. Prove to me, through your own potshots if need be, that this article on Moriarty is not accurate, relevant and necessary to current and intelligent Nepal discourse and I'll retract it.

Have someone lead you through the process if you lack the resume.'

At 9:06 AM, August 08, 2006, Anonymous Bhudai Pundit said...

Wow Blogdai you love to go after people. I remember several months ago I came here and left a comment about your attack of some van something.
Here we go again. Well quiet frankly you have wasted your time. We have a useless bunch of political leaders, a useless civil society etc. We cannot get our sh*t togeather. Who the hell cares about Moriarity? I see him as being rather irrelevant to the problem. And quiet frankly I thought Keith Bloomsfield was far more meddlesome and nosy...

At 10:32 AM, August 08, 2006, Anonymous Bhudai Pundit said...

Now its hard to have a discussion or have "your say" when it takes this long for a comment to post. it's not your fault but maybe you should choose a different feature that allows the comments to come through without your moderation.
i like your articles but without a proper fourm to discuss them you migt as well keep your thoughts to yourself. right?

At 10:54 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Agree with you on both points (almost) Bhudai. Unfortunately, since i do have a propensity for "going after" people, and our readership is quite high, we've collected our fair share of hackers and sabboteurs. Sorry for the inconvenience on this, but blogdai would spend half the day cleaning up false posts and death-threats that really WOULD limit our discussion. I've eliminated that meddlesome word verification feature. It's better for you guys but I spend another half hour a day cleaning up blog-spam as a result. Ah... the sacrifices I make for our readership.

On your other point, yes, normally Moriarty would not be worth the pot he pisses in; but Nepal is different. Moriarty influences decisions by his words. The players use his utterances as another chess-piece for negotiation and conflict; not the place for an ambassador. Plus, Nepalis have not had the wide ranging media cynicism that Westerners have developed and tend to take every utterance from america as gospel.

He needs to just shut up.


At 2:00 PM, August 08, 2006, Anonymous Bhudai Pundit said...

Moriarity is just a reflection of US foregin policy in general. We all know the US is often selfish, meddlesome, contradictory etc. But hey which country isn't? I don't think India is any better. Shiv Mukerjee might not have a loud mouth but I gurantee you that he is doing more to destabalize Nepal behind the scenes.
The biggest problem is that our own political leaders don't have the balls or the brain to do anything. Our civil society leaders are not far behind and the people think the solution to everything is to burn tires and vandalize public property.
No I think we should concentrate our energy on changing ourslves. Moriarity can rant and rave as he please. I think it's shame that a diplomat has this much bearing on our internal affaris - that says alot about our ourslef.

At 2:49 PM, August 08, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Correct and right on target.

It's not so much the content of Moriarty's speech that does the damage, it's the almost childlike belief that Nepalis have in any utterance from any world power.

That's why I pick on him. Nepal does not have a wide history of approaching media or diplomatic utterances with a critical eye.

We are posting something today that gives us a way to fight back against shoddy reporting. I've also taken your suggestion and will remove the moderation screen for this post.


At 2:49 AM, August 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mukherjee is a Bengali. The same class (Begalis) of people who have elected Communists like Sitram Yechury and Jyoti Basu for 30 years at stretch in West Bengal.

What else can you expect from Shiv Sunder Mukherjee but a support for Nepali Maoists. Damn, I get frustrated by this Indian government.


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