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 http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullstory.asp?filename=6a6Ua8ua.9amal&folder=aHaoamW&Name=Home&dtSiteDate=20060729 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.” http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullstory.asp?filename=aFanata0sa3qzpga8Ra0a8a.axamal&folder=aHaoamW&Name=Home&dtSiteDate=20060730
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.
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 lession...you'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.
email@example.com (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?