Saturday, November 29, 2008

Views on the News - 28/11/08

Latin America: Russia Bolsters ties with Venezuela

Taking advantage of America’s waning influence in Latin America, leaders of Russia and Venezuela vowed closer cooperation to establish a “multi-polar” world. The pledge came ahead of planned Russian Naval exercises with Venezuela. Speaking about the closer military cooperation Russian President Medvedev said, “is not a market relationship or aimed at any other state but is based on partnership ... It should strengthen multi-polarity in the world including in South America and Latin America...We will develop our military cooperation.” Hugo Chavez the leader of Venezuela expressed harsher words about US hegemony. “We should fight to make a world of catastrophes caused by hegemony and unilateralism a thing of the past,” said Chavez, going on to denounce what he called the “dictatorship of the dollar” and announcing efforts to move away from dollar transactions in trade with Russia. On the commercial front the two countries inked an agreement on atomic energy and also signed an agreement on cooperation in the fossil fuel sector, aimed at stepping up existing exploration projects in Venezuela by companies such as Gazprom. The agreements are an unequivocal reminder that Russia is carefully manoeuvring itself in the region to offset NATO’s expansion eastward and American presence in the Black Sea.

Europe: In an unprecedented move China cancels its summit with EU

On 26/11/2008 China announced that it was to postpone a summit with the EU - planned for 1 December - because of European contacts with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. EU diplomats say China has been angered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to meet the Dalai Lama. France holds the EU's rotating presidency. Mr Sarkozy has said he will meet the Dalai Lama in Poland on 6 December. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said "we oppose any foreign leaders having any contact with the Dalai". The Chinese government has previously said Mr Sarkozy risks losing "hard-won" gains in ties with Beijing if he meets the Dalai Lama. This is the first time that the Chinese government has taken the unprecedented step of cancelling a summit meeting with the EU. The move is a growing sign of a confident China that is increasingly willing to put its national interests ahead of its commercial interests. In this case, Beijing regards Tibet an integral part of China and has eschewed any attempts by the West to suggest otherwise.

Middle East: Jewish state of terror

Gaza’s complete suffocation has already resulted in a human catastrophe not witnessed before even during the times of war. What kind of government in the 21st century can deny another people basic human rights— that is, the right to food, water, shelter, security and dignity? What kind of government imposes draconian sanctions on another people for electing a government not to its liking? What kind of government seals a heavily populated territory of 1.5 million people so that no person can enter or leave without permission, fishermen cannot fish in their own waters, and world food aid cannot be delivered to the starving population? What kind of government shuts off fuel, water and electricity and then rains down on the people, bombs and artillery fire? The brutal state Israel of course! And yet, government after government in Israel continues to demand recognition and accolades as a first world democracy superior to all others. Worse still, the world has acquiesced and has welcomed every Israeli administration into its fold as a favoured guest. The rulers of the Muslim world are by far the biggest culprits. Without their economic support, phoney wars and peace overtures the Jewish state would cease to exist.

Middle East: Dubai goes from Boom to Bust

On 24/11/2008 nervous property investors were told that the Government of the United Arab Emirates would stand behind Dubai's obligations. Dubai’s debt stands at $80 billion or $40,000 per person. To dispel the concerns of investors, a deal was done to bail out two struggling mortgage banks that dominate the city-state's overheated property market. Amlak Finance and Tamweel were folded into a shadowy government institution out of which emerged a new entity, Emirates Development Bank. Dubai and other oil rich gulf states were supposed to be rich, floating on a magic carpet of hydrocarbons. The oil is still there, but everyone is learning that the Gulf's economies are as connected to the global financial system. Across the region markets are falling in nations awash with petrodollars. This is not surprising as the capitalist economic system dominants the gulf countries with some dressing of Islamic finance. 2009 is going to be a tough year for the region as Western demands for dollars places heavy pressure on GCC countries to sacrifice their economies in preference for western economies.

South Asia: India again points the finger at Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks

On 27/11/2008 the Indian Prime Minister in collusion with the Indian media squarely held Pakistan responsible for the attacks that left 130 people dead and over 350 injured. However, pointing fingers at Pakistan does very little to masquerade the growing influence of secessionist and militant movements that routinely blame Indian governments for oppressing their people. Apart from the well known Kashmiri militants, India is beset with armed militant movements struggling for greater rights. Some of the notable ones are United Liberation Front of Asom, National Democratic Front of Bodoland, People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, National Liberation Front of Tripura, Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, Bru National Liberation Front, Arunachal Dragon Force, Khalistan Liberation Force etc. Added to the secessionist movements are a myriad of Hindu militant movements that seek to cleanse India of Muslims and Christians. To put it another way, India is a country teetering on the brink of dissolution. Given this reality, it is insidious for any Pakistani leader to give concessions to a belligerent India that regards Pakistan as a reneged province of mother India. Last week, Pakistani President Asif Zardari broke with tradition and delighted India with no nuclear first strike policy. His predecessor Musharraf broke another taboo by officially abandoning the Kashmiri people. Pandering to Indian demands will never allow the Pakistani establishment to overcome the nexus of American-Indian-Israeli cooperation.


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