Gordon Brown (nearly) nicked my idea


by Sunny
22nd January, 2008 at 9:00 am    

As I pointed out earlier, I was asked to pitch ‘an idea to change the world’ at the Fabian Society annual conference this Saturday. The idea was about South Asia and I thought to myself: ‘what one policy would transform our relationship with South Asia (on the cheap) while stabilising the region?‘. Bear in mind, I had 2 min to present the basic idea and argue why Labour should pursue it.

So here was my pitch: Britain should unilaterally suggest that India and Pakistan both be made permanent members of the UN Security Council, with veto powers, in return for signing up to the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.

It would be justified on the basis that India is a growing power that needs representation, while Pakistan is of vital geo-political importance and the only Muslim state with nuclear technology, and thus justifies its importance at the Security Council. Plus, the SC needs to expand anyway since it is grossly unrepresentative of the shifting balance of power.

There are several aims here:
1) To make British relations with India and Pakistan much warmer, since it is a position both countries covet.
2) To formally accept that both countries have nuclear weapons programme and its better to have them within the NPT, and have their arsenals monitored by the IEAE, rather than outside.
3) There would be less incentive for other countries like Iran to break from the NPT, since right now India/Pakistan are shining examples of countries that have refused to be part of it, developed their own arsenals and not been heavily penalised for it. It would also put pressure on Israel to join the NPT.
4) Makes war between India and Pakistan less likely given they now have much bigger status in world affairs.
5) Accession to the NPT is very important. We need a strong Pakistan which is not stand-offish with the wesrt. And we need a Pakistan which has its nuclear capabilities monitored by the IEAE rather than closed, regardless of who rules it.

I knew that it wouldn’t be a popular proposal with the Fabians, who generally hate nukes anyway. Plus I wasn’t putting forward some pie-in-the-sky idea to create world peace but basically playing realpolitik. It was like a Dragon’s Den session and I was pitching to Dennis MacShane MP, Rachel Briggs from Demos and Paul Hilder from Avaaz.org. Ed Miliband MP, cabinet minister, was chairing the session.

Anyway, after I make my proposal, the Dragons have to give their opinion. Dennis MacShane MP absolutely loved it and said I should become foreign secretary instead of David Miliband. His brother can’t offer an opinion as he’s the chair. The other two were quite sceptical because they thought Pakistan was too unstable and there is little democracy there (agreed about instability, but China/Russia have less freedom domestically). It got quite a good debate going and I was pleased with it. The audience voted it down of course.

Anyway, so yesterday Gordon Brown announces that he supports India’s entry into the UN Security Council as a permanent member. Obviously, the Indian media will now love him up. But he could have gone all the way like I told him – would have been much better. Damn these politicians who only half listen to you.

Unsurprisingly, the Times of India is already saying that if India and the UK had a “partnership of equals”, then India should be given a veto too. Never underestimate Indian pride. I told numerous people at the conference after that a seat without a veto wouldn’t get much traction in India.

Clearly, I don’t expect most of you, being idealists, to like my proposal either. :)


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  1. Dhanush — on 22nd January, 2008 at 10:26 am  

    Can you get any further up your own arse?

  2. Jeez — on 22nd January, 2008 at 10:57 am  

    You really blew it this time So(u)nny!
    Bro…where have you been living??? When the rest of the world is having headaches about good ol Pak, you come out with this…Truly the mind boggles.
    *Still digesting this*

  3. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 11:10 am  

    Rewarding Pakistan for making a mockery of the NPT by giving them a seat on the security council? Er, that’s going to discourage Iran etc from ignoring the NPT how?

  4. Ros — on 22nd January, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    Brown sounded like the old imperial master of India. He would like a bigger role for India at the UN, IMF, G8. But who the hell is Brown to make demands? What power does he really have with international institutions?

    Brown skirts the real issue about membership of the UNSC. Why should Britain or France (with 60m population) continue to be permanent members? Shouldn’t they vacate if India is made permanent (after much grovelling)? Did the self-deprecating Manmohan Singh (with that deapan expression) have the guts to ask Brown?

    And note the coverage in the Brit papers – all the photos are of Brown, wife or Branson, none of the Indians. Did he really go to India?

  5. sonia — on 22nd January, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    This is a very strange idea Sunny – I can’t say i think much of it. Do we really want Pakistan on the UN Security Council?
    And aren’t we going to be setting a precedent for other countries with nuclear desires: hey this is a great way to get on the UN Security Council!

  6. sonia — on 22nd January, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    i mean look at the state of the country – you may as well ask Bangladesh to get on the Security Council at this rate.

  7. Sid — on 22nd January, 2008 at 12:06 pm  

    Pakistan, a military dictatorship, a permanent member of the UN Security Council? There goes the neighbourhood.

    What you smoking mate? Let me join you please, cuz my stash got kaned by a bunch of Islamist democrats and other contradictions in terms.

  8. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 12:07 pm  

    Great idea Sunny. Very original.

    Don’t listen to the naysayers here, they are no idealists.

    However I would have gone further, I would have kicked off France and Britain. I would have gone for the democratic route based on population and aspiration, and a security council that is elected every 5~10 years – with no one with a veto.

    India should see it as the bribe it is – well half a bribe (no veto).

    For Sonia’s sake lets give Bangldesh a saet too.

    But to be honest the glaring ommission is that there is no muslim country on the security council and your proposal would have done it. Although I would have preferred the OIC to put forward a representative country perhaps Pakistan or Indonesia.

  9. Jai — on 22nd January, 2008 at 12:22 pm  

    I would have gone for the democratic route based on population and aspiration,

    Global economic ranking should be a major factor too.

    Ideally there should be a country from Africa as well (depending on which nation there is the most stable and developed) — you have to cover every continent if the UN is really supposed to be a global organisation.

    You’ll need at least one from the Middle East too, although obviously that’s a bit tricky at the moment if democracy is supposedly one of the core criteria (and yes I can see the paradox here in relation to China).

    Not sure it would be appropriate to have Pakistan there yet, but India should definitely be there. Perhaps it’s time for France to be removed ? (jeez, that’ll be a real blow to their national ego…..they won’t like that at all…..)

  10. Sid — on 22nd January, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

    but India should definitely be there

    I would have agreed with you until Modi got elected into high office last year. Does the Security Council have room for an advocate of ethnic cleansing?

  11. Dhanush — on 22nd January, 2008 at 12:42 pm  

    an advocate of ethnic cleansing?

    A few hundred Muslims does not constitute “ethnic cleansing”.

  12. Jai — on 22nd January, 2008 at 12:45 pm  

    Thinking laterally, the rest of the security council could always state that addressing that issue (and dealing with it effectively, handled either by the Indian government or via a direct investigation by the UN) should be a pre-condition of India becoming a permanent member.

    That would place the requisite pressure on the relevant parties.

  13. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 1:07 pm  

    I’ve no idea what France and even China were doing as permanent members of the UNSC in the first place, unless it was to rub the respective German and Japanses noses in their defeat. India contributed far more to the Allied war effort than either. Thinking about it’s probably safe to say that bloody Belgium contributed more to the war effort than either.

  14. Ravi Naik — on 22nd January, 2008 at 1:31 pm  

    “It would be justified on the basis that India is a growing power that needs representation, while Pakistan is of vital geo-political importance and the only Muslim state with nuclear technology”

    I am also trying to digest this. Rewarding a country for having nukes (and even selling technology to rogue states), and being a strategic partner on the “War on Terror” ™, is to me appalling. I guess Iran should be next.

  15. Ravi Naik — on 22nd January, 2008 at 1:34 pm  

    I would have agreed with you until Modi got elected into high office last year. Does the Security Council have room for an advocate of ethnic cleansing?

    That’s democracy, Sid – just suck it. One would equally say the same for the Americans, given the retard that still sits in the White House.

  16. Leon — on 22nd January, 2008 at 1:43 pm  

    Get rid of the SC, give every single member of the assembly the veto, make it a true world parliament.

    There I said it.

  17. Sid — on 22nd January, 2008 at 1:52 pm  

    Yeah Ravi, I support democracy but that doesn’t mean I have to support the products of every democratic franchise. That would mean backing Zimbabwe, the elected government of the Palestinian Authority (Hamas) simply because they got higher vote counts. India has no place on the SC given the election of Modi. And I would argue the legitimacy of China on the SC based on their record of ethnic cleansing of their Uighur population.

    I’m tempted to side with Leon on #16. There I said it.

  18. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 1:54 pm  

    Bert

    You could have argued that Pakistan paid a very heavy price by supporting the US in its obsession with bringing down the Soviet Union.

    WWII is now clearly an irrelevance – its really the post-Cold War that needs to determine how we structure our global affairs.

  19. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:07 pm  

    Refresh – Pakistan had a vested interest in supporting the US, as the USSR would have rather liked access to her ports from where they could control the Gulf and Indian ocean.

    I’d favour the amount of clout carried by a UN member to be based on how many over 60s they have in their population, thus rewarding those that keep people healthy for longer as well as encouraging population control. Problem is this would mean a China dominated UN – maybe the clout could be capped or ideally the UN should only listen to proper representative democracies.

  20. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:16 pm  

    Vested interest – you could have argued that case for each country who participated in WWII except India (and Pakistan).

  21. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:22 pm  

    It would be more plausible if the foremost international body itself was democratised before silly arguments suggesting membership of any part of the UN should follow a prescribed political system (or far that matter economic system).

    Bert, your idea of giving more power to countries with higher proportion of the over 60′s itself is anti-democratic. And it demonstrates how democracy is used and abused by the ‘democrats’. They want democracy only until it gives them what they want. Isn’t that the reality? Democracy has become a tool.

  22. Justforfun — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:28 pm  

    Interesting ideas Bert – now that would be revolutionary – to reward countries with seats and votes depending on the proportion of their population (and those within their self appointed juristictions)that meet health targets.

    say
    - infant mortality
    - aged population

    What other criteria would be fair to measure?

    Justforfun

    PS – Bert – the China SC seat originally was sat on by the Nationalist based in Taiwan. The PRC only got their bum on it in the early 70′s when the US abandoned Taiwan for the PRC in a pincer on the USSR and also in the vague hope of accessing PRC markets. It of corse has not quite worked out that way, but it made sense to the American industrialists at the time.

  23. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:34 pm  

    “Interesting ideas Bert – now that would be revolutionary”

    Unfortunately not quite as revolutionary as you would hope. Imagine how you might be able to keep a rival from joining? This is how statescraft seems to work.

    Cynical? Of course. Just look at what it took for China-proper to get its rightful place.

  24. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    “Vested interest – you could have argued that case for each country who participated in WWII except India (and Pakistan)”

    India most certainly had a vested interest, in avoiding Japanese conquest and in gaining independence from Britain, no?

  25. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:45 pm  

    “Bert, your idea of giving more power to countries with higher proportion of the over 60’s itself is anti-democratic. And it demonstrates how democracy is used and abused by the ‘democrats’. They want democracy only until it gives them what they want. Isn’t that the reality? Democracy has become a tool”

    I don’t see a lack of democracy as the biggest threat facing the planet today, I see that as being population growth. So to make the UN organised as a common sense would initially suggest – that is by basing a country’s votes in the UN on it’s population – would be a disaster. Countries should be encouraged and rewarded for keeping their populations within sustainable limits.

  26. Sid — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:46 pm  

    Bert, pretty sound ideas.

    What other criteria would be fair to measure?

    Other limiting factors should be:
    Extent of guncrime in the population.
    Number of high-school graduates per capita.
    Literacy rate.
    Or even virginity loss by age per country. (I think most of the data is false or incorrect on that chart anyway).

  27. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:46 pm  

    “PS – Bert – the China SC seat originally was sat on by the Nationalist based in Taiwan”

    Yeah, I know. Point was that as with France they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

  28. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:48 pm  

    There are probably a hundred or more criteria you could measure for a nation’s UN clout. But I think Sid’s virginity one is going to be a tad intrusive to measure :D

  29. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:50 pm  

    On India, it was a question of a choice between the Raj and Japan. I understood independence came because the war left Britain bankrupt and reliant on the US. That’s an aside to be honest.

  30. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    It is un-democratic, whichever way you look at it. Your proposal immediately attackes the roots of democracy – the concept of equality.

    In the end you have to look at the outcomes. Its designed (unwittingly) to maintain the status-quo.

    Another aspect you might want to consider is how populations deplete. Famine? War?

    Iraq is down a million in the space of less than a decade – for example.

  31. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:02 pm  

    By the way I am with Leon’s world parliament concept. No veto for anyone. Except one condition, Tony Blair to be banned from entry for generations even if he does become President of the EU.

  32. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:07 pm  

    Bert

    ‘Countries should be encouraged and rewarded for keeping their populations within sustainable limits.’

    On environment grounds and every other sustainable metric the US is unable to sustain its population, followed closely by Europe. The fact that this is not so apparent given the wealth of these countries, is down to ‘maintaining’ priority over global resources.

  33. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:07 pm  

    “On India, it was a question of a choice between the Raj and Japan. I understood independence came because the war left Britain bankrupt and reliant on the US. That’s an aside to be honest”

    After the Japanese attacks India was promised independence in return for assistance in the war. Somewhat surprisingly, she got it.

  34. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:11 pm  

    Bert – but did anyone trust Winston Churchill to deliver? No. There was always a real danger of backsliding.

    It was the Labour landslide that actually did the trick, and the recognition that the empire was unsustainable.

  35. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:12 pm  

    “On environment grounds and every other sustainable metric the US is unable to sustain its population, followed closely by Europe. The fact that this is not so apparent given the wealth of these countries, is down to ‘maintaining’ priority over global resources.”

    I disagree. The US and EU have already controlled population growth to the extent they now require immigration, and are the main players in global campaigns to cut environmental damage. They’re not doing enough of course – but then nobody is. They’re also the ones investing in development of technology designed to create sustainability, as well as being main providers of foreign aid and disaster relief.

    The fact that they mostly caused the problem in the first place is neither here nor there, revenge isn’t going to get us anywhere.

  36. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:15 pm  

    Refresh – I did say ‘surprisingly’ the promise was kept. The name Perfidious Albion didn’t come about for nothing – but on the other hand a few million Indians were either confident enough, not cynical enough or hungry enough to volunteer and did a damn fine job.

  37. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:30 pm  

    Bert
    ‘I did say ’surprisingly’ the promise was kept.’

    Yes you did.

    On the question of population control – the presumption is that it just happens. When in fact it comes about through economic progress and stability.

  38. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:36 pm  

    Economic progress has nothing to do with it, look at the huge population explosions in the oil rich states. It’s all about eductaion, medical care, political stability.

  39. Cover Drive — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:38 pm  

    Other limiting factors should be:
    Extent of guncrime in the population.
    Number of high-school graduates per capita.
    Literacy rate.
    Or even virginity loss by age per country. (I think most of the data is false or incorrect on that chart anyway).

    Very good. I would also add:
    - access to health services
    - access to basic education

    India, Pakistan and sub-Saharan Africa would do pretty badly based on these indicators. Despite all the economic reforms India has undertaken since the early 90s, very little effort has been spent by the government on social development (e.g. education, health services, etc). That’s why I think India’s economic rise will be far less spectacular than what many people predict. A semi-literate country will always play second fiddle to the likes of US, China, and Russia.

  40. Cover Drive — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:39 pm  

    Sorry about the formatting. What happened to that preview button?

  41. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:39 pm  

    ‘Economic progress has nothing to do with it, look at the huge population explosions in the oil rich states. It’s all about eductaion, medical care, political stability.’

    I think we might actually be agreeing with each other here. Not sure about population explosion in the Mid-East unless you meant the missing million in Iraq.

  42. Justforfun — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:43 pm  

    The sub-continent’s independance had been on the cards for 20 years before final independance – the process was a slow negotiated settlement, but pre war – no one thought it was not going to come eventually. That is why many Indians joined up to ensure a British victory and prevent an Axis victory which would have stalled any independance for the sub-contitent for many more generations. Sure many joined up to get a job, but how does that explain the educated officer class who joined up? Why did they not throw their lot in with the Axis? Our ‘grandfathers’ were not idiots, they did know the score.

    Post WW2, the haste of the withdrawal was due to Britain’s bankrupt state, but independance itself was not. Perhaps the haste was made worse by Labour who had no interest in making the working population of Britain (ie its conscripted army) sustain any further hardship in maintaining law and order on the sub-continent. Perhaps a second term Churchill might have had the authority and respect in the British Army to ask the British Army to remain at its post to ensure a less bloody birth?

    There are always two ways of looking at things.

    Justforfun

  43. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:44 pm  

    The Iraqi population is still growing, war and all.

  44. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:48 pm  

    “Perhaps a second term Churchill might have had the authority and respect in the British Army to ask the British Army to remain at its post to ensure a less bloody birth?”

    I’m not sure that would’ve been the case. The average British soldier by that time was pretty thoroughly pissed off with being overseas, and the prospect of several more years in India would’ve had him raging into his bully beef and probably kicking everyone up the arse within range.

  45. fugstar — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:48 pm  

    Yes they’d both like a seat at the Imperial Table and would do eachother over for small benefits. To the embarrasment of onlookers. India launched an israeli spy sattelite the other day. Good for India, i guess they are doing whats in their own interests.

    A lot of the world is sucking up to India, which might be bad from the point of view of the smaller regional neighbours which (some of) it hegemonises and meddles with.

    The best thing that could happen would be for india to be offered a seat and refuse to sit of such a stupid disgusting and backward group of interests and in the background for some dreamy asian-african-south-american nexus of solidarity to emerge. It wont though.

    The concerned ummah nations were a little daft in aggreeing to help the americans do over the soviets in afghanistan and not get a seat on the council because of it. The silly buggers didnt fluffed it all up and now all we have are the damaged goods.

    In the meantime, indonesia and turkey are good candidates for the oic’s representatives. Though they arent nuclear enough for the rest of the devilish cavemen at the table to take them seriously.

    Bangladesh, at this stage, suffers from an alienating and foriegn aid driven community that calls itself civil society, it has trouble organising itself with political maturity and stability. Unfortunately it wouldnt be able to put forward a candidate that more than 30% of its population could trust. We have lots of problems and don’t need your south asian liberal pity for goodness sake.

  46. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 3:56 pm  

    ‘We have lots of problems and don’t need your south asian liberal pity for goodness sake.’

    Not pity. A sop to Sonia.

    ‘The concerned ummah nations were a little daft in aggreeing to help the americans do over the soviets in afghanistan and not get a seat on the council because of it. The silly buggers didnt fluffed it all up and now all we have are the damaged goods.’

    They should never have sided with the US or anyone else. India (along with Brazil) proved it by being the backbone of the non-aligned movement. That was the rightful place for muslim countries, not as cannon fodder for the US. What dignity was there in that.

  47. Ravi Naik — on 22nd January, 2008 at 4:07 pm  

    “Or even virginity loss by age per country. (I think most of the data is false or incorrect on that chart anyway).”

    What?

    “That’s why I think India’s economic rise will be far less spectacular than what many people predict. A semi-literate country will always play second fiddle to the likes of US, China, and Russia.”

    Perhaps in relative terms, but in absolute terms you have a literate middle-class the size of France. And I absolutely don’t trust Chinese figures when it comes to poverty and literacy levels. Where India shows all its misery for the world to see, China hides it.

    Yes, permanent seats in SC should be banned. It is very post-WorldWarII, and it should adapt to the current reality.

  48. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    On the whole I agree with JFF and Bert, the pre-Pakistan Indians did take a high-minded view of their role in WWII.

  49. AsifB — on 22nd January, 2008 at 4:33 pm  

    I take it MacShane was like Bannatyne in a good mood then…. Who was Peter Jones?

    Refresh 46. “They should never have sided with the US or anyone else. India (along with Brazil) proved it by being the backbone of the non-aligned movement. That was the rightful place for muslim countries, not as cannon fodder for the US. What dignity was there in that.”

    Its not as if the Muslim countries did not try – All the larger by population Muslims states have had post-independence non-aligned, non-army largely secular leaders (Nasser, Sukharno, Mujib)- and such types were frequently undermined by the US in favour of more aligned types (usually with the help of “pliant army” and “rightist cleric” types to undermine the formers’ authority – though it has to be said varying degrees of lack of competence, democracy and corruption meant the post independence leaders did a good job of undermining their own credibility. (Nehru just about stayed credible till the end but has to share some blame for partition, Kasmir and post-independence militarisation of South Asia)

    So I don’t think the post-colonial Muslim word was allowed to be dignified and non-aligned in the sense you see Refresh. (Turkey is a special historical case while the drawing of borders and granting of independence to oil rich emirates from northern Nigeria to Brunei (date of independence 1984 – yes as recent as that) restricted the growth of autonomy from the West elsewhere.)

    Fugstar:I am not sure any country could pick “civil society representatives” that more than 30% of the population would not have concerns about, (think of the Clinton hate in the US or is Bob Geldof saint debates here)

    At least in UN Security Council terms, Bangladesh has stuck to supporting diplomatic suggestions like SAARC (the South asia would be EU) and not pusuing nuclear weapons in a way that neither India or Pakistan has?

    In 1945, the logic of the UN Security council permanent members veto was a mixture of picking victors of WWII and the bigest nations (except for Mao). I think we have to agree the 21st century criteria first before nominating states. If this is achieved at the same rate as other UN projects, who knows those Picklers who live till 2045 may yet see a meaningful reform through…

  50. Dhanush — on 22nd January, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

    India (along with Brazil) proved it by being the backbone of the non-aligned movement.

    Indo-Soviet pact 1971.

    Non-aligned status didn’t last long kiddo.

  51. Dhanush — on 22nd January, 2008 at 4:43 pm  

    So I don’t think the post-colonial Muslim word was allowed to be dignified

    There’s always someone else to blame for Muslim problems hey? So not a single Musulman had the balls to stand up and think for himself out of a 1 billion + populace?

    The Ummah really is in disarray.

  52. fugstar — on 22nd January, 2008 at 4:52 pm  

    Bring back NAM on some revulsion to climate changespeak basis. The smaller folks need to get a handle on the big brother behaviours of the larger ones. Arguably it does already exist, but its not very liberal brasian friendly, as some point one has to summon the balls of steel again.

    Pakistan got perverted (amongst other things) by the CENTO mistake of 54 and following stupidities. Maulana Bhashani and others were against the idea, but hey and bunch of brown sahibs got neat jobs and an inflated sense of importance out of it. My respect to those sincere mujahids at the ground level, but a severe bollocking to the general perversion and distraction from building a just economically emancipated country.

    AsifB, dude allloow the ‘even though’ arguments for comparative deshi political less lameness. Bangladesh is in a weak position at the moment. Get your head around this ‘diplomatic honour’ we are the most developed least developed country according to the perverse UN technocracy. When you are weak a dignified posture is to avoid being used, despite having a caravan load of sweet poison talking diplomants at your displosal. Otherwise you are a liability to your community.

  53. AsifB — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:06 pm  

    Dhanush 51. -I agree the Ummah is in disarray (And by this I do not mean I want Muslims to unite under a Caliph, I do not support and have never sympathised with HT ok?) and accept that it is wrong to blame someone else for Muslim problems.

    But I do think however in post 49, I was actually saying that since 1945, at least a few Muslims have tried to play a ‘dignified role’ and supported ‘non-alignment in the Cold war’ – and by ‘at least a few’ I do mean some very popular independence leaders and large parts of their populations and successors.

    If Cold war US interests meant that such forces were squashed/did not succeed, then it is helpful to acknowledge this if you don’t want groups like HT to snare supporters with an anti-colonial discourse

  54. Cover Drive — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:11 pm  

    Perhaps in relative terms, but in absolute terms you have a literate middle-class the size of France. And I absolutely don’t trust Chinese figures when it comes to poverty and literacy levels. Where India shows all its misery for the world to see, China hides it.

    I think it’s still a big failure of consecutive Indian governments not to have implemented much in the way of social development. This means that the general social preparedness for economic development is limited. Contrast this with the likes of Japan and South Korea where the governments did invest in education and health care. You will not see the extreme inequalities in the spread of development that you see in India.

    Investment in education and health care can have other benefits too such as increasing life expectancy and social mobility, and controlling birth rates.

  55. Bert Preast — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:17 pm  

    “I think it’s still a big failure of consecutive Indian governments not to have implemented much in the way of social development”

    Is it the government that’s to blame? Do they promise widespread social development then fail to deliver, or is the subject not a big vote winner?

  56. Jai — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:17 pm  

    “Or even virginity loss by age per country. (I think most of the data is false or incorrect on that chart anyway).”

    What?

    Indeed…..

  57. Jai — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:18 pm  

    Or even:

    WHAT ?!?!

  58. Sid — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:21 pm  

    “What?” – criterion of age of loss of virginity is inappropriate or “What?” – data looks spurious?

  59. Sid — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:30 pm  

    If Cold war US interests meant that such forces were squashed/did not succeed, then it is helpful to acknowledge this if you don’t want groups like HT to snare supporters with an anti-colonial discourse

    That’s a good point AsifB. Very good point. But you have also to bear in mind that the new trend towards rent-a-Muslim radicalism seen in South Asian countries is largely an ahistorical reaction to heavy-handed parochial US policy in the region, whereas in the West, its a reaction to the narrative of post-colonoal angst. Its in the tentacular nature of international crackpot organisations like the HT where these narratives meet.

  60. Cover Drive — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:37 pm  

    Is it the government that’s to blame?
    Yes. Ultimately they are responsible for it, but India is a big country and you’ll see huge regional variations in literacy rate, life expectancy, infant mortality and access to health care. For example, in UP the infant mortality rate is about the same as in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Do they promise widespread social development then fail to deliver, or is the subject not a big vote winner?
    I don’t think any government at the centre has promised widespread social development. ‘Liberalization’ has been the buzzword since the early 90s, but focussing purely on economic reform is not enough for an increase in all the development indicators mentioned earlier.

  61. Refresh — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:41 pm  

    ‘That’s a good point AsifB. Very good point. But you have also to bear in mind that the new trend towards rent-a-Muslim radicalism seen in South Asian countries is largely an ahistorical reaction to heavy-handed parochial US policy in the region, whereas in the West, its a reaction to the narrative of post-colonoal angst.’

    I would agree with analysis. However it is not a new trend, its been longstanding hence the problems we have now. It is also why I am so dismayed by all those intellectuals who happily dismiss history and transplant their understanding with ideology. And ideology makes for a bigger stick. Its the same old bullshit that gave us the cold war, only now its to be called the ‘long war’.

  62. sonia — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:54 pm  

    7. Sid – good one! i’d like some of that stash as well..

    and ravi – 14 – yep..

    we should probably rename the security council to sth like the heavyweights/war-mongerers/ dont mess with us cos you know we’re nasty.

    at least then maybe we’ll see our global governance for what it is ..

  63. sonia — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

    yeah fugstar obviously Refresh was being sweetly sarcastic :-) and id say the biggest of our problems in bangladesh is not having a government but a military dictatorship, ( and rapidly heading towards becoming even more like Pakistan) which – is happily pushing through WB and IMF reforms greedily and quickly.

  64. sonia — on 22nd January, 2008 at 5:59 pm  

    “Never underestimate Indian pride.”

    that’s probably the most sensible thing you’ve said here Sunny. Ain’t that the truth, in fact i’d go further and say Indian megalomania and narcissim. ( which is clearly why in the end the so-called India-China competition isn’t a competition at all)

  65. sonia — on 22nd January, 2008 at 6:07 pm  

    or rather – the biggest problem right now. the other problem i’d say is the imperialistic nature of society and the general lack of socialistic values. given that all most people can stress about is what the neighbours will say and oh my daughter is not fair enough for marriage, or that Hindus are smelly people (!) really what can you expect.

  66. Desi Italiana — on 22nd January, 2008 at 7:03 pm  

    “So here was my pitch: Britain should unilaterally suggest that India and Pakistan both be made permanent members of the UN Security Council, with veto powers, in return for signing up to the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.”

    IMO, no one should be able to have veto power. I say, do away with the Security Council altogether; fundamentally, that strikes me as inherently undemocratic.

    And if the Security Council were to exist,I am sorry, but those who parade India as a big power that should be included in the club of other powers is a joke. How about India think about feeding and housing its people before chasing wild fantasies of some “emerging power”?

  67. Desi Italiana — on 22nd January, 2008 at 7:05 pm  

    “5) Accession to the NPT is very important. We need a strong Pakistan which is not stand-offish with the wesrt. And we need a Pakistan which has its nuclear capabilities monitored by the IEAE rather than closed, regardless of who rules it.”

    Why shouldn’t India be monitored for its nuclear capabilities? And why not other nuke powers as well?

  68. Desi Italiana — on 22nd January, 2008 at 7:08 pm  

    “Plus I wasn’t putting forward some pie-in-the-sky idea to create world peace but basically playing realpolitik.”

    That is the problem, the “realpolitik” approach to world affairs. There are ambassadors and diplomats who agree with this critique.

    Sunny, I think that a book which would interest you is “Independent Diplomat,” by Carne Ross. He is a British diplomat.

  69. Desi Italiana — on 22nd January, 2008 at 7:10 pm  

    “Clearly, I don’t expect most of you, being idealists, to like my proposal either.”

    It’s not about being an “idealist,” it’s also about being pragmatic. Realpolitik as an approach is outdated, inaccurate, and not sufficient for our times. A new approach is needed to view, analyze, and manage global affairs.

    Also, your proposals are not new, they have been voiced over the years.

  70. Desi Italiana — on 22nd January, 2008 at 7:12 pm  

    Actually, let me use this opportunity to plug Carne Ross’ book Independent Diplomat, which demonstrates what a joke the UN is, and the pitfalls of diplomacy, and his own contributions to disastrous UK positions. I agree with him on nearly all points.

  71. fugstar — on 22nd January, 2008 at 10:40 pm  

    I find the forecasts of the pakistanification of bangladesh (as a damaged goods analysis of a former torment) are a little boring and messed up. The ‘fear’ comes from a section that relies on the symbolic capital of invoking pakistan, im just putting that one out there.

    materialism and selfishness at individual, community and greater levels is whats buggering up the Noble people of the excolonial world. Need to shed the poison somehow. Big phallic UNSC positions change nothing within the worlds biggest castocracy, it will only help its entrenchment.

  72. Ravi Naik — on 22nd January, 2008 at 11:09 pm  

    ““What?” – criterion of age of loss of virginity is inappropriate or “What?” – data looks spurious?”

    Heh. Nice one, Sid. :D

  73. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2008 at 12:47 am  

    Some responses:

    Bert Prest: Rewarding Pakistan for making a mockery of the NPT by giving them a seat on the security council? Er, that’s going to discourage Iran etc from ignoring the NPT how?

    Pakistan was never part of the NPT, neither was India or Israel. We need to bring all of them within its fold otherwise it becomes irrelevant.

    Sonia: And aren’t we going to be setting a precedent for other countries with nuclear desires: hey this is a great way to get on the UN Security Council!

    Maybe… but then those countries will have to invest tons of money in developing nukes, which isn’t easy, and break out of the NPT – diplomatically very tricky.

    Jai: but India should definitely be there. Perhaps it’s time for France to be removed ?

    They can veto any plans to lose their own veto :)

    Sid: I would have agreed with you until Modi got elected into high office last year. Does the Security Council have room for an advocate of ethnic cleansing?

    Modi is bad, but given Bush fucked up a war that has since killed far more people, and the Chinese “disappear far more people every year, I don’t think human rights is a criteria for the UNSC.

    Get rid of the SC, give every single member of the assembly the veto, make it a true world parliament.

    The five members will just veto that plan.

    Desi: IMO, no one should be able to have veto power. I say, do away with the Security Council altogether; fundamentally, that strikes me as inherently undemocratic.

    Yeah, that is being idealist, not realistic.

    Why shouldn’t India be monitored for its nuclear capabilities? And why not other nuke powers as well?

    That is part of my proposal. That only leaves Israel out of the NPT, and this move would put more pressure on it to declare its own weaponry.

    Realpolitik as an approach is outdated, inaccurate, and not sufficient for our times. A new approach is needed to view, analyze, and manage global affairs.

    Umm… I don’t know what to say to that. Realpolitik isn’t an approach… it is human nature.

  74. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2008 at 12:51 am  

    “Pakistan was never part of the NPT, neither was India or Israel. We need to bring all of them within its fold otherwise it becomes irrelevant.”

    I know they weren’t. But while that excuses their own development, it don’t make sharing/swapping the knowledge a good thing to do. Dr. Khan hasn’t been punished, and Pakistan hasn’t been punished, and the world takes note. To reward them would be pushing it.

  75. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2008 at 12:56 am  

    Sunny, is the UN reform idea within your remit? How should a nation’s clout at the UN be measured? Should allies and block voting be taken into consideration or discouraged, and if so how? Shouldn’t the UNSC permanent members be disbanded rather than added to? Or if India and Pakistan are included are you happy with it as it is?

  76. soru — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:09 am  

    Realpolitik isn’t an approach… it is human nature.

    Not really true, it’s a specific doctrine about how states do, and should, behave. In my view, at best partially true, sometimes wildly wrong. In any case, it has very little to do with human nature – states aren’t people, are very rarely completely controlled by a single person, and when they are, that person is typically nuts.

    You may be confusing it with realism, or just not-being-an-ultra-idealist-who-gave-30-seconds-thought-to-their-plan.

  77. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:17 am  

    Sunny:

    “Yeah, that is being idealist, not realistic.”

    Well, that’s you being a conformist :)

    No, it’s no “idealistic”. It’s about being pragmatic, and using the UN as a platform where not only a handful countries have ultimate control. Just because someone advocates change does not mean they are being unrealistic.

    “Umm… I don’t know what to say to that. Realpolitik isn’t an approach… it is human nature.”

    Er…no offense, but if you can say that, then perhaps you haven’t really studied international dynamics and even the realpolitik school of thought?

  78. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:22 am  

    Like,you know what the realpolitik school entails, right? It assumes that states are people, when they are not, who act in their own self-interests. A lot of game theory is involved in making projections as well. It’s also a little like playing Battleship, or chess, but on a set of certain assumptions (like prisoner’s dilemna, etc).

    The Realpolitik school of thought is actually antiquated, and it’s not the only school of thought.

    As for it being “human nature,” you should really listen to what diplomats, who have worked in “realpolitiks” all their lives have to say when they critique this approach…

  79. Leon — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:22 am  

    The five members will just veto that plan.

    How do you think they’d vote on your suggestion?

  80. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:25 am  

    “That is part of my proposal. That only leaves Israel out of the NPT, and this move would put more pressure on it to declare its own weaponry.”

    Sunny, for a realpolitik advocate, your expectation that Israel would feel more pressured to declare its weaponry is odd :)

    Why should they feel pressured? Especially since it’s known that they are the 4th strongest military in the world? (Last time I checked, their placement could have changed).

  81. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:29 am  

    “Britain should unilaterally suggest that India and Pakistan both be made permanent members of the UN Security Council, with veto powers, in return for signing up to the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.”

    So let me get this straight: in an effort to be “realpolitik”-ish, you’d advocate no fundamental reform of the SC and rather see the same structure but with impoverished countries who are nuke powers to be in the position of veto power.

    If you think this is being realistic, then honestly, why should we criticize anything and advocate change, Sunny? It’s “realistic” that India continues to arm the Burmese militiary regime; it’s “realistic” that given the power dynamics exuded by Bush and Co., that Mush should remain in power…

    C’mon, Sunny, honestly… :)

  82. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:29 am  

    “Especially since it’s known that they are the 4th strongest military in the world?”

    Where on earth are you checking? I’d be amazed if they make the top 20 by any measure.

  83. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:31 am  

    Hell, someone put me up as ambassador-at-large. I’ll be good at it, I promise! I won 3 awards when I was a delegate for various countries in MUN! (MUN=Model United Nations in junior high, high school, and college).

  84. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:33 am  

    “Where on earth are you checking? I’d be amazed if they make the top 20 by any measure.”

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/special_reports/arms/israel.html

    They are also the fourth largest arms exporter:

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124566

  85. Leon — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:38 am  

    Israel are exporters in the area of getting round arms embargoes; it allows countries to sell arms via there in violation of their own agreements/laws etc from what I remember…

  86. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:42 am  

    Sorry, that Mother Jones article is on Israel being the fourth largest recipient of US arms.

    Fourth largest military: http://www.mepc.org/journal_vol12/0509_rubner.asp

    and

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,950773-2,00.html

  87. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:43 am  

    Israel’s favorite position seems to be 4th…

  88. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:43 am  

    Desi – your first link shows Israel to be the ‘fourth-largest recipient of weapons from the U.S’, bit different from fourth largest military power. Also exporting loads of arms doesn’t exactly strengthen your own military.

  89. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:59 am  

    I caught that and I stated that in #86, and posted respective links.

  90. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 2:00 am  

    Do people not get props for being honest around here? :)

  91. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2008 at 2:04 am  

    This is politics, surely?

  92. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 2:16 am  

    Oof–

    I’m leaving work and going home.

    Peace, love and grease, Picklers.

  93. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:18 am  

    “A lot of the world is sucking up to India,”

    You would too, if you saw India as a prospective 1 billion consumers market, plus as a gigantic trashcan to dump First World rubbish (as evidenced in “Illicit,” by Moises Naim), and a massive playground called “SEZ.”

    The most bang for your buck.

  94. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:21 am  

    Doesn’t anyone ever get tired of talking about Muslims and the “Muslim world?” I mean, there’s like the entire planet out there with major problems…

    Maybe my jaan Sunny will let me do a post on the tentacles of the underground economy which reach into places like Georgia, to Angola, and all the way to Argentina and the Columbian drug cartels. Oh, and throw in sex trafficking of Eastern European women who end up on the streets of London.

    Where’s the “disarray of the Muslim World” in that, huh?!

  95. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:22 am  

    What does the Umma and the Muslim World have to do with the UN?

  96. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:26 am  

    “Britain should unilaterally suggest that India and Pakistan both be made permanent members of the UN Security Council, with veto powers, in return for signing up to the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.”

    I don’t get this proposal. As the way things stand now, the UN has been rendered basically ineffective, meaning that resolutions and such are adhered to if it is convenient; some nations (usually the powerful ones) flat-out reject any moves they disagree with, while others blatantly lie about certain things. Meaning, the UN is hardly a good governing mechanism for really anything, as it stands right now.

    So what would Pakistan and India achieve/gain by being on the SC?

  97. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:30 am  

    Why should India and Pakistan have permanent positions in the SC over, say, an African country?

    If it’s for the sake of “global stability,” there are lots of hot spots on the map that we don’t hear about but are volatile…why is South Asia special and thus warrants a SC seat? Because all of our boogeymen come of there and as such, it’s necessary to guarantee a stable region? If this is the logic, why not do the same for Latin American nations? Last time I checked, Caracas is one scary place. Lots of druglords are operating in Latin America too (but unfortunately, Latin America is not the only place).

  98. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:44 am  

    “As the way things stand now, the UN has been rendered basically ineffective, meaning that resolutions and such are adhered to if it is convenient;”

    Of course, my own comment begs the question as to why I would think that eliminating SC would actually change things to improve the management of global affairs and fulfill the wishes of global citizens, as there is no enforcing body to force nations/states to adhere to the UN.

    As a public citizen, I haven’t been able to stalk the halls of the supposedly democratic body’s UN office in New York, so I can’t say, but I’d venture to claim that removing the power inequality, whereby approx 180 member states and sit-ins et are held at the mercy of the whims of 5 Big Dudes, would at least encourage others to legitimately believe that perhaps voluntary adherence might just be the way to go.

    It remains to be seen, though likely not in the future.

    Hey, in case anyone’s interested in reading what the UN folks and UK diplomats are up to,

    http://italiandesi.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/the-undemocracy-of-the-un/

    Apologies in advance for plugging my own stuff here (but it’s really not “my stuff,” just a book review).

  99. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 8:49 am  

    “Pakistan had a vested interest in supporting the US, ”

    No, Pakistan had a vested interest in getting US support, not supporting the US, those are two different things.

    BTW, when it comes to “trade,” Pakistan and India aren’t always at each others’ throats. India is really keen on Pakistan getting that Gwadar port, which Pakistan is currently in process of doing, walking all over the Balochis in the process.

    Rupees talk, rupees grease the wheels. Bacia la mano.

  100. soru — on 23rd January, 2008 at 10:58 am  

    removing the power inequality, whereby approx 180 member states and sit-ins et are held at the mercy of the whims of 5 Big Dudes

    In the unlikely event that someone suddenly started to care about what the UN general assembly thought if you dissolved the security council, I suspect the voting process of ‘who can bribe the most small islands’ would seem, if anything, worse than the current situation.

    If you are going to call something democratic, one man one vote needs to be involved somehow. Note one nation one vote, 1 million dollars 1 vote, or 1 bullet one vote).

    As the goal of a fifty-year political movement, I think you could sketch out something that could work. As at present, there would be both votes and vetoes. Politics is always a balance between legitimacy and power, never solely a function of either.

    Votes represent legitimacy. To get votes, you have to hold election, or at least plebescites. The number of votes a country has is the number who voted in the last election or plebescite. Coups, civil wars or 10 years without an election mean a loss of voting rights until one is held.

    Vetoes represent power. You have to measure that power in some way – counting financial and military contributions to the UN would work.

    Every functioning state has a veto over its own territory, regional powers over their region, superpowers globally.

    States can be ‘impeached’ and lose their veto by a sufficiently massive majority of votes.

  101. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2008 at 10:59 am  

    Desi,

    ‘Doesn’t anyone ever get tired of talking about Muslims and the “Muslim world?” I mean, there’s like the entire planet out there with major problems…’

    Its not possible, not on PP. It made its name on the matter, became part of the mule train that was Daniel Pipes, LGF, Jihadwatch, Harrys Place.

    Or perhaps it is possible with a few more more months of therapy.

  102. Jai — on 23rd January, 2008 at 11:29 am  

    Refresh, to my understanding, this is primarily a British Asian website, dealing with issues that impact Asians in general (wherever they may be) or Asians in the UK, or British people in general. Or, sometimes, some combination of the above.

    A lot of Asians in the UK are Muslims. A lot of Asians in the UK are also not Muslims, but are impacted by internal and external issues involving Muslims because we share the same ethnicity and ancestral geographical origin as our Asian Muslim cousins. Furthermore, post-9/11 and given ongoing current international events, issues involving “the Muslim world” impact all of us both due to our ethnicity and also because we live in a country which has been drawn into these events.

    Therefore, I expect that “Muslim issues” will have a higher profile on PP due to the times we live in, and also because such things have a greater immediacy in terms of general interest and their impact on this blog’s main audience compared to issues involving Georgia, Angola, Argentina, Colombia or Eastern Europe.

    I guess it all depends on what Sunny & Co’s priorities are for this blog, their flexibility regarding the type of articles which are published, and how much they gear the content of this blog specifically towards the interests of the audience compared to their own personal interests.

  103. sonia — on 23rd January, 2008 at 11:42 am  

    95 – Desi –

    What does the Umma and the Muslim World have to do with the UN?

    quite.

    seems to me the ‘Muslim world’ is just “human” like the rest of the world, ( ha surprise) this alienating ourselves business is weird and strange, like saying we’re martians therefore we need someone to represent us in the world!

  104. Leon — on 23rd January, 2008 at 11:45 am  

    Refresh, to my understanding, this is primarily a British Asian website, dealing with issues that impact Asians in general (wherever they may be) or Asians in the UK, or British people in general. Or, sometimes, some combination of the above.

    That was true at the beginning but I think PP has evolved quite naturally beyond being a straight forward Asian (or even BME orientated) blog toward a progressive/liberal one in which those influences inform rather than direct it’s output.

  105. sonia — on 23rd January, 2008 at 12:00 pm  

    good points and questions as always Desi.

    seems we generally like to behave very “communal politics-y” over here. certain issues are closer to our hearts, and therefore in our ‘debating society’ type debates we are more concerned with ‘solutions’ that seem to be tied up with those hotspots/concerns. As if the rest of the world isn’t then also thinking along the same self-centred lines!

    as long as we realise these questions are theoretical, and we’re airing them on PP – i suppose that kind of self-centred contained thinking isnt problematic. heaven knows what would happen if Pickled Politics Commenter X becomes the British PM and then starts pushing into motion getting India and Pakistan a place on the Security Council because s/he is of Indian descent, PP had a readership of British (South)Asian website, s/he was concerned about their British (South)Asian voters..who were concerned about india and pakistan.

    *chuckles* And then repeat if it turns out to be some British person of Nigerian descent and they angle for Nigeria to get on board the SC.

    ho what essentialist politics. and what was that other discussion we were having about all that ‘Blood’ obsession..

  106. Jai — on 23rd January, 2008 at 12:21 pm  

    Leon,

    Good point, mate; I was just responding to some previous queries about why Muslims (and issues concerning them) appear to have an unusually high profile on PP compared to other groups, at least in terms of my own observations on the matter.

    *************************

    Regarding PP’s “mission statement”, here is an extract from the “About Us” page:

    Pickled Politics is a current affairs magazine / group blog. Our primary focus is always on British politics, current affairs, media and society. We are not a general culture and entertainment blog.

    We have an Asian (meaning South Asia) tinge to our stories as some of us are of that background, but our politics are broad and progressive.

    I think this is broadly in line with my own explanation in #102, but perhaps it should be updated/modified if it is no longer accurate.

  107. sonia — on 23rd January, 2008 at 12:52 pm  

    “trying” to be progressive or liberal do we mean..given some of the stories posted – i.e. promoting dictators, i am starting to seriously wonder.

    NO really – i think if terms like progressive are going to be thrown around, people think to think a bit more carefully about what they are saying. Or just say it and let other people decide if there is anything progressive or liberal about it.

  108. Leon — on 23rd January, 2008 at 1:33 pm  

    Well without wanting to get too much into navel gazing about the meaning of life, the universe and Pickled Politics…

    Jai, #106, yeah that was written quite some time ago and probably needs updating! To be clear I’m really only stating my view; Sunny and/or (to my knowledge) the writers haven’t discussed direction/orientation/etc of PP for quite some time.

    Not sure it really needs to be tbh; PP is what it is and that is a blog that evolves as much with it’s commenter’s (demonstrated by the fact that regular ones have had guest posts or even become full writers for the site) as by its writers and Editor in chief.

    Now, if Sunny’s recent posts are a little startling to some who aren’t reading as regularly or connecting the dots of his political evolution I suggest the following:

    a) write a guest piece in response!

    b) engage in the comments!

    Your contributions along with all the other commenter’s really do have a big impact on the drive, direction and impact of the site. And you know we love you all! :D

    /hippy mode

  109. sonia — on 23rd January, 2008 at 2:06 pm  

    good points leon. as you say, i think the kind of views we hear in the comments go towards making up this place as much as the article posted that sparks those comments.

  110. Leon — on 23rd January, 2008 at 2:23 pm  

    I agree I mean when it comes down to it the writers and Sunny may set the general direction the good ship Pickler sails but it wouldn’t be a journey we’d be able to take without the crew…

  111. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 6:04 pm  

    “b) engage in the comments!”

    Yo, that is what I’ve been doing.

  112. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 6:05 pm  

    “if Sunny’s recent posts are a little startling to some who aren’t reading as regularly or connecting the dots of his political evolution”

    What direction is the political evolution going? Centrist?

  113. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 6:15 pm  

    “b) engage in the comments!”

    But Sunny doesn’t respond to my questions, only very rarely :(

    “That was true at the beginning but I think PP has evolved quite naturally beyond being a straight forward Asian (or even BME orientated) blog toward a progressive/liberal one in which those influences inform rather than direct it’s output.”

    I think it’s up to the bloggers to put out what they want.

    Now, personally speaking, I like going beyond. It’s all fair and fine to point out the exploitation of women in South Asia and the UK for example, but if you look beyond the myopia, you’ll be able to see the larger picture, and take note of the fact that there are plenty of other non South Asian women who are exploited just as well.

    It also helps to realize that often, some of us of South Asian descent are often very South Asian-centric, as if the world revolves around South Asia’s well-being and its various diasporas (like the UK and the US).

  114. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 6:16 pm  

    When, obviously, that is not true, which brings me to my earlier query:

    Why not give a Latin American and/or African country a spot on the SC?

  115. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    And surprisingly, given the Mid East’s leverage due to its resources, why not a Middle Eastern country?

    Or is the club restricted to “Those who rule the world and then those who are Free Marketers to the extreme?”

  116. Leon — on 23rd January, 2008 at 7:55 pm  

    What direction is the political evolution going? Centrist?

    Can’t answer that, I’m not Sunny…

    I think it’s up to the bloggers to put out what they want.

    Well sure but the composition ensures a general direction on one level, I mean if we started taking on more and more Tories and the blog became overtly rightwing I’d leave it. But I seriously doubt that’d be happening anytime soon.

    But Sunny doesn’t respond to my questions, only very rarely

    Don’t know what to say other than he is increasingly busy (I sometimes wonder when he sleeps!)…

  117. El Cid — on 23rd January, 2008 at 9:39 pm  

    Sorry, I’m a bit late on this one….. PAKISTAN? Are you insane?
    Mind you, I am long an advocate of Indian membership.

  118. El Cid — on 23rd January, 2008 at 9:39 pm  

    Sorry, I just wanted to get it out.

  119. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2008 at 10:52 pm  

    ‘PAKISTAN? Are you insane?’

    OK no seat at the table, but what about several hundred billions in reparation?

  120. Desi Italiana — on 23rd January, 2008 at 10:55 pm  

    Let’s say India does get a SC seat.

    What then?

    What will it achieve?

    What will be the concrete effects of that?

    As to hypothetically supposing what would happen, let’s look at the record of past and current SC positions and moves. What has been done under the SC’s agreements and disagreements, and compared and contrasted to that of the GA?

  121. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2008 at 11:10 pm  

    Still think my idea was better. Ask both India and Pakistan to prepare for EU membership. With all that that would mean. Now that is soft power. Viz a viz the hoops Turkey has had to go through.

  122. sonia — on 23rd January, 2008 at 11:54 pm  

    Ask both India and Pakistan to prepare for EU membership.

    Heh good one Douglas..yes a much better idea by far. in fact i think we should start inviting everyone into the EU..

    i think the political evolution is generally to call one’s own thinking (whatever it is) ‘progressive’, because one is a progressive Person – therefore anything one comes up with, support for dictators or not as the case may be, can then come under the general rubric of ‘progressive person’ thinking.

    good tactics politically, this is all good training for the PM’s job.

  123. Refresh — on 24th January, 2008 at 12:37 am  

    Douglas,

    ‘Still think my idea was better. Ask both India and Pakistan to prepare for EU membership. With all that that would mean. Now that is soft power. Viz a viz the hoops Turkey has had to go through.’

    I think Turkey is mad to go through with the humiliation of being vetoed by newly emerging countries with less than a tenth of Turkey’s population (as well as France and Germany for whatever reason). That is not to say that its move on human rights is not welcome.

    Turkey needs to look East, that’s where its future lies. It should be playing a major role in establishing an EU of the middle east. The time it will take for the EU to finally kill-off Turkey’s ambition to join, it could very easily have established a far more interesting trading block.

    And the same goes for India and Pakistan, they too have a job to do in their own back yard.

  124. sonia — on 24th January, 2008 at 12:22 pm  

    turkey should look east.

    (what’s east though – its pretty divided, hardly a ‘single’ entity that’s ‘united’)

    that’s a funny one. if we knew anything about turkey and its people we’d realise they see themselves with far more in common with europe and ‘the west’ than – say India for example. ( as is generally the case across the near and middle east)

    anyway there’s nothing ‘humiliating’ about being vetoed, not all of us are obsessed with national pride.

    I wonder if GB is thinking with the pound sliding if we should have gone with the Euro.

  125. Refresh — on 24th January, 2008 at 1:00 pm  

    (what’s east though – its pretty divided, hardly a ’single’ entity that’s ‘united’)

    It wasn’t always so; and it needn’t remain so. Its not that long ago Europe was divided resulting in two world wars and tens of millions dead.

    As for what Turkey perceives itself and how most of EU sees it might just remind it that Europe isn’t all that ready. Despite its supposed openness.

    ‘nothing ‘humiliating’ about being vetoed’ – tell that to the Turks. Or for that matter tell it to the Americans as they don’t take to kindly to any country voting against let alone a veto.

  126. Refresh — on 24th January, 2008 at 1:01 pm  

    Sonia, you of all people should be able to think outside the box.

  127. Jai — on 24th January, 2008 at 5:48 pm  

    Why not give a Latin American and/or African country a spot on the SC?

    And surprisingly, given the Mid East’s leverage due to its resources, why not a Middle Eastern country?

    Both already suggested in #9.

  128. Desi Italiana — on 24th January, 2008 at 6:02 pm  

    Sorry, unable to read every single comment. Usually I jump in late in convos.

    Thanks for putting that out, though.

  129. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2008 at 6:05 pm  

    Refresh @ 123,

    It wasn’t all that long ago, well within my lifetime, that General De Gaulle said ‘non’ to the UK entering the Common Market, as was.

    I’d have thought that that was a humiliation, but we kept banging at the door….

    My point, if you wish to debate it, is simply that the EU has minimal standards of human rights, democracy, etc. Nations that could see economic advantages from membership have to meet these criteria.

    To be honest, I’d let anyone into the EU that met it’s entry criteria, and stop calling it the EU, start calling it the WU, World Union.

    I’d imagine, say, Argentina could be a candidate.

  130. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2008 at 6:16 pm  

    Sonia,

    You’ll be PM soon enough, just remember the little people!

    It is a fact that no member of the European Union has declared war on another member of the European Union. The basic principle is to spread that peace wherever we can.

  131. Refresh — on 24th January, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

    Douglas

    I didn’t mean to be contrary, but my eye is beyond all of that. I fully understood your point about human rights.

    But joining the EU is by invitation; and I am in support of self-determination. Other countries already organise themselves into regional blocks and there is nothing wrong with that.

    My reason for responding was to establish the point that other countries also do have their own aspirations and they have to get on and deliver them themselves, and not to wait for the G8, the EU or whatever. Just look at Africa – there is no way the EU or G8 is going to do anything other than worry about who else might gain access to resources before them.

  132. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2008 at 6:42 pm  

    Refresh,

    You are rarely contrary. My point, which I accept is apparently idealistic, is that EU standards are, perhaps, superior standards. You are quite right to bring up Africa. As far as I’m concerned, Botswana can join tomorrow.

    This is not an arguement about resources, it is an arguement about how folk are governed. Would you prefer to live under an EU constitution, or another one?

    The point of it it all is to create an alternate power structure.

  133. Refresh — on 24th January, 2008 at 6:48 pm  

    As Mao may have said ‘Let a thousand EUs bloom’. Without delving into the EU constitution and its fortress europe outlook.

  134. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2008 at 7:00 pm  

    Refresh,

    Quite. It is a waste of space if it can’t see the bigger picture. And that bigger picture is encompassing any nation state that wants to be part of a democratic and modernising future. That is the problem with the EU, sometimes it does the vision thing, viz a vis Eastern Europe, sometimes it doesn’t.

  135. Desi Italiana — on 24th January, 2008 at 7:09 pm  

    “To be honest, I’d let anyone into the EU that met it’s entry criteria, and stop calling it the EU, start calling it the WU, World Union.”

    Well, that would not all that democratic. Seeing that the core origins of the EU were born of several European nation-states, it would be very hard to remove the priorities of the European countries and take into consideration the desires and wants of non European countries.

    Also, there were, and still are, segments of the population in EU member states that want to have nothing to do with the EU.

    Management wise, as well, would have to be a reality to be reckoned with. Already, it took years of negotiation to get member-states to agree on things like the borders, economy, currency, etc. Imagine doing that for the whole globe.

    Not that it’s not an appealing idea to have a global governing mechanism, but reality-wise, it would be very difficult (I’d also venture to say that inevitably, some folks will start to liken the EU to some sort of imperial governance. Some Europeans were saying something similar before they were manhandled by their governments to chuck their currencies, etc and many grudgingly accepted the idea of the EU. National sovereignty plays a huge part in international scenarios, and rightfully so).

  136. Refresh — on 24th January, 2008 at 7:09 pm  

    Douglas, you’ve just reminded me. Ken Livingstone supported the idea of EU expansion southwards.

  137. douglas clark — on 25th January, 2008 at 5:16 am  

    Desi,

    I’m not suggesting that the EU should expand in places it’s not acceptable. For instance, Argentina is a democracy, is it not? Why would we exclude it?

    If the EU is a worthwhile project, then extending the hand of friendship to every nation seems to me to be a worthwhile cause. I’d agree with you about the timescales right enough. However, I think the project fails if it is seen as a mere European identity. It has the potential to be much bigger than that.

    What’s not to like about spreading democracy via soft power?

  138. douglas clark — on 25th January, 2008 at 5:42 am  

    Refresh,

    Well, what is wrong with that?

    Given EU entry criteria.

    I’d have thought that most of North African countries would struggle to overcome those hurdles. If an individual nation state thought it met the entry criteria, and was audited to do so, what the hells the problem?

    Let them in, I say.

  139. douglas clark — on 25th January, 2008 at 5:56 am  

    Botswana, for instance.

  140. Refresh — on 25th January, 2008 at 11:09 am  

    Douglas,

    ‘Well, what is wrong with that?’

    I thought it was one of Livingstones best suggestions. Lets hope he he wins the Mayoral election and makes Prime Minister one day (before he gets too old).

  141. douglas clark — on 25th January, 2008 at 11:31 am  

    Refresh,

    Yup. So there is something you, me and Ken agree about. Who’d have thought it ;-)

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