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Re: Back in action!
Sanjeev, glad to have you back. It is about midnight here so please
allow me to come straight to the point. I did not quite get the gist
of your nuclear bomb story of the second world war and the connection
America had just disovered the atom bomb. We can very conveniently
question the morality of such an ac tion today. But I do not think
that anyone at that time saw the ferocity of this bomb until it was
finally unleashed. What is important are the lessons Americans
learned from that experience. (your post almost implied that the
Americans did not learn anything from that Japanese experience) The
"huge analysis" came after the fact not before. You make two
assumptions that in my view are not correct. First, from the second
world war experience an important lesson was learned and a command and
control mechanism was put in place. Despite what you think the
American president cannot, on his own, issue orders to use nuclear
weapons. Therefore, the assumption that the American President has
its finger on the nuclear button is plain wrong.
Another assumption made is that the American President is the most
powerful person in the world. Something which is not supported by
facts and something which is contradictory to the American system.
Despite this myth the fact is that in America all powers lies with the
legislature or the U.S. congress and the powers not vested in the
Congress belong to the States. This most powerful man cannot even
spend a dollar without the consent of the Congress! In any case,
the American system is predicated not on who is the most powerful, but
rather that no person or branch of the government will have absolute
power. The President is balanced by the Congress. The Congress by
the Supreme Court and the Presidential veto. Only the Congress has
the power to prosecute and dismiss judges. The President on the
otherhand has the first shot at appointing judges, but they have to be
confirmed by the Senate. Federal judges are appointed for life so
that no one can play politics with the judiciary.
The basic point I am trying to make is that the US president is just
one player in a system which is much larger than one person or
personality. Not all US Presidents are "statesmen." Therefore, I
fail to grasp the point when you say that a "US president is a great
and benevolant statesman?" I do not see the connection between that
and the current Indian nuclear policy which borders on the obscene.
It is obscene to develop nuclear weapons when there is no real nuclear
threat to India. India faces a conventional military threat both
from China and Pak but to make nuclear weapons, at this point of time,
when there are a thousand things that need to be done is lunacy.
India was right in not signing the CTBT. It could have continued to
stall its signing. That was the right policy. But I never expected
that the politicians will use the nuclear card for political gain.
Anyway, as far as I know India can well return to the days of 25 to
40% inflation. Capital is badly needed. The priority ought to be 7
to 14% economic growth. With economic growth stalled at under 5%,
India is in a pretty bad shape. What bolsters self confidence is not
nuclear blasts but a healthy economic growth and basic necessaties for
Regarding nuclear weapons all I was for is the prerogative (option not
a right) that India as a sovereign nation ought to reserve. But
developing and deploying any nuclear weapons should be strongly
opposed in the "manifesto."
Sanjeev Sabhlok wrote:
> Dear folks,
> I am back in action! In the past three days, not only was I trying to
> catch up with my dissertation but also moving house, and you might
> if you have a family with two people doing a Ph.D., a third in the
> grade and a little toddler, that the task of moving house is actually
> quite a challenge. Well, I'm glad to report that the mission has been
> accomplished. The challenge was faced head on and met, successfully,
> Well, I'm glad to be back. I hate being away from this list for too
> Looks like no one had any comments on the questions I had raised.
> very re-assuring. That implies that everyone agrees with everyone
> Looks like we are on track! Everyone believes this is the right
> do and that we have no choice but to do it.
> Just a thought: We will never reach perfection in this task. However,
> even if we approache perfection asymptotically, our job will be done.
> Many of us are trying to put our limited experience, limited
> limited ability, into this exercise. If we ALL do that, using our own
> special talents, we can move this discussion much further and much
> On the other hand, if we let the Great Indian Inertia (The GII
> in the medical lexicon) take over us, we can keep waiting for Godot,
> future that will never come.
> Prem had an excellent set of points on law and order. Great job!
> to that in due course.
> In the meanwhile I had two things to add to earlier debates, merely to
> re-inforce some of my earlier points and to suggest an addition to the
> 1. Why we need to distrust the US, or any other, leadership:
> It is often thought that the US President - the most powerful man on
> - is a very careful and benevolent statesman, who can be trusted
> nuclear button.
> While this may be true in a vast majority of the cases, let us not
> the actions and inner thinking of some of these "statesmen." To
> a) Mr Truman:
> There is a huge and serious analysis which shows that there was
> no necessity to drop nuclear weapons on innocent people in 1945.
> Mussolini was captured and executed on the 28th of April, 1945.
> Hitler committed suicide on the 30th of April, 1945.
> Germany unconditionally surrendered on the 7th of May, 1945 and the
> Europe was over.
> The Allies had all the time and resources, now, to focus on Japan,
> "radius" was shrinking day by day. Japan was going to surrender
> within months, at the most.
> And yet on the 6th and 8th of August, being of highly impatient
> and given to great dissimulation in the use of words, the US President
> (madman? of course not: US Presidents are not considered to be
> only non-US leaders!), ordered the dropping of not one, but two high
> powered atomic bombs on Japan.
> Remember: "President Truman told his diary that he had ordered the
> dropped on a "purely military" target, so that "military objectives
> soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children."
> (see http://www.peak.org/~danneng/decision/decision.html)
> What actually happened was a complete violation of International Law
> distinguishes between civilians and combatants. We all know what was
> true intention of the bomb: to speed up the end of the war. To save
> American soldiers' lives. The lives of the "enemy" nations' women,
> children, and civilians, were expendable and will perhaps always
> expendable, in all battles.
> Remember also that this was the same USA that had shied clear of doing
> anything about the massacre of five million Jews. So it is not merely
> Japanese lives that were insignificant to this nation, but also
> other lives. In a way this is perhaps justified. Each nation has to
> protect its "own" first. One American saved is worth a thousand
> or other, lives expended!
> Without denying that the US, and Truman, himself, did a great good
> world during the WW II, there should be no doubt in one's mind that
> leadership anywhere, even in the most democratic nation, can never be
> perfect, from a historical perspective, or from the perspective of an
> "enemy." Once a nuclear "button" is placed in anyone's hands, that
> can never be fully trusted to use it with caution.
> b) How about Mr. Nixon? Remember his sayings:
> "I want the Brookings Institute safe cleaned out and have it cleaned
> way that it makes somebody else [responsible?]"
> "We're up against an enemy, a conspiracy. They're using any means.
> going to use **any** means. Is that clear?"
> This person had a serious absence of ethics. How could the world
> safely trust him with the nuclear button?
> The lesson: The US system cannot guarantee a great leader for all
> and cannot guarantee protection to the world forever.
> Corollary: We need to keep our own defence as strong as possible.
> US and other nations maintain thousands of nuclear weapons, we must
> our own. This is already in our Manifesto. This simply reinforces the
> point, I hope.
> 2. India and foreign capital:
> I was only very casually following the Tata-SIA story earlier, so I
> thought I'd research some of the views of our top leaders on this
> intersting case study:
> 1. http://www.hindubusinessline.com/bline/1996/09/26/BLFP15.html
> September, 1996:
> "The initial opposition came from the erstwhile Civil Aviation
> Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who refused permission on the ground that
> infrastructure in India was not ready for such a venture. The Minister
> argued that first the existing players would be allowed to grow and
> establish themselves before allowing more players into the market."
> 2. June, 1996:
> Mumbai, June 26: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary
> Mahajan, ... told reporters that the proposal to allow 40 per cent
> equity participation irrespective of the source of equity and
> domestic airlines to fly international routes would spell the `death
> knell' for national carriers Air India and Indian Airlines.
> 3. http://www.pathfinder.com/asiaweek/97/0228/biz6.html
> February, 1997:
> "I, as an Indian, should not allow foreign airlines in our domestic
> Tourism Minister C.M. Ibrahim has said."
> 'Civil Aviation Chand Mahal Ibrahim said in November, "I have to
> the existing infrastructural facilities before I can permit the
> Tata-Singapore Airlines project to go into operation"'
> 4. Jan 1998:
> "The caretaker United Front government will seek legal opinion on
> it can clear the Rs 1,475-crore (Rs 100 crore = Rs 1 billion) Tata
> proposal to start a domestic airline, provided it is in conformity
> rules, said minister of state for civil aviation Jayanthi Natarajan
> My comments:
> You can draw your own conclusions from these statements. What is the
> reason for our fear of this tiny, resplendent ant called Singapore?
> not quite sure.
> The amazing thing is that our Ministers all love these junkets when
> spend huge amounts of our tax-payers' money to go to these countries
> hold these great melas in which they make big claims about India
> foreign DFI.
> "Come hither," they coyly look the foreigner in the eye!
> Once a reluctant foreigner is found, willing to come to our dreary
> where Ravens alight at midnight, and where even Angels fear to tread,
> then, of course our leaders begin to do what they are best equipped
> practice "liberalized torture," and the dance of Indian "I love you, I
> love you not" on their reluctant solicitor!
> Never was a nation so confused about foreign capital or so scared of
> ant! The British "conquest" of India has actually had a severe
> psychological impact on us!
> Anyway, back to business: What I propose for the manifesto is the
> following (subject to correction by Charu - and others):
> Foreign capital:
> Foreign capital is good because it brings resources, technology, and
> competition: each of these components is individually, good for the
> economy. In addition, it helps keep our own best brains within the
> as well as expose them to the working conditions in the best companies
> abroad. Therefore it promotes the development of management
> best suited to Indian situations.
> There exists a remote, very small, probability of foreign capital
> over India," something that can only happen if abetted by local
> However, to keep a lid on the possibility of such political interests
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