See more » https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-23/putin-looks-to-pakistan-as-cold-war-friend-india-buys-u-s-arms.html
Ex-USSR leader Gorbachev: World on brink of new Cold War
The world is on the brink of a new Cold War, and trust should be restored by dialogue with Russia, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said.
At an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Sunday, Mr Gorbachev said the West had “succumbed to triumphalism”.
He expressed alarm about recent Middle Eastern and European conflicts.
Tensions have been raised between the West and Russia over Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union.
More than 4,000 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, who seized control in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in April.
A fragile ceasefire has been in place since September, but elections in rebel-held areas last weekend have prompted fears of a return to full-scale conflict.
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29966852
by Tyler Durden
Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin’s speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn’t get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don’t think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion)this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.
In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.
To sum it all up: play-time is over. Children, put away your toys. Now is the time for the adults to make decisions. Russia is ready for this; is the world?
The Russian blogger chipstone summarized the most salient points from Putin speech as follows:
Read more » Zerohedge.com
See more » http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-30/putin-western-elites-play-time-over
By next year Russia will be ready to “meet unwelcome guests” coming from any direction, after completing a network of radar stations in the Arctic, the Russian Defense Minister said.
The massive buildup of facilities in Russia’s north is part of the country’s strategy to ensure control of the Arctic. The military is currently rebuilding two northern bases in the Novosibirsk Islands and in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, Sergey Shoigu told the defense ministry’s public council on Tuesday. Military airfields at Tiksi, Naryan-mar, Alykel, Vorkuta, Anadyr and Rogachevo have been scheduled for modernization.
“The plan involves the building of 13 airfields, one land test range for the Air Forces, 10 radar sites and direction centers,” said Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Control Center, who took part in the session.
The general heads a recently created body in the ministry, which is tasked with day-to-day monitoring of potential threats to national security and launching a rapid military response, should it be needed.
Kotelny Island is a nondescript piece of frigid wasteland of no particular note. Except hosting a military base-in-the-making, the first of many from which Russia plans to project its military might to and across the Arctic. RT visited with the Navy.
The island is the largest in the Novosibirsk Archipelago, located in the Laptev Sea off the eastern Siberian coast. Back in the soviet days the military deployed an observation post and a radar station on the Kotelny Island, but with the fall of the country all the troops were withdrawn, leaving behind only a civilian meteorological station.
But now, after decades of desolation, the former military base is being rebuilt. Last year sailors and engineers of the Russian Northern Fleet began construction works, cleaning up rusty barrels and broken vehicles abandoned on the island and constructing a landing strip so that supplies could be airlifted rather than air-dropped.
In her new Brookings Essay, The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War, historian Margaret MacMillan takes an in-depth look at the global tensions that led to World War I in 1914, and the striking similarities she sees happening today. As we quickly approach the 100th anniversary of WWI, does our world today look that much different than the pre-war world of 1914? Can we avoid the mistakes that might lead to another devastating global conflict?
Read more » Buzz Feed
When the Cold War ended, Hungary occupied a special place in the story of the revolutions of 1989. It was one of the first countries in the Soviet orbit to abandon communism and embrace liberal democracy. Today it is again a trendsetter, becoming the first European country to denounce and distance itself from liberal democracy. It is adopting a new system and set of values that are best exemplified by Vladimir Putin’s Russia but are finding echoes in other countries as well.
In a major speech last weekend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban explained that his country is determined to build a new political model — illiberal democracy. This caught my eye because, in 1997, I wrote an essay in Foreign Affairs using that same phrase to describe a dangerous trend. Democratic governments, often popular, were using their mandates to erode individual rights, the separation of powers and the rule of law. But even I never imagined that a national leader — from Europe no less — would use the term as a badge of honor.
The deputy head of Russia’s supreme security body says US international dominance is being replaced by multiple centers of power. He urged a global agreement on the results of the Cold War, warning that the world could otherwise become engulfed in chaos.
“The United States has an impression that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the only result of the Cold War. This is arguable, and this is possible. But no one has attempted to analyze the results or make any conclusions from the situation. The unipolar world headed by Americans simply appeared,” Evgeny Lukyanov told the RIA Novosti.
“However, this status quo was not built to last. New power centers have appeared on the international arena, including the BRICS nations, and Russia itself has managed to regain its stance. Nations openly declare their interests and demand respect to their basic rights. This is how the US hegemony on the international arena has ended and of course Washington officials cannot agree with this,” the Russian official stated. Lukyanov emphasized in the interview that the USSR was no more.
Russia’s Petro-Ruble Challenges US Dollar Hegemony. China Seeks Development of Eurasian Trade
China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China
By Peter Koenig, Global Research
Russia has rejected reports that it threatened Ukraine with military assault if it does not surrender the Crimea by 3am on Tuesday as “total nonsense”.
Amid the confusion of the worst diplomatic crisis since the Cold War, the Russian Defence Ministry told RT that the country has “become accustomed to the daily accusations by the Ukrainian media of carrying out some sort of military actions against our Ukrainian colleagues”.
Relations between East and West have plummeted as the Russian Government continued to ignore calls from Western leaders to leave the Ukrainian area.
This morning, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, justified the military incursion claiming it was necessary in order to protect his country’s citizens living there. “This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life,” he said.
Written by Alan Woods
As Ukraine slides deeper into chaos, the sound of war drums gets ever louder. On Saturday President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament’s authority to send the Russian army, not just into Crimea but also into Ukraine itself.
This threat was issued only days after “unidentified” armed men seized control of the Crimea peninsula. These were later unsurprisingly identified as troops from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea. The new pro-Russian president of Crimea equally unsurprisingly immediately called on Moscow to intervene. At the same time, pro-Moscow demonstrators hoisted flags above government buildings in two eastern cities.
Western leaders shook their heads and said that Russia must not intervene. Moscow held up its hands, indignantly protesting that it would not do so. But the facts seem to indicate otherwise. For the whole of last week Russian troops were staging what were described as “routine manoeuvres” on the borders of Ukraine.
Putin secured without difficulty the unanimous approval of the Russian senate for the use of armed force on the territory of his neighbour, citing the need to protect Russian citizens. He asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”: a very reasonable sounding request, a velvet glove that barely conceals the iron fist within, for he gave exactly the same reason for invading Georgia in 2008.
This threat to what was supposed to be an independent country of 46 million people on the edges of central Europe creates the biggest direct confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in different capitals aimed at “calming the situation”. The government in Kiev protested. The EU protested. Obama protested.
Britain summoned the Russian ambassador to voice its “concern”. Soon after the UK’s Foreign Minister William Hague flew to Kiev, presumably to express his sympathy to the provisional government there. EU ministers were due to hold emergency talks. Czech President Milos Zeman recalled the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Washington has warned that Russia’s actions would have “consequences”. But nobody is saying what these would be. In reply Putin calmly asserted his right to deploy troops in Ukraine “to defend the interests of Russian people”. Western politicians have hundreds of arguments, but Putin has hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks and guns. And whereas the forces of NATO are rather far away, his own forces are conveniently massing right on the Ukrainian border, and some are already on the ground in Crimea as Russia has a permanent naval base there.
The tension between the two sides increases by the hour. In a televised address, Ukraine’s acting President Olexander Turchynov urged people to remain calm. (Everyone is urging exactly the same thing). He asked Ukrainians to bridge divisions in the country and said they must not fall for provocations. But in the same breath said he had put the army on full alert, which is hardly a very calming message.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was standing next to Mr Turchynov, said he was “convinced” Russia would not intervene militarily “as this would be the beginning of war and the end of all relations.”
Fear and misery in Ukraine
The situation in Ukraine is dramatic. The euphoria of the first few days after the fall of Yanukovych has dissipated and is being replaced with an anxious and tense mood.
Americans generally view Nelson Mandela as a hero and Fidel Castro as a villain. Mandela saw things differently.
The South African leader’s nationalist and anti-imperialist stances collided head on with the world’s superpower and gave him a lot in common with its Cuban archenemy. Mandela embraced the former Cuban dictator because he opposed apartheid and represented the aspirations of Third World nationalists that the United States undermined across the globe during the Cold War.
As it did for many leftists in the Global South, the Cuban Revolution’s triumph in 1959 inspired Mandela. Charged with the task of starting a guerrilla army in 1961, he looked to the writings of Cuban Communists for guidance.
“Any and every source was of interest to me,” Mandela wrote in his 2008 autobiography. “I read the report of Blas Roca, the general secretary of the Community Party of Cuba, about their years as an illegal organization during the Batista regime. In Commando, by Deneys Reitz, I read of the unconventional guerrilla tactics of the Boer generals during the Anglo-Boer War. I read works by and about Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro.”
Mandela’s admiration for the Cuban Revolution only grew with time. Cuba under Castro opposed apartheid and supported the African National Congress — Mandela’s political organization and the current ruling party. Mandela credited Cuba’s military support to Angola in the 1970s and 1980s with helping to debilitate South Africa’s government enough to result in the legalization of the ANC in 1990.
The U.S. government, on the other hand, reportedly played a role in Mandela’s 1962 arrest and subsequently branded him a terrorist — a designation they only rescinded in 2008. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan vetoed the Anti-Apartheid Act.
Given this history, it shouldn’t be surprising that Mandela remained sharply critical of the United States into his later life. When the George W. Bush administration announced plans to invade Iraq in 2003, Mandela said: “If there’s a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.
In his detailed history of 20th century terrorism Blood and Rage, author Michael Burleigh, while writing about left-wing terrorist groups in Germany that sprang up in the late 1960s/early 1970s, suggests that the young, urban middle-class men and women who were part of these groups were suffering from a guilty conscience.
They were the children of parents who had lived in Hitler’s Germany, during his racist, violent regime, as supporters or silent observers. However, when their children entered their late teens and early 20s in the 1960s, they felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and awkwardness after realising how their parents had remained silent as Hitler went about constructing his fascist dystopia based on megalomaniacal delusions about racial superiority and mythical glory.
As a response to this guilt, many children of otherwise docile and orderly middle-class Germans plunged into radical political action, like restless teens consciously indulging in ideas and acts that they knew would offend and disturb their parents.
By the 1960s however, (West) Germany had begun to retreat and rebound from its Nazi past and had become a strong democracy, a robust economy and an ally of its former enemies, the United States and Britain.
So when left-wing German radicals began targeting German politicians, businesses and some US military and business interests, Burleigh is of the view that they were trying to overcome their guilt of being the offspring of parents whom they had suspected of supporting fascism and Nazism.
This is an intriguing theory and an interesting way to look at and understand left-wing terrorism and radicalism that emerged in Germany and Italy in the 1960s/’70s. Both the countries had witnessed fascist dictatorships in the 1930s and 1940s.
This theory can also be applied to the present-day dynamics of activists associated with parties like Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) and its closet ally, the fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).
The activistic ranks of both the parties are studded with urban middle and some lower-middle class young men and women who have recently been at the forefront of whipping up anti-West/anti-US sentiments in the country and are quick to explain everything — from Islamist terrorism to political corruption — as consequences of ‘American imperialism’ and hegemony in the region.
One can safely assume that these activists are the children of parents who sided with those regimes and parties in Pakistan that (during the Cold War) were vehemently anti-left and had taken pro-US stances in America’s Cold War tussle with the former Soviet Union.
Jamaat-i-Islami, (JI’s) links with the US during the Cold War have never been a secret. But till the 1980s when young JI activists were known to actually attack anti-US rallies held by leftist groups, today the children of these activists are perhaps the most enthusiastic anti-US radicals and the most likely to set fire to a US flag.
LONDON (AFP) – Mankind’s only chance of long-term survival lies in colonising space, as humans drain Earth of resources and face a terrifying array of new threats, warned British scientist Stephen Hawking on Monday.
“The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet,” the renowned astrophysicist told the website Big Think, a forum which airs ideas on many subjects from experts.
“Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space,” he added.
He warned that the human race was likely to face an increased number of events that threaten its very existence, as the Cuban missile crisis did in 1962.
The Cold War showdown saw the United States and Soviet Union in a confrontation over Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba, near US shores, and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
“We are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history,” said Hawking.
Read more >> YahooNews
Comments by China’s ambassador in Islamabad last Thursday highlight the reckless character of the Obama administration’s escalating intervention in Pakistan. By pressuring Islamabad to wage an all-out military offensive against Islamic insurgents in the Swat Valley and neighbouring districts, Washington is not only destabilising Pakistan but raising tensions in a highly volatile area.
by Moin Ansari
Posted on October 29, 2008
Courtesy and Thanks: PakAlertPress
Pakistan helped the Chinese secure Tibet by giving up Aksai Chin. Without Tibet, present day China would be a fractured country with the Indian army instigating raids on Beijing.
Pakistan helped the US by forming SEATO, and CENTO to contain the USSR. Pakistan contained the dominoes from falling. It was with Pakistani help that the mighty USSR was defeated in Afghanistan. It was the defeat in Afghanistan with forced the USSR to implode. Two million kids died fighting the USSR. No memorials for them.
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By: Haider K. Nizamani, Canada
INDIA’S West Bengal and Pakistan’s Punjab are comparable provinces in terms of population. About 80 million people live in each.
Since 1977, the people of West Bengal have voted Communist Party Marxist (CPM)-led coalitions into office. It would be preposterous to imagine communists forming the provincial government in our Punjab after the January elections. The Left simply does not matter when it comes to Pakistan’s political chessboard.
Is there any Left left in Pakistan? What happened to it as an organised entity? What about the ideas it championed? Are the issues that provided the Left rationale for action resolved in today’s Pakistani society? Should we mourn or celebrate the death of the Left?
The fate of the Left in Pakistan from the very beginning was bound-up with the machinations of Cold War politics and the way Pakistan’s ruling elite firmly aligned itself with the West in that conflict. The role of the Left in the country varied in each decade of Pakistan’s history up-to the 1990s. This brief run-down on the changing fortunes and misfortunes of the Pakistani Left since independence is offered here in the spirit of initiating discussion on this issue. The overview is confined to the present day Pakistan which until 1971 had less than half of the country’s population.
What do we mean by the Left in Pakistani context? For this article it refers to self-identified Leftist parties and individuals who question the existing social property relations and the international order associated with them. Marxism in some form remained its intellectual inspiration.
The Left identified itself with the cause of economically exploited urban and rural classes of the country. The state was seen as a custodian of the interests of absentee landlords and the big capital at home and world capitalism led by the United States at the global level. At the time of independence, the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), an offshoot of the Communist Party of India (CPI), became the organisational base to coordinate efforts to dismantle what it viewed as prevailing unequal and unjust socio-political order.
The CPI had lent its support to the Muslim League’s demand of Pakistan invoking the principle of national self-determination. That support, however, did not translate into a congenial working atmosphere for the CPP in the newly created state. Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem Subh-e-Azadi (Freedom’s dawn) succinctly summarised the 1950s for the Left in Pakistan. He called it ‘the night-bitten dawn.’ In March of 1951 several high ranking military officers, including Major General Akbar Khan, and their civilian cohorts were arrested for allegedly planning the overthrow of the government to install a pro-Moscow regime.
The Rawalpindi Conspiracy, as it is commonly known, was used as a ruse to suppress dissent and punish those individuals who were identified with the Left. It was also used to strengthen pro-West officers within the higher echelons of the armed forces. The subsequent witch-hunt led to the arrest of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Syed Sajjad Zaheer, who had relocated to Pakistan in order to lead the CPP, and other intellectuals and trade unionists associated with the Left. And this, in Ayesha Jalal’s words turned Pakistan ‘into a veritable intellectual wasteland’.
The Pakistani Left, in term of organisational capacity, was in disarray during the 1960s. Consolation for this weakness came in the shape of issues which dominated the political discourse in the late 1960s. Spin-doctors of the Ayub regime organised celebrations under the banner of ‘the decade of development. ‘ All that ordinary West Pakistanis saw was growing disparity and pauperisation. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had jumped the Ayubian boat, and the Pakistani left joined hands to express popular sentiments in the slogan of ‘roti, kapra, aur makan’ (bread, clothing, and housing). These were quintessential Left issues added by call for an independent, which meant less pro-American, foreign policy.
The 1970s started with the revolution of rising expectations which swiftly slid into the revolution of rising resentments and disillusionment. The political honeymoon between Bhutto and the Left didn’t last long. Imperatives of strengthening his hold on power compelled Bhutto to cozy up to Pakistan’s traditional power bases. The Left did not have the organisational capacity to match Bhutto’s populist polemics. In marked contrast with the 1970 elections where agenda revolved around roti, kapra, aur makan; the agenda of the 1977 elections was largely shaped by the clergy questioning Bhutto’s Islamic credentials. The Left had waned from the political horizon.
Then came General Ziaul Haq and his penchant to turn Pakistan into Islam’s fortress. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan resulted in what Fred Halliday calls ‘the second cold war’ with Zia teaming up with Ronald Reagan to bleed the Soviets. Support for the Mujahideen was matched by repression at home. Intelligence and police forces actively hunted down Leftists, often on trumped up or trivial charges. As a result, university teachers, students, journalists, and assorted other activists with actual or imagined connections with communism were more likely to be found behind bars during much of the 1980s.
The tenacity with which some of these individuals faced the Zia regime made up for their lack of organisational capacity and intellectual depth. When most of these towering individuals were released by 1987 their mystique evaporated as they struggled for political anchorage in changed Pakistan.
The collapse of the Soviet Union dealt the ideological and psychological blow to the Left for which it was least prepared. The folksy Marxism it subscribed to viewed Soviet Union as infallible. The West celebrated the end of the Cold War as the ‘end of history’ where capitalism and liberal democracy had triumphed as the organising principle for political communities.
Formal political space in Pakistan was now occupied by centrist and right of the centre parties. Where did the Left go in the 1990s? Individuals belonging to the Left ran helter-skelter and most of them eventually ended up in two fields; media, both print and electronic; and mainly externally funded non-government organisations (NGOs) working in areas of education, health, micro-credit, and women’s empowerment.
The remunerative edge of the NGO sector means it is more appealing. But the changed ideological milieu has made erstwhile opponents of capital into means of spreading its reach in far flung corners of society in the name of micro-credit. Whereas in the past the Left spoke of classes and contradictions the new jargon is centred on community and cooperation.
Anti-imperialism and the struggle for equitable and just order at home went hand-in-hand in the traditional leftist agenda. In today’s Pakistan the plank of anti-imperialism is occupied by overly-simplistic anti-Americanism as championed by assorted religious parties and individuals like Imran Khan. Concern for an equitable and just socio-political order is conspicuously absent from the current political discourse.
With the Left nowhere to be seen in the formal political arena, Pakistan’s political discourse revolves around phrases like ‘extremism versus moderation’ both of which leave the fundamental structures of the society untouched. ‘The night-bitten dawn’ Faiz lamented half-a-century back has indeed lasted for a long time and shows no signs of ending.
The writer can be reached at email@example.com
Courtesy: Daily Dawn, Dec. 4, 2007