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Monday, October 18, 2010

MY PUBLISHED LETTERS - ASIA TIME ONLINE - 2005

Re US turns the screws on deal with India [Dec 10]:

I strongly believe that the India-US nuclear deal will pass through the [US] Congress. After the public announcement of the deal and India taking a virtual U-turn to support the US against Iran, it is difficult for the Americans to backtrack. If the American Congress fails to ratify the deal, it is not going bring

status quo for India, but it will surely strain the relations between the countries and it may even push India toward an anti-US camp. The US lawmakers must understand that they have only two ways to go, and since both are dangerous they will have to choose the less dangerous. If the US, UK and France, which have no nuclear adversary at their border, have any justification to have nukes, then India has more rationale to have nukes. Bending rules for India will certainly set a dangerous precedent for others, but ignoring India is not the right answer. They must not view India's nuclear ambition at par with other courtiers. India is too big to let someone dictate to it or someone (like Japan) to protect it. Other aspiring countries must be told that they have no nuclear neighbors to justify their demand. Let us imagine the course that India will have to embark on if the US is not willing to help India in the nuclear field. First, India will have to depend on oil for its energy needs, and for that India will [strengthen] its ties with Iran. That means, after securing good business relations with three important countries (India, China and Russia), Iran will more vigorously pursue its nuclear ambition. Second, if India comes to believe that the US and the world will still continue the nuclear apartheid toward India, and India, in turn, decides to ignore the world and the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] (though [that] is less likely), that will be more dangerous for the world. I must remind the American lawmakers that there is an American proverb, "A starving man will eat with a wolf." If energy-starved India decides to eat (join) with a wolf, that is the last thing any US president would want to see.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India
(Dec 12, '05)

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Re Joseph J Nagarya's letter of November 21: I am not rich enough to make complete research and have hard evidence before writing a letter. Nor do I think all letter writers are doing that. Even if I had any evidence I would have already passed that to the US president to save him. I am a regular reader and simply by reading articles and news on the Internet do I make my presumption. Defending President [George W] Bush and his Iraq war requires elaborate explanations. Here are a few. After [September 11, 2001], and knowing well that terrorists are choosing unique and dangerous ways to fight, Bush had only two choices to make. One, make the US as a fort and live under the mercy of God or terrorists. Second, pursue the terrorists wherever they were and, by eliminating them, reduce the chances of the US again being attacked. Since a single miscalculation would cost the US dearly (a nuclear strike), he opted for the second. Well, now we are sure that Iraq has no WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. But prior to the war, how could we be sure that Saddam [Hussein] had not possessed [them]? For a long time denying UN inspections and trying every way to delay the process, Saddam indeed made the world, particularly the US, believe that he was trying to hide something. And intelligence agencies like the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] could help the government to some extent but could not give a complete picture. There were fair chances that Saddam might have fooled the CIA. Remember the CIA was unable to predict India's nuclear explosion and American homeland security also was unable to predict the September 11 catastrophe. Hence it is up to the leaders to decide what is the best or least dangerous option to take. The Iraq war might have increased [the chances of a] terrorist strike, but reduced the chances of a nuclear strike. In medical terms, for a non-fatal disease, we take medicine only after the doctor confirms that we are indeed affected by the disease. But as far as a fatal disease (WMD) is concerned, taking preemptive medicine is the only option. We cannot expect a doctor (CIA) to say to a patient (Bush), "I confirm that it is positive (AIDS/Saddam has WMD), now you can take medicine (action)." It will be futile. Hence, sometimes exaggeration is required to serve the people. Women, in India generally, when their child is not eating food, would simply say, "If you don't eat, the demon will come and eat you." Legally you can call it a lie. But the purpose is good. It is for the American people and judges to decide whether Bush exaggerated/lied to serve his country or himself ... For Nagarya's other question, I would simply say, get the data of how many suicide bombings have taken place so far, and if more than 50% were committed (it must be 90%) by Muslims, you better name it an Islamic threat.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India
(Nov 28, '05)

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Re
More at stake than regime change [Nov 17]:

Today we are living in a world where exaggeration has become a norm for everybody and every field. While the US president exaggerated the Iraq threat a little bit, Conn Hallinan seems to be falling into this same category. After the Afghan and Iraq wars and until peace can be established there, no American president can ever think of another war (Iran, Syria). It is true that the US drive to remove, using military means, the regimes which it does not like makes some countries wary of their security. And their desire to have nuclear bombs as a deterrent is truly justifiable. But one will have to bear in mind another aspect as well. The Muslims' way of fighting (suicide bombers) also makes one shudder to think what will happen to the world if WMD [weapons of mass destruction] ever fall into their hands. Though suicide bombings were attributed to other religions as well, now they have virtually given up that choice. It is only Muslims who are not only relying more on this deadly option but also choosing public places as targets. I cannot exactly read what is in President [George W] Bush's mind (whether it is oil or world security), but I share his views that letting Muslim dictators have dangerous [weapons] will certainly find its way to the terrorists, and these dictators too cannot be trusted [to use such weapons only] as a last option ... Since both the US and Iran have genuine grievances to address, I suggest Islamic regimes must be prevented from having these WMD, and to ensure security for them, the UN can forge a group of elite countries (comprising the top 50 economies, because they are going to be hurt more in any turmoil around the world) and if any Islamic or other countries try to tread a dangerous path, then this group be given authority to decide what course of action needs to be taken. More important, this group must be allowed to vote in secrecy (many countries would have preferred to support or oppose the Iraq resolution, but they cannot say so openly because it will invite American or terrorist wrath), so the countries can judge any resolution on its merit ... If any country violates that resolution, then other member countries must join the war to save the disputed country.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India
(Nov 18, '05)

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Re
Indian left out of step over US exercises [Nov 11]:

What once the Indian communists vigorously opposed (the Congress, computers, capitalism) all became a thing of past and now they [have] tactically accepted all of them. Though I doubt whether their anti-Americanism will fade away with time, the Indian communists will be exposed if they don't realize the anomaly in their stand. If they are per se opposed to any joint military exercise with any other countries, then why didn't they oppose such exercises when India had [them] with the Chinese and Russia? And ironically the communists too are following the same American way of disregarding majority views. In the Iraq issue, if the US ignored the world (majority) opinion, in India, the left parties too are disregarding majority views (Congress, BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] and many smaller political parties are supportive of this joint military exercise) and trying to push their own agenda.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India
(Nov 14, '05)

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Re
CIA's 'black sites' breed more evil [Nov 4]:

Another typical Muslim mind, which always finds fault with everything but Islam. [Perhaps] the author is not aware that the London suicide bombers (Pakistani origin) had decent education and might have played with high-tech toys and even have got a surprise gift from Santa Claus. Even for the sake of his argument if one were to believe that basic education alone can change Muslims minds, then who had prevented them [doing] so? If the poor Africans have grievances against the Western governments for not helping them, they certainly have reason ... But the oil-rich Islamic countries have enough money to help their own Muslim brothers. The author subtly reminds that being fellow humans it is Americans' (read democracies') duty to help earthquake victims and have to reduce their defense spending in order to provide education to Muslims, while the rich Muslim countries will use their money to build splendid mosques and train jihadi elements to kill innocent people. And again being fellow humans, if the Americans think that it is their duty to liberate some Muslims (even in the disguise of their own interest) who are under tyrannical rule, then these enlightened Muslims would say that it is none of their business, the Muslims will take care of themselves. One certainly needs more than the sixth sense to understand the Muslims. Still, he raised a valid question: whether a civilized government can stoop [to the level of terrorists] to disregard basic human rights. But when a faceless enemy [is] killing innocent people and using the liberties provided in the name of basic rights to hoodwink investigative agencies, it is difficult to answer whether the Americans are right or wrong in denying these rights to terrorists. The solution lies in accepting a modern educational system (all religions [do] except [Islam]) which is devoid of old religious belief and does not teach pupils that theirs is supreme and others have to be eliminated.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India (Nov 7, '05)

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It seems that we are heading toward another fiery fight between readers (Tibet and Japan). While I agree with the Chinese that Tibet cannot becompared with Japan’s atrocities, but since China suffered under Japan’s colonial rule, it must not replicate the same with the Tibetans, even to a lesser extent. Though Kirchhoff's argument [letter, Oct 24] seems reasonable, to understand the ground reality it is not enough [to note] that they are well fed or accommodated. In the Indian part of Kashmir, separatist leaders frequently call for strikes, and hold meetings and processions where anti-India voices can be heard. Are Tibetans enjoying the same liberties? Unless they are provided the same liberties it will be hard to read their minds ... China has made clear to its citizens in many ways that if people, even mainland Chinese, revolt against the government, they will be ruthlessly crushed. The Tiananmen Square incident is a glaring example. Once I read, “If you cannot prevent rape, then you better enjoy it”. I wonder whether Tibetans are happy because they have no alternative. Only Tibetans living in China can tell.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India (Oct 26, '05)

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Re
India gets teeth against corruption [Oct 21]:

It may be a good step taken by India to curb corruption. But the Indian journalists have already dug [up] many scandals without this act, and made [them] public. Present politicians do not feel shame at being called corrupt. Many tainted politicians winning election and even getting ministerial berths reveal that this act alone cannot change Indian polity. What is the need of the hour is judicial reform. Forming a political court (as a consumer court) where cases pertaining to politicians (especially those who are or were ministers) [can be] disposed speedily will help to purify Indian politics. And these political courts must have a time frame to dispose of the cases. If the court is unable to dispose of the cases within the stipulated time (say five or 10 years), then the court must disclose to the people who is responsible for the delay. And if the defendant (politician) happened to the one, then he must be prevented from contesting.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India
(Oct 24, '05)

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No explanation can convince Frank. But there are a few more facts which Frank must know before he writes another India-bashing letter. Democracy is not a unique qualification which Indians are proud of maintaining. We know it is successfully practiced in many countries and even [has been] for centuries. But they are not proud because it has many followers there. We [are] able to maintain democracy in a region [in other parts of which] democracy [has] failed to survive. Our neighbors don't understand that corrupt politicians can hinder progress but cannot destroy a nation, while dictators and kings can. Indians are not following English or democracy just because it is their master's language. English successfully penetrated the world and became the only language which finds many followers (including Frank),  Indians are simply taking advantage of it. As regards democracy, it is the best way to govern people, any system that helps the people, we humans must accept. If following others' footsteps is a shame, then what about China, which has followed communism and later capitalism? China also embraced Buddhism, and Buddha [was] technically an Indian and a Hindu. People taking to the street for their just (or unjust) cause is not uncommon in democracies, since elected governments are always afraid of taking stern action against lawbreaking citizens due to their vote-bank concern.
 even if they do they will never use tanks (Tiananmen Square) to threaten their own citizens. As regards the Indian caste system, it is truly a disease which we are trying to eliminate. The only remedy is making people educated. Half a century may be enough for small countries to make progress, but for a big country like India it is Herculean task. India [has been] unable to spend more on education because, at the time of its birth, it inherited (90%) uneducated people, weak infrastructure, [and] culturally divided neighbors, due to which it had to spend a large portion of money for defense. The Western democracies, luckily, are not in that position.

Shivanantham
Cuddalore
, India
(Oct 13, '05)

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