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India is No U.S. Vassal State: It is a Proud Country with an Independent Foreign Policy

India’s recent moves with the US are not an act of realignment with the West. They are carefully calibrated actions based on hard-headed calculations of Indian national interest.

Siddharth Pathak

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The close bonhomie India is sharing with the US in the last few years is certainly going to raise some eyebrows among those who cover the alternate perspective, a more realistic perspective I might add, of the changes going on in Russia and China, and the realignment of world polity. It will be mind-boggling to comprehend how a country, which was firmly in the Soviet camp during the Cold War and whose main enemy (Pakistan) is supposed to be in the American camp, is becoming closer to the US. Wouldn’t the second most populous country and one of the most egotistical civilizations in the world want to be part of the newer alliances shaping the political realignment?

It is here that we must pause, and question this narrative and punch it with nuances that many often miss, trying to view India from the same dichotomous lens of “them” (the US and the system of its allies) and “us” (the belligerent countries challenging the US dominance). In my view the application of such a lens is no different than how the US sees the world, and indeed Russia. We have to move beyond the concepts of “sameness” and “otherness” that have hijacked the world ever since the Dulles brothers started this in the 1950s, as explained by Stephen Kinzer. Otherwise those who try to analyze what is going on in the minds of the mantris in Delhi will be forever doomed to misunderstandings.

Yes, it is true that India is moving closer to the United States – not close as in buying a few weapons close, but close in a far more impactful manner. India is closely cooperating with the US military, and a treaty, which will allow each other’s militaries to utilize the bases of the other, is in the final works. Now, it would be fair to criticize this, but to claim that the closer cooperation between the two countries means the projection of US hegemony through India, that is simply not true. The current government, formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party does give an image as if it is a West leaning, capitalism heavy political entity, but this image arises from a fundamental misunderstanding those outside of India have when it comes to analyzing how domestic politics work.

Before I explain the origins of the BJP, I would like to layout a simple model of a democratic system which I shall be using to explain the BJP. In a democratic system, there are elections held at regular intervals where people decide to vote a particular party into power. This structure creates elections as some sort of a sporting event in which each party tries to win by securing votes. And they go about this business by differentiating themselves from the other, which leads each party or any political entity to evolve a set of core kernel of beliefs, using them as a legitimacy to gain power.

The kernel defining the identity of the BJP in India is the misunderstood concept of Hindutva. Now many prominent self-identifying liberals – who suffer from an acute lack of understanding of Indian ethos and local issues – try to create links between Hindutva, the political ideology and Hinduism, the religion. In their criticism of Hindutva, they argue that BJP is a communalist party which is bent on creating a nation for just Hindus – contrasting the reality that India is the third largest Muslim nation in the world. But Hindutva is a concept which is very different from this. It is an idea which mixes India’s culture, her history and the colonial experiences to create a set of narratives seeking to unify Indians under a common identity. It is no different in its conception than the distinct brand of Communism that sprang in China as a way to respond to the infringing of Chinese interests by the outside world.

Hindutva defines Hinduism, which is far lesser understood by Indians themselves, as a cultural framework rather than a religious one, where all Indians are woven into its fabric. The Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, while giving an interview to the New York Times, said:

“India is a Hindu nation in the cultural sense. A Catholic in Goa is also Hindu culturally, because his practices don’t match with Catholics in Brazil [a former Portuguese outpost like Goa]; except in the religious aspect, a Goan Catholic’s way of thinking and practice matches a Hindu’s.”

This quote is at the heart of what the BJP believes in and considers it as the model for India. But the most crucial aspect of Hindutva which is casually brushed aside is how the idea is structured in the broader framework of the global world – after all there is no such thing as “isolationism”.  As I mentioned it earlier, Hindutva was formed largely as a reaction to Western imperialism. James Gelvin, an American scholar on Middle East, coined the term “defensive developmentalism” for a framework whereby indigenous institutions oriented their policies and behavior by strengthening their efficacy and control over resources and governance structures as a way to react to asymmetrical relationships with other states. Development from this perspective was seen as a way to address the imbalances in power. The concept can be widely used to explain the set of changes that occurred in China between 1911-1949, in Japan under the Meiji era between 1868-1912, both the Koreas in the post Korean war, and also, India, between 1857-1947. Hindutva was one of the avenues for such a reaction.

The hallmark for such ideologies is the justification of strengthening national security and local military apparatus. It is then, no wonder that the BJP and its political ancestors have always supported efforts by the Indian government to strengthen India’s military capabilities. Atal Behari Vajpayee who is one of the most influential statesman and politicians in the Republican era of the country, despite being fundamentally opposed to the Indian National Congress (the chief opponent of the BJP) wholeheartedly supported Indira Gandhi from the Congress when she railed against international opposition to develop nuclear weapons.

Thus, national security – which is seen as a modicum of strengthening sovereignty in the BJP’s kernel – is a key factor in understanding why India appears to be leaning towards the West. It is not due to corruption, or nepotism, or even an opposition to Russia and the growing power of China entirely. It is because from the viewpoint of India, the US is an entity which is willing to share its military capabilities which India can tap into and build the foundations of its military reforms. In other words, it is engaging in exactly the same kind of copying of US technologies that the Chinese do (or did?), but unlike China, India enjoys a benign view in the minds of the American leaders. In reality India has nothing to do with the imperialistic philosophies of the West – after all it is a victim of those exact philosophies.

Apart from access to military technologies another factor behind the push towards the US is due to the India-Pakistan conflict. Now, Delhi does realize that the future lies in the land routes of Eurasia – shown by the special interest the Indian Prime Minister has shown in the Russian city of Astrakhan. Astrakhan is a special city because until the 18th century, Indian traders used to be a common feature in the city until the advent of the sea routes wrecked the trading networks. But India cannot utilize these trade routes, which in history ran all the way from Bengal to Baku, Tehran, Qom, Nishapur, Samarkand and Astrakhan in the West, until its relationship with Pakistan is resolved. Naturally, Indians wish to settle their political feud, but it is advantageous for the them if the deal occurs on terms they want. But for this to happen, India has to manage outside influences from China and the US. One way to achieve this is to develop a close relationship with the US. So the relationship between the US and India is not about giving up sovereignty and becoming a vassal state. It is about bootstrapping the development of the Indian military by tapping into what the US has to offer, and also about resolving its long running, but counter-productive feud with Pakistan.

It is vital that the analyses of US-India relationship don’t fall victim to the inanely naïve analyses that the clueless think tanks of Washington produce. There is a lot more diversity in the structure of the world, even in “our” camp and “their” camp. If the analysis has a prejudice of confining India in the camps of blindly following what Russia and China seem to be doing, then India will be an enigma producing a series of disappointments. And if we confine the country in the Western camp, it too shall produce nothing but disappointments. Instead of this, it is more insightful and more accurate if one recognizes that India is a country that has never fallen into any cages of dogmas, and has always strode in a manner justifying its immense ego, wishing to be independent.

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According to Ukraine, the Crimean Bridge doesn’t exist (VIDEO)

Ukraine tries to deny the reality of the completion and soundness of the Crimean Bridge, though Ukraine was unable to build it, itself.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia’s VESTI News is truly an entertaining channel at times. This news service is strongly supported by the Russian government, and one of the criticisms it receives from Russian people is that it is an “extreme” propaganda house, telling all manner of crazy stories to distract its watchers’ attention away from the real problems that Russian people face at home.

No doubt there is truth to this, as this is a technique certainly duplicated in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. Every nation has the right to its own propaganda. However, Vesti also seems to have a lot of fun making fun of other nations’ propaganda, and here they found a great one. Apparently, Ukraine’s propaganda ministry is trying to make the assertion that the Crimean Bridge collapsed and its debris is floating around in the Kerch Strait, “with the tectonic plates.”

See for yourself.

According to Ukrainian scientists and even “psychics”, this bridge is doomed to fall into the Kerch Strait once a sufficient earthquake hits it. Some claims appear even to say that the bridge already is not there, or at least, is not there in the way the Russian news sources have described it.

Of course, the VESTI team erupts into its famous snark, talking about how the bridge is very much alive and well and that it is the new “pride of Russia,” and so on.

This bridge is indeed quite an engineering feat, being completed only about three years after the rejoining / annexation / invasion / hostile takeover / or was it a voluntary referendum? of Crimea to the Russian Federation. This is a rapid speed for such a major project, but it is not very unusual for such projects to progress rather quickly when they are done with a will.

Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) is presently by far the tallest building in the world, reaching skyward 828 meters, over half a mile into the sky. It took a little over four years to construct this landmark building, and it was done steadily and with a will to completion. Its would-be successor is not having as smooth an experience, for the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has hit problems, and even though this tower is projected to go only about 130 meter higher (reaching a significant milestone of one kilometer tall), its construction started in 2013, and as of the latest update, only 63 floors are completed.

The Crimean Bridge was built with a will to make a point, presumably to Ukraine, the rest of Russia and the world:

This is the New Russia. Look what we can do!

And, they did a marvelous feat of engineering in a very short time.

VESTI indeed does try to make some people feel better by pointing out the problems of other countries. Sometimes that is a distraction. But sometimes it is worth a serious bit of consideration.

Ukraine has a leader most of its people apparently cannot stand, who is a warmonger and a crybaby at the same time, begging the West for help while breathing threats against Russia.

While there are no doubt many, many wonderful people there trying to do wonderful things, it does seem to be that the country is suffering because of its willingness to be a pawn of the West. Russia is feeling the Western squeeze and it is not pleasant, but the Russians also seem to know that they can get themselves through this, and so they have reason to be glad when the country makes a good accomplishment such as the Crimean Bridge. The political and geopolitical importance of this project is such that it is very likely that all sorts of great engineering went into the bridge. It is prudent, and Russians seem to understand prudence very, very well.

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White privilege shaming attempt goes hilariously wrong

A well-trained racist ran afoul of her own side when she accused a black man of white privilege – because he has a conservative worldview.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Racism is on the increase in America. In the liberal world, anti-white sentiment is reaching untold heights. It went so high for CNN reporter (and legal analyst!!) Areva Martin that she fearlessly called out radio host David Webb on his own program for executing his white privilege and not listening to her. At this moment, no doubt, many fellow black racists who were watching CNN (and many guilt-ridden white people too!) were cheering her on for “putting it to” this radio host for being so shamelessly white. But then, this happened:

Yep. This is David Webb. He broadcasts on Sirius XM’s Patriot network (Sirius is a satellite radio network broadcasting for US audiences). He is politically conservative, believes in the rule of law and personal responsibility, aaaannndddd… he’s black.

National Review’s Kevin Williamson dug in a bit more to give us some information about who Mr. Webb actually is (in other words, he did research before making allegations or accusations as did Ms. Martin):

And here I thought I was the only black man with white privilege.

Areva Martin, a CNN “analyst” — whatever in hell that means anno Domini 2019 — was in the middle of a spirited exchange with the conservative talk-radio host David Webb about racial preferences in hiring. Webb argued — as conservatives of many different races argue! — that race should not be a factor in such decisions, which should be based strictly on qualifications.

Martin, predictably, leaned on identity. “That’s a whole ’nother long conversation about white privilege,” she sniffed. “The things that you have the privilege of doing that people of color don’t have the privilege of.” Webb, sensing something amiss, asked: “How do I have white privilege?” Her answer: Because he is a “white male.”

Half right.

(Disclosure: I don’t think I’ve ever met Mr. Webb, but I did guest-host his radio show a few times a couple of years ago. They stopped asking me to do that after I made fun of his awful bumper music. People are touchy.)

Somehow, we as a culture have managed to forget that ad hominem is a rhetorical fallacy. Which is to say: Relying on the ad hominem mode of argument means that you are stupid, if not generally and categorically stupid then limited-purpose stupid in the context of the debate at hand.

It would seem that CNN has indeed forgotten this, or has assumed (with some success) that America has been successfully weaned of people able to quickly and easily discern such fallacies, and now ad hominem rhetoric is mainstream, and actually counts among the talking heads of the Left as “reasonable discourse.”

Just consider how effective this sort of bullying has been against many people, and how it is used over and over against Donald Trump, though it fails miserably with him (probably because he does not drink or smoke cannabis and has therefore kept his mind.)

Mr. Williamson went on to underscore his point:

Dennis Prager, relating the story above, mentions that he was denounced — as he must be denounced! — before a college campus speech as a racist, sexist, homophobe, and . . . anti-Semite. Prager is Jewish. He has made opposing anti-Semitism a fundamental part of his public career. The reaction to that news was predictable: “Oops. Well, he’s still a racist, sexist, homophobe . . .”

I’ve heard Charles C. W. Cooke dismissed as a fundamentalist Christian (he’s an atheist) and Guy Benson denounced as a homophobe (he’s gay). I have even heard myself denounced as a sellout self-hating black man (I’m white). We have been the beneficiaries of Voltaire’s prayer: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”

But here’s a question: What if they were right? Cooke’s views on abortion or the First Amendment are what they are, and they either have merit or they do not, irrespective of his religious views. David Webb and I have the same views on many things, I imagine. He’s black. I’m white. Presumably, an erroneous opinion bouncing around in my head would be equally erroneous bouncing around in his head, just as a useful observation coming out of my mouth would be an equally useful observation coming out of his.

Not if you are a progressive, apparently. For the Left, public discourse is Lord of the Flies, and victimhood is the conch — that is how they believe we should decide who gets to speak. That’s what the nonsensical business about “intersectionality” is all about. It is at its heart very little more than a reconstitution of old, dumb, primitive, superstitious ideas in the same genus as racism and nationalism, i.e. the belief that certain demographic markers of questionable real-world relevance are supernaturally cementitious determinants of moral meaning.

Mr. Williamson was very polite in his last sentence, and probably not a little bit sarcastic.

What we see here with Areva Martin’s behavior is racism. Pure and simple.

She said, essentially, “I am a black woman, so that makes me better than you.”

So, let’s play with this a bit.

“I am white, so that makes me better than you.”

This would create a network meltdown if someone who was a public figure tried to say it and uphold this as a belief. Let’s make it even better. “I am a white, Christian, wealthy man who is married and has children and lots of success. But I have it because I am white. You are not white, so you cannot have it.”

Now we probably have riots in the streets and death threats to the hapless soul who ventured to say this. But then, flip it:

“I am a black man. Whitey owes me.”

How is this not racism?

Liberals interpret this as being “true” because “black people were oppressed by white people.” And, so? They are not now, and few indeed are the numbers of white men or women in America that would even dare to think of themselves as superior because of the color of their skin.

Racists don’t know that, and they will not accept it.

To be racist and / or feminist (which behaves the same way but with regard to the “man” part) is to claim the title of victim. Racists are victims. Feminists are victims. They are wedded to a victimhood viewpoint from the moment that they take on these roles. Frederica Matthewes-Green, a former feminist and now the wife of an Antiochian Orthodox Christian priest (she got better!) commented once about feminism, saying approximately this:

Feminism is a very difficult trap. Once a woman engages the idea that she is a victim because she is female, she sees everywhere how this is actually true by the way people treat her. She sees it because she is emotionally attached to the idea of being superior to men, but for the fact that men are just jealous of her.

The same thing happens for racists. Let’s be honest here: this is not “inverse racism” – for that would appear to make it somehow relevant because “whitey deserves it.” Racism is racism. It is the idea as stated above that one’s appearance or place of origin makes one superior to others. Whites are better than blacks. Why? because they are white. Blacks are better than whites. Why. Because they are black.

Essentially the conversation is, “Why?” and, “Because!” is the one word answer, or more accurately, “because I said so.” There is no truth to this. As David Webb himself said, “our skin is an organ. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t formulate ideas.”

So what does this mean? By standards of racism and culture, it appears to mean the following:

  • White men talk about following the law because they are white and they can do this.
  • They therefore do not understand black men and women, because black men and women are special cases (for Areva)
  • Their special nature means that the arguments of following the law do not – and must not – apply to them
  • Apparently this means that black people are incapable of following laws
  • It means that they are incapable of taking personal responsibility for themselves
  • If this is so, then it also follows that someone must run their lives, which leads us to upholding…

Slavery! Hell, seen in this light, slavery is the only humane, reasonable and kind way to treat such people!

CNN has stocked its newsroom top anchor positions, therefore, with victims. Anderson Cooper (gay), Don Lemon (gay and black), Jim Acosta (his last name is Hispanic, so he is a victim too). The list probably can be easily extended. And in fact, Areva Martin (black and a woman) holding the post of legal analyst in this news organization displayed the victim card prominently. CNN spends a lot of time and money defending the idea that white privilege exists, even though it doesn’t. Just ask any white person.

Pride of identity is always false. There is nothing anyone did to earn their race, their sex, their skin color, their ancestry, and so on. So being proud of such attributes is utter foolishness. At most, these are interesting conversation topics, but they all accomplish precisely nothing in any field of life.

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Second group of Su-57 stealth fighters to be requested in 2020

The second Su-57 contract will feature fighters with the advanced engine design that was under development while the prototypes were made.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The contract for a second order of Russian Su-57 stealth fighters is expected to be signed in 2020, according to an unnamed source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported on this on Wednesday, 16 January:

The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.

“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”

The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.

“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.”

The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.

The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.

The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria.

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