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Message from India: Please Stop Calling Us Poor

India is the world’s most ancient civilisation and the world’s third biggest and fastest growing economy. There are many problems and much poverty but it is sick and tired of being patronised by the West.

Siddharth Pathak

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India is a country of paradoxes. On one hand millions of young ambitious people wanting to make something out of their lives write their own destinies, on the other hand there are millions of others who choose spirituality in leaving themselves to whatever their fate has set for them.

The same paradox exists in our perceptions too. On one hand there is undoubtedly the world’s largest population living below the poverty line with average incomes being very low, and the country being frequently lumped into a poor category. But on the other hand there is this fabulously rich aura of India being the golden bird that drew the attentions of the Europeans seeking her magical riches and spices. The contradiction here is incidentally at the root of the discontent and hostility Indians have over the colonial era. India went from being an unbelievably rich land to being pillaged under the colonial era – or at least so goes the narrative.

The image of India’s poverty attracts a lot of attention and money. According to the World Bank, India received a total of $2.4 billion in foreign aid in 2013. While this money certainly contributes towards alleviation of poverty and helping those on the lower strata of the society, there are a few problems, which actually backfire on the noble intentions with which these donations are made.

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India is finding it’s way to actualize its national ambitions to become a $10 trillion economy by 2034.

Professor William Easterly is an economist who studies economic development, and the bulk of his work bluntly disputes the myth that foreign aid works. He asserts that “economic development happens, not through aid, but through the homegrown efforts of entrepreneurs and social and political reformers.” And is it really difficult to understand why that might be the case?

Consider the old adage: it is better to teach a hungry man how to fish, than to give him a fish. For helping those living among poverty we have to enable them to be able to achieve the necessary conditions for making their lives better. If we keep feeding them, and taking care of them in perpetuity, what would become of them, if the aid flows were to be disrupted? Jim Rogers, one of the greatest investors of our time, wrote in his book “Adventure Capitalism” of how he saw in his travels to Africa long lines of people in Ethiopia, waiting for the arrival of the free grains which kind hearted people from American Churches had donated. He lamented over how an entire generation of people in the rural areas had grown up not knowing how to farm, while pristine farmlands in Ethiopia lay unharvested.

India, China, and various countries of Africa have all received vast sums of donations in the last five decades, but this has hardly affected poverty levels. In fact, the biggest reduction in poverty numbers came only when these countries adopted genuine economic development using the distributive capacities of the markets. Sure, there are legitimate criticisms about using markets, but the benefits of them in tackling human development issues such as hunger, poverty and malnutrition significantly outweigh the cons. Also consider the fact that prior to the development of liberalism as thought of by John Stuart Mill, there was no impetus that another country, much less other people from the same country, had any moral obligation to “help” other people. And yet in varying time periods people in what now are perceived to be “poor countries”, sat on vast amounts of resources.

Apart from economic reasons as to why foreign aid is counterproductive, there are equally important political reasons for it. Perhaps the most damaging aspect about colonialism in India was that it struck a wide blow on to the collective psyche of the Indian identity. It was not because “foreigners” had conquered India (“foreigners” ruling over India goes at least a few thousand years), it was because of the projection of the idea that Indians were people that the imperialists had to “civilise”. In doing so they damaged, belittled and mocked the sense of being an Indian, and as a result shred the humanity of their identity. John Stuart Mill, who came up with the strange, convoluted idea of “benevolent despotism” was heavily influenced by his father, James Mill who had authored a book called “History of British India”, an elaborate study of the Subcontinent which was used by the East India Company officers and subsequently the British Foreign Office in teaching newly posted officials in India about the land and its history.

However, the History of British India contained within it nothing but a highly self-serving vision of what India ought to be, instead of what it was. Mill, for example casually brushed aside the contexts and nuances which punctuate the evolution of societies and shape broader sociological frameworks, and instead lazily announced that India’s past possessed “three phases, Hindu, Muslim and British.” He criticised in his book those British officials who thought the indigenous people “to be a people of high civilisation, while they have in reality made but a few of the earliest steps in the progress to civilisation.”

Unfortunately, such patronisation formed the bedrock in which many senior officials came to view not just India, but numerous other parts of the world.

And I can’t help but see the similarities between the view then, and the view about “poor countries” or “third world countries” now. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to argue that today’s view is the successor of the views of the past.

India is not a poor country. It certainly has a large share of people who live below poverty lines, but should this be the sole determinant of how India be ought to be looked at by the rest of the world?

Well Indians will say a forceful no, but the reality is that India is viewed from the narrow constructs which have their foundations from the heydays of colonialism, which further accentuates the problems, because colonialism is looked at with great hostility. It is what explains why Indians were furious at the way many Western publications and newspapers questioned India’s foray into space by launching a Mars mission. Journalists questioned whether it was justified that a country with significant levels of poverty should spend money on such projects. Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee in turn angrily retorted that British aid was “peanuts” compared to the economy, and the government even moved ahead to block any more aid from UK. 

This reaction is not true just for India. Just a few weeks ago, Bolivian Minister for Land and Rural Development angrily refused Bill Gates’ donation of 100,000 chicken, saying “He does not know Bolivia’s reality to think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce.”

But what he said afterwards – “I think it’s rude coming from a magnate that does not know Bolivia’s reality” – is something which more people and countries, particularly those in the developed world, should consider before inciting irritated response from native people.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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