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  • Archive for the 'India' Category

    Book Review — Wolff — Tibet Unconquered

    Posted by James McCormick on 9th December 2010 (All posts by )

    Wolff, Diane, Tibet Unconquered: An Epic Struggle for Freedom, Palgrave McMillan, New York, 2009, 248pp. Foreword by Robert Thurman.

    The publisher kindly provided a copy of this book for review.

    A year ago, my Holiday 2009 Book Roundup on chicagoboyz here recommended Christopher Beckwith’s Empires of the Silk Road as an outstanding overview of Central Asian culture from prehistory to the present day. Complementing that title is Diane Wolff’s new and approachable overview of Tibet’s relationship with China.

    It’s hard to imagine an extended American family that doesn’t have at least one member who’s been fascinated by Tibetan Buddhism in some way. The Dalai Lama remains as one of the few religious leaders given wide respect in the Western world. His recent emphasis on the preservation of Tibet’s environment (which forms the headwaters of five major Asian river systems) gives him even more popularity with Greens. As Wolff notes, Buddhism has been the default “cool” religion in Hollywood for many years apart from the recent and occasional forays into Jewish Kabbalah by the Malibu crowd. In turn, Tibetan Buddhism also appeals to adolescents looking for a way to peeve their parents … without getting kicked out of the house.

    A book that tries to give a general reader a solid historical understanding of Chinese-Tibetan relations is welcome. It’s a tangled and tragic piece of history, one fraught with opportunities missed on both sides and historical trends that have largely worked against Tibetan culture. We have a vivid “virtual Tibet” (in Orville Schell’s phrasing) but will we still have a Tibetan culture in 2050? Wolff offers a heart-felt and practical solution to the current style of Han occupation of Tibet. She’s also realistic enough to understand that the current generation of Chinese leaders may not be suited to making the adjustments and compromises necessary to pull a Tibetan thorn from the Chinese paw. A Fifth Generation of Chinese Communist Party leaders may be needed.

    Wolff’s book is written for the non-specialist. It requires close reading (because she often approaches subjects thematically with a certain amount of bouncing back and forth between time periods) but Tibet Unconquered is pitched for mortal readers, without a forest of footnotes.

    An intelligent high school student can easily make their way through this book, with profit. So if you’ve suddenly found your kids flying Tibetan prayer flags in your backyard, Diane Wolff’s book definitely belongs on your 2010 holiday book buying list. You can bask in some of that reflected “cool” yourself. It’s a very affordable, useful introduction to a fascinating subject. It works fine as a springboard to the specialist literature for motivated readers. Those interested in China’s capacity to adapt to a world demanding more transparency, more honesty and more credible self-reflection could hardly find a better ongoing touchstone than Tibet. Educating yourself about how things got the way they did in Tibet (and China) is therefore well worth the time. The Han Chinese have plenty of challenges facing them. Tibet is where the world proclaims they are most “uncivilized.” That’s a slur the Han cannot, cannot bear after a millennium ruled largely by northern barbarians and more recent humiliations by industrial nations. So the Roof of the World is where the Han must come to a successful solution without losing face. For them, let alone the poor Tibetans, the stakes couldn’t be higher. It’s a situation worth watching.

    Even better for those of you racing into the e-book world, Amazon offers an even more affordable Tibet Unconquered. Consider this title as a gift or for a thought-provoking bit of holiday reading.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, China, History, India, Politics | 4 Comments »

    A brief fugue on the graphics of coexistence

    Posted by Charles Cameron on 4th December 2010 (All posts by )

    A great many people will have seen (or designed) some variant of the “coexist” bumper-sticker / tee-shirt design:

    Coexist

    — the first of which can be found on acsapple‘s photobucket — and hey, the “aum” sign for “oe” is a brilliant bit of graphic substitution! – while I nabbed the second here.

    What with a thousand flowers blooming, the importance of preserving memetic variations, peaceful coexistence and all, it’s only natural that some will have different takes on the matter —

    coexist variants

    — the first of these comes from the blog of a gun-toting political refugee from the People’s Progressive Republic of Massachusetts, while the second is a tee-shirt design by Matt Lussier, and you can get your tee-shirt here

    *

    As for myself, I have fond memories of India, and was accordingly heartened to see this on an Indian Muslim site

    india calling-religious unity

    which is what set me thinking about “coexistence” graphics in the first place.

    *

    Did I ever tell you about the sign I saw over a shop in Delhi, advertising the sale of mythelated spirits?

    I frequently feel just a tad mythelated myself.

    Posted in Advertising, India, Islam, Judaism, Religion | 23 Comments »

    President Obama in India

    Posted by onparkstreet on 7th November 2010 (All posts by )

    1.

    Even Bollywood could not stay away from using the Obama metaphor. In an upcoming Hindi film titled “Phas Gaye Re Obama” (“Obama Is in a Fix”), director Subhash Kapoor said he portrays a bunch of Obama-loving Indian gangsters struggling amid the economic recession. The comedy isn’t coming out until after the president’s visit.

    Washington Post (There is a nice slide show of American presidents in India at the link.)

    2. NDTV video link to President Obama’s town hall with Indian students at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. One of the students asks a pretty tough question about the midterms at 15:00.

    3.

    The president viewed a demonstration of a new system called “e-Panchayat”, a new effort to enable people in the more than 400 local districts across India to obtain and share information.

    VOA

    4. “What They Said: Obama’s Maiden India Visit” – IndiaRealTime (Wall Street Journal)

    5. “President Obama’s visit to India, Day 1: The Obamas at Mani Bhavan “There were no human bombs then.” – Pundita (Pundita has several very good posts on the visit.)

    Mr. Kamdar had a word of praise for the U.S. security personnel as well. “They weren’t at all obstructive. We could not make out who were the security and who were the staff. Everything went on so smoothly and naturally,” he said.

    The Hindu

    Posted in India, International Affairs, Obama | 3 Comments »

    How you move stuff around is an interesting topic, isn’t it?

    Posted by onparkstreet on 3rd October 2010 (All posts by )

    China has shown interest in the construction of two railway lines—-one in Pakistan via the Gilgit-Baltistan region and the other in Afghanistan. While the railway line through Gilgit-Baltistan, ultimately extending up to Gwadar on the Mekran coast, will meet the external trade requirements of Chinese-controlled Xinjiang and other regions of Western China, the proposed line in Afghanistan will meet the requirements of a copper mine which China is developing in the Aynak area in Afghanistan.

    – Raman’s Strategic Analysis

    8. However, because of the alternate routes through the CARs being developed by them and their ability for air-lift from Bahrain, they are able to manage despite the increasing attacks on the convoys in Pakistani territory. When the US and other NATO forces start thinning down their presence in Afghanistan, the Afghan National Army (ANA) would not enjoy these benefits. The Pakistan Army and the Taliban acting in tandem would be able to choke the ANA by interfering with its logistic supplies. Even if the US plays a diminishing role in ground operations after July 2011, it cannot reduce its logistics role in support of the ANA. Otherwise, the ANA could collapse.

    – Raman’s Strategic Analysis

    Although the Chahbahar port has been an Indian project for some time, the Iranian side has been notoriously lax in keeping to its end of the bargain.

    The port is strategically important — serving as the entry point for India’s outreach into Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. For this purpose, India also spent a lot of money and human lives to build the Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan’s Nimroz province, which was intended to link up with the Chahbahar port. But establishing those linkages turned out to be more difficult than India imagined. The political situation in Iran over the past year has scarcely helped.

    Times of India

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, China, Economics & Finance, India, Iran | 11 Comments »

    A Few Words About India and the Anglosphere (bumped, five years later)

    Posted by Lexington Green on 28th September 2010 (All posts by )

    [This post, inspired by this article provoked a conversation about the relationship between India and the Anglosphere. It seems like just yesterday I wrote about this (with Verity and I going back and forth in the comments) on Jim Bennett’s now dormant blog Albion’s Seedlings. My old post needed virtually no revision, so I am reposting it here. Setting the Way Back Machine for 2005 … .]

    The comments to this post contained some vexation about whether or not India is part of the “core” of the Anglosphere. The implication seemed to be that one is either part of the Anglosphere or not, and that it was wrong therefore to suggest that India is not.

    I think this is to misstate the issue. It is not “either/or” or “in/out” of the Anglosphere. It is a matter of degrees of participation. The USA, UK, Anglo-Canada, Australia, NZ are “core” areas because of very high degrees of commonality in language, law, business practices, cultural norms, etc. Jim Bennett talks about all this in his book, which you must all go and buy and read if you have not yet done so.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes, Britain, India, Military Affairs, National Security, USA | 3 Comments »

    On the Anglosphere

    Posted by onparkstreet on 26th September 2010 (All posts by )

    The Indian Question dominated a fascinating conference on the Anglosphere in Winchester yesterday, co-hosted by two of the greatest conservative editors on the planet: Daniel Johnson of Prospect, and Roger Kimball of The New Criterion. Some of the cleverest and most contrarian men in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India were present.

    And

    James Bennett, who more or less invented the Anglosphere, saw India as the key. While it might be awkward to talk of a nation of 1.3 billion people “joining” a club of 400 million, the orientation of India would determine the relative power of the English-speaking democracies for the rest of the century.

    Daniel Hannan, Telegraph blogs

    There has been a fair amount of negative press recently for Team India because of the Commonwealth Games. Kashmir is everywhere in the news, too. We shall see.

    Update: I am using “Team India” in the way that the press often refers to the “Team India versus Team China” rivalry. Personally, I’m a little more worried about Team America’s recent play. I’m sure we’ll right it eventually. I firmly believe that.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Blogging, Britain, India | 12 Comments »

    The real narrative

    Posted by Helen on 3rd September 2010 (All posts by )

    [A modified version of this article was published in the September issue of the British monthly magazine Standpoint. For reasons of space it had to be shortened. This is the original version.]

    Not so long ago I was taking part in one of those interminable discussions on a forum about the situation to do with Islam in Britain where people who have not set foot here or know anything about this country assure those of us who live here that we do not understand at all what is happening. At one point somebody asked me scornfully how many of the British Muslims’ ancestors had “come to England’s aid during the war”. After I finished explaining that it was the wrong way of phrasing the question and the country is Britain I added: “Quite a few, as it happens, especially from the Indian Empire. Have a look at the gravestones in British war cemeteries.”

    There are many Muslim names among those 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers listed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres and many Muslim names together with the Sickle on the gravestones; there are war graves of Muslim soldiers in many parts of the Far East, such as Hong Kong; the Brookwood Military cemetery contains two dozen graves of Muslim dead who died in Britain of their wounds, had been buried in the Muslim Burial Ground in Horsell and were transferred in 1968. One could go on and on with lists of British war cemeteries in Europe, in North Africa, in the Middle East and in the Far East. Everywhere there are fallen soldiers from the Indian Army in both world wars and many of them are Muslims.

    In World War I the volunteer Indian army played a huge part in Western Europe and the Middle East. It numbered 1.3 million and about 400,000 of them were Muslim. 74,187 Indian soldiers died in the war and tens of thousands were wounded. It is hard to distinguish exactly how many were Muslims except by the signs on the gravestones as Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims had all volunteered, all fought and all suffered casualties. We do know, however, that the first VC awarded to an Indian soldier was to a Muslim, Khudadad Khan from the Punjab district of present day Pakistan. He had distinguished himself at the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914.

    Between the two wars the Indian army was reduced in numbers and was down to 200,000 men in 1939. By August 1945 it numbered around 2.5 million, the largest volunteer army in history. It fought on all fronts but distinguished itself particularly in the Far East. Over 36,000 Indian servicemen were killed in the ferocious Burmese and other campaigns and 34,354 wounded; 67,340 were taken prisoner; 4,000 decorations were given to members of the Indian Army, including 38 VCs and GCs. A good many of these went to Muslim soldiers and NCOs.

    According to an article in the Defence Journal in September 1999 by Brigadier (Retired) Noor A. Husain the All India Muslim League’s sympathies from the very beginning of the war were clearly with the Allies against the Axis powers. (On the whole, this can be said for most political groupings in India. Despite later explanations, support for the pro-Japanese Indian National Army was considerably smaller than for the Allied war effort.)

    The Brigadier also points out that after 1942 the proportion of Muslim soldiers went down not because of any paucity of volunteers but because of the growing political demands for Pakistan and Indian government policy. But, of course, not all Muslim soldiers came from what is now Pakistan, whose own army after 1947 had a close working relationship with the British military establishment. Over 380,000 Punjabi Muslims joined during the war, which makes it the largest single group.

    The role of the British Indian Army in the two world wars, the fact that in both it constituted the largest volunteer forces to take part in the fighting, the soldiers’ bravery and the huge number of casualties tend to be forgotten at times. The role of the Muslim soldiers, while the equivalent to that of the Hindus, Sikhs and Gurkhas, needs to be emphasised for a very good reason: the real narrative of British Muslim history includes those glorious and courageous episodes. It is a narrative that cannot be disputed (unlike the rather dubious assertions of Mohammed being a feminist and conservationist); it is a narrative to be proud of.

    Posted in Anglosphere, History, India, Islam, Military Affairs | 7 Comments »

    Pundita on Pakistan

    Posted by Zenpundit on 24th June 2010 (All posts by )

    Miss P. bangs pots and pans, shoots off fireworks, uses her knee to pound a bass drum while blowing a vuvuzela in an effort to draw attention to the Elephant in the policy room no one wishes to address.

    It won’t work until a Pakistani-sponsored terrorist pulls off an act of catastrophic terrorism inside the United States and kills a large number of elite Americans in Manhattan or the Beltway. After that point, we’ll get serious and these views will become conventional wisdom.

    I just hope the terrorists don’t succeed in Arizona or Kansas – the story will only make page 2, then and policy will stay the course:

    Why General Stanley McChrystal is going straight to hell

    On or about August 30, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates received a detailed assessment of the military situation in Afghanistan that included a request for additional U.S. troops. The report was from General Stanley A. McChrystal, Commander, Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. But as noted on the first page the assessment was a joint effort representing input from ISAF staff and the component commands.On the matter of Pakistan the report noted:

    Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s lSI.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, India, International Affairs, Military Affairs, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 11 Comments »

    Defeat in Afghanistan? The View from 2050

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th June 2010 (All posts by )

    xyz

    Voices from many quarters are saying dire things about the American-led campaign in Afghanistan. The prospect of defeat, whatever that may mean in practice, is real. But we are so close to the events, it is hard to know what is and is not critical. And the facts which trickle out allow people who are not insiders to only have a sketchy, pointillist impression of the state of play. There is a lot of noise around a weak signal.

    ChicagoBoyz will be convening a group of contributors to look back on the American campaign in Afghanistan from a forty year distance, from 2050.

    40 years is the period from Fort Sumter to the Death of Victoria, from the Death of Victoria to Pearl Harbor, from Pearl Harbor to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. It is a big chunk of history. It is enough time to gain perspective.

    This exercise in informed and educated imagination is meant to help us gain intellectual distance from the drumbeat of day to day events, to understand the current situation in Afghanistan more clearly, to think-through the potential outcomes, and to consider the stakes which are in play in the longer run of history for America, for its military, for the region, and for the rest of the world.

    The Roundtable contributors will publish their posts and responses during the third and fourth weeks of August, 2010.

    The ChicagoBoyz blog is a place where we can think about the unthinkable.

    Stand by for further details, including a list of our contributors.

    Posted in Afghanistan 2050, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Europe, History, India, International Affairs, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Military Affairs, National Security, Obama, Politics, Predictions, Russia, Society, Terrorism, USA, Vietnam | 17 Comments »

    “In the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian gun owners are coming out of the shadows for the first time to mobilize, U.S.-style, against proposed new curbs on bearing arms.”

    Posted by onparkstreet on 4th February 2010 (All posts by )

    “When gunmen attacked 10 sites in Mumbai in November 2008, including two five-star hotels and a train station, Mumbai resident Kumar Verma sat at home glued to the television, feeling outraged and unsafe.” – Rama Lakshmi, Washington Post

    I have no idea if the above is an oddity reported as a trend, or, in fact, is a trend. Interesting story either way. (Link thanks to commenter “elf”)

    Update: Belated thanks for the link, Instapundit!

    Posted in India | 17 Comments »

    Holiday Book Ideas — Four That Are Good to Go

    Posted by James McCormick on 30th November 2009 (All posts by )

    I’m late, late, incredibly late on four books that authors gave me to review. That doesn’t mean that I can’t give credit where credit’s due … in plenty of time for the book-buying frenzy before the holidays. With luck, I’ll finish off the full reviews in December but since *I’m* buying copies of these books for friends and family, maybe one or more of them might fit someone on your list. All recommended for the categories of people headlined.

    Economists, Physicists, History of Science buffs

    Newton and the Counterfeiter describes Isaac Newton’s multi-year battle with one of London’s most successful counterfeiters. No surprise who wins in the end, but it is surprising how well Levenson provides background on the protagonists … without overwhelming the reader. Recommended for students or professionals with an interest in the history of money, finance, or just a fascination with what the great Newton did after he polished off the Principia. The counterfeiter’s “colourful” life precludes giving this book to a pre-teen but all others will find it, like the earlier-reviewed The Ghost Map, a fascinating snapshot of life in London.

    Japanophiles, Asian culture fans, World History Buffs

    I’m years late on this one but Through the Looking Glass is highly recommended for anyone wondering how Japan ended up with such a different culture … and why their adoption of Western technology at a breakneck pace in the late 19th century was so successful. Thought-provoking and such a good summary of Japanese culture that I’ve struggled for over 50 hours to epitomize in writing what the author has written in hopes of getting a full book review out the door. I’ve failed, but I’ve also bought more than a half-dozen copies of this book for friends on two continents with an interest in Asian culture.

    Entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 cube jockeys, Economics students, Anglosphere buffs

    Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson picks up where his Long Tail finished. The halving of computation, bandwidth, and data storage costs each year has made a new generation of businesses financially feasible. The freemium service (like Flickr, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) where basic services are free and a small set of customers pay for additional features, has become so common that it is now unremarkable. Anderson looks at the history of the word, the different definitions of free in the context of culture and business, and the gap in the academic literature in understanding the new generation of businesses that leverage “free” in profound ways. My book review will, like my earlier review of Long Tail, look at why the Anglosphere has been the source of so much “free” over the last couple of centuries and why it leads the way in both charitable and profitable businesses that leverage the idea. A “must have” for anyone thinking of starting a business. People under 30 will think “d’uh” but Anderson still offers a lot of context and some very good background on the history of “free” in business in the 20th century for younger readers. And a fun, even revolutionary, read. I’m buying copies for nieces and friends with an interest in media.

    Ambitious NCOs, Military Officers, World History buffs, Prognosticators of the American future

    Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present is a grand summary of the culture of the steppes, from the time of the domestication of the horse and the appearance of lactose-tolerant humans (see 10,000 Year Explosion), to the 21st century suppression of the Chechens, Tibetans, and Uighurs. A fascinating source book on the ebb and flow of culture across the “ocean of grass” and the firm focus these cultures had on trading with the great empires on their periphery. Trade with us … or die. Most of these cultures, and the direct influence they had on world history, has been largely unknown except to a handful of scholars. In Empires, the author brings all this background information together in one place, draws on the most modern scholarship in linguistics, history, and archaeology, and provides a ground-breaking introduction to the general public. The striking parallels with the European nations that built empires based on liquid oceans becomes clear only by the end of the book … as is the tentative nature of Russia and China’s hold on the vast interior steppe (triggered by the introduction of firearms, and only solidified in the final massacres of the Junghars by Qing China in the mid-18th century). Anyone with an interest in Russia, the Middle East, or China will learn a great deal about the role of the Central Asian Culture complex on these areas in the last 4,000 years. Nowadays, military folk posted to the ‘Stans or places like Mongolia will find this book invaluable … firstly as a brisk introduction to the cultural roots of the place, and secondly as a reference book to read and re-read in future years to grasp “the big picture.” If you have friends or family that are ambitious for learning about the continent (let alone the region), start them off at the beginning. Anyone senior to Captain should buy this book simply to have it ready when needed. Because it will be needed. You can’t understand the Chinese and Russians without understanding the “enemy” they faced for centuries and the echoes that continue in their territorial obsessions. Highly, highly recommended. My full review will comment on the author’s more personal assessments but his account of Central Asian history is a entirely straight-forward, well referenced, and real service to the English-speaking public. I’ve bought copies, again, for friends in Europe and North America.

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Anglosphere, Book Notes, China, Civil Society, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, History, India, Iran, Islam, Japan, Korea, Management, Media, Military Affairs, Russia, Society, Tech | 6 Comments »

    Norman Borlaug, 1914-2009

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 13th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Via Pejman Yousefzadeh, I hear that Norman Borlaug has passed; NYT obit.

    In the face of caviling from scarcity-mentality “environmentalists,” he saved a billion lives. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted in Bioethics, Environment, India, Latin America, Obits | 5 Comments »

    Thought for the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 27th May 2009 (All posts by )

    “[I]f ever there is an attack in US soil using a weapon of mass destruction, it would have originated from Pakistan”.

    B. Raman, The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane.

    (Book reviewed here and here.)

    (“R&AW” = Research and Analysis Wing.)

    (“Kaoboys” = People who worked for R&AW under its founder, R.N. Kao.)

    Posted in Book Notes, India, International Affairs, National Security, Quotations | 1 Comment »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 16th April 2009 (All posts by )

    Distance from English, from the European languages of reason, is always a bad thing for the developing world.

    Aakar Patel, “Try and say this in Hindi—bet you can’t”.

    RTWT.

    Via The Middle Stage.

    Posted in Anglosphere, India, Quotations | 3 Comments »

    Trouble in Lahore

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 30th March 2009 (All posts by )

    So called “gunmen” have attacked a police academy in Pakistan. Eleven innocent people, eight police and three civilians, have been killed.

    Think this is India getting some revenge for the Mumbai attacks last year? That is too thriller-of-the-week for me to take seriously unless there is some evidence. Besides, there are enough Islamic terrorist groups wandering around inside Pakistan that you don’t need to go looking outside the country for someone pissed off enough to pull a stunt like this.

    Strategypage has posted a pretty good essay concerning how the ISI, which is Pakistan’s intelligence services, has a very close working relationship with several terrorist groups. Seems the ISI political section was disbanded last year. It could be that this is some scheme put together by the spooks to prove to the new civilian government that they really need to give ISI a longer leash. But that is pretty thriller-of-the-week as well.

    Some of the “gunmen” have been captured. I doubt they will keep any secrets for long.

    (Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)

    Posted in India, Law Enforcement, Terrorism | 2 Comments »

    Why Don’t We Just Cut China a Check?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 4th March 2009 (All posts by )

    The really stupid thing about Obama’s carbon cap-and-trade system [h/t Instapundit] is that it will simply relocate more manufacturing to countries that don’t give a damn about global warming.

    The growing economies of China, India, and other parts of the world still have people living the lives of preindustrial subsistence farmers.  Right now, today, they have people in dire need of food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, transportation and every other facet of modern life we take for granted. They don’t give a crap about hypothetical dangers that will hypothetically manifest a century from now.

    Such areas will use dense, rich, reliable sources of energy like coal and nuclear to power their factories while we try to smelt iron with windmills. We will be poor and eventually powerless in the face of such competition. Worse, if global warming is a problem, it will happen anyway. Our sacrifices will simply mean we have fewer resources to deal with the problems posed by global warming. 

    Obama plans to shut down our carbon-emitting power sources today, decades before we bring their hypothetical replacements online. If the technology doesn’t work as predicted, where will we be then?

    Obama’s plan will be a massive wealth transfer from America to China and India. We will simply be handing them our current and future economic productivity on a platter. 

    Posted in China, Economics & Finance, Environment, India, Leftism, Politics, Science, USA | 17 Comments »

    Mumbai Musings

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 30th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Like most people, I was shocked and saddened to hear of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India last week. Close to 200 people dead so far, with untold numbers more injured. It is a tragedy of terrible scope.

    Speaking as someone who works with violent crime survivors, I can attest that there is a hidden cost that very few of us will ever see. Thousands upon thousands of people were involved with the victims, from family members and close friends to coworkers and casual acquaintances. Most of those people will find their lives have been changed, and rarely for the better.

    Although hardly an expert on terrorism, I have been paying attention to the issue over the years. I thought I’d share a few thoughts.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in India, Law Enforcement, Predictions, RKBA, Terrorism, USA | 8 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 26th November 2008 (All posts by )

    Indian Flag

    [Flag source: Maps of India.]

    Posted in India, Terrorism, War and Peace | 13 Comments »

    Official Stupidity

    Posted by Jonathan on 6th May 2008 (All posts by )

    Indian pols revert to Third World type:

    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — India is reportedly considering a ban on futures trading in food commodities, as the government struggles to curb soaring inflation and the rising cost of food has become a major international concern.
     
    India’s finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Monday that he was considering a blanket ban on trading in food futures, according to a report in The Financial Times.
     
    Chidambaram said that governments across Asia share his worries over speculation in the commodities markets, the FT reported.
     
    India is “facing a very grave crisis on the food front,” the minister said on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting in Madrid, according to the FT.
     
    India has already banned futures trading in rice and wheat. The latest remarks from India’s finance minister come as his government confronts growing pressure at home to curb rising inflation.
     
    On Friday, official data showed that India’s inflation hit a 42-month high of 7.57% in the week ending April 19.
     
    “It’s indicative of the fact that there’s a real issue here and governments are scrambling to find some kind of solution,” said Cameron Brandt, global markets analyst at EPFR Global, about India’s idea to ban trading in food futures.
     
    “I don’t think it’s a great idea especially given that their food futures market is fairly modest,” Brandt said. “If you take that away, you lose pretty important market signals. One thing the food futures market is telling us is plant more food.”
     
    […]

    There’s not much to say about this except that India still has a ways to go to become a first-rate country.

    Also, the ignorance about basic economics of many of the commenters on economics and finance websites never ceases to surprise me.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Human Behavior, India, Markets and Trading | 7 Comments »

    Interesting Automotive News

    Posted by David Foster on 11th January 2008 (All posts by )

    A little less than a year ago, I wrote a post titled Any Color as Long as it’s White, about the project at Tata Motors (India) to create the cheapest car ever built–cheaper even, in inflation-adjusted terms, than the Ford Model T. Here’s the car. See commentary from India, here and here.

    And in China, a company called BYD Auto is launching a plug-in hybrid which is supposed to be available for sale (in China) this summer. Interestingly, the parent company of BYD is a battery manufacturer.

    These cars won’t be available in the U.S. anytime soon, and will likely never be available in the U.S. in their present forms. There are issues of regulatory compliance, of consumer expectations, and of the need for a sales and support structure. But any U.S. auto executives who think that these announcements aren’t very relevant to them need to do some remedial reading. In their book The Innovator’s Solution, Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor point out that disruptive innovations–those destined to change the structure of an industry–tend to attack from below. They usually first appear in a form that is in some ways inferior to the existing dominant technologies, and hence are unlikely to get the attention or respect of industry incumbents. I think it is quite likely that innovations developed by companies such as Tata and BYD–whether product design innovations or manufacturing process innovations–will in the not-to-distant future have a significant impact on the U.S. auto industry.

    Posted in Business, China, India, Tech, Transportation | 6 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th December 2007 (All posts by )

    Currently reading Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi, which is excellent, and which I highly recommend. I saw a review of it, by A.G. Noorani, which had this to say:

    British rule in India was doomed when the rulers introduced their
    language in India. You cannot talk a people into slavery in the
    English language. “An Englishman is the unfittest person on earth to
    argue another Englishman into slavery,” Burke reminded the House of
    Commons on March 22, 1775. The effect is the same if “the natives” are
    taught English. It brings in its train British history – the Magna
    Carta, the Bill of Rights, Parliament versus the Crown, habeas corpus
    and the rest, as also concepts like the rule of law. Those who framed
    our Constitution were familiar with all this.

    This come through very clearly in Guha’s book. The founders of modern India wanted to do at least two things: (1) Get the British out of their country, and (2) preserve what they had learned from the British, including things the British had denied them, like democratic elections.

    Forward the Indo-Anglosphere!

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes, Britain, History, India | 3 Comments »

    “The Victorians Were Supermen”

    Posted by Jonathan on 8th September 2007 (All posts by )

    That was Lex’s reaction to this photo:


    Chapper Rift Baluchistan

    Fred Bremner, Quetta/Karachi

     
    Click the photo to see it at larger size with historical information.
     
    More photos and information here.
     
    UPDATE: Much more info about the bridge and railway line here (courtesy of Lex). Also, see the comments for some juicy book references.
     
    UPDATE 2: Via Tim Worstall comes this fascinating story about railway construction across the Andes. (Check out the rest of the railway history site too.)
     

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, History, India, Photos | 32 Comments »

    Das — India Unbound: From Independence to the Global Information Age

    Posted by James McCormick on 1st March 2007 (All posts by )

    Das, Gurcharan, India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age, Penguin, New Delhi, 2002. ppbk edition.

    [cross-posted on Albion’s Seedlings]

    Recently, a friend with Gujarati origins returned from visiting his relatives in northwest India and brought me several books on the Indian economic renaissance. This particular book is part biography, part business tutorial, while effectively illustrating the dramatic challenges faced by India over the last century. Gurcharan Das is a former CEO of Proctor & Gamble India, sometime columnist for the Times of India and frequent commentator on Indian economic affairs. Educated in India and the US, and spending his formative business years in many countries, he’s the perfect intermediary for the general reader. After taking early retirement, he switched his focus to business consulting. That varied background has made a big difference to the quality of India Unbound. His experience bridges the generations, bridges East and West, and reflects experience with many facets of the Indian economy. It is a well-written book, a bit dated by the very rapid change in both India and the global economy (his Foreign Affairs article is a wonderful update), but all-in-all this book is an excellent introduction to India’s past, present, and potential future.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes, Economics & Finance, India | Comments Off on Das — India Unbound: From Independence to the Global Information Age

    India Compared to China, Again

    Posted by Lexington Green on 3rd October 2006 (All posts by )

    Or should I say “as usual”.

    This paper, China, India and the World Economy, by T.N. Srinivasan, is worth reading, or at least skimming.

    I like it because the conclusion basically says things I have long thought to be true. �China lacks some of the key institutional foundations of a market economy�, and notes that India has already created some very important institutions that China lacks, e.g. an independent judiciary, an accountable government, etc. India, due to its democracy, is slower to make changes, and it has to make compromises along the way. However, the legitimacy of these decisions is established by the process, where in China the public has to take what it gets from the leadership. This can create a false sense of stability, with major outbreaks of disorder instead of the usual friction and log-rolling of a more representative system.

    Note that none of the foregoing is wishing China not to succeed. A successful China is a key to world prosperity and peace. However, the prospect of serious problems for China seems to me to get too little attention. And, the possibility of a successful and prosperous India is a prospect that seems to get too little attention.

    I quote the key, concluding paragraphs from the conclusion of the article below the fold, and I highlighted the one I think is most important.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, China, India | 4 Comments »

    Brazilian Elections — and a Query about Brazilian and Indian Politics

    Posted by Lexington Green on 3rd October 2006 (All posts by )

    Michael Barone has a interesting post about the Brazilian election.

    He notes state-by-state voting differences. Mr. Barone is of course renowned for his extraordinary knowledge of regional and local voting patterns, and their underlying ethno-cultural-religious-economic causative factors, primarily in the USA but also in Europe.

    However as to Brazil, even the mighty Mr. Barone notes: “I’m not aware of the regional differences or issues that account for these very different results.”

    Brazil is a large and increasingly important country about which many of us know nothing beyond “The Girl From Ipanema”. This situation really must be rectified.

    Which writer knows all about Brazil? Who among our readers can give us a “five best books” list? Who is the David Hackett Fischer of Brazil? Is there a “Lusitania’s Seedlings”? If so, is it translated into English? Is there an Almanac of Brazilian Politics?

    And in a similar vein, India is the world’s largest democracy. It is organized along federal lines, with state and national governments. Some of India’s states are bigger in size and population that European countries. It is going to be an increasingly major player in the world. And yet, and yet … I know too little about it. So, again, what are the best sources to make sense of Indian politics? A short book list? Websites? Especially on regional distinctions and the fundamentals of Indian politics.

    We are going to need to pay more and more attention to these enormous and increasingly important democratic countries in the future.

    Time to get educated.

    Suggestions, please.

    (And please circulate this query to anyone who may have an answer it.)
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, India, Latin America, Politics | 22 Comments »