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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Realm of realism in diplomacy and statecraft


Yuba Nath Lamsal
Kautilya is said to be the guru of modern art of diplomacy. A shrewd and sharp politician, Kautilya has many tips for rulers and diplomats, which are still taken as the basis of foreign policy and statecraft. India is one that has followed Kautilya’s tricks and tips in the conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy.
Kautilya’s doctrine is taken as a modern day’s realist approach of conducting diplomacy. His approach in the conduct of diplomacy is in stark contrast to the idealist approach. In the realm of realism, the existing factors and powers play a key role in the conduct of diplomacy and art of negotiation. According to Kautilya’s realist approach, money, military and muscle are the key factors in the world of diplomacy and statecraft. But money is more powerful than the military. Kautilya has said, “From the strength of the treasury the army is born.”
More than realism, Kautilya’s approach is dubbed as the hawkish model that some of the Western powers and their allies have followed at present. “If you can’t beat in competition, bribe them” is what the fundamental basis of Kautilya’s thesis of diplomacy and statecraft. Money is the tool to bribe the rivals. State power is the trick to entice the adversaries and bring into one’s own fold. Military option is only second to money. The modern capitalist model seems to have followed Kautilya’s doctrine. Military strategists, too, follow this doctrine.
Modern realists suggests the use of three ‘Cs’ to have better position in the conduct of diplomacy. The three Cs are ‘convince’, ‘confuse’ and ‘confront’. The use of three Cs produces another C that is ‘conquer’. In other words, the modern realist strategists believe that a country or power need to develop its strategy and tools to maintain control both of its allies and  adversaries by means of diplomacy, negotiation, money and military power. It is said that diplomacy achieves what military cannot. The art of diplomacy is the peaceful war that maintains domination over others and defends one’s own interests. In the simplest terms, diplomats are the frontline soldiers in defending one’s own interest in the international arena. Military is used only when diplomacy fails. In the similar fashion, diplomacy starts its work when military option fails to achieve its objective and goals.
The first and the last option in the international politics is diplomacy. One has to convince to bring the adversary into one’s own fold. This requires high level of diplomacy in which all options are kept open. Economic strength, military power, strategic location of a particular country give leverage in negotiation. But the ability of diplomats in handling the issues and their art of negotiation play a key role in pursuing the other party or parties to bring into one’s own term. But modern hawks often utilize the language of threat in order to bring the adversaries into their terms. This is how the modern realist approach of conducting diplomacy and defending one’s own interest is defined.
Persuasion and convincing is the best approach to defend one’s own interest and maintain domination in the international affairs. This approach involves the least risk or no risk at all. It requires the highest degree of diplomacy. When efforts of persuasion fails, the countries and powers do not immediately apply military force. The use of military force has a multiple risk. Many options are kept open before the military option is used. Prior to the use of military options, use of threat, propaganda and even economic and trade sanction are applied to bring the targeted force into one’s own term. It is said that when the efforts to convince and persuasion fail, it is advisable to try to confuse the adversaries. Efforts to convince and confuse ultimately yield similar results as confused adversary can never confront and compete. If one succeeds in confusing the enemy, it is as good as winning the war. Multiple approaches are applied in the trick of confusing enemies. Media is the strongest and most effective tool in propaganda war aiming at confusing the enemy. It is this reason why the modern powers often control media under the cover of free press. Although western liberal democracies often preach press freedom, freedom of expression and right to information, it is starkly different in practice when the vital interests of the great powers are at stake. Anyone can make this conclusion when one minutely follows the coverage of international events by the western media. The embedded journalism is more practiced in the Western liberal democracies where press freedom is considered the basic pillar of democracy than in any other country in the world. The open and brazen use of embedded journalism was seen in the Iraq War where media persons were taken as part of the US forces and their coverage was strictly scrutinized, if not censored, before they appeared in the media.
Media either remains tightlipped or shamelessly defend the decisions and move of their own government when it comes to foreign policy and defence.  The converge by the Western media on some vital international events is suspected to be heavily slanted in the interest of the western countries. This is nothing more than the use and misuse of media to defend the interest of some particular country or countries. This is part of the propaganda war, which western powers are using to confuse the rest of the world. In our own neighboring India too, media does not speak even when their government adopts wrong policies in relation with its neighbors. Indian media do not speak and write a single word about the brutality and human rights violation being perpetrated by their troops in Kashmir. Instead, the media glorify such acts whatever brutal it might be. But the same media raise hell on human rights issue in other countries. This has become possible because the state has indirect control over media. The media in the capitalist countries are not owned by the government but by business houses. The government keeps tab on media through owners of the media houses or the business houses.
The approach of confrontation begins only when the two methods of convincing and confusing fail. In this third approach military force is applied. But military force alone cannot win war. The role of propaganda is equally important in war, for which media is used and misused. The same is being practiced by the powers that champion press freedom and freedom of expression. The freedom of expression is also relative. All media coverage is propaganda. Its definition varies depending upon the situation and nature of coverage.
Even after the victory in war, propaganda is again required, for which media plays a key role. Unless the media is in favor, neither war can be won nor the victory sustained. This is how big powers control media through different methods in order to ensure favorable coverage and build public opinion in their support.
Democracy, human rights and press freedom are, thus, becoming the tools of western powers to interfere in other countries and take control over the resources in the world. In the world of realism, power prevails but not ethics. This is how the theory once preached by 4th century’s philosopher Kautilya is at work in the world in the name of realist theory. In this theory, power comes through money and the money is generated through powers. In the present world, the capitalists have pursued and practiced this theory in a more sophisticated way. Power and money are synonyms for the capitalists and they resort to everything possible for money and power. Media and technology are being used as their tools to unleash propaganda and control the world.  This is how the realm of realism in the statecraft and diplomacy is being practiced.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How UCPN-Maoist See The World?


Yuba Nath Lamsal
The largest political party of the country –UCPN-Maoist— is busy in the preparation of what it describes as the historic seventh National Unity Congress. The Maoist seventh national congress is being held in 21 years since the last or the sixth congress was held in 1992. The seventh congress kicks off on February 2, Friday with the theme of further developing the ‘revolutionary political line”, which is expected to come up with the new sets of ideas, policies, programmes and plans.
Many have speculated that the seventh national congress of the UCPN-Maoist would mark a unique ideological shift that may declare its official and formal departure from the violent and armed revolution and reiterate its commitment in public for peaceful and competitive politics. But things would not develop in such a simplistic way and the Maoist party may not make a complete U-turn in terms of ideology in the national congress. What is certain that there would definitely be marked shift in its tactics, plans and approaches and also the definition and analysis of the objective national as well as international situation.
In the political report to be submitted by the Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal ‘ Prachanda’, states that the party has not totally abandon the path of revolution. But its nature may take strategic change which will also bring about marked shift in its tactical policy to achieve its goals and objectives. The party believes that revolution in Nepal has not yet been completed. According to the party document, the decade-long people’s war has attained partial achievements of the new democratic revolution and the party will now focus on institutionalizing and consolidating these achievements, complete the remaining task of the new democratic revolution and prepare for the socialist revolution. What is true is the fact that the party is definitely going to abandon the path of people’s war (armed revolution) and focus on peaceful revolution or competitive politics through mobilizing the people for peaceful people’s revolt.
More than its domestic policy, the world is looking closely at how the UCPN-Maoist has analyzed the international situation and international powers. The analysis of the national situation determines its ideological and international policies and perspective. Since the party has taken a marked shift in the domestic policy, its reflection can be seen in the international policy and perspective and also in its views and outlook on the international powers and events taken place in the world. Both the domestic as well as international situations have seen a sea change in the last two decades. The situation within Nepal and in the world no longer remains as it was in seventeen years ago when the Maoist party launched the armed insurgency. Thus, there is a marked change in its outlook on international situation as well as in the international powers.
The UCPN-Maoist, in the past, had dubbed imperialism as the main enemies of the poor, working class and oppressed people in the world.  It has still termed imperialism as the principal enemy of the revolution and efforts for progressive change of the working class people. On imperialism, Prachanda, in his main document to be presented in the seventh congress, says:  Imperialism often changes and is changing its color, shape, slogans and tactics to protect the interest of the ruling and capitalist class. But its tactics, forms and slogans change has been using and applying new color, new shape and new slogans depending upon the situation and necessity to protect its class interest through misinforming and misleading the people in the world. Economic liberalization, privatization and globalization are the latest example of this process of imperialist design. These are the slogans that were devised to defend capitalist monopoly and imperialist domination in the world. Despite these newer devices and designs of capitalism, the capitalist system is entering into a new but more serious phase of crisis. Capitalism intends to make unlimited profit, which is possible only through exploitation and squeezing the global resources and the people living in the entire developing world. During the height of colonialism, imperialism used to directly intervene and take over power and squeeze resources of the colonies for the benefit of the colonial powers. After the Second World War, which gave rise to a new wave of national consciousness in the developing countries and national liberation movements, imperialist design took a new shift and turn. In order to hold control and extract benefits, the Western powers, adopted the policy of intervening in the strategically vital and resource-rich countries in the name of supporting democracy, human rights and fighting terrorism, through which they have continued to have  their hold and monopoly over the resources. The intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq and several other countries in Asia and Africa are the example of imperialist design to control resources and maintain its domination in the world. Despite these efforts, the western powers have not been able to prevent crisis in global capitalism. Instead the capitalist crisis is becoming more acute and explosive. The present economic crisis that began in the United States in 2008 and has spread worldwide is the self-evident of the serious crisis capitalism is facing. This is a testament of the necessity to seek an alternative to capitalism to get rid of the growing crisis that the world has seen and suffered. The alternative is already with us that are socialism, which alone can address and end global economic crisis and ensure better human conditions.
The capitalist powers and their media allies have unleashed and are unleashing media campaign and propaganda that Marxism and socialism have failed and they claimed that socialism cannot be an alternative political and economic model. The fall of Soviet Union and collapse of Soviet satellite regimes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere is being portrayed by the capitalist media as the defeat and debacle of socialist model. It is true that the failure of Soviet socialism after the death of Joseph Stalin and rise of Nikita Khrushchev was definitely a debacle and setback to socialist movement in the world. But this cannot be called a defeat of socialism and victory of capitalism. In the world with limited resources, the unlimited profit, which is the fundamental objective and goal of capitalism, is not possible. In the absence of unlimited profit, capitalism is bound to fail and collapse. The present global economic crisis is both its cause and effect. Efforts are now being made to find a solution to the crisis from within the capitalist system, which is not possible.  “It has been proved that the globalization of financial capital is nothing more than the means and process of imperialist conspiracy of making billions and trillions of profit through the exploitation of the people in the poor and developing countries. As its consequences, the entire world is likely to fall into bigger whirlpool of economic crisis in future”. Thus, the UCPN-Maoist has its prediction of new wave of socialism in the world that may start from Nepal.
The UCPN-Maoist still views the United States as the leader of the global capitalism and imperialism. But Washington’s leadership is being challenged even within the capitalist world. Some signs of rift and contradictions have appeared in the capitalist camp and these contradictions are for the control of the resources in the world because the resources are getting scarce. The intervention and exploitation being perpetrated by the imperialist countries in the developing world are slowly agitating and stirring the poor and oppressed people in the developing countries against imperialism, capitalism and their lackeys at home. This situation is creating favorable environment for global revolution.
As the crisis in the imperialist and the capitalist countries is intensifying, Prachanda, in his report, has his suggestions that poor and proletariat people in the world more particularly in the developing countries, need to take initiative to lead the movement against imperialism and capitalism and also to serve the revolution. For this, it is necessary to establish good rapport and relationship with all communist revolutionaries both at home and abroad and accordingly move ahead in a planned manner so that revolution would be advanced and socialist regimes can be established. This is the summary of the views of UCPN-Maoist about the world and world conditions.
So far as Nepal is concerned, Prachanda has described the present situation as the transition to socialism. He claims that partial achievements of new democratic revolution have been made and the party needs to advance to formally institutionalize these partial achievements and make preparation for socialist revolution. According to him, the republican set up, secularism, federalism and proportionate representation and inclusive democracy are the partial achievements of the new democratic revolution. These achievements, as stated by Prachanda, can be institutionalized through the new constitution to be promulgated by the Constituent Assembly, while the preparation of socialist revolution can also be made in peaceful way by mobilizing people for production and construction but not by armed and violent method.