THE 19th century after the crucifixion of Christ saw Europe’s success in finally smothering other continents through forcible occupation. This was made possible not just by European technology and ruthlessness but by the fact that except in locations already occupied by Europeans (such as the Americas and Australia), the regimes that were in power kept the bulk of the population ignorant and subservient, thereby reducing their loyalty and their effectiveness as a resistance force against alien occupation. The history of the 1857 struggle is replete with details of the confusion and chaos within the nationalist camp, who were defeated less by the British than by treachery within their ranks and the lack of a clear overall strategy.
Accounts of those days show how even magnificent examples of valour such as Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi spent more time on rituals rather than on planning and carrying out strategies to best their British foes. Indian ignorance, treachery and superstition were the three allies who together enabled a small number of Europeans to establish their control over a civilisation that had been far superior to theirs for millenia. Today, it is corruption, lack of self-respect and refusal to take a holistic view of national needs that has paved the way for India to once again become a colony of better-organised powers. The people of India were more fortunate than the inhabitants of the Americas and Australia, most of whom were killed off by European invaders,who thereafter settled on ancestral land and began the process of enrichment that by the dawn of the 21st century has endangered the ecology of the entire globe. Of course, those that caused the problem now want others to take on most of the pain involved in climate solutions. They are asking India and China in particular to remain at a low level of individual consumption, even while their own wasteful lifestyles continue to drain the health out of the environment. This forms an international caste system, in which a few seek to dominate in perpetuity, while keeping the rest in servitude.
The 21st century has seen a return to the 19th on the part of the many former colonial powers that comprise the NATO military alliance. Once again, they seek to monopolise gain while forcing others to endure the pain. While rejecting any suggestion that exports from Asia should be given the same privileges that NATO is itself demanding for its own bloc exports, the NATO powers have converted themselves into a fortress that keeps others away. Even the US has become unfriendly to even the most talented individuals from locations outside NATO, in effect implementing the same Europeans. Only policy that is already law within the EU. Of course, countries such as Germany that are behind the immigration policies of the EU thrive only because their own manufactures are finding more and more consumers from among the same people that France and Germany in particular regard as too “different” to darken the threshold of the European Union.
From the 16th century onwards, the elites of Europe seduced the populations of other continents by giving them “wampum”-useless trinkets in exchange for gold.These days, the wampum that is eagerly being consumed in West, South and East Asia comprises of luxury personal products from France, Italy and other NATO states. Many within the elites of Asia (or Africa or South America) cannot step outside unless it be in shirts, shoes, ties and watches made from French, Italian and other “fashion houses” that the populations of these very countries would not design to wear. After generations of relative prosperity, it cannot be denied that the people of Europe have become the most advanced in the world culturally. They do not need super-expensive designed clothes or watches, or luxury automobiles, to feel a sense of self-worth. In contrast, the elites of Asia, Africa and South America still have a deep-seated inferiority complex to Europe, which is why they eagerly purchase modern “wampum” from “designer” outlets.
So long as the rest of the world was satisfied with mere “wampum”, and with being the source of raw materials, low-end products and eager markets for the NATO powers, there were no clouds on the horizon. Indeed, by the 1990s, when it became clear that Communism had collapsed as a global alternative, the elites in the NATO countries began their trek towards a new concentration of wealth within themselves that sought to replicate the global situation in the 19th century.
President Clinton removed the legal restraints to speculation that had existed in the US since the 1930s Great Depression, and he and Tony Blair oversaw a financial system that was given legal sanction to run amok, finally losing more than $6 trillion by 2008. More than half of this came from investors in Asia, Africa and South America. Amazingly, agencies such as Transparency International, who tirelessly-and correctly-fault states such as India as being cesspools of graft-never once questioned the ethics of the handful of investment bankers who were playing with the funds entrusted to their care. Such corruption in the NATO countries dwarfs that of the rest of the world combined, but as each such act of financial chicanery was made legal by Reagan-Thatcher and later by Clinton-Bush-Blair, the “anti-corruption” watchdogs in NATO routinely adjudge their own countries as “honest”. In this, they follow the example of rating agencies such as Standard and Poor, who gave high valuations to the very entities and countries that went bust in 2008, and who even today substantially underplay the risk facing investors in countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy, thereby joining in the drive to entice investors from Asia, Africa and Latin America into once again parking their funds in financial institutions that have been proven to be a danger to their investors and to the global economy.
Those at the top in the handful of institutions responsible for such robbery not only escaped punishment, but they were protected and facilitated by backers such as US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in setting loose a second round of speculation that has caused commodity prices to spiral since 2009, of course at immense profit to themselves. More than 170 million people have joined a billion others in starvation as a result of the rise in commodity prices caused by known speculators in London, Zurich, New York, Chicago and Frankfurt. Of course, the International Human Rights Commission does not consider this a crime against humanity, even though the depredations of Geithner’s friends cause misery and even death to hundreds of millions. To take another example of a crime against humanity, a handful of pharmaceutical companies in NATO countries (and in Switzerland) ensure that essential drugs not only remain beyond the reach of the underprivileged, but that companies in India and elsewhere that produce low-cost alternatives get driven out of business. Amazingly, none of the busybodies engaged in bringing accountability-of course, always to non-NATO peoples-has ever sought to question this crime against humanity by these pharma giants.Instead, they form cosy relationships with them, even as millions die because medicine has become unaffordable.
By definition, the inhabitants of NATO countries (or those supported by them) are incapable of committing either War Crimes or Human Rights abuses. The growing income inequality within prominent NATO countries caused by a policy of state-sponsored greed led to a fall in consumer offtake by the middle of 2006. After all, how many yachts or jets does a billionaire need? Consumption is rooted in the middle class,and it was this segment that was getting squeezed by lower real incomes as well as by the higher prices caused by speculation. By 2008, this led to a collapse of the financial system in NATO countries, with Arab countries alone losing more than $1.3 trillion. Some in the Arab world began to talk about shifting investments away from NATO to countries such as China or India, thereby endangering the prosperity of the NATO elites.
The other danger signal for the NATO economies was the fact that Brazil and China began to emerge as competitors for their manufactures. In the past, the two had been focussed on low-end production, but by the middle of the previous decade, had begun to move up the value chain, with Brazil making excellent commercial aircraft and China launching a world-class space programme. As for India, by accident a few sectors of the economy have become global competitors to corporates based in the NATO countries, although the UPA under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi has sought to make India an economic colony of the NATO powers. Since 2004, several sectors of the economy have been opened out to institutions in these countries, even those with a dodgy track record. For example, as Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram allowed even some Italian banks to come to India, perhaps in deference to the small but influential Italian community settled in India. And now he has been outdone by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who has allowed Goldman Sachs to set up operations in India, despite the involvement of that entity in the frenzied speculation that led to the 2008 crash. This even while the Union Finance Ministry watched in silence as the Swiss bank accounts of Hassan Ali got defrozen and emptied, to the relief of those who had entrusted their bribe payments to his care.
By 2007 the population of Libya was getting restive. Hence from that year onwards, Gaddafi cut back on anticipated purchases from France, thereby annoying Nicholas Sarkozy, who is known to be close to commercial interests, especially after his recent marriage to the glamorous Carla Bruni, who is known to be in constant communication with relatives of a prominent politician living in India, most likely for reasons of commerce rather than affection. Sarkozy decided to punish Gaddafy for his impertinence in cutting back on purchases of French exports in order to spend more on social services. In this, he got the backing of not just his EU partners but Hillary Clinton, who is much more a European than a North American in her reflexes and in her world view. The attack on Libya has two purposes. The first is to ensure that a captive government get set up that would transfer not 70 per cent but 90 per cent of its surpluses to NATO countries, the way the Gulf sheikhs do. Next, to warn the Arab states that if they were to follow Gaddafy in seeking to diversify their investments beyond the NATO powers and Switzerland, they too are at risk of being bombarded and humiliated.
Because of the fact that large swathes of the Indian political class are corrupt, and park their illegal moneys in London, Zurich, New York, Chicago and Frankfurt, they act in effect as the servitors of the NATO powers, facilitating them in killing the Indian programme of 3-Stage Nuclear Power and the production of cheap medicines for a global audience. Once a future government in India conducts an inventory of the myriad unilateral concessions made by successive governments in Delhi towards NATO, it will be clear how the corrupt in India have become the new Mir Jafars and Raja Jaichands, salting away their billions while pretending love for the Aam Aadmi.
India needs an Anti-Corruption Andolan, and not one that stops at the drafting (and hopefully passing) of a few laws on the subject. There needs to be many more Radia-style tapes coming into the public domain, many more whistle-blowers, many more officers willing to speak out against the misuse of power by Cabinet Ministers (especially those whose children, relatives and friends have suddenly become super-rich) and by the Apex of Greed in India. Out of deference to the sensibilities of Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj (who frown on the naming of certain people and a mention of their misdeeds), this Apex of Greed is not being identified by name. However, it-and its relatives and friends-need to be the subject of an international investigation designed to bring back to India at least some of the estimated $30 billion that has been stolen by this single source from the country since 2004. In a world where NATO is resorting to brute force to ensure the continuance of concessions in oil, finance and other sectors, the people of India need to rescued from those who through greed act as accomplices of those who seek to revive the 19th century in the 21st.