Monday, 25 August 2014

Xi visit boost to Sino-Indian ties (PO)

M D Nalapat

Monday, August 25, 2014 - Since he took office a year ago as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and President of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), Xi Jinping has shown that he is as much an innovator as Deng Xiaoping. The architect of modern China - in effect –sanctioned moneymaking by whatever means in his famous statement, that it did not matter if a cat were black or white, so long as it caught mice. Seeing that key elements in the CCP were opposed to the thoroughgoing economic reforms which he favoured, Deng in 1992 went on a tour of coastal areas, encouraging reform and chastising those who saw the new policies as against the sprit of the ruling party. 

After this, the CCP fell in line and backed economic reform whole-heartedly, thereby creating the conditions that have made China the world’s second-biggest economy, soon to be the biggest. Unlike the China of Chairman Mao,which was poor and underdeveloped, the country which Xi Jinping took charge of in 2013 is a global powerhouse. But to ensure that such a trajectory continues is a daunting task, but one that General Secretary Xi has decided to carry out, by changing policies where necessary. He has instituted the most comprehensive anti-corruption campaign ever carried out in the PRC, and which has resulted in the jailing and even execution of hundreds of officials, including those at the very top of the policy pyramid.

In economic policy, efforts are being made to ensure that the chokehold of state-owned enterprises over the banking and industrial system is being lessened, so that the immense entrepreneurial talents of the Chinese people can be set free. Should Xi succeed in ensuring a level playing field between state enterprises and their private sector competitors, he may succeed in generating as much growth as (then) Prime Minister Zhu Rongji’s reform of state-owned enterprises did in the close of the 1990s. From ramshackle and inefficient companies,several of China’s state-owned enterprises have become international giants. Should the Chinese private sector get a similar boost this time around,the consequences would be significant. Clearly, Xi would like to see China’s growth continue during the decade that he will be in charge,and to achieve this,he is using diplomacy as a primary instrument. In quick order,President Xi has made visits to Africa and South America,seeing in those continents potential markets which could offset possible slowdown in exports to Europe and the US.

Among the countries that Xi is devoting attention to is India, which has the potential of being a $300 billion market for Chinese goods and services, provided “win-win” programs get carried out in which both countries gain. At present, China has a surplus of $34 billion with India on a trade of $70 billion annually India was the first country that Prime Minister Li Kequiang, on a nod from President Xi, visited after taking charge, and in Brazil, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi established a cordial relationship, strong enough to ensure that Shanghai and not Mumbai became the headquarters of the BRICS bank, a decision taken unanimously. Hence it is unsurprising that Xi will visit India in three weeks time accompanied by six Cabinet Ministers and more than forty business executives. The expectation is that MoU will get signed during the visit that would begin work on China-specific industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharashtra, two of the most advanced states in India, besides agreements to modernise India’s rail network, where speeds are low and safety less than certain.

The CEOs of Chinese companies are likely to sign agreements with their Indian counterparts so that manufacturing facilities geared towards the export market get built in India, on the lines of the invite given by Prime Minister Modi in his August 15 speech, where he called for manufacturers across the globe to come to India and build in India. Most importantly, it is expected that Chinese banks will enter India in significant measure, thereby diluting the monopoly which banks from the US and the EU have in the country. None of this will be palatable to the US or the EU, or to the numerous influential Indians who push their agenda, but from the start, even as Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi has accepted that Beijing can be a major factor in nudging growth towards double digits Deng Xiaoping worked hard to make China an indispensable partner for economic development, and succeeded. 

Whether it be Japan or the US, Australia or South Korea, a significant chunk of prosperity hinges on trade with China, thereby reducing the risk of armed conflict, no matter how shrill the rhetoric over issues such as the South China sea. Should trade between India and China be both much bigger and more balanced, that would become an effective Confidence Building Mechanism dampening tensions between the two. Prime Minister Modi will need to rein in those in the government who focus on the 10% of the overall Sino-Indian canvas that represents a threat and thereby miss out on the balance 90%,which is an opportunity. 

Chairman of the Central Military Council Xi will need to convince the PLA that the best of relations with India is necessary for the maintenance of prosperity in China. At present, the PLA still favours as rigid a policy towards India as the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi does towards China, for example by blocking Chinese tourists from coming to India, even though these may bring more than $10 billion in annual revenue. The forthcoming visit of President Xi Jinping to India (after which he will head for Pakistan and Sri Lanka) will be crucial in determining whether the two countries move beyond their fixation on the relatively smaller threat that each is perceived to pose to the other or grasp at the immense opportunity which better relations between Beijing and Delhi can bring.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Is Kerala now Taliban’s own country? (Sunday Guardian)

M.D Nalapat is the Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian.

Congress party chief of Kerala V.M. Sudheeran wants to introduce prohibition in stages in the state.
n 10 years' time, Kerala is to be an alcohol-free state, following in the footsteps of Gujarat and Nagaland, which share with Kashmir the distinction of being states where officialdom frowns on tipplers. Those who visit these states are aware that more than a few residents are unable to abstain from their daily glass (of whatever size), and consequently, rely on time-honoured methods in order to gain access to some sort of fiery liquid or the other. Indeed, if Gujarat, which under Narendra Modi has been remarkably well administered, is to emerge as an Indian challenge to Guangzhou, its government needs to accept that human beings are not saints, and that commonplace behaviour prohibited by law will simply move underground (where the dangers to society are much more), rather than disappear. After the experience of Prohibition in the United States between 1920 and 1933, or that in Haryana under Bansi Lal in the latter part of the 1990s, it was hoped that policymakers would realise that enforcing a legal ban on alcohol simply results in an exponential growth of mafias, networks of criminals that specialise in providing bootleg liquor.
In the US, the banning of liquor immediately gave a boost to the Cosa Nostra, which enjoyed a huge spurt in profits as a direct consequence. In Haryana, police persons would accost motorists travelling from the international airport to Gurgaon, searching their luggage for bottles of alcohol, even though these would have been legally acquired through duty free outlets in the airport. A hundred rupee note would usually suffice to ensure a sudden attack of blindness on the part of the defenders of law and order, enabling the guilty motorist to scoot off home, where too he may face the occasional raid, this time, having to pay a considerably higher bribe in order to escape going to jail because of the small stock of whisky, gin and beer that he has kept at home for the occasional party.
Let it be admitted that this columnist has been known to not always refuse an occasional glass of red wine in the evenings, despite the warning by Moral Police (and in a few states by the regular police) that such indulgence may subject him to eternal damnation, although such dire prophecies may not be accurate. Let it also be said that he favours the legalisation and sanitisation through regular medical checks of prostitution, and the legalisation of the milder versions of drugs, just as he believes that it is not the responsibility of the state to peek into bedrooms.
Fed by television anchors eager to enforce a morality on the public that few within their own profession would be prepared to embrace, India has seen the rise of a high-decibel army of Moral Police, demanding jail even for those "guilty" of sneaking an occasional glance at a charming lady. They forget that by targeting such a wide range of human behaviour, as for example under present narcotics laws, they allow the escape of the few individuals who truly need to be focused on and punished: the child molesters and the rapists, several of whom have evaded prison because of the concentration of police attention being on far less consequential deeds, most of which would not count as such in any civilised country.
In the US, the absurd "Three Strikes" law and the India-style penalties even on the milder versions of drugs has meant a ballooning of the prison population and consequent disruption of the social fabric. India ought not to go down such a path. Instead, the country needs to be true to its own heritage of tolerance by adopting laws that accept that human beings have frailties, and that the law should enter only when these endanger others.
Unfortunately, Kerala — long seen as a more progressive state — has begun travelling in a regressive direction. Goaded by Saint Sudheeran, the local Congress party chief, who has taken over the mantle of beatitude from A.K. Antony, the Kerala government is to introduce prohibition in stages. In this, the Congress in Kerala is following the trail blazed by another Morally Policed state run by that party, Maharashtra, whose government wants to shut down bars and even ban dancing, so that the state Home Minister will be given a warm welcome at the hideout of Mullah Omar or Sri Ram Sene boss Pramod Muthalik, should he choose to visit either.
Add this to reports that the Black Money SIT wants Indians to be subjected to still more onerous conditions of travel and the conduct of business, so that only hardened masochists would wish to remain behind in India to conduct their trades or professions.
Factor in the numerous laws passed by the UPA that criminalise vast swathes of behaviour, and the outlook for ever becoming a 21st century country seems dim, unless Narendra Modi can rein in the Moral Police and insist on following through his promise of "Minimum Government, Maximum Governance". Over to the Prime Minister.

Manmohan did not correct map error to protect Nehru name (Sunday Guardian)

MADHAV NALAPAT  New Delhi | 23rd Aug 2014
rime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected an August 2013 request by senior officials in his government to correct a serious error, dating back over 50 years, in India's official maps. In effect, this oversight in official maps mistakenly gave China control of two Arunachal Pradesh "fishtails" (see map), a territory as large as Sikkim or Goa, and continuously inhabited by Indian citizens. Key officials advising Manmohan Singh confirmed the incident. Although this assertion could not be independently verified, a former official claimed that "the problem with Manmohan Singh was his inability to say no to 10 Janpath". According to him, "Sonia Gandhi took the line that in the interests of good relations with China and Pakistan, we should keep turning the other cheek", and that in the matter of the Arunachal Pradesh map, rectification of Nehru-era maps, which incorrectly omitted both Fishtail 1 and Fishtail 2 from Indian territory, would draw attention to an error committed during the period in office of Jawaharlal Nehru.
"Classification as state secret of papers, which ought to be made public, has been motivated by the zeal of Sonia Gandhi (which has been shared by every Prime Minister of India until Manmohan Singh) to protect the image of Jawaharlal Nehru and other members of the family at the expense of transparency", according to a retired diplomat, who has direct knowledge of key records that show a very different picture of the situation prevailing in those periods than what the scanty flow of released information contains.
The two "fishtail" formations in Arunachal Pradesh were omitted from maps prepared by the Survey of India during the 1960s, although the area has always been under the control of India. No public records exist as to why and how such a significant error was made. In 1962, recognising the fact that this territory was Indian, soldiers from the People's Liberation Army of China, who had occupied the fishtails during November 1962, withdrew after the unilateral ceasefire declared by Beijing that month. "Since then and before, the area within the two fishtails has always been occupied by our troops, as well as by the Mishmi tribe, all of whom are citizens of India. Our claim on the territory is incontestable and our maps ought to have been updated to reflect this," a senior official stated.
Asked as to why official maps did not reflect the fact of the "fishtails" being Indian territory, the reply was that "as the mistake took place during Nehru's time, it was felt that correcting the maps formally would draw attention to this mistake on the part of the then Prime Minister and thereby tarnish his name".
A retired official claimed that "every government has protected Nehru's reputation by refusing to make public facts dating from the 1940s that they saw as damaging to the image of Nehru". He and a former colleague saw Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 2013 refusal to formally change the map (a decision taken "after consultations with the political authority") as part of the effort to protect the reputation of Jawaharlal Nehru by refusing to make public any details of his failures, including the decision to keep secret the Henderson-Brooks Report on the 1962 war, or to draw attention to Nehru's failures even by the necessary step of rectifying them.
Interestingly, the fact that maps showed the two "fishtails" as being outside Indian territory was, according to a senior (and now retired) official, "brought to the attention of then Home Minister P. Chidambaram by the (then) Director-General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in 2010, along with reports of Chinese troops entering the area in 2011 and 2012, but the response was to do nothing".
A senior official active in Team Manmohan added that in April 2013, when Chinese troops set up six large tents deep within the Depsang bulge (near Siachen), "the Prime Minister refused permission to the Army to ensure that the intruders were challenged". Fortunately, Ambassador S. Jaishankar in Beijing was able to persuade the Chinese leadership to get the People's Liberation Army to withdraw from the bulge after 21 days, thereby defusing the situation.
Although this could not be independently confirmed, a former official asserted that both National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and RAW chief Alok Joshi pressed for an early rectification of the Indian maps, and that their demand was turned down by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in August 2013.
A senior official said that "now that there is a new Prime Minister, Government of India should settle ex-servicemen in the regions subject to intrusion by China, including those from local tribes". He pointed out that "this can be done by providing land and money to such settlers". Until such a policy gets tried out, almost the entire territory subject to regular PLA intrusions is uninhabited except for the occasional shepherd. The most recent Chinese military incursion into the "fishtails" was on 13 August 2013, when PLA troops entered 26 kilometres into Indian territory. "In order to show the Chinese that the land is ours, it is essential that inaccuracies in official maps be rectified," a retired official said.
The Line of Actual Control (LOAC) between India and China represents area in the de facto control of both sides after the 1962 border conflict and the subsequent Chinese withdrawal from territory seized by them in that episode. Because of pressure from the Pakistan army, which would like to ensure a continuation of tensions between India and China, the PLA has thus far refused to agree to the delineation of the LOAC, despite the substantial beneficial effects of such a step on Sino-Indian relations. And although China has settled its boundary with Myanmar on the basis of the McMahon Line, Beijing has thus far refused a similar settlement with India. This has led to occasional flare-ups, such as at Nathu La in 1967 and Wangdung in 1987. Absence of an agreed demarcation line carries with it the risk of an exchange of fire and casualties, an occurrence which would damage Sino-Indian relations substantially.
"It was Jawaharlal Nehru who gave away the UN Security Council seat to China when it was offered to India; who gave away Gwadar to Pakistan after the Sultan of Oman offered it to New Delhi for just $1 million; and who handed over the strategically vital Cocos islands to China," a former official pointed out, adding that "his legacy has long paralysed policymakers from taking decisions that would secure India's interests". In his view, the "dereliction of duty showed by the making of maps that omitted huge chunks of Indian territory was a Nehru-era mistake that calls for immediate rectification".

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Do not ignore India’s past, celebrate it (Sunday Guardian)

M.D Nalapat is the Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian.

Ram Setu: ‘The Sri Lankan government would be willing to join in such a re-creation of the past, in view of the immense goodwill that an extension of Rama’s trail to Sri Lanka across the Ram Setu would generate in India.’
visitor to Europe would not fail to be struck by the pride that is shown in showcasing the past. In Vienna, a favourite of tourist guides is a dwelling designed by an architect who disliked flat surfaces, and so ensured that the floors of each room sported a clutch of small and big mounds, thereby making it a trifle less easy to walk on. In Paris, museums show sketches of Leonardo da Vinci and other greats from the past, some of which seemed somewhat unimpressive. No matter. They were each lovingly cared for, as much so as a mound of rocks an hour's train ride from London, Stonehenge, which is showcased as a major tourist attraction dating back to the days of the druids. Schoolbooks in Europe are filled with page after page of illustrious sons and daughters of EU countries, all presented in the context of the history of the world as seen through the eyes of Europe.
In contrast, India is a country where much of history has been rubbished as myth, to such a degree that for those passing through the school system, this is a country that in effect was born on 15 August 1947, much like Pakistan a day earlier. There is chapter after chapter in school textbooks on a very few "heroes of the freedom struggle", with most of the space being devoted to the Nehrus and Mahatma Gandhi.
Jawaharlal Nehru apparently agreed with his teachers in England that the ancient past of India was a myth, and that therefore the heroes and heroines celebrated in ancient epics were just characters in a novel. While Greeks may be proud of the Iliad and the Odyssey, in India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have been banished from histories of India as "myth", thereby constricting the history of the country in a way that would be sacrilegious in Greece or in Italy, where the exploits of Julius Caesar are celebrated to this day.
This columnist believes that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata described real life situations, and that Rama and Sita existed in flesh and blood during a time erased on the excuse of myth by colonial-era historians.
The Chinese Communist Party rebuilt much of the Great Wall of China, and what is needed to be done in India is to re-discover the truth of the epics. Were, for example, a tourist trail to be created that would retrace the journey of Rama to Lanka and back, the same would not only generate an awareness of the awesome past of this country, but also attract tens of millions of tourists and pilgrims from across the globe.
Certainly the Sri Lankan government would be willing to join in such a re-creation of the past, in view of the immense goodwill that an extension of Rama's trail to Sri Lanka across the Ram Setu would generate in India.
While a re-creation of Rama's path to Lanka on the lines of the Great Wall would be a joint enterprise between Sri Lanka and India, an authentic rendering of the life and travels of the Buddha would be a joint effort between India and Nepal, while re-creating the deeds of Guru Nanak would necessitate the cooperation of Pakistan, where several locations associated with the founder of Sikhism exist, whereas a rendition of events in the life of Mahavira could possibly be carried out entirely within this country.
Apart from a greater realisation in our people of what A.L. Basham saw as the wonder that is India as well as greater tourism, a spinoff of this effort would be a better atmosphere between India and its neighbours.
Also included would be a deepening of the understanding that cooperation between the countries of South Asia (including Afghanistan and Myanmar) is essential if a deadly common enemy, poverty, is to be eliminated.
It needs to be said at this point that those who seek to appropriate Rama and Sita to Hindus alone are doing an immense disservice to the memories of this illustrious pair, for they are the cultural treasure of every citizen of India and not just of those belonging to a single faith, just as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales, not to mention so many other treasures from the past, are the heritage of every citizen of India, and indeed of the world, and ought not to be either promoted or rejected on the grounds of religion.
What is needed is faith in India, and this can only develop to the levels seen in the US, the UK, Japan and China if the ancient past of our country is celebrated rather than put away as myth.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Hillary backstabs Obama over Iraq (PO)

M D Nalapat. 
Friday, August 15, 2014 - Barack Obama dislikes risk, and seems not to mind making compromises with his conscience in order to avoid it. Although he won his party’s nomination for President of the United States because his team advertised a style of politics and a basket of policies very different from the crony-cosy mix favoured by Bill Clinton, once elected, very quickly adopted so many of the policies and personnel of his predecessor that in place of the expected Obama administration, what US voters got was a Clinton Lite regime.

In foreign policy, Hillary Clinton herself took charge, while at the Treasury, Tim Geithner was made the overlord. It will be remembered that the dilution as also the repeal of several safeguards to bank fraud which took place during the Clinton period ( 1992-2001) - combined with the further freeing of financial institutions from legal constraints by the George W Bush administration - was what led to the 2008 crash in financial markets. In foreign policy, the Taliban was enabled to take power in Afghanistan during the period when Bill Clinton was President. The records of travel of miscellaneous Taliban representatives to Washington during that period bear out the close relationship between that organisation and US officials, who saw in the group an ally which could “stabilise” Afghanistan at relatively low cost.

Rather than learn from such mistakes, Barack Obama embraced the very team that was responsible for them. Individuals such as David Axelrod or Davil Pflouffe who were core to his success were fobbed off with insignificant titles,while key such as control of the CIA and key departments went to Clinton favourites. Now in the final stretch of his period in office,all that President Obama has left is the ensuring of a legacy that will not be toxic but mildly inspirational. By her repeated verbal attacks on his policy during past weeks, Hillary Clinton is seeking to damage that legacy and to tarnish it,so that Obama does not overshadow her own partner, Bill Clinton.

In particular, Hillary Clinton has said that it was President Obama’s failure to “act decisively in Syria” that led to ISIS and the present disaster in Iraq. This is the reverse of the truth, which is that ISIS is the direct consequence of the policies pursued by Hillary Clinton in the region from 2011 to the period when she demitted the office of the Secretary of State. During that period, she was an enthusiastic supporter of the efforts by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UK and France to arm, train and fund extremists willing to go into battle against Bashar Assad. This columnist is no admirer of the Baathist regime in Syria, which has imposed a form of economic control that has choked the natural entrepreneurial instincts of the gifted people of Syria.

However, the fact remains that from 2007 onwards, Bashar Assad sought - albeit very slowly and only in patches - to liberalise the economy in Syria, so that by 2011,there were for example numerous tourist locations that were privately owned. However, that year the rebellion against President Assad started, fuelled by the powerful underground network of the Muslim Brotherhood and its backers in Qatar and elsewhere in the GCC Hillary Clinton is not alone among policymakers and academics within NATO who have discovered a species that does not exist in reality, the “moderate freed fighter”.

This columnist has been to Doha and to other locations in the region, and has met several of the “freedom fighters” who later went to Syria to give battle to Assad. There was a clear disconnect between those who talked of fighting and those who actually did the fighting. The first sedum ventured beyond the comfortable hotels where they were staying, nor the television studios in which they gave interviews about their heroic struggle. All the weapons and some of the cash collected by them got transferred to the actual fighters, who almost without exception were extremists motivated by a fanatic desire to change the region and later the world into a shape which Mullah Omar in his hideout would approve of.

The “moderate fighter” is a myth which comes to life only in television screens and in the policy papers drafted by bureaucrats eager to escape responsibility for the nightmare that life in many parts of the Middle East has become. Only those motivated by a fanatic ideology found the will and the determination to do battle against the resilient Syrian army, with even those within the fighters who were nationals of the UK, the US, Germany and other NATO-bloc countries having the same worldview as those from within the GCC or from North Africa. It cannot be a secret to the CIA or to MI6 that the entire fighting is been done,and has been done, by extremists rather than by “moderates”.

However, these agencies have protected their political masters by keeping silent over this fact, perhaps because they themselves were complicit in the strategy of arming, training and funding extremists to try and ensure that Bashar Assad was removed from office. Rather than Barack Obama,who from the start appeared sceptical of the French and British policy of arming fanatics to do battle against those in the region who were seen as negative towards the US and the EU, even if only verbally, it was then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who within the US policymaking establishment was responsible for the disaster that has descended on the Middle East, beginning with the encouragement to the Muslim Brotherhood to take over power in Cairo to creating chaos in Libya by replacing Muammar Kaddafy with a clutch of feuding warlords.

Later, giving the very elements who now comprise ISIS the means to wreak their murderous vengeance on the people of the region,who are overwhelmingly moderate but who to date have not been regarded as worthy of the attention and assistance given to the few who are fanatic. The Benghazi murder of Christopher Stevens, the very individual who assisted during 2011-12 the gangs that killed him in 2013, was the fruit of Clintonite policies more than anything to do with Barack Obama. Now, eager to once again occupy the White House, Hillary Clinton is expertly placing the blame of her own policy failures onto President Obama, beginning with the disaster in Iraq, a disaster caused by her own advocacy of a policy of helping the very extremists who are today slaughtering innocents in Syria and Iraq .

Sunday, 10 August 2014

President Obama, pay heed to Tulsi Gabbard (Sunday Guardian)

M.D Nalapat is the Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian.

US Representative Tulsi Gabbard speaks after being awarded the Frontier Award at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 25 November 2013. REUTERS
his columnist was among the billions worldwide who exulted when Barack Obama beat overwhelming odds to become the US President. From a dysfunctional family background to living in a distant corner of the US to lacking the financial depth needed to succeed in a political career, it would have been a rare punter who betted on his holding the position that he has occupied for the past six years. And yet, it is this quality of looking ahead and discovering trends that are as concealed as they are concentrated which distinguish a statesperson from the overwhelming majority of political leaders. Unfortunately, for his place in history except as a curiosity, once in office, President Obama jettisoned most of his core team as well as the principles he claimed to champion. His Cabinet was stuffed with holdovers from the Bill Clinton era, as was the rest of the administration. In domestic policy, the opportunity to clean up the financial system was lost, while in foreign policy, Clintonite blindness to ground reality and obeisance to the theories spun out by think tanks resulted in the US (and its allies) being a major reason for the ongoing chaos and bloodshed in the Arab world. Together with those in charge of policy in France and the UK and Israel, Obama oversaw the disastrous arming of extremists in Libya and Syria that morphed into ISIS.
Unfortunately for his people, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is proving to be as destructive of the longer-term security of Israel as Ariel Sharon was. The latter engineered the 1980s involvement in the Lebanese civil conflict that made his country the only one in the western world which is the target of Shia (as separate from Wahhabi) terror. Netanyahu's following the likes of the GCC sheikhs, Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, Francois Hollande and Hillary Clinton has been directly responsible for the arming, training and funding extremists who now threaten global stability on a scale several orders of magnitude higher than Osama bin Laden ever did. Certainly the Obama administration will be aware of the ways in which the fighters now in ISIS got the weapons and cash they are using to deadly effect, although embedded news channels carry the fiction that the weapons are from "captured Iraqi army stores" rather than direct transfers from France and other key NATO states, funnelled through GCC sheikhs who ought to have known better. The milquetoast measures against ISIS just announced by Obama are not going to be able to roll back a tide that in months will seep deep into populations, thereby creating cesspools which will take decades to flush out. Interestingly, even John McCain — who in his earlier avatar as a jihadi "freedom fighter" was calling for massive assistance to the very fighters now coalescing around ISIS — is asking for much greater US involvement in the battle against ISIS and affiliates such as Al Nusra.
Much more than Barack Obama, who seems to have embraced the hyper-risky policy of seeking to avoid all risk, or even John McCain, the voice within the US establishment who is talking the most sense is Tulsi Gabbard, a Representative from Hawaii, the home of the US President's grandparents. She has called for a massive US operation to destroy ISIS and its affiliates, the same way as the Taliban was finished off in Afghanistan with the help of the Northern Alliance in 2001, before the ISI rescued that organisation by persuading a gullible Dick Cheney to hold fire and later to fund warlords who were closet Taliban, thereby ensuring a revival of that scourge.
What is needed is a military operation on a scale sufficient to ensure the destruction of ISIS and its affiliates, a course of action that Obama is hesitating to carry out. Indeed, if Obama continues to prevaricate, what is needed is for Baghdad to ask for help from Moscow, Beijing and Delhi, so that these three countries can snuff out the virus unleashed on the region by the NATO-GCC partnership.
Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt assisted Joseph Stalin to defeat Adolf Hitler. Had it been Cameron and Obama, they would have demanded that Stalin be replaced by a politician of their choice as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union before sending any help.
It is good luck for the Taliban, ISIS and others steeped in ultra-Wahhabi ideology that there is no longer a Roosevelt or a Churchill in the western world, nor even a Tulsi Gabbard in the Pentagon, only the Cheneys, the Obamas, the Camerons and the Hollandes.