Saturday, September 24, 2016

JFK's Forgotten Crisis by Bruce Riedel

Image result for JFK's Forgotten Crisis by Bruce RiedelBruce Riedel is an US expert on South East Asia. Mr Riedel has also served in the Obama White House, where he acted as an adviser to the POTUS on Afghan and Pakistan. He is known to be fair and un-biased and also partially responsible for Obama's tilt towards India. In this book, the author analyzes how John F Kennedy, who was POTUS during the 1962 Sino-India war responded to the crisis in Asia, along with handling the even bigger crisis of nukes being placed in Cuba.

I have often wondered at why did India and China go to war? Two ancient civilizations, both colonies of the British and both had leaders like Nehru and Mao at the helm. I often hear the phrase "Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai" which literally translates into "Indians and Chinese are brothers" originating in 1950's. How did the situation deteriorate to such an extent that they went to war and that even after almost 40 years after the war George Fernandez(Defense Minister of India during NDA rule) declared China as our No.1 enemy. I have heard different things from different people, starting with of course Dalai Lama.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The China Pakistan Axis by Andrew Small

Image result for the china pakistan axisChina and Pakistan is the most underrated and under-reported partnership of the last 5 decades. Mutual enmity with India brought these two close together and now China and Pakistan have such strategic investments in each other, that the failure of one can lead to the collapse of the other.

On the surface these two states are driven by ideology. Pakistan by the ideology of the Arab religion, Islam and China by the German Philosophy of Karl Marx, Communism. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Pakistan is not an Islamic state but a mercenary state, who has survived on war, charity and misfortune of others. Pakistan has never stuck to its Islamic principles but coerced Islam for money every step of the way. China, on the other hand is an oligarchy, controlled by the rich and the elite. Democracy is absent, freedom of press and dissenters are brutally suppressed. Rather than focus on equality and redistribution of wealth, which are the core communist principles. China has focused on imperialism and hyper nationalism. China has a brutal human rights record starting from Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong to its own Muslim dominated province Xinjiang. 

Both China and Pakistan has overlooked each other's hypocrisy. There is a saying in Hindi "Chor Chor Musera Bhai", which is quite apt in this scenario...

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens

Image result for the missionary position hitchensThere are two types of intellectuals in this world. The first, is the intellectual for plebeians, who can speak eloquently, explain complex things to us in simple terms and never seem arrogant. The second, is the intellectual for patricians, those who study Hindu Mythology, quote Greek philosophy and when generally they appear on TV or you tube make us look like neanderthals.  This book is written by an intellectual of the latter pedigree. The indomitable Christoper Hitchens.

Image result for christopher hitchens books

On Hitch's passing away, Sam Harris, one of the leading intellectual lights of our times said about Hitch "The man had more wit, style and substance than a few civilizations I could name". Hitch was an Atheist. He fought his entire life against the evils of religion and theocracy. Hitch made a career out of going after the sanctimonious. In this book Mother Teresa comes under his fire.

Hitch describes Teresa as a religious fanatic, whose religious zealous fervor did more harm than good. Staunchly anti-abortionist, Teresa proclaimed on many occasions how abortion is a sin in the eyes of the all powerful god. Teresa also used her position among st the believers to further strengthen the position of the church and the pope. Teresa and the pope were often ready to look the other way when they were being supported by a dictator if it was a Catholic dictator of course.