Forget Ukraine. China had a jump on everybody with COVID and where are they right now? In the midst of a huge COVID disaster long after everybody else moved on.
India, too, hasn’t led the way on anything ever.
We’d all love to see them wake up but it’s clearly not happening.
16 thoughts on “Eternal Sleep”
It is understandable for you to feel this way, being a Ukrainian.
To provide a viewpoint from the other side: the so-called “strategic ambivalence” (not a fan of the term personally!) India seems to be projecting has its obvious roots in geopolitical history. Few critical points in this regard:
– Ukraine condemned India and supported UNSC sanctions against India after 1998 nuclear tests.
– Ukraine has pushed for UN intervention on Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370, which India has long maintained is critical for its security concerns in the north (including stopping terrorist activities and infiltration by mercenaries).
– Ukraine has industrial and military ties with Pakistan, a certified rogue neighbor in a perennial proxy war with India, and regularly supplies Pakistan with military supplies and armament.
Having said that, international diplomacy remains a complicated ever-evolving beast, and given the threat Russian aggression in Ukraine currently poses to the peace and stability in Europe and beyond, India’s calibrated stance in the view of above history is quite reasonable to say the least.
And now please go to the very first sentence of my post and reread it.
I am responding to the obvious intent of the headline you shared and the implicit inference drawn from it based on your biases, betrayed by your blanket statement about India later.
“Forget Ukraine” does not change that. I addressed the only point which was addressable, not some subjective opinion which is beyond any sensible discussion.
My point is what I’ve been saying for a long time: the “global South” is irrelevant because it makes itself so. Ukraine is just the latest example. You gave a list of miniscule pouty things but that’s precisely the point. This is excluding yourself from history because of some trivial irrelevancies.
India had nothing to give to Ukraine. It could use this opportunity to give something to itself. Or another opportunity – COVID, globalization, neoliberalism, something. There are tons of opportunities. That’s why I’m saying it’s not about Ukraine at all. We can discuss the amazing leadership “the global South” showed on COVID.
For some reason my reply did not get posted. Not sure if that was an accident or not
Silly question! China is a pro-Putin communist country that’s trying to push the USA out of America’s decades-long roll as the dominant naval power in the Pacific, and India senses US weakness under Biden and is snuggling up to China.
That headline is moronic. China and India are siding with Russia for reasons of self-interest that have nothing to do with rhetoric against “colonialism.”
India is at odds with Pakistan, and Pakistan’s security apparatus is friendly with the US. So India has to be friendly with Russia. It’s that simple.
China has a win-win proposition supporting Russia. If Russia takes Ukraine, it sets up precedents for taking Taiwan. If Russia gets its ass kicked and cut off from global markets, Russia will be entirely reliant on China. China is not one to turn down a client state, and getting Russia as a client state would be both a strategic boost and a delicious turnabout after a century of complicated relations between Russia and China.
Russia will never be a client-state of China because China is a follower culture. No ideas if their own, ever. And Russia has tons of ideas, even though they are often moronic.
Look at COVID. China had every advantage but it was Russia that came up with the very first vaccine and convinced half the world to take it. I have no idea whether the vaccine is any good but it doesn’t matter. They saw a problem, found a solution, and moved on. China, in the meantime, is exactly where it was 3 years ago with COVID. A huge country, gigantic resources, the smartest people in the world – and they are still stuck on whether to lockdown or not. No new strategies have been added to the arsenal.
And it’s like that in everything. Even the creators of the Communist one-party system long moved on from that. But China is still stuck on that Eastern European problem from decades ago.
And it’s like that in every field. What’s their great technological innovation? A great contribution to modern philosophy? Art? Anything?
They are fantastic at following. But not so much on leading.
“We’d all love to see them wake up”
A common denominator for much of the sleeping south (and russia) is the cultural inability of leadership to take criticism and the spiral into stagnation and pampered, and isolated monarch figures.
Somehow Japan and Korea (where giving bad news to those above you) were able to find a workaround but China, Russia have clearly not.
Pakistan doesn’t have a leader that can’t be questioned but it has an ideology that cannot and it waste massive amounts of resources creating and demonizing and rooting out badthink which means it can’t go anywhere….
I don’t know about India though the lack of a common nation state culture (there are lots of regional nation-state like cultures but nothing at the national level as far as I can tell) doesn’t help.
Yes, look at South Korea. Smallish but s real leader in Asia. I feel enormous admiration. Best fashion, best beauty industry in the world. Cultural products that are relevant in the world. That’s what I hope for in Ukraine.
South Korea was very popular when people were discussing the post-apartheid system.
During the 20th century, SA’s political system was designed to favor small towns and farms, many of which never recovered from the Great Depression and relied heavily on subsidies to survive. This system was never able to develop beyond commodities.
It was pointed out that SK like other successful Asian countries is highly urbanized with half the population in the capital, so the new system in SA was designed to favor big cities rather than small towns.
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The SA government claims to represent national liberation. In practice they support Putin because he paid them.
Galeev suggested that Russia’s problems won’t be solved by a good leader and it should rather devolve power to local political machines. This is basically how things work in SA where the president just buys the support of local bosses.
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They definitely need to de-centralize but what they call “the title nation” will still need a story to explain its history.
A funny anecdote: a Russian recently asked me what’s the “title nation” in the US. It took me forever to explain that the expression has no meaning in English and makes no sense in the US reality. The poor guy googled up a storm to try to prove me wrong.
“what’s the “title nation” in the US”
You should have said “American”…
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But then I’d have to explain who’s not the title nation. 🙂
“… yet countries that evangelise national liberation …”
I’ll complete the sentence in the mode of how politicians actually behave.
“… yet countries that evangelise national liberation do so for essentially internal reasons.”
As a former political hack, I can tell you with absolute certainty that some foreign journalist going on about how my policies, my area, my country, and so on aren’t bending to that journalist’s whim happens to clock well below taking a really good purgative at least once per day.
How to get reelected, how to retain power, how to keep most of the constituency sated enough with decent economic outlooks and outcomes so that they don’t think too much about who actually runs things, that’s well before some aspirational bullshit about how politicians “should” be acting.
So India doesn’t do this, China doesn’t do this … and why would that be surprising?
India has food export bans in place because they’re worried about stability.
China gave up on the untenable “zero COVID” policy because they’re worried about stability.
Also, let’s be totally honest, the leadership probably views the population booms as formerly unsolvable problems that now have a solution, albeit one they’re not willing to admit to accepting.
And so why would India antagonise an alternative source for rice, why would China antagonise an alternative source for critical tech supplies, and so on?
So Charlie Brown keeps playing American football only to have Lucy pull the ball away when he’s making a kick?
Charlie Brown switches to soccer and sends Lucy out on a stretcher by abusing one of his penalty kicks.
As for what India has done?
Have you realised how far ahead on certain things India happens to be?
First the “digital rupee”, so they could get past the bank note shortage crisis of 2016, and now they’re leading with what will probably be the first serious central bank digital currency (CBDC)?
Note on PaulS’s bit about South Africa: I wasn’t thinking of the SA government when I wrote what’s above, but it does provide more proof for a point I’ve made tangentially.
You expect politicians are going to behave differently because of ruling ideology.
I expect politicians are going to behave similarly because of being ruled by survival instincts.
“We are not the same” 🙂